Biden, bipartisan senators reach infrastructure deal, but a long road to enactment remains 

By Bobby Frederick, Vice President of Legislative Affairs and Public Policy

President Joe Biden and a group of 10 bipartisan senators emerged from a meeting at the White House on June 24 to announce that an agreement had been reached on infrastructure. 
According to a copy of the bipartisan infrastructure framework NGFA obtained from a Senate office, the agreement totals $1.2 trillion over eight years, including $579 billion in new spending. 
Specifically, the framework proposes $109 billion for roads and bridges, $65 billion for broadband, and $16 billion for ports and waterways. The agreement includes $66 billion for passenger and freight rail, and $7.5 billion for electric vehicle infrastructure.  

The framework also listed about a dozen proposals to finance the infrastructure agreement, including leveraging public-private partnerships, redirecting unspent COVID-19 relief funding and recouping unused unemployment insurance funds. The framework does not include a corporate tax rate increase proposed by President Biden earlier this spring. Republicans were quick to point out that the framework includes no changes to their signature legislative achievement during the Trump administration -- the 2017 tax reform law.

While this announcement provides a shot of momentum for the infrastructure discussions that have been ongoing for months, there still is a long way to go for this framework to be signed into law. First, the details of the framework need to be converted into written legislation. And while 21 senators negotiated this bipartisan agreement, at least 60 senators will need to vote for it and it is still unclear how progressive Democrats and conservative Republicans view this deal. Finally, the measure must be approved in a closely divided House before it can be sent to President Biden’s desk.

The fates of this bipartisan transportation infrastructure agreement may be intertwined with a separate, partisan “human infrastructure” bill being discussed by President Biden and congressional Democrats. They aim to move a multi-trillion dollar bill focused on child care, community colleges, and elder care that is not expected to garner Republican support. 

The NGFA remains focused on policies and investments that boost U.S. agricultural competitiveness and will continue to work with Congress to promote the modernization of America’s inland waterways, ports, roads, bridges and internet connectivity.