Senate Works on Infrastructure ‘the Old-Fashioned Way’: Painfully Slow

Leaving the Senate floor on Sunday, Senator Mitt Romney, Republican of Utah, told reporters: “We’re doing it the old-fashioned way.”

The bipartisan package was in part born of a desire in both parties to show that the old-fashioned way in the Senate can, in fact, work. The 10 Republicans and Democrats who spearheaded the deal wanted to offer a counterpoint to progressives who have insisted that the only way to accomplish big, important policy goals in the current political environment is to scrap the filibuster rule. That would mean getting rid of the need to muster 60 votes to take up most major legislation, and allowing bills to be pushed through with brute force, on a simple majority vote.

As the infrastructure bill inches toward passage, those liberals have made their discontent with it plain. And Democratic leaders do not intend to stick with the old-fashioned way for very long: As soon as the sprawling measure passes, they plan to turn to partisan votes to try to pass their $3.5 trillion budget plan and voting rights legislation.

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