Biden signs infrastructure investment and employment law

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Today, President Biden enacted HR 3684, the “Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act” (IIJA), after months of negotiations on the bill itself and the “Build Back Better Act “still pending. These two measures sum up the legislative priorities of the Biden administration, many of which were deployed during the campaign. The United States Senate passed the IIJA on August 10 with a vote of 69-30. Last week, on November 5, the House of Representatives passed the measure by a vote of 228-206. The months-long negotiations resulted in bipartisan support for the IIJA in both the House and Senate.

Basically, the IIJA:

  • Provides funding: The funds provided are appropriate dollars, allowing executive branch agencies to distribute funds without further legislative action. Funds provided are intended for new and existing federal programs for surface transportation, energy infrastructure, transportation security, transit, broadband, ports and waterways, airports, drinking water and waste water.

  • Allows you to speed up: Several new programs have been created to support the development of transport and rationalize the authorization of new energy infrastructure, such as the transmission of electricity.

  • Provides new authorities and creates new programs: Various federal agencies are required to develop new programs and processes, all aimed at deploying clean energy or improving cybersecurity.

The IIJA represents a monumental investment in all types of infrastructure. However, more importantly, it will provide the largest federal investment since the New Deal in the nation’s infrastructure and in the development of tools to reduce carbon emissions and strengthen infrastructure to increase resilience to the global challenge. current climate change. Department of Energy and other federal agencies to receive $ 65 billion for electricity and grid-related programs, including grid infrastructure, resilience investments, energy demonstration projects clean and cybersecurity. An additional $ 7.5 billion will be made available for alternative refueling infrastructure for grants to build public refueling systems, including electric and hydrogen fuels, establish alternative fuel lanes, and find alternative fuel lanes. ways to recycle used electric vehicle batteries for reuse as energy storage devices.

In July, our team shared details of the bill passed by the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee. As signed into law, this earlier summary still accurately reflects the details of the funding that will be provided.

Implementation and funding schedule: Agencies will now be responsible for establishing new programs or expanding existing programs to allocate federal funds to eligible infrastructure projects. Agency offices will work over the next few weeks to establish the parameters of the grant program, develop and publish solicitations for nominations, set deadlines for awards and oversee the implementation of awarded funds.

The IIJA has included deadlines for some agency actions, requiring programs to be set in 60, 90 or 180 days. Note that many of the agency’s offices, especially within the Department of Energy, continue to operate without political appointments. For example, the Office of Electricity, which will be responsible for providing $ 3 billion in grants under the Smart Grid Investment Matching Grant program, will operate under the direction of an Acting Deputy Secretary until ‘that the Senate confirms the candidate of the Biden administration for this post. There are no legal or political obstacles to setting up and operating funding programs without a politician running a federal office, but political influence over the pace and timing of the process may be limited.

Some programs will automatically send funds to states through existing formula funding programs. Formula grant programs are non-competitive grants based on a predetermined formula. These programs are sometimes referred to as state administered programs and are found across the federal government. Examples include the Environmental Protection Agency’s revolving loan program for potable and potable water and the Department of Transportation’s bus and bus facility grant programs. Once states receive their federal allocations, they will then make these funds available through their existing allocation structure, which can be competitive or formula-based.

How your organization can apply for federal funding: As agencies set parameters for new programs or develop solicitations for existing programs, it is important to engage with agencies in this process to ensure that your project will meet the program criteria. agency for an allocation of funding, and to ensure that solicitations are designed to support your infrastructure projects. . Our professionals have had significant success in assisting clients through these processes, and have successfully assisted clients in the development of award grant applications under the Democratic and Republican administrations. Contact one of our professionals to find out more about grant programs your organization may be eligible for, how to engage with agencies, as well as how to apply and partner with the federal government to ensure award winning. funding for your project.

And then, the human infrastructure: The IIJA represents only those provisions of the Biden agenda that may have won bipartisan support. The rest of the president’s priorities are summed up in a budget reconciliation bill, HR 5376, the Build Back Better Act, (BBBA) developed by House and Senate Democrats requiring only a threshold. 50 votes in the Senate.

For months, the Build Back Better Act and the IIJA have been linked in the legislative process by President Biden and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) who demanded that one not pass without the other. This approach resulted in a rift between moderate and progressive members of the Democratic Party. While the end result of the IIJA resulted in bipartisan votes in the House and Senate, the passage only came after an agreement was reached between moderates and progressives in the Democratic caucus. to decouple the IIJA and the “Build Back Better Act”.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has publicly stated that the “Build Back Better Act” will be presented to the House during the week of November 15. The Senate leadership has made no promises of swift action. In addition, some House Democrats and Senators have announced that they want to see the details of the budget scoring – what the individual arrangements will cost – from the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) and the Joint Tax Commission – before proceeding. Continue. Some limited data has started to be released by the CBO, but no figures covering many of the more complex and controversial programs. The timeline may be accelerated if Democrats and Republicans fail to agree to raise the debt ceiling, a must-see measure that may need to be included in the budget reconciliation process. As negotiations continue, the content of legislation passed by the House is expected to be significantly altered during Senate review. If so, the House will vote a second time on the measure as amended by the Senate.


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