After weeks of long nights and endless Zoom calls, a bipartisan group of senatorsfinally reached a deal on Wednesday for their $1.2 trillion "hard" infrastructure package.
Why it matters: It will likely be days before the group finishes writing the bill, but the Senate can begin debating the legislation in earnest now that they have resolved the outstanding issues,
- Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) said Wednesday that the Senate could vote as early as Wednesday night to advance the proposal, the second time they will vote on this procedural measure.
- Schumer also insists he's prepared to keep the Senate in session over the weekend to finish the bipartisan infrastructure bill: "It’s time for everyone to get to yes,” he announced on the floor on Monday.
Details: The deal is expected to cost $1.2 trillion over eight years, or $974 billion over five years, and offers more than $579 billion in new spending.
What they're saying: “We now have an agreement on the major issues," Sen. Rob Portman (R-Ohio), the lead GOP negotiator, announced Wednesday afternoon.
Behind the scenes: The deal comes hours after Portman and White House counselor Steve Ricchetti huddled for hours at the Capitol Tuesday night hashing out the remaining sticking points of the bill.
- The biggest problems revolved around transit policy and how to pay for the package, among other hurdles.
- On Wednesday morning, Sens. Portman, Susan Collins (R-Maine), Mitt Romney (R-Utah), Bill Cassidy (R-La.) met with Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) in his office.
- McConnell so far has taken a hands-off approach to the talks. This meeting signals the group is ready to bring him into the fold.
What's next: Schumer has made clear that both the bipartisan bill and the Senate's $3.5 trillion budget resolution need to pass prior to August recess, which as of now is still scheduled to begin in just two-and-a-half weeks.