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Infrastructure Bill Grinds Forward

September 8, 2021

This article is the first of a two-part blog on the bipartisan infrastructure bill. The first article addresses its current status and challenges to passage. The second article will cover what’s included in the bill.

As Congress returns to Washington and takes up a slew of legislative actions, it will also address the $1.2 trillion bipartisan infrastructure bill. Its passage, however, is far from certain.

The bill, which includes $550 billion in new spending over eight years and $650 billion in the renewal of existing programs, was the work of a bipartisan group of Senators. The infrastructure bill passed the Senate on August 10, 2021.

Since Senate passage, the focus has shifted back to the House, where several evolving and critical bills are also pending, such as a broader $3.5 trillion budget framework, appropriations for the fiscal year 2022, which begins October 1, and the debt ceiling. The slim Democratic majority in the House and the critical importance of these bills give leverage to blocks within the Democratic House majority.

To get passage of both the broader $3.5 trillion budget framework and the infrastructure bill, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi committed to an infrastructure vote the end of September at the same time the House approved the budget framework. Passage of the framework allows negotiators to hammer out appropriations details.

There are still many ways in which the bill can be derailed. A lot depends on the details stemming from the approved budget framework.

The second article will cover the details of the infrastructure bill itself.