Senate Passes $1.2 Trillion Bipartisan Infrastructure Package

Aug 11, 2021

The Senate voted 69-30 on Tuesday to pass the $1.2 trillion bipartisan infrastructure package, handing a major victory to President Biden and a group of senators that spent months negotiating on the agreement.

Why it matters: The monster bill would deliver hundreds of billions of dollars for roads, bridges, waterways and other "hard infrastructure" items. It is widely seen as a victory for both parties and the reputation of the Senate, especially given the current level of polarization in Congress.

  • Despite the bill's success in the Senate, it faces an uphill battle in the House, where members were largely left out of the negotiating process.
  • But the large margin of votes for the bill — 19 Senate Republicans voted in favor, including Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) — could make it harder for House progressives to dismiss outright.

What they're saying: Vice President Kamala Harris, who presided over the vote in the Senate, told reporters, "It’s a good day. It’s a very good day. Independents, Democrats, Republicans coming together, understanding that we can work together in the best interest of all of the American people."

One big thing to watch: The GOP split over the bipartisan infrastructure bill.

  • Several Republicans — including Senate Minority Whip John Thune (R-S.D.) — voted no, citing the Congressional Budget Office score, which stated the bill would add $256 billion to projected deficits.
  • Others, like Sen. Rick Scott (R-Fla.) and outside conservative groups like Heritage Action, are criticizing the bipartisan bill as paving the way for Democrats' $3.5 trillion reconciliation bill.
  • Sen. John Cornyn (R-Texas), a member of Senate GOP leadership, cited the CBO score and lack of pay-fors for his "no" vote. Asked why he thinks McConnell voted for it, Cornyn told Axios: "My guess is it was important to him to show that the Senate can actually function on a bipartisan basis."

Check out the article from Axios here to learn more about the bill and what it includes.