GOP lawmaker says infrastructure bill has enough support to pass Senate


Joe Biden’s $1tn infrastructure package had enough support from lawmakers to pass the Senate this week, Republican senator Susan Collins said on Sunday.

Collins said the bill could be introduced to the Senate floor as soon as late-Sunday, and that she expected it to be backed by at least ten Republican senators. 

Speaking on CNN, Collins, who has been part of the bipartisan group of lawmakers negotiating the package, said it was her “expectation and hope” that the bill would pass later this week.

The Senate convened over the weekend in a push to get the deal done, following weeks of uncertainty and false starts. The $1tn plan would fund investments in roads, bridges, ports, airports, water facilities and broadband networks.

“This bill is good for America”, Collins, the Republican senator for Maine, said. “Every senator can look at bridges and roads and need for more broadband, waterways in their states, seaports, airports, and see the benefits, the very concrete benefits, no pun intended, of this legislation.”

Democratic senator Joe Manchin, the conservative Democratic senator who holds a swing vote in the US Senate, also said he expected the text to be agreed on Sunday, with some amendments to be considered on Sunday or Monday.

Manchin said he “absolutely” expected the bill to pass the Senate, while Chuck Schumer, the Democratic leader of the House, predicted a vote “in a matter of days”.

The bipartisan infrastructure legislation is a key step towards completing the Biden administration’s sweeping economic agenda, a $4tn injection of government investments over the next decade aimed at reshaping the US economy.

But the size of the bill has been hotly contested by lawmakers. Republicans, who disproportionately represent rural states and communities, want lower levels of funding for public transport, whereas Democratic lawmakers, whose support is more concentrated in cities, want the agreement to include more.

Biden has heartily backed the deal as critical to the US economy and as a demonstration that he can accomplish bipartisan dealmaking in Washington, which has increased the political stakes of the negotiations.

However, the eventual size of the agreement falls short of the expansive investments on climate, education and child care proposed by Biden earlier this year.

Last month, Biden was forced to agree a slimmed-down deal, forging the compromise with a group of moderate senators that included Kyrsten Sinema, the Arizona Democrat, and Collins.

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