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Friday, 24 September 2021

GOP nixes debate on Biden's infrastructure plans

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GOP nixes debate on Biden's infrastructure plans
GOP nixes debate on Biden's infrastructure plans

U.S. Senate Republicans blocked a move to open debate on Wednesday on a $1.2 trillion bipartisan infrastructure measure that is a top priority for Democratic President Joe Biden, but the chamber was poised to take it up again as early as Monday.

Gavino Garay reports.

MCCONNELL “Around here, we typically write the bills before we vote on them.” U.S. Senate Republicans blocked a move to open debate on Wednesday on a $1.2 trillion bipartisan infrastructure measure - a top priority for Democratic President Joe Biden, but the chamber was poised to take it up again as early as Monday.

Republicans objected to opening debate on the bill because it was not yet written, though it is not unusual for the chamber to vote on a skeleton "shell" bill to move the legislative process along.

Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell.

MCCONNELL: “There’s no outcome yet.

No bipartisan agreement.

No text.

Nothing for the Congressional Budget Office to evaluate, and certainly nothing on which to vote.

Not yet... Around here, we typically write the bills before we vote on them.

That’s the custom.

Of course, here in the Senate, a failed cloture vote does not mean no forever.” Fifty-one senators voted against opening debate after Democratic Majority Leader Chuck Schumer changed his vote to "no" from "yes" at the last minute, saying that would allow him under Senate rules to move to reconsider the vote at a future time.

Earlier on Wednesday, Schumer cited a Moody’s report that said robust infrastructure investment would “lift productivity and labor force growth.” SCHUMER: “I hope my colleagues are listening to those benefits.

Long-term economic growth, easing inflation pressures, lifting productivity, strengthening the labor force, reducing income inequality.” Senator Rob Portman, the leading Republican in the bipartisan group that developed the plan, said 11 Republicans signed a letter to Schumer telling him they would be willing to vote "yes" as soon as next week.

Asked if an agreement will be reached on the bill during a visit to an electrician training facility in Cincinatti, President Biden struck a positive note: BIDEN: “Yes, we will.”