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Bipartisan “Physical” Infrastructure Agreement Announced; Separate Package on “Social Infrastructure” Tied to Reconciliation Path

  • June 25, 2021

Infrastructure Chicago interexchange

President Joe Biden and a bipartisan group of senators yesterday announced a tentative agreement to address the nation’s “physical” infrastructure – as Democrats indicated that its passage into law would depend on enactment of a separate, much larger “social” infrastructure bill structured to bypass Republican votes through a budget “reconciliation” process. 

Goals and Pay-Fors 

  • The total cost of the physical infrastructure deal, according to the White House, is $1.2 trillion over eight years, with $579 billion in new spending for investments in transit, roads, bridges, the electrical grid, and other systems. (White House Fact Sheet, June 24)

  • The 21-member bipartisan Senate group also released a document outlining how the agreement would be funded while avoiding new taxes. Among the pay-fors listed: 

    • Leverage private sector investment through incentivizing use of public private partnerships, expanding use of Private Activity Bonds, and encouraging asset recycling.

    • Create direct-pay municipal bonds to attract more investment in public infrastructure.

    • Repurpose unused COVID relief funds. 

Jeff DeBoer RER Meeting

  • Roundtable President and CEO Jeffrey DeBoer, above, said, “Americans depend on safe and efficient roads, bridges, and mass transit to commute all across the country. Our nation’s buildings and the people in them depend on reliable supplies of water, power, and broadband to function, and meet the evolving demands of business and individual tenants. In turn, infrastructure and real estate are synergistic, and have a two-way relationship.”

  • DeBoer added, “The package has potential to impact GDP, promote job growth, keep the U.S. competitive with other countries that are massively investing in their own infrastructure, and expand the overall economy.”

Next: Reconciliation

Capitol Hill trees clouds in the evening

  • President Biden said that signing the bipartisan physical infrastructure deal into law would be contingent on a separate bill addressing his administration’s “social infrastructure” agenda on matters such as education and child care. “If the [physical infrastructure bill] is the only one that comes to me, I’m not signing it.” Biden said (Wall Street Journal, June 24)

  • Democratic leaders are aiming to move the “social” infrastructure bill through the budget reconciliation process which would only require a simple, 51-vote majority in the Senate. (NPR, June 24)

  • House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) said yesterday, “We will not take up a bill in the House until the Senate passes the bipartisan bill and a reconciliation bill. If there is no bipartisan bill, then we'll just go when the Senate passes a reconciliation bill.” (The Hill, June 24)

  • Senate Majority Leader Schumer stated his timeline is to have both the bipartisan infrastructure bill and the budget reconciliation bill passed in July. (Politico, June 24) 

Housing -- New FHFA Director 

FHFA logo
  • President Biden on June 23 removed Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac’s chief regulator, hours after the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that the Federal Housing Finance Agency’s (FHFA) loan director is insufficiently accountable to the president. (CNBC and BloombergLaw, June 23)

  • Mark Calabria, a Trump administration appointee, focused much of his efforts at FHFA trying to end Fannie and Freddie’s 12 years under government conservatorship. A Biden White House official said, “It is critical that the agency (FHFA) implement the Administration’s housing policies.” (CNBC, June 23)

  • Calabria was replaced on an acting basis with FHFA Deputy Director Sandra Thompson. Since 2013, Thompson has led FHFA’s housing and regulatory policy, capital policy, financial analysis, fair lending and all mission activities for Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac and the Federal Home Loan Banks. (FHFA statement, June 24) 

The Roundtable’s Real Estate Capital Policy Advisory Committee (RECPAC) works on issues related to Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac and their impact on commercial real estate.

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