US Senate achieves bipartisan vote in favor of $1 trillion infrastructure deal
© WikiMedia (Mike Wills)
US Senate achieves bipartisan vote in favor of $1 trillion infrastructure deal

The US Senate voted 67-32 on Wednesday in favor of a $1.2 trillion infrastructure bill hours after President Joe Biden announced a bipartisan agreement on the details of “a once-in-a-generation investment in [US] infrastructure.”

Seventeen Republicans, including Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell, joined Democrats in voting to move forward with HR 3684, the “INVEST in America Act,” which aims to authorize funds for federal-aid highways, highway safety programs, transit programs, and other infrastructure projects.

The bill would authorize $550 billion in new spending for the projects and is expected to cost $1.2 trillion over the course of eight years.

According to a Fact Sheet released by the White House, the bill would, among other things, invest $39 billion in public transit; $110 billion for repairs and improvements in roads, bridges, and related major projects that includes $40 billion for bridge repair, replacement and rehabilitation; $66 billion in passenger and freight rail, $155 billion for clean drinking water and waste water infrastructure, $73 billion for clean energy transmission and power infrastructure, $7.5 billion Electric Vehicle (EV) infrastructure, $65 billion to ensure every American has access to high-speed internet, and over $60 billion in electric buses, ports, airports, waterways, and transportation safety programs.

Biden thanked the bipartisan group for working together “to make the most significant long-term investment in our infrastructure and competitiveness in nearly a century.” He added:

This deal signals to the world that our democracy can function, deliver, and do big things. As we did with the transcontinental railroad and the interstate highway, we will once again transform America and propel us into the future. … It will put Americans to work in good-paying, union jobs repairing our roads and bridges. It will put plumbers and pipefitters to work replacing all of the nation’s lead water pipes so every child and every American can turn on the faucet at home or school and drink clean water—including in low-income communities and communities of color that have been disproportionally affected by dangerous lead pipes. … And, we’re going to do it without raising taxes by one cent on people making less than $400,000 a year—no gas tax increase and no fee on electric vehicles. … Of course, neither side got everything they wanted in this deal. But that’s what it means to compromise and forge consensus—the heart of democracy. … But the bottom line is—the Bipartisan Infrastructure Deal is a blue-collar blueprint to rebuild America that will help make our historic economic recovery a historic long-term boom.

This development comes as welcome news a week after the US Senate rejected a proposal to begin debate on the infrastructure bill, based on complaints from Republicans that Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer was moving too quickly on the bill.

Former president Donald Trump, condemned the deal calling it “a loser for the USA, a terrible deal, and makes the Republicans look weak, foolish, and dumb.” He urged Republicans to reject it and warned that it will cost them in the next congressional elections if the bill gets enacted.