Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., doubled down on his plan to keep the Senate in session – and through the weekends – until both a roughly $1 trillion bipartisan infrastructure package and a Democrat-only $3.5 billion spending plan passes his chamber.
"The Senate is going to stay here until we finish our work," Schumer said at a news conference at the Capitol Tuesday.
"The longer it takes to finish this bill, the longer we'll be here," Schumer added.
While the House left last week for a prolonged summer recess, Schumer said Tuesday the Senate's August break will be delayed as long as it takes to pass President Biden's major agenda items to rebuild the country's infrastructure and to pass a separate budget reconciliation bill that expands the social safety net and tackles climate change.
Up first is passing the bipartisan infrastructure plan that invests in more traditional projects such as roads, bridges, broadband and water pipes. The Senate is currently debating amendments.
In a sign of how fragile bipartisanship is in the 50-50 split Senate, Republicans warned Tuesday that if Schumer tries to move too quickly, the GOP will pump the breaks on the process.
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., said there's an "excellent chance" the bipartisan bill will be a "success story for the country" — but only if Schumer avoids artificial timelines and allows votes on GOP amendments.
"If the majority leader files cloture today, I'll be encouraging my colleagues, including the negotiators, not to invoke cloture on Thursday," McConnell said Tuesday at a news conference of Schumer's timeline. "If you look at the calendar he's laid out we know we're going to be here next week anyways. … So my best advice to the majority leader would be slow but steady wins the race."
Schumer is sticking to the two-track approach because House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., made clear she won't allow a vote on the bipartisan infrastructure bill unless the Senate passes the Sen. Bernie Sanders-led $3.5 trillion package, too.
Progressives are not keen on the standalone bipartisan bill and say they must also have the larger package that expands health care, childcare, education access and invests in green initiatives.