GOP Senators pressed against Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer for scheduling test votes on Wednesday on a bipartisan $ 1.2 trillion infrastructure draft and $ 3.5 trillion budget package, and said that there are too many unanswered questions – including how they are paid and what’s inside them.
“How can I vote for Cloture if the invoice is not written?” Senator Bill Cassidy (R-La.) Asked on Fox News Sunday. “Unless you want a bug, unless Schumer doesn’t want it, you need a little more time to get it right.”
Cassidy urged Schumer and the White House to work with them on a version that could pass the Chamber.
“Right now I can honestly tell you they didn’t. We’re competing with their $ 3.5 trillion plan. They want everything reasonable on their side and not help us, ”he said. “We can do that again. We just don’t need a bug. “
But he said, “If we get the payouts, this can happen.”
Senator Rob Portman (R-Ohio), like Cassidy one of the 22 bipartisan senators trying to negotiate the $ 1.2 trillion infrastructure deal, said talks will continue over the weekend on how to pay for the massive plan.
“We are still negotiating. In fact, I negotiated some of the final details with the White House last night, and today we’re going to have more negotiations with the Republicans and Democrats who are coming together to put this bill on something very unusual for Washington, ”Portman told CNN’s State of the Union “.
“It’s a little confusing to people because it’s actually 11 Republicans and 11 Democrats putting this together. With all due respect, Chuck Schumer does not write the bill. Neither nor [Senate Minority Leader] Mitch McConnell, by the way. So we shouldn’t have an arbitrary Wednesday deadline, ”he said.
He said a proposal to fund the deal through increased enforcement of tax fraud by the Internal Revenue Service was no longer an option in infrastructure legislation.
“That is one of the reasons why we had the first meetings today and more meetings on this topic in the last few days. There are other ways of doing this, ”Portman said. “I phoned the Congressional Budget Office and the Joint Tax Committee a lot over the weekend. And we have a number of pay-fors. And that is important that it is paid for. “
He said the IRS proposal met opposition from other Republicans and the draft budget, which the Democrats hope to push through the Senate through reconciliation, also included proposals for the IRS.
It is estimated that strengthening tax enforcement will earn $ 100 billion over 10 years.
“One reason it’s not part of the proposal is that we had a pushback. Another reason is that we found out that the Democrats would put a proposal into the reconciliation package that was not only similar to what we had but with a lot more enforcement from the IRS, ”Portman said.
He was asked by CNN host Dana Bash why Republicans had a problem with Schumer wanting to force a vote on cloture, a process that would allow a debate to begin.
“Debate about what to start? We don’t have a product yet. And we won’t have a product until we can properly finalize the negotiations, ”Portman said.
“This is also a complex calculation. Several committees are involved in this. It involves a lot of very difficult problems because we have to solve them between us first. “
Schumer announced that he had scheduled the votes for Wednesday, although details were being negotiated.
“It is time to move forward,” he said in a speech in the Senate. “And we will. We have to.”
Sixty votes are required to start the debate on the $ 1.2 trillion infrastructure bill – which means 10 Republicans must vote with all 50 Democratic senators.
While the bill addresses typical infrastructure projects like roads and bridges, the $ 3.5 trillion budget package includes an increase in spending on education, climate change efforts, and social programs like Medicare.
McConnell has described the spending plan as “a great socialist experiment”
Schumer said he wanted the Democrats to reach an agreement on the $ 3.5 trillion plan so that all 50 Democratic senators back the deal and ram it through the Chamber with 51 votes in reconciliation, a parliamentary process that it does enables them to bypass the 60-vote filibuster The voice of Vice President Kamala Harris has crossed the threshold.
House spokeswoman Nancy Pelosi said she would not consider bipartisan law until the Senate passes the larger package through reconciliation.
Cassidy said he supported the infrastructure plan.
“The $ 1.2 trillion is good for the United States of America. it would be bipartisan and serve the interests of all 50 states, not just the Democrats, but actually address the pent-up demand for my state’s roads and bridges across the country and other important things, “Cassidy told Fox News.
“Now the 3.5 trillion dollars are heating up if they want to vote there on a straight party line. Inflation, which makes people more dependent on the government. They will address that. I’m just trying to take care of the infrastructure that our country needs, that my state needs, ”he said.