Bipartisan infrastructure deal reached
July 28, 2021 5:10 PM   Subscribe

A bipartisan $550 billion infrastructure spending deal passed a test vote in the US Senate, with support from 17 Republican senators.

New York Times. The deal includes $39 billion for public transit and $46 billion for climate adaptation; the $15 billion for electric vehicle charging stations has been cut in half.

Story from Monday. ‘It’s Painful’: Infrastructure Talks Near Either a Deal or Collapse.

Vox explains the two-track strategy.

Trump tries to sabotage the Biden infrastructure deal.
posted by russilwvong (84 comments total) 15 users marked this as a favorite
 
Bonus: The rise and importance of Secret Congress. Short version: the more public attention something gets, the harder it is to get anything done. Perhaps Congress isn't as gridlocked as we think.
posted by russilwvong at 6:00 PM on July 28 [12 favorites]


Does anyone know what happened regarding the provision to give IRS more funding to get high-end tax cheats? At some point it was a part of how this bill would be "paid for", but I saw something saying it had been cut out. No comment about it at all in the articles I have read so far.
posted by nat at 6:21 PM on July 28 [5 favorites]


$55 billion/yr over 10 years I assume

Fed's printing $20B/week LOL
posted by Heywood Mogroot III at 6:26 PM on July 28 [1 favorite]


Does anyone know what happened regarding the provision to give IRS more funding to get high-end tax cheats?

It looks like that was eliminated. From the NY Times: The new agreement significantly changes how the infrastructure spending will be paid for, after Republicans balked at a pillar of the original framework: increased revenue from an I.R.S. crackdown on tax cheats, which was set to supply nearly one-fifth of the funding for the plan.
posted by riruro at 6:32 PM on July 28 [9 favorites]


Fed's printing $20B/week LOL

That's not true at all. That's the Fed holding, on average, roughly $20B in Treasury securities, updated weekly.
posted by explosion at 6:34 PM on July 28 [20 favorites]


NYT infographic shows how very, very bipartisan this is.
posted by joeyh at 6:39 PM on July 28 [4 favorites]


What's the point? Unless enough of these Senators are willing to completely buck McConnell and his politicking, this won't pass no matter what. Doesn't he just repeatedly set 'em up to later knock 'em down?

I'd like to believe it, but I'll have to see it happen first.
posted by hippybear at 6:42 PM on July 28 [2 favorites]


hippybear, McConnell is one of the senators who has signed onto the deal, according to the NYT.
posted by Artifice_Eternity at 6:43 PM on July 28 [4 favorites]


The funding from increased IRS enforcement of wealthy tax cheats has been moved to the $3.5T Democrats-only “human infrastructure” budget reconciliation bill, which is intended to cover things like Medicare expansion, home care for the elderly, and climate change provisions. It’s meant to move in tandem with this bill, though Manchin and Sinema continue to preen for attention by going back and forth as to what they’ll actually support, since all 50 Dem votes will be needed.
posted by chimpsonfilm at 6:46 PM on July 28 [5 favorites]


Let's not forget the fact that this bill is currently at less than 50% what Democrats proposed initially. We spent 5.3 trillion on COVID-19 because it was "necessary." Government can accomplish amazing, big things when we perceive the need to be great enough. But when Republicans act as the voice of rich people who don't want to pay their fair share? It's shit.

The fact that this miniscule version of Biden's proposal might not even pass, that's just confirmation of what we all know the United States is all about.
posted by Slarty Bartfast at 6:52 PM on July 28 [30 favorites]


Remember that any wiley negotiators initial "ask" is way above the actual goal.
posted by sammyo at 7:00 PM on July 28 [3 favorites]


McConnell is one of the senators who has signed onto the deal, according to the NYT.

And he is such a fine example of being a man who keeps his promises.
posted by hippybear at 7:00 PM on July 28 [24 favorites]


Remember that any wiley negotiators initial "ask" is way above the actual goal.
It's a pity their actual goal was so minute compared to what's required for the issues at hand, then.
posted by CrystalDave at 7:08 PM on July 28 [17 favorites]


Let us never forget: Rome was built in less than a day, and cynicism is the same thing as intellect.
posted by aramaic at 7:39 PM on July 28 [24 favorites]


Does anyone know if it's still true that this bill funds infrastructure by selling off public assets?

https://prospect.org/politics/bipartisan-senate-infrastructure-plan-privatization-asset-recycling/

I'd be really happy if the Senate passed, even a very reduced infrastructure bill that only covered the "basics" of repairing our aging infrastructure. That is needed. But I don't know if I'd support it quite as much if it's still being funded by asset recycling. An optics win isn't nothing but is it really worth it.
posted by subdee at 8:02 PM on July 28


Unfortunately this may be the only chance Democrats get to address climate change in the next 6 to 10 years.
posted by eagles123 at 8:19 PM on July 28 [10 favorites]


Let us never forget: Rome was built in less than a day, and cynicism is the same thing as intellect.

The problem with climate change is that governments have dicked around doing next to nothing for so long that now we essentially have to build the infrastructure for sustainability in a day (or, well, a very short timespan at least). The refusal to acknowledge this is staggering on the part of politicians.
posted by mightygodking at 8:24 PM on July 28 [23 favorites]


Let us never forget: Rome was built in less than a day, and cynicism is the same thing as intellect.

I'm going to rain on some parades here: this deal is it. Its the last train leaving the station. There may be an emergency "oh shit covid is killing the gop base" bill and possibly a big ticket reconciliation bill for infrastructure.

But bipartisan infrastructure? Voting? Healthcare?

Its midterms baby, the window is (almost certainly) firmly closed.
posted by Slackermagee at 8:25 PM on July 28 [12 favorites]


The only reason I can imagine for Mitch McConnell to get behind a Democratic initiative is to stab it in the back.
posted by Joe in Australia at 8:27 PM on July 28 [9 favorites]


Eh, there is a couple things I think might be going on here. The auto industry (GM, FORD) is shifting to electric at the behest of regulators in China and the EU. The US is playing catch up, but there is at least some industry backing for government spending to help finance the transition. Honda and Toyota are really the only holdouts, but even Honda recently waved the white flag with their new CEO. Cutting spending for public charging stinks, but it shouldn't matter to the suburbanites who control our politics - they can charge at home. Just so long as there are enough public chargers to ensure family vacations in the late 20's and 30's can be accomplished in electric FORD/GM/Stellantis SUVs without hassle.

The spending on public transit in nice, but in an ideal world it'd only be a down payment considering US transit defunding/underfunding since like the 1950's.

As for McConnell, its possible he might support the bipartisan deal if he thinks the deal passing makes it less likely the Democrats will be able to pass their more ambitious funding proposals through reconciliation. Right now right wing and business interests in general are balancing goals of extracting as much wealth and as many concessions as possible in the current environment with fears of going too far and further destabilizing the US government, economy, and society. John Roberts serves a similar function on the Supreme Court.
posted by eagles123 at 9:06 PM on July 28 [6 favorites]


I think a democrat white house & congress putting through a bill like this will bring more blue votes next cycle. it’s good thing. i know y’all like to see good things as bad things when they’re not great things but… that doesn’t mean everyone has to see it that way.
posted by stinkfoot at 9:11 PM on July 28 [11 favorites]


Does this mean it's finally Infrastructure Week?
posted by nestor_makhno at 9:19 PM on July 28 [15 favorites]


I think a democrat white house & congress putting through a bill like this will bring more blue votes next cycle. it’s good thing.

That’s why they should have spent every cent of political capital on this. Millions of jobs created building green infrastructure, with great benefits, and long term employable skills developed. Any watering down of this bill is just handing votes to republicans and giving the wealthy more money to fund candidates who oppose this sort of thing. A functioning democracy would put people to work creating jobs and infrastructure for the next hundred years. There’s literally no gain in half measures designed to win over legislators that are fundamentally opposed to progress.
posted by Slarty Bartfast at 9:23 PM on July 28 [9 favorites]


If the Democrats manage to pick up House and Senate seats in the midterms they'll have managed a feat only accomplished twice since the 1930s. The incumbent President's party lost seats in every other election.
posted by eagles123 at 9:43 PM on July 28 [4 favorites]


The only reason I can imagine for Mitch McConnell to get behind a Democratic initiative is to stab it in the back.

Good way to get the January 6, 2021 Republican terrorist attack out of the press, at least.
posted by They sucked his brains out! at 10:22 PM on July 28 [2 favorites]


Unfortunately this may be the only chance Democrats get to address climate change in the next 6 to 10 years.


And if all 50 Democratic Senators were onboard with a huge sweeping bill, I'd want them to ditch the filibuster and pass it. It would be worth it especially for climate change. But thats not the case, so here we are. There's no getting Manchin, who is not only a very conservative Democrat but the Senator from the coaliest state of them all, to vote for the kind of bill we would need to make a difference. [Probably Sinema also wouldn't vote for it, but Manchin is clearly not on board with prioritizing climate change]

Something is still better than nothing, however.
posted by thefoxgod at 10:52 PM on July 28 [5 favorites]


re: Fed printing
posted by Heywood Mogroot III at 10:56 PM on July 28 [1 favorite]


Doesn't he just repeatedly set 'em up to later knock 'em down?

They get knocked down, but they get up again. He is never going to keep them down.
posted by kirkaracha at 11:16 PM on July 28 [4 favorites]


democrat white house & congress

Democratic White House and Congress, please. Using "Democrat" like that is a slur I have zero tolerance for.
posted by kirkaracha at 11:18 PM on July 28 [28 favorites]


Isn't this problem just like a bigger version of California. Before when there was a republican Governor that would veto anything good, the D's kept passing medicare for all bills. But now that they have a super-majority none of those good stuff bills end up passing for some reason.

Like if manchin and sinema went away today, I'm sure there would be someone else to stand up and stop anything that would impact the rich from happening.
posted by Iax at 11:29 PM on July 28 [4 favorites]


Remember that any wiley negotiators initial "ask" is way above the actual goal.

I’m not sure where the wiley negotiator discussion is, but in this room we’re talking about Congressional Democrats.
posted by Pater Aletheias at 12:40 AM on July 29 [9 favorites]


cynicism is the same thing as intellect

Seems to me that whenever Republicans are involved, cynicism doesn't require much intellect. Basic pattern recognition ability suffices.

For me, the interesting issue is what to do with cynicism. Merely expressing it by weeping and wailing and garment rending on public fora doesn't achieve much. Better to use it, in a Know Your Enemy sense, as an essential element in strategizing to out-organize the arseholes.

To some extent this is clearly already happening, and the fact that the Republican Party has now been reduced to a policy-free rabble with nothing whatsoever to offer beyond spurious culture-war talking points and GOP gravel in the gears of government is a sign that it's been working.
posted by flabdablet at 1:32 AM on July 29 [2 favorites]


Democratic White House and Congress, please. Using "Democrat" like that is a slur I have zero tolerance for.

i can’t tell if you’re serious about this or not
posted by stinkfoot at 5:09 AM on July 29 [1 favorite]




stinkfoot, read the link kirkaracha posted - it’s definitely an epithet and is purposely used by the GOP in bad faith.
posted by rogerroger at 5:56 AM on July 29 [9 favorites]


yeah i read it, just seems really minor & eye rolly

whatever though i’ll pay more attention
posted by stinkfoot at 6:19 AM on July 29 [7 favorites]


Here is supposed a breakdown of what the funding is for

Apparently Sinema held out for LESS spending on Western water for Arizona as listed in the 'resiliency/western water' category. What a hero.
posted by The_Vegetables at 7:25 AM on July 29 [3 favorites]


This is my statement: Chomsky has said that the United States Republican Party is the most dangerous organization in human history, and the Democratic leadership has fetishized collaboration with them for 30 years. My patience is wearing thin.
posted by ob1quixote at 7:28 AM on July 29 [16 favorites]


Here's a comparison of the original ask vs likely to be passed. If Yonah Freemark says it mostly sucks, I'll take his word.

Though he does say expansion of Amtrack's NE corridor is fairly likely in the new bill.
posted by The_Vegetables at 7:30 AM on July 29 [1 favorite]


The only reason I can imagine for Mitch McConnell to get behind a Democratic initiative is to stab it in the back.

Alternatively, this is a win for the Democratic leadership that McConnell couldn't afford to oppose or even ignore. He's the Republican House leader, and would have to be seen to "lead" something with this much support, a third of his membership, or admit to there being a major split in his caucus. His signing on I would take as a defensive measure. I am certain that he opposed this as much as he could, not wanting to give the Biden admin any wins at all, but had to cave as this was going to happen with or without him. Like any opportunist, now he can salvage a not-loss from a complete defeat by claiming to have been in support for this all along.

Also, it's very likely that his masters major donors weren't opposed to the government paying industry for public works projects. The shape of this deal has much to do with which industries get handouts.
posted by bonehead at 7:40 AM on July 29 [5 favorites]


Democratic White House and Congress, please. Using "Democrat" like that is a slur I have zero tolerance for.

A disparaging, or even rude, name for something is not always a "slur".
posted by dusty potato at 7:55 AM on July 29 [12 favorites]


Chomsky has said that the United States Republican Party is the most dangerous organization in human history, and the Democratic leadership has fetishized collaboration with them for 30 years.

You're confusing cause and effect. The media fetishizes bipartisanship, though it only punishes Democrats for not getting Republicans to work with them. Look at the idiotic responses to McCarthy pulling his saboteurs from the House Select Committee, even though it already has at least one Republican on it. Republican bad faith is expected, though never mentioned, so the media defines "bipartisanship" as "Democrats doing what the Republicans want."

Democrats fail to do enough anything to counter this narrative and point out hte extreme partisanship of the Republicans, but they aren't seeking Republican Congressional votes just for laughs.
posted by Gelatin at 8:05 AM on July 29 [4 favorites]


yeah i read it, just seems really minor & eye rolly

If someone says a particular term is offensive to them, it’s really rude to criticize and minimize their complaint. Your use of language unintentionally offended several in this thread: an apology and not continuing use of the term is all that’s required.

I realize 'democrat' may be a slur to some

No, it’s a slur that was purposefully created and focus-grouped by Frank Luntz, specifically to be a dismissive way to refer to the Democratic Party; it is not an organic, collective evolution of usage, it is propaganda in a term. I will not concede to Republican propaganda masquerading as language usage—just like “death tax” instead of estate tax, or dozens of other evil epithets that Luntz has devised.
posted by LooseFilter at 8:35 AM on July 29 [16 favorites]


Bi-partisan theater like this has served Democrats and those on the left well. The alternative is the political wilderness and nothing.
posted by interogative mood at 8:43 AM on July 29 [3 favorites]


Mod note: One comment deleted. Let's please leave the sidebar about the malicious invented phrase "Democrat Party". Fair point that it's a phrase whose origins people should be aware of, but that discussion has been had here a bunch, if people need to have it in more depth maybe make a separate post for it?
posted by LobsterMitten (staff) at 8:49 AM on July 29 [1 favorite]


I know that you're right, interogative mood, but I worry that fear of the wilderness won't stave off it's arrival.
posted by ob1quixote at 8:51 AM on July 29 [1 favorite]






Summary:
—$40b bridges
—$11b safety
—$39b transit
—$66b Amtrak/rail
—$7.5b e-vehicle chargers
—$5b clean buses
—$17b ports
—$25b airports
—$50b water resilience
—$55b drinking water
—$65b broadband
—$21b enviro remediation
—$73b power/clean energy
Twitter thread from Josh Freed of Third Way Energy going through the climate aspects of the deal.
posted by russilwvong at 10:38 AM on July 29 [4 favorites]


Bi-partisan theater like this has served Democrats and those on the left well. The alternative is the political wilderness and nothing.

Republicans get to proudly boast about supporting policies which directly lead to half a million Americans dying painful, lonely, and completely unnecessary deaths while Democrats have to engage in bipartisan theater just to sneak in a modest increase in infrastructure spending.

Republicans get to openly support armed insurrectionists who stormed the Capitol in an attempt to overturn election results, and Democrats are afraid of the backlash forgiving student debt might create.

Why? Why can't we have nice things? Why is the system so stacked in their favor?
posted by RonButNotStupid at 10:47 AM on July 29 [1 favorite]


Is Sinema a Russian plant? They're basically competing for most useless Democrat and operating as machine grit.
posted by kokaku at 10:57 AM on July 29 [1 favorite]


The bridge connecting Duluth, MN and Superior, WI, has a price tag of about 1 billion dollars, per a planning meeting I attended a couple years ago. It's a huge and unusually complicated bridge, but I'm sure that 40 billion for bridges will be spent very very quickly.
posted by dbx at 11:03 AM on July 29


Is Sinema a Russian plant?

No, but she is 100% in the pocket of polluters, along with almost every other Democratic Senator that "helped" this bill get through.
posted by Glegrinof the Pig-Man at 11:18 AM on July 29


Is Sinema a Russian plant?

no, just a Republican one
posted by Ahmad Khani at 11:31 AM on July 29 [1 favorite]


RonButNotStupid: Why? Why can't we have nice things? Why is the system so stacked in their favor?

There's a guy (David Shor) who's looked closely at voting and polling data, and has a theory on how to strengthen the Democratic position, which he thinks is currently too focused on highly-educated voters like on MetaFilter. Short version: there's lots of working-class voters, both white and non-white, who are economically liberal (support health care) but culturally conservative. Obama won them; Clinton didn't. Probably worth a separate post.
posted by russilwvong at 12:00 PM on July 29 [1 favorite]


Why is the system so stacked in their favor?

I'm going to assume that this question is not rhetorical and that it has been stacked that way from day 1 is genuinely not yet understood.
posted by flabdablet at 12:04 PM on July 29 [2 favorites]


who are economically liberal (support health care) but culturally conservative.

I mean, "cultural conservatism" is just a euphemism for which group's rights are we going to take away or restrict. It's not going to work.

And also it didn't work for Clinton, because that's kind of what some thought Trump was going to do in 2016. Like basically make life a living hell for immigrants, in exchange for vague promises like a pro-American industrial policy, expansion of health care, and infrastructure spending.
posted by FJT at 12:26 PM on July 29 [4 favorites]


Nathan J Robinson: “Adapting” to climate change is the right wing position. It amounts to saying “we’ll help you get used to it.”

Um, just no. We lost the option of prevention a couple of decades back when we (society as a whole) decided to roundly mock the idea of AGW and refused to do what was necessary to limit emissions in a quick and decisive manner. Consequences are now baked in. The only question is how bad we will let it get.

Our options going forward are adaptation and geoengineering on a scale nobody is willing to contemplate, much less risk going awry.
posted by wierdo at 12:31 PM on July 29 [3 favorites]


wierdo: - geoengineering on a scale nobody is willing to contemplate, much less risk going awry.

I think of it as the "Snowpiercer solution."
posted by russilwvong at 12:51 PM on July 29 [2 favorites]


I think I should have said "reality" instead of "system" in that (mostly rhetorical) lament because we've already talked a lot about gerrymandering, the electoral college, the Senate, "working class" people, the 2016 election, messaging, and systemic racism. The system is broken--we know that.

I think what frustrates me is just how that broken system keeps prevailing no matter what happens, especially now that the midterms are looming and mask mandates are being reimposed. The pandemic would have been a political nightmare for even a competent administration because it's not like you can campaign on "it could have been worse" once deaths start exceeding the tens of thousands. And yet somehow doing exactly the opposite of what one should do--resisting mask mandates, denying the virus even exists, letting hospitals get overwhelmed--didn't really matter all that much because Republicans are Homer Simpson, and the rest of us are Frank Grimes.
posted by RonButNotStupid at 1:21 PM on July 29 [1 favorite]


> Short version: there's lots of working-class voters, both white and non-white, who are economically liberal (support health care) but culturally conservative. Obama won them; Clinton didn't. Probably worth a separate post.

Unless Shor has added more detail to his theory since November, that post has already been made. The problem with trying to apply his "popularist" message to a situation like we have now in the Senate is that Shor is generally talking about median voters and winning elections, not legislative priorities and sizes of infrastructure bills. This Twitter thread gets at some of the reasons people talk past each other when they try to apply campaign cycle analysis to discussing things other than gaining a tiny mathematical advantage in competitive legislative districts, which is that how politicians position themselves during campaigns has very little to do with what they do when the get elected.
posted by tonycpsu at 1:23 PM on July 29 [3 favorites]


I think what frustrates me is just how that broken system keeps prevailing no matter what happens

But it just lost. This was something Trump and McConnell were working really hard to stop, and they couldn't. You think they want to do anything that might help the economy while Biden is president? You think they want to hand Biden a symbolic win, or to actually have a bipartisan vote?

Fuckers got rolled, is what just happened.

There's this thing where any time Republicans win something, or sort of win something, or hold the status quo and claim it as a win, all their followers start jumping up and down about what a huge victory that was and the media follow suit and by golly it looks like the Republicans won! But any time the Democrats win something, all their followers immediately start looking for something that's wrong with it and talk endlessly about how awful it is and by golly those Democrats sure look like chumps!

We won today, a little bit. Against huge opposition, we got stuff through the Senate, and did it in such a way that even hardass motherfucker Republicans were forced to admit that it was good for the US. Put together a package so good that even almost-half of Republicans had to sign onto it through their tears. So good they defied McConnell. So good they publicly defied Trump. The whole thing might still fail, but today? Today's a win.

I swear, folks. The Democratic mass public would find reasons to complain about winning at Kursk.
posted by GCU Sweet and Full of Grace at 2:27 PM on July 29 [23 favorites]


Republicans will campaign on geo-engineering, weather modification and big carbon capture projects at the answer to climate change and blame the left / environmentalist/ hippies who prevented the research from going forward because they wanted to force Americans to give up their cars and way of life. Regardless of the risks and consequences of that approach.
posted by interogative mood at 3:36 PM on July 29 [2 favorites]


GCU Sweet and Full of Grace: I think I'm going to have to quote your comment every time I post some kind of good news.
posted by russilwvong at 4:11 PM on July 29 [4 favorites]


Vox: What’s in the new infrastructure bill — and why it’s a big deal. Also talks about the Democrat-only bill:
With the bipartisan deal locked in, Democrats can now move on to a bigger bill that they intend to pass through the budget reconciliation process, a limited maneuver that lets the Senate pass a bill with a simple majority. This was part of a political calculation: The more moderate Democrats in Congress, such as Sens. Joe Manchin (D-WV) and Kyrsten Sinema (D-AZ), wanted to show they were working across party lines — a popular move, particularly for Democrats in purple or red states — before passing another big bill on a partisan basis.
posted by russilwvong at 4:17 PM on July 29 [5 favorites]


I’m not sure where the wiley negotiator discussion is, but in this room we’re talking about Congressional Democrats.

Wile e Coyote negotiators
posted by Ray Walston, Luck Dragon at 5:40 PM on July 29 [1 favorite]


Against huge opposition, we got stuff through the Senate

We literally got nothing through the Senate with this.

The bill isn't even completely written yet. This vote that was had which had R support was a vote to begin debate on the substance of the bill, which is still being drafted.

There has been no vote on anything that will pass through to the other chamber and to the President's desk. All this vote was, was an agreement to begin talking about what might eventually become the bill.
posted by hippybear at 5:41 PM on July 29 [4 favorites]


Vote #285. It put 17 Republican senators in opposition to Trump, 17 publicly agreeing to this deal for the moment.

But you're right. What's Kursk? It's still in Allied territory a thousand miles from the Oder, and Japan still controls the Phillippines and is threatening Australia. It doesn't matter.
posted by GCU Sweet and Full of Grace at 5:50 PM on July 29 [2 favorites]


There's this thing where any time Republicans win something, or sort of win something, or hold the status quo and claim it as a win, all their followers start jumping up and down about what a huge victory that was and the media follow suit and by golly it looks like the Republicans won! But any time the Democrats win something, all their followers immediately start looking for something that's wrong with it and talk endlessly about how awful it is and by golly those Democrats sure look like chumps!

I guess it depends how you define "winning". Personally, I don't look at politics as a game or a sporting event, and I don't feel bad about that. Peoples' lives hang on political outcomes. The natural world doesn't care at all about such scorekeeping. In any case, if my experience with media has taught me anything, its taught me that all media, social or traditional, doesn't offer much comfort. I'm glad for the transit investments and the limited progress at speeding the transition to electric vehicles, but much more needs to be done. Biden himself intimated as much. Is he lying?
posted by eagles123 at 8:07 PM on July 29 [5 favorites]


I definitely agree with you (and Joe) that more needs to be done, but this is good news for a few reasons.

The fact that some republicans are on board suggests that action on climate is not precluded by left/right culture war bullshit. This is important because there are a lot of republicans in the us, and they have certain electoral advantages with the us system. If you can get R's on board with climate action, you have greater opportunities to act.

A bipartisan deal shepherded by Biden reflects well on Democrats, who can score points for competent governance, which isn't really a Republican strength right now. D's are stronger on climate overall, so it bodes well for future action.

A bipartisan bill also builds credibility for purple state Democrats, which may improve their electoral chances and free them up to do something more aggressive in reconciliation.

Finally, as GCU points out, 17 republicans broke with trump. That's extremely good news. If you think Dems are feckless or corrupt or misguided on climate, trump is orders of magnitude worse.
posted by factory123 at 9:47 PM on July 29 [2 favorites]


For four years under Trump, “Infrastructure Week” was a running joke. Because, although that narcissistic grifter touted his special insight into infrastructure and deal-making, he actually had neither, and furthermore had zero interest in actual governance.

The fact that Biden may be able to get a bipartisan Infrastructure bill passed seven months into his first term, with half a trillion dollars in new funding for real infrastructure projects, is a big f-ing deal.

I’m looking forward to seeing what the final bill may look like, and then super stoked to see what kind of second “human infrastructure” bill the Dems are then able to pass on a party-line vote through the Reconciliation process. It won’t end up being the $3.5T wishlist some are asking for, but I wouldn’t be surprised if we get at least another half-trillion-dollar bite at this apple.
posted by darkstar at 11:06 PM on July 29 [4 favorites]


I really hope this comes to pass, but IIUC this is basically a vote to have a vote and McConnell can vote against the substantive bill for Reasons. E.g., he would have voted for it – look, he even supported the preliminary bill! – but those pesky Democrats refused to rule out passing measures by Reconciliation, or something.
posted by Joe in Australia at 12:13 AM on July 30 [1 favorite]


Starting to think Sinema isn't a fan of this whole "doing her fucking job" thing:
CAN’T STOP, WON’T STOP SINEMA’S SUMMER — Sinema is not letting [the Bipartisan Infrastructure Framework] or the reconciliation bill get in the way of her summer plans.

When CHUCK SCHUMER announced earlier this month that he might keep the Senate in session into August — delaying a previously scheduled recess in order to shepherd the two gigantic bills through the chamber — Sinema told the majority leader that she was not sticking around to vote, multiple Senate sources tell Playbook.

She had prior vacation plans, she said, and wasn’t about to let the infrastructure or reconciliation bills get in the way.
posted by Glegrinof the Pig-Man at 7:01 AM on July 30 [3 favorites]


Yeah, that fits. Sinema’s political arc over the past 20 years indicates she has few, if any, real core principles. I got to know her about halfway along her transformation from Iconoclastic Green to Progressive Liberal to staunch Centrist Institutionalist. At every stage, her political views have shifted to exactly what was needed to secure the current rung on the ladder and position herself for the next one.

I voted for her because she’s a Dem, and it gave us control of the Senate. It was the right thing to do. But now we need to find a Dem who will actually vote like one. Gallego would get my vote and completely rout Sinema in a Primary.

But a Primary could fracture the Dem party for the General, and I just don’t know if Gallego or the state party would want to risk the consequences. He’s under all kinds of pressure by many in the Base to do it, though. It’s a tough call. Trying to Primary an incumbent is almost unheard of, and Sinema’s probably counting on that to insulate her from consequences.
posted by darkstar at 7:27 AM on July 30 [1 favorite]




Rs concerned [Schumer] is trying to “pull a fast one” on bipartisan group by substituting his own bill

From political dirty tricks to kiddy diddling, the Rs seem to always point fingers at others for things they themselves are doing or are willing to do. It's "amazing" how being awful makes you think everyone else is equally awful.
posted by hippybear at 6:09 PM on July 30 [2 favorites]


> I'm sure that 40 billion for bridges will be spent very very quickly.

There are actually 3 infrastructure bills moving along:

#1. This bill, which is for supplemental/extra/stimulus/whatever infrastructure spending.

#2. The much bigger reconciliation infrastructure bill the democrats are hoping to pass and which has no Republican support (thus the need to pass it under reconciliation)

#3. The regular six-year transportation reauthorization bill. Work on this has been going on for a couple of years, it has bipartisan support, and it looks to be set to pass later this year some time.

Point is, the $154 billion for roads and bridges, $19 billion for road safety, $77 billion for transit, etc etc is above and beyond the regular amounts we will be spending on these items through the regular transportation funding process.

For perspective, the House version of transportation reauthorization is $547 million, a recently passed Senate version is $300 billion (both over 6 years, I believe - though I believe there are parts in the Senate that will go with the EPW's bill, so the grand total over 6 years will be somewhat north of $300 billion), and the FAST Act (the previous transportation reauthorization bill, 2015) was $305 billion over five years.

Point is, the $40-$50 billion per year the federal government puts into transportation via its regular annual funding mechanisms is on a different track, and the dollars in this bill are additional spending above and beyond that regular amount. I'm seeing $200-billion-ish here that is road/highway related and so even if spread over 10 years it still makes a nice 50%-ish annual increase in our usual road & highway spending. Similarly for ports, airports, transit, etc.

So, those are pretty significant increases.

Something like the Duluth-Superior bridge would get built eventually even under current funding, by cobbling together bits of federal, state, and local money most often combining smaller sums from various pots over several years time. What this additional funding will do is accelerate the timeline for projects, particularly any that are seen as especially high-priority. Also, a pot like this is very, very unlikely fully fund anything. But if a project like the Duluth Superior bridge were to receive a sum like $100 million from this pot, that would likely move its construction forward by a couple of years if not more.

The amounts planned for the Democrats reconciliation bill are even more above and beyond both of those, but that bill won't include things like roads, bridges, public transit--and generally everything you see in this bill.
posted by flug at 3:12 PM on July 31 [4 favorites]


The fact that some republicans are on board suggests that action on climate is not precluded by left/right culture war bullshit. This is important because there are a lot of republicans in the us, and they have certain electoral advantages with the us system. If you can get R's on board with climate action, you have greater opportunities to act.

I think the fact that regulators in China and the EU are basically forcing the global auto industry to shift away from fossil fuels is definitely spurring cooperation that wouldn't occur absent that pressure. Leaving the US incompatible with the global energy and transit infrastructure seems like it would be the type of thing to get business lobbies and other interests to force a deal with political players that likely would be recalcitrant otherwise. I think I remember Susan Collins even stating she wanted to prove the US had a functioning government. That, if nothing else, is what is going to save this bill and the reconciliation bill if nothing else. Ford and GM's business plans going foreword seem to depend on it.
posted by eagles123 at 9:56 PM on July 31 [1 favorite]


Latest update: Senate Passes $1 Trillion Infrastructure Bill, Handing Biden a Bipartisan Win.

Matthew Yglesias on Twitter: One thing about BIF getting *nineteen* Republican votes is that once a bill is clearly going to pass, some legislators inevitably decide they should get on the bandwagon and have a chance at some input.

GCU Sweet and Full of Grace:
There's this thing where any time Republicans win something, or sort of win something, or hold the status quo and claim it as a win, all their followers start jumping up and down about what a huge victory that was and the media follow suit and by golly it looks like the Republicans won! But any time the Democrats win something, all their followers immediately start looking for something that's wrong with it and talk endlessly about how awful it is and by golly those Democrats sure look like chumps!
posted by russilwvong at 12:40 PM on August 10 [1 favorite]


This looks great:
The bill also carries major policy changes. It amounts to a tacit, bipartisan acknowledgment that the country is ill prepared for a worsening climate. Billions of dollars would be invested in projects to better protect homes from weather calamities, move vulnerable communities out of harm’s way and support new approaches to countering climate change.

It also includes $73 billion to update the nation’s electricity grid so it can carry more renewable energy, $7.5 billion to construct electric vehicle charging stations, $17.5 billion for clean buses and ferries and $15 billion for removing lead pipes.
The bill still has to pass the House (where progressive Democrats want to wait until the Senate passes the Democrat-only reconciliation bill).
posted by russilwvong at 12:49 PM on August 10


The bill still has to pass the House (where progressive Democrats want to wait until the Senate passes the Democrat-only reconciliation bill).

Starring Joe Manchin as Achilles' Heel and Mitch McConnell as the Puppetmaster.
posted by hippybear at 9:55 PM on August 10 [1 favorite]


Nothing is over until it is over, and nothing happens without a lot of effort. That doesn't mean no one should ever stop trying. If you stop pushing you will lose for certain.

I'm not at all a Sanders-bro, but I can really appreciate someone like him working for as long as he has, to be always pushing for a more socialist America, finally being on the cusp of seeing real change. Maybe not perfect change, but real, substantial change. I think the reconciliation package to come might be as consequential as the New Deal. I hope it can be. People like Sanders have made it so.
posted by bonehead at 9:48 AM on August 13 [1 favorite]


Nothing is over until it is over, and nothing happens without a lot of effort. That doesn't mean no one should ever stop trying. If you stop pushing you will lose for certain.

I saw an interesting observation recently: excessive pessimism has the same consequences as complacency, namely passivity and inaction. If you think we're doomed no matter what, why try?
posted by russilwvong at 12:19 PM on August 13 [2 favorites]


So, I guess where we stand now is a late-September guaranteed vote in the House on the Senate-passed bill, with the intervening weeks used to work on the shape of the OTHER bill, to be passed at or around the same time.

It's a ballsy move. I hope Pelosi can pull it off.

It getting out of the Senate actually have given me hope for the bill.
posted by hippybear at 10:32 PM on August 25 [1 favorite]


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