© Reuters. File photo: The US Capitol was taken on August 1, 2021 in Washington, USA. REUTERS/Elizabeth Frantz/File Photo
By Richard Cowan
Washington (Reuters)-On Thursday, a bipartisan infrastructure bill worth $1 trillion faces the biggest test of this week’s U.S. Senate debate, when the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office will not increase Washington’s budget on whether the measure will be implemented. Make judgments about deficit commitments.
The negotiators of the bill will provide funding for construction projects ranging from road and bridge repairs to the expansion of broadband Internet services. They believe that its $550 billion in new expenditure is largely raised by transferring funds from existing projects .
Chief negotiator and Republican Senator Rob Portman reminded senators on Wednesday that the legislation will bring federal funding for high-priority improvement projects.
Portman said: “As a lifelong Cincinnati, I have witnessed the urgent need for investment solutions for the aging Spencer Bridge across the Ohio River.”
It is estimated that the increase in economic activity related to new construction work and business growth brought about by the $1 trillion investment will stimulate government taxation, although it may not be as much as legislators hoped.
If the CBO concludes that legislators are inadequate in enacting a deficit-neutral bill, it may prompt some Republican senators to oppose the legislation after expressing support in two early procedural votes.
In late July, 17 Republicans voted for the bill along with 48 Democrats and two independents.
These 67 votes far exceed the 60 votes required to pass legislation.
Assuming that all 50 Democrats and independents support it, up to seven Republicans can cite the newly discovered fiscal issues and drop the legislation in the final vote so that it still has enough support to pass it.
Among the 17 Republicans who gave the green light in the early days were fiscal conservatives including Charles Grassley, John Hoeven, and Kevin Cramer.
Conversely, the good results of the CBO may prompt Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer to take action to restrict debate in order to quickly complete the work of the bill, especially if the senators think they have ample opportunity to propose amendments since Monday.
It will also give Republicans who are opposing the Democratic Party’s other huge spending bills in the 2022 congressional elections reason to argue that this infrastructure bill will bring long-term needed repairs to public facilities without increasing the country’s $28.6 trillion. debt.
If the $1 trillion bill is passed, the Democratic-controlled Senate will turn its attention to the $3.5 trillion “human infrastructure” budget framework. The Republicans oppose the framework and temporarily abolish the 60-vote threshold for the bill by using special procedures. .
It will fund more family health care and childcare, as well as climate change and immigration programs-President Joe Biden hopes to pay for these projects by increasing taxes on the rich.
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