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    Senate holds sleepy Saturday session as negotiators finalize infrastructure deal | TheHill

    The Senate is holding an infrequent Saturday session as bipartisan negotiators work to finalize their $1.2 trillion infrastructure bill. 

    The by-and-large sleepy session comes as the Senate’s bipartisan gang is hoping to finish and formally unveil the text of its agreement sometime Saturday, after initially predicting it could be ready to go by early afternoon.

    However, negotiations could slip into Sunday.  

    But by midafternoon on Saturday, the Senate group was still working to finalize its agreement, leaving the chamber in limbo. In a potential sign that the text was still hours away, the Senate took a break just before 3 p.m., letting floor staff get some downtime while awaiting the legislation.  

    Sen. Mark WarnerMark Robert WarnerDemocrats warn shrinking Biden’s spending plan could backfire Democrats join GOP in pressuring Biden over China, virus origins Senators say they have deal on ‘major issues’ in infrastructure talks MORE (D-Va.), a member of the bipartisan group, said the lawmakers are still finishing the “last couple pieces of legislative language.” 

    “I think on a beautiful Saturday in the end of July, we all wish perhaps we were somewhere else other than on the floor of the Senate,” Warner said. 

    “I hope that we will get that finished as soon as possible so we can get this bill on the floor, have amendments, have a debate,” he added. 

    Members of the Senate’s bipartisan group had indicated on Friday that the bill was still being drafted but that they had hoped to have it finished by Saturday morning. But when the Senate convened on Saturday at 11 a.m., senators were still waiting on the final text. 

    “Senators from the bipartisan group continue to finalize the text of the agreement,” Senate Majority Leader Charles SchumerChuck SchumerAn August ultimatum: No recess until redistricting reform is done Biden to meet with 11 Democratic lawmakers on DACA: report Schumer’s moment to transform transit and deepen democracy MORE (D-N.Y.) said from the Senate floor. 

    Negotiations appeared to be continuing late Saturday afternoon, with four of the five core Democratic negotiators — Warner, Sen. Jeanne ShaheenCynthia (Jeanne) Jeanne ShaheenOvernight Defense: First group of Afghan evacuees arrives in Virginia | Biden signs Capitol security funding bill, reimbursing Guard | Pentagon raises health protection level weeks after lowering it Equilibrium/ Sustainability — Presented by NextEra Energy — Clean power repurposes dirty power CIA watchdog to review handling of ‘Havana syndrome’ cases MORE (D-N.H.), Sen. Jon TesterJonathan (Jon) TesterDemocrats say they have the votes to advance .5T budget measure The Hill’s Morning Report – Presented by Facebook – A huge win for Biden, centrist senators Senate votes to take up infrastructure deal MORE (D-Mont.) and Sen. Kyrsten SinemaKyrsten SinemaOn The Money: Justice Department says Trump’s tax returns should be released | Democrats fall short of votes for extending eviction ban Senate starts infrastructure debate amid 11th-hour drama The Hill’s Morning Report – Presented by Facebook – Biden sets new vaccine mandate as COVID-19 cases surge MORE (D-Ariz.) — spotted heading into Schumer’s office.

    The legislative purgatory comes after the bipartisan group announced on Wednesday that it had a deal among its members and with the White House on the “major issues.” But they continued negotiating final sticking points well into Friday.  

    There was also an eleventh-hour drama on Friday that momentarily delayed the vote to formally kick off debate after Republicans worried that a version of the bill circulating around Capitol Hill was a back-door effort by Democrats to offer their preferred version of the legislation. 

    The deal has already overcome two initial hurdles, and if the bipartisan group is able to formally unveil text on Saturday, the Senate could start voting on potential changes as soon as Sunday afternoon. No votes have been scheduled, and senators and aides have cautioned that when the upper chamber starts voting is directly tied to when the text of the bipartisan bill is filed.  

    Some senators have bristled over the quick pace. 

    “This coming week the Senate is supposed to pass a $1 trillion/ 3,000 page infrastructure bill and separately on three major spending bills So far almost no Senator has seen the text of any of these bills,” Sen. Marco RubioMarco Antonio RubioBreak glass in case of emergency — but not for climate change Democrats join GOP in pressuring Biden over China, virus origins Senators introduce bipartisan bill to expand foreign aid partnerships MORE (R-Fla.) tweeted on Saturday.  

    But senators are hoping to wrap up their debate on the bill by the end of the next week, paving the way for Democrats to turn their attention to a budget resolution that greenlights passing a $3.5 trillion plan without GOP support.  

    Schumer has vowed to hold votes on both the bipartisan bill and the budget resolution before he lets the Senate leave for a weeks-long summer break. The Senate had been expected to start that break on Aug. 9 but is likely to lose the first week to finish up the two-part infrastructure debate. 

    “I have said for weeks that the Senate is going to move forward on both tracks of infrastructure before the beginning of the August recess. The longer it takes to finish, the longer we’ll be here, but we’re going to get the job done,” Schumer said. 

    Updated 4:01 p.m.

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