By Tom Hance
At last, it happened: The Senate passed its $550 billion bipartisan infrastructure bill by a vote of 69-30. The U.S. Canola Association joined 37 other agricultural groups in a letter to Congressional leadership in support of this bill, which would invest $110 billion in U.S. roads and bridges, $65 billion for broadband, and $17.3 billion for ports and inland waterways. In addition, this bipartisan agreement includes a number of provisions designed to boost the resiliency of the agricultural supply chain, including investments in cybersecurity and programs to address truck driver shortages.
After the Senate concluded its business and adjourned for August recess, the House returned to Washington Aug. 23-24 to pass the budget resolution. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi stated that the $3.5 trillion package for “social infrastructure” and clean energy must also be passed by the Senate before the House will take up the bipartisan infrastructure bill. However, moderate House Democrats would not support the budget resolution until Pelosi agreed to a House vote on passage of the Senate bipartisan infrastructure package by Sept. 27. It remains to be seen whether Democrats can get the votes to pass the $3.5 trillion social infrastructure package. If not, will the bipartisan infrastructure bill that passed the Senate be passed by the House?
It will certainly be a challenging and complicated negotiation among the different factions of the Democrat party, all the House and Senate committees, and House and Senate Leadership. As it stands, the House Agriculture Committee is planning to mark-up its piece of the reconciliation package on Sept. 10.
Tom Hance is a policy expert at Gordley Associates in Washington, D.C.