Senators overwhelmingly passed a $1 trillion infrastructure bill this week in a 69-30 vote that was heralded as an important bipartisan victory for the Biden administration, according to NPR.
18 Senate Republicans, including Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), supported the deal, which allocates the largest portion of funding to road and bridge repairs across the country. The 2,700-page bill also outlines proposals to revamp electric grid and power infrastructure, broadband internet, water systems, public transit, airports, and environmental remediation projects.
“This historic investment in infrastructure is what I believe you, the American people, want, what you’ve been asking for for a long, long time,” said President Biden.
The legislation will now head to Congress; however, certain progressive Democrats may withhold their support unless the House agrees to a separate $3.5 trillion healthcare, education, and climate-focused budget reconciliation package spearheaded by Senate Budget Committee Chairman Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.). Conversely, a group of moderate Democrats have threatened to obstruct passage of that budget resolution until after the House approves the infrastructure bill.
“There’s a real tension between looking at what the climate says we need to do in order to decarbonize the economy on the time scale that science says, and what it practically means to try and build transmission in America,” said the head of American Clean Power Association Heather Zichal.
In his first congressional address this spring, President Biden articulated a vow to mitigate environmental racism by prioritizing the improvement of air and water quality for communities most severely impacted by pollution and other climate catastrophes, according to The Washington Post.
It remains unclear how the president plans to reconcile the implications of his infrastructure bill with that commitment.