Joe Biden Has a Problem: Is the Infrastructure Bill Too Small?

Joe Biden Has a Problem: Is the Infrastructure Bill Too Small?

The Bipartisan Infrastructure Framework is expected to be signed on Monday. But the bill is about half of the $2.3 trillion that was originally proposed.

President Joe Biden is expected to sign the bipartisan infrastructure bill on Monday. During its passage through Congress, which included a Senate vote in August and a House vote earlier this month, the legislation was known as the Bipartisan Infrastructure Framework (BIF), although the law will be officially called the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act. 

The bill that will be signed Monday grew out of what was called the American Jobs Plan earlier in the year, although not everything contained in the earlier plan survived Congressional negotiations that earned some Republican votes in both houses of Congress. 

The American Jobs Plan carried a press tag of $2.3 trillion, while the bill that will become law is priced at $1.2 trillion. 

Vox’s Li Zhou recently looked at what stayed in the bill and what didn’t, calling the resulting package “both historic and not nearly enough.”

“Broadly, the funding for various provisions is less than what Biden had originally requested in his American Jobs Plan, underscoring the compromises made between Democrats and Republicans to reach the final version of the bill,” Zhou wrote. “This past March, Biden had called for $100 billion for broadband, while the bill includes $65 billion; he’d also requested $159 billion for roads and bridges and ended up with $110 billion.”

Vox argues that the bill does not allocate enough money to satisfy the nation’s infrastructure needs. The site added that the implementation could also be a problem, as it depends largely on distributing money to states.

“Across an array of provisions including drinking water, public transit, and broadband, experts believe much more funding is needed to fully tackle the problems cities and states are facing,” Zhou wrote. “The bill contains $39 billion for public transit, for example, but the American Society of Civil Engineers estimates that US public transit systems need about $176 billion in work right now, and will need almost $100 billion more in funding by the end of the decade.”

The New York Times reported on what else was left out of the bill in July. 

The Biden administration still hopes to pass the other major piece of its legislative agenda, which is now known as the Build Back Better plan. 

Stephen Silver, a technology writer for The National Interest, is a journalist, essayist and film critic, who is also a contributor to The Philadelphia Inquirer, Philly Voice, Philadelphia Weekly, the Jewish Telegraphic Agency, Living Life Fearless, Backstage magazine, Broad Street Review and Splice Today. The co-founder of the Philadelphia Film Critics Circle, Stephen lives in suburban Philadelphia with his wife and two sons. Follow him on Twitter at @StephenSilver.

Image: Reuters