U.S. Senate Opens Debate on Bipartisan Infrastructure Bill

July 29, 2021 • Pearce Crosland

The U.S. Senate voted last night—67 to 32 —to open debate on the $1 trillion bipartisan infrastructure bill almost one week after the same cloture vote failed and put the future of the long-awaited package in limbo. The bill comes one month after the original announcement from the White House that President Biden and a bipartisan group of Senators had reached a tentative agreement on historic infrastructure spending.

Lead negotiators Sen. Kyrsten Sinema (D-Ariz.) and Sen. Rob Portman (R-Ohio) announced that the agreement had been finalized by both sides Wednesday afternoon. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) was among the 17 Republicans who voted to move ahead with the proposal. The final legislation is expected to gain strong support from both sides of the aisle and the White House. President Biden told reporters that he was confident in the bill’s passage, while a bipartisan group of 21 senators signed on to a letter endorsing the bill.

Included in the package is $550 billion in new federal spending, which includes $110 billion for roads and bridges, $73 to rebuild the electric grid, $65 billion to expand broadband internet access, $50 billion for environmental resiliency, a $39 billion investment in public transit modernization and $7.5 billion to establish a network of electric vehicle charging stations along interstates and highways.

The agreement still faces an uncertain future should it pass the Senate. U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) still has not committed to passing the bill and has reasserted her original position that she will not bring it up for a vote until the Senate also passes a budget resolution outlining the $3.5 trillion reconciliation package. For further information, contact Pearce Crosland, Director of Federal Affairs, at pcrosland@boma.org.