Vice President Kamala Harris held a virtual conference to talk about the benefits of the new bipartisan infrastructure deal with small business owners in South Carolina Thursday. This comes a day after the Senate voted to begin debate on the deal.
The video above shows clips from Harris’ Thursday conference.
“Our infrastructure as a nation needs an upgrade and the bipartisan infrastructure deal for that reason is, we believe, historic because it will make a once in a generation investment in our nation’s infrastructure, positioning our small businesses to compete in the 21st century,” Harris said.
According to a White House fact sheet, the deal includes:
- $110 billion for roads and bridges, including the single largest dedicated bridge investment since the construction of the Interstate highway system ($40 billion).
- $39 billion for public transit. That’s about $10 billion less than senators had originally designated.
- $66 billion for passenger and freight rail. The money would be used to reduce Amtrak’s maintenance backlog and improve its 457-mile-long Northeast Corridor as well as other routes.
- $65 billion to expand broadband access. Most of the money would be made available through grants to states.
- $73 billion for modernizing the nation’s electric grid and expanding the use of renewable energy.
After weeks of negotiations, Wednesday’s vote was shockingly bipartisan, at 67-32.
“It’s a point of pride that it was a bipartisan deal,” Harris said. “I don’t need to tell you all small businesses the, the contribution they make to communities and the challenges they face really don’t have much to do with who they voted for in the last election or will in the next election.”
It’s unclear if enough Republicans will eventually join Democrats to support final passage. Senate rules require 60 votes to pass any bill this infrastructure debate may lead to. With a 50-50 split in the Senate, any bill would need bipartisan support.
The outcome will set the stage for the next debate over President Joe Biden’s $3.5 trillion spending package. Republicans strongly oppose the package. However, this one would only require a simple majority to pass.