White House Backs Bipartisan Infrastructure Framework
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White House Backs Bipartisan Infrastructure Framework

Brownstein Client Alert, June 24, 2021

On June 24, President Joe Biden announced his support for a bipartisan infrastructure framework that would invest $1.2 trillion over eight years. The framework, a slightly modified version of the one released on June 17, proposes $579 billion in new spending.

According to a White House-prepared fact sheet, the framework would make two-thirds of the investments proposed in President Biden’s $2.3 trillion American Jobs Plan (AJP). However, President Biden “remains committed” to completing the legislative agenda outlined in his AJP and American Families Plan through the budget reconciliation process. The bipartisan framework is the first of many steps toward a bipartisan infrastructure bill; lawmakers may begin drafting legislative text during the Senate’s two-week recess for the July 4 holiday.

Delivering remarks on the framework, President Biden called on Congress to approve a bipartisan infrastructure bill and a separate reconciliation bill by the end of the fiscal year on Sept. 30. He also vowed to oppose the bipartisan deal if it is sent to his desk without an accompanying reconciliation bill, a commitment likely to appease progressives concerned that the bipartisan framework makes insufficient investments in fighting climate change.

The following senators signed on to the initial bipartisan framework and were involved with White House negotiations: Sens. Richard Burr (R-NC), Bill Cassidy (R-LA), Susan Collins (R-ME), Chris Coons (D-DE), Lindsey Graham (R-SC), Maggie Hassan (D-NH), John Hickenlooper (D-CO), Mark Kelly (D-AZ), Angus King (I-ME), Joe Manchin (D-WV), Lisa Murkowski (R-AK), Rob Portman (R-OH), Mitt Romney (R-UT), Mike Rounds (R-SD), Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH), Kyrsten Sinema (D-AZ), Jon Tester (D-MT), Thom Tillis (R-NC), Mark Warner (D-VA) and Todd Young (R-IN).

 

Category

Bipartisan

Framework

Roads, Bridges and Major Projects

$109 billion

Power Infrastructure

$73 billion

Passenger and Freight Rail

$66 billion

Broadband Infrastructure

$65 billion

Water Infrastructure

$55 billion

Public Transit

$49 billion

Resiliency

$47 billion

Airports

$25 billion

Environmental Remediation

$21 billion

Infrastructure Financing Authority

$20 billion

Ports and Waterways

$16 billion

Safety

$11 billion

Electric Vehicle Infrastructure

$7.5 billion

Electric Buses and Transit

$7.5 billion

Western Water Storage

$5 billion

Reconnecting Communities

$1 billion

New Spending

$579 billion

Topline Spending Over 5 Years

(Baseline + New Spending)

$973 billion

Topline Spending Over 8 Years

(Baseline + New Spending)

$1.2 billion

 

Pay-Fors

The bipartisan framework proposes the following mechanisms to fund new infrastructure investments:

  • Reducing the IRS tax gap
  • Unemployment insurance program integrity
  • Redirecting unused unemployment insurance relief funds
  • Repurposing unused relief funds from 2020 emergency relief legislation
  • Reexamining state and local investments in broadband infrastructure
  • Allowing states to sell or purchase unused toll credits for infrastructure
  • Extending expiring customs user fees
  • Reinstating Superfund fees for chemicals
  • Utilizing 5G spectrum auction proceeds
  • Extending mandatory sequester
  • Executing sales from the strategic petroleum reserve
  • Using public-private partnerships, private activity bonds, direct pay bonds and asset recycling
  • Examining the macroeconomic impact of infrastructure investment

The initial framework released on June 17 also proposed imposing a fee on users of electric vehicles and indexing the gas tax to inflation, though the latter was used as a placeholder pending input from the White House. Both proposals were dropped from the updated framework.

The administration was previously opposed to repurposing COVID-19 emergency relief and unemployment insurance funds. However, several other proposals, including PABs, public-private partnerships, reducing the tax gap, and creating an infrastructure financing authority, may attract bipartisan support.

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