President Joe Biden’s landmark plan for infrastructure just suffered a crushing defeat at the hands of Senate Republicans.
According to Fox Business, Republicans in the Senate ensured on Wednesday that a procedural vote to move forward on the bill fell far short of the 60-member threshold needed for approval.
The motion to open the bill up for debate on the floor got just 49 votes in favor, with the GOP arguing that the legislation wasn’t ready for a vote, as it hasn’t yet been written, Reuters noted.
Another vote on the $1.2 trillion infrastructure deal could come to Congress’ upper chamber as soon as Monday of next week.
Democrats’ latest defeat
As Biden and fellow Dems hope to push the pricey package through even without all the details hammered out, Republicans aren’t letting their lack of majority in either chamber stop them from stalling on what many view as a wasteful and damaging infrastructure agenda.
Indeed, Democrats have spent the last couple of months stretching the meaning of infrastructure to generate public support for their ideological pet projects. Meanwhile, the GOP wants to see a bill focused on revitalizing America’s roads and bridges, leaving the extra stuff — like education and health care funding — to another bill.
In either case, Republican leaders are demanding to see the latest trillion-dollar measure before they vote on it.
“Around here, we typically write the bills before we vote on them,” remarked Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY), according to Fox Business. “That’s the custom.”
Still, some Republicans, including Sen. Rob Portman (OH), have said they’d reconsider their votes next week if a few changes are made. “We’re voting no today, because we’re not ready, but we’re saying we do want to take up this bill as soon as we are. We think that’ll be Monday,” Portman said Wednesday, according to Reuters.
An uncertain future
At this point, it remains unclear when a full draft of the bill will be completed. Speaking with Reuters, Sen. Mitt Romney (R-UT) wasn’t confident that negotiators will meet a Monday deadline.
“We’ll have an agreement and a lot of text, but not all of it. It’s going to take quite a while to get the full text. It’ll be hundreds of pages,” Romney said.
In the end, Democrats know that the many provisions they want to include in the infrastructure bill will never fly when put in writing; that’s why Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) wanted the bill advanced to the Senate floor beforehand. As it stands, President Biden’s agenda is dead in the water — and if Republicans take power in the midterms, his agenda will stay dead.