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Policymakers Claim Deal is Close on Bipartisan “Physical” Infrastructure Proposal; Roundtable Chair John Fisk Addresses Infrastructure Investment

  • July 23, 2021

Portland Oregon infrastructure

Members of a bipartisan group of senators working on a $579 billion “physical” infrastructure proposal said Thursday that final details may be announced as early as July 26, after a procedural vote in the Senate earlier this week failed to allow debate on the evolving measure. (Bloomberg, July 22)

Bipartisan Deal

  • The bipartisan group initially announced their tentative, broad infrastructure agreement with President Biden on June 24. Remaining issues to resolve are finalizing how to pay for the package including measures affecting funding for transit systems. (Roundtable Weekly, June 25 and BGov, July 22)

  • One of the 22 Senate negotiators, Sen. Joe Manchin (R-WV), said, “We had an agreement on 99% when we walked out yesterday afternoon. The pay-fors are pretty much lined up.” (Bloomberg, July 22)

  • Another negotiator, Sen. Mitt Romney (R-UT) added, "I think we’ll get it done over the weekend, and then I hope that we get another cloture vote next week, and that will succeed." (PolitcoPro, July 22)

  • The bipartisan proposal, if eventually translated into legislation, would need at least 10 Republican votes in the 50-50 Senate to avoid a filibuster and start debate on the measure.

Reconciliation

U.S. Capitol golden glow
  • If the deal fails, Democrats may consider paring the “hard” infrastructure proposal with a separate, $3.5 trillion “human” infrastructure plan that addresses climate change, child care and health care. A combined package could be pushed through Congress as part of a budget “reconciliation” process that would bypass the need for Republican votes. (CNBC, July 22)

  • Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) on July 21 said he may delay the chamber’s August recess to pass both infrastructure packages. (Roll Call, July 21)

  • House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) yesterday reiterated that the House will not act on the Senate's bipartisan infrastructure plan until the upper chamber also passes a reconciliation bill.  (Transcript of July 22 press conference)

Infrastructure Investment Analysis 

CRE & Infrastructure

Walker Webcast with John Fish
  • Roundtable Chair John Fish (Chairman and CEO, Suffolk), above right, on July 21 discussed infrastructure issues, the impact of the pandemic on commercial real estate and the industry’s leadership role in national policy issues with Roundtable member Willy Walker (Chairman and CEO of Walker & Dunlop), left, on the Walker Webcast. (Bisnow and Connect, July 21)

  • Fish noted that economic opportunities resulting from investments in physical infrastructure are equally as important as investment in social infrastructure. Fish noted Boston’s “Big Dig” transportation infrastructure project as an example of a large-scale public investment that returns enormous benefits for the larger community.

  • “Boston made an almost $19 billion investment with the federal government in the Big Dig, and we have received probably $100 billion in returns today so far,” Fish said. “If we didn't make those investments in the Big Dig back in the 1990s, early 2000s, the city of Boston would not be growing the way that it is right now.” (Walker Webcast and Bisnow)

Fish also commented on The Roundtable’s role in Washington and the importance of CRE industry leadership in the climate change debate. He emphasized that the vast majority of US buildings were constructed in the last century — and that with 40% of US energy use attributable to owners, tenants, and other occupants of residential and commercial structures, now is the opportune time for the industry to reimagine its positive role for future generations. (See 34:45 in the Walker Webcast) 

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