The majority leader laid out a two-punch strategy on the Senate floor on Monday night. First, he committed to holding a procedural vote Wednesday on infrastructure, but he left it open on what that bill would actually be.
On Thursday, Schumer will fill in what that shell is.
- If the bipartisan bill is ready, Schumer said that he will fill the shell.
- If that bipartisan bill is not ready, the plan is to fill the shell with transportation and water infrastructure bills that already had bipartisan support and give the bipartisan group more time.
The talking points
Republicans are going to say they are voting on a bill that isn’t even ready yet. Democrats would say they are just holding a vote to begin debate about infrastructure.
What Schumer did not say
Schumer didn’t say how long he’d give the bipartisan group to finish their proposal. Obviously, Schumer cannot wait forever for deal. He also didn’t’ say when the next vote would be.
“I understand that both sides are working very hard to turn the bipartisan infrastructure framework into final legislation, and they will continue to have more time to debate, amend and perfect the bill once the Senate votes to take up this crucial issue,” Schumer said. “But they have been working on this bipartisan framework for more than a month already, and it’s time to begin the debate.”
Why Schumer did what he did
If this all seems a little confusing, it might be because it is. But in Schumer’s eyes, the bipartisan group needed a deadline. And while President Joe Biden would love nothing more than signing a massive, bipartisan infrastructure proposal, the events of the last week have cast some serious doubts in the mind of Democrats about whether Republicans are actually ever going to get to “yes” on this deal.
How Republicans feel
As for Republicans, they aren’t likely to put up the votes to advance this Wednesday. CNN has talked to every major Republican player during votes last night and over and over again, GOP leaders warned, Schumer wasn’t going to have 60 votes if he plowed ahead with a vote.
“I can’t say we will have every Republican, but he is not going to get 60,” warned Sen. John Thune of South Dakota, the minority whip.
“If we don’t have a bill agreed to, I have a hard time understanding why we would proceed to a bill,” added GOP Sen. Mitt Romney of Utah.