Today, the U.S. Senate moved a large piece of legislation related to infrastructure needs forward with a bipartisan vote on a $1.2 Trillion bill (with 19 Republicans joining all the Democrats in a 69-30 vote). The bill became controversial for its non-infrastructure spending and policy changes on such diverse matters as cryptocurrency and tax matters. The deal includes roughly $550 bill in new funding over five years, with estimates of only 25 to maybe 40 percent being earmarked for what most would define as traditional or “hard” infrastructure projects such as: roads, bridges, broadband, water and rail. [The 2,700-page-long bill invests $110 billion toward roads, bridges, and major projects; provides some $66 billion to passenger and freight rail; $65 billion to rebuild the electric grid; $65 billion to expand broadband internet lines; $55 billion for water pipes including replacing lead pipes; and more].
Most of the controversy and opposition to the final package had virtually nothing to do with the “hard” infrastructure proposed spending (some even now contending that investments in such projects will pay for themselves over time, even if the initial expenditures will add $256 billion to the deficit as estimated by the Congressional Budget Office (CBO). Likewise, the process of not only linking this bill to the much more controversial and extremely partisan Democrat supported $3.5 trillion plan using budget reconciliation (which means by-passing Senate filibuster rules), but also having the House accept the Senate infrastructure deal without further changes, will now be the center of attention. SEE this overview on the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA)