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Infrastructure bill survives a key procedural vote in Senate

The bipartisan infrastructure bill has survived a key procedural vote in the Senate. Yahoo Finance’s Jessica Smith shares the details.

Video Transcript


AKIKO FUJITA: A big breakthrough in those ongoing efforts to push for that infrastructure bill. Yesterday, we had Senate lawmakers from both sides of the aisle voting to move forward on discussions for the $1 trillion package. Let's bring in Yahoo Finance's Jessica Smith, who has been tracking the ongoing developments. And so Jess, now, we've got the vote to discuss the bill. What's the next step?

JESSICA SMITH: Yeah, well, there are still some hurdles before this actually makes it through the Senate. But as you mentioned, last night was a really important step. They did pass that 67 to 32. And now, you begin the debate to the Amendment process. That could still take some time.

But Majority Leader Chuck Schumer says that he still wants to get this done before senators leave for the August recess at the end of next week. He says it might take long nights and weekends, but they are still hoping for final passage within that window.

Now, here's what they actually ended up with, with this deal. It's $550 billion in new spending. And it has about $110 billion for roads, highways, bridges. $39 billion for transit. That's lower than what they originally agreed to. About $66 billion for rail. And $7.5 billion for electric vehicle charging stations. It also has money for water, broadband, the power grid, airports, and more.

And how they'll pay for it, of course, that was a big sticking point throughout the debate. They say they're going to redirect unused COVID relief funds. They'll also tap into some of the money that was designed for unemployment insurance now that states have started declining that federal enhancement. They're also going to use some targeted corporate user fees. And then they're also proposing strengthening tax enforcement on cryptocurrencies.

Now, the White House said this is a once in a generation investment in infrastructure that will boost the economy and create jobs. Senator Susan Collins, who is one of the key negotiators, spoke about the deal yesterday. Let's watch.

SUSAN COLLINS: We've shown America tonight that we can work together, that we can put aside ideological differences and work together to find common ground on an issue that affects each and every American.

JESSICA SMITH: Now, if the Senate is able to pass this, it does still face some challenges. The House is going to want to have a say in it. We've heard from the chairman of the transportation and Infrastructure Committee saying, he wants to modify it once it does come over to the House. So we'll see what happens there if it does make it through the Senate.

Majority Leader Schumer also wants to pass the budget resolution, which will lay the groundwork for the reconciliation package, that Democratic senators only package with $3.3 trillion in new spending at this point. So a lot to do before they leave Washington before the end of the week. Zack and Akiko.

ZACK GUZMAN: Yeah. And Jess, I mean, the reporting that we got are pretty limited when it comes to the plans around the latest compromise there. And the $28 billion that could come in here through taxes on crypto transactions. But, obviously, you know, how were we going to pay for this was a big sticking point between Democrats and Republicans.

I mean, when you assess kind of how much we've come down from the initial range that President Biden was originally looking to get, the compromise bill, and now the issues around pay-force, I mean-- I don't know. How significant do you think that it is that you're seeing additional tax revenues being tossed into this now to get it across the finish line?

JESSICA SMITH: I mean, you know, It was a really big sticking point. How are they going to pay for it? And we did more than a month ago see in the first round of negotiations between the White House and this group, they had agreed on strengthening IRS enforcement so they could collect more money from people who owed taxes. They want to really ramp up enforcement on wealthy-owned businesses.

And then that fell apart and didn't end up making the deal. Because there was pushback from Republicans about giving the IRS more power. So it seems like this is somewhat of a compromise. But I would expect Democrats in the reconciliation bill or maybe when this goes over to the House, they're going to want to see that ramped up enforcement somewhere.

We also know that they're going to push for tax hikes on the wealthy and on businesses as well. So a lot going on in that space. We'll see where the final version ends up.