Historic Infrastructure Bill Heads To Biden’s Office After House OK | 2021-11-05

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The House finally approved a $ 1.2 trillion infrastructure bill on Friday night that will provide a historic injection of federal funding into rural broadband expansion and the construction of roads, bridges, waterways and Western water supply projects.

The House separately separated action on President Joe Biden’s biggest climate action and social spending package, Build Back Better, until the end of Veterans Day next week.

The Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act was easily passed by the Senate on August 10 with the support of 19 Republicans and 50 Democrats. But the measure stalled in the House when progressives conditioned their support for the legislation on passing the highly partisan Build Back Better measure. The public works bill was not passed, 228-206, until Friday night after a dramatic standoff between progressives and a small group of moderate Democrats.

From September, Biden sided with the progressives in demanding that the House move the two bills together, but the House was plunged into chaos on Friday when a group of moderates hesitated to vote for the bill. Build Back Better law before the Congressional Budget Office provides an estimate of its cost. Progressives, in turn, continued to resist voting for the Uninsured Infrastructure Bill over the Build Back Better Bill. But they finally gave in after a group of five moderates has agreed to support the bill if the CBO’s estimate matches that provided by the White House.

Biden released a statement Friday night pressuring progressives to vote in favor of the public works bill. “I am confident that the week of November 15, the House will pass the Build Back Better bill,” he said.

Thirteen Republicans joined Democrats to pass the bill. Six Democrats voted against.

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“Good things can indeed happen to those who wait, and the passage of this long-considered bill is a victory for everyone in our country,” said Kevin Scott, a farmer from South Dakota who is president. of the American Soybean Association. “Infrastructure is critical. To the long-term success not only of the agriculture industry, but also of the overall health of US commerce and global competitiveness.”

The infrastructure bill includes $ 550 billion in new spending; the rest of the funding is to expand existing programs.

The new funding includes $ 110 billion for roads and bridges, $ 65 billion to expand broadband and $ 17.3 billion for ports and inland waterways.

Some $ 42.45 billion of broadband funding will be distributed by the Commerce Department to states, territories and tribes, while $ 2 billion is for the Department of Agriculture’s existing rural broadband programs.

Projects funded under the bill will have to provide download speeds of 100 megabits per second and upload speeds of 20 Mbps. States will be required to prioritize unserved areas for projects.

An additional $ 9.6 billion in the bill is for Army Corps of Engineers priorities, including $ 5.2 billion for new construction, and an additional $ 8.3 billion would be for water needs from West.

Of the Western water funding, some $ 3.2 billion is allocated for aging infrastructure and $ 1.2 billion for water storage, groundwater storage and transportation projects. Another billion dollars is allocated to water recycling projects.

The bill also provides $ 73 billion for clean energy transportation and $ 66 billion for improved passenger and freight rail transportation.

The bill would provide $ 918 million over five years for the Department of Agriculture’s watershed programs.

Most of the funding, some $ 500 million, will go to the Watershed and Flood Prevention Operations program, which is administered by the USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service. Another $ 118 million is earmarked for the Watershed Rehabilitation Program, which provides assistance for the renovation of dams. The program has a backlog of over $ 500 million. Some $ 300 million is allocated to forest fire resilience under the Emergency Watershed Protection Program.

Also included is $ 10 million for a USDA by-product pilot program that would study the benefits of using materials derived from agricultural products in construction and consumer products.

The American Farm Bureau Federation also welcomed the adoption of the measure.

“We cannot afford to ignore the millions of miles of roads, waterways and railways that rural America relies on to feed our country, especially as we see chain problems. ‘widespread supply,’ said AFBF chairman Zippy Duvall.

“Extending broadband to rural communities is just as much of a priority. A quarter of American farm families lack high-speed internet access while working to meet the needs of a growing world. Investments in physical infrastructure such as broadband will be essential to bridge the digital divide. “

The Association of Equipment Manufacturers, which represents companies like John Deere, had previously pleaded with lawmakers to go ahead and pass the infrastructure measure.

“The need to invest once a century in our roads and bridges, public transport, railways and ports, clean water and broadband – not to mention 100,000 jobs in equipment manufacturing family that it will create – has never been greater, ”said Kip Eideberg, senior vice president of government and industry relations at AEM.

“The growing economic consequences of inaction are hitting equipment manufacturers across the country at a time when they can least afford it. “

The fate of the Build Back Better bill is less clear. Even if the House approves it, it is likely to be reduced to the Senate. The legislation includes more than $ 90 billion in agricultural provisions, as well as tax incentives for biofuels.

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