Senate Passes $1.2 Trillion Bipartisan Infrastructure Bill

August 10, 2021

Just before noon on August 10, the Senate passed the $1.2 trillion bipartisan Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (H.R. 3684) in a 69-30 vote and immediately moved to a debate on the $3.5 trillion partisan budget resolution. Nineteen Republicans joined all 50 members of the Democratic caucus to support the infrastructure bill, while the budget vote divided the Senate along partisan lines, 50-49.

The legislation resulted from months of negotiations by President Joe Biden and a group of Democratic and Republican Senators to reach an agreement to increase spending on infrastructure without tax rate increases. The legislation includes $550 billion in new spending and reauthorizes highway and water programs, among other provisions. It would inject money into roads, bridges, water systems, broadband, rail and transit, among other things. The legislation is intended to reduce permitting time for larger infrastructure projects while maintaining environmental standards. The bill’s sponsors also stated that the legislation makes investments on infrastructure needed for a low-carbon economy and helps to reduce emissions and improve the environment.

In a statement praising passage of the bill, NSBA President and CEO Todd McCracken stated, “Broad improvements to our national infrastructure are long overdue and stand to help small businesses disproportionately as they seek to survive and grow in their local communities. This bill will help small businesses compete digitally, expand their markets, and attract a greater range of potential workers.”

NSBA 2021 Chair ML Mackey of Beacon Interactive Systems went on to state, “This is exactly the type of purpose-driven, bipartisan legislative action our country needs. It is of great importance to NSBA and the continued growth and success of America’s small businesses that legislators build upon this bipartisan spirit and continue to address the many other priorities for sustaining and growing the small-business sector.”

Click here to read the full statement.

The Senate bill includes tax and non-tax offsets, including a new cryptocurrency information reporting requirement that is the subject of ongoing debate and a measure reinstating Superfund excise taxes on chemicals. Non-tax offsets for the additional $550 billion for infrastructure spending include rescinding unused funding from COVID-19 relief bills, delaying a scheduled change in Medicare prescription drug rebate rules, revenue from future spectrum auction sales and other government assets, and projected revenue gains generated from the expected economic growth effects of infrastructure improvements. 

The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) has projected that the bill would increase the federal deficit by $256 billion over 10 years. The CBO notes that some of the proposed offsets do not count for budget scoring purposes, and CBO staff have not estimated the macroeconomic effects that the legislation might have on federal revenues.

The Senate followed Tuesday’s vote by moving to take up the second part of Biden’s ambitious domestic agenda, a $3.5 trillion budget resolution that will set the guidelines for a reconciliation package that will address everything from Medicare to climate change to immigration policy to universal prekindergarten for all 3- and 4-year-olds. The success of the reconciliation package, which the Senate is not expected to begin debating until September or later, will determine when the bipartisan infrastructure bill approved on Aug. 10 hits the House floor.

The House currently is in recess until mid-September. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) has stated that the House will not act on the Senate infrastructure bill until work has been completed on a budget reconciliation bill. At this point, it appears that the House and Senate could take some months to pass a final reconciliation tax bill before the end of this year.