In a move reminiscent of the second COVID-19 stimulus package that took about 10 months to pass, on July 21, the Senate Republicans shut down the current bipartisan infrastructure bill that's been in the works since President Biden's inauguration day.
With bipartisan backing, the infrastructure plan has evolved since Biden first introduced it. However, it hasn't changed enough to satisfy Senate Republicans. Is another vote on the horizon, and will it actually pass this time around?
Senate shuts down infrastructure bill in latest vote
On July 21, the vote was something called a "cloture vote." According to Senate.gov, "cloture is the only procedure by which the Senate can vote to set an end to a debate without also rejecting the bill."
That's just what Republicans outside of the infrastructure circle did. They set an end to the current debate as a way to buy time for additional renovations to the infrastructure plan. This is Biden's paramount agenda, and getting it passed will be of utmost concern for the president.
What's in the latest iteration of the infrastructure bill?
When Biden first introduced the infrastructure bill, it was worth a healthy $2 trillion for the first phase. The investments would be injected into American communities over the course of a decade.
Months later, that same plan has been transformed into a $1 trillion package and bipartisan lawmakers are still working out the kinks.
In the bill's latest iteration, there's a reservation of $579 billion in new spending on public works projects like roads and broadband. The government would allocate the funding in this package over the course of five years.
In Biden's ideal world, a corporate tax hike could practically pay for the bill outright. However, that's another obstacle he'll have to overtake after he manages to get some version of the infrastructure bill through the Senate.
Senate assures Americans it will vote on the infrastructure bill again soon
Despite tabling the issue, Senate Republicans have assured people that this is just a delay. They plan to reconvene for a vote on July 26. After that vote, we'll have a better idea of where the country stands on federal infrastructure investment.
Until then, it's largely up to the bipartisan collective that organized the latest version of the infrastructure bill to make the changes. The 11 Democrats and 11 Republicans that are in cahoots said following the vote, "We have made significant progress and are close to a final agreement."
The question remains, how close is close in Senate years?
What happens if the vote fails again?
Biden has made a lot of promises based on the success of the infrastructure bill. He even assured a union electrician from Ohio that the bill would help replace a local bridge.
Based on the latest outcome, nine senators need to change their minds to reach the 60-vote requirement for the bill to pass. If the vote fails, Senators and Biden will work to find some semblance of an agreement. With what's at stake—trillions in infrastructure plus eventual healthcare, family, and education expansions—they won't give up that easily.