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Senate negotiators say infrastructure deal is done

Joseph Morton and Jessica Wehrman, CQ-Roll Call on

Published in News & Features

WASHINGTON — Senate negotiators announced Wednesday that they have resolved outstanding issues on a bipartisan infrastructure package and are prepared to vote as early as Wednesday night to consider the measure.

Sen. Rob Portman of Ohio, the GOP's lead negotiator, described the legislation as a major infrastructure package that would be popular both inside and outside Washington. For weeks, 11 Republicans and 11 Democrats have been involved in the talks with White House officials.

“It's going to help with regard to our roads and our bridges and our ports and our waterways,” Portman said. “It also helps expand the digital infrastructure of broadband.”

Sen. Kyrsten Sinema, the top Democratic negotiator, confirmed the agreement. "We’re moving to a motion to proceed tonight," she said.

Sinema also said the group plans to release some text Wednesday and then "as we get the last pieces done, we'll release them as well."

Senate Majority Leader Charles E. Schumer, D-N.Y., had said on the floor that members should be prepared for a cloture vote on the motion to proceed to the legislative vehicle that will include text of the agreement as early as Wednesday night.

 

Sen. Chris Coons of Delaware, a Democratic negotiator, said the agreement still needs to be vetted by all Senate Democrats. That's a crucial step in the 50-50 Senate.

"I'm not saying anything until we have a caucus lunch. I am optimistic," said Coons, adding he was anxious to hear the Democrats' reaction to the details. "But in terms of the ongoing negotiations between the core members of the working group, they have concluded."

Portman said the legislative text was still being finalized and some number crunching remains, but the bill is “more than paid for” with budget offsets.

The reaction of Democrats at the caucus meeting will be critical, said Sen. Thomas R. Carper, D-Del., the chairman of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee.

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