The United States Senate is expected to vote soon on the $1.2 trillion Bipartisan Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act.
A significant amount was accomplished in the week since a deal was announced by a bipartisan group of legislators who had been working on the issue. Near the end of the week, discussions focused on potential amendments and getting the minimum 60 votes to move forward. The discussions over the weekend were held up by some, but on Sunday evening, the Senate voted 68-29 to limit debate and move forward.
The funds will be expended over 8 years and consist of $550 billion in new spending. The plan includes the largest ever investments by the federal government in public transit, drinking and waste water.
The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) concluded that the bill will add $256 billion to the deficit over the next 10 years. Many proponents have claimed that the funding drawn from a wide range of sources will fully pay for the new spending, and further statements have been made that the CBO did not account for unspent relief dollars that will be reappropriated to this cause.
House Democrats were not party to the bipartisan agreement and Speaker Pelosi has said the House will not consider the package until the Senate Democrats pass a proposed $3.5T package which is expected to include extensive climate and clean energy provisions such as a Clean Energy Standard, clean energy and vehicle tax incentives and the establishment of a Civilian Climate Corps. It is also expected in include universal pre-K, support for community college, affordable housing, small business support, and funding for American manufacturing and supply chains.
The Senate will only be able to move the bill using a process called budget reconciliation (which has been discussed recently to avoid the need for 60 votes/filibuster), allowing a bill to pass the Senate with a simple majority. Some Democrats are balking at the price tag, and all 50 would need to vote in support for the bill to pass.
The Chamber has supported bipartisan efforts to invest in infrastructure with partners at the U.S. Chamber and the Great Lakes Metro Chambers Coalition.
Going forward, we will monitor the impact of these funds on how the state and local government allocates the federal relief dollars which had included use for overlapping items such as water systems.