WASHINGTON — A key pair of U.S. senators from both sides of the aisle said Sunday they expect there will be enough support within the chamber to pass a $1 trillion bipartisan infrastructure deal by the end of the week.
Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine), a member of the bipartisan coalition that helped negotiate the compromise package, told CNN’s "State of the Union" she believes there will be more than 10 GOP senators who will vote in favor of the package, providing the necessary votes to avoid a filibuster and pass the bill.
"My hope is that we'll finish the bill by the end of the week," said Collins, hours before the Senate reconvened for a rare Sunday session on the infrastructure package. Lawmakers were awaiting the final text of the sweeping bill to begin the process of offering amendments to the package.
The bipartisan infrastructure deal, which has been a priority for President Joe Biden, calls for $1.2 trillion in spending over the next eight years, including $550 billion in new spending for roads, bridges, public transit and broadband.
Asked whether there would be enough GOP votes to pass the bill, Collins responded that she believed there was enough support within the caucus, noting that 17 Republicans, including Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, voted last week to open debate on the proposal.
"Every senator can look at bridges and roads and need for more broadband, waterways in their states, seaports, airports, and see the benefits, the very concrete benefits, no pun intended, of this legislation," Collins said. "It's going to make us more competitive, more productive. It's going to create good jobs."
Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.), a moderate Democrat widely regarded as a key swing vote in the evenly split Senate, said he "absolutely" believed the package would pass in the Senate, but raised concerns about its fate in the U.S. House, where Democrats hold a slim majority.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) has said she will not schedule a floor vote on the bipartisan infrastructure bill until the Senate passes a separate $3.5 trillion plan backed by Biden that calls for investment in so-called "human infrastructure" including increasing access to child care and health care. Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) has proposed passing that measure through the budget reconciliation process, which would allow Democrats to pass the measure by a simple majority.
"I have always believed that everything should rise or fall on its own merits," Manchin told CBS' "Face the Nation" when asked if both proposals should be linked. "This is the president's bill. This is all of our bill. It's a Democrat, it's every Republicans' bill. There's not an infrastructure need in the country that has an R or D name on it, and that's what brings us together."
Manchin said he expected the bipartisan bill would be voted on by Thursday.
Schumer, speaking from the Senate floor on Sunday, said the chamber had convened "a rare weekend session in order to move the bipartisan bill forward as quickly as possible."
"The idea here is to produce an outcome," Schumer said. "A real, bipartisan agreement that provides a significant down payment towards the level of infrastructure investment our country needs."