As reported by cnet,

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The Senate voted Tuesday to pass a $1 trillion bipartisan infrastructure package, ending weeks of negotiations between Democrats and Republicans over the largest federal investment in traditional infrastructure the US has seen in decades. 

The vote on the bill was 69-30. The legislation now must be passed by the House. 

The rare bipartisan support for the legislation reflects its popularity and eagerness from senators to deliver tangible results for voters back home. The package, which promises to pour billions of dollars into upgrading roads, bridges, water pipes and other public works projects, is also expected to improve broadband internet speeds and get infrastructure to more Americans. 

Now that voting on the bill is complete, senators are immediately turning to a budget outline for a $3.5 trillion package that’ll include funding for things like child care, elder care and other programs. This spending bill is much more partisan and if passed will almost certainly see the vote fall along party lines.  

President Joe Biden said over the weekend that the bipartisan infrastructure package the senate just passed offers an investment similar to spending levels on the transcontinental railroad or the interstate highway system.

Senators have spent the past week working on nearly two dozen amendments to the 2,700-page bill. But none of the amendments offered any substantial change to the framework of the legislation. 

In addition to funding projects for traditional infrastructure, such as roads, bridges and public transit, the bill calls for funding of electric vehicle charging stations and high-speed broadband. Specifically, there will be a $65 billion “investment ensuring every American has access to reliable high-speed internet,” according to the White House. (This figure has been scaled back from Biden’s original proposal of $100 billion in broadband spending.) 

The investment in broadband comes as policy makers acknowledge that high-speed internet access has become as vital to American life as electricity. The COVID-19 pandemic and lockdowns over the past year have shown how important broadband is to ensure that Americans can, when needed, remotely take care of things like schooling, medical consultations and work (depending on the job). 

As many as 30 million Americans live in areas where there’s no broadband infrastructure to provide minimally acceptable speeds, according to the White House. It’s a problem known as the digital divide, and it’s dogged policy makers for years.

Source link: cnet


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