Ohio Republican Senator Rob Portman said “everyone involved in this effort can be proud of what this organization is doing today – the Senate is doing its job.”
Understanding the Infrastructure Bill
- A trillion dollar package has passed. The Senate passed a vast bipartisan infrastructure package on August 10, closing weeks of intense negotiations and debate over the largest federal investment in the country’s aging public works system in more than a decade.
- The final vote. The final tally in the Senate was 69 for 30 against. The legislation, yet to be passed by the House, would affect nearly every facet of the U.S. economy and strengthen the nation’s response to global warming.
- Main areas of expenditure. Overall, the bipartite plan focuses spending on transport, utilities and pollution control.
- Transport. About $ 110 billion would go to roads, bridges and other transportation projects; $ 25 billion for airports; and $ 66 billion for railways, giving Amtrak the largest funding it has received since its inception in 1971.
- Utilities. Senators also included $ 65 billion to connect hard-to-reach rural communities to high-speed internet and help enroll low-income city dwellers who cannot afford it, and $ 8 billion for Western water infrastructure. .
- Depollution: About $ 21 billion would go to cleaning up abandoned wells and mines, and Superfund sites.
With a bipartisan victory in hand, Democrats immediately turned to a more partisan business, a second social policy package that would fill the rest of their spending priorities. The Senate’s $ 3.5 trillion social policy budget, which is slated to pass along party lines late Tuesday or early Wednesday, will allow Senate committees to draft legislation laden with policies to tackle climate change, health, education, and paid family and medical leave; and to pass over the threat of filibuster. It will also include tax increases – and is expected to generate unanimous Republican opposition.
“Despite this long road that we have come, we have finally reached the finish line,” Majority Leader Senator Chuck Schumer of New York said Tuesday. But, addressing his comments to colleagues keen to tackle unaddressed priorities, he added: “We are moving to a second track, which will make a generational transformation.”
The Senate vote capped a grueling, months-long negotiation between the Biden administration and senators on both sides over the scope and size of an infrastructure bill. After an abbreviated effort to work with West Virginia Republican Senator Shelley Moore Capito on a plan that could win the support of GOP leaders, Mr. Biden focused on a group of 10 moderate Republicans and Democrats who had helped find the compromise that paved the way for a post-election pandemic relief plan in December.
Senators and senior White House officials have spent weeks debating how to structure and fund the legislation over late-night meals, virtual meetings and phone calls. Even after the group triumphantly announced a plan in June, it took a month to translate that framework into legislation. Along the way, the effort appeared to be on the verge of collapsing, after failing a test vote in the Senate and Mr Trump sidelined him, trying to persuade Republicans that they would pay a high political price to support it.
“When we have more people on both sides of the aisle who want to do things in a partisan way, rather than figuring out how we can work together, I don’t think it’s in the best interest of the country,” said Senator Jeanne. Shaheen, a Democrat from New Hampshire and a top negotiator, said in an interview. “It was really important for the ongoing relationships within the Senate that are so important to getting things done.”
Negotiators were particularly embarrassed about how to pay for their plan. Republicans have said they will not support any legislation that raises taxes and rejected a proposal to strengthen the IRS’s enforcement against tax evasion, and Democrats have ruled out increasing user fees for them. conductors.