Senate Passes Infrastructure Bill, Budget Resolution

The Senate last week passed the INVEST in America Act (H.R. 3684), a bipartisan infrastructure package that had been backed by the White House, by a vote of 69-30. The spirit of bipartisanship was short-lived, however, as Senate Democrats moved quickly to pass a $3.5 trillion budget resolution (S. Con. Res. 14) by a vote of 59-49, with all Republicans present voting in opposition. Adoption of a budget resolution is the first step in developing budget reconciliation legislation that could pass the Senate with a simple majority and not be subject to a Senate filibuster that would require 60 votes to overcome. Senate Democrats, who control 50 votes, can pass legislation since Vice President Kamala Harris casts the tie-breaking vote under the U.S. Constitution.

Both the infrastructure bill and budget resolution must next be passed by the House of Representatives, but House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) has vowed not to allow a vote on the infrastructure legislation until the Senate passes the larger reconciliation bill containing much of President Joe Biden’s spending for social safety net programs and climate-change measures. Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-MD) has scheduled an Aug. 23 vote in the House on the Senate-passed budget resolution. However, nine moderate Democrats have written a letter to Pelosi threatening to withhold their votes on the budget resolution unless the infrastructure bill is brought up for a vote.