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October 1, 2021

ACEC's Darr Provides Status Update on Infrastructure Bill Negotiations

By Linda Bauer Darr

Over the weekend, the Senate approved by unanimous consent the one-month extension of federal surface transportation programs under the FAST Act, and the President signed the bill (H.R. 5434) into law.  The legislation ends the furlough of thousands of U.S. DOT employees and enables the continued reimbursement of State DOT expenditures and other important program activities.  Federal-aid highway and transit funding is now set to expire on October 31.

That gives Congress a new deadline for finally passing the bipartisan Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (H.R. 3684).  President Biden is urging Democrats to come together on an agreement on the other package of social spending, health care, and tax measures to be advanced through the budget reconciliation process in order to secure sufficient support for the infrastructure bill.  He reportedly asked them to lower the price tag of the reconciliation bill from $3.5 trillion to around $2 trillion, which is still higher than the $1.5 trillion ceiling that Senator Joe Manchin (D-WV) offered last week.  He will be traveling to Michigan tomorrow to start a series of public speeches to tout the proposals.

Moderate Democrats continue to make the case for voting for infrastructure as a standalone bill. Senator Kyrsten Sinema (D-AZ) wrote in a statement that the failure of the House to vote on the infrastructure bill was “inexcusable and deeply disappointing…. an ineffective stunt to gain leverage over a separate proposal.”  Progressives continue to insist infrastructure be paired with the social spending plan, including child care, tuition-free community college, paid family leave, an expansion of Medicaid, and climate provisions.  It is our understanding that the more closely the two bills are directly linked, the less likely it is for many House Republicans to support the IIJA.

The House is in recess for the next two weeks for a committee work period.  Lawmakers will negotiate behind the scenes to chart a path forward.  ACEC will remain heavily engaged with our broad coalition of business, construction, and labor allies to secure passage of the infrastructure bill.  You can still access our Action Alert to contact your representative and ask them to support a final vote on the bill.

Linda Bauer Darr is President and CEO of ACEC.


All comments to blog posts will be moderated by ACEC staff.

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