The US Senate has launched a comprehensive package for new investments in America’s infrastructure. But many Republicans reject the compromise package.
With a bipartisan majority, the US Senate has initiated legislation for an infrastructure package worth around 550 billion US dollars (466 billion euros). The vote was preceded by weeks of tough negotiations. US President Joe Biden’s Democrats, who have 50 seats in the Senate, needed the approval of at least ten Republicans to kick off the legislative process. 67 Senators voted on Wednesday evening (local time) for the initiative, 32 against.
The package, which is part of Biden’s far-reaching domestic political agenda, is said to include $ 550 billion for “new federal government investment in America’s infrastructure” and create millions of jobs, according to a White House release. Biden, who had been promoting the package intensely for months, praised the compromise as a sign to the world that US democracy could continue to achieve great things. It is “the most significant long-term investment in our infrastructure and competitiveness in almost a century,” he said.
The funds are to be used in the coming years for roads, bridges, ports, airports, local transport and rail. In addition, funds are earmarked for the modernization of the power supply and the expansion of the charging stations for electric cars.
- Donald Trump: “a terrible deal”
- 40 billion for local transport
- According to the White House, around 110 billion dollars from the package will be used over five years to expand or renovate roads and bridges. Almost 40 billion dollars are to flow into the expansion of local public transport, and another 66 billion dollars to the Amtrak railroad company. Funds are also earmarked for expanding the charging stations for electric cars and for promoting electric buses.
Donald Trump: “a terrible deal”
In the spring, Biden had initially announced plans that would involve spending around 2 trillion US dollars (1.7 trillion euros) on renewing the infrastructure over the next eight years. However, the project and the planned financing through tax increases met with very great resistance from Republicans.
The Democratic majority leader in the Senate, Chuck Schumer, now said the goal is to complete the infrastructure package and negotiations on the next budget before the August summer recess. “There could be a couple of long nights and the weekends, but we will manage,” said Schumer after the vote. The exact scope and content of the infrastructure package could change in the legislative process in the Senate and then in the House of Representatives.
Many Republicans also reject the compromise package as too expensive or unnecessary given the booming US economy. Ex-President Donald Trump, for example, was angry about the planned package of measures in a message: “This is a loss for the USA, a terrible deal that makes the Republicans look weak, stupid and stupid.” This will be a victory for Biden and the Democrats will cannibalize him for next year’s congressional elections, he warned. The measures “continue the destruction of our country,” angry Trump.
40 billion for local transport
According to the White House, around 110 billion dollars from the package will be used over five years to expand or renovate roads and bridges. Almost 40 billion dollars are to flow into the expansion of local public transport, and another 66 billion dollars to the Amtrak railroad company. Funds are also earmarked for expanding the charging stations for electric cars and for promoting electric buses.
A total of $ 42 billion is earmarked for ports and airports. The package is also intended to finance the expansion of high-speed Internet connections and the improvement of the water supply, including the replacement of all lead pipes. A good 70 billion dollars are also to flow into the modernization of the electricity infrastructure.
The specific counter-financing and the duration of the package sounded a bit vague in the White House’s announcement. The measures would be financed by reallocating unused funds from the last economic stimulus package, targeted fees for companies and stronger crackdown on tax evasion, it said.