Infrastructure Update: July 30, 2021

Please Note: Recently, the Senate voted favorably on a motion to proceed on the BIF, 66-28. However, final text of the BIF has not been made public, as Sens. Rob Portman (R-OH) and Krysten Sinema (D-AZ) recently stated that the bipartisan group is “close to finalizing legislative text” and “will make it public together.” Additionally, we anticipate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) to aim to limit debate, in an effort to pass the BIF as quickly as possible. BGR will update you as we have more information to provide. 

 

KEY TAKEAWAYS:

  • “Infrastructure week” is finally here. After many weeks (some might say years), the bipartisan group in the Senate has come to an agreement on the bipartisan infrastructure framework (BIF). A plan that started out at $2.6 trillion in new spending was narrowed down to $550 billion (which is less than the $579 billion agreed to a few weeks ago) over five years. The original proposal from President Biden focused on six major areas: transportation, utilities, pollution, innovation, in-home care, and buildings. The agreed upon proposal zeroes in on two of those six areas: transportation and utilities. Overall, the BIF will be a $1.2 trillion bill, with the $550 billion in new spending over eight-years. This will include funding for existing surface transportation reauthorization. 
  • Based on preliminary information, here is what IS included:
    • $110 billion for roads and bridges (over the baseline from surface transportation reauthorization)
    • $73 billion for power infrastructure
    • $66 billion for railways
    • $65 billion for broadband
    • $55 billion for water infrastructure
    • $50 billion for resiliency and water storage
    • $39.2 billion for public transit
    • $25 billion for airports
    • $21 billion for cleaning up abandoned wells and mines, and Superfund sites
    • $17.3 billion for ports and waterways
    • $15 billion for electric vehicles
    • $11 billion for road safety
    • $1 billion for reconnecting communities. 
  • Here is what was left OUT from the original proposal, but which could be included in the budget reconciliation package: 
    • $566 billion for R&D and manufacturing
    • $387 billion for housing, schools, and buildings
    • $400 billion for home- and community-based care
    • $363 billion for clean energy tax credits.
  • Lastly, the list of new spending pay-fors, subject to change per CBO and JCT scoring, may include:
    • $205 billion from repurposing of certain unused COVID-relief dollars
    • Funding from recouping fraudulently-paid benefits from enhanced federal UI supplement
    • $49 billion from delaying Medicare Part D rebate rule
    • $53 billion from certain states returning unused enhanced federal UI supplement
    • $20 billion from sales of future spectrum auctions
    • $67 billion from proceeds of the February 2021 c-band auction
    • $56 billion in economic growth resulting from a 33 percent return on investment in these long-term infrastructure projects
    • $28 billion from applying information reporting requirements to cryptocurrency
    • $21 billion from extending fees on GSEs
    • $13 billion from reinstating certain Superfund fees
    • $8.7 billion from the mandatory sequester
    • $6 billion from extending customs user fees
    • $6 billion in sales from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve
    • $3 billion in savings from reducing Medicare spending on discarded medications from large, single-use drug vials
    • $2.9 billion from extending available interest rate smoothing options for defined benefit pension plans. 
  • The first major step to advance the BIF took place late on Wednesday, July 28. The Senate voted on the motion to proceed, by a vote of 67-32; Sen. Mike Rounds (R-SD) was the only “not present” vote. Of note, 17 Republicans joined all 50 Democrats on the motion to proceed, and this included Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY). This is a big step forward but does not guarantee ultimate passage. Final details are being worked out, and there still is the possibility that CBO and JCT scoring on the pay-fors will make passage more difficult. However, for now this is a victory for the President, the bipartisan Senate working group, and Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY). The full list of Republicans that voted in favor include Sens. Roy Blunt (R-MO), Richard Burr (R-NC), Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV), Bill Cassidy (R-LA), Susan Collins (R-ME), Kevin Cramer (R-ND), Mike Crapo (R-ID), Lindsey Graham (R-SC), Chuck Grassley (R-IA), John Hoeven (R-ND), Mitch McConnell (R-KY), Lisa Murkowski (R-AK), Rob Portman (R-OH), James Risch (R-ID), Mitt Romney (R-UT), Thom Tillis (R-NC), and Todd Young (R-IN). Schumer has stated that the Senate will stay in session this weekend, if needed. 

 

  • However, almost immediately after reports broke that the Senate had a deal, Sen. Krysten Sinema (D-AZ) let it be known that she would not support a $3.5 trillion budget resolution as Senate Budget Committee Democrats have proposed. It came as a surprise to many, as the budget resolution will require every Democrat in the Senate and House (where Democrats hold a three-seat majority) to stick together. This news came less than 24 hours after Sinema had met with President Biden to discuss infrastructure. Little information about the meeting is public. However, her lack of support for the budget resolution will cause an uphill climb for Congressional leaders. First, Budget Chair Bernie Sanders (I-VT) will be an obstacle to that number being lowered from $3.5 trillion, as his hopes were to move forward on a $6 trillion bill. Sanders claims the votes are present to move on the budget bill. Sinema has indicated she is willing to vote yes on the motion to proceed, but again this does not guarantee ultimate passage. Next, Leader Schumer continues to vow that the Senate will move on both the BIF and a budget resolution before the August recess. Given that it is the end of July and the Senate heads out of town in a week, time is short; even with the weekends, this may be a tall order. Lastly, there is a whole other chamber that awaits both the BIF and the budget resolution. The House has been mostly left out of the process, and various members have made their frustrations known. This includes Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA), Rep. Hakeem Jeffries (D-NY and No. 5 in House leadership), Transportation & Infrastructure Chairman Peter DeFazio (D-OR), and Reps. Pramila Jayapal (D-WA), Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY), and Ilhan Omar (D-MN), all progressives. Also, there are some key House members who have been fairly quiet, including Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) and Ways & Means Committee Chairman Richard Neal (D-MA). Expect there to be an uphill fight on both bills, as the House is not showing signs of being steamrolled by the Senate. 

IN THE NEWS

BIDEN ADMINISTRATION NEWS

Biden Promotes High-Speed Internet Provision of Infrastructure Bill (Web Pro News 7/29)

  • “President Joe Biden is talking up the high-speed internet provision of his signature infrastructure bill. Rejuvenating America’s infrastructure was a major point of Biden’s campaign, and he has been working to pass comprehensive infrastructure legislation. His plans received a big boost when a bipartisan group of senators announced a deal to push the bill forward.”

Biden travels to Pennsylvania to promote his infrastructure plan as lawmakers near a deal. (NY Times 7/28)

  • “President Biden traveled to Lehigh Valley, Pa., to bolster support for his infrastructure package on the day of a critical breakthrough with Republicans on the Hill, who said they had resolved the biggest sticking points to a final agreement on a far-reaching infrastructure plan, and planned to vote to allow the package to advance.”

White House calls on America’s most critical companies to improve cyber defenses (Reuters 7/28)

  • “The White House is signaling to U.S. critical infrastructure companies, such as energy providers that they must improve their cyber defenses because additional potential regulation is on the horizon. U.S. President Joseph Biden signed a national security memorandum on Wednesday, launching a new public-private initiative that creates ‘performance controls’ for cybersecurity at America’s most critical companies, including water treatment and electrical power plants.”

Biden proposal calls for more US-made parts in products sold to US government (CNET 7/28)

  • “President Joe Biden proposed a new rule Wednesday that would up the requirements for US-made parts in goods sold to the government. The required percentage would jump from 55% to 60% immediately, and gradually rise to 75%.” 

Biden Signs Memo to Defend Industrial Controls From Hackers (Bloomberg 7/28)

  • “The Biden administration on Wednesday will release a national security memorandum aimed at improving voluntary cybersecurity standards for companies that provide critical services. The memorandum directs the Department of Homeland Security and the Treasury Department to create baseline cybersecurity goals for all critical infrastructure sectors. It also establishes an Industrial Control Systems Cybersecurity Initiative, a partnership between the federal government and companies that run industrial control systems.” 

Critical U.S. Pipelines Remain Stopped, As Russian Pipelines Are Greenlighted (Real Clean Energy 7/27)

  • “In light of President Biden and German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s meeting recently, it was clear the two leaders continue to remain on opposing sides of Russia’s Nord Stream 2 pipeline. During their joint press conference, President Biden said, ‘My view on Nord Stream 2 has been known for some time. Good friends can disagree, but by the time I became president, it was 90 percent completed and imposing sanctions did not seem to make any sense.’”

Senators, White House in talks to finish infrastructure bill (AP 7/27)

  • “Senators and the White House were locked in intense negotiations Tuesday to salvage a bipartisan infrastructure deal, with pressure mounting on all sides to wrap up talks and show progress on President Joe Biden’s top priority. Despite weeks of closed-door discussions, senators from the bipartisan group blew past a Monday deadline set for agreement on the nearly $1 trillion package.”

Buttigieg to visit Port of Baltimore to tout Biden’s infrastructure deal Thursday (Baltimore Sun 7/27)

  • “U.S. Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg will visit the Port of Baltimore Thursday to tout the benefits of President Biden’s bipartisan infrastructure deal. ‘Secretary Buttigieg is scheduled to take a tour, meet with port officials and workers, and deliver remarks,’ the U.S. Department of Transportation said in a news release Tuesday.” 

Sinema meets with Biden as senators hammer out infrastructure disputes (NBC News 7/27)

  • “Sen. Kyrsten Sinema of Arizona, the top Democratic negotiator on the bipartisan infrastructure deal, met with President Joe Biden at the White House on Tuesday, two people familiar with the plan said. ‘They talked about their shared confidence in getting the framework over the finish line soon based on recent negotiations,’ said one of the sources, who was granted anonymity to discuss a private meeting.” 

President Joe Biden to bring infrastructure sales pitch to Pennsylvania (WGAL 7/26)

  • “The president will head to the Allentown area Wednesday to round up support for an infrastructure package. Biden is seeking passage in the Senate of the nearly $1 trillion measure that a bipartisan group of senators brokered with him.”

Why an infrastructure deal could still come together (Politico 7/26)

  • “This morning, a GOP source told our colleagues Marianne LeVine and Burgess Everett something similar, calling the offer ‘discouraging’ and adding that ‘if this is going to be successful, the White House will need to show more flexibility’ and ‘listen to the members of the group.’”

Gina Raimondo is still at the center of federal infrastructure negotiations (Boston Globe 7/26)

  • “US Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo said Sunday that Democrat and Republican lawmakers are ‘very close’ to reaching a deal on a $579 billion infrastructure package, an agreement that could be struck as soon as this week. During an interview on ‘Face the Nation,’ the former Rhode Island governor offered a local anecdote to highlight where she believes things stand with the high-stakes negotiations.”

Buttigieg highlights broadband funds in infrastructure deal (1430 WCMY 7/23)

  • “U.S. Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg says the proposed bipartisan infrastructure deal has the provisions to ‘affordably’ connect all Americans to broadband internet. Buttigieg tells Brownfield broadband is just as important for farmers as physical infrastructure.”

TSA Adds More Stringent Cybersecurity Requirements for U.S. Natural Gas, Oil Pipelines (Natural Gas Intel 7/23)

  • “The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) on Tuesday handed down another set of directives aimed at protecting critical pipelines that transport hazardous liquids and natural gas against cyber-attacks.”

CONGRESSIONAL PROPOSALS/NEWS 

Details on New Infrastructure Deal (Punchbowl 7/28) 

  • “Senate Republicans and Democrats involved in the bipartisan infrastructure negotiations and the White House have come to an agreement on a massive infrastructure bill, with $550 billion in new spending. There’s roughly $589 billion in pay fors that we are aware of (some of them may be iffy with some lawmakers). A Senate vote to start debate on the issue could come as early as tonight or tomorrow. This is a key moment. If the Senate votes to begin debate, then there is a decent path to final passage. The topline spending number is $550 billion in new spending above the baseline — less than the $579 billion that was originally proposed. This spending is over five years. There’s $110 billion for highways. The legislation will include $65 billion for broadband.” 

Infrastructure deal is a mirage of hope in a poisoned Congress (CNN 7/29

  • “The Senate vote Wednesday on a bipartisan infrastructure deal was merely on opening debate on the plan, with legislative text yet to be released. But such tiny breakthroughs in Capitol Hill stalemate pass for huge success in a body that reflects, and now actively deepens, America’s bitter national estrangement. The bill — based on a still fragile compromise wrought in weeks of talks — is a critical plank of Joe Biden’s presidency as he seeks to show Americans that flailing, politicized Washington can still fix big things. In a treacherous path toward passage, the measure could still be derailed by Republicans intimidated by former President Donald Trump, who issued a vague threat of 2022 primaries against Republicans if the deal happened. It also needs the courage of more moderate GOP senators to survive, as the demands of progressive House Democrats threaten to blow it up.”

Crypto tax: US Senators propose plans to raise billions in revenue (Proactive 7/29

  • Senators in the US have reportedly added proposals to expand the taxation of cryptocurrencies to a major bipartisan infrastructure bill in a bid to raise around US$28bn in additional tax revenues. The proposal will introduce tighter rules on businesses handling crypto as well as widen reporting requirements for brokers. Any digital asset transactions worth more than US$10,000 will also need to be reported to the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), according to a report in Bloomberg Law.” 

‘A big deal’: $550 billion infrastructure spending deal passes key test vote in Senate (NBC News 7/28)

  • “A major infrastructure package passed a key test vote Wednesday in the Senate, just hours after a bipartisan working group announced a deal after more than a month of negotiating. The Senate voted 67-32 to begin debate on the measure, getting 17 Republicans to sign on, more than the 10 needed to break a filibuster… ‘It is a big deal,’ Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin, D-Ill., told NBC News. Final passage is not assured. Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., has said senators may work into the weekend to finish it up.”

Portman under pressure to deliver on big bipartisan deal (Politico 7/28

  • “The Ohio Republican, a former White House budget chief with two terms under his belt as well as the ear of Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, is an ideal bridge between his party’s two wings. Portman acquitted then-President Donald Trump in his second impeachment trial but later backed an independent commission on the Jan. 6 Capitol riot. And a looming retirement from Congress frees Portman from the political burden of facing voters next fall, leaving him able to shrug off Trump’s attacks on his work. Yet Portman is finding it hard to clinch an agreement, no matter how much insider savvy he brings as the lead GOP infrastructure negotiator. Even if an infrastructure bill can be written, Portman still must shepherd it across the floor and to President Joe Biden’s desk amid attacks from his own party.”

The 17 Republicans who voted to advance the Senate infrastructure bill (The Hill 7/28

  • “Seventeen Republican senators voted with all 50 Democrats on Wednesday to advance a bipartisan infrastructure deal, in a win for President Biden and the bipartisan group of negotiators. The vote — the first of several steps expected before the Senate decides whether or not to ultimately pass the bill—comes one week after all Republicans blocked a similar move, arguing that Senate Majority Leader Charles Schumer (D-NY) was rushing the process as senators tried to finalize their agreement. But the group announced earlier Wednesday that it had reached a final agreement with the White House for a $1.2 trillion bill over eight years, with $550 billion in new spending. Because the group is still finalizing text, the Senate is taking up a shell bill that it will swap the language into once it is complete.”

U.S. Senate to vote on infrastructure after bipartisan breakthrough (Reuters 7/28

  • “The U.S. Senate will vote on Wednesday on whether to move forward on a $1.2 trillion bipartisan infrastructure deal after negotiators have reached agreement on the major components of the package that is a key priority of President Joe Biden, lawmakers said.” 

Senators say they have deal on ‘major issues’ in infrastructure talks (The Hill 7/28

  • “Senators say they have reached a deal with the White House on the ‘major issues’ in their bipartisan infrastructure talks and expect to start debate as soon as Wednesday. ‘We now have an agreement on the major issues. We are prepared to move forward,’ said Sen. Rob Portman (R-OH), who led the negotiations for the Republicans. Sen. Kyrsten Sinema (D-AZ), lead negotiator for the Democrats, said President Biden supports the agreement.”

Key Republican senators say they’re ready to take up an infrastructure deal, paving the way for a vote (New York Times 7/28

  • Key Republican senators said on Wednesday that they had resolved the biggest sticking points to a final agreement with the White House and Democrats on a far-reaching infrastructure bill, and planned to vote to allow the package to advance, paving the way for action on a crucial piece of President Biden’s agenda. ‘We now have an agreement on the major issues and we’re prepared to move forward,’ said Senator Rob Portman (R-OH), and a lead negotiator for his party in bipartisan talks on the infrastructure measure. Touring a truck manufacturing plant in Pennsylvania, Mr. Biden was upbeat about the emerging deal, telling reporters, ‘I feel confident about it.’”

Schumer’s moment to transform transit and deepen democracy (The Hill 7/28

  • “The pandemic nearly destroyed public transit. It faces a long recovery. Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY), a subway rider, led the charge to save it. Now, Schumer has a chance to keep trains and buses running and meanwhile transform transit and the nation. Through support to maintain and expand operations — ensuring transit works for everyone — Congress can right past wrongs to communities harmed by highway building and austerity, and put transit on a path to resilience and growth.”

‘Tiger of the House’ claws his way through infrastructure talks (Politico 7/27

  • “House Transportation Committee Chair Peter DeFazio (D-OR) is on the verge of getting rolled. And he’s not going quietly. After a 34-year congressional career devoted to transportation and environment issues, the Oregon Democrat could soon be forced to watch his life’s work shunted to the side if Senate negotiators secure a deal this week on a massive $1.2 trillion infrastructure package — largely without House input.”

Providers scramble to prevent Congress from using COVID-19 relief monies to pay for infrastructure (Fierce Health Care 7/27

  • “Several major hospital groups are ramping up efforts to prevent the Senate from using unspent COVID-19 relief funding to help pay for infrastructure. The renewed push comes as a bipartisan group of senators is working to finalize a roughly $1 trillion infrastructure package that could rely on unspent relief funds. Groups are concerned, as the pandemic is still having an impact on providers halfway through the year. The American Hospital Association wrote in a letter to congressional leadership late Monday that it would be ‘short-sighted’ for Congress and the Biden administration to ‘take funding away from hospitals, health systems and other health providers while COVID-19 cases, hospitalizations and deaths are surging again throughout the nation,’ CEO Rick Pollack said.”

Biden, Sinema meet as infrastructure talks hit rough patch (The Hill 7/27

  • “President Biden and Sen. Kyrsten Sinema (D-AZ) met at the White House on Tuesday to discuss the stalled bipartisan infrastructure framework. The sit-down signals a desire by Biden to get directly involved in the negotiations as lawmakers and White House officials try to finalize details of a $1.2 trillion infrastructure deal amid ongoing disagreements. White House press secretary Jen Psaki later told reporters that the White House is ‘encouraged’ by Tuesday comments from Sen. Mitt Romney (R-UT) expressing optimism about the negotiations.” 

Manchin warns ‘everything could fall apart’ if bipartisan infrastructure bill fails (New York Post 7/27

  • “Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) put his Democratic colleagues on notice Monday night, predicting they would not be able to pass a massive $3.5 trillion spending plan if attempts to piece together a bipartisan $1.2 trillion infrastructure fail. ‘I would say that if a bipartisan infrastructure bill falls apart, everything could fall apart,’ Manchin told reporters. ‘… Both of them are extremely important, but [if] one falls apart, how do you do the other one? How’s the other one become more important?’”

Hoyer urges conference talks on bipartisan infrastructure bill (The Hill 7/27

  • “For weeks, Rep. Peter DeFazio (D-OR), chairman of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, has been howling for cross-chamber negotiations on infrastructure spending to ensure that climate provisions aren’t excluded from a final deal. On Tuesday, DeFazio found a powerful ally in Rep. Steny Hoyer (D-MD), the House majority leader, who is also calling for conference talks between the House and Senate to fill gaps in any bipartisan agreement emerging from the Senate. Hoyer called climate change an ‘existential threat’ to the globe, knocking the Senate for largely excluding such provisions from the package, which remains under negotiation by a bipartisan group of senators.”

More than 140 business leaders urge lawmakers to pass infrastructure bill (CNN 7/27

  • “Dozens of business leaders, including the CEOs of BlackRock, United Airlines and Macy’s, called on lawmakers Monday to swiftly enact the $1.2 trillion bipartisan infrastructure bill that is stalled in Congress. More than 140 executives signed the public letter to congressional leaders expressing strong support for the bipartisan infrastructure framework, calling it a ‘long awaited and desperately needed program to renew and rebuild our nation’s crumbling infrastructure.’ The letter, organized by the Partnership for New York City, stressed that modernizing and expanding America’s physical and digital assets are a ‘necessary foundation for our nation’s sustainable growth.’”

High-stakes infrastructure talks stall out as deadline passes (Politico 7/26

  • Senators capped off a day of trading blame and stalled efforts on their bipartisan infrastructure proposal with a Monday meeting that quickly broke up, signaling a tough path forward as negotiators missed yet another self-imposed deadline. The core 10 senators huddled in the office of Sen. Rob Portman (R-OH), the lead Republican negotiator, hoping to get past a rough weekend of fruitless talks. Discussions are expected to resume later in the evening, though not in person, and negotiators claimed they were still making progress.”

Infrastructure talks face new trouble as pressure mounts (AP 7/26)

  • “Senators were running into new problems Monday as they raced to seal a bipartisan infrastructure deal with pressure mounting on all sides to show progress on President Joe Biden’s top priority. Heading into a make-or-break week, serious roadblocks remain. One dispute is over how much money should go to public transit. But spending on highways, water projects, broadband and other areas remains unresolved, too, as is whether to take unspent COVID-19 relief funds to help pay for the infrastructure. Democrats and the White House sent a fresh ‘global’ offer to resolve remaining issues, but it was rebuffed early Monday by Republicans as ‘discouraging’ — a setback for a hoped-for afternoon deal.”

Bipartisan infrastructure talks in dire state ahead of pivotal week (Politico 7/26

  • “The bipartisan infrastructure negotiations entered their darkest phase in more than a month on Monday, with the parties openly feuding over policy and former President Donald Trump urging Republicans to drop the effort altogether. Democrats and the White House on Sunday night offered a proposal to Republicans proposing a deal on highway and public transit funding, as well as several other unresolved areas. That offer was intended to address all outstanding disputes — and was immediately rejected by Republicans… The comprehensive offer ‘we received from the White House and [Majority Leader] Chuck Schumer was discouraging since it attempts to reopen numerous issues the bipartisan group had already agreed to,’ said a GOP source familiar with the negotiations. ‘If this is going to be successful, the White House will need to show more flexibility as Republicans have done and listen to the members of the group that produced this framework.’”

Sen. Cynthia Lummis: Inflation and infrastructure – Democrats’ bad bet for America (Fox News 7/26

  • Under the guise of ‘infrastructure,’ this $3.5 trillion spending bill would instead overhaul our economy and society. This spending will cause higher inflation, which, in turn, will mean higher prices and more debt for future generations… The American Enterprise Institute recently released a memo on inflation, finding that ‘a well-structured infrastructure plan’ would not exacerbate inflation since it would boost the supply side of the economy by improving things like roads and bridges, which help fulfill demands for increased supplies. On the other hand, President Biden’s spending spree would cause higher inflation, as it would give handouts without supporting supply. His inflated unemployment insurance is doing that right now.”

PAY-FORS

Key details of the Senate’s bipartisan infrastructure plan (AP 7/28

  • “And here’s a breakdown of pay-fors in a Republican summary of the plan: Tapping about $205 billion in unspent COVID-19 relief aid. Congress has provided about $4.7 trillion in emergency assistance in response to the pandemic. Drawing on about $53 billion in unemployment insurance aid that the federal government was providing to supplement state unemployment insurance. Dozens of states are declining to take the federal supplement. Drawing on about $49 billion by further delaying a Medicare rule giving beneficiaries rebates that now go to insurers and middlemen called pharmacy benefit managers. The trade association for drug manufacturers argued that the rule would help reduce patients’ out-of-pocket costs, but the Congressional Budget Office had projected that it would increase taxpayer costs by $177 billion over 10 years. Raising an estimated $87 billion in spectrum auctions for 5G services. Restarting a tax on chemical manufacturers that had expired in 1995, raising about $13 billion. The money had been used to help fund the cleanup of Superfund sites. Also, selling oil from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve would add about $6 billion. Strengthening tax enforcement when it comes to crypto currencies, raising about $28 billion. Relying on projected economic growth from the investments to bring in about $56 billion.”

New Infrastructure Bill Looks to Raise $30B Through Crypto Taxes (Coindesk 7/28

  • “A bipartisan infrastructure bill in Congress proposes to raise $28 billion from crypto investors by applying new information reporting requirements to exchanges and other parties… This could bring up to $30 billion into the bill’s ‘pay-fors,’ according to a fact sheet also shared with CoinDesk. ‘Additionally, digital assets are added to the current rules requiring businesses to report cash payments over $10,000,’ the fact sheet said.”

Bipartisan infrastructure deal a ‘giant step forward’ despite compromise, Sen. Tester says (PBS 7/28

  • “A bipartisan group of senators reached an agreement on a trillion dollar infrastructure plan to invest in public works projects across the country, including $550 billion in new spending over the next five years. As it faces its first procedural vote in the Senate Wednesday, Judy Woodruff is joined by Montana Sen. Jon Tester, a Democrat who is one of the negotiators spearheading the deal… ‘Well, no tax increases, no increase in the gas tax, and I can tell you that that was probably the biggest challenge in this bill, was to try to figure out what those pay-fors are and make sure those pay-fors real. To be honest with you, Judy, right now, I can’t tell you exactly what the pay-fors are now. I know they look a whole lot different today than when we released this bill about a month ago, after the G-10 that negotiated it. But, nonetheless, I think we have lived up to the expectations of the Republicans on the pay-fors and the Democrats too. And the White House was OK with it. So I think it is going to be fine.’”

GOP senators suggest bipartisan infrastructure deal in place, vote looms (The Week 7/28

  • “The long bipartisan infrastructure saga may be heading toward the finish line. Sen. Rob Portman (R-OH) announced Wednesday that negotiators have reached an agreement on the $1.2 trillion plan’s ‘major issues’ and ‘are prepared to move forward’ after weeks of back and forth. Other GOP sources reportedly confirmed the news, but there hasn’t been word from the Democrat’s side yet, however. Sen. Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) said she isn’t sure if everything’s locked up yet… One of the pay-fors is going after unemployment insurance fraud.”

Infrastructure Gang Targets Pharma to Pay for Roads, Bridges (Bloomberg Government 7/27

  • “Senators negotiating a bipartisan infrastructure deal are looking to pay for some of their package by curbing unpopular practices by pharmaceutical middlemen and drugmakers, putting industry groups on high alert… In an early draft of possible infrastructure pay-fors, senators mentioned extending the sequester into 2031, which could save the government more than $35 billion, according to CBO estimates.”

Groups worry about tapping COVID relief for infrastructure (Star Tribune 7/23

  • “Organizations representing long-term care facilities on Friday urged lawmakers working on a bipartisan infrastructure plan to avoid dipping into COVID-relief funds to help pay for the roughly $600 billion in new spending sought for the public works buildout… ‘Folks will always find a problem with our pay-fors,’ Sen. Bill Cassidy, (R-LA,) said on Bloomberg Television. ‘On the other hand, we will have it paid for and we will be able to not just pay for it, but point towards long-term gains the society, the economy will benefit from, according to multiple economists from across the political spectrum.’”

STATE & LOCAL

Baker Announces $17.3M In Grants To Repair Dams, Seawalls (WBUR News 7/29

  • “Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker announced more than $17.3 million in grants Wednesday aimed at helping repair failing dams, coastal infrastructure, and levees across the state. The grants — awarded by the Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs as part of their Dam and Seawall Program — will support construction projects in more than two dozen communities.”

Federal funding could provide immediate relief to Virginia’s state-run mental hospitals (Virginia Mercury 7/29

  • “With Virginia’s state-run mental hospitals in the midst of a self-described crisis, Gov. Ralph Northam is proposing a $485 million investment in behavioral health services. The proposed allotment was announced Wednesday ahead of next week’s special General Assembly session, where lawmakers will decide how to distribute $4.3 billion in federal relief funding. Mental health funding has been a closely watched initiative since the state halted new admissions to more than half of its publicly funded psychiatric facilities amid major, and widespread, staffing shortages. Another initiative in the package is a $50 million for infrastructure improvements at state-run hospitals, including water and sewer improvements.”

Here’s how Davenport will spend $41 million in federal COVID-recovery funds (Quad City Times 7/28

  • “The city of Davenport will use an influx of federal dollars earmarked to help recover from the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on riverfront development, violence prevention, flood mitigation, sewer extension, neighborhood stabilization efforts, public WiFi hot spots, expanded early childhood literacy programs and more. Davenport City Council members on Wednesday voted 9-1, with Alderman Ray Ambrose, Ward 4, opposed, to approve a spending plan for projects that would be funded by nearly $41 million the city will receive from the federal government as part of the $1.9 trillion American Rescue Plan.”

Petition Submitted to Put $35 Million Amarillo City Hall Relocation Up for November Vote (The Texan 7/28

  • “Led by former Randall County Commissioner Craig Gualtierre, a group of Amarillo citizens submitted over 10,000 signatures to petition a proposed $35 million Certificate of Obligation (CO) intended to finance the move of city hall. Roughly 8,000 of the individual petitions have been validated by the group, Gualtierre said. To meet the 5 percent of the electorate threshold, about 5,700 valid signatures must be turned in to make the ballot.”

Tenino Council Approves $1.75M Loan to Build Regional Ag Business and Innovation Park (The Chronicle 7/28

  • “With funding fully secured, the City of Tenino and the Thurston Economic Development Council are hoping to start construction on the long-awaited Southwest Washington Agricultural Business and Innovation Park early next year. At a July 14 meeting, the city council approved an ordinance allowing the city to pursue a $1.75 million bond to build the highly anticipated business park. The total cost of the project is estimated to be roughly $4 million and will be covered by the bond, state grants and other city funds, according to agenda documents. The campus will be built along Old Highway 99, on a property located across from the former alpaca farm.”

Johnstown Common Council approves $12.2M bond proposal (The Daily Gazette 7/28

  • “The Common Council Wednesday night voted unanimously to authorize City Treasurer Mike Gifford to go to the municipal bond market to obtain up to $12.2 million for capital projects — the largest bond procurement in the history of the city. The borrowing was reduced from what has been called a $13.7 million ‘wish list’ from the city’s department heads presented to the council on July 19. The lion’s share of the bonding is part of approximately $7.2 million worth of capital projects requested by the city’s independently elected Water Board and will be repaid by the city’s water customers and not through property taxes.”

Walla Walla looks to residents to decide future spending on city streets (Union Bulletin 7/28

  • “The city of Walla Walla expects to learn more in coming days about how its residents want city officials to spend public tax dollars on city streets, as a survey sent out in recent weeks wraps up. In the last 10 years, the city has spent roughly $70 million repairing and maintaining its streets, of which $9.3 million was paid for with Transportation Benefit District taxes, Prudente said. That funding, along with around $18 million in discretionary funding from the city’s budget, was used to leverage around $42.9 million in additional funds from state, federal and other local sources, he added.”

Baker signs $47.6 billion Fiscal Year 2022 State Budget (Revere Journal 7/28

  • “The funding in this budget would complement the Administration’s recently filed legislation to immediately use $2.915 billion in federal American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) discretionary funding to help jump-start the Commonwealth’s economic recovery and support residents hardest-hit by COVID-19, such as lower-wage workers and communities of color. This $2.915 billion would include investments in housing and homeownership, economic development and local downtowns, job training and workforce development, health care, and infrastructure.”

Northam’s budget covers water projects, unemployment fund (Daily Progress 7/27

  • “Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam introduced two more spending proposals Tuesday for the state’s $4.3 billion share of federal coronavirus relief money, calling for investments in clean water projects and over $860 million to replenish the fund that pays unemployment benefits.”

City of Jackson has more than $31 million in federal funds. Now, how to spend it? (Fox 47 7/27

  • “The city of Jackson has $31,444,000 at its disposal from the federal government’s American Rescue Plan. The city is looking at spending the money in five general areas, most notably upgrading infrastructure. Officials have proposed spending close to $8 million of the money on lead service line replacements.”

Northam proposes spending federal relief money on clean water; Virginia Republicans complain of being left out of the process (Washington Post 7/27

  • “Gov. Ralph Northam on Tuesday called for spending $411 million of federal coronavirus relief money on clean water projects, continuing his gradual rollout of funding plans, while Republican members of the House of Delegates complained about being shut out of the process. Northam has been announcing commitments for chunks of the money on an almost daily basis, including $250 million for school ventilation systems (which localities would have to match with their own federal relief funds, bringing the total to $500 million); $700 million for rural broadband; and $353 million for small business relief.”

Transportation Infrastructure Investment Generates $200B in Economic Activity, 700,000 Jobs Annually for California (Construction Equipment Guide 7/27

  • “In the next 10 years, government investments in California’s transportation infrastructure will grow from $40.4 billion in 2021 to $52.6 billion in 2030. That means that every $1 spent on infrastructure in California creates $4.30 in economic activity, ARTBA said. ‘With California so dependent on transportation infrastructure, our research shows that investment in roads, bridges and transit systems clearly yields significant benefits, helping underwrite the Golden State’s continuing economic expansion,’ said ARTBA Chief Economist Alison Premo Black, who conducted the research.”

MT needs fed approval to obligate Covid funds in 2022 (KTVQ 7/26

  • “As of Monday, the state had allocated only $43 million of the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funds to be spent through state agencies, said Amy Sassano, deputy director of the governor’s budget office. Those funds include $15 million for nursing home costs, $15 million in back-to-work bonuses for people and $8 million for water-and-sewer infrastructure. The main sectors of money to be distributed include about $400 million for infrastructure, including $150 million for competitive grants to local governments for water-and-sewer projects and $275 million for expansion of broadband infrastructure, to bring high-speed Internet service to unserved and underserved areas.”

Denver’s mayor proposes new arena at National Western Center as part of $450 million infrastructure bond proposal (Fort Morgan Times 7/26

  • “Denver Mayor Michael Hancock’s plans for a $450 million infrastructure bonding package to put to voters includes a new, mid-size ‘state-of-the-art’ arena at the National Western Center. Other line items include $61 million for transportation projects, including sidewalk improvements and bike lanes; $53 million for Parks and Recreation projects, including renovation of the Curtis Park public pool and the Sloan’s Lake boathouse; and $37 million for homeless shelters.”

Theoharides attaches urgency to resiliency spending (WWLP 7/26

  • “Baker proposed to spend up to $1 billion on energy and environmental initiatives, including $300 million for climate resilient infrastructure such as improved culverts and dams. Theoharides said the proposal would build on the success on the state’s Municipal Vulnerability Preparedness (MVP) program, which has been able to fund just $64 million in projects since 2017 out of the $140 million in grant requests from cities and towns.”

California’s 2021 State Budget Receives Approval (City of Santa Monica 7/26

  • “On Monday, July 12, 2021, Governor Gavin Newsom signed a package of budget bills that comprise a $262.6 billion spending plan agreed upon with state lawmakers for the upcoming fiscal year that began July 1, 2021.  This state relief package is the largest of its kind in the country and was fueled by a $76 billion state surplus and $27 billion in federal aid. Not only will this package continue to facilitate California’s recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic, but it will also provide immediate relief to those most vulnerable Californians.”

Denver’s mayor proposes new arena at National Western Center as part of $450M infrastructure bond proposal (The Denver Post 7/26

  • “Denver Mayor Michael Hancock’s plans for a $450 million infrastructure bonding package to put to voters includes a new, mid-size ‘state-of-the-art’ arena at the National Western Center. Much of Hancock’s speech was dedicated to the topics of homelessness, criminal justice, and post-pandemic resilience. But the infrastructure package represented the most substantial spending proposal, a $450 million investment that he said, ‘will help create 7,500 good-paying jobs, $483 million in worker wages and benefits, and $1 billion in economic benefits.’”

Northam wants $500M for school air quality projects (Washington Post 7/26

  • “Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam announced plans Monday to allocate $250 million of the state’s federal coronavirus relief money to projects that will improve air quality in public schools. Northam has previously called for investing $700 million to expand broadband infrastructure and $353 million in relief for small businesses and hard-hit industries like tourism.”

State offers $10 million in case Portland Harbor dredging grant denied (Sun Journal 7/26

  • “Regional officials will try again to get federal funding for a $30 million Portland Harbor dredging project, this time with an additional $10 million of state money waiting in the wings if the second attempt fails. Local officials and interested groups spent the past 10 years developing a plan to remove silt from between wharves and vessel berthing spaces along the harbor in Portland and South Portland.”

Towns, cities consider how to spend American Rescue Plan funds (Times West Virginian 7/25

  • “‘One of the things that is certainly needed is infrastructure,’ Caputo said. ‘There are still a lot of people in Marion County that don’t have good, high-speed internet. In cities, water lines are needing replaced, sewer lines that need replaced. Quite frankly, there are still some communities without sewage and water in Marion County.’ Garcia and Caputo agree that internet should be a major priority for the state, both speaking of high-speed, affordable broadband as being just as important as sewage and water. ‘There’s already $138 million coming to us from the American Rescue Plan specifically for broadband,’ Garcia said. ‘But I think we need to take potentially several hundred-million dollars, spread that out, and try to make sure we are focusing on getting that last mile connected to people.’”

South Carolina is considering ARPA spending for broadband expansion (Illinois News Live 7/24

  • “$ 8.8 billion is expected to flow into South Carolina from the US Rescue Planning Act (ARPA), but most of the money goes to local governments, county governments, or directly to individual state agencies. Can be done. As a result, the state has left about $ 2.5 billion to manage under strict limits. Therefore, the Accelerate SC Committee discussed projects on broadband expansion, business grants, state infrastructure, and revenue exchange. Most of AccelerateSC’s discussions focused on over $ 600 million in projects to install fiber lines to provide broadband access to all South Carolina residents.”