Senate passes bipartisan infrastructure deal
Senate lawmakers passed the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (H.R. 3684) with a 69-30 vote on Aug. 10. NGFA issued a statement commending lawmakers for passing the comprehensive infrastructure deal, which provides much-needed investments to modernize the U.S. transportation system.
“NGFA members rely on a robust and competitive transportation system, including U.S. highways, bridges, inland waterways, ports and railways, to efficiently and competitively serve domestic and global markets,” said NGFA President and CEO Mike Seyfert in a statement issued shortly after the vote. The $1.2 trillion bill “will enhance the efficient and cost-effective transport of agricultural and food products resulting in substantial contributions and opportunities for U.S. economic growth and trade,” he said.
About $550 billion of the deal is new funding over five years, including an additional $110 billion in U.S. roads and bridges, $65 billion for broadband, and $17.3 billion for ports and waterways. The latter includes $2.5 billion specifically for inland waterways construction projects.
“This bipartisan agreement also includes a number of necessary and overdue provisions designed to boost the resiliency of the agricultural supply chain, including investments in cybersecurity and an apprenticeship pilot program to address the nationwide truck driver shortage,” Seyfert said.
NGFA sent an Aug. 9 letter in support of the infrastructure deal to Senate leaders.
The deal now awaits movement from the House, but House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., has said she will not bring the infrastructure deal up for a vote without acting on the $3.5 trillion budget resolution -- a sweeping proposal including the president’s policy priorities on health care, education and environment.
After 14 hours of debate over Republican amendments, senators approved the budget resolution on a party-line 50-49 vote in the early hours of Aug. 11. The House will return early from its summer recess the week of Aug. 23 to take up the resolution, after which committees in both chambers can begin drafting legislative text to flesh out the plan. Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., said he wants the budget package completed by Sept. 15. While the budget can pass without any Republican support, it would require the approval of all 50 Democratic senators and moderate Democrat Sens. Joe Manchin of West Virginia and Kyrsten Sinema of Arizona have already indicated they may not support the final budget package.