House Passes $1.2 Trillion Infrastructure Bill. Will Build Back Better Act Follow?

Nancy Pelosi and Jim Clyburn at a news conference at the U.S. Capitol.

Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) looks on as House Majority Whip Jim Clyburn (D-SC) speaks at a news conference on the House side of the U.S. Capitol Building on Nov. 5, 2021 in Washington, DC. Kent Nishimura / Los Angeles Times via Getty Images

The House of Representatives passed a $1.2 trillion infrastructure bill with $550 billion in new spending on Friday, and President Biden is expected to sign the Senate-approved legislation shortly.

The bill includes few measures to cut the greenhouse gas emissions causing climate change, but includes substantial funding for adapting and building resilience to its impacts. The legislation includes $15 billion for flood control, mitigation and assistance and $100 million to help Indigenous communities relocate as their homes are inundated by sea-level rise.

It also includes $65 billion for grid upgrades, $39 billion for public transit, $5 billion for EV chargers, and $2.5 billion for electric school buses — as well as $110 billion for roads, bridges, and other projects, and $18 billion in loan guarantees for for a methane gas export terminal in Alaska, as well as $4.7 billion to clean up abandoned oil and gas wells which spew heat-trapping methane into the atmosphere.

The House did not pass the $1.75 Build Back Better Act, which includes more climate and social spending measures, but Democratic Senators were touting the House passage in Glasgow on Saturday as evidence that progress on that legislation would come soon.

As reported by Grist:

It’s worth remembering that the green spending in this bill was much higher before a bipartisan group of senators negotiated it from its original, $2 trillion size to a punier $1 trillion version. Total funding for electric vehicles was slashed 90 percent, funding for clean energy tax credits cut out entirely, the list goes on.

Patrick Gaspard, the president and CEO of the Center for American Progress, a liberal think tank, praised the passage of the infrastructure bill while calling on Congress to pass the Build Back Better Act. “While today we take a significant step forward, no thriving 21st-century economy can sustain the social and economic injustices and inefficiencies of centuries past, nor can they look the other way in the face of fundamental threats like climate change,” Gaspard said in a statement. “The only way for Congress to redress these wrongs is to send both of these bills to the president’s desk.”

For a deeper dive:

AP, Grist, The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, The Black Wall Street Times, POLITICO, NPR, Bloomberg; Senators in Glasgow: Gizmodo

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