Senate passes massive bipartisan infrastructure package

By Meg Wagner, Melissa Macaya, Veronica Rocha, Melissa Mahtani and Mike Hayes, CNN

Updated 2:43 PM ET, Wed August 11, 2021
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5:27 p.m. ET, August 10, 2021

The Senate just passed the infrastructure bill. Here's what is in it — and what happens next

From CNN's Ali Zaslav and Clare Foran

Vice President Kamala Harris announces the final vote on August 10, 2021.
Vice President Kamala Harris announces the final vote on August 10, 2021. Senate TV

The US Senate just passed a historic, sweeping $1.2 trillion bipartisan package to shore up the nation's crumbling infrastructure with funding for priorities like roads, bridges, rail, transit and the electric grid. Vice President Kamala Harris announced the final vote, 69 to 30.

The legislation will now head to the House of Representatives, where it faces an uncertain future, before it can be sent to President Biden's desk to be signed into law.

The bill — called the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act — features $550 billion in new federal spending over five years:

  • It invests $110 billion in roads, bridges and major projects
  • $66 billion in passenger and freight rail
  • $65 billion to rebuild the electric grid
  • $65 billion to expand broadband internet access
  • $39 billion to modernize and expand transit systems
  • $7.5 billion to build a national network of charging infrastructure for electric vehicles
  • $55 billion for water infrastructure, $15 billion of which will be directed toward replacing lead pipes.

What will happen next: The House of Representatives will likely not take up the bill until the fall. The House is out for August recess and Speaker Nancy Pelosi has indicated that the chamber won't take up the bipartisan bill until Senate Democrats pass a separate and more expansive package without GOP votes under the budget reconciliation process, a stand that has been met with criticism from Republicans and pushback from some moderate Democrats.

Read more about today's vote here.

12:01 p.m. ET, August 10, 2021

Vice President Harris is heading to Capitol Hill for vote

From CNN's Jasmine Wright 

Vice President Kamala Harris is heading to Capitol Hill as the Senate votes on the bipartisan infrastructure bill, per a White House official. 

“Happening soon, the Vice President will travel to Capitol Hill to preside over the passage of the bipartisan infrastructure bill,” the official said. 

11:49 a.m. ET, August 10, 2021

Schumer calls bipartisan bill "most robust injection of funds into infrastructure in decades"

From Ali Zaslav and Clare Foran 

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer speaks at the Capitol on August 10, 2021.
Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer speaks at the Capitol on August 10, 2021. Senate TV

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer celebrated the imminent passage of the $1 trillion bipartisan infrastructure bill, saying in floor remarks, “the American people will now see the most robust injection of funds into infrastructure in decades. In a few moments the Senate will pass the bipartisan infrastructure bill.”

Schumer thanked President Biden, saying, “thank you to President Biden and his team at the White House. President Biden has been in office for only 7 months and already the Senate is about to pass the first major infrastructure package in over a decade on a bipartisan basis with his complete and total involvement.”

Previewing action on the $3.5 trillion budget resolution, which Senate Democrats will turn to today after they pass the bipartisan bill, Schumer said, “Once this bill is complete, the Senate will immediately turn to the second track in our two tracks strategy, passing a budget resolution that will unlock historic investments in American jobs, American families and the fight against climate change.”

“After we pass the bipartisan infrastructure bill this morning, Senators should expect to vote to proceed to the budget resolution and we will begin the process for debating amendments shortly thereafter. Democrats are prepared to move quickly and decisively through the amendment process,” he said, adding, “the longer it takes to finish the longer the Senate will be in session.”

“The Senate is on track to finish both tracks and deliver an outstanding result,” Schumer added, referring to the Democrats’ two track strategy of pursing a bipartisan bill and a partisan plan that can pass in the Senate without GOP votes.

5:27 p.m. ET, August 10, 2021

NOW: Senate votes on infrastructure deal as fate in House remains unclear 

From CNN's Clare Foran, Ali Zaslav and Paul LeBlanc

The US Senate convenes at the Capitol on August 10, 2021.
The US Senate convenes at the Capitol on August 10, 2021. Senate TV

The Senate is holding a final vote on the massive $1.2 trillion bipartisan infrastructure package. This is a simple majority vote. 

"There were many logs in our path, detours along the way, but the American people will now see the most robust injection of funds into infrastructure in decades," Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer said ahead of the vote.

The package, called the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, is the culmination of drawn-out and painstaking negotiations between a bipartisan group of senators and the Biden administration and will allow both parties to claim a win after extensive work across the aisle.

It features $550 billion in new federal spending over five years.

Here's a breakdown of some key components of the package:

  • The measure invests $110 billion in funding toward roads, bridges and major projects
  • $66 billion in passenger and freight rail
  • $65 billion to rebuild the electric grid
  • $65 billion to expand broadband Internet access
  • $39 billion to modernize and expand transit systems
  • $7.5 billion to build a national network of charging infrastructure for electric vehicles
  • $55 billion for water infrastructure, $15 billion of which will be directed toward replacing lead pipes

What happens next: If the bill passes in the Senate, it will then go to the House of Representatives where its future remains uncertain. The House likely will not take up the bill until the fall and the chamber is currently out for August recess.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has indicated that the chamber won't take up the bipartisan bill until Senate Democrats pass their larger social, environmental infrastructure package — a position that continues to be met with criticism from Republicans and some moderate Democrats alike.

After this morning's vote, the Senate is expected to quickly shift their attention to the budget resolution, which needs to pass both chambers of Congress first before Democrats can move on their separate $3.5 trillion package, which they hope they can pass with Democratic votes.

Democrats unveiled that budget resolution on Monday. The budget resolution summary lays out Democrats' plan to invest in four major buckets: families, climate, health care, and infrastructure and jobs. It notably does not include an expansion of the US national debt, as Republicans have pushed Democrats to do.

11:10 a.m. ET, August 10, 2021

8 moderate House Democrats demand Pelosi move quickly on infrastructure bill

From CNN's Manu Raju

Eight moderate House Democrats are raising concerns about the Democrats’ budget plans that would pave the way for passing the $3.5 trillion reconciliation package, according to a letter obtained by CNN

They are also calling on House Speaker Nancy Pelosi to give an immediate vote to the infrastructure bill and not tie it to the reconciliation package.

Pelosi has repeatedly said she won’t allow the infrastructure deal to get a vote until reconciliation passes the Senate.

11:14 a.m. ET, August 10, 2021

Senate minority whip plans to oppose infrastructure bill

From CNN's Manu Raju

Senate Minority Whip John Thune speaks at the Capitol on August 10, 2021.
Senate Minority Whip John Thune speaks at the Capitol on August 10, 2021. Senate TV

Senate Minority Whip John Thune, who is up for reelection next year, said he plans to oppose the bipartisan infrastructure bill. Thune hasn’t said if he would run again.

“I’m a no on the infrastructure bill,” Thune told CNN , pointing to CBO’s score that projected a deficit as well as the way it was financed. He told us Trump’s opposition was "not a factor."

Thune also projected that vote-a-rama til on the budget resolution would go late night. He hoped it would be done by midnight.

Reminder: The budget resolution is different than reconciliation. The resolution needs to be approved by both chambers before they can move on the $3.5 trillion reconciliation plan. The reconciliation bill still needs to be drafted and will be considered in the fall.

10:47 a.m. ET, August 10, 2021

These are some key Biden proposals the bipartisan infrastructure bill leaves out

From CNN's Katie Lobosco and Tami Luhby

President Joe Biden speaks at the White House on August 5, 2021.
President Joe Biden speaks at the White House on August 5, 2021. Al Drago/Bloomberg/Getty Images

The bipartisan infrastructure deal that the Senate is expected to vote on leaves out President Biden's proposal to spend $400 billion to bolster caregiving for aging and disabled Americans — the second largest measure in the American Jobs Plan.

His proposal would have expanded access to long-term care services under Medicaid, eliminating the wait list for hundreds of thousands of people. It would have provided more opportunity for people to receive care at home through community-based services or from family members.

It would also have improved the wages of home health workers, who now make about $12 an hour, and it would have put in place an infrastructure to give caregiving workers the opportunity to join a union.

Also left on the sideline: $100 billion for workforce development, which would have helped dislocated workers, assisted underserved groups and put students on career paths before they graduate high school.

The deal also leaves out the $18 billion Biden proposed to modernize the Veterans Affairs hospitals, which are on average 47 years older than a private-sector hospital.

What's also out is a slew of corporate tax hikes that Biden wanted to use to pay for the American Jobs Plan but that Republicans staunchly opposed.

Biden's original proposal called for raising the corporate income tax rate to 28%, up from the 21% rate set by Republicans' 2017 tax cut act, as well as increasing the minimum tax on US corporations to 21% and calculating it on a country-by-country basis to deter companies from sheltering profits in international tax havens.

It also would have levied a 15% minimum tax on the income the largest corporations report to investors, known as book income, as opposed to the income reported to the Internal Revenue Service, and would have made it harder for US companies to acquire or merge with a foreign business to avoid paying US taxes by claiming to be a foreign company.

Read more about the bipartisan infrastructure deal here.

10:14 a.m. ET, August 10, 2021

The infrastructure legislation faces an uncertain future in the House

From CNN's Clare Foran, Ali Zaslav and Paul LeBlanc

While senators are confident the massive $1.2 trillion bipartisan infrastructure package will pass in their chamber, the legislation faces an uncertain future in the House.

The massive bipartisan infrastructure package, called the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, is the culmination of drawn-out and painstaking negotiations between a bipartisan group of senators and the Biden administration and will allow both parties to claim a win after extensive work across the aisle.

It features $550 billion in new federal spending over five years. The measure invests $110 billion in funding toward roads, bridges and major projects, $66 billion in passenger and freight rail, $65 billion to rebuild the electric grid, $65 billion to expand broadband Internet access, and $39 billion to modernize and expand transit systems.

Among many other priorities, the bill also includes $55 billion for water infrastructure, $15 billion of which will be directed toward replacing lead pipes.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has indicated that the chamber won't take up the bipartisan bill until Senate Democrats pass their larger social, environmental infrastructure package — a position that continues to be met with criticism from Republicans and some moderate Democrats alike.

The GOP senators who support the bipartisan infrastructure bill note that there are major differences between their bill and the Democratic package. They say it's essential for Republicans to show that they're not just a knee-jerk opposition party and can instead find consensus on pressing national problems important to voters.

But a report from the Congressional Budget Office that found the bipartisan package will "add $256 billion to projected deficits" between 2021 and 2031 has complicated deliberations for some GOP senators.

Read more about where infrastructure stands in Congress here.

10:06 a.m. ET, August 10, 2021

Here's how Congress plans to pay for the infrastructure proposal

From CNN's Katie Lobosco and Tami Luhby

The White House and Congress have been looking at a multitude of measures that would pay for the infrastructure 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.

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.

The CBO brushed aside several major provisions that lawmakers said would help pay for the bill, such as repurposing certain unused Covid relief funds and using the savings generated by certain states terminating pandemic unemployment benefits early. The agency found these measures would provide roughly $22 billion in savings, rather than the roughly $263 billion claimed by lawmakers, Goldwein said.

Also, the report 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.

According to the bill text and the 57-page summary of the bill released earlier this month, lawmakers leaned heavily on repurposing unused Covid relief funds to pay for the legislation. 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 to push the jobless to return to work. Some 26 states announced that they would stop at least one of the federal unemployment programs before they are set to end in early September — though Indiana and Maryland have had to continue the payments after losing court battles. Also, the Congressional Budget Office reduced its forecast for the unemployment rate because of the improving economy.

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.

Biden said in a statement 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.