President Joe Biden, like his predecessor Donald Trump, has vowed to revamp the U.S. infrastructure. Meanwhile, Trump’s infrastructure plans never saw the light of the day. Almost nine months into his presidency, Biden is also struggling to get the infrastructure bill passed. What’s the status of the bill and will it pass in October 2021?
Apart from the $1.2 trillion bipartisan infrastructure bill, there’s also Biden’s $3.5 trillion Build Back Better plan. The $1.2 trillion bipartisan infrastructure bill hasn't moved forward because of the latter.
What’s in Biden's infrastructure bill?
The $1.2 trillion infrastructure bill is broad-based and has outlined funds for roads, highways, safety, electric vehicles, and cybersecurity. The biggest chunk goes to roads and bridges followed by railroads. Power grid and broadband are the other key parts of the bill.
What’s the current status of the bipartisan infrastructure bill?
The Senate passed the bipartisan infrastructure bill in August 2021. Now, it's known as the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act. However, for the bill to be enacted, it would have to get passed by the House and then ratified by President Biden.
House Democrats aren't on the same page when it comes to the infrastructure bill. The progressive Democrats have linked the passage of the bill to the Build Back Better plan. Meanwhile, the Democratic party has been divided on the Build Back Better plan.
While progressives want Congress to move forward with the plan, moderates want to scale back its size by more than half. There has been a deadlock in the Democratic party, which is holding back the Build Back Better plan and the bipartisan infrastructure bill.
When will the infrastructure bill pass?
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has kept Oct. 31 as the deadline to pass the infrastructure bill. Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer also told his caucus that the party will try to pass both of the bills by the end of October.
The previous deadline to pass the infrastructure bill was Sept. 30. However, the lack of a consensus among House Democrats and the more pressing agenda of averting a shutdown overshadowed the infrastructure bill.
What’s the process of passing the infrastructure bill?
Once the House passes the infrastructure bill, it would be reconciled with the version that the Senate passed. After that, it would go to President Biden’s desk for his signature. For now, the wedge between progressives and moderates in the Democratic party seems to be holding back the much-needed bill.
Representative Josh Gottheimer blasted the progressives whom he described as a “small faction on the far left” and accused them of “destroying” Biden’s agenda and blocking job creation in the country. Pramila Jayapal, who chairs the Congressional Progressive Caucus, said that the demands aren't “crazy leftwing wishlist” but are promises made to voters that need to be fulfilled.
Ultimately, the two sides might agree to tone down their hardened position and there could be consensus on the Build Back Better plan. As Schumer said, while every member won't get exactly what they want, the legalization will help improve the lives of Americans.