Senate passes bipartisan infrastructure legislation

The Senate passed a bipartisan $ 1 trillion infrastructure plan on Tuesday, a big step for Democrats trying to get President Joe Biden’s comprehensive economic agenda through Congress.

The bill, which provides $ 550 billion in new funding for transport, broadband and utilities, was passed by 69-30 votes, with 19 Republicans joining all 50 Democrats. Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, DN.Y., immediately turned to a budget resolution that would allow Democrats to pass what they see as a $ 3.5 trillion supplementary spending plan with no Republican votes.

“Today the Senate is taking a step that is decades overdue to revive America’s infrastructure and to give our workers, our companies, our economy the tools to be successful in the 21st century,” said Schumer on Tuesday before the final vote.

House spokeswoman Nancy Pelosi, D-California, has stressed that she will not take up the infrastructure bill or the Democrats’ separate proposal to expand the social safety net until the Senate passes both of them. The house will not return from recess until September 20th.

It could take months for Congress to pass both measures.

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, a Democrat from New York, speaks during a press conference at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, DC on Saturday, March 6, 2021.

Ting Shen | Bloomberg | Getty Images

The bill’s approval limits a month-long slog for the White House and both parties in Congress to forge a plan to renew America’s roads, railways, public transportation, water systems, power grids and broadband. For years, Congress has been unable to agree on a comprehensive infrastructure plan that supporters of both parties say will boost the economy and create jobs.

“The non-partisan Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act will modernize and improve our roads, bridges, ports and other critical infrastructure facilities,” said the ten senators who drafted the bill under the leadership of Ohio Republican Rob Portman and Arizona Democrat Kyrsten Sinema a statement Tuesday.

“In doing so, this breakthrough law will create jobs, increase productivity, and pave the way for decades of economic growth and prosperity – all without raising taxes for ordinary Americans or raising inflation,” they continued.

GOP Senators who backed the bill include those most likely to vote with the Democrats – Sens. Susan Collins from Maine, Mitt Romney from Utah, and Lisa Murkowski from Alaska – and Conservatives from Red States like Sens. Kevin Cramer and John Hoeven from North Dakota and Jim Risch from Idaho. Senate minority leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., Supported the bill.

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The Democrats’ drive to get their economic agenda off the ground may still fail. The infrastructure bill alone seems to have enough Democratic and Republican support to pull through the house.

But to win over centrists suspicious of a $ 3.5 trillion bill as well as progressives who want extra spending on childcare, paid vacation, and climate policy, Pelosi has said they can’t go without the one law the other will say goodbye. To get their plan approved through a republican-free budget balance, Democrats cannot lose a single member of their 50-member Senate committee or more than a handful of representatives.

The Senate will next vote on a budget resolution in the coming days to initiate the reconciliation process.

He expects to start a so-called Vote-a-rama on Tuesday, in which the Senate will consider an unlimited number of amendments to the resolution. The chamber plans to take its own break after the budget measure is adopted and is expected to return in mid-September.

Schumer has given the committees a target for September 15 to finalize their pieces of final legislation. The bill would then have to go through both houses of Congress.

Centrists, including Sens. Joe Manchin, DW.V., and Kyrsten Sinema, D-Ariz., Have signaled that they will vote for the budget decision but will seek to approve the $ 3.5 trillion proposal shorten. Republicans have started pounding Democrats for the proposed spending and individual tax hikes they hope to make up for.

McConnell called it a “reckless tax and shopping spree” on Tuesday.

Biden and the Democrats want a signature policy that they can promote along the way of the mid-term campaign next year as they try to hold both houses of Congress. Their plan includes extending household tax credits and health grants granted during the coronavirus pandemic, lowering the Medicare eligibility age and expanding benefits, and using tax credits, rebates and polluter fees to encourage green energy adoption.

The bipartisan bill is the first step. Among other things, $ 110 billion in roads, bridges, and other major projects, $ 66 billion in passenger and freight, $ 65 billion in broadband, $ 55 billion in water systems, and $ 39 billion in invested in local public transport.

The Biden government has pushed for a quick pass.

“My department is ready as soon as this law becomes law to begin delivering these resources and distributing them to the communities,” Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg told CNBC’s The News With Shepard Smith on Monday.

On Tuesday, Biden told reporters he would discuss the infrastructure after the Senate vote was over.

Funding for the bipartisan bill will come from, among other things, reused coronavirus aid funds, unused federal unemployment insurance aid and frequency auctions. Republicans opposed Biden’s proposal to raise the corporate tax rate to offset costs.

While senators have said the bill will be paid, the bipartisan Congressional budget bureau estimated Thursday that it would add $ 256 billion to the budget deficit over a decade. The report did not include the potential increase in sales from economic growth.

For many progressives, the infrastructure plan did not go far enough to combat climate change or to stimulate budgets. Part of the party’s liberal wing in the House of Representatives – where the bill will go next – has criticized the size of the bipartisan bill and called for a robust reconciliation package.

Before the Senate vote, Schumer wanted to reassure progressives in Congress that the second plan would meet their demands.

“To my colleagues who are concerned that this is not enough for the climate, for families and for corporations and the rich to pay their fair share: We are taking a second path that will bring about a generational change in these areas,” said he.

This story evolves. Please check again for updates.

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