The Senate overwhelmingly approved a $ 35 billion bill to modernize the country’s water infrastructure, signaling that it is possible for senators to achieve bipartisan consensus even if they remain divided .the $ 2 trillion infrastructure proposal. The bill, which was passed by 89 votes to 2, is now returned to the House.
The bill was led by Democratic Senator Tom Carper and Republican Senator Shelley Moore Capito, chairman and senior member of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee. The bill would improve the country’s aging water and wastewater infrastructure, support drinking water supply programs, and set aside subsidies for poor, rural and tribal communities who have struggled with poor water. bad quality.
In a statement applauding the passage of the bill, Carper said the legislation “goes to the heart of President Biden’s message to our nation last night,” referring to the President, when he urged lawmakers to come together to adopt a comprehensive infrastructure package.
“We must work on the other side to find lasting bipartisan solutions to the problems facing the American people and in doing so, build a better future for all. I am proud that our committee has led the charge in this effort today. Passage by the Senate of the first bill on infrastructure of this Congress, ”said Carper.
Mr Biden’s proposal would allocate billions of dollars to modernizing water infrastructure, but Republicans argue that too many of its provisions are unrelated to traditional concepts of infrastructure. The president is also trying to pair his infrastructure plan with a proposal focused on healthcare, child care and education – more than $ 4 trillion in investment.
Capito led a Republican effort to come up with a counter-proposal to Mr. Biden’s infrastructure plan, introducing their own $ 538 billion framework last week. But some Democrats felt the offer didn’t go far enough. In his speech on Wednesday night, Mr Biden said he was ready to work with Republicans, but inaction is not an option.
In the meantime, the adoption of the water infrastructure bill is a small victory for bipartisanship in an equally divided Senate. In a statement of support for the legislation last week, the Office of the Management Budget said the bill was a “good start”.
“This legislation aligns with the administration’s goals to improve and modernize aging infrastructure, improve the health of children and small and disadvantaged communities, develop new technologies and help address cybersecurity threats. and mitigate the dangers of climate change, ”the OMB statement read.