Prepare to Work Weekend, Schumer Warns as Recess Nears With No Infrastructure Deal

U.S. Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer has told senators to be prepared to work through the weekend and threatened to keep them in session to the scheduled August recess, as negotiations on a bipartisan infrastructure package continue.

"For years Republicans and Democrats have spoken about the need to invest more in our nation's infrastructure," the New York Democrat told senators on the floor Monday. "It's time for everyone to get to yes and produce an outcome for the American people."

The bipartisan group of lawmakers working to hash out a $1 trillion infrastructure package worked through the weekend, conferring with each other and speaking to President Joe Biden by phone in multiple calls.

The month-long recess is scheduled to begin on August 7. Schumer previously has warned that infrastructure delays could threaten part of the August vacation from the Capitol.

Chuck Schumer pushing for infrastructure negotiations
Senator Chuck Schumer has warned lawmakers to expect to work overtime as negotiations on a bipartisan infrastructure package continue. Here, Schumer walks off the Senate floor at the U.S. Capitol on July 21, 2021, in Washington, DC. Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

Members of the bipartisan working group have been saying for more than a week that a deal is imminent, but no legislation has been released.

Schumer took a test vote last week on a procedural measure to move forward with floor negotiations, but the effort—which needed 60 votes to proceed—was rejected on a party-line vote.

Biden, speaking to reporters earlier Monday, said he remains confident.

"You know me—I'm always optimistic," he said.

Earlier Monday, former President Donald Trump released a statement claiming that Republicans were "being absolutely savaged by Democrats" in negotiations.

"Don't do the infrastructure deal, wait until after we get proper election results in 2022 or otherwise, and regain a strong negotiating stance," he wrote. "Republicans, don't let the Radical Left play you for weak fools and losers!"

Schumer blasted Trump and other Republicans who he accused of playing politics with the legislation.

"I understand that bipartisan achievements are difficult in our polarized times—extreme partisans are always rooting for failure," Schumer said on the floor. "Look no further than the former president (who) said this morning that Republicans are weak fools and losers—his words—for even talking to Democrats and suggested that the Republicans should not negotiate at all unless they're in the majority."

Schumer also accused Trump of "rooting for our entire political system to fail."

"Republican senators must ignore former President Trump if we're ever going to make progress for the American people," he said.

The August recess has often become a point of threat as Congress mulls priority legislation before leaving town. Last year, the Senate broke as leaders failed to reach a key COVID-19 relief bill agreement. The previous year, Democrats unsuccessfully lobbied for the recess to be canceled to tackle gun laws, after a rash of deadly mass shootings. Then-Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, a Kentucky Republican, canceled most of the recess in 2018, keeping lawmakers off the summer campaign trail during a crucial midterm election cycle.