After much delay, the House passed the $1 trillion infrastructure package on November 5th, achieving a major priority on President Biden’s agenda. Thirteen Republicans joined 215 Democrats in support of the legislation, but there were also six progressive Democrats who voted against it because a “larger social spending measure failed to secure enough support for a floor vote on Friday.”
Progressives who had blocked a vote on the bill as leverage so that the Senate “took strong action on the social spending bill” finally relented and agreed to pass the bill due to the risk of holding out too long. Rep. Raul M. Grijalva (D-Ariz.) remarked, “What am I going to do, you know—continue to drag this out?…The risk of doing nothing, to me, is more profound than the sequence of votes.”
The bill was already approved by the Senate in August and will need Biden’s signature next (which officially occured on the 15th), which was guaranteed by a White House spokesperson on Friday. The infrastructure effort began in March 2021 “when Biden announced plans to push for a major package, something that had eluded several of his predecessors.” The bill addresses a vast variety of infrastructure deficiencies and will “expand the availability of broadband internet throughout the country.” It is estimated that about $110 billion will go to roads, bridges and other major surface transportation projects.
Congressional Democrats and Biden said Friday that “they would move the bill through the House.” Disagreements over key issues like paid leave and immigration will need to be resolved as the bill moves to the Senate. Although progressives allowed the infrastructure bill to pass prior to the completion of the social spending bill, they remain worried that moderate Democrats will not support the current $1.85-trillion package.
Biden provided assistance over the phone as the centrist and progressive camps “hatched a deal in which centrists agreed to support the social spending bill in a floor vote [only if] the official cost estimate matches expectations”.
The five centrists, including Reps. Josh Gottheimer (D-N.J.) and Stephanie Murphy (D-Fla.), said they would work to resolve any differences in case any opposition arises from the wiggle room in the requirement that the cost have to match the White House’s estimate. Their statement is meant to assure progressives that the social spending bill will get through the House.
The infrastructure bill includes around $550 billion (in new spending) above what Congress was planning to set aside for infrastructure in the next eight years. The plan will be financed through several ways, including “repurposing unspent emergency relief funds from the COVID-19 pandemic and strengthening tax enforcement for cryptocurrencies.” The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) has predicted the bill will add about $256 billion to projected deficits over the next 10 years.
The distribution of the $1 trillion from the bill is stated below:
- Roads, bridges, major projects: $110 billion
- Passenger and freight rail: $66 billion
- Public transit: $39 billion
- Airports: $25 billion
- Port infrastructure: $17 billion
- Transportation safety programs: $11 billion
- Electric vehicles: $7.5 billion
- Zero and low-emission buses and ferries: $7.5 billion
- Revitalization of communities: $1 billion
As to the specifics of the bill, in terms of the budget allocated to transportation: $110 billion was given to support roads, bridges, and major projects; $39 billion was allocated to public transit; $66 billion was given to support passenger and freight trains; $25 billion was allocated to support airports; $17 billion was given to port infrastructure; $7.5 billion was give to transportation safety programs; and $1 billion was allocated to the revitalization of communities.
- Broadband internet: $65 billion
- Power infrastructure: $73 billion
- Clean drinking water: $55 billion
- Resilience and Western water storage: $50 billion
- Removal of pollution from water and soil: $21 billion
In terms of other infrastructure: $65 billion was given to support broadband internet; $73 billion was allocated to power infrastructure; $55 billion was given to clean drinking water; $50 billion was given to support resilience and Western water storage; and $21 billion was given to support the removal of pollution from water and soil.
When President Biden signed the legislation into law, 19 Senate Republicans and 13 House GOP members showed support, despite “strong opposition from Trump and some GOP leaders who linked it to a larger, partisan domestic spending package.” However it was a stark contrast from previous infrastructure bills, which had overwhelmingly bipartisan votes when they passed.
Information was taken from NPR, the LA Times, and Investopedia. UPDATE: It was estimated by the Treasury Department that additional revenue will amount to $200 billion. By subtracting the $200 billion in additional revenue from the $360 billion projected deficit, the deficit is reduced to $160 billion. The 2,702-page Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, which has not changed, contains just $550 billion in new spending. The $1.2 trillion figure from the $1.2 Trillion Bipartisan Deal comes from including additional funding that was allocated each year for highways and other infrastructure projects.