WASHINGTON (WETM / AP) – Congress was at the center of tense drama last week as Democrats simultaneously attempt to raise the debt ceiling, keep the government funded to avoid a shutdown and pass a plan in spending of $ 3.5 trillion.
On Thursday, September 20, the Senate and House voted to temporarily suspend the debt ceiling and keep the government funded until December 3 after Democrats removed the debt ceiling from the vote, which they will need to pass d ‘by October 18 in order to avoid a default.
So what exactly is Congress trying to get across, what does it understand?
The infrastructure bill
There are currently two different bills in play. The first of the two is a $ 1.2 trillion bipartisan infrastructure bill that the Senate passed in August.
However, it has been bottled in the House ever since, pending as the moderate and progressive wings of the Democratic Party fought over the details of the much larger separate package.
This bill includes a long list of plans:
ROADS AND BRIDGES
The bill would provide $ 110 billion to repair the country’s aging highways, bridges and roads. According to the White House, a total of 173,000 miles of freeways and major roads in America and 45,000 bridges are in poor condition. And the nearly $ 40 billion for bridges is the biggest investment dedicated to bridges since the construction of the interstate highway system, according to President Joe Biden’s administration.
The $ 39 billion for public transit in legislation would expand transportation systems, improve accessibility for people with disabilities, and provide dollars to state and local governments to purchase zero-emission, low-emission buses. The Department of Transportation estimates that the current repair backlog is over 24,000 buses, 5,000 rail cars, 200 stations and thousands of kilometers of track and electrical systems.
PASSENGER AND GOODS RAILWAY
To reduce Amtrak’s maintenance backlog, which has worsened since Storm Sandy nine years ago, the bill would provide $ 66 billion to improve the 457-mile-long northeast corridor as well as ‘other routes. That’s less than the $ 80 billion Biden – who drove Amtrak from Delaware to DC during his time in the Senate – originally claimed, but it would be the biggest federal investment in passenger rail service since founding from Amtrak 50 years ago.
The bill would spend $ 7.5 billion on electric vehicle charging stations, which the administration says are key to accelerating the use of electric vehicles to fight climate change. It would also provide $ 5 billion for the purchase of electric and hybrid school buses, reducing reliance on diesel-powered school buses.
The $ 65 billion in broadband legislation would aim to improve Internet services for rural areas, low-income families and tribal communities. Most of the money would be made available through state grants. ADVERTISINGhttps: //18676cdd511120ced7a511d48dbb844e.safeframe.googlesyndication.com/safeframe/1-0-38/html/container.html
MODERNIZATION OF THE ELECTRICAL NETWORK
To protect against the widespread power outages that have become more frequent in recent years, the bill would spend $ 65 billion to improve the reliability and resiliency of the country’s power grid. It would also boost carbon capture technologies and more environmentally friendly sources of electricity like clean hydrogen.
The bill would spend $ 25 billion to improve runways, gates and taxiways at airports and to improve terminals. It would also improve the aging infrastructure of air traffic control towers.
WATER AND WASTEWATER
To improve the country’s drinking water security, the law would spend $ 55 billion on water supply and sanitation infrastructure. The bill would include $ 15 billion to replace lead pipes and $ 10 billion to combat water contamination with polyfluoroalkyl substances, or PFAS – chemicals that were used in the production of Teflon and have also been used in fire fighting foam, water repellent clothing and many other items. .
PAY FOR EVERYTHING
The five-year spending program would be paid for by taking out $ 210 billion in unspent COVID-19 relief aid and $ 53 billion in UI assistance that some states have halted, along with a range other small pots of money, like sales of oil reserves and spectrum auctions for 5G services.
The biggest beak
Democrats are trying to pass a separate and larger 10-year $ 3.5 trillion spending plan that includes provisions for social programs and addresses environmental issues.
The bill as drafted, which is part of Joe Biden’s “Build Better” agenda, includes an assortment of long-standing Democratic priorities, including an expansion of existing health, education and training programs. child care for Americans young and old. It includes provisions for a free community college, free pre-kindergarten, extended child tax credit payments, expanded medicare, paid family and medical leave, reduced drug costs on ordinance and climate change.
Republicans are strongly opposed to the plan, which would be paid off by raising the corporate tax rate from 21% to 26.5% for companies earning more than $ 5 million a year, and by raising the maximum rate for them. individuals from 37% to 39.6%. for those earning over $ 400,000 per year, or $ 450,000 for couples.
Democrats are trying to pass the separate $ 3.5 trillion measure on their own using an elaborate process called budget reconciliation. Its use allows the bill to bypass an otherwise certain GOP obstruction. But Democrats can’t move forward until they come to an agreement among themselves on exactly what the legislation should contain.