House Democrats unveiled a $1.5 trillion infrastructure package Thursday that addresses everything from roads, public housing and broadband to climate change and clean energy, as well as the need to get more Americans back to work.
The ambitious Moving Forward Act would tackle the nation's infrastructure needs "in a green and resilient way," House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said a news conference Thursday, where House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Richard Neal, D-Mass., called it "the largest tax investment in combating climate change that Congress has ever made."
Ms. Pelosi pledged to have the House of Representatives vote in it before the July Fourth recess.
Though Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said nothing would advance in the Senate, Ms. Pelosi noted: "There's tremendous interest among individual members and how it does affect their areas. ... We think this will be very nonpartisan" and "something that the president really wants."
The biggest and most controversial piece of the proposal is a $500 billion legislative package approved Thursday by the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure. Known as the INVEST in America Act, it would tackle massive infrastructure rebuilding needs while also working to dramatically reduce greenhouse gas emissions from the transportation sector.
Transportation and Infrastructure Committee Chairman Peter DeFazio, D-Ore., said at the news conference that the bill is "extraordinarily ambitious," as it seeks to apply parts of the Democrats' green new deal. He noted that "Republicans have been a bit critical" of provisions that tackle climate change, including tying state funding and projects to greenhouse gas emission goals.
The package "proves that we can both deal with climate change and fossil fuel pollution and actually create millions of new, high-paying American jobs. That is the promise of this legislation," Mr. DeFazio said.
The bill includes $100 billion for public housing, $25 billion for drinking water, $100 billion for broadband, $70 billion for clean energy projects, $100 billion for low income schools and $30 billion for hospital upgrades, among other provisions.
It also calls for permanently reinstating Build America bonds to provide financing to state and local governments and spur private sector investment. Reinstating advance refunding and direct pay bond programs and expanding the private activity program "are critical tools for state and local governments financing their infrastructure," especially given their financial pressures related to COVID-19, SIFMA President and CEO Kenneth E. Bentsen, Jr. said in a statement.