Senate Republicans signaled this week that they were ready to cast a vote that would block debate on a $1 trillion infrastructure plan being pushed by the Biden administration.
When Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) refused to give his GOP colleagues additional time to seek a compromise, Republicans became increasingly opposed to the measure.
“It does not advance the bill”
For her part, Sen. Susan Collins (R-ME) blasted Schumer’s effort to fast-track the bill.
“There’s absolutely no reason why he asked to have the vote tomorrow, and it does not advance the ball,” she said. “It does not achieve any goal except to alienate people.”
Even though Democrats have a governing majority in the evenly divided chamber with Vice President tie-breaking vote, Republicans continue to flex their legislative muscle in rejecting Biden’s agenda.
Democrats have not yet completed the text of the infrastructure bill, prompting Senate Republicans to assert that they will not even consider the measure until that step is complete.
Meanwhile, Democrats have shown few signs that they are willing to compromise, resulting in the current stalemate.
“I don’t disagree with that”
Schumer seemed to ignore the ultimatum, calling on Republicans to sign off on the next stage of the process before the “complex” text of the bill has been recorded.
If the GOP holds firm and defeats the Biden administration’s infrastructure plan, it would serve as a major legislative win for the party ahead of next year’s midterm elections.
In response to Schumer’s hardball tactic of forcing an early vote on the bill, Sen. Rob Portman (R-OH) said: “I don’t know if we’ll make anybody’s arbitrary timeline. I appreciate the fact that the Majority Leader wants us to have a vote on this and to have a vote as soon as possible. I don’t disagree with that. But as soon as possible means when it’s ready.”
Sen. John Cornyn (R-TX) effectively summed up his party’s position by asking: “Why in the world would you vote for something that hasn’t been written yet?”
Schumer, on the other hand, defended the process and asserted that lawmakers “almost never wait for a complex bill like this for a full bill to be on the floor in order for it to be debated.”