Congress Moves Forward on Bipartisan Infrastructure Bill and "Social Infrastructure" Reconciliation Package
The Senate passed its $550 billion bipartisan infrastructure bill by a vote of 69-30. NBGA joined 37 other agriculture groups on a letter to congressional leadership in support of the bipartisan infrastructure bill. The bill 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 the truck driver shortage.
The Senate followed that with passage of a budget resolution that is needed to trigger the reconciliation process, which Democrats can use to enact the $3.5 trillion "social infrastructure" package without needing any Republican votes.
The budget resolution includes instructions for the respective committees to draft their separate pieces of the final reconciliation bill. The Agriculture Committee would get $135 billion to spend over the next decade (which would likely add to the baseline for the next Farm Bill). The Ag Committee is directed to focus on issues related to climate change, including conservation and forestry. The instructions also call for boosting agricultural climate research, rural development, clean energy, child nutrition and debt relief for small farmers.
The Senate budget resolution also instructs the Finance Committee to come up with tax law changes to raise revenue to offset the cost of the reconciliation package.
After the Senate concluded their business and adjourned for the August recess, the House returned to Washington on August 23rd and 24th to pass the budget resolution. House Speaker Pelosi had stated that the $3.5 trillion package of funding for the "social infrastructure" and clean energy must be also passed by the Senate before the House will take up the bipartisan infrastructure bill. However, moderate Democrats in the House would not support the budget resolution until Speaker Pelosi agreed to a House vote on passage of the Senate bipartisan infrastructure package by September 27th. It remains to be seen whether Democrats can get the votes to pass the $3.5 trillion social infrastructure package and, if not, will the bipartisan infrastructure bill that passed the Senate be passed by the House?