Ahead of the July 4th weekend, a bipartisan group of Senate negotiators formed 11 working groups and began in earnest to craft legislative language for their infrastructure bill to spend $974 billion over five years ($1.2 trillion over eight years). A group of 20 Senators – 10 from each party – announced an agreement with President Biden on top-line spending numbers for a bill and must now craft legal language for priorities from water and power to permitting and ports. This is a long process far from close to done because liberal Senators may not vote for the agreement if it reaches the floor, where it would require 60 votes under the current process.
On the House side of the Capitol, the lower chamber before leaving Washington for July 4 passed a Democratic-led $700 billion water and road infrastructure bill that could also serve as the baseline for funding specific projects around the country. Most in Washington remain skeptical a bipartisan infrastructure bill will survive the political process, forcing Democrats to use budget reconciliation, which only requires 50 Senate votes. Sources indicate the Senate may reveal a budget resolution to begin the reconciliation process as soon as mid-July and work in tandem with House Democrats to move a larger hard and soft infrastructure bill without Republicans. The week of July 12 will likely dictate the long-term prospects for this massive legislation when lawmakers return to Washington and begin revealing language for both a bipartisan approach and a one-party reconciliation option.