The U.S. Senate voted 69-30 on Tuesday to pass the $1.2T infrastructure bill last week. The supermajority vote showed the bipartisan appeal of the spending package, which proponents claim won’t add to the federal deficit. The bill now advances to the U.S. House for consideration.
In the House, Speaker Nancy Pelosi, supporting the Progressive wing of the Democrat caucus, made clear her intention to stymie the infrastructure bill until a budget reconciliation package fully clears the Senate. The legislative text currently amounts to roughly $3.5T and contains numerous controversial policy riders (including tax increases, an expansion to Medicare, and additional years of subsidized education), which Democrats are concerned won’t clear the Senate if the House passes the infrastructure bill first. The budget bill passed the Senate at around 4:00 am on Wednesday morning.
On Thursday, nine House Democrats, none of whom were from Pennsylvania, encouraged the Speaker to take up the infrastructure legislation as soon as possible—explaining why they considered waiting months for the more controversial legislation to be signed into law would endanger critical investments in the American economy.
While it doesn’t appropriate funds, budget resolutions provide approved numbers for the chambers’ committees to use for deliberations over the size and scope of annual federal spending. Per Senate rules, they are protected from the 60-vote filibuster process, though policy riders not germane to the appropriations process are usually prohibited. Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) is hopeful the legislation will clear the Senate a second time, after the House revises it later this month, and be placed on the President’s desk by mid-September.
The PA Chamber has been advocating for the bill’s passage for months in the media and online, and in late July, joined with the U.S. Chamber and over 250 other business organizations across the country to send a letter to the Congress and encourage them to take up and pass the bill.