By David Lawder and Richard Cowan
WASHINGTON (Reuters) – U.S. senators said they expect to see final text on Sunday for a $ 1 trillion package for roads, rail lines and other infrastructure, and forecast final approval later this week.
Sen. Susan Collins, a Republican from Maine, told CNN that she believes at least 10 Republicans will support the measure, allowing her to easily overcome procedural hurdles.
“My hope is that we finish the bill before the weekend,” Collins said, adding that the measure is “good for America.”
The Senate is expected to meet at 12:00 noon EDT (1600 GMT) on Sunday in a rare weekend session.
A sizable bipartisan majority in the narrowly divided Senate has backed the bill in two procedural votes, though no legislator has seen the final text. So far, Senate votes have been on a phantom bill that will incorporate current legislation once it is complete.
On Friday, the Senate voted 66-28 to accept the bill with 16 Republicans joining 48 Democrats and two independents. The Senate also called an unusual session on Saturday.
Sen. Joe Manchin, a Democrat from West Virginia, told CNN that the infrastructure bill should garner strong support. But, he said he could not guarantee that a supplemental $ 3.5 trillion “reconciliation” spending bill could pass with the support of Democrats alone, as it must be paid for in full.
Senate Democrats would need all of their party’s votes to pass the measure under special budget rules that allow a simple majority, including that of Manchin.
“Both bills should be passed on their own merits,” he said.
The massive infrastructure package is President Joe Biden’s top legislative priority.
In addition to the $ 450 billion that had previously been approved, the package is expected to include $ 550 billion in new spending and dramatically increase the country’s spending on roads, bridges, transit, and airports. It also includes money to scrap leaded water pipes and build electric vehicle charging stations.
Supporters, including Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer and Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell, have been optimistic about the chances of the bill becoming law.
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