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Senate inches toward final infrastructure vote

Senators had been scheduled to be on a summer recess but instead remained in Washington pending completion of the bill.
Image: Bill Hagerty
Sen. Bill Hagerty, R-Tenn., objected to fast-tracking the legislation, citing its effect on the deficit.Ting Shen / Bloomberg via Getty Images

WASHINGTON — The Senate continued to make headway Sunday on the $1 trillion infrastructure bill as it crawls toward a final vote on the legislation early this week.

After a day of debate and work on amendments, the Senate voted 68-29 to end a filibuster on the bipartisan bill. This starts up to 30 hours of debate before senators can vote on final passage, which is now expected Tuesday morning unless all 100 senators agree to hold the vote earlier.

A lone Republican, freshman Sen. Bill Hagerty of Tennessee, has so far objected to speeding up the process, citing the bill's effect on the deficit.

Senators have remained in Washington rather departing for a scheduled summer recess to get the legislation, which would invest heavily in shoring up the country's roads and highways, public transit, water systems and broadband connectivity, over the finish line.

"It could go quicker, but it's going," Sen. Bill Cassidy, R-La., said in an interview Sunday on CNN's "State of the Union."

The proposal, a priority of President Joe Biden, features $550 billion in new spending and would inject a windfall of money into a series of transportation projects that have long enjoyed support from both parties.

So far, 17 or 18 Republicans have indicated that they would support the measure, said Cassidy, who noted that some members of his caucus voiced opposition after having seen the Congressional Budget Office's estimate that the bill would add $256 billion to the deficit over 10 years.

"OK, well, that's OK, but on the other hand, we're creating jobs, we're creating bridges, we're protecting people from flooding. Hopefully they change their mind," he said.

Hagerty had not budged by Sunday afternoon.

"I will not agree to expedite a package that’s not paid for, but amendments should be debated and voted on," he said in a tweet.

Former President Donald Trump has repeatedly urged Republicans to vote against the bipartisan deal and deny Biden a legislative win, threatening those in his own party who support the bill.

In a statement Sunday, Trump praised Hagerty for "remaining true to “AMERICA FIRST!"

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., said Sunday that the Senate would stay in session for as long as it takes to complete the bill.

"I said yesterday that we could do this the easy way or the hard way. Yesterday it appeared that some Republicans would like the Senate to do this the hard way," Schumer said on the Senate floor. "In any case, we’ll keep proceeding until we get this bill done."