Infrastructure Bill Slowly Moving Toward Passage

by mcardinal

Michael Cardinal, FISM News


The infrastructure bill which has been the focus of the Senate for the past two weeks was not finalized over the weekend despite the hopes of many on Capitol Hill, but is likely to pass within the next day or two.

A vote to end debate on the bill passed Sunday 68-29 to end any filibustering, moving it a step closer to reaching a final vote. This limits any further debate to 30 hours, so a final vote on the bill is likely to come late Monday on Tuesday.

The bill appears to have enough momentum to pass, despite criticism from both sides of the aisle. Several Democrats are saying it’s not big enough while some Republicans are saying it’s too big and are hesitant to pass it in order to delay the Democrats’ $3.5 billion social budget bill. However, many legislators are also using the bill as a springboard to promote ways in which they are helping their home constituents, even though the bill has not yet passed. 

Now that the passing of the bill seems promising, Senate Democrats have finally released the full text of their $3.5 trillion budget reconciliation bill. Democrats hope to push through this bloated bill alongside the leaner infrastructure bill.

This has been the sticking point of many Republicans who see the infrastructure bill as a pre-cursor to a more liberal legislation. The reconciliation bill would provide funding for controversial items that was dropped from the bipartisan infrastructure bill including universal pre-k programs, Medicare expansion, community college funding, and liberal immigration reform. Democrats would not need any Republican votes to pass through the second prong of Biden’s American Rescue Plan, as it can be enacted by means of budget reconciliation, needing only a simple majority. 

Senator Todd Young (R-Ind.), who helped craft the infrastructure bill, put forth a statement Sunday night in which he said he would vote against the bill due to these concerns:

I’m not yet comfortable with the current pay-fors in this legislation nor am I comfortable with Speaker  Pelosi’s continued insistence on tying passage of this bill to the Democrats’ $3.5 trillion reckless tax-and-spend budget proposal.”

Pelosi has already announced that she will not allow a vote in the House on the infrastructure bill until the reconciliation bill is put through for a vote as well.

The budget resolution does not contain any wording about the debt ceiling, which could provide some bargaining power for Republicans. McConnell has already said he will not vote to raise the Treasury debt limit.  Without a bipartisan agreement of some sort there will not be funding for any of these bills, as well as the current debts that the American government has already incurred.

Both parties still have amendments pending in the Senate that they are hoping to pass before the bill is finalized. Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer has said that the Senate will remain in session until the bill is passed, and also has indicated that the Senate will not pause for their typical summer recess as he wants to jump directly into discussion on the $3.5 trillion bill.