Bipartisan Group of Senators Cut $953B Infrastructure Deal With President Biden
Washington D.C. – A bipartisan group of United States senators have cut a deal with President Biden on a $953 billion infrastructure spending package.
On Thursday, President Biden emerged from a half hour meeting at the White House with a group of ten senators — five Republicans and five Democrats — to announce, “We have a deal.”
The deal is a five-year infrastructure package which includes $559 billion in new spending.
Of the new spending initiatives, only $109 billion will be dedicated to America’s crumbling roads and bridges along with major interstate projects.
Other provisions allocated in the new funds include: $66 billion for passenger and freight rail, $16 billion for ports and waterways, and $25 billion for airports.
Additionally, the agreement calls for $15 billion to expedite a transition to electric vehicles (EV).
This includes $7.5 billion to build 500,000 EV charging stations nationwide and $7.5 billion to transition America’s transit and bus fleets to EVs.
Another much-discussed element of the deal is a $65 billion allocation to expand broadband internet access.
How Will It Be Paid For?
The major sticking point in infrastructure talks is always how to pay for it.
President Biden originally proposed a $2.25 trillion package paid for over 15 years through a combination of corporate tax increases, closing numerous tax loopholes, ramping up enforcement on “tax avoidance,” and ending subsidies for fossil fuel producers and replacing them with “incentives for clean energy production.”
Republicans have been unwavering in their opposition to new taxes.
The reported deal will be funded through a series of measures including:
• Ramping up IRS enforcement;
• Redirecting and repurposing unused COVID-relief funds such as unemployment benefits;
• Allowing states to sell and purchase unused toll credits;
• Conducting a “strategic petroleum reserve sale”;
• Public/private partnerships to include private activity bonds, direct pay bonds, and asset recycling.
Where Do We Go From Here?
Lawmakers from both parties have already expressed skepticism about the agreement.
Shortly before the deal was announced, Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi made it clear she would not be taking up the bipartisan bill unless a reconciliation budget bill to include the rest of Democrats’ priorities — such as climate initiatives, urban housing, and child care benefits — was first passed by the Senate.
“This bipartisan bill is more traditional infrastructure which is important, but we have to do more in terms of how we go into the future,” Speaker Pelosi said. “There ain’t gonna be no bipartisan bill unless we have a reconciliation bill passed by the United States Senate.”
When asked about the Speaker’s comments at a press conference, President Biden said he’s confident Democrats will get all they want one way or the other.
“Look, the bipartisan bill from the very beginning was understood there was going to have to be the second part of it,” Mr. Biden said. “I’m not just signing a bipartisan bill and forgetting about the rest of it that I proposed.”
Skeptical Republicans are characterizing the deal as a “gimmick” to help Democrats score a “bipartisan” political victory on infrastructure knowing the Democrats intend to get the rest of their wish list through budget reconciliation.
TransportationNation.com will continue to follow new developments.