WASHINGTON — Senators introduced the long-awaited text of their bipartisan infrastructure bill Sunday, aiming to pass the massive measure this week.
Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., said he would push forward with amendments to the legislation, which senators were finalizing through the weekend.
“Given how bipartisan the bill is, and how much work has already been put in to get the details right, I believe the Senate can quickly process relevant amendments and pass this bill in a matter of days,” Schumer said on the Senate floor.
The measure includes $555 billion in new spending to build roads, public transit and other priorities of President Joe Biden, which would inject a windfall of money into a series of transportation projects that have long enjoyed support from both parties.
The bill, which is 2,702 pages, includes $110 billion for roads. It has measures aimed at reforming Amtrak, “revolutionizing” a transportation grant program and enhancing the electrical grid. Other provisions target drinking water infrastructure, broadband affordability and reducing ferry emissions.
Speaking on the Senate floor, members of a bipartisan group of lawmakers who worked on the bill said that they had overcome their differences to craft legislation that would modernize the country’s outdated infrastructure.
“So many people have given up on the Senate,” said Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va. “They have given up on Congress. They have given up on our ability to be able to do the big things. This is big. This is a big deal.”
Sen. Rob Portman, R-Ohio, added that the group had followed a commitment to focus on “core” infrastructure — instead of a far more expansive set of proposals initially advanced by the White House — and to not raise taxes.
“We kept to those two principles,” he said.
The Senate voted 67-32 on Wednesday to defeat a filibuster and begin debate on the agreement, a sign that it has broad support in the chamber. Among the 17 Republican supporters in that vote was Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky.
Schumer said that once the bill was passed, he would move to a budget blueprint for an even more massive $3.5 trillion measure to fund Democratic priorities on climate, health care and the economy as senators work to finish up legislative work before their summer break begins next week.
The Senate’s infrastructure legislation faces trouble in the House amid pushback from Transportation Committee Chair Peter DeFazio, D-Ore., and progressives who say it doesn’t do enough to invest in public transportation, water and tackle climate change.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., has insisted that the larger measure must be passed before the House, which has already left for its recess, will even consider the bipartisan infrastructure deal. The larger bill will give Democrats skeptical of the Senate agreement a chance to address their priorities.
Biden voiced his support for the infrastructure measure Sunday, tweeting that the deal “is the most important investment in public transit in American history and the most important investment in rail since the creation of Amtrak 50 years ago.”