WASHINGTON, D.C. — The U.S. Senate took another step forward Friday to pass its comprehensive bipartisan infrastructure agreement.
Senators voted 66-28 on a motion to proceed, an important procedural step that will eventually open up the amendment process.
The legislation, which has the support of at least 16 or 17 Republican senators, would increase funding for transportation projects, mass transit, and broadband in the coming years.
The legislation includes around $550 billion worth of new funding.
LONG ROAD AHEAD
While it's possible the Senate could pass the legislation next week, it is still a long way away from President Joe Biden's desk. Weekend work in the Senate is expected.
As of Friday afternoon, the actual text of the legislation wasn't publicly available. It is estimated to be over 2,000 pages.
With this legislation, the devil is in the details for many conservative members of Congress and all are vowing to scrutinize it before voting yes or no.
DON'T FORGET ABOUT THE HOUSE
While the Senate has received most of the attention because of how complicated that chamber can be when it comes to passing bills, the House of Representatives still needs to vote on any bill before it heads to the White House.
Earlier this week, Speaker Nancy Pelosi was asked to comment and she said: "We haven't seen it. You are asking me to comment on something we haven't seen. We are rooting for it, we are hoping for the best."
If you think Rep. Pelosi seemed a bit unsure, it's because several of her members want to be included in the bill's negotiations. Pelosi can only afford to lose a handful of representatives and still pass it, assuming all Republicans vote no.
The Progressive Caucus in the House is one group in particular that is withholding support for the time being.
They want the Senate to pass a separate spending measure worth trillions of dollars prior to voting on the bipartisan transportation deal.
That multi-trillion-dollar legislation is being written to pass via the reconciliation process in the Senate, which requires only Democratic votes.
"The votes (from) the Congressional Progressive Caucus members are not guaranteed until we examine the details, and until the reconciliation bill is agreed to and passed with our priorities sufficiently funded," a recent statement said.