Senate Debates Infrastructure Bill
Last Sunday night, the Senate unveiled a $1.2 trillion infrastructure bill that touches on a wide variety of infrastructure projects. Amendments will be considered this week with the final vote expected before the Senate leaves for the August recess. Funding for the legislation would come from new cryptocurrency tax regulations in addition to utilizing funds previously authorized for pandemic relief. The bill, as released, includes funding for roads, bridges, highways, broadband, and water infrastructure. Notably, the Senate bill also contains provisions to address wildfire management on Federal forest lands including "provide financial assistance, including a low interest loan or loan guarantee, to an entity seeking to establish, reopen, retrofit, expand or improve a sawmill or other wood-processing facility in close proximity to a unit of Federal land that has been identified under paragraph (1) as high or very high priority for ecological restoration, if the presence of a sawmill or other wood-processing facility would substantially decrease or does substantially decrease the cost of conducting ecological restoration projects involving vegetation removal on the unit of Federal land, including Indian forest land or rangeland..."
While the infrastructure bill is the product of a bipartisan group of Senators, it remains unclear whether the bill will have enough Republican support to pass the Senate. Additionally, if the infrastructure bill does not pass the Senate, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has said that she will not support the Senate's infrastructure bill unless the larger $3.5 trillion reconciliation package, which would fund many of the Administration's social and environmental goals while increasing taxes for many businesses and households, is also passed by the Senate.