White House Seeks to Speed Up Infrastructure Implementation

Mitch Landrieu -- White House Infrastructure Coordinator

A White House “Accelerating Infrastructure Summit” on Oct. 13 showcased actions by the administration to hasten infrastructure project construction by improving coordination with mayors and governors. (Summit video and White House Action Plan)

Accelerating IIJA Investment

  • Mitch Landrieu, the White House’s infrastructure coordinator (photo above) stated, “With over 90% of Bipartisan Infrastructure Law funding being delivered by non-federal agencies, our state, tribal, regional, territorial, local and industry partners must also find ways to accelerate the delivery of infrastructure.” (ABC News, Oct. 13)
  • The plan—funded under the $1.2 trillion bipartisan Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA) enacted last November and supplemented by the Inflation Reduction Act in August—is the most significant investment in infrastructure since the interstate highway initiative during the Eisenhower administration. The Roundtable strongly backed the IIJA as it moved through the legislative process. (Roundtable Weekly, Nov. 12, 2021)
  • The IIJA broadens access to federal funding programs by targeting resources toward communities. The administration launched a webpage on Grants.gov and a Technical Assistance Guide to help communities with infrastructure project resources, from grant writing to funding eligibility requirements. A web-based interactive map also shows where IIJA funds have been disbursed in communities across the nation.

On Time, On Task, and On Budget

Cover -- Infrastructure Acceleration Report

The Roundtable continues to support federal transportation infrastructure investments to spur economic growth, support local communities, and enhance America’s competitiveness. (Roundtable Weekly, May 20 and Roundtable’s 2022 Policy Agenda)

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Biden Administration Marks Six-Month Anniversary of Bipartisan Infrastructure Law

Biden cabinet members IIJA

White House Infrastructure Coordinator Mitch Landrieu led a group of Biden administration cabinet officials this week in recognizing the six-month anniversary of the $1 trillion infrastructure package, noting the 4,300 projects underway with more than $110 billion in allocated funding. (White House Fact Sheet and YouTube news conference, May 16) 

Implementation Efforts 

  • The Biden Administration has published an interactive map showing where the $110 billion will be spent. Of that total amount, $52.5 billion is for federal highway funding this fiscal year, $20.5 billion for public transit, and $27 billion over five years for bridges, airports, ports, the electric grid, and other infrastructure programs.
  • Ninety percent of funding authorized by the $1.2 trillion Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA) enacted last November will be implemented by governors and mayors. In January, the White House requested state and local leaders appoint infrastructure coordinators to manage the flow of funds. (White House Fact Sheet, May 16)
  • A White House guidebook to IIJA-funded programs released on Jan. 31 provides a key tool for states and local governments to apply for federal grants, loans, and public-private partnership resources under more than 375 infrastructure investment programs.  (The Hill, Jan. 31 and Roundtable Weekly, Feb. 4)
  • Department of Transportation (DOT) Secretary Pete Buttigieg stated on March 28 that the administration’s budget includes $100 million in recommended funding for the Hudson Tunnel commuter rail project, which is part of the Gateway Program, a series of strategic rail infrastructure investments along the Northeast Corridor. (Railway Age, March 29 and The Center Square, March 30) 

Roundtable Support

Infrastructure Projects interactive map

  • The Roundtable has long supported federal transportation infrastructure investments to spur economic growth, support local communities and enhance America’s competitiveness. (Roundtable Weekly, Nov. 12, 2021) 
  • The Roundtable’s 2022 Policy Agenda states, “The IIJA allows $550 billion in new infrastructure investments, estimated to create around 2 million jobs per year over the next decade. This long-term investment in physical infrastructure can re-imagine how we can productively move people, goods, power and information from home to work, business to business, community to community – and building to building.” 

Landrieu noted that many large infrastructure projects funded by the law will take years to build out. “This is going to be Infrastructure Decade,” he said. (Reuters, May 16) 

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Biden Administration Issues Rules Affecting Environmental Approval and Sourcing of Major Infrastructure Projects

Infrastructure highway construction San Diego

The Biden administration announced this week the restoration of strict environmental reviews for major infrastructure projects. Additionally, the U.S. Office of Management and Budget (OMB) issued new guidance to help federal agencies implement the “Build America, Buy America” sourcing provisions passed as part of the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA) last November. (PoliticoPro and Council on Environmental Quality, April 19)

Project Permitting & Climate Change

  • The environmental guidelines will revive how federal agencies authorize and issue permits for infrastructure construction projects. The regulations reaffirm that Federal agencies must evaluate all environmental impacts – including those associated with climate change – during reviews of proposed projects like bridges, mass transit and energy generation. (Wall Street Journal, April 19)
  • A second, broader proposal with additional changes is expected later this year. It is uncertain how the regulatory review guidance will affect projects authorized in the Roundtable-supported $1 trillion IIJA. (White House Council on Environmental Quality, April 19, 2022 and Roundtable Weekly, Nov. 12, 2021)
  • The restored regulations, which take effect on May 20, will also allow federal agencies to adopt environmental review standards that are more stringent than what is outlined in the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA). The NEPA environmental review rules were in effect since 1970 before the Trump administration scaled them back in 2020. (Reuters, July 15, 2020)
  • Under Trump’s revisions, full environmental-impact statements were required to be completed within two years, while less comprehensive reviews had a one-year deadline. (Wall Street Journal, July 15, 2020)

Infrastructure Materials Sourced in America

Pouring Steel

  • The OMB’s preliminary guidance issued this week instructs federal agencies how to implement new “Buy America” requirements applicable to federally funded infrastructure projects. (Associated Press, April 18)
  • The IIJA requirement provision mandates that all federal agencies must ensure that a “Buy America” requirement applies to all infrastructure projects that receive federal financial assistance, whether or not funded through IIJA. (National Law Review Q&A, April 20)
  • The new requirements, which take effect on May 14, require material purchased for infrastructure projects be produced in the U.S, with waivers included in case there are either not enough U.S. producers or domestic material costs prove excessive. (White House blog, April 20)

The Biden administration’s effort to increase domestic manufacturing and ease supply chain pressures from overseas sourcing comes as inflation has reached a 40-year high ahead of the 2022 midterm elections. (U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, April 12)

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Federal Aid Flowing to Transportation Infrastructure Projects, Including NY-NJ Gateway Program

Department of Transportation (DOT) Secretary Pete Buttigieg and White House Infrastructure Coordinator Mitch Landrieu on March 24 announced $2.9 billion in combined funding under a new infrastructure grant program. The new “Multimodal Projects Discretionary Grant” will allow all communities pursuing major transportation infrastructure projects to submit one application for three major DOT funding sources. (DOT Twitter, March 23) 

Surface Transportation Funding Expansion 

  • DOT funds under the new program will be awarded on a competitive basis for surface transportation infrastructure projects that have significant national or regional impact, according to DOT’s March 22 Notice of  Funding Opportunity. (Transport Topics, March 24)
  • Secretary Buttigieg said he expects to announce winners by the fall after receiving final applications by May 23. (Washington Post, March 23 and DOT Notice of  Funding Opportunity)
  • Last November, the enactment of the $1.2 trillion Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA) includes more than $350 billion over five fiscal years for surface transportation programs. (DOT news release, Jan. 14)
  • White House Infrastructure Chief Landrieu said about half of the IIJA’s $1.2 trillion will flow through the DOT during a presentation earlier this month at a Bipartisan Policy Center virtual forum. (Engineering News-Record, March 9)
  • This week, an additional $105 billion for the DOT was included in President Biden’s FY2023 budget request (see story above). The combined funding sources are expected to expand DOT’s discretionary grant programs for large, complex infrastructure projects that may involve more than one state. (DOT FY23 Budget Highlights document

Gateway Project & IIJA 

Gateway Hudson Tunnel Project

  • A March 28 announcement by DOT Secretary Buttigieg stated that the Administration’s budget recommends $4.45 billion to advance 15 major transit projects in FY2023. “This includes, for the first time, $100 million in recommended funding for the Hudson Tunnel commuter rail project, which is part of the Gateway Program, a series of strategic rail infrastructure investments along the Northeast Corridor.” (Railway Age, March 29 and The Center Square, March 30)
  • The Roundtable has long supported federal transportation infrastructure investments to spur economic growth, support local communities and enhance America’s competitiveness. (Roundtable Weekly, Nov. 12, 2021)
  • The Roundtable’s 2022 Policy Agenda states, “The IIJA allows $550 billion in new infrastructure investments, estimated to create around 2 million jobs per year over the next decade. This long-term investment in physical infrastructure can re-imagine how we can productively move people, goods, power and information from home to work, business to business, community to community – and building to building.”   

A guidebook to IIJA funding programs released on Jan. 31 provides a key tool for states and local governments to apply for federal grants, loans, and public-private partnership resources under more than 375 infrastructure investment programs.  (The Hill, Jan. 31 and Roundtable Weekly, Feb. 4) 

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Policymakers Focus on Federal Infrastructure Spending

Modern steel making

Washington policymakers this week addressed new initiatives to disburse $1.2 trillion in federal infrastructure investment, including agency spending that will support production of low-carbon construction materials. (White House Fact Sheet, Feb. 15) 

Biden Administration Efforts 

  • President Biden yesterday traveled to Ohio to emphasize how the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA) signed into law last November is funding new roads, bridges and railways while also protecting the environment. (Roundtable Weekly, Nov. 12, 2021 and Reuters, Jan. 17)
  • The White House on Tuesday announced new government-wide actions to support clean manufacturing for low-carbon production of steel, aluminum, and concrete needed as materials for electric vehicles, solar panels, buildings, and transportation projects.
  • A “Buy Clean Task Force” includes efforts by the General Services Administration (GSA) to encourage best practices for reducing “embodied emissions” of construction materials in federal buildings. (Reuters and MarketWatch, Feb. 15)
  • The administration also launched “Infrastructure School” this week – a series of webinars to provide an in-depth look into IIJA investment categories ranging from roads to rail to mass transit to broadband. Each webinar will cover an infrastructure asset class described in the Administration’s recently released Bipartisan Infrastructure Law guidebook. (Usetinc, Feb. 15 and Roundtable Weekly, Feb. 4) 

Transportation Spending Controversies 

Infrastructure photo Cleveland

  • Billions from the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA) for transportation projects are on hold, dependent on Congress reaching a deal on an “omnibus” appropriations bill to fund the U.S. government though Sept. 30. Meanwhile, the types of highways projects that should primarily benefit from federal funding is becoming a contentious issue. (E&E News, Feb. 7 and BGov, Feb.9)
  • The Biden Administration in December issued guidance advising states to prioritize IIJA transportation dollars for maintaining and improving existing highways – before adding new lanes.
  • In a letter last month to President Biden, a group of 16 Republican governors asked for greater flexibility. The letter noted, “A clear example of federal overreach would be an attempt by the Federal Highway Administration to limit state widening projects.”
  • Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) and Sen. Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV) last week countered the Biden Administration’s guidance. They advised U.S. governors that the IIJA has no authority to “dictate how states should use their federal formula funding, nor prioritizes public transit or bike paths over new roads and bridges.” (Wall Street Journal, Feb. 9)
  • Additionally, the Biden administration on Feb. 10 released a plan to distribute $5 billion in formula funding to states for EV chargers. States would first have to present charging network “deployment plans” to the US-DOT before receiving federal money. (CNBC, Feb. 10)
  • In Congress, the economic impact of infrastructure investing was the focus of a Tuesday hearing held by a House Ways and Means subcommittee. (W&M news release, Feb. 5) 

Transit industry experts, state transportation officials, and other witnesses testified before the subcommittee on the importance of the IIJA’s funding to transportation infrastructure improvements, economic growth and public health. 

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Biden Administration Issues Funding Guide for the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law

Infrastructure Guidebook

The White House on Jan. 31 released its guidebook to funding for the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, the $1.2 trillion bipartisan measure signed into law last year. (The Hill, Jan. 31 and (Roundtable Weekly, Jan. 21) 

Roadmap to Infrastructure Funding 

  • The Bipartisan Infrastructure Law Guidebook is a key tool for states and local governments to apply for federal grants, loans, and public-private partnership resources under more than 375 infrastructure investment programs.
  • Mitch Landrieu, White House Senior Advisor and Infrastructure Implementation Coordinator, stated, “Our primary goal is to empower people across the country with information, so they know what to apply for, who to contact, and how to get ready to rebuild.” (White House news release, Jan. 31)
  • The White House last week also outlined steps for cities and mayors to prepare for funding applications. Landrieu on Jan. 4 sent a request to all of the nation’s governorsurging them to appoint their own infrastructure implementation coordinators to work on the smooth disbursement of funds over the next several years. 

Support for Infrastructure Important to CRE 

Atlanta, Georgia

The Guidebook consolidates information on the funding available from myriad federal agencies to build and repair infrastructure assets that are positive for local communities and commercial real estate, including: 

  • Bridges

    A total of $40 billion is dedicated for bridges, including $12.5 billion for a new DOT grant program to replace or rehabilitate some of the nation’s most economically significant bridges. (Roads, Bridges and Major Projects section.)

  • Transit-Oriented Development

    The infrastructure law invests $91.2 billion to repair and modernize mass transit. (Public Transportation section). The public-private TIFIA loan program receives $1.25 billion in funding with expanded authorities to assist airport and transit-oriented development projects. (Major Projects section).

  • Passenger Rail

    $36 billion is available for federal-state partnership grants to repair existing rail routes or establish new intercity service. Amtrak’s Northeast Corridor benefits from a $6 billion grant program.  (Passenger Rail section)

  • EV Charging

    $7.5 billion in grants is available to help build out a national network of 500,000 electric vehicle chargers – particularly along highway corridors to facilitate long-distance travel and within disadvantaged communities. (Electric Vehicles section)

  • Clean Energy

    The infrastructure law will deploy more than $20 billion in federal financing tools to deliver clean power. The U.S. Department of Energy in January launched the “Building a Better Grid” Initiative to catalyze construction of electric transmission lines that can deliver solar, wind, and other renewable energy over long distances. (Clean Energy and Power section and DOE website)

  • Superfund Clean-up Program

    The law provides $3.5 billion for the Environmental Protection Agency’s Superfund program to clean up some of the nation’s most contaminated sites. (EPA news release, Dec. 20, 2021)

  • Underserved Communities
    A set of funding sources aim to make transformative investments in disadvantaged and low-income communities. (Supporting Underserved Communities section) For example, $1 billion is devoted to a “Reconnecting Communities” competitive grant program that can remove or retrofit highways built decades ago that isolated low-income neighborhoods. 

Future versions of the guidebook will update key timelines for program implementation, best practices, case studies, and links to resources developed by the White House. 

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White House Details Initial Implementation of $1.2 Trillion Federal Infrastructure Spending Package

The disbursement of $1.2 trillion in federal infrastructure investment approved by Washington policymakers two months ago is moving forward – in careful coordination with federal agencies, state and local partners – according to recent announcements by President Biden and White House Infrastructure Implementation Coordinator Mitch Landrieu, above. (News conference transcript and video, Jan. 18) 

Improving Infrastructure Assets 

  • The bipartisan infrastructure law enacted in November includes measures to improve infrastructure assets via public-private partnership efforts, streamline the federal permitting process, and improve key federal energy data that supports Environmental Protection Agency building labels. (Roundtable Weekly, Nov. 12, 2021 and White House Executive Order on Catalyzing Clean Energy Industries and Jobs Through Federal Sustainability, Dec. 8, 2021)
  • Real Estate Roundtable Chair John Fish (Chairman and CEO, Suffolk) commended the bipartisan effort and called the legislative package “an historic opportunity to position our nation for sustainable growth and greater economic prosperity.” (Roundtable Statement, Nov. 8, 2021)
  • Former New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu now leads a task force of federal agency officials charged with implementing the infrastructure law through a combination of direct federal grants and competitive bidding. (White House Infrastructure Implementation Fact Sheet, Jan. 14)
  • Landrieu on Jan. 4 sent a request to all the nation’s governors, urging them to appoint their own infrastructure implementation coordinators to work on the smooth disbursement of funds over the next several years, in coordination with both federal agencies and state and local leaders.
  • Landrieu noted during his Jan. 18 White House news conference that the $1.2 trillion disbursement involves 14 federal agencies. He also said federal talks are also underway with Amtrak and that “the Northeastern Corridor … needs immediate attention.” (News conference transcript and video)

Specific Programs Impacting CRE

airport construction infrastructure terminal in background

President Biden on Jan. 14 discussed a variety of recently announced infrastructure projects and funding commitments with Infrastructure “Czar” Landrieu. (White House Remarks and Infrastructure Implementation Fact Sheet, Jan. 14 and Competitive Infrastructure Funding Opportunities for Local Governments Fact Sheet, Jan. 21).

  1. The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) launched the “Building a Better Grid” Initiative, which will catalyze the nationwide development of new and upgraded high-capacity electric transmission lines by deploying more than $20 billion in federal financing tools. (DOE news release, Jan. 12)
  2. The U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) and Federal Highway Administration announced $27 billion in funding to replace, repair, and rehabilitate thousands of bridges across the country. (Wall Street Journal and ABC News, Jan. 14)
  3. DOT Secretary Pete Buttigieg and DOE Secretary Jennifer Granholm formed a Joint Office of Energy & Transportation focused on building a national network of 500,000 electric vehicle chargers. (Department of Energy news release, Dec. 14, 2021 and White House EV Charging Action Plan, Dec. 13, 2021)
  4. The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) announced $3 billion for 3,075 airports across the country to upgrade critical infrastructure.
  5. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced a $1 billion investment to initiate cleanup and clear the backlog of 49 previously unfunded Superfund sites and accelerate cleanup at dozens of other sites across the country. (EPA news release, Dec. 20, 2021)
  • Additionally, Labor Secretary Marty Walsh discussed in an interview today with The Hill  how he is focused on implementing the infrastructure law and launching a new program called the Good Jobs Initiative. Walsh emphasized the need for “workers at all different levels of construction” and stated, “I think we’re going to need additional housing in our country in the next five to 10 years, we’re going to have lots more development going on in our country.” (The Hill, Jan. 21)

The various infrastructure improvement programs and their impact on the economy, commercial real estate and local communities will be a focus of discussion during The Roundtable’s Jan. 25-26 Virtual State of the Industry Meeting and its policy advisory committee meetings.

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Roundtable Applauds Passage of Bipartisan Infrastructure Bill; House Democrats Aim to Vote on Social and Climate Package Next Week

The Real Estate Roundtable on Nov. 8 congratulated congressional policymakers and the Biden administration for their bipartisan efforts in passing the trillion-dollar infrastructure bill late last week. President Joe Biden plans to sign the legislation on Monday, Nov. 15 as Congress returns from recess to consider a separate $1.85 trillion social and climate package. (JD Supra and White House Statement, Nov. 10) 

Roundtable Reaction 

Cleveland Cityscape and Infrastructure visual

  • Real Estate Roundtable Chair John Fish (Chairman and CEO, Suffolk) said, “The real estate industry has long been committed to an ambitious vision for infrastructure. The passage of the bipartisan infrastructure bill by Congress is an historic opportunity to position our nation for sustainable growth and greater economic prosperity. Thank you to Members of Congress for coming together and supporting this critical legislation. I urge President Biden to sign the legislation as soon as possible so we can get shovels in the ground and start building a brighter future.” (Roundtable Statement, Nov. 8)
  • The infrastructure legislation is a positive catalyst that should dramatically improve the nation’s infrastructure, spur economic growth and advance national efforts to combat the climate crisis. The bill includes measures to expand the use of public-private partnerships to reach infrastructure goals, streamline the federal permitting process and improve key federal energy data that support EPA building labels.
  • The bipartisan bill also includes $30 billion for improvements along Amtrak’s Northeast Corridor, including the long-delayed “Gateway” tunnel project between New York and New Jersey, according to a Nov. 10 Bloomberg interview with Amtrak CEO Bill Flynn. (Bloomberg article)
  • Roundtable President and CEO Jeffrey DeBoer said, “This infrastructure bill will repair and upgrade the nation’s roads, bridges, mass transit, high-speed rail, broadband, power grid, water pipes, electric vehicle charging stations, and other critical infrastructure. We applaud this investment in our nation’s future and look forward to the jobs, communities and progress it will support.” (MultiHousing News, Nov. 10) 

Build Back Better Act & CRE 

Roundtable Tax Priorities Nov-12-2021 image

  • House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) this week said during the U.N. climate change conference that next on her agenda is passage of the Build Back Better Act (H.R. 5376). “That is our plan, to pass the [Build Back Better] bill the week of Nov. 15, as is indicated in our statements that were made at the time of passing the infrastructure bill.” (Pelosi Remarks)
  • President Biden in late Oct. scaled back his sprawling social and climate package from $3.5 trillion to $1.85 trillion to resolve intraparty differences in the Democratic congressional caucus. Further changes made last week to the tax and spending measure would increase the cap on the deductibility of state and local taxes (SALT) from $10,000 to $80,000.  Another set of changes would expand and modify the low income housing tax credit (LIHTC) to promote greater construction and rehabilitation of affordable housing.  (Roundtable Weekly, Nov. 5 and House Rules Committee section-by-section summary of the bill.)
  • The revised legislation reflects continued progress on a number of tax and climate issues of importance to The Real Estate Roundtable. (Summaries in Roundtable Weekly, Oct. 29)
  • The Roundtable has produced a comparison of the real estate-related tax provisions (image above) in the most recent version of the legislation – compared to the bill passed by the House Ways and Means Committee in September, and the Biden Budget .
  • Additionally, an Oct. 21 Marcus & Millichap webcast on tax policy featured The Roundtable’s Jeffrey DeBoer. (Registration required before streaming the webcast)
  • The revised bill will be considered under budget reconciliation rules, which require a majority vote for approval in the narrowly divided House and the 50-50 Senate. 

Challenges Ahead 

House Passes Infra Dems Applaud

  • Five moderate House Democrats have raised concerns regarding the deficit impact of the Build Back Better Act (BBB), threatening its passage even before it goes to the Senate.  They have also urged that the bill be “pre-conferenced” with the Senate. (Letter to Speaker Pelosi Nov. 2; Politico, Nov. 8) 
  • The House moderates committed to vote for the BBB no later than the week of Nov. 15 –  if Congressional Budget Office (CBO) cost estimates are in line with the Administration’s estimates (CNBC, Nov. 5)
  • CBO stated on Nov. 9 that it plans to unveil estimates for parts of the BBB as the agency completes its reviews. A CBO score is not a technical requirement for a House vote – but Senate rules do require the agency’s cost estimate. (CBO statement and Politico, Nov. 11)
  • If the BBB package passes the House, substantive changes are possible in the Senate. (Wall Street Journal, Nov. 9)
  • Axios reported on Nov. 10 that Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV) may withhold his support of the costly BBB legislation until next year due to worries about rising inflation rates.

  • Roundtable President and CEO Jeffrey DeBoer commented on the evolving infrastructure legislative developments in an interview with American City Business Journals. “We’re continuing to monitor developments and ensure that nothing comes up without proper vetting or full understanding of how it would impact CRE,” DeBoer said. 

Policymakers return to Washington on Monday for one week before the Thanksgiving break. On Dec. 3, funding for the government will run out unless an appropriations bill or “Continuing Resolution” is passed to avoid a partial shutdown. Additionally, the Bipartisan Policy Center estimates the current debt ceiling will be breached sometime between mid-December and mid-February. 

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House Democrats Stall Efforts to Pass “Physical” and “Human” Infrastructure Bills

Capitol evening blue

An intense push by Democratic leaders this week to approve a $1 trillion “physical” infrastructure bill and a $1.85 trillion “human” infrastructure plan (H.R. 5376) met resistance today from House progressives and moderates, who rejected ongoing efforts to vote on the bills until their concerns are addressed. 

Intraparty Disagreement 

  • The bipartisan physical infrastructure bill passed the Senate in August. House progressives have tied consideration of that bill to a separate social infrastructure package – which has been mired in weeks of ongoing negotiations and revisions over its scope and cost. Additionally, House moderates insist on a full cost estimate from the Congressional Budget Office before a final vote on the larger package. (BGov and CQ, Nov. 5)
  • President Biden announced a scaled-down version for the larger bill on Oct. 28, reducing its total outlay to $1.85 trillion versus the earlier estimated cost of $3.5 trillion. (Roundtable WeeklyAug. 13 and Oct. 29)
  • The new Build Back Better plan framework includes $1.75 trillion of social and climate provisions, along with $100 billion targeting immigration needs contingent on approval by the Senate parliamentarian. (Investopedia, Nov. 5)
  • President Biden today said, “I’m asking every House member … to vote ‘yes’ on both these bills right now. Send the [physical] infrastructure bill to my desk, send the Build Back Better bill to the Senate.” (Bloomberg, Nov. 5)
  • House Speaker Nancy Pelosi worked to bridge the divides in her caucus, considering a possible vote on the physical infrastructure bill alone, while postponing a vote on the social spending package. (The Hill, Nov. 5)
  • Rep. Pramila Jayapal (D-WA), leader of the Congressional Progressive Caucus, responded, “As we’ve consistently said, there are dozens of our members who want to vote both bills — the Build Back Better Act and the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act — out of the House together.” (The Hill, Nov. 5) 


DC monuments dawn

  • Changes were made this week to the sweeping tax and spending measure, including a new provision affecting the deductibility of state and local taxes (SALT) and an expansion of the low income housing tax credit (LIHTC).
  • The new SALT provision would raise the deduction cap from $10,000 to $80,000 through 2030, then return to the $10,000 cap in 2031. A previous version of the bill would have set the cap at $72,500 through 2031.
  • The revised LIHTC measure would increase state allocations, temporarily allowing the credit to cover a project without affecting state caps if at least 25% of the building and land are financed by tax-exempt bonds – instead of 50%.  Additionally, projects intended to serve extremely low-income communities could receive a 50% increase in the applicable credit amount. (BGov, Nov. 5)
  • The new reconciliation bill reflects continued progress on a number of tax and climate issues of importance to real estate and prioritized by The Real Estate Roundtable. Summaries of the revised bill are in the Oct. 29 edition of Roundtable Weekly. 

Congress faces a crucial agenda and a tight timeframe. Policymakers return from recess Nov. 15 for one week before the Thanksgiving break. On Dec. 3, funding for the government will expire – within the same time frame when the current debt ceiling must also be addressed. Lawmakers may pass either an appropriations bill covering FY23, or opt for another “continuing resolution” to fund the government at existing levels for a specified period of time. 

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House Democrats Reach Deal for $3.5 Trillion Budget Framework, Schedule September Vote on Bipartisan Infrastructure Bill

The House of Representatives passed a $3.5 trillion budget resolution Tuesday, after Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) promised moderate Democrats a September vote on the Senate-passed bipartisan infrastructure bill to garner their support for a framework that sets-up the “reconciliation” process. (Washington Post, Aug. 25)

Why It Matters

  •  “I am committing to pass the bipartisan infrastructure bill by September 27,” Pelosi said. “We must keep the 51-vote privilege by passing the budget and work with House and Senate Democrats to reach agreement in order for the House to vote on a Build Back Better Act that will pass the Senate.” (Speaker Pelosi Statement, Aug. 24; Politico, Aug. 24)

CRE Impact

  • The human infrastructure proposal that may be advanced in the House under budget reconciliation rules would be partially financed by raising taxes on businesses and wealthy individuals – and potentially include a variety of tax increases affecting commercial real estate (see Tax Policy story below)
  • The Real Estate Roundtable held an all-member Infrastructure Town Hall on Aug. 12 to discuss the Senate-passed infrastructure bill, what lay ahead in the House, and the potential impact on commercial real estate.  
  • Rep. Tom Suozzi (D-NY), a member of the tax-writing House Ways and Means Committee, joined Roundtable Chair John Fish (Chairman and CEO, Suffolk), and Roundtable President and CEO Jeffrey DeBoer, for the Town Hall discussion.  (Roundtable Weekly,  Aug. 13)  
  • DeBoer, stated, “This [reconciliation] package may be financed with a variety of tax increases affecting step-up in basis, like-kind exchanges, carried interest and capital gains that would act as a cumulative drag on investment at the exact time when sectors of the economy need incentives to recover from the pandemic. The Roundtable urges Senate and House policymakers to be very cautious as they proceed on the reconciliation bill – so that one-step forward with the physical infrastructure bill is not met with two-steps backward from tax increases.” (Roundtable statement, Aug. 11)

What’s Next

  • Congressional committees are in the process of drafting different sections of the reconciliation package. They have a non-binding deadline of submitting their text by Sept. 15. (Axios, Aug. 24)
  • Reconciliation would likely move in the House first. The House Budget Committee will compile each committee’s individual text into a single package for a floor vote that, if approved, would then be sent to the Senate. 
  • Getting both packages to President Biden’s desk for his signature will be a major challenge. Congressional leadership must consider demands of centrists who balk at the $3.5 trillion price tag for “social” infrastructure, and progressives who believe the $550 billion in new spending for “physical” infrastructure is not big enough to address issues such as climate change. (CNBC, Aug. 25)

When Congress returns after Labor Day, policymakers will face other critical deadlines in addition to their anticipated actions on the infrastructure and reconciliation packages. Legislation is needed after the Treasury Department exhausts its “extraordinary measures” in mid-September to avoid defaulting on the national debt. Congress is also expected to consider a “continuing resolution” to put stop-gap spending measures in place before federal government funds run dry on Sept. 30. (Politico, Aug. 25)