The prospect that at least ten Senate Republicans would agree to move forward and support President Biden's bipartisan infrastructure spending bill was in serious doubt this week as a self-imposed deadline to wrap it up came and went without any progress, but now we have some.
The Senate GOP's lead negotiator, Senator Rob Portman of Ohio, issued a statement this morning announcing that they're ready to support a spending bill.
A vote to move forward on the bill could happen as soon as today.
"As of late last night, and really early this morning, we now have an agreement on the major issues," Portman told reporters. "We are prepared to move forward."
Portman added that he didn't know "exactly what time a cloture vote might occur," but guessed it would be "tonight sometime" based on Schumer's comments. He said he was ready "to have a healthy debate here in the chamber."
The possible Wednesday vote is a sign that negotiators are closing in on a final deal.
If the Senate did not reach a deal to move forward this week, it's possible that some portion if not most of their August recess would have been canceled.
I'm sure that motivated at least a handful of senators to cooperate because no one wants to be stuck in Washington when they could be kissing babies at the county fair, but it's not as if I'm going to look a gift horse in the mouth either. I don't care what motivated them to deliver a significant victory to the Biden administration.
If all goes according to plan -- if the smaller bipartisan deal is accompanied by a larger $3 trillion deal -- we're going to see the most significant investment in infrastructure in my entire lifetime. I'm 37 years old and Washington has been far too concerned about deficits and debt for as long as I can remember.
Amtrak may offer passenger rail service where I live for the first time in 40 years under these bills. I've literally never been on a train because I've never lived anywhere with train service and many people haven't.