Schumer strong-arms negotiators on infrastructure and budget deal by setting test vote for next week

Schumer announced Thursday that he plans to set up the first procedural vote on the bipartisan infrastructure bill for next Wednesday. At the same time, Schumer also set next Wednesday as a deadline for the entire Senate Democratic caucus to agree to move forward on their separate, partisan multi-trillion budget resolution aimed at many key aspects of Biden’s legislative priorities.

“Today I’m announcing that I intend to file cloture on the vehicle for a bipartisan infrastructure bill on Monday of next week,” Schumer said in floor remarks, explaining that on Monday he would take procedural steps to set up the Wednesday vote, where 60 votes would be needed to open debate on the bipartisan bill.

“Senators will have until Wednesday of next week before the initial vote on cloture on the motion to process,” the Democrat from New York continued. “Everyone has been having productive conversations and it’s important to keep the two-track process moving. All parties involved in the bipartisan infrastructure bill talks must now finalize their agreement so that the Senate can begin to consider that legislation next week.”

This is an effort by Schumer to strong-arm negotiators to reach a bipartisan deal that had once appeared close at hand, but several important sticking points remain unresolved, particularly on the pay-fors for the $1 trillion package, which Biden has backed. But it remains unclear whether senators will be able to meet this self-imposed deadline.

If the Wednesday vote succeeds, the Senate would be on the bill, which would allow Schumer to then file a substitute amendment, which would be the agreed-to bipartisan bill.

Schumer continues to reiterate that the two-track strategy has a long, bumpy road ahead as Democrats try to move two infrastructure packages through the Senate, one bipartisan and another that includes much of Biden’s agenda items. Schumer has called for “total agreement” on both before moving on either bill.

Shortly after Schumer’s announcement, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell went on Fox News and blasted the Democrats’ spending plans as “wildly inappropriate for the country, totally out of bounds for what ought to be done. And that’s why it will generate zero Republican support, and hopefully there will be a few brave Democrats who will realize that running the country into the ground over taxing and debt is not a good idea.”

McConnell also warned inflation spikes the country is suffering now will be made worse by all the new spending.

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