BIPARTISAN INFRASTRUCTURE DEAL – WHAT IS IN IT?
- Few Details have been Released: Thetwo-page, high-level infrastructure framework agreed to by President Biden and a bipartisan group of 22 senators is encouraging to see. However, we know that infrastructure bills generally include thousands of pages of legislative text (and the devil is always in the details). Between now and July 12 (when the Senate returns from recess), Senate staffers will be working on those details. For example, here’s what no one knows:
- How will this legislation intersect with ongoing highway and transit reauthorizations proposals in the Senate and House? Will the final package include the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee’s unanimously passed highway bill, or will it include the House Democrat’s partisan highway bill? Will there be additional requirements on domestically available products, project labor agreements, and registered apprenticeship utilization? PRO Act provisions? Will there be any changes to the split between highways and transit in the highway trust fund? Will a large majority of the funds continue to go out via formula rather than discretionary grants? Which pay-fors will be accepted and included in the final package? Will the final package include provisions to reform the environmental review and permitting process?
- AGC/VT and VIECA are Awaiting Further Details: Coalitions have been forming to support this bipartisan infrastructure framework. Before signing on in support, organizations are waiting to see more details to the two-page, high-level framework. While we are always encouraged by bipartisanship, there are too many details that remain unknown before we can sign on in support.
- Chapters may be Asked to Show Support: It is very likely that chapters will be asked to lend their support to this bipartisan infrastructure deal. We’ve heard from a few chapters that groups are pushing state and local associations to join with the Chamber’s “Build by the Fourth” campaign and sign-on in support of this package. For background, we didn’t support the “Build by the Fourth” campaign due to a lack of detail and specificity in what it was calling for. As groups begin to rally support for this package, please take caution on lending support to this deal before further details can be learned, as it could end up looking similar to President Biden’s April-released American Jobs Plan that included government-mandated project labor agreements, local hire requirements, registered apprenticeship programs, and called for passage of the PRO Act. Until further details can be learned we are continuing to focus on garnering support for a bipartisan highway reauthorization bill through the regular legislative process, as evidenced by the letter sign-on we distributed last week to you all calling on Senate leadership to schedule floor time for their highway bill in July.