A clear path to a successful 117th Congress is emerging
I have a guess how the money will get spent because we've done this before.
Everyone will clap themselves on the back, impressed with the top-line number and the vague goodness of "infrastructure". Everyone from lefty socialists to right leaning self identified libertarians will be pleased because if we have one remaining thing we can all agree on, it's infrastructure spending is good. Economists left and right alike will cheer; this spending will stimulate the economy, a little more gas on the fire.
And then we'll hand the state DOTs their checks. And they will go and widen every pointless freeway to nowhere, inducing more driving and more sprawl. They will build new, wider, bridges next to the old bridges. They will spend all of the money on this, and when they're finished, they'll complain they just didn't get enough to fix our "crumbling infrastructure", only enough to expand it. They may even call some of the expansion repair, and they'll definitely call it all "green", somehow.
And we will be poorer for it all, as we already have a half dozen times the infrastructure per person of other wealthy counties. And global warming will continue, and California will burn as they pave new pathways into the burn areas for single family homes. And the cycle of life will continue and in 8 years it will come time to repair our crumbling infrastructure and we'll do it again.
Has anyone been counting Senate votes? I realize it's early yet, but I'm maximally skeptical there are ten Republican votes in the Senate. Seemingly knowledgeable people on Twitter are suggesting only the reconciliation bill will get to Biden's desk. I'm wondering if, in the event that's how this all ends up shaking out, they'll throw some of the contents of the bipartisan bill into the reconciliation bill.
I have started to freak out about Maggie Hassan’s numbers against Sunnunu in New Hampshire and so I was hoping that this bill would help her. I have not been closely following the odds that the Ds hold their 50 vote majority in the Senate but I am not ready for McConnell to be the majority leader again.
I’ve seen some disappointment expressed about the size of the EV charging commitment being reduced. I don’t have a specific view on that number, but as a current EV owner I think I can help provide some context.
America is in a better position than Europe or China because a higher percentage of our car owners have a private dedicated place to park their car every evening. So more of our EV fleet is going to be able to charge at home - something that those owners are going to want to do since it is the most convenient option. I’ve seen some people point out the number of gas stations vs number of EV chargers but the point is since so many of our EVs will be able to charge at home we won’t need to replicate all that gas station infrastructure. The other benefit of charging at home is that most of the time that will happen at night when the electrical grid has the most excess capacity, which we need to start thinking about as we start adding these electrical loads.
Although we won’t need to replace all of the gas infrastructure, we will still need public chargers. Even people who charge at home will need to use public chargers when on road trips. That infrastructure actually isn’t too bad right now- the vast majority of major highway corridors are at least passable with EVs but we do need to continue to beef that up. And we also need to address the minority of car owners who don’t have a dedicated parking spot - probably the most effective way to help them would be incentives for their employers to set up charging stations while they are at work as well as additional city center located public fast charging stations (since most of these owners without parking are in city centers).
All of this is to say that adding EV infrastructure is important, but even now we are probably in a better position than many people realize and the task may not be as large and difficult as many may assume.
Man, if you had asked me at the beginning of the year, I'd have given "Biden passes a bipartisan infrastructure bill" , like, 20% odds.
Luckily, I firmly avoid making these sorts of predictions, thus preserving my all-important lack of accountability.
If Dems were going to do the "we're not gonna pass bipartisan bill unless we get reconciliation" thing, why did they feel the need to publicly communicate it? Like, I imagine there's a private groupchat of Dems or whatever where they can agree to this strategy without publicizing it and jeopardizing the deal
Hate to rain on everyone's parade, but I think given Biden et al announced almost immediately they would use reconciliation for spending/taxes that the GOP balked at in the bipartisan bill, instead of actually waiting for this bill to pass, and then having those discussions I expect this deal to be killed.
Any reason to think 10 Republican Senators will vote for this? Anyone? Bueller?
I appreciate the nuance to these takes, and I especially like the extra effort to contextualize what's going on. It's all a bit messy, but in a good way!
This bill is similar to the proposal put forward by the problem solvers caucus. I think there will be some House Republican votes.
Are there specifics regarding changes to the emissions standards that might be included in this deal? I have not read about that yet, but am very curious. I would think we would see more aggressive standards via EPA regulation than Republicans would agree to in a bill, but a law would lock them in (they could not be easily reversed by a future Republican administration) and make them harder to challenge in court.
Your premise is that the current Republican party consists of good faith actors. Mathematically, 50+5 =55, so a clear majority of the Senate is in favor. However, the obstructionist wing of the republic party needs only 41 votes to filibuster which they clearly have. McConnell has made it clear that he won't permit any success for Biden's " socialist" programs. Optimism is great Matt, but in this case misplaced,. And yes, that's very sad for our country
Excellent. Yeah, the very idea of throwing a lot of money into the broken surface transportation sector isn't great. But it does invest in aspects of the grid and EVs that is worth doing. And it doesn't take away any payfor from the later, better package. The real challenge is timing. Democrats felt like they barely were able to push the ACA over the finish line in late 2009 and early 2010. There's a concern that moderate Democrats will just refuse to vote for a second reconciliation package after this deal is signed. But there's still a lot of legislative time left even if you pick an arbitrary "Nothing pasts after April 1, 2022" deadline.