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Key Senate vote on $1 trillion bipartisan infrastructure bill expected Saturday

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Washington — The Senate debated amendments to the $1 trillion, 2,700 page bipartisan infrastructure bill late into the night Thursday before Majority Leader Chuck Schumer adjourned the session and said proceedings would resume Saturday.

The New York Democrat said there would be a vote to cut off debate on the measure at the beginning of that session. A green light would set the stage for a vote on final passage early next week.

Many senators are expected to be out of town Friday to attend a memorial service for former Senator Mike Enzi, a Republican from Wyoming, who died last week after a bicycle accident.  

Earlier Thursday, the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office estimated that the bill would add $256 billion to the federal deficit over the next decade.

The legislation includes $550 billion in new spending for the nation's physical infrastructure. The agency said that from 2021 to 2031, the legislation would decrease direct spending by $110 billion, boost revenues by $50 billion and increase discretionary spending by $415 billion.

"On net, the legislation would add $256 billion to projected deficits over that period," the CBO found.

The nonpartisan Joint Committee on Taxation said earlier this week the infrastructure bill's revenue provisions would raise $51 billion over 10 years.

The Senate has debated more than two dozen amendments since the text of the measure was released Sunday.

Majority Leader Chuck Schumer said shortly before adjournment that, "We very much want to finish this important bill," and so he was scheduling the Saturday session.

Republican Senate leaders, meanwhile, have cautioned Schumer against acting too quickly to allow all members the opportunity to propose changes to the bill.

"We need to take the time to get this legislation right, and that means giving senators who are not part of the working group adequate time to offer amendments and hopefully improve this product," South Dakota Senator John Thune, the Senate's No. 2 Republican, said Thursday.

A bipartisan group of Senate negotiators have spent the last few weeks in talks with President Biden and White House aides to hash out the details of the bill. They announced a deal last week.

Mr. Biden has cheered the proposal as providing the most significant investment in the nation's roads, bridges, ports, railways and transit in decades, and the measure, together with a more sweeping $3.5 trillion infrastructure plan, comprise key pillars of his economic agenda.

After the Senate clears the bill and sends it to the House, senators will vote to approve a budget resolution that provides the blueprint for the $3.5 trillion package. That legislation incorporates Mr. Biden's policies on child care, health care and the environment, which were left out of the more narrow bipartisan infrastructure bill.

Approval of the budget resolution jumpstarts the fast-track process Democrats in Congress are using to pass the larger plan. Known as budget reconciliation, the procedure allows legislation to clear the Senate with 51 votes, and without Republican support. 

Both pieces of legislation are moving through Congress as part of a dual-track strategy, though it could be weeks before either make it to Mr. Biden's desk. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has said she will not put the bipartisan infrastructure bill on the House floor until the Senate moves on the broader $3.5 trillion package.

-- Brian Dakss contributed reporting

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