Yesterday, the U.S. Senate voted 67-32 to break a filibuster and allow debate to begin on a proposed “bi-partisan” infrastructure package endorsed by members of both parties. President Biden also supported the agreement earlier (but had to walk-back some comments that seemed to undermine the effort, leaving the White House’s exact position a bit uncertain), which comes in around $1.2 trillion and includes $550 billion in new spending over eight years. Moreover, the Democrats are also angling to ram through a $3.5 trillion bill using the controversial budget reconciliation process, which saves them from needing any Republican votes in the upper chamber (although there is still some issue as to whether the Democrats can hold all 50 of their Senate votes in the face of the massive spending amount).
Questions remain on the proposed package’s particulars, and critics say funding for infrastructure should only come from repurposing unspent money from previous COVID-19 relief bills. Amendments to this effect, and on other important details are still to play out on the Senate floor as the package moves forward. Those offering these changes have a simple message: “Congress can’t keep spending trillions of dollars we don’t have.”
[See, Slide Presentation/Summary of progress along the way to develop package and the latest step to bring a bill to the floor].