July Update on Infrastructure Deal

July 14, 2021

As the work on the infrastructure package continues, July and August should bring a decision on Democrats’ so-called “two-track” strategy of enacting Biden’s jobs and families plans via two bills, one with GOP support focusing on “traditional” infrastructure and one expected partisan bill focusing on fighting climate change, increasing childcare, paid family and medical leave and possibly raising taxes on corporations and wealthy individuals.

Work on both bills is coming to completion––senators from both parties are drafting the centrist bill for a July Senate vote, while the Senate Democrats are discussing what to include in the party-line part of the package. Some moderate House members are pushing the party leaders to focus only on the centrist bipartisan bill, while many progressives doubt that a bipartisan bill will work out at all. If the bipartisan bill fails, Democrats will be forced to include all of their priorities in one huge bill.

After three months of negotiations, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) has presented a timetable that envisions passing a budget resolution to allow a Democrat-only tax and spending package, as well as a vote on a deal with Republicans to spend around $600 billion on physical infrastructure, such as roads, bridges, and broadband. Leader Schumer is expected to lay out the timetable in detail on Friday, in a Dear Colleague letter to Democrats.

The successful passing of the infrastructure package will require a lot of coordination between Schumer, Nancy Pelosi, and committee leaders. They will need to work to ensure that the bipartisan bill can pass both the Senate and the House, as well as to ensure that the reconciliation bill has lockstep support in both chambers.