Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) speaks after the Democratic policy luncheon on Capitol Hill in Washington, U.S., July 27, 2021.

Joshua Roberts | Reuters

The Senate could vote as soon as Wednesday to advance the bipartisan infrastructure bill, Majority Leader Chuck Schumer said.

“Senators continue to make good progress on both tracks of legislation,” the New York Democrat said, referencing both the physical infrastructure proposal and Democrats’ separate plan to invest $3.5 trillion in social programs.

Schumer’s comments signal progress toward a final agreement on infrastructure legislation after disputes over issues including transit funding prevented a deal for days. The wrangling threatened to derail a core piece of President Joe Biden’s agenda.

A spokesman for Sen. Rob Portman of Ohio, the lead Republican negotiating the deal, did not immediately respond to a request to comment on how close the lawmakers are to agreement.

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The plan is expected to invest $579 billion in new money in transportation, broadband and utilities.

Schumer failed last week to start debate on the bipartisan plan. The Republican senators working on the bill with Democrats and the White House voted against advancing it as they tried to iron out disagreements.

The Democratic leader aims to pass the bipartisan plan and a budget resolution that would kickstart his party’s legislation before the Senate leaves Washington for its recess next month. Using budget reconciliation, Democrats can pass their bill without a Republican vote.

The bipartisan plan would need 60 votes to pass. It means at least 10 Republicans would have to back it if all Democrats sign off, or one more GOP senator would have to vote for it for every Democratic defection.

The vote to advance the bill would start a heavy lift for Democratic congressional leaders. They have to keep disparate wings of their party on board with both plans while navigating efforts by some Republicans to sink them.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., has stressed she will not take up either measure until the Senate passes both of them.

Democrats’ $3.5 trillion plan is expected to invest in child care, education, health care and efforts to curb climate change.

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