WASHINGTON, D.C. — By a vote of 69-30 on Tuesday, the $1.2 trillion bipartisan infrastructure bill officially cleared the Senate.
All 50 Democratic senators voted for the bill and 19 Republicans joined their colleagues across the aisle.
A MAJOR INVESTMENT
The legislation includes $550 billion in new infrastructure funding.
It creates $109 billion to improve roads and bridges.
$66 billion goes to passenger rail.
$65 billion will improve internet speeds across the country.
$55 billion is allocated to improve water infrastructure.
$39 billion is intended for mass transit to update commuter trains and buses.
$15 billion goes to building more electric car charging stations.
It’s paid for by not raising taxes. Instead, it uses current resources like leftover COVID-19 funds.
It’s not completely paid for, however. The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office says the bill will contribute $256 billion to the national deficit over the next 10 years.
That is the major reason 30 conservative senators voted against it.
POTENTIAL OBSTACLES AHEAD
The legislation now needs to pass the House of Representatives, a chamber that is eager to have input on the bill as well.
If the House changes just one word of the bill, it will need to go back to the Senate for another vote.
Potential changes could impact future votes as well.
President Joe Biden is now relying on House Speaker Nancy Pelosi to pass the legislation over the next several weeks, perhaps by the end of September.
That task will be a difficult one. Speaker Pelosi can only afford to lose a handful of Democrats and still pass it if all the Republicans in the House vote against the measure.
To make things more complicated, progressives in the House have said they won't vote for the bipartisan bill until the Senate passes a separate, multi-trillion-dollar spending proposal.
Those lawmakers believe the bipartisan bill doesn't go far enough.
Meanwhile, moderate Democrats in the House want Speaker Pelosi to schedule a vote immediately on the infrastructure bill. Those lawmakers are less inclined to support a multi-trillion-dollar spending package.
All of this sets up a very busy end to summer on Capitol Hill, with trillions of dollars worth of spending and programs on the line.