Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act

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Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act
Great Seal of the United States
Long titleAn act to authorize funds for Federal-aid highways, highway safety programs, and transit programs, and for other purposes.
Acronyms (colloquial)IIJA
NicknamesBipartisan Infrastructure Bill (or Law) (BIB or BIL)
Enacted bythe 117th United States Congress
EffectiveNovember 15, 2021
Number of co-sponsors5
Citations
Public lawPub.L. 117–58 (text) (PDF)
Statutes at Large135 Stat. 429
Codification
Titles amended23 U.S.C. § 
Agencies affectedDepartment of Transportation (USDOT)
Legislative history

The Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA), also known as the Bipartisan Infrastructure Bill (BIB) or Bipartisan Infrastructure Law (BIL), and originally in the House as the INVEST in America Act (H.R. 3684), is a United States federal statute enacted by the 117th United States Congress and signed into law by President Joe Biden on November 15, 2021.

The act was initially a $715 billion infrastructure package that included provisions related to federal-aid highway, transit, highway safety, motor carrier, research, hazardous materials and rail programs of the Department of Transportation.[1][2] After congressional negotiations, it was amended and renamed to the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act to include funding for broadband access, clean water and electric grid renewal in addition to the transportation and road proposals of the original House bill. This amended version included approximately $1.2 trillion in spending, with $550 billion being newly authorized spending on top of what Congress was planning to authorize regularly.[3][4]

The amended bill was passed 69–30 by the Senate on August 10, 2021. On November 5, it was passed 228–206 by the House, and ten days later was signed into law by President Biden.[5]

Background

On March 31, 2021,[6] President Joe Biden unveiled his $2.3 trillion American Jobs Plan (which, when combined with the American Families Plan, amounted to $4 trillion in infrastructure spending),[7] pitched by him as "a transformative effort to overhaul the nation's economy".[8] The detailed plan aimed to create millions of jobs, bolster labor unions, expand labor protections, and address climate change.[9][10]

Legislative history

Senate passage

In mid-April 2021, Republican lawmakers offered a $568 billion counterproposal to the American Jobs Plan.[11] On May 9, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell said it should cost no more than $800 billion.[12] On May 21, the administration reduced the price tag to $1.7 trillion, which was quickly rejected by Republicans.[13] A day later, a bipartisan group within the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee announced that they had reached a deal for $304 billion in funding for U.S. highway funding.[14] This was approved unanimously by the committee on May 26.[15] On June 4, House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee Chair Peter DeFazio announced a $547 billion plan, called the INVEST in America Act, which would address parts of the American Jobs Plan.[16][a] On July 1, the House passed an amended $715 billion infrastructure bill focused on land transportation and water.[17]

On May 27, Republican senator Shelley Moore Capito presented a $928 billion plan,[18][b][c] and on June 4, increased it by about $50 billion; this was quickly rejected by the Biden administration.[19] On June 8, the administration shifted its focus to a bipartisan group of 20 senators, which had been working on a package tentatively priced around $900 billion.[20][d] On June 10, a bipartisan group of 10 senators reached a deal costing $974 billion over five years; or about $1.2 trillion if stretched over eight years.[22] On June 16, the plan was endorsed by a bipartisan group of 21 senators.[23] On June 24, the bipartisan group met with the president and reached a compromise deal costing $1.2 trillion over eight years, which focuses on physical infrastructure (notably roads, bridges, railways, water, sewage, broadband, electric vehicles). This was planned to be paid for through reinforced Internal Revenue Service (IRS) collection, unspent COVID-19 relief funds, and other sources.[24] By July 2021, the IRS portion of the funding had reportedly been scrapped.[25] Biden stipulated that a separate "human infrastructure" bill (notably child care, home care, and climate change) – later known as the Build Back Better Act – must also pass, whether through bipartisanship or reconciliation,[24] but later walked back this position.[26] House Speaker Nancy Pelosi similarly stated that the House would not vote on the physical infrastructure bill until the larger bill passes in the Senate,[27] despite the fact that reconciliation overrides much of the obstructive power of the filibuster.[27][28]

White House officials stated on July 7 that legislative text was nearing completion.[29] On July 14, the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee advanced an energy bill expected to be included in the bipartisan package.[30] On July 21, Senate Majority Leader Charles Schumer put forward a "shell bill" for a vote to kick off debate in the Senate, intending to add the bipartisan text via an amendment.[31][e] On July 25, Republican senator Rob Portman stated that an agreement was "about 90%" complete, with mass transit being one remaining point of contention.[33] On July 30, Portman stated that this had been resolved.[34] On July 28, Senator Kyrsten Sinema stated that she did not support a reconciliation bill costing $3.5 trillion, breaking the stalemate and allowing the bipartisan bill to move forward.[35] That day, the Senate voted 67–32 to advance the bill,[36] and on July 30, voted 66–28 to proceed to its consideration.[37] The legislation text was completed and substituted into the bill on August 1.[38] On August 5, Schumer moved to truncate debate on the legislation, setting up a procedural vote on August 7,[39] which passed 67–27.[40] Fifteen or more amendments were expected to receive votes through the weekend.[40] On August 10, the bill was passed by the Senate 69–30.[41] It sets aside $550 billion in new spending.[42] A procedural vote on a House rule concerning passing both bills passed along party lines on August 24.[43]

House passage

President Biden signing the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act into law on November 15, 2021

In early August, nine moderate Democrats called for an immediate House vote on the bill, citing a desire not to lose the momentum from the Senate passage of the bill. They committed to voting against taking up the reconciliation resolution until there was a vote on the bipartisan infrastructure bill.[44][45] While both Biden and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi have reversed earlier positions to support passing the bipartisan bill separately,[26][46] progressives including Congressional Progressive Caucus chairwoman Pramila Jayapal and Senator Bernie Sanders maintained that it be utilized as leverage to pass the most expensive reconciliation bill possible.[47][48][49] The lack of a deal caused a late September House vote to be postponed.[49] On October 2, Pelosi set a new deadline of October 31.[50] By October 28, Jayapal and other progressive leaders indicated that they were willing to vote on the bill separately,[51] but Sanders and others opposed this.[52][53] On October 31, a majority of progressives signaled that they would support both bills.[54]

Votes on both bills were considered on November 5, but the hesitation of several moderates to pass the reconciliation bill before it could be scored by the Congressional Budget Office made passing the bipartisan bill unlikely.[55] Negotiations between centrist and progressive Democrats concluded with the centrists committing to passing the Build Back Better Act.[56] The bill ultimately went to a vote, as did a rule to vote on the larger bill once it was scored, passing 228–206; 13 Republicans joined all but six Democrats (members of "the Squad") in supporting the legislation.[57][58][59] The six Democrats who voted 'No' stated that their opposition was because the legislation had been decoupled from the social-safety net provisions of the Build Back Better bill.[60][61] Biden signed the bill into law at a signing ceremony on November 15.[62]

Provisions

House version

The following is the bill summary authorized by the Congressional Research Service (CRS) for the INVEST in America Act, the original version which passed the House on July 1, 2021:

  • extends FY2021 enacted levels through FY2022 for federal-aid highway, transit, and safety programs;
  • reauthorizes for FY2023-FY2026 several surface transportation programs, including the federal-aid highway program, transit programs, highway safety, motor carrier safety, and rail programs;
  • addresses climate change, including strategies to reduce the climate change impacts of the surface transportation system and a vulnerability assessment to identify opportunities to enhance the resilience of the surface transportation system and ensure the efficient use of federal resources;
  • revises Buy America procurement requirements for highways, mass transit, and rail;
  • establishes a rebuild rural bridges program to improve the safety and state of good repair of bridges in rural communities;
  • implements new safety requirements across all transportation modes; and
  • directs the Department of Transportation to establish a pilot program to demonstrate a national motor vehicle per-mile user fee to restore and maintain the long-term solvency of the Highway Trust Fund and achieve and maintain a state of good repair in the surface transportation system

Senate version

Investment categories ($ billion) in the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act of 2021, adding to about $550 billion over a decade.[63]

According to NPR, the version which passed the Senate on July 28 is set to include:

  • $110 billion for roads, bridges and other major projects;
  • $11 billion in transportation safety programs;
  • $39 billion in transit modernization and improved accessibility;
  • $66 billion in rail;
  • $7.5 billion to build a national network of electric vehicle chargers;
  • $73 billion in power infrastructure and clean energy transmission and
  • $65 billion for broadband development.[35]

The bill would also make the Minority Business Development Agency a permanent agency.[64]

Reactions

Congress

Republican senators balked at Biden's tandem plan to pass both a bipartisan plan and a separate Democratic-supported reconciliation bill.[65] McConnell criticized Biden for "caving" to his own party by issuing an "ultimatum" that he would not sign the bipartisan bill without a separate reconciliation package.[66] After Biden walked back his comments, Republican senators restated their confidence in the bipartisan bill.[26] A Yahoo! News/YouGov poll conducted in late June found that 60% of Republican voters favored the plan.[67]

On June 28, 2021, Sunrise Movement and several progressive representatives performed a protest at the White House in criticism of the size and scope of Biden's Civilian Climate Corps. Several protesters were arrested for blocking White House entrances.[68]

On July 6, the 58-member bipartisan House Problem Solvers Caucus stated their support for the bipartisan bill and called for an expeditious and independent House vote.[69] On July 21, a group of 65 former governors and mayors endorsed the plan.[70]

Ahead of a procedural vote on August 7, former president Donald Trump attacked the bill and said he would support Republican primary challengers of senators who vote for it.[40] He reiterated his criticisms following the bill's passage by Congress.[71]

Following the bill's passage by Congress in November, Trump criticized it as containing "only 11% for real Infrastructure", calling it "the Elect Democrats in 2022/24 Act", and attacked Republicans who had supported it, saying in particular that McConnell had lended "lifelines to those who are destroying" the country.[71] Various House Republicans also criticized the 13 Republican representatives who voted for the bill.[72] Lauren Boebert described them as "RINOS" (Republican in Name Only).[72] Mary Miller called them "spineless" and said they helped enact a "socialist takeover".[72] Marjorie Taylor Greene called them "traitors" and "American job & energy killers", who "are China-First and America-Last", because they "agree with Globalist Joe [Biden] that America must depend on China to drive" electric vehicles.[73] Gary Palmer was criticized for touting funding for the Birmingham Northern Beltline that he added to the bill, while neglecting to mention that he voted against the final bill.[74] Paul Gosar was also criticized for taking credit for the bill's funding for Kingman Airport despite voting against it.[75] Several Republican governors who condemned the bill, including Kristi Noem of South Dakota and Greg Gianforte of Montana, accepted the funding and directed it to various programs.[76]

Others

On June 22, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, Business Roundtable and No Labels made a joint statement urging the president to consider a bipartisan bill.[77] The former two groups have lobbied for the plan not to raise corporate taxes, and to instead impose user fees and borrow from other federal funds.[77] Senator Bernie Sanders has stated that he would not support paying for the bill via a proposed gas tax or a surcharge on electric vehicles.[78]

According to an early August Harvard CAPS-Harris Poll survey, about 72% of voters support the bill.[79]

On September 24, leaders from the U.S. Conference of Mayors, the National League of Cities, the National Urban League, and other Black American advocacy groups signaled their support for the bill.[64]

On September 25, Peter J. Wallison authored an opinion piece for The Hill in which he argued that Republicans should try to pass the bipartisan bill to prevent it from being used as further leverage to pass the reconciliation bill.[80] Subsequently, Republican House leaders formally opposed the bipartisan bill.[47]

"Historians, economists and engineers interviewed by The Associated Press welcomed Biden's efforts. But they stressed that $1 trillion was not nearly enough to overcome the government's failure for decades to maintain and upgrade the country's infrastructure."[81]

The nuclear industry favored the legislation as it signaled continued federal government support.[82]

Notes

  1. ^ According to CBS News, this "would dedicate:
    • $343 billion to roads, bridges and safety
    • $109 billion to public transit systems; and
    • $95 billion to passenger and freight rail."[16]
  2. ^ The week before, a spokeswoman for Capito had said Republicans seemed to be "further apart" from Democrats regarding the bill than they were at their previous meeting with the president.[13]
  3. ^ According to CNBC, the plan "includes:
    • $506 billion for roads, bridges and major infrastructure projects
    • $72 billion for water systems
    • $65 billion for broadband
    • $56 billion for airports
    • $46 billion for passenger and freight rail systems
    • $22 billion for ports and waterways
    • $22 billion for water storage
    • $21 billion for safety efforts [and]
    • $20 billion for infrastructure financing".[18]
  4. ^ On June 9, the House's 58-member bipartisan Problem Solvers Caucus presented a plan which would cost $1.25 trillion over eight years. According to The Hill, the plan "calls for
    • more than $959 billion for traditional infrastructure, including highways, bridges, rail, airports and waterways
      • [including] $25 billion ... for electric vehicle infrastructure, including electric buses ...
    • $74 billion for drinking water and wastewater systems
    • $71 billion for the electric grid and clean-energy programs
    • $45 billion for broadband; and
    • $10 billion for veterans' housing."[21]
  5. ^ McConnell and some other Republicans indicated that they wished to see the text prior to voting on debating it.[31] The measure initially failed to pass along party lines, with Schumer switching his vote to 'no' so he could recall the vote on another day.[32]

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