House Democrats are poised to vote on their $1.5 trillion infrastructure bill this week, which is guaranteed to pass in the Democrat-controlled House but faces gridlock in the Senate.
The infrastructure legislation, H.R.2, The Moving Forward Act, allocates billions of dollars for a variety of improvement projects such as $300 billion for highways and bridges, $100 billion for broadband internet, $130 billion for “high-poverty” schools, $70 billion for renewal energy, and $25 billion for the U.S. Postal Service, among a host of other initiatives.
Chairman of the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works Sen. John Barrasso (R-Wyo.) said Monday in a tweet: “Senate infrastructure bill is bipartisan, ready to go. House bill (The Moving Forward Act) is road to nowhere.”
“Instead of working with House Republicans, the House Democrats cut them out and wrote a partisan bill. In the Senate, both parties worked together to write bipartisan highway infrastructure legislation that would help the whole country. Infrastructure is critical to our economic recovery. When House Democrats are ready to be serious, they should look to America’s Transportation Infrastructure Act as a bipartisan model,” continued Barrasso.
As the House gets ready to vote on the The Moving Forward Act this week, members have filed 367 amendments, with 80 coming from Republicans, 54 bipartisan, and the rest from Democrats in an attempt to make it fit the needs of more of the Congress members’ districts.
“There may be a lot of amendments, but we hope to hold the votes down to a manageable level,” House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) said last week. Hoyer said that in order to save time, the amendments may be voted on after they are grouped together.
The Rules Committee met Monday to decide which of the 367 amendments will be considered on the House floor later in the week. House leaders are trying to limit votes on the number of amendments because each can take as long as an hour due to proxy voting.
Ranking member of the House Rules Committee Rep. Tom Cole (R-Okla.) said in a statement, “Our hearing today is on H.R. 2, which started out as the majority’s attempt to reauthorize the highway bill but has since morphed into the Speaker’s $1.5 trillion infrastructure wish list.”
“The majority tacked on all kinds of things that are not normally found in a surface transportation bill. Nine billion dollars for a new broadband internet benefit program and $80 billion to build broadband infrastructure. Two hundred million dollars for solar installations. Billions of dollars for hospital construction. One billion dollars for abandoned mines. A tax credit for people who buy electric cars. I could go on and on and on,” Cole continued.
Transportation and Infrastructure Committee Chairman Peter DeFazio (D-Ore.) said in a statement: “That’s why I’m so pleased that this week the House will consider and pass a comprehensive infrastructure package. The Moving Forward Act is a $1.5 trillion plan to rebuild American infrastructure—not only our roads, bridges, and transit systems, but also our schools, housing, broadband access, and so much more.”
“Committee Republicans may complain that they were cut out of the drafting process for this bill. But after reading their Minority Views, it’s clear the real problem is that we disagree about climate change. In the Minority Views they state, ‘H.R. 2, as amended, prioritizes climate change policy,'” DeFazio added.
While Democrats will vote and pass the bill in the House, Cole believes The Moving Foward Act will not become law because it is not bipartisan.
“I’d remind this committee that this bill is ultimately going nowhere. It will not be passed by the Senate, and the president will not sign it,” Cole said.
Along with The Moving Forward Act, the House will also be voting on State Health Care Premium Reduction Act Patient Protection and Affordable Care Enhancement Act (H.R. 1425) and the Emergency Housing Protections and Relief Act of 2020 (H.R. 7301).