The U.S. Senate is heading toward a weekend vote on its $550 billion infrastructure legislation, after Majority Leader
Senators huddled for hours on and off the floor to discuss final changes to legislation that numbers some 2,702 pages and has been the subject of weeks of negotiations with the White House. But agreement proved elusive and final passage of the massive bill got pushed until at least Saturday.
The bill is a key element of President
Among the unresolved issues is how to modify a provision of the bill dealing with reporting requirements for cryptocurrency transactions for tax collections. The cryptocurrency industry said the original version of the bill unfairly targeted them and was too broad in scope.
Senate Finance Committee Chairman
“We believe that the alternative amendment put forward by Senators Warner, Portman, and Sinema strikes the right balance and makes an important step forward in promoting tax compliance,” White House spokesman Andrew Bates said in a statement.
Toomey said they were at “an impasse” on the issue.
Another pending amendment would allow state and local governments to use up to 30% of their unspent Covid relief funds on infrastructure projects. GOP Senator
Schumer and Senate Republicans spent hours attempting to reach an agreement on how many other amendments would be considered before a vote on the legislation.
“We have been trying to vote on amendments all day but have encountered numerous objections from the other side,” Schumer said on the Senate floor just before midnight. “However, we very much want to finish important bill, so we will reconvene Saturday.”
Patience wore thin as the hours passed.
“Everybody’s in a bad mood in there,” California Democratic Senator
The infrastructure bill includes $110 billion in new spending for roads and bridges, $73 billion for electric grid upgrades, $66 billion for rail and Amtrak, and $65 billion for broadband expansion. It also provides $55 billion for clean drinking water and $39 billion for transit.
The Congressional Budget Office said Thursday that the bill would add $256 billion to the federal deficit over a decade, though negotiators say the nonpartisan agency didn’t give full credit for the package’s offsets.
The soonest the vote could be held under Senate procedures is Saturday. Many senators left Washington early Friday to attend the funeral of former GOP Senator Mike Enzi of Wyoming, who died last week following a bicycle accident.
Passage of the infrastructure package would set the stage for later consideration of Biden’s $3.5 trillion economic package, a partisan drive to overhaul policies on climate change, taxes, health care, immigration and other areas.
Senate Democrats will advance to the Senate in just a few days a fiscal blueprint that helps them trigger a Senate procedure that could short-circuit the filibuster and clear the economic package this fall with only Democratic support.
The infrastructure package still faces challenges in the House, where Democrats can only afford three defectors if Republicans vote in unison against the bill. House Democrats are divided over whether the package spends enough and many Republicans oppose the bill.
“We are not going forward with leaving people behind,” Pelosi said at a news conference.
(Updates with Biden remarks in third paragraph, Pelosi in last three paragraphs)
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