Senate Democrats are warning that they will ask for changes to an infrastructure deal being worked on by a bipartisan group of senators, as they try to get reassurances on key priorities.
The bipartisan group is still working to finalize their deal, and resolve a remaining sticking point of transportation funding. But the requests from Democrats are an early sign of the hurdles the bill could face even if it is able to get the 60 votes needed to start debate.
A group of Democrats is pushing for assurances that the Drinking Water and Wastewater Infrastructure Act, a drinking water and sanitation bill that previously passed the Senate in an 89-2 vote, would be fully funded through the bipartisan group’s infrastructure bill.
“I want to make sure that they are fully funded,” Sen. Tom CarperThomas (Tom) Richard CarperOfficials warn of cybersecurity vulnerabilities in water systems K Street sees record revenues amid Biden lobbying boom First responders shouldn’t have to tackle tigers MORE (D-Del.) told reporters. “I’m going to withhold my support until they are fully funded.”
Carper added that Democrats had received assurances that their proposal would be fully funded but were now hearing that “it may be moved around.”
Sen. Tammy DuckworthLadda (Tammy) Tammy DuckworthOvernight Health Care: Fauci clashes with Paul – again | New York reaches .1B settlement with opioid distributors | Delta variant accounts for 83 percent of US COVID-19 cases Duckworth, Pressley introduce bill to provide paid family leave for those who experience miscarriage Democrat unveils bill to allow only House members to serve as Speaker MORE (D-Ill.), who crafted the drinking water bill, warned in a statement that it had to be fully funded through the bipartisan bill in order for her to support it.
“While I voted to proceed to consideration of a bipartisan infrastructure bill, more will need to be done in order for me to support the current proposal that is being drafted. … I can’t commit to supporting a final bill if it does not include full funding for my Drinking Water and Wastewater Infrastructure Act (DWWIA) at $35.9 billion over the next five years,” she said.
In addition to Carper and Duckworth, Sen. Ben CardinBenjamin (Ben) Louis CardinThe Hill’s Morning Report – 2024 GOPers goal: Tread carefully, don’t upset Trump Bipartisan spending deal meets fresh resistance from key Democrats Schumer vows to only pass infrastructure package that is ‘a strong, bold climate bill’ MORE (D-Md.) is also raising concerns about the funding for the drinking water bill, according to senators involved in the talks.
The red flag from Democrats comes after all 50 Democrats — except Majority Leader Charles SchumerChuck SchumerToday’s vote on the bipartisan infrastructure bill is dangerously premature Democrats lay out vision for Civilian Climate Corps The Hill’s 12:30 Report – Presented by Goldman Sachs – Key week for Biden’s infrastructure goals MORE (N.Y.), who switched his vote for procedural reasons — voted to start debate on a shell bill that senators are planning to swap the bipartisan group’s text into once it is finished.
Democrats will need the support of at least 10 GOP senators to start and finish debate on the bipartisan bill. But if some Democrats peel off on a final vote, that would require Democratic leaders to lean more heavily on GOP support.
A group of roughly 10 Democrats have been negotiating the bipartisan deal and updating the broader caucus.
Other Democrats also held back from pledging to support the bipartisan deal on a final vote, noting that they need to know what is in it beyond broad outlines.
“I’m certainly ready to proceed” to debate, said Sen. Chris MurphyChristopher (Chris) Scott MurphyOn The Money: Schumer pressured from all sides on spending strategy | GOP hammers HUD chief over sluggish rental aid | Democrat proposes taxes on commercial space flights Schumer feels pressure from all sides on spending strategy Lawmakers unveil measure increasing Congress’s control of war authorizations MORE (D-Conn.). “[But] everybody’s got to see the details.”
Murphy and Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) are pushing for more rail funding, and are having ongoing negotiations on whether that fits into the bipartisan agreement or the separate $3.5 trillion reconciliation bill that Democrats will try to pass on their own.
Sen. Rob PortmanRobert (Rob) Jones PortmanBiden on bipartisan infrastructure deal: ‘I think it’s going to get done’ Schumer leaves door open for second vote on bipartisan infrastructure deal Equilibrium/ Sustainability — Presented by NextEra Energy — West Coast wildfires drive East Coast air quality alerts MORE (Ohio), who has led the negotiations for Republicans, pushed back against Democratic concerns that the bipartisan bill would underfund water infrastructure and take away flexibility from local communities that was included in the already-passed drinking water bill.
“If you’re concerned about lead pipes, you should be very happy with this legislation,” Portman said, adding the the bipartisan proposal was “very flexible relative to current law.”