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Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer said the bipartisan group working on the legislative text said it would be ready today.   — Reuters pic
Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer said the bipartisan group working on the legislative text said it would be ready today. — Reuters pic

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WASHINGTON, Aug 1 — US senators are expected to move forward today on a sweeping US$1 trillion (RM4.2 trillion) package for roads, rail lines and other infrastructure, with text of a bill due to be delivered.

The bipartisan group working on the legislative text said it would be ready today, US Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer said on the Senate floor last night.

A sizeable bipartisan majority in the closely divided Senate has backed the bill in two procedural votes, although no lawmakers have seen the final text. Senate votes so far have been on a shell bill that will incorporate the actual legislation once it is complete.

On Friday, the Senate voted 66-28 to take up the bill with 16 Republicans joining all 48 Democrats and two independents. The Senate also convened a rare session yesterday.

The massive infrastructure package is President Joe Biden’s top legislative priority.

In addition to US$450 billion that had previously been approved, the package is expected to include US$550 billion in new spending and will dramatically ramp up the country’s expenditures on roads, bridges, transit and airports. It also includes money for scrapping lead water pipes and constructing electric vehicle charging stations.

Supporters, including Democratic Senate leader Chuck Schumer and Republican Senate leader Mitch McConnell, have been optimistic about the bill’s chances of becoming law.

But the bill does not include funding for climate change and social initiatives, which the progressive flank of the Democratic party has pushed for.

Democrats have included those measures in a separate US$3.5 trillion package, which they will seek to pass without Republican support.

Progressives have also suggested the US$1 trillion package is inadequate and the Senate could impose changes that potentially complicate its chances of becoming law.

The Democrats’ majorities in the Senate and the House of Representatives are razor-thin, requiring the party to stick together if it wants to achieve its legislative goals. — Reuters

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