Biden administration, Senators agree on bipartisan infrastructure framework

The Biden administration and a bipartisan group of senators last week reached agreement on a $1.2 trillion “Bipartisan Infrastructure Framework” that could set the stage for a massive new investment in the nation’s infrastructure, according to the Association of Metropolitan Water Agencies (AMWA).

According to a summary released by the White House, the framework includes $55 billion for water infrastructure, which would “eliminate the nation’s lead service lines and pipes, delivering clean drinking water to up to ten million American families and more than 400,000 schools and child care facilities that currently don’t have it.” 

The agreement follows weeks of discussions among senators and the White House, but the details will remain uncertain until the framework is translated into legislative text.

According to AMWA, also unclear is how the framework will interface with a separate water infrastructure bill scheduled for consideration on the House floor this week, and another water infrastructure measure that passed the Senate in April. And Democratic House leaders, who were not at the table as the deal was crafted, have warned that they may not go along unless Congress commits to passing a separate, additional spending package that carries numerous other progressive priorities. President Biden later said that he will not sign the bipartisan infrastructure deal unless it is accompanied by a separate package of Democratic priorities, thereby raising questions over the likelihood of the package ultimately getting enacted.

Earlier this year, President Biden proposed a $2 trillion-plus American Rescue Plan that promised $111 billion for drinking water and wastewater infrastructure, including $45 billion to “replace 100 percent of the nation’s lead pipes and service lines.” The bipartisan deal would cut the amount of total water infrastructure funding in half while the commitment to eliminate lead service lines would remain the same, suggesting that relatively little funding could be left over to address other water infrastructure priorities.

Source: Association of Metropolitan Water Agencies

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