|Passage of this legislation represents a step toward a robust, five-year surface reauthorization. Two of the three Senate committees with jurisdiction over federal surface transportation have passed their respective pieces of reauthorization. If (or when) the Senate passes its reauthorization package, it will be conferenced with the House’s INVEST in America Act to produce a bipartisan reauthorization package.
Bipartisan Infrastructure Framework in the Senate
Last week, President Biden and a bipartisan group of senators announced an agreement on a nearly $1 trillion infrastructure investment framework. The framework will invest $579 billion of new money (above what is expected to be spent on surface transportation programs) over five years to invest in traditional infrastructure. The proposal includes an additional $109 billion for roads, bridges and major projects, $49 billion for transit and $66 billion for passenger and freight rail. You can see the bipartisan Senate framework here and the White House’s endorsement here.
The agreement was almost immediately imperiled by comments from President Biden suggesting that he would veto a bipartisan infrastructure bill that was unaccompanied by a larger reconciliation package focused on non-traditional infrastructure priorities. Republicans expressed frustration over a perceived lack of good faith and President Biden’s team scrambled over last weekend to salvage the deal, with the President walking back his comments as he took to the road to advocate for an infrastructure investment. Meanwhile, the possibility of a bipartisan infrastructure package without a broader reconciliation package drew criticism from progressive lawmakers like Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT).
Staff for the bipartisan group of 21 senators are reportedly working on fleshing out details of the infrastructure package that will include the Senate-passed surface reauthorization bills.
Even with House passage of a surface reauthorization bill, and two of three Senate Committees producing their bills, and with a bipartisan Senate-White House agreement – there is a long way still to go for a surface reauthorization – or a bipartisan infrastructure package that includes a surface reauthorization – to become law. The traditionally thorny issue of how to pay for the programs has gotten even more difficult, the politics of coupling infrastructure and reconciliation are getting more complicated, the House and Senate are in recess during the month of August, and election season will loom increasingly large as Democrats look to hold their slim majorities in both chambers and Republicans see opportunities to flip control of both the House and the Senate.
FY2022 Budget and Reconciliation
While bipartisan efforts to advance an infrastructure investment move slowly forward, Democrats in the House and Senate are preparing to craft a FY2022 budget resolution that will serve as the basis for a future budget reconciliation package. President Biden has proposed a $6 trillion budget, incorporating much of the American Jobs Plan and American Families Plan, and some House members have suggested reconciliation packages as large as $10 trillion.
Meanwhile, NRMCA is working closely with cosponsors of the Disaster Savings and Resilient Construction Act to secure its inclusion in any tax bill related to reconciliation or infrastructure. This legislation, which provides a tax credit for home and business owners who build or rebuild to a resilient standard after a natural disaster, is a long-standing NRMCA priority and is supported by a broad coalition of materials, codes and standards, insurance, and environmental advocacy groups.
As Congress moves forward with surface reauthorization and infrastructure discussions, NRMCA will seek to advance our ready mixed concrete legislative agenda. If you have any questions, please contact Andrew Tyrrell at 321-229-1785.
Thank you all for your engagement and have a wonderful 4th of July weekend.