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Washington, D.C., U.S.A – Infrastructure news spread that the bill advanced Saturday, a critical procedural hurdle in the Senate was cleared, clearing the way for final Senate consideration as well as a potential showdown with progressive Democrats in the House. The roughly $1 trillion bipartisan infrastructure bill now moves forward to the House.
The vote was 67 to 27 in favor of the motion.
It is not clear when the final vote will take place.
It was unclear when the measure would be put to a final vote in the Senate.
Congress had already planned to spend nearly $550 billion on infrastructure over the next eight years, so the legislation includes an additional nearly $550 billion in new spending on top of what they had already planned.
Immediately following the vote, Senate Democrats will begin working on a budget resolution in the hopes of passing a more comprehensive package of investments that do not have the support of Republican lawmakers.
There is uncertainty about the future of the bipartisan infrastructure legislation in the House of Representatives, where a number of progressive Democrats are dissatisfied with the bill’s limited scope. President Barack Obama and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., have said they will not take up the bipartisan bill until the broader budget bill has been passed by the Senate.
Five Democrats, led in part by Sens. Kyrsten Sinema of Arizona and Joe Manchin of West Virginia, and five Republicans, led in part by Sens. Rob Portman of Ohio and Mitt Romney of Utah, worked together to negotiate the Senate infrastructure bill.
They worked tirelessly for several weeks in order to develop a common understanding of what infrastructure actually entails and how much money the two parties were willing to invest in infrastructure improvements. Because negotiators were working with White House staff to craft a deal that would garner the support of President Biden and at least 10 Senate Republicans, the negotiations dragged on.
The majority of the money, $110 billion, was set aside by legislators for road and bridge construction.
Additionally, the bill includes approximately:
$73 billion for electric grid and power infrastructure
$66 billion for passenger and freight rail
$65 billion for broadband investments
$55 billion for water systems and infrastructure
$50 billion for Western water storage
$39 billion for public transit
$25 billion for airports
$21 billion for environmental remediation projects
$17 billion for ports and waterways
$15 billion for electric vehicles
$11 billion for road safety
A budget resolution, which could allow Democratic lawmakers to approve as much as $3.5 trillion in additional spending without the support of Republicans, is expected to be introduced into the Senate as soon as possible and be voted on by the full Senate.
Democrats intend to use the budget reconciliation process to avoid a filibuster on the remainder of Vice President Joe Biden’s broader infrastructure plan, which is currently in the Senate. This includes investments in free community college, child care, paid family leave, and efforts to slow and mitigate climate change, among other initiatives.
During the next few months, Democrats are expected to refine their plans for reconciliation in the hopes of passing a final bill by the end of the year.