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Test vote on Biden’s bipartisan infrastructure bill fails Senate amid GOP objections

Legislation needed 60 votes to break a filibuster and proceed to the roughly $1 trillion bill.

Senate Republicans on Wednesday mounted a filibuster against a motion to debate a more than  $1 trillion infrastructure bill that President Biden brokered with a bipartisan group of senators, dealing a setback for efforts to fund new roads, bridges and broadband improvements. 

The procedural vote in the Senate needed 60 votes to succeed but fell short at 49, with Republicans complaining Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., rushed to a vote on a bill that wasn’t quite ready. 

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell called the test vote a “stunt” earlier Wednesday and correctly predicted it would “fail.”

“Around here, we typically write the bills before we vote on them,” McConnell, R-Ky., said. “That’s the custom.”

But McConnell left the door open for another vote once the bill text is ready. “A failed cloture vote does not mean no forever,” he said.

All 50 Republicans voted to block debate on the bipartisan bill, and the full 50-member Democratic caucus voted in favor of proceeding. But Schumer changed his vote at the last minute to side with the GOP giving him the option to bring the measure up for another vote at a later date. 

Schumer had rejected pleas from Republicans such as Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine., to postpone the vote until next week to give bipartisan negotiators more time to shore up the final details of the package. 

He insisted on moving forward with the vote, explaining it was merely a way to get the legislative process started and senators would still have more time to work out the final language afterward.