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Infrastructure bill text released, may face Friday deadline

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Jack Birle | The Center Square

(The Center Square) – Days after the bipartisan infrastructure bill passed a procedural vote in the Senate, the full text of the bill has been released as the bill heads to debate.

The bill, formally known as the “Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act,” includes $1.2 trillion dollars of spending for more traditional forms of infrastructure, including $550 billion in new spending.

Sunday evening Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., released the text of the infrastructure bill during a weekend session of the Senate. Schumer has indicated he would like to pass the infrastructure bill before the Senate’s August recess beginning at the end of the day Friday.

Inside the bill text are details on ways in which the bill will be funded. A significant portion of the funds would come from changes to the Internal Revenue Service code and remaining funds from the various COVID-19 relief bills, including the CARES act from March 2020. Money from the paycheck protection program and other pandemic business loan programs would be rescinded and designated toward this infrastructure bill.

Schumer announced the release during a speech on the Senate floor Sunday.

“Given how bipartisan the bill is, and how much work has already been put in to get the details right, I believe the Senate can quickly process relevant amendments and pass this bill in a matter of days,” Schumer said. “Then, I will move the Senate along the second track of our infrastructure effort and take up the budget resolution. A bipartisan infrastructure bill is definitely necessary – but to many of us it is not sufficient.”

The 2702-page bill is drawing criticism from some Republican Senators due to the bill's complexity and the accelerated timeline for a vote. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., cautioned Democrats hopes to move quickly in remarks on the Senate floor Monday.

“Our full consideration of this bill must not be choked off by any artificial timetable that our Democratic colleagues may have penciled out for political purposes,” McConnell said. “Our bipartisan negotiators have already been taking this task very seriously. The American people need the Senate to continue taking it seriously.”

One of the lead Republicans behind the bipartisan initiative praised the text of the bill. Sen. Shelley Moore Capito, R-W.Va., spoke about the benefits of the bill and the success of bipartisanship on the Senate floor Monday.

“This is a product the American people can be proud of and one that will benefit them and the next generation,” Capito said. “The American people elected us to do this tough work. Tough compromises are necessary to develop and pass bipartisan bills, and I believe this legislation is a major positive step.”

As debate begins and amendments are proposed, the race against the clock begins for Senators to vote on the bill before the Senate adjourns for a month-long recess. 

“Hope that we can use our time in the Senate efficiently," Schumer said. "Let’s start voting on amendments. The longer it takes to finish the bill, the longer we’ll be here."