President Biden and 21 bipartisan senators reached a compromise on Thursday to break the stalemate on Biden’s infrastructure plan. These 11 Republican senators and 10 Democratic senators are the first step in passing the agenda. Biden has made a point to comment that he will only sign the bipartisan infrastructure bill if Congress also approves, in tandem, a larger agenda for “human infrastructure” programs focused on home care, childcare and climate change – an agenda only supported by Democrats.
Over the course of the next 8 years, the $1.2 trillion plan allocates $579 billion to physical infrastructure like roads, bridges, rail, and broadband internet. Some of the key spending highlights of the current bipartisan plan are:
- $201 billion for water, sewer, power, and environmental projects
- $109 billion for road and bridge projects
- $66 billion for passenger and freight rail projects
- $49 billion for public transit projects
- $65 billion for broadband infrastructure improvements
- $47 billion for “resilience” projects in association with climate change infrastructure
However, the funding portion of the bill has yet to be determined as Biden resists the gas tax increase while Republicans are opposing a corporate tax increase. Part of the funding will come from enhancement of the IRS to heighten enforcement efforts on tax evasion of the wealthy and corporations. One additional funding source will come from diverting unused emergency relief funds, like unemployment benefits, that are uncollected after the COVID pandemic.
One of the lead negotiators, Senator Rob Portman (R-OH) stated, “We didn’t get everything we wanted….and with the commitment of Republican and Democrats alike that we’re going to get across the finish line.” The bill is not guaranteed to pass in Congress, but the Senate’s bipartisan support has both sides looking optimistic.
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