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Legislative News

  • Thu, July 01, 2021 1:37 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Today, the House of Representatives on a 221-201 vote passed the $715 billion package to address surface transportation and water infrastructure projects. Led by House Transportation Committee Chairman Peter DeFazio (D-Ore.), the package is meant to shape aspects of the ongoing infrastructure debate with Senate and White House. CIRT reported earlier on this piece of legislation, known as the “INVEST in America Act” (a summary of the key provisions and spending amounts is included as an attachment to the original CIRT story dated 06/28/2021 for more details).

    However, according to House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-Md.): “This bill is designed to be a part of the President’s jobs bill. It is not a substitute for the jobs bill.” 

  • Mon, June 28, 2021 1:50 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    With the so-called compromise “Bipartisan Infrastructure Framework” on pause, after the President “blew-up” the apparent agreement only hours after announcing it (which he has subsequently tried to walk back), attention has turned to another piece of legislation dealing with surface transportation needs. According to reports, the House of Representatives will shortly vote on a five-year $715 billion dollar bill to fund highways, bridges, and rail needs. The “INVEST in America Act” also contains climate-change provisions, such as $8.2 billion for carbon reduction and $6.2 billion for climate mitigation and resiliency improvements tucked in with the more traditional infrastructure projects. Notwithstanding the House action, the bill still needs to be reconciled with the Senate version, which the Environment and Public Works Committee approved unanimously in May; a task that will be difficult, though provisions in the measures could get added to a broader infrastructure bill.

    As noted in earlier stories, a bipartisan group of senators had struck a deal with the White House last week on a $1.2 trillion infrastructure package, which given the mix messages coming out of the White House, faces a long and arduous process to get the bill through Congress.  Complicating matters is House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s refusal to advance the legislation until the Senate also passes a tandem multi-trillion-dollar bill focused on social programs such that include education, paid leave, and childcare. To accomplish this bigger endeavor, Congress needs to adopt a budget that allows for Democrats to use reconciliation to advance the measure, after its own party members work out top-line numbers between themselves.

    See, INVEST Fact Sheet for details.

  • Fri, June 25, 2021 1:49 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    UPDATE:  Only a hours after signaling support for the “Bipartisan Infrastructure Framework” with a working group of 21 Senators, President Biden let the air out of the legislative effort when he indicated he won’t sign the bipartisan deal if Congress doesn’t also pass a tandem reconciliation bill.  During a press conference, the President said he expected “before the fiscal year is over, that we will have voted on this bill, the infrastructure bill, as well as voted on the budget resolution. But if only one comes to me, this is the only one that comes to me, I’m not signing it. It’s in tandem.”  Backing up the sentiment, Speaker Nancy Pelosi D-Calif.) confirmed Thursday that the House would not vote on a bipartisan infrastructure bill until the Senate passes a larger set of Democratic priorities through a budget reconciliation bill.

  • Thu, June 24, 2021 3:05 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Today, the White House announced that President Biden supports the $1.2 trillion Bipartisan Infrastructure Framework,  proposed outline agreement among 11 Republicans, 9 Democrats, and one independent Senator. This is a critical step in moving the basic or traditional “infrastructure” elements (combination of transportation, transit, and port related, broadband, electric grid and environmental remediation) forward to a Congressional vote.  However, the President also emphasized that he “remains committed to the comprehensive agenda laid out in the American Jobs Plan and American Families Plan.”  And, that he will “work with Congress to build on the Bipartisan Infrastructure Framework in legislation that moves in tandem,” with these other larger goals.

    It remains to be seen if the compromise package or framework will garner 60-member Senate support among the wider parties caucus, or be agreed to by the House.

    For details on the Bipartisan Infrastructure Framework (see, WH Fact Sheet).

  • Fri, June 11, 2021 1:57 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    As predicted during the recently completed spring conference in Washington, D.C. the negotiations between the Biden White House and a small group of GOP Senators lead by Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV) to find a compromise around the infrastructure initiative have come to an end.  In there place a more complicated and longer process has already begun with a group of 10 Senators (evenly divided between the two parties) busily at work trying to come-up with a strictly “Congressional” compromise that the Senators tentatively announced late Thursday, June 10th.  This new proposal will need further vetting and buy-in from both the White House and the expanded members in the Senate caucuses of both parties.  However, the bipartisan group of 10 and the White House still appear to have profound differences over what constitutes infrastructure and how much money should be allotted to it – making it a long road ahead.

    Moreover, as first pointed-out to our members during the spring conference sessions the path for any infrastructure bill must now pass through the hazardous and prolonged budget/appropriations process that will require a number of steps and firm support along the way to survive.

  • Tue, May 25, 2021 5:17 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Democrats and Republicans leaders on the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee announced they reached a bipartisan agreement on the surface transportation reauthorization bill, which would provide $304 billion in funding for “traditional style” infrastructure like: highways, roads and bridges, etc.  The outline of the deal comes on the heels of the first signs of compromise when the President and top Republicans discussed the gaping differences between the original “American Jobs Plan” $2.25 trillion proposal and the GOP’s $568 billion counter (which resulted in the President responding with a massive but trimmed down $1.7 trillion offer).  The Senate EPW Committee will be marking-up the bipartisan compromise on May 26th.

    See Attached, for a summary on the President and GOP original proposals.

  • Mon, May 10, 2021 1:11 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    In order to turn President Biden’s sought after capital gains tax increases into revenue raisers, the President has also proposed dramatic changes to estate tax law.  The Administration’s proposal would not just repeal of “stepped-up basis” in assets transferred at death, but would also tax those “built-up gains” at death as though the assets had been sold. These drastic changes in estate taxes could well make it impossible for privately-owned businesses and family farms/firms to be passed to heirs. [The estate tax changes come on the heels of President Biden’s recently announced proposal to raise the capital gains tax rate to 39.6/43.4 percent, which analysis have suggested would actually reduce rather than increase federal revenue]. 

    CIRT has joined a cross-section of organizations as part of the “Family Business Estate Tax Coalition” to strongly oppose repeal of “stepped-up basis” and the taxation of “built-up gains” at death.  [See details of the FBETC letter here].


  • Fri, April 23, 2021 12:34 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Republican Senators, lead my Senator Shelly Moore Caputo (R-WV), sent to President Biden a counter proposal with respect to his infrastructure plan.  The GOP spending priorities were laid out in a fact sheet titled “The Republican Roadmap” anticipates spending $568 billion on more narrowly defined infrastructure projects (e.g., roads, bridges, public transit systems, rail, water/wastewater, airports, and broadband) vs. the President’s expansive $2.25 trillion “American Jobs Plan.” The Hill reports the Republican proposal or framework, “would spend $299 billion on roads and bridges, $61 billion on public transit systems, $20 billion on rail, $35 billion on drinking water and wastewater infrastructure, $13 billion on safety programs, such as the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, $17 billion on ports and inland waterways, and $44 billion on airports. It also proposes spending $65 billion to beef up and expand the nation’s broadband infrastructure to bring high-speed internet to more rural areas of the country.”  To pay for the scaled down, but still large expenditure, the Republican proposal looks to the traditional revenue sources, along with fees for electric vehicles, and reprogramming unused money recently allocated but not being spent in the recently passed $1.9 trillion “American Rescue Plan.”

    For details see: “Republican Roadmap, A Framework to Improve the Nation's Infrastructure"

  • Thu, April 01, 2021 4:34 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    President Biden, went to Pittsburgh to announce the outlines of his proposed $2.25 Trillion “Infrastructure Bill” and the accompanying tax hikes on corporations to help pay for it.  About one-third of the total spending, or some $621 billion, is intended for what might be called traditional “transportation infrastructure and resilience” (like roads, bridges, tunnels, etc.) with additional billions going to other more broadly defined infrastructure asset needs (such as charging stations, upstream manufacturing needs – presumably infrastructure related, etc.).  However, also hundreds of billions of dollars tucked into the proposal are at best tangential like: $400 billion toward “expanding access to quality, affordable home- or community-based care for aging relatives and people with disabilities.”  Still to come, is a release or proposal detailing a second leg or pillar of spending associated with more focused “Green New Deal” aspects.

    In sum, the $2 trillion "American Rescue Plan” proposal includes:

    • $621 billion to modernize transportation infrastructure,
    • $400 billion to help care for the aging and those with disabilities,
    • $300 billion to boost the manufacturing industry,
    • $213 billion on retrofitting and building affordable housing and,
    • $100 billion to expand broadband access.

    Additionally, there will be:

    • 20,000 miles of roadway modernized and 500,000 electric-vehicle charging stations added throughout the country.
    • Lead pipes and service lines will be replaced with new-age alternatives, and home care expansion for the elderly and ill.
    • An energy transition to low-carbon sources, in an effort to eliminate carbon emissions by 2035; and
    • May have embedded in it a $15 minimum wage provision, and possibly taxing authority.

    Critics are quick to point out that it reminds them of the Obama Administration’s stimulus bill that passed purporting to have “shovel ready jobs” that turned out to spend only about twenty (20) cents on the dollar for actual infrastructure needs. Moreover, the President has indicated he excepts/intends the plan to be paid for in part by increasing the corporate tax rate to 28 percent from the current 21 percent. [This would return the U.S. to having one of the highest corporate rates among the G-20 countries].

    [For details see, White House Fact Sheet summarizing infrastructure proposal at: https://www.whitehouse.gov/briefing-room/statements-releases/2021/03/31/fact-sheet-the-american-jobs-plan/]


  • Mon, March 22, 2021 2:22 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    With President Biden having just signed the $1.9 Trillion COVID-Emergency or Stimulus package, reports are surfacing of plans to rapidly move on to an even larger spending package.  Competing versions of a potential new bill, a so-called “Infrastructure-Green New Deal Bill” has the House Democrats working on a $1.486 trillion version vs. the Biden Administration’s more ambitious albeit less detailed $2.106 trillion as tracked by the Cornerstone Macro group.  The investment advisory firm complied a chart of known elements or figures that are circulating in DC as talking points or markers that could form the basis of an expected legislative vehicle to be submitted soon to Congressional committees of jurisdiction.

    Taken from various sources, the table below provides a potential scenario of the elements and spending levels of a possible “Infrastructure/Green” bill.  The analysis includes not just the usual highway and transit spending, but massive “green energy” outlays, federally funded universal nursery school (both in the House Dem and Biden wish list at about $130-138 Bn), along with other semi-related or even tangentially related items costed out mostly in the House Dems targets and (H.R.2).  Meanwhile, the Senate version (S.2302) seems very modest or tame in comparison, sticking more closely to what might be called “traditional” infrastructure items or expenditures that amount to only $291 Bn.  [See, Cornerstone Macro’s chart below].

    [NOTE: Other issues like a multi-year extension of the brand new cash-welfare program created in the stimulus, tax hikes, — and maybe even that $15 minimum wage could end-up in a final version as well]


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