Senate passes bipartisan infrastructure bill — but what comes next won’t be easy

“Rarely does federal legislation directly address issues that matter to all our constituents,” Sen. Kyrsten Sinema (D-Ariz.), the infrastructure deal’s main Democratic negotiator, mentioned in a victory lap on the Senate ground earlier than the ultimate vote. “How many times have we heard in recent months that bipartisanship isn’t possible anymore?”

She mentioned the bipartisan bill and its $550 billion in new spending wouldn’t solely create jobs and repair crumbling infrastructure. It would additionally stop energy outages, assist extra folks achieve entry to quick web service, defend towards wildfires and extra.

President Joe Biden celebrated the passage at a information convention on Tuesday afternoon, thanking the Republicans who helped it alongside. And he had a particular message for the GOP lawmakers who have been a part of the trouble.

“For the Republicans who supported this bill, you showed a lot of courage,” he mentioned. “I want to personally thank you for that — I’ve called most of you on the phone to do just that.”

Biden added that feedback on the “death” of the bipartisan laws have been “mildly premature as reported,” emphasizing that bipartisanship isn’t a relic of the previous in Congress.

“After years and years of infrastructure week, we’re on the cusp of an infrastructure decade,” the president mentioned, putting a triumphant tone. “Infrastructure week” beforehand turned a punchline in the course of the Trump administration after the previous president was unable to cross infrastructure laws.

On the opposite hand, indicators of rising partisan friction weren’t arduous to search out.

Sen. Rob Portman (R-Ohio), one other of the deal’s essential architects, referred to as the bill “a lasting achievement” that “will improve the lives of all Americans” — but nonetheless spent most of his ground speech on the laws blasting reconciliation as a partisan “tax and spending extravaganza.”

Sen. Jerry Moran (R-Kan.), one of many authentic 11 Republicans to signal onto the bipartisan bill, voted towards it in the long run as a result of it is going to add to the debt.

The House poses its personal set of questions.

Speaker Nancy Pelosi has repeatedly mentioned she won’t convey the infrastructure bill to a ground vote till the Senate additionally passes the reconciliation bill, a course of that would take months. That bill would come with different Democratic priorities akin to local weather change, baby care, elder care and housing but is unlikely to considerably increase different transportation priorities already included within the bipartisan deal, regardless of some progressives’ needs on the contrary.

The Senate is already getting the ball rolling on the reconciliation course of, releasing a $3.5 trillion price range decision on Monday that they hope to cross as quickly as Thursday. The price range framework instructs a slew of committees to draft their items of the reconciliation proposal by Sept. 15.

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer mentioned Monday that the reconciliation bill “will do more to combat climate change than any legislation ever, ever in the history of the Senate.” Republicans, although, have slammed it as a “reckless tax and spending spree.”

The eventual reconciliation package deal will be capable of cross the Senate with a simple-majority vote, so Democrats can transfer it with none GOP help. But all 50 Senate Democrats would wish to vote for it, together with party-bucking mavericks Sinema and Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.).

Complicating issues is the truth that the federal authorities’s present transportation applications are resulting from expire on the finish of September, simply 10 days after each chambers of Congress are prone to be again on the town on the similar time. The infrastructure bill would renew these applications for 5 years — but lawmakers will in all probability have to cross a short-term extension first.

Lawmakers had hoped to keep away from such an extension, as short-term funding patches make it arduous for states to plan.

Still, Democrats are preserving their composure. At an look Monday with Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg in his dwelling state of New Jersey, Rep. Tom Malinowski struck a assured tone.

“I’ll just say categorically, this is going to pass the House,” he mentioned. “It’s going to pass the House with overwhelming Democratic support.”

He acknowledged the political hurdles and the complicating issue of the price range reconciliation bill, but mentioned: “Basically, we have several planes up in the air, trying to come in for a landing in stormy weather, and we have air traffic controllers — our leadership in the House and the Senate — that are going to bring those planes down. I’m not sure what order, or exactly when, but I’m absolutely certain the House will pass this infrastructure bill.”

Passage of the bill follows months of bipartisan efforts that began nearly instantly after Congress handed Biden’s prime precedence upon coming into workplace: a large Covid reduction bill. Attempts to barter with a gaggle of Republicans headed up by Sen. Shelley Moore Capito of West Virginia collapsed in June, and a bipartisan group of moderates led by Portman and Sinema took up the mantle. The effort appeared to collapse a number of occasions earlier than the group lastly got here out with legislative textual content final week, overcame a collection of procedural holdups and disagreements over amendments and timetables and managed to cross a bipartisan bill.

Theoretically, the House might decline to take up the bipartisan Senate bill as written and as an alternative take it to a convention committee to be melded with a bigger, extra liberal floor transportation and water infrastructure bill sponsored by House Transportation Chair Peter DeFazio (D-Ore.). But White House officers have privately cautioned Democrats against going the conference route, saying they’d danger delaying or blowing up the deal.

A management aide advised POLITICO on Monday that “the House schedule stays fluid and conversations concerning the [bipartisan infrastructure bill] are ongoing.“

Marianne LeVine and Maeve Sheehey contributed to this report.

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