Congressional Update: Biden Releases New Infrastructure Proposal; Transportation Authorization Coming

Late Friday, the White House released a $1.7 trillion counter-offer infrastructure proposal– down from the original $2.3 trillion opening bid– in response to U.S. Senate Republicans’ $568 billion proposal.  Read more here.

This comes after continued meetings between top Senate Republicans and key White House officials, who recently discussed various pay-for options, such as an infrastructure bank or revolving fund to catalyze private investment and boost public-private partnerships.

White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki made it clear the president still expects to rely on raising corporate tax rates to pay for it, which has been a nonstarter for Republicans.  Read more here.

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY), though encouraging bipartisan negotiations, is also ensuring that the budget reconciliation process is available should a deal not be reached.

Progressives within the Senate and House Democratic Caucuses have expressed frustration at continued negotiations with the GOP and would prefer to pursue the reconciliation route regardless.

Transportation Authorization

On May 19, U.S. House Republicans introduced a surface transportation reauthorization bill, the STARTER Act 2.0, which would authorize more than $400 billion over five years for federal highway, transit, and safety programs.

The Transportation and Infrastructure (T&I) Committee released a section-by-section summary and T&I Ranking Member Graves (R-MO) hopes the proposals will be included in the broader infrastructure effort.

House Democrats are also expected to release their own surface transportation bill soon, which is being drafted to reconcile T&I Chair DeFazio’s (D-OR) priorities with President Biden’s.

The House Transportation and Infrastructure Surface Transportation markup has been pushed into June. Proposed tentative dates were June 9 and 10, but the markup could now potentially slip even further into June.

The Senate Environment and Public Works Committee plans to introduce its surface transportation bill next week. Chairman Tom Carper (D-DE) said that the bill, which will be bipartisan, will fund fewer EV charging stations than proposed by the White House.

This is part of a broader compromise on the Committee, where Republicans have been increasingly open to funding EV charging stations, just not at the level envisioned by the White House.

Ranking Member Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV), who is leading GOP negotiations with the White House, said there was a greater than 50/50 chance that a deal would be reached, but doubted it would come before July 4.

TAP HERE for all articles in May 24 EXPRESS Update