On June 24, 2021, the Biden Administration and a bipartisan group of U.S. senators announced they had reached a deal on a $1.2 trillion Bipartisan Infrastructure Framework—the largest long-term investment in U.S. infrastructure in nearly a century. The Framework, which is touted as a critical step by the President in implementing his Build Back Better vision, makes significant investments in transportation, water, broadband, and power infrastructure, as well as remediation of legacy pollution. According to a White House Fact Sheet, which is available, HERE, the Framework allocates funds in the following manner:
Graphic Source: Office of U.S. Senator Mark Warner (D-VA).
These represent additional expenditures above current funding levels. Overall, the Framework adds $579 in new spending, bringing the total level of funding for these programs to $1.2B over eight years. The White House Fact Sheet outlines proposed funding or financing sources; among those are reducing the IRS tax collection gap; redirecting unused unemployment insurance relief funds; allowing states to sell or purchase unused toll credits for infrastructure; selling strategic petroleum reserve assets; and reinstating Superfund fees for chemicals. These funding sources or ‘pay-fors’ had been a sticking point in the negotiations, particularly when the Administration initially indicated they might raise corporate taxes to help pay for the plan. It’s important to note that this is a Framework or Agreement in Principle about funding priorities; it is not detailed legislative text, which may invite further debate and amendments to the components noted in the above table.
Susan Collins (R-ME) who has played a role in early Framework negotiations is quoted as saying, “We’ve agreed on the price tag, the scope, and how to pay for it. It was not easy to get agreement on all three, but it was essential. It was essential to show the American people that the Senate can function, that we can work in a bipartisan way, and it sends an important message to the world as well, that America can function, can get things done.” Soon after the announcement, the harmony that Sen. Collins referenced was put in jeopardy by a confusing statement by President Biden that many took to imply that he was threatening to veto the package if Republicans didn’t pass his American Families Plan, which contains what has now been dubbed ‘social infrastructure’ priorities. On June 26, 2021, President Biden issued a statement clarifying his remarks that it is not the case and the two packages stand alone.
The passage of the package or a bill of similar size and scope is a significant Federal outlay with many economic impacts. To help interpret these economic impacts, WWEMA is sharing information about a July 20, 2021, REMI-hosted webinar. REMI, a leading provider of economic and demographic modeling software and consulting, will host a webinar from 2:00 to 3:00 p.m. EDT titled Assessing the Economic Framework of the Bipartisan Infrastructure Deal. More information about this free webinar and registration is available HERE.