On Wednesday, shortly after news surfaced that Democrats and Republicans had brokered a deal on the details of the bipartisan infrastructure package, the Senate invoked cloture on the package by a 67-32 vote. The full final text of the bill is still not available – but click here for a fact sheet and here for a summary document. Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-New York) has maintained that the upper chamber will remain in session until senators pass the bipartisan infrastructure package — being referred to as the “BIF” — as well as a budget resolution. This budget resolution will kickstart the process of advancing the $3.5 trillion package with the remainder of President Joe Biden’s infrastructure priorities, including so-called “human infrastructure,” under budget reconciliation procedures.
All eyes will now be on Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-California), who has maintained that she will not send the bipartisan infrastructure package to the House floor until she “has the rest of the initiative,” referring to the $3.5 trillion package
The final version of the Senate bill was $29 billion lower than the original $579 billion legislative framework agreed upon by White House and Senate negotiators in June and would be a one-time supplemental appropriation. The $1.2 trillion cumulative deal contains $550 billion in spending above baseline infrastructure spending along with $65 billion for broadband and $55 billion for “water infrastructure.”
- Of the $65 billion for broadband, the largest portion of funding ($40 billion) goes to “Grants to States for Development” based on a “formula-based grant program.” Projects would have a 100/20 megabits per second download/upload build standard.
- Additionally, there is $200 billion for “Support for Rural Areas” administrated by the USDA as well as $600 billion for states to issue Private Activity Bonds (PABs) to finance broadband deployment specifically for projects in rural areas.
- In the funding for Electric Vehicle (EV) Infrastructure is a note that “Federal funding will have a particular focus on rural, disadvantaged, and hard-to-reach communities”, a key statement given the concern amongst rural counties of being left out of this infrastructure development effort.