President Biden and a bipartisan group of Senators have agreed on a compromise infrastructure proposal that shows promise for garnering the 60 votes necessary to overcome a filibuster, pass the Senate, and become law. Although the White House is saying the compromise would spend $1.2 trillion over 10 years, in truth it would actually include only $579 billion in new spending. The funds would be focused on what could be characterized as traditional infrastructure projects such as rebuilding roads and bridges, public transit, passenger and freight rail, electric vehicle infrastructure, ports, airports, and broadband infrastructure in rural areas.
The Bipartisan Infrastructure agreement seeks to:
The following is a breakout of the proposal’s spending:
|Roads, bridges, major projects||$109|
|Passenger and freight rail||$66|
|Ports and waterways||$16|
|Power infrastructure incl. grid authority||$73|
|Western water storage||$5|
*New spending + baseline (over 5 years) = $973B
*New spending + baseline (over 8 years) = $1,209B
The infrastructure proposal has to jump several legislative hurdles before becoming law. Most headcounts show that 10-11 Senate Republicans will vote in favor of the compromise. However, support is fragile. Last weekend Republicans were angry when the President said he would not sign the infrastructure compromise unless Congress also passed a Reconciliation bill containing his American Families Plan that would spend $1.8 trillion on “social infrastructure.” Under Reconciliation rules, the bill cannot be filibustered in the Senate. The American Families Plan includes: expanded child day care, free universal pre-K education, free community college, paid family and medical leave, easier access to unemployment insurance, expanded child tax credits, expanded earned income tax credits, and tax increases on persons with high incomes.
The American Families Plan has no support from House or Senate Republicans. Several moderate Congressional Democrats want major changes in the proposal or are reluctant to pass it using the Reconciliation process. House Speaker Pelosi cannot afford to lose the votes of more than four members of her caucus and Senate Majority Leader Schumer needs the votes of all 50 Democrats to pass the bill on Reconciliation. Complicating matters further, Speaker Pelosi is bending to pressure from progressives in her caucus by vowing that she will not bring the Bipartisan Infrastructure bill to the floor for a vote until after the Senate passes a Reconciliation bill containing the “social infrastructure” funding.