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WSJ

House Passes $3.5 Trillion Infrastructure Bill

The bill will focus on human infrastructure, while a $1 trillion bill focuses on roads and bridges

Brian Young's picture
Aug 25, 2021

After weeks of wrangling both liberal and moderate members of the Democratic House Caucus, Speaker Nancy Pelosi was able to secure enough votes to pass the $3.5 trillion infrastructure package.

In addition to the $3.5 trillion bill, which the Senate will consider through budget reconciliation, the House is also considering a $1 trillion bipartisan infrastructure bill that the Senate passed earlier in the month. The smaller bipartisan bill focuses more on traditional infrastructure, like rebuilding roads and bridges, and to new forms of infrastructure like expanding broadband access and building a national electric car charging network. Meanwhile, the larger infrastructure bill focuses more on building human infrastructure. Some of the highlights of the bill include funding for universal pre-k for 3- and 4-year-olds, child care for working families, tuition-free community college and investments in historically underfunded higher education institutions like historically black colleges and universities (HBCUs). It also included funding for paid family and medical leave, ACA expansion extension, expanding the child tax credit, long-term care for seniors and people with disabilities, as well as funding for the clean energy, manufacturing, and transportation sectors.

The passage of these two bills would mean a huge investment in American workers and is likely to create hundreds of thousands if not millions of jobs for Americans. Just the extra funding for childcare and eldercare will likely create hundreds of thousands of new jobs. Other infrastructure jobs like building the electrical charging network have been promised to IBEW members. UCOMM Blog previously reported that the Energy Secretary recently visited an IBEW facility that was already preparing their members for this work.

The passage of the bill and the John Lewis Voting Rights act were praised by union leaders. “By passing the $3.5 trillion budget resolution and the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act, the House has taken a critical step forward for working families,” said AFL-CIO President Liz Shuler. “Passage of this resolution puts America one step closer to providing major new funding for good jobs and our care infrastructure—including the first ever federal paid family and medical leave benefit, affordable health care, education and enhanced enforcement of our labor laws. President Biden’s Build Back Better agenda already has made an impact on the lives of so many across this country and today represents yet another victory for America’s working families. With discriminatory voting laws also proliferating across the country, passage of the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act could not come at a more critical time. Thanks to the tireless efforts of House leadership, our country is on its way to building back better and stronger and protecting our democracy; and we look forward to the final passage of these bills and the bipartisan infrastructure legislation as soon as possible.”

As part of the deal, the House also committed to voting on a final bill by the end of September. “Today’s action by the U.S. House of Representatives sets a date by which to move forward on the Bipartisan Infrastructure bill. For far too long our nation has failed to invest in the critical, fundamental infrastructure that the American people want, need and deserve,” said Laborer’s International President Terry O’Sullivan. “While today’s action is progress, we also know that too often in Congress a certain date is not a date certain. The working men and women of LIUNA are counting on Congress to seize the moment, finish the job and pass this transformative bipartisan legislation without delay. We commend Congressman Gottheimer and other Democrats who kept their eye on the prize by resisting efforts to hold infrastructure investment hostage, and by fighting to quickly pass this bipartisan legislation.”

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