Mark Warner Says Infrastructure Deal Could Be Ready Monday as Senators Push to Finalize It

Senator Mark Warner said Sunday that he believes the bipartisan infrastructure deal will be ready Monday afternoon as lawmakers pushed to reach an agreement to advance the bill in a vote before the August recess.

The Virginia Democrat, part of the bipartisan group of 22 senators working with the White House to negotiate a framework for the bill, told Fox News Sunday that the group is "down to the last couple of items." Asked whether lawmakers could have the bill finalized by Monday, Warner said, "I believe we will."

After months of negotiation, the bill failed to advance in a 49-51 procedural vote on the Senate floor Wednesday. Senate Republicans uniformly voted to block the measure, refusing to approve a package that had not yet been finalized after lawmakers in the party pushed back against the "arbitrary deadline" set by Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer.

Bipartisan infrastructure deal mark warner senators finalize
U.S. Sen. Mark Warner (D-VA) talks to reporters as he walks to a vote at the U.S. Capitol on July 21, 2021 in Washington, DC. Kevin Dietsch/Getty Images

Schumer said he forced the procedural vote to allow lawmakers enough time to debate parts of the deal that the group had already agreed to.

Senator Rob Portman, an Ohio Republican, told ABC Sunday that the group was "about 90 percent of the way" to a deal, adding that negotiators have yet to come to an agreement on the amount of funding for public transit.

"We have one issue outstanding and we're not getting much response from the Democrats on it. It's about mass transit. Our transit number is very generous," Portman said. "I feel good about getting that done this week."

Last week, Senate Banking Committee Chairman Sherrod Brown, an Ohio Democrat, said Republicans refused an offer to split the difference. "They have not been serious about transit dollars," he said.

A Democratic source close to bipartisan discussions told Newsweek Sunday afternoon that transit funding was just one of several major issues that the group have yet to agree on. The source said that the group still haven't reached a deal on using unspent COVID-19 relief funds as a pay for, highways, bridges, water funding and broadband.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said Sunday that Democrats are "rooting" for the passage of the bill, but maintained her position that the House won't vote on the bipartisan infrastructure package without a larger, Democratic plan.

"I won't put it on the floor until we have the rest of the initiative," she said on ABC's This Week. "We all know that more needs to be done."

Republicans strongly opposed linking the Democratic-only package and the bipartisan plan, forcing President Joe Biden to reverse on a threat that he won't sign the deal if the two bills aren't paired. "The bottom line is this: I gave my word to support the Infrastructure Plan, and that's what I intend to do," he said in late June.

Portman condemned Pelosi's comments as "inconsistent with the agreement we have on a bipartisan basis," warning that Republicans would walk away from the deal altogether if Pelosi "has her way."

The group is aiming to pass the measure before the scheduled August recess, a self-imposed deadline.

Newsweek reached out to Schumer's office for comment.