Even as some Republican senators wanted to see the text of the $1.2 trillion infrastructure bill that is being considered by the Senate, 17 GOP senators voted Wednesday to move forward with the bill, which is one of President Joe Biden’s top legislative priorities.
The procedural vote is not the final vote on the bill, but it clears one major hurdle as Democrats move forward with a one-two punch that also includes a $3.5 trillion catch-all bill to fund liberal priorities not included in the infrastructure legislation.
The 17 GOP senators who voted to move the bill forward without having read it were Sens. Roy Blunt of Missouri, Richard Burr of North Carolina, Shelley Moore Capito of West Virginia, Bill Cassidy of Louisiana, Susan Collins of Maine, Kevin Cramer of North Dakota, Mike Crapo of Idaho, Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, Chuck Grassley of Iowa, John Hoeven of North Dakota, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, Lisa Murkowski of Alaska, Rob Portman of Ohio, Jim Risch of Idaho, Mitt Romney of Utah, Thom Tillis of North Carolina and Todd Young of Indiana, according to CNN.
Others pushed back.
“I voted no on #infrastructure a week ago because there was no legislative text,” Republican Sen. Tim Scott of South Carolina tweeted. “My mind hasn’t changed. There’s still no legislative text or explanation on how to pay for a $1T infrastructure plan.”
I voted no on #infrastructure a week ago because there was no legislative text.
My mind hasn’t changed. There’s still no legislative text or explanation on how to pay for a $1T infrastructure plan.
— Tim Scott (@SenatorTimScott) July 28, 2021
Portman noted that the bill is not final and there is time for debate.
“We now have an agreement on the major issues. We are prepared to move forward,” he said, according to The Hill. “We look forward to moving ahead. And having the opportunity to have a healthy debate here.”
Is this huge spending bill a mistake?
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But some senators said moving a bill forward without knowing its contents was the wrong way to go.
“Until this bill is actually written and we have a chance to review it, including all the details, the costs, the pay-fors, and the impact it will have on our states, I will not support it. And I imagine the majority of my Republican colleagues feel the same way,” Republican Sen. John Cornyn of Texas said.
Republican Sen. John Thune of South Dakota said Republicans will want to make changes, once they ever see the text.
“My assumption is at some point, if we get on it, that McConnell and Schumer will have to negotiate a deal that enables at least a good number of amendments to be offered,” he said, referring to Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer of New York.
Some Republicans, he said, are “going to be really dug in against it” and that debate will take a “good amount of time.”
The bill covers about 700 pages as it currently stands, according to The Associated Press.
On the revenue side, the bill dropped a Democratic plan for expanded IRS enforcement, and will use $205 billion in unspent COVID-19 relief and $53 billion in unspent unemployment insurance aid.
“The package still includes $110 billion for highways, $65 billion for broadband and $73 billion to modernize the nation’s electric grid, according a White House fact sheet,” the AP reported.
“Additionally, there’s $25 billion for airports, $55 billion for waterworks and more than $50 billion to bolster infrastructure against cyberattacks and climate change. There’s also $7.5 billion for electric vehicle charging stations.”
The bill also forks over $7.5 billion for electric vehicle charging stations and $5 billion to buy electric school buses and hybrids, according to Fox Business.
One Republican who was not waiting until the fine print can be read to condemn the deal was former President Donald Trump.
“Hard to believe our Senate Republicans are dealing with the Radical Left Democrats in making a so-called bipartisan bill on ‘infrastructure,’ with our negotiators headed up by SUPER RINO Mitt Romney,” Trump said in a statement on his website.
“This will be a victory for the Biden Administration and Democrats, and will be heavily used in the 2022 election. It is a loser for the USA, a terrible deal, and makes the Republicans look weak, foolish, and dumb. It shouldn’t be done. It sets an easy glidepath for Dems to then get beyond what anyone thought was possible in future legislation. It will be a continued destruction of our Country. Our Borders are horrible, crime is at an all time high, taxes and inflation are going way up, the economy is going way down, and now this,” Trump wrote.
“Don’t do it Republicans — Patriots will never forget! If this deal happens, lots of primaries will be coming your way!” Trump said.