- One Republican senator is holding up President Joe Biden’s bipartisan infrastructure bill.
- The bill is anticipated to pass this weekend, but one senator is refusing to fast-track it.
- “I’m not slowing the bill down,” Sen. Bill Hagerty of Tennessee told Insider.
Sen. Bill Hagerty of Tennessee is opposed to President Joe Biden’s infrastructure bill. But he went another step further on Saturday by refusing to expedite a vote on it, arguing that he cannot speed up something that will add to the national deficit.
The bipartisan $1.2 trillion bill is already anticipated to reach final passage this weekend, and cleared the upper chamber Saturday afternoon in a 67-27 procedural vote that included 18 Republicans. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell was among them.
The bill includes federal spending on high-speed internet, and new roads, bridges, and highways. Congressional leaders tried in recent days to fast-track the bill by getting unanimous consent from every senator — but even one holdout can derail that process. Hagerty showed few signs of budging on Saturday.
—Senator Bill Hagerty (@SenatorHagerty) August 7, 2021
“I’m not slowing the bill down,” he told Insider. Hagerty repeatedly told reporters that he believes the bill should follow the “normal process” and that there is “no purpose, in my view, to allow an acceleration.” His opposition to accelerating the voting process could push the bill’s passage into Tuesday.
On Saturday evening, a small group was seen crowding around Hagerty on the Senate floor. The group included Republican Sens. Rob Portman, Lisa Murkowski, John Thune, and Ted Cruz.
The freshman Tennessee senator, a staunch opponent of the bill, has cited the Congressional Budget Office’s projection that the bill will increase the deficit by $256 billion.
“Despite this news, I was asked to consent to expedite the process and pass it,” he said in a statement Friday. “I could not, in good conscience, allow that to happen at this hour.”
During another huddle with reporters on Saturday, Hagerty explained his opposition to the bill and argued he was “not holding this up at all.” Democratic Sen. Chris Coons of Delaware was walking by and cut in: “Yes he is.”