Senate Passes Sweeping $1 Trillion Bipartisan Infrastructure Bill! – OnMyWay Mobile App User News

Following months of negotiations between lawmakers and the White House, the Senate passed a roughly $1 trillion infrastructure package Tuesday, handing President Joe Biden a major but still tentative win on his ambitious economic agenda. The vote on the bill was 69-30, with all Democrats and 19 Republicans supporting the legislation.

The bill now moves to the House, where its fate is subject both to the competing demands of a fractious Democratic caucus and to the uncertain progress of the $3.5 trillion budget bill now under debate in the Senate. In a process that could take months to play out, Democrats plan to pass both bills at the same time, with the goal of increasing federal spending by roughly $4 trillion over a decade on a wide variety of public investments, ranging from roads and bridges to education and health care.

What’s in the package: What’s in the infrastructure package: As a reminder, the bill includes $550 billion in new spending over five years.

The largest outlay in the bill is $110 billion for building and repairing roads and bridges. Railroads would receive $66 billion for upgrades and maintenance, though, to the disappointment of some, there is no money for high-speed rail. The power grid would get $65 billion to enhance “reliability and resiliency,” while another $65 billion would go toward expanding broadband service and access. The water delivery system would get $55 billion, public transportation $39 billion, and airports $25 billion. (For more details, see The Washington Post, The New York Times and Reuters.)

What people are saying: Here’s a roundup of reactions to the passage of the bill.

* Infrastructure week finally arrives: “A once-in-a-generation vote on U.S. infrastructure means it might finally be time to stop talking about infrastructure – or think more creatively about what the word means,” says Gina Chon of Reuters Breakingviews. “The arrival at last of a much-touted infrastructure week is a good time to start rethinking America’s too-rigid distinction between economic hardware and software. Even before the pandemic, the labor market was tight, and the U.S. population was aging. Birth rates in 2020 were the lowest since 1979. If infrastructure is a priority, anything that gets more output out of Americans deserves the label.”

* A win for bipartisan cooperation: Sen. Kyrsten Sinema (D-AZ), a lead negotiator for Democrats, celebrated the cooperation across the aisle that helped produce the bill: “Rarely does federal legislation directly address issues that matter to all our constituents. How many times have we heard in recent months that bipartisanship isn’t possible anymore?”

President Biden also celebrated the spirit of bipartisanship, in addition to the long-term economic benefits. “This bill’s going to help make a historic recovery a long-term boom,” he said at the White House. “Folks, above all, this historic investment in infrastructure is what I believe you, the American people, want — what you’ve been asking for a long, long time. This bill shows that we can work together.”

* A historic level of funding: “The legislation would be the largest infusion of federal investment into infrastructure projects in more than a decade, touching nearly every facet of the American economy and fortifying the nation’s response to the warming of the planet,” says The New York Times’ Emily Cochrane. “It would provide historic levels of funding for the modernization of the nation’s power grid and projects to better manage climate risks, as well as pour hundreds of billions of dollars into the repair and replacement of aging public works projects.”

* Reversing a trend: Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen said the bill would help reverse a long-running failure to invest in the country: “With this morning’s vote, the Senate has not only begun the largest modernization of American infrastructure since Eisenhower built the Interstate System; it has also taken an important step towards correcting a decades-long pattern of underinvestment.

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce agreed: “Our elected leaders are on the precipice of a historic investment in our nation’s crumbling infrastructure,” the group said in a statement. “Turning this long-overdue promise into a reality will grow our economy and strengthen our competitiveness for decades to come. We applaud the Senate for doing its job on a bipartisan basis, thoughtfully debating and passing much-needed infrastructure legislation that will finally invest in America’s roads, bridges, and other critical infrastructure, create millions of jobs, and improve the quality of life for every American.”

* Impact will be felt quickly: Saying the infrastructure plan would be a “big step forward” for the country, U.S. Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo promised a rapid turnaround if and when the bill is signed into law: “We have many shovel-ready projects. We know that we have to start laying fiber to connect everybody to broadband. So Americans will feel it within a matter of months certainly.”

* Though projects could take years: The spending in the bills could take years to have full effect, say The Washington Post’s Jeff Stein and Michael Laris. “Substantial pots of funding are likely to be quickly disbursed, particularly for updating existing projects, such as repaving the nation’s roads” they write. “But major public works projects often have to go through a lengthy process — from federal agency to locality to private builder — and may not result in new usable infrastructure for years.”

* And the bill was watered down: The American Prospect’s David Dayen notes that the final bill falls far short of the vision laid out by President Biden when he was running for office: “The result shows the power, in a 50-50 Senate, of a small group of centrists sticking together to force through their priorities. Dozens of amendment votes changed very little about the overall package … And yet ultimately, it’s one of those pieces of legislation that can simultaneously be called the biggest boost to infrastructure in U.S. history and a modest effort at the same time. A one-time boost of investment in physical infrastructure is welcome and should be cherished. But many of the ambitions President Biden had in his initial infrastructure proposal cannot be realized through this effort.”


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