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25/09/2021

US Senate works on bipartisan infrastructure legislation

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The U.S. Senate is expected to vote on the passage of the bipartisan infrastructure bill in the House of Representatives later this week, as lawmakers start enacting the bill on Monday. 

The Infrastructure and Employment Act is a byproduct of negotiations between senators of the two parties and the White House. It includes $550 billion in new spending on highways, electricity, broadband, and communications jobs in five years. 

 As the discussion continued, the Senate voted last week to advance a bipartisan infrastructure plan. The senator issued a 2,702-page bill on Sunday. 

Nobody of probably the 100 of us think this bill is absolutely perfect. It never would be, and there’s always a saying going around: If we all thought it was perfect, there’s something wrong with it,” Sen. Shelley Moore Capito, R-W.Va., said Monday on the Senate floor. 

She added, “Delivering for the American people is more important than our newspaper headlines today. We can make a historic investment in our nation’s infrastructure with this bill.” 

Earlier this year, Capito led discussions between Senate Republicans, President Joe Biden, and the White House about a possible bipartisan agreement. Due to differences in the source of income and the proposal’s scope, the two-party negotiations ended in vain. 

 “I’m really, really glad and proud of their efforts that they were able to come to the agreement that is before us today,” Capito said of the bipartisan group, which includes West Virginia Democrat Joe Manchin. 

The bill allocates US$110 billion for road and bridge projects, US$73 billion for power and clean technology improvements, US$65 billion for broadband work, and US$55 billion for water supply infrastructure, including the replacement of pipelines. 

Legislators have mentioned the work of Senate committees, which provided a foundation for the measure; the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee approved a $35 billion water infrastructure proposal in April and a $311 billion surface transportation bill in May. 

Senate Environment and Public Works Committee Chairman Tom Carper, D-Del., and Capito — the committee’s ranking member — will manage the legislation on the Senate floor. 

Nothing bugs people more literally than driving into a pothole when they know they are paying a gas tax when they know they are trying to do their best to support their state and local to repair their roads,” Capito said about needed transportation projects. 

The legislation also earmarks funds for developing the Appalachian highway system, a network of corridors between the Appalachian community and interstate highways. Capito stated that funds would be available to complete Corridor H, which will connect downtown West Virginia with the Virginia and Washington, DC metropolitan areas.  

Senators recognize that the legislation will help thousands of communities to improve their health, safety and standard of living,” Capito said. “I’m very pleased that this bill before us, again, is a part of this package so we can make sure that it gets to the president’s desk.” 

The senator did not increase taxes in the legislation but relied on the reuse of coronavirus aid funds and unused unemployment insurance subsidies to postpone the Medicare Part D reimbursement rules and government auctions. The bipartisan group also estimates that the government will contribute $56 billion in the 33% return on investment of these projects. 

The Joint Taxation Commission estimates that the bill will increase government revenue by $51 billion in 10 years, most of which will come from rules related to cryptocurrencies. 

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, Democrat of New York, hopes that the Senate will pass a $3.5 billion budget plan this week. The proposal will address various social, health and environmental issues, although the Democrats will have to invoke budget rules to pass the measure in the divided Senate. 

Source: West Virginia MetroNews

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