US Senate approves $1.2 trillion infrastructure bill despite deficit concerns
WASHINGTON: The US Senate on Tuesday approved a long-awaited bipartisan infrastructure bill after months of strenuous negotiations, though analysts are concerned that this legislation falls short of its promise to be fully paid for.
In a rare stroke of bipartisanship, more than a dozen Republicans joined Democrats to back the legislation. The final vote was 69-30, comfortably surpassing the 60-vote threshold required for most legislation in the 100-seat upper chamber.
The infrastructure bill, despite a political victory for President Joe Biden, is much smaller than the size of what he originally proposed. Despite that, budget groups argued the administration would most likely have to borrow heavily to fund the projects, pushing up the already ballooning deficit.
In a speech at the White House, Biden said he is happy to mark this “significant milestone” on the road toward making “long-overdue,” “much-needed” investments in basic, hard infrastructure of this nation.
“Clogged arteries at the heart of our economy — they are going to be opened up,” he said.
The president noted that forecasters on Wall Street project that over the next 10 years, such investments will create an additional 2 million jobs a year beyond what was already projected.
In late March, Biden unveiled a roughly 2-trillion-US-dollar infrastructure plan, but it was harshly criticized by Republican lawmakers, who argued it is not targeted on infrastructure and costs too much.
After months of negotiations, a bipartisan group of senators reached an agreement on a 1.2-trillion-dollar infrastructure bill, which includes 550 billion dollars in new spending on infrastructure projects, such as roads, bridges, passenger rails, drinking water and waste water systems. The rest of the package involves previously approved spending.–Xinhua
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