On August 10, through a 69-30 vote, the Senate passed the infrastructure package that has been under negotiation since the beginning of March this year. The bill will roll out over $500 billion in “new” federal spending, providing fresh monetary support for roads, bridges, transit systems and more. After multiple bipartisan coalitions from the Senate resulted in frustration and hand-wringing, a group led by Senator Sinema (D-AZ) and Senator Portman (R-OH) managed a breakthrough.
The successful vote is being hailed as a rare bipartisan achievement, but the overall future of infrastructure spending remains uncertain as the deal proceeds to a skeptical House. Democrat leaders have maintained that the Senate infrastructure bill has little hope of success in the House without the passage of a robust budget resolution bill that includes reconciliation instructions, allowing Congress to get legislation on the President’s desk with fewer votes than normally required.
To that end, early Wednesday morning on strict party lines, the Senate adopted the measure necessary to eventually bring a reconciliation bill to the floor. The $3.5 trillion framework contains many of the priorities left out of the bipartisan infrastructure bill including funding for “human infrastructure” and the general expansion of the social safety net. Congress will remain in recess until after labor day, leaving lawmakers little time to determine the path forward before the current authorization for transportation spending expires at the end of September.
GFOA’s Federal Liaison Center will continue to monitor this legislation as it moves through Congress.