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Senators hopeful bipartisan infrastructure spending bill could land Monday

Transit issues, along with other hurdles, remain for senators trying to finish the bipartisan infrastructure package by the August recess.
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WASHINGTON — A bipartisan infrastructure bill could be finalized Monday, Sen. Mark Warner said Sunday, pushing the massive spending bill forward to face another test on the Senate floor.

"I believe we will," Warner, D-Va., said when asked on "Fox News Sunday" whether senators would have a bill in place Monday.

Senators announced an agreement on an infrastructure framework at the White House with President Joe Biden's endorsement last month, but major disputes over the details have delayed getting the legislation to the floor for a vote.

"We're about 90 percent of the way there," Sen. Rob Portman, R-Ohio, said on ABC News' "This Week." "I feel good about getting that done this week."

Congress faces crunch time, with only two workweeks left before the scheduled August recess, a self-imposed deadline for lawmakers to finish wrangling the infrastructure bill and a separate massive spending package that would address the social safety net. Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., has vowed to finish or delay the recess.

Lawmakers want to go home with victories to tout as the country faces another surge of Covid cases in areas with low vaccination rates, as well as rising consumer prices and dipping optimism.

Sen. Chris Coons, D-Del., also signaled optimism.

"I think this is the week we get the infrastructure bill to the floor," he said Sunday on MSNBC.

A remaining sticking point is where to spend the money.

Sen. Jon Tester, D-Mont., said the main point of contention in the five-year, $579 billion package is "the ratio" of money distributed between highways and public transit.

Senators and aides say Democrats want 80 percent of the funds allocated for transportation projects for highways and 20 percent for transit, citing precedent. Republicans want less than 20 percent to go to mass transit, saying the ratio needs to be adjusted.

Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo highlighted the complexity of reaching a bipartisan agreement.

"Yes, it is complicated. No, we're not there yet, but it is going to happen," Raimondo said on CBS' "Face the Nation."

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., also reiterated that she would not hold a vote on an infrastructure package until the Senate passes the second, larger spending bill, which is a priority for liberals. The larger bill, which focuses on the social safety net, is being passed using arcane rules that allow Democrats to advance it without Republican support.

"I won't put it on the floor until we have the rest of the initiative," Pelosi said on "This Week."

Republicans voted Wednesday to block the Senate from beginning debate on the infrastructure proposal, saying they wanted more time to finalize the details. The procedural motion failed 49-51, with Schumer switching his vote to "no" at the end to preserve his option to call the same vote another day. The motion needed 60 to succeed.

Sen. Tim Scott, R-S.C., criticized Schumer for holding the vote before the bill was finalized.

"You can't see it. You can't negotiate it. I don't support that," he said on "Fox News Sunday."