The US Senate is about to pass a 1 trillion USD infrastructure investment package


The US Senate is about to pass a 1 trillion USD infrastructure investment package

The US Senate has put the $1 trillion infrastructure investment bill on track and is expected to hold a vote on it on August 9 or August 10 (US time).

US Capitol Building. Photo: AFP

By clarifying the details of investments in roads and bridges and limiting debate, the US Senate has taken two more steps to pass a $1 trillion infrastructure investment bill.

In the vote in the Senate on 8/8 (US time) With a result of 69 votes in favor and 28 against, 19 Republicans, 48 ​​Democrats and two neutral senators supported the pledge provisions in the bill. This is the result of difficult negotiations by a group of senators from both parties.

The US Senate also voted to limit debate on the bill on this overall infrastructure investment package, with 68 votes in favor and 29 votes against.

With the above results, the Senate has put the bill on the right track to conduct a vote on passage expected on August 9 or August 10 (US time), and then move the bill to the House of Representatives. .

The $1 trillion infrastructure investment package is a top priority for Democratic President Joe Biden. Passing the bill, after a majority of the Senate has voted it repeatedly, could be a major victory for President Biden and the bipartisan lawmakers who helped craft the legislation.

The Democratic majority in the US Senate and House of Representatives is very slim, because the power of the US Congress is currently divided in two. According to the US constitution, once the power of Congress is divided in two, if the President belongs to any party, the Vice President of that party will have the decisive vote, if the two parties cannot reach a consensus and the voting result is 50 – 50. Compared to the current situation, Vice President Kamala Harris is holding a single decision vote.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said she would only put the $1 trillion infrastructure investment package to a vote after the Senate passed a $3.5 trillion separate spending bill to combat climate change. and solve health care problems at home. Democrats want to pass the $3.5 trillion spending bill without Republican support, using the “reconciliation” rule.

Reconciliation is basically a way for the US Congress to decide to pass a law on taxes, spending and debt ceilings with only 51 votes or 50 votes (if the Vice President does not vote to decide). ) in the Senate, to avoid the risk of “Filibuster” – a tactic that includes debate campaigns, lobbying, etc. to help Senate minorities can oppose a bill, or not through the majority decision.

In fact, the votes on a $1 trillion infrastructure investment package in the US Senate on August 8 were delayed until the evening due to the sole objection of Senator Bill Hagerty, who had used Congressional rules to require all 100 senators to agree to expedite the passage of the bill. The reason that Senator Hagerty opposes the $1 trillion infrastructure investment package is because of concerns that the federal budget deficit will grow.

Last week, he also announced his objection 1 trillion USD infrastructure investment package after the US Congressional Budget Office said the investment package would increase the federal budget deficit by $256 billion over 10 years.

The analysis by the US Congressional Budget Office does not take into account the $57 billion in revenue that Washington could reap over the long term from the economic growth benefits of infrastructure investments; nor does it take into account the $53 billion in unused federal funds that the states will return.

Despite lawmakers’ frustration at the bill’s slow progress, Democrats still believe the bill will eventually pass. “Ultimately, this bill is too important to pass. Breaking, as they say, is not an option,” said Democratic Senator Tom Carper.