On Sunday, a bipartisan group of senators released their infrastructure package worth more than $1 trillion after weeks of negotiations. As written, the bill authorizes more than $500 billion in new spending to bolster roads, bridges and other physical infrastructure such as high-speed broadband and electric vehicle adoption. The result is the highest domestic spending bill in more than 10 years, affecting nearly every aspect of the U.S. economy.
Last week, negotiators reached a deal to bolster the country’s broadband networks by an additional $65 billion, but it remained unclear exactly how that funding would be spent or how much of it would go toward increasing affordability and adoption. But the text released yesterday contained language to make the FCC’s Emergency Broadband Benefit program permanent and rename it the Affordably Connectivity Fund. The permanent version of the program would offer lower monthly subsidies — $30 instead of the previous $50 — but would also bring $100 for equipment.
According to the FCC, more than 4 million households have enrolled in the Emergency Broadband Benefit program since its inception during the pandemic.
The bipartisan package also includes billions to build half a million electric vehicle (EV) chargers across the country, in an effort to increase sales of electric vehicles in the US. The bill would also increase government involvement in cryptocurrency, Raising $28 Billion of a new tax on cryptocurrency brokers.
It’s unclear when the bill is expected to be voted on on the Senate floor, but Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) said it could be passed later this week. “Given how bipartisan the bill is and how much work has already been done to get the details right, I believe the Senate can quickly process relevant amendments and pass this bill in days,” Schumer said on Sunday. The text of the bill is still subject to change as a result of amendments passed on the floor.
Still, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) has pledged not to bring up the bipartisan package until the Senate votes on a second $3.5 trillion spending package through the reconciliation process, which will likely run on party lines.