Infrastructure bill 'still being negotiated,' Republicans to block key Senate vote

Sen. Rob Portman, R-Ohio, talks with reporters earlier than the Senate Policy luncheons within the Capitol on June 5, 2018.

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Republicans will vote towards a key procedural vote Wednesday to proceed with debate on the $1.2 trillion infrastructure bill within the Senate, lead GOP negotiator Rob Portman advised CNBC on Wednesday.

“We’re just not ready,” the Ohio senator stated in a “Squawk Box” interview.

“The bill is still being negotiated,” Portman stated, including that Republicans have warned for days that “there’s no way we can pull this thing together” in time for the Wednesday vote set by Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y.

“So we’re going to vote no,” Portman stated. “We just want time to get it right.”

He predicted that Republicans would give you the option to help the vote whether it is pushed to Monday.

A spokesman for Schumer’s workplace didn’t instantly reply to CNBC’s request for touch upon Portman’s remarks. But on the Senate ground Wednesday morning, Schumer as soon as once more rejected Republican calls to delay the vote.

“I’ve been very clear about what this vote is,” Schumer stated, calling it “the first step in the legislative process.”

“This vote is not a deadline to have every final detail worked out,” he stated.

Schumer and different Democratic leaders, with the backing of President Joe Biden, search to advance the bipartisan infrastructure bill in tandem with a $3.5 trillion budget resolution that is likely to get no Republican support.

The bipartisan plan, which might fund a nationwide replace of bodily infrastructure programs reminiscent of bridges and waterways, would include $579 billion in new spending above a congressional baseline and price $1.2 trillion over eight years.

The funds decision, in the meantime, would pour federal money into addressing an array of issues, together with local weather change and well being care.

Facing a troublesome legislative calendar to pull off this “two-track” feat, Schumer has ratcheted up strain on the group of senators negotiating the infrastructure bill to end up with the textual content of the laws.

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Schumer on Monday night pushed the legislative course of ahead — although the bill has but to be written — by submitting a movement to proceed with a shell bill that he can later swap the infrastructure textual content into.

To invoke cloture and set off hours of debate within the Senate, Schumer wants the help of 60 senators in a chamber that’s divided 50-50 between Republicans and Democrats.

Portman’s remarks on CNBC recommend that Schumer is unlikely to attain that threshold.

Schumer stated Tuesday that if the vote fails, Republicans would “be denying the Senate an opportunity to consider the bipartisan amendment.”

“In order to finish the bill, we first need to agree to start,” he stated.

On Wednesday morning, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., stated that Schumer “appears to be intent on calling a vote he knows will fail.”

“Around here, we typically write the bills before we vote on them. That’s the custom,” McConnell stated on the Senate ground.

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