Schumer Intends to Move Forward With Early Infrastructure Bill Next Week Senate Majority Leader Sen. Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., speaks during a news briefing after a weekly Senate Democratic Policy Luncheon at Hart Senate Office Building April 13, 2021 on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C. (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)
Wednesday, 14 April 2021 11:45 AM
Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer said on Wednesday that he intends to move forward next week on a water resources bill, calling the measure an initial bipartisan component of President Joe Biden's sweeping $2.3 trillion infrastructure package.
"The water infrastructure bill is a small but important part of that overall effort," the top Senate Democrat said in a floor speech, adding that the measure has unanimous bipartisan support from the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee.
"It will authorize tens of billions of dollars to make sure American families, especially low-income families, have access to safe and clean drinking water," he said.
Schumer's comments suggest that Biden and his Democratic allies, who narrowly control the House of Representatives and the Senate, could begin to move forward on his infrastructure package with measures that are most likely to win support from Republicans who otherwise oppose Biden's sweeping package.
The Biden package would not only repair America's roads and bridges but seek to rechart the course of the U.S. economy by also tackling climate change and boosting social programs such as eldercare.
Republicans say the plan is dominated by spending unrelated to traditional infrastructure and reject a proposal to finance the initiative by raising taxes on U.S. corporations.
Biden has begun to host bipartisan groups of lawmakers at the White House to discuss infrastructure in an effort to win Republican support. But Democrats have said they will move forward without Republicans through a legislative process called reconciliation if their opposition continues.
"If Republicans let us get on the bill, we can work out a process to have bipartisan debate and amendments," Schumer said. "But if the Republican minority prevents the Senate from even debating some of these common-sense proposals, we'll have to try to move forward without them."