Collins says infrastructure bill could pass Senate by end of week with at least 10 Republicans in support

Source: By Amy B Wang, Washington Post • Posted: Sunday, August 1, 2021

Collins, who is part of a bipartisan group of senators that has been negotiating the plan since early June, said on CNN’s “State of the Union” that the group worked overnight to finish up the spending and appropriations provisions of the bill and that it has shared large portions of the bill’s text with other Senate offices.

The Senate has been convened through a weekend session in a push to get the bill across the finish line, after weeks of uncertainty, negotiations and missed deadlines.

“I think we will be able to lay down the bill later today and begin, perhaps, consideration of some amendments,” Collins told “State of the Union” host Jake Tapper. “My hope is that we’ll finish it — the bill — by the end of the week.”

Sen. Joe Manchin III (D-W.Va.), another member of the bipartisan group, agreed with Collins on the timing.

“I think you will see text [of the bill] today,” Manchin said on “State of the Union,” adding that they aimed to begin considering amendments Sunday evening or Monday. “We should finish up by Thursday, I hope.”

Manchin said he “absolutely” believed the bill would pass the Senate, given the support expressed by both Senate Majority Leader Charles E. Schumer (D-N.Y.) and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.).

The bipartisan infrastructure proposal calls for replacing lead pipes, fixing highways and bridges, injecting massive new sums into aging transit systems, and proffering new investments to fight climate change. After weeks of talks, Sens. Rob Portman (R-Ohio) and Kyrsten Sinema (D-Ariz.) and their peers announced Wednesday that they had a final deal in hand, heralding the development as a sign that the Senate can still function in an era of intense partisanship.

In late June, the deal appeared in jeopardy after President Biden suggested that he would not sign the agreement unless it was linked with another proposal that included more spending for other Democratic priorities. Republicans objected to those remarks, and Biden issued a lengthy statement assuring them that his comments had not amounted to a veto threat.

Collins predicted Sunday that more than 10 Republicans would vote in favor of the legislation, despite threats by former president Donald Trump to target in primary races any Republicans who support the bill.

“I think each senator will make his or her own decision and look at the benefits to his or her own state,” Collins said, responding to Trump’s threats. “I have worked with the members of our group so that we have a state-by-state analysis.”

The senator also pointed out that Trump once proposed a $1.5 trillion infrastructure package while in office.

“So, he, too, at one point recognized the need for investment in infrastructure,” she said.

Tony Romm contributed to this report.

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