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Huge US infrastructure deal suffers Senate vote setback

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The US Senate stumbled in the first test for a long-sought bipartisan infrastructure package./AFP
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Jul 22, 2021 - 01:09 AM

WASHINGTON — The US Senate stumbled Wednesday in the first test for a long-sought bipartisan infrastructure package, blocking the trillion-dollar measure’s advancement and thus forcing Democrats and Republicans to scramble to salvage a compromise.

Republican senators in the 50-50 chamber united to block the package from moving forward in a key procedural vote, leaving Democrats well short of the 60 votes needed to overcome a filibuster and formally begin debate on the plan.

Several Republicans including Senator Mitt Romney, one of the negotiators, have argued that more time is needed to thrash out the details, primarily how to raise sufficient revenue to fund the once-in-a-generation spending initiative.

But Republicans and Democrats alike expressed optimism that a deal can be finalized in the coming days so as to be ready for another floor vote next week.

President Joe Biden has made the repair of America’s roads, bridges and water pipes a priority in his sprawling domestic agenda, which also includes historic investments in health, education, climate change resilience and social welfare programs.

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