Senators Propose Framework for Bipartisan Infrastructure Legislation
On June 24, President Biden and a bipartisan group of senators announced agreement on a nearly $1 trillion infrastructure investment framework. The framework will invest $579 billion of new money (above what is expected to be spent on surface transportation programs) over five years in traditional infrastructure. The proposal includes an additional $109 billion for roads, bridges and major projects, $49 billion for transit, and $66 billion for passenger and freight rail. You can see the bipartisan Senate framework here and the White House’s endorsement here.
The framework followed prolonged negotiations between the President and a bipartisan group of senators, and ultimately between the President and Senator Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV) that ultimately ended without a deal. A bipartisan agreement was first reached among a group of five Republican and five Democratic senators, then expanding to a bipartisan group of 21. After additional negotiations with the White House, President Biden announced that a deal had been reached.
The agreement was almost immediately imperiled by comments from President Biden suggesting that he would veto a bipartisan infrastructure bill that was unaccompanied by a larger reconciliation package focused on non-traditional infrastructure priorities. Republicans expressed frustration over a perceived lack of good faith and President Biden’s team scrambled over last weekend to salvage the deal, with the President walking back his comments as he took to the road to advocate for an infrastructure investment. Meanwhile, the possibility of a bipartisan infrastructure package without a broader reconciliation package drew criticism from progressive lawmakers like Senator Bernie Sanders (I-VT).
Staff for the bipartisan group of 21 senators are reportedly working on fleshing out details of the infrastructure package that will include the Senate-passed surface reauthorization bills.
Even with House passage of a surface reauthorization bill and two of three Senate committees producing their bills, and with a bipartisan Senate-White House agreement, there is a long way still to go for a surface reauthorization or bipartisan infrastructure package that includes a surface reauthorization to become law. The traditionally thorny issue of how to pay for the programs has gotten even more difficult; the politics of coupling infrastructure and reconciliation are getting more complicated; the House and Senate are in recess during the month of August, and election season will loom increasingly large as Democrats look to hold their slim majorities in both chambers and Republicans see opportunities to flip control of both the House and the Senate.
For more information, contact Andrew Tyrrell at firstname.lastname@example.org.