Senate Work, Amendments Slow Infrastructure Bill
A vote over the much debated infrastructure deal could be coming this weekend after the legislation slowed under the weight of roughly 300 amendments introduced in the Senate over the past week. Although a standard component of the legislative process, some lawmakers have complained that their colleagues are slowing the process by refusing to vote on proposed changes in the hopes of procuring support for their own suggested amendments. As a bill with the favor of the President, members of the Senate are eager to attach amendments in the hopes of securing a win for their own priorities. The process of introducing amendments to the bill is ongoing but looks to conclude soon.
Amendments of Interest
- American Infrastructure Bonds (AIB)
Allows for the use of American Infrastructure Bonds (AIB). Similar to Build America Bonds (BABs), a portion of the interest paid on the bond is subsidized by the federal government.
- Congressional Intent
Reinforces language ensuring that state and local governments can use recent aid funding for capital projects.
- Carbon Capture
Permits businesses to use private activity bonds issued by state and local governments to finance carbon capture projects.
Before the inclusion of any potential amendments, the legislation would provide $110 billion for roads, bridges and major projects, $66 billion for passenger and freight rail, $39 billion for public transit, $65 billion for broadband, and $55 billion for water infrastructure, among other provisions. Many of these figures come in below the President’s original topline goals, but the Administration, along with the lead negotiators from the Senate, continues to laud the package and the $550 billion in new funding it offers for infrastructure spending.
Even with a successful vote to approve the bipartisan package in the Senate, there is still a significant distance from where the bill is today and the President’s signature. Leaders in the House have not backed down from their commitment to table potential infrastructure legislation should the Senate fail to pass a budget resolution that can adequately support Democrat priorities. With the August recess already underway for the House, and beginning for the Senate next week, Capitol Hill is working to slip something under the door before resuming work in September.
GFOA’s Federal Liaison Center will continue to monitor this legislation as it moves through Congress.