Infrastructure Update: July 16, 2021

KEY TAKEAWAYS:

  • Senate Majority Leader Charles Schumer (D-NY) on Thursday said the Senate will vote to open debate on the Bipartisan Infrastructure Framework (BIF) deal next Wednesday, July 21. This sets up a key test vote on the compromise. “Today I’m announcing that I intend to file cloture on the vehicle for the bipartisan infrastructure bill on Monday of next week,” Sen. Schumer said from the Senate floor. Because the bipartisan group doesn’t actually have bill text, Sen. Schumer will file cloture on a shell bill that senators will later swap the bipartisan legislation into. The bill will need 60 votes to get over Wednesday’s initial hurdle. If every Democrat votes to advance it, which is not a certainty, that means Democrats would need at least 10 GOP votes. Text has yet to be released, and various Republican Senators in the bipartisan group of 21 have voiced concerns throughout the week. Senator Rob Portman (R-OH) voiced skepticism about the timeline and increasing IRS enforcement authority, while Senators Mike Rounds (R-SD) and Shelly Moore Capito (R-WV) stated their concerns about the pay-fors.
  • Wednesday is also the deadline Schumer has set for Democrats to be ready to “move forward” on a separate budget resolution that tees up $3.5 trillion in spending. The party hopes to pass its budget and the budget reconciliation package with just Democratic votes. Schumer’s approach, announced on the Senate floor, is a hardball strategy to try to force agreement on advancing Democrats’ biggest legislative priority before Congress leaves for August. Senator Joe Manchin (D-WA) has said he wants the deal to be fully paid for and said he is open to the $3.5 trillion deal. Schumer and Senator Mark Warner (D-VA) have said the reconciliation package would be fully paid for, although this will become a larger challenge depending on which pay-fors are included in the financing of this deal. However, for budget reconciliation, there will be a bit less of a concern regarding the pay-fors, considering this will be a Democrat-only exercise.
  • President Biden returned to the Senate to discuss the $3.5 trillion deal with Senate Democrats on Wednesday, July 14. He said they are going to “get the deal done” while Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) has called the deal a “victory for the American people.” The $3.5 trillion deal is largely aimed at health care and antipoverty plans. Senate Republicans have already began expressing opposition. Senate Minority Whip John Thune (R-SD) said that Washington is “out of control” in terms of spending. His hope is that Democrats do include pay-fors and that the deal is not additional deficit spending, although he is skeptical of Schumer’s timeline. On the other side of the spectrum, Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) expressed optimism, stating, “There is no (topline) number. There’s a lot of moving back and forth. And that’s a good thing.” She and other progressives see this as a once in generation opportunity to address social policies, such as combating climate change.
  • A key voice in Washington has yet to make many headlines. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY), who has been largely quiet throughout most of the process, may go along with the BIF. It has been reported that he is privately telling his members to separate the BIF from the Democratic reconciliation package and publicly stated there’s a decent chance for the BIF’s passage. Most of the Republican Senators have been negotiating with free will and not been taking direction from McConnell. However, that could change in the future, and Senators currently part of the group of 21 could find themselves at crossroads if the deal turns sour.
  • The BIF is likely to incorporate the text of the surface transportation bill approved by the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee. “That’s been our request and I think we have achieved that,” said Senator Ben Cardin (D-MD). The Chair of the Committee, Senator Tom Carper (D-DE), also confirmed the plan. Adding the surface bill would allow negotiators to incorporate bipartisan legislative language into the BIF, as previously suggested by Representative Peter DeFazio (D-OR). S. 1931, the Surface Reauthorization Act of 2021, proposes spending about $311 billion on highways in the next five years, an increase of 34 percent over the previous surface authorization. It would put more than $270 billion into the Highway Trust Fund and provide aid to expand rural transportation infrastructure, maintain bridges and build infrastructure for alternative fuel vehicles. Additionally, the House earlier this month passed H.R. 3684, the INVEST in America Act, with a price tag of $715 billion.

 

IN THE NEWS

BIDEN ADMINISTRATION NEWS

US offers up to $10 million reward for information on cyberattacks against critical infrastructure by foreign states (CNN 7/15)

  • “The US government is offering up to $10 million for information that can identify or locate malicious cyber actors working on behalf of a foreign government to target critical US infrastructure, the US State Department announced Thursday.”

Biden-Harris Administration Invests $9.5 Million in Rural Water and Wastewater Infrastructure Improvements in South Carolina (Post and Courier 7/14)

  • “Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack recently announced that the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) is investing $307 million to modernize rural drinking water and wastewater infrastructure in 34 states and Puerto Rico. The investment includes over $9.5 million for water and wastewater infrastructure in South Carolina.”

Copper, silver and nickel to get a boost from Biden infrastructure plan (Proactive Investors 7/14)

  • “Joe Biden’s US$579bn infrastructure plan for the US is expected to have a profound impact on commodity markets and supply chains, particularly for metals such as copper, nickel and silver, according to one investment manager.”

Biden administration weakens some proposed safety rules for public housing, alarming advocates (NBC 7/14)

  • “The Department of Housing and Urban Development has backed away from new health and safety requirements for public housing that would require fire extinguishers, a minimum number of electrical outlets and other measures intended to protect residents from serious and potentially life-threatening hazards, according to the latest draft of the new standards.”

U.S. Department of Energy Awards $12 Million to American Indian and Alaska Native Communities to Maximize Deployment of Energy Technology (Red Lake 7/14)

  • “The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) has awarded $12 million in funding to 13 Native American and Alaska Native communities across the nation for projects that will reduce energy costs and increase energy security and resiliency.”

Walsh calls for caregivers to get massive investment in trillion-dollar infrastructure bill (News 7 7/13)

  • “Labor Secretary Marty Walsh called for more money for caregivers at a rally in Washington, D.C., on Tuesday. The former mayor of Boston said he wants to see billions of dollars invested in caregiver support in a proposed trillion-dollar infrastructure package, and that the funding could affect the future for many working Americans.”

Three New Mexico Projects Included In $307M Investment In Rural Water And Wastewater Infrastructure Improvements (Daily Post 7/12)

  • “Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack announced last week that the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) is investing $307 million to modernize rural drinking water and wastewater infrastructure in 34 states and Puerto Rico.”

In call, Biden presses Putin to act on ransomware attacks (Devdiscourse 7/10)

  • “Many of the gangs carrying out the ransomware attacks are alleged by American officials and cybersecurity researchers to be operating out of Russia with the awareness, if not the approval, of the government there.”

$30M in federal funds coming to Forsyth to improve water infrastructure (41 NBC 7/9)

  • “Millions of dollars in federal funding [are] coming to the city of Forsyth to help improve water and wastewater systems. Funds are coming from the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA)’s Water and Waste Disposal Loan and Grant Program.”

New North gets broadband funding boost (Go Press Times 7/9)

  • “New North, Inc., a regional economic development non-profit working in 18 counties throughout Northeast Wisconsin including Brown County, recently received a $500,000 U.S. Economic Development Association (EDA) Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act grant.”

 

CONGRESSIONAL NEWS

Senate negotiators scramble to defang GOP criticism (The Hill 7/16)

  • “Senators negotiating the bipartisan infrastructure package are trying to defang potential GOP criticism about the funding mechanisms for their $1.2 trillion deal and whether they can fully cover the cost of the legislation. The group of almost two dozen senators is racing to finalize legislative text for the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) in a matter of days as they face pressure from Senate Majority Leader Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.), who has scheduled a procedural vote for Wednesday. With top Republicans signaling the CBO analysis will be a key factor in whether they support the package, negotiators are laying the groundwork to argue that the congressional scorekeeper lowballed some of their proposals. They are also looking for potential revenue alternatives amid conservative concern about some of their ideas.”

Manchin signals he’ll be team player on spending deal (The Hill 7/16)

  • “Sen. Joe Manchin (W.Va.), a crucial centrist vote in the Democratic caucus, is signaling to colleagues that he won’t derail a $3.5 trillion budget resolution that contains many of President Biden’s legislative priorities. Senate Democrats say Manchin has indicated he will not stand in the way of the measure moving forward and will be generally supportive as long as he’s kept in the loop on his top concerns: how to pay for the bill and a clean energy provision. Manchin told colleagues Wednesday where he stood at a caucus luncheon attended by Biden, where Democrats discussed their plans for passing two major infrastructure bills. The West Virginia senator said he waited until Biden left the room to explain his position to fellow Democrats.”

Bipartisan infrastructure package likely to incorporate pieces of the surface bill (Politico Pro 7/15)

  • “The bipartisan infrastructure deal teed up for a procedural vote next week is likely to incorporate the text of the surface transportation bill approved by the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee. ‘That’s been our request and I think we have achieved that,’ said Sen. Ben Cardin (D-Md.) Thursday, though he cautioned that the negotiations are a ‘moving target.’ Sen. Tom Carper, chair of EPW, also confirmed the plan. Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer announced that the chamber will hold a procedural vote on a vehicle for the bipartisan bill next Wednesday, though the text remains incomplete and negotiators still have not resolved lingering issues over the bill’s pay-fors.”

Senate nears pivotal vote on bipartisan infrastructure deal that’s still unwritten (Politico 7/15)

  • “Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer said Thursday that he will tee up a vote next week on taking up the chamber’s bipartisan infrastructure proposal, a hardball bid to force consensus on President Joe Biden’s domestic agenda before August. The Senate is expected to vote on Wednesday on advancing to a debate on the bipartisan plan to spend nearly $600 billion on roads, bridges and broadband that Biden endorsed last month. The vote to break a filibuster on proceeding to the bill will need 60 votes, and at least 10 Republicans — double the number of GOP senators who joined the president at the White House to tout the agreement.”

Advocacy groups urge Pelosi, Schumer to keep Pentagon funding out of infrastructure bills (The Hill 7/15)

  • “More than 40 advocacy groups are urging congressional leadership to keep any Pentagon funding out of the upcoming infrastructure packages. In a letter being sent Friday to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) and Senate Majority Leader Charles Schumer (D-NY), the 48 groups said they were ‘troubled by reports that members of Congress are considering adding new funding for the Department of Defense to forthcoming infrastructure and recovery legislation.’”

Sanders, Biden meet as infrastructure bill swells past $3.5T (Columbia Basin Herald 7/15)

  • “Emerging from a private meeting at the White House, Sen. Bernie Sanders said Monday that he and President Joe Biden are on the same page as Democrats draft a ‘transformative’ infrastructure package unleashing more than $3.5 trillion in domestic investments on par with the New Deal of the 1930s. Sanders, chairman of the Senate Budget Committee, and Democrats on his panel also huddled privately at the Capitol for two hours late Monday with Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-NY, and key White House advisers during a consequential time for Biden’s top priority. Congress is racing to put together a sweeping proposal financing infrastructure, family assistance and other programs for initial votes later this month.”

Democrats’ $3.5 trillion budget package funds family programs, clean energy and Medicare expansion (CNBC 7/14)

  • “Senate Democrats released the framework Wednesday for their $3.5 trillion budget resolution bill, which they hope to pass later this summer on a party-line vote. The bill will contain nearly all of President Joe Biden’s American Families Plan bill, plus the addition of expanded Medicare coverage for hearing, vision and dental care. How long each of the programs would last is still up in the air, however, as is how much money will be dedicated to each of the dozens of programs in the bill.

GOP’s Thune warns $3.5T deal ‘complicates’ bipartisan infrastructure bill (The Hill 7/14)

  • “Sen. John Thune (R-S.D.) warned Wednesday that the Democratic agreement for a $3.5 trillion price tag for their party-line infrastructure bill ‘complicates’ GOP support for a separate bipartisan deal. ‘Having the budget resolution conversation around this complicates the issue and makes it clear what the Democrats’ ultimate objectives are and if able to achieve those, yeah, it creates a lot of heartburn for our members,’ Thune told reporters.”

Democrats unveil $3.5T go-it-alone plan to fulfill Biden’s agenda (Politico 7/14)

  • “Senate Democrats announced a top line budget number late Tuesday that will propel their plan to enact the full array of President Joe Biden’s social welfare and family aid promises without Republican votes.

The proposal sets an overall limit of $3.5 trillion for the spate of Democratic policy ambitions that won’t make it into a bipartisan infrastructure deal, if Congress can reach one. If the still-forthcoming budget resolution can clear both chambers with lockstep party support, it will unleash the power to circumvent a GOP filibuster using the so-called reconciliation process, the same move that Democrats used to pass the president’s $1.9 trillion pandemic aid package in March.”

U.S. Senate panel passes climate measure likely to shape infrastructure bill (Reuters 7/14)

  • “A U.S. Senate committee on Wednesday passed a bill on climate and energy initiatives that are expected to be debated as part of the wider bipartisan infrastructure bill. The Senate energy panel voted 13 to 7 to pass the bill, which includes funding to help the power grid handle more electricity from renewable sources and boost production of hydrogen from sources that are cleaner than fossil fuels.”

Republicans Who Worked on Bipartisan Infrastructure Say They Won’t Commit to It (Truthout 7/13)

  • Several Senate Republicans who initially said they’d support the watered down, bipartisan version of President Joe Biden’s infrastructure bill are now saying that they aren’t committed to voting to advance the bill, leaving the future of the proposal in the lurch. Five out of 11 Republicans who previously said they’d support the proposal told CNN that they’re now wary of supporting it — despite the fact that Biden agreed to cut the bill down to almost an eighth of its original size and has given up a large portion of the proposals that had originally excited some progressives and Democrats. Senators like Jerry Moran (R-KA) said they are concerned that Democrats plan to tie the bipartisan infrastructure bill to a larger reconciliation bill that is slated to contain a wide variety of Democratic priorities and can be passed with a simple majority in the Senate. Democratic leaders Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY) and Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) have said that they won’t raise the infrastructure bill without the reconciliation package.”

Manchin draws red line in infrastructure talks (The Hill 7/13)

  • “Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV) warned on Tuesday that he wants both a bipartisan infrastructure bill and a separate Democratic-only bill to be fully paid for. ‘I think everything should be paid for. We’ve put enough free money out,’ Manchin told reporters. Manchin’s demand, if he sticks to it, could create real problems in Democratic negotiations. The party in a matter of weeks is seeking to exercise a complicated legislative goal of winning Senate approval of both a bipartisan infrastructure measure opposed by many progressives and a budget resolution that will tee up a larger Democratic bill filled with spending priorities. The latter bill will not win any GOP support and will need to pass with just Democratic votes, including Manchin’s.”

GOP support for bipartisan infrastructure deal going wobbly (Politico 7/12)

  • “Jerry Moran is one of 11 Republicans who endorsed the Senate’s bipartisan infrastructure framework. He also has plenty of concerns about it. The Kansas Republican said the idea of using increased IRS enforcement to generate some of the nearly $600 billion in new spending ‘has some red flags among Republicans,’ who have openly worried about being targeted by the Biden administration. Moran’s also concerned his vote for a bipartisan bill could help kick off a massive subsequent round of spending by Senate Democrats on party lines. ‘Part of the motivation is trying to make certain that we don’t spend $6 trillion,’ Moran said on Monday evening. If ‘this is lending itself toward that outcome then I would no longer be a yes at that point in time.’”

Rob Portman on Why the G.O.P. Should Team Up With Biden on Infrastructure (New York Times 7/12)

  • “Senator Rob Portman, Republican of Ohio and a three-decade veteran of Washington, helped lead the bipartisan negotiations that produced an infrastructure deal that has been endorsed by President Biden. But that may have been the easy part. Now, it will be up to Mr. Portman and his colleagues to write the bill, set to provide nearly $600 billion in new federal spending, and shepherd it through the narrowly divided and deeply polarized House and Senate to Mr. Biden’s desk. Mr. Portman is uniquely positioned for the role he is playing. A seasoned operator in Washington, he served for more than 20 years in the House and has been in the Senate for a decade, with stints in between as President George W. Bush’s top trade official and then his budget chief… ‘But I don’t see that there’s any reason that Republicans would be opposed to dealing with infrastructure separately. That makes all the sense in the world, because we, for the most part, we support infrastructure.’”

The Senate returns to a complicated agenda, seeking to pass infrastructure and other economic priorities (New York Times 7/12)

  • “The Senate will return to Washington on Monday from a two-week recess facing a pile of complicated legislative work and key deadlines looming in the push to enact President Biden’s far-reaching economic agenda. Democratic leaders have mapped out a monthlong sprint for senators, warning them to prepare for late nights, weekend work and even the cancellation of part of their beloved August recess to set up final passage of their priorities in the fall. The House does not return until next week, but will face a similar time crunch when it does. Their goal is to simultaneously advance two hulking bills before the summer break: a bipartisan investment in roads, bridges, high-speed internet and other infrastructure projects; and a far larger and more partisan package that would include tax increases on corporations and the rich to fund an expansion of the social safety net and programs to fight climate change. If successful, the July sprint would set up Congress to pass both bills into law when it returns to work in September.”

U.S. Senator Dianne Feinstein Announces Bipartisan Legislation To Address Climate Change, Restore Rivers, Improve Public Safety, and Modernize Hydropower (Sierra Sun Times 7/11)

  • “Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), Representative Annie Kuster (N.H.) and Don Young (R-Alaska) last Friday announced legislation to accelerate the rehabilitation retrofit, or removal of America’s 90,000 dams. Representative Kuster introduced H.R. 4375, the bipartisan Twenty-First Century Dams Act and Senator Feinstein will introduce companion legislation in the Senate in the coming weeks. The bill makes a $25.8 billion investment in enhancing the safety, grid resilience benefits and power generating capacity of America’s existing dams while also providing historic funding to remove dams that are no longer necessary.”

Trump tells GOP lawmakers to halt infrastructure push: You’re ‘being played’ (The Hill 7/10)

  • Former President Trump urged ‘RINO Republicans’ to stop negotiating with Democrats over a bipartisan infrastructure deal, saying they are ‘just being played.’ ‘RINO Republicans should stop negotiating the infrastructure deal—you are just being played by the Radical Left Democrats—they will give you nothing!’ Trump said in a statement late Friday, using the acronym for Republican In Name Only.”

Democrats wrestle over control of the infrastructure throttle (Politico 7/9)

  • “Democrats are hurtling toward their most consequential stretch of legislating since the passage of Obamacare, with major decisions left unmade as they wrangle over the size and scope of President Joe Biden’s sweeping domestic agenda. July and August will render a decisive verdict on Democrats’ so-called ‘two-track’ strategy of enacting Biden’s jobs and families plans via twin bills, one with GOP support focusing on physical infrastructure and the other on a partisan spending plan centered on fighting climate change, increasing child care and raising taxes on corporations and the wealthy.”

 

PAY-FORS

Intense special session leads to solid state budget (Union Times 7/15)

  • “Minnesota’s road construction season will proceed on schedule this year after lawmakers passed last October a $7.27 billion bill to fund transportation projects for the next two years. The Jobs and Economic Development bill includes $70 million in new funding for border-to-border broadband infrastructure. The money will come from the federal stimulus bill and will help Minnesotans across the state with poor internet access. Minnesota aims to provide broadband at 100 megabits per second download and 20 mbps upload by 2026.”

Gov. DeWine’s $1B in business relief makes state budget mostly intact – but Ohio ad campaign nixed (Columbus Business First 7/14)

  • “Ohio’s new two-year budget keeps intact most of Gov. Mike DeWine’s $1 billion in coronavirus recovery proposals for the hospitality industry, small businesses and broadband expansion. DeWine proposed $200 million for general infrastructure grants; lawmakers in conference committee increased that to $500 million but targeted for cleaning polluted properties and preparing sites for development.”

Key centrist Tester will vote to proceed to $3.5T budget deal (The Hill 7/14)

  • “Earlier in the day, Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.), another pivotal centrist, said he’s open to the $3.5 trillion budget deal announced by Senate Majority Leader Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) and Budget Committee Chairman Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) on Tuesday evening.

‘We’re anxious to basically review it. They worked hard on it, we want to see it. Also I’ve been very clear that I want to see the pay-fors and make sure that whatever we do is globally competitive,’ Manchin told reporters Wednesday.”

Manchin says both infrastructure bills should be paid for (The New York Post 7/13)

  • “Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) told reporters Tuesday that both the $1.2 trillion bipartisan infrastructure package and a larger bill being crafted by congressional Democrats should be fully paid for, and that he doesn’t ‘think we need more debt.’ ‘We need to pay for it,’ Manchin said, according to Politico. ‘I’d like to pay for all of it. I don’t think we need more debt.’”

Lawmakers Grapple With Nagging Infrastructure Detail: How to Pay for It (The New York Times 7/13)

  • “Republican supporters of a bipartisan infrastructure deal, rushing to lay the groundwork for a Senate vote as early as next week, have found themselves hung up on a familiar issue: how to pay for the hundreds of billions of dollars in new spending.

As lawmakers toil to turn a broad infrastructure outline into detailed legislation, the problem of the so-called pay-fors — which has plagued the bipartisan group behind the framework from the start — has only become thornier. Now, they are bracing for the Congressional Budget Office, the nonpartisan congressional scorekeeper, to rule that the revenue increases they agreed to in June will not add up to enough money to cover the nearly $600 billion for roads, bridges, rail and broadband included in their plan.”

Bipartisan infrastructure deal stalls as bigger plan gains (PBS 7/13)

  • “A $1 trillion bipartisan infrastructure deal senators struck with President Joe Biden is at risk of stalling out as Republicans mount stiff resistance over ways to pay for it and momentum shifts to a more robust Democratic proposal that could come into focus as soon as Tuesday.”

Senators aim to settle bipartisan infrastructure text as clock ticks (Roll Call 7/14)

  • “Republicans such as Sen. Jerry Moran, R-Kan., who agreed to the two-page framework the senators are trying to build upon, have since expressed concern about a Democratic plan to pair it with a multi-trillion budget reconciliation bill aimed at pushing other, more partisan priorities. Another hurdle is the long menu of pay-fors included in the bill, including stepped up IRS enforcement. Lawmakers have expressed increasing concern that the Congressional Budget Office won’t count it as revenue, meaning they cannot say that the bill is fully paid for.”

Mayors push climate infrastructure action (Politico 7/13)

  • “The core five Republicans who helped negotiate the package are standing by what they agreed on with Democrats. The rest of the 11 Republicans who backed the package are crucial to its passage, but want to see the details before committing. ‘I think a lot of our members are going to look at: How credible are the pay-fors, how large is this?’ said Senate Minority Whip John Thune (R-S.D.). ‘For our members, it’s really going to come down to whether it’s all put on the debt.’”

Graham: Bipartisan infrastructure pay-fors are insufficient (The Hill 7/12)

  • “Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), the top Republican on the Senate Budget Committee, says his colleagues need to come up with additional pay-fors to cover the cost of an eight-year, $1.2 trillion bipartisan infrastructure proposal. ‘We don’t have enough pay-fors. It’s not so much not supporting the ones we got, it’s just it’s not enough,’ Graham said Monday leaving the Capitol after a late-afternoon vote.”

In blow to Bernie, $3.5T likely starting point for Dem-only infrastructure bill (Yahoo! News 7/11)

  • “The emerging agreement will, however, cover all of the major Biden administration proposals on soft infrastructure, including the president’s families, climate and housing programs, according to a source familiar with the Senate budget resolution discussions.

While negotiators are still finalizing details, the proposal is close to fully offset with new revenues, among other pay-fors. The roughly $3.5 trillion could get shaved down further once the full Senate — including centrists like Sens. Joe Manchin (D- W.Va.), Kyrsten Sinema (D-Ariz.) and Jon Tester (D-Mont.) — extract their own demands.”

 

STATE & LOCAL NEWS

Pittsburgh City Council gives first approval to spending $335 million COVID-19 funds (Pittsburgh Post-Gazette 7/14)

  • “Pittsburgh City Council on Wednesday gave preliminary approval to a four-year spending plan for the $335 million in federal COVID-19 relief funds. $13.6 million will be allocated in 2021 to capital improvement projects, including fixing city steps and other infrastructure, according to the latest publicly available figures. Additional funds will be allocated to fix the 57th Street steps in Ms. Gross’ district, according to the administration.”

Maine state government received almost $1 billion in federal funds from American Rescue Plan (Denver Gazette 7/13)

  • “Maine is receiving $997 million in direct state funding from the American Rescue Plan Act, which is about 9.5% of the state’s annual spending, according to information from Pew Charities Trust. Gov. Janet Mills has created a spending plan for the funds that includes $547 million for infrastructure revitalization. This includes funding for broadband expansion, transportation improvements, wastewater and drinking water projects and outdoor recreation.”

Mayors Across The Country Pressure Congress On Bipartisan Infrastructure Framework (Daily Caller 7/13)

  • “The U.S. Conference of Mayors is urging Congress ‘to take immediate action’ on the bipartisan infrastructure framework, according to a letter sent Tuesday. The letter is signed by over 369 bipartisan mayors from all 50 states plus D.C., a press release from the White House noted. Democratic Dayton, Ohio, Mayor Nan Whaley is leading the push to get Congress to pass the bill, which was developed by a group of five Democrat and five Republican lawmakers in June.”

U.S. Rep. Jackson introduces legislation to modernize VA infrastructure (Everything Lubbock 7/13)

  • “Today, Congressman Ronny Jackson (TX-13) introduced legislation to support veterans by modernizing Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) infrastructure. By extending the federal CHIP IN (Communities Helping Invest through Property and Improvements Needed for Veterans) pilot program, the VA would be able to accept donations from non-federal entities to support major construction projects.  The CHIP IN Act was originally passed by Congress in 2016, creating a pilot program that encouraged public-private partnerships for VA construction projects. The program authorized five projects, but only two have been approved. Congressman Jackson’s legislation would extend the program for an additional five years and require the VA to submit a report to Congress to ensure oversight and transparency of the program.”

Newsom’s recall spending spree prompts a word of warning – from Jerry Brown (The Sun 7/12)

  • “As the State of California embarks on an historic spending spree on the precipice of its second gubernatorial recall, the man who preceded Gov. Gavin Newsom is issuing a warning of sorts to the recall subject. Two-time, four-term Gov. Jerry Brown warned of incoming volatility to Sacramento after Newsom and state lawmakers authorized more than $262.6 billion in spending.”

Baker seeks $100m for offshore wind port infrastructure (Commonwealth Magazine 7/9)

  • “As the offshore wind business is ramping up in Massachusetts and along the East Coast, Gov. Charlie Baker is proposing spending $100 million in federal money on marine port infrastructure to support the emerging industry.  The proposal is part of Baker’s $2.9 billion package for how to spend more than half the money from the federal American Rescue Plan Act. Officials from the Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs released more details about the offshore wind proposal at a briefing Friday.”

Trenton Doles Out COVID Pandemic ‘Hazard Pay’ For 1,000+ Public Workers (Daily Voice 7/9)

  • “In addition to city worker hazard pay, Trenton plans to spend more than $53 million in federal aid to ease the economic effects of the pandemic including $15 million in direct stimulus payments to city residents supporting youth and neighborhood programs; spending $22 million on crumbling roads, bridges and other infrastructure; and investing $16 million in job training, local businesses and development.”