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The U.S. Senate is expected to vote on a $550 billion infrastructure bill on Saturday

By: Aug. 09,2021

According to Bloomberg, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer has ended senate debate on a $550 billion bipartisan infrastructure plan, with a vote expected Saturday on what would be the largest infrastructure spending package in the United States in decades.

On Thursday (local time), Chuck Schumer launched a procedural vote that would limit senators from further debate on the infrastructure bill until Saturday.

A smooth senate vote on the infrastructure plan would set the stage for consideration of another $3.5 trillion economic plan from the Biden administration.

In an ideal world, Senate Democrats could bypass Republicans this fall and pass the economic package with their own support alone.

Disagreement in the Senate over infrastructure bill

Bloomberg added that Chuck Schumer actually tried to speed up the process to a formal vote on Thursday night, but disagreements among senators over a series of amendments held up the process.

One disagreement is over the reporting and taxation of cryptocurrency transactions, which the cryptocurrency industry has criticized as unfair and overly broad.

Senate Finance Committee Chairman Ron Wyden and Republican Senators Pat Toomey and Cynthia Lummis have proposed focusing on the people who make the deals. Several other Republican senators have proposed targeting software companies and cryptocurrency miners, and have received support from the White House.

So, in Pat Toomey's words, the issue is at an impasse.

Another amendment that has not yet been agreed is the use of unused pandemic funds for infrastructure.

A bipartisan group of senators has proposed that the White House allow state and local governments to spend 30 percent of their unused pandemic funds on infrastructure, which would provide $80 billion to $100 billion for overall infrastructure projects. But the amendment has not yet been scheduled for a vote.

But the Congressional Budget Office also warned Thursday that the infrastructure plan would add $256 billion to the federal deficit over the next decade. But members of the bipartisan negotiating group said the agency had not adequately considered offsets in the plan.

The infrastructure plan also faces challenges in the House of Representatives

Meanwhile, Bloomberg noted that the infrastructure plan still faces challenges in the House of Representatives.

If Republicans vote unanimously against it, Democrats can vote no more than three times. As for the larger $3.5 trillion economic plan, there is strong opposition in the House not only from many Republicans but even Democrats.

In addition, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has long said she will not bring an infrastructure bill to the Floor of the House until the Senate acts on a $3.5 trillion economic plan.

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