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Senate meets Saturday to push through $1.2T infrastructure bill

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Senate meets Saturday to push through $1.2T infrastructure bill
Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., has called for a procedural vote Saturday on the $1.2 trillion infrastructure bill. Photo by Bonnie Cash/UPI | License Photo

Aug. 7 (UPI) -- The U.S. Senate put off their summer recess and met Saturday with hopes of voting on a $1.2 trillion bipartisan infrastructure bill.

On Thursday, Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer announced the Senate would reconvene for a procedural vote to move forward with the 2,702-page bill after moving Thursday night to cut off debate on final amendment votes that stretched on for 12 hours.

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"We very much want to finish this important bill," Schumer said in floor remarks as he made the announcement Thursday evening.

To pass the procedural hurdle, 60 senators would need to vote to advance the bill, followed by a limited time for debate, additional votes and then final passage, which could occur as early as Saturday. If the hurdle isn't passed, the vote could continue next week.

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The timing of the passage may also be impacted by a number of senators planning to attend a funeral Friday for a recently retired four-term Republican Sen. Mike Enzi of Wyoming, who died on July 26 at 77 after being seriously injured in a bicycle accident.

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The $1.2 trillion bipartisan legislation to revitalize U.S. roads, public transit, ports, the electric grid, clean drinking water and wastewater systems, along with Internet access, called the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, was unveiled earlier this month. Sens. Rob Portman, R-Ohio, and Kyrsten Sinema, D-Ariz. led negotiations for the bill.

It features $550 billion in new spending over five years which the White House said will create about 2 million jobs per year, on average, over the next decade, and represents the largest federal investment in public transportation in U.S. history.

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Sinema said in remarks late Thursday she looks forward to advancing a "historic piece of legislation both in its bipartisan nature and in the impact it will have on our country."

Under the chamber schedule, senators have a planned monthlong recess starting on Monday.

Schumer has aimed to pass the bill before the recess and to "take up Democrats' $3.5 trillion budget agreement," after the infrastructure bill.

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On the other hand, Sen. Bill Haggerty, R-Tenn., said he objected to the quick passage after the Congressional Budget Office estimated it will add $256 billion to projected deficit over the next decade.

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Sen. John Thune, R-S.D., who voted against the bill so far, predicts the bill will overcome the procedural hurdle and pass, but when is uncertain.

"I am still operating under the assumption there are the votes to pass it," Thune told The Hill. "I just think it's now a question of timing."

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