- A group of GOP senators announced they struck a bipartisan infrastructure deal on Wednesday.
- It remains unclear whether enough GOP senators will back it in a key test vote that could happen in the evening.
- It caps six weeks of tumultuous negotiations between the White House and Senators from both parties.
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GOP Sen. Rob Portman announced that a group of Republican senators and the White House have reached an agreement on “major issues” to move forward with an infrastructure plan.
“We’re prepared to move forward,” Portman said, according to Bloomberg reporter Erik Wasson.
Another GOP negotiator, Sen. Susan Collins, said she was “delighted” with the agreement.
Lengthy negotiations on the infrastructure deal between the senators, Democratic leadership, and the Biden administration have lasted roughly six weeks.
Over a month ago, in late June, President Joe Biden had said “we have a deal” on infrastructure with the same group of Republican senators. But just last week, Republicans voted against advancing the same framework in a sign of how tumultuous the talks were.
Many GOP senators have said they wanted time to review the full bill and a budget score from the Congressional Budget Office to ensure it didn’t grow the national debt. It remains unclear whether enough Senate Republicans will vote to advance in a second major test vote that may happen Wednesday evening.
At least 10 Republican senators must join every Senate Democrat if all 50 of them stick together.
Biden and a bipartisan group of senators struck a $579 billion infrastructure agreement last month largely focused on physical infrastructure like roads, bridges, and ports. But the bipartisan gang – evenly divided between five Republicans and five Democrats – clashed on sources of revenue as they drafted the bill.
One major source of financing was stepping up IRS tax enforcement. But conservative backlash caused the negotiators to drop it from the agreement earlier this month in an effort to keep GOP support.
It’s increasingly possible that the Senate infrastructure plan could undergo major changes in the Democratic-led House. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi told CNN’s Manu Raju she would not commit to pass it untouched. She indicated there would be “some discussion” with the Senate.