Schumer opened the Sunday session by stating that the bill's text would be published "immediately".
Staff and senators have been working behind the scenes for many days to create what is sure to be a huge piece of legislation. The initial draft was over 2,500 pages. Schumer will keep senators in session over the weekend to encourage bipartisan infrastructure authors to complete drafting of the bill so senators can offer amendments.
Two negotiators indicated that action could be imminent on Sunday morning. Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine) stated on CNN that "we really are just about done." Senator Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) said on CNN that text will likely be available today and by the evening. Both said they could start the process this week, similar to Schumer.
After days of delays, the predictions became a familiar refrain. Many senators said that the bill's text would be available for review on Friday or Saturday. However, it was not ready to file by the time Schumer closed Saturday night.
Schumer stated that "they need a little bit more time." Schumer said, "I'm willing to give it to them."
Schumer, the majority leader said that while he understands that writing a large bill like this is a complex task, he also warned that he would keep Congress in Washington until they had completed votes on the bipartisan infrastructure plan as well as a budget blueprint. This would allow the Senate's to start work on a $3.5 trillion environmental, social, and health bill later this year.
He said, "The longer it takes, the longer we'll be here, yet we're going get the job done."
The bipartisan plan, which is a key component of President Joe Biden’s agenda, calls for $550billion in new spending over five year periods above the projected federal levels. It is being funded from funding sources that may not be acceptable to deficit hawks. This includes repurposing COVID-19 relief assistance and relying upon projected future economic growth.
The major investments include $110 billion in roads and bridges, $39 Billion for public transit, and $66 Billion for rail. $55 billion is allocated to water and wastewater infrastructure, as well as billions of dollars for airports, ports and broadband internet.
It was helped by a bipartisan group senators Friday, and they hoped that support would continue during the next few days' of debate and attempts to amend it.
Schumer would like to wrap up the voting before senators go on their August recess. He stated that he will review the final legislative text and present it to the chamber as an alternative to the current shell bill. Next, senators will be able to vote on amendments.
Schumer stated Friday night that while we might need to wait until the weekend, and we may vote on a few amendments, but with the help of our Republican colleagues, I believe the bipartisan infrastructure bill can be completed in a matter days.
The bipartisan effort's outcome will be the starting point for the next debate about Biden’s $3.5 trillion spending plan. This is a strictly partisan pursuit to far-reaching programs, services, and tax breaks that impact almost every aspect of American life. Republicans are strongly opposed to the bill and would need a simple majority. They may attempt to block both.
Sen. John Cornyn (R-Texas) predicted that it would be "a grind."
This week, 17 GOP senators voted with all Democrats to begin the debate. It will take place over the next few days to review the bipartisan bill. This support was largely maintained Friday in a procedural vote. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), voted again yes to push the process forward.
The president's signature issue will be decided by how many Republican senators are willing to pass it in the coming days.
Cornyn stated that he expected Schumer to give all senators a chance to shape and accept amendments from both sides.
Cornyn stated that while I was disappointed that Senator Schumer tried to force us into voting on a bill which did not exist in its entirety. However, I hope that we can now take a step back and evaluate the costs and benefits of the legislation.
Senator Mark Warner, D. Virginia, stated Saturday that negotiators had completed the final pieces but that he didn't know when senators would have amendments or debate.
"There has been some sense of infrastructure. That shouldn't have been difficult to do." Warner stated that if it was easy to do, then why did it take so long to reach this point?