President Biden will be speaking shortly following the passage of the bipartisan infrastructure bill, a cornerstone of his domestic agenda.
It will deliver $550 billion of new federal investments in America's infrastructure over five years, touching everything from bridges and roads to the nation's broadband, water and energy systems. Experts say the money is sorely needed to ensure safe travel, as well as the efficient transport of goods and produce across the country. The nation's infrastructure system earned a C- score from the American Society of Civil Engineers earlier this year.
Democrats claim the bill pays for itself through a multitude of measures and without raising taxes. But the Congressional Budget Office brushed aside several of those pay-for provisions, ultimately finding the bill would add $256 billion to the deficit over the next 10 years. It's significantly smaller than the $2.25 trillion proposal that Biden unveiled in March, known as the American Jobs Plan.
Here's what's in the the bill and what it would fund:
- Funding for Roads and Bridges: The bill calls for investing $110 billion for roads, bridges and major infrastructure projects. That's significantly less than the $159 billion that Biden initially requested in the American Jobs Plan. Included is $40 billion for bridge repair, replacement and rehabilitation, according to the bill text. The White House says it would be the single, largest dedicated bridge investment since the construction of the interstate highway system, which started in the 1950s.
- Money for transit and rail: The package would provide $39 billion to modernize public transit, according to the bill text. That's less than the $85 billion that Biden initially wanted to invest in modernizing transit systems and help them expand to meet rider demand.
- Broadband upgrade: The bill would provide a $65 billion investment in improving the nation's broadband infrastructure, according to the bill text. Biden initially wanted to invest $100 billion in broadband. It also aims to help lower the price households pay for internet service by requiring federal funding recipients to offer a low-cost affordable plan, by creating price transparency and by boosting competition in areas where existing providers aren't providing adequate service. It would also create a permanent federal program to help more low-income households access the internet, according to the White House fact sheet.
- Upgrading airports, ports and waterways: The deal would invest $17 billion in port infrastructure and $25 billion in airports to address repair and maintenance backlogs, reduce congestion and emissions near ports and airports and promote electrification and other low-carbon technologies, according to the White House. It is similar to the funding in Biden's original proposal.
- Electric vehicles: The bill would provide $7.5 billion for zero- and low-emission buses and ferries, aiming to deliver thousands of electric school buses to districts across the country, according to the White House. Another $7.5 billion would go to building a nationwide network of plug-in electric vehicle chargers, according to the bill text.
- Improving power and waterways: The bill would invest $65 billion to rebuild the electric grid, according to the White House. It calls for building thousands of miles of new power lines and expanding renewable energy, the White House said. It would provide $55 billion to upgrade water infrastructure, according to the bill text. It would replace lead service lines and pipes so that communities have access to clean drinking water, the White House said. Another $50 billion would go toward making the system more resilient — protecting it from drought, floods and cyberattacks, the White House said.
- Environmental remediation: The bill would provide $21 billion to clean up Superfund and brownfield sites, reclaim abandoned mine land and cap orphaned gas wells, according to the White House.
Read more about what is in the bill here.
President Biden called House Speaker Nancy Pelosi just before midnight to congratulate her on the passage of the infrastructure bill, a source familiar with the call tells CNN.
On the call, Pelosi thanked Biden for his help in getting the bill over the finish line as well.
Pelosi took the call off of the House floor.
While Democratic leaders managed to unify House progressives and moderates to hold a vote on the Senate-passed bill, not all members of the party ultimately supported it.
A number of progressives — who have consistently called for both the infrastructure and the separate economic package, known as the Build Back Better Act, to move together — voted "no" on passing the legislation.
Here are the six House Democrats who broke from their party to vote against the bill:
- Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York
- Rep. Ilhan Omar of Minnesota
- Rep. Cori Bush of Missouri
- Rep. Jamaal Bowman of New York
- Rep. Ayanna Pressley of Massachusetts
- Rep. Rashida Tlaib of Michigan
Omar explained her decision to vote against the bill in a statement following the vote.
"From the beginning, I have been clear that I would not be able to support the infrastructure bill without a vote on the Build Back Better Act," Omar said. "Passing the infrastructure bill without passing the Build Back Better Act first risks leaving behind childcare, paid leave, health care, climate action, housing, education, and a roadmap to citizenship.”
The House on Friday voted 228-206 to pass a $1.2 trillion infrastructure bill after hours of delays and internal debating among Democrats, sending the bipartisan measure to President Biden's desk for his signature.
Thirteen Republicans in the House voted with Democrats to approve the bill. They are:
- Rep. John Katko of New York
- Rep. Don Bacon of Nebraska
- Rep. Jeff Van Drew of New Jersey
- Rep. Don Young of Alaska
- Rep. Fred Upton of Michigan
- Rep. Adam Kinzinger of Illinois
- Rep. Anthony Gonzalez of Ohio
- Rep. Brian Fitzpatrick of Pennsylvania
- Rep. Tom Reed of New York
- Rep. Andrew Garbarino of New York
- Rep. Nicole Malliotakis of New York
- Rep. David McKinley of West Virginia
- Rep. Chris Smith of New Jersey
White House press secretary Jen Psaki tweeted as the House passed President Biden's infrastructure bill, saying it was “worth all the painful sausage making.”
The legislation will now go to Biden's desk to be signed into law.
“Clean drinking water for kids, broadband access, electric vehicles, biggest investment in public transit,” Psaki wrote. “It’s happening. And more to come.”
Read her tweet:
The House just passed the $1.2 trillion bipartisna infrastructure bill, a massive part of President Biden's economic agenda. It will now go to his desk to be passed into law.
The final vote was 228-206. Democrats could be heard cheering and clapping on the House floor after the gavel.
GOP Reps. John Katko, Don Bacon, Jeff Van Drew, Don Young, Fred Upton, Adam Kinzinger, Anthony Gonzalez of Ohio, Brian Fitzpatrick, Tom Reed, Andrew Garbarino, Nicole Malliotakis, David McKinley, and Chris Smith of New Jersey, voted with Democrats to pass the bill.
Democratic Reps. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Ilhan Omar, Cori Bush, Jamaal Bowman, Ayanna Pressley, and Rashida Tlaib voted against their party in opposition to the bill.
When Democrats hit the number of 218 votes, which was enough to pass the bill, many Democrats stood up and clapped. A large group of Democrats huddled around House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, giving her fist bumps and high fives.
The legislation passed the Senate in August, but stalled in the House as Democrats tried to negotiate a deal on a separate $1.9 trillion economic package, another key component of Biden’s agenda that many Democrats had tied to the fate of the infrastructure bill.
The House is voting now on the infrastructure bill after hours of internal delaying and debating among Democrats.
This bill has already passed the Senate, and if passed, would head to President Biden’s desk.
How we got here: Going into Friday, Speaker Nancy Pelosi said it was her intention to vote on final passage of the infrastructure bill and the social spending bill known as Build Back Better.
But, Friday morning it was clear that a group of House moderates were not ready to support the final passage of Build Back Better for a variety of reasons.
To accommodate that group, after hours of inaction, Pelosi decided to schedule a final vote on the infrastructure bill, and stop short of final passage of the Build Back Better bill, by only voting on the rule governing debate, hoping that would be enough to unify Democrats.
That plan however immediately collided with a significant number of progressives, who have consistently called for both the infrastructure and Build Back Better bills to move together.
Progressives stalled floor action for hours as they deliberated how to move forward.
Then, moments before the final vote, a group of key moderate holdouts released a statement vowing to vote for the social spending package “in its current form other than technical changes, as expeditiously as we receive fiscal information from the Congressional Budget Office-but in no event later than the week of November 15.”
Shortly after this commitment from moderates, Progressive Caucus Chair Pramila Jayapal released a statement saying that the Progressive Caucus reached a deal with fellow Democrats to vote on the infrastructure bill tonight, abandoning a key tenant of their position, which was to only vote for the infrastructure bill when the social spending bill also would receive a final vote.
Moments before the House began voting on the infrastructure bill, Jayapal wrote on behalf of her caucus that progressives would move forward with the infrastructure vote because they had accepted the commitment from moderates that the social spending bill would get a vote “no later than the week of November 15.”
But in her statement, Jayapal was sure not to say that everyone in her caucus would be joining onto this position.
The infrastructure bill includes a multitude of measures to pay for the proposal.
But while lawmakers claim the bill pays for itself, the CBO score found it would instead add billions of dollars to the deficit over 10 years and that many of the pay-for provisions would not raise as much money as Democrats said they would.
The bottom line is that the legislation would directly add roughly $350 billion to the deficit, when taking into account $90 billion of spending in new contract authority, said Marc Goldwein, senior vice president at the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget, a nonpartisan group that tracks federal spending.
According to the bill text and a 57-page summary of the bill, lawmakers leaned heavily on repurposing unused Covid-19 relief funds to pay for the legislation. The CBO found these measures would provide roughly $22 billion in savings, rather than the roughly $263 billion claimed by lawmakers, Goldwein said.
The bill text lists savings from rescinding unobligated appropriations for the Economic Injury Disaster Loan program for small businesses and nonprofit groups, the Paycheck Protection Program, the Education Stabilization Fund and relief for airline workers, among others.
Another item in the bill text is $53 billion that stems in part from states opting to terminate the pandemic unemployment benefits early in hopes of pushing the jobless to return to work. Some 24 states stopped at least one of the federal unemployment programs before they officially ended in early September. Also, the CBO reduced its forecast for the unemployment rate because of the improving economy.
Also, the agency found that the Federal Communications Commission's spectrum auctions would generate far less than the $87 billion originally claimed by lawmakers.
The CBO also said that the bill would raise about $50 billion by imposing new Superfund fees and changing the tax reporting requirements for cryptocurrencies, among other measures.
More savings would come from delaying a controversial Trump administration rule that would radically change how drugs are priced and paid for in Medicare and Medicaid until 2026, at the earliest. The measure would effectively ban drug makers from providing rebates to pharmacy benefit managers and insurers. Instead, drug companies would be encouraged to pass the discounts directly to patients at the pharmacy counter. It is currently expected to go into effect in 2023. The summary lists the savings as $49 billion and the CBO report as nearly $51 billion.
Also, the infrastructure proposal relies on generating $56 billion in economic growth resulting from a 33% return on investment on the long-term projects, according to the summary.
President Biden has said that the bill won't raise taxes on people making less than $400,000 a year and does not include a gas tax increase or fee on electric vehicles. He initially called for raising taxes on corporations to fund the infrastructure investments — but that proposal did not make it into the latest package after strong opposition from Republicans.