The new Senate infrastructure bill represents the best of two-party legislating, with serious members in both chambers of Congress working to find substantive, targeted solutions to address a major national challenge that had gone unaddressed for decades.
Contrary to the criticism that this deal was put together by just a handful of individuals, it is a by-product of in-depth negotiations with the White House, outside experts, and House and Senate members of both parties. Many of its individual provisions draw on the cooperative past work of both parties within the regular committee process.
The efforts of the House Problem Solvers Caucus and the so-called “G10” Senate group were necessary to fill the void created by the partisan destruction that has too often made regular order and two-party legislating impossible. Both the process by which the Senate bill was assembled, and the bill itself, are, of course, imperfect. But this bill represents the largest federal infrastructure investment since the creation of the Interstate Highway System in 1956, and could be a historic achievement for members of BOTH parties. It is, in short, a WIN-WIN outcome — and it’s precisely what the American public wants, with last week’s No Labels poll showing that 72% of voters across 33 key House districts support passage of the bipartisan infrastructure plan. Countless other polls show a similar level of public support.
Passing this measure isn’t hard because anyone doubts that this is both the right thing and the popular thing to do.
What makes it hard is the politics of the moment, and already we’ve seen the usual suspects on both sides — the same ones who try to kill every bipartisan deal — undermine this one.
But we can’t let them succeed, because this infrastructure bill is too important to fail.
We will write more about what is in the Senate bill in the coming days, as the amendment process moves forward.
For now, here is our first look at the elements of this important deal, and why it is vital that it be signed into law, to create jobs, improve our economic competitiveness, protect the health of our people, and expand economic and educational opportunity for all Americans.