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The US Congress passes a landmark $1tn (£741bn) infrastructure spending package

The US Congress passes a landmark $1tn (£741bn) infrastructure spending package

US Congress
The US Congress passes a landmark $1tn (£741bn) infrastructure spending package—

Negotiations over the sweeping public works bill – which passed the House of Representatives with 228-206 vote – created a bitter split among Democrats.

Meanwhile the House is moving forward with a more ambitious social spending bill favoured by liberal lawmakers.

The infrastructure package now heads to Mr Biden’s desk to be signed into law.

Billed as a “once-in-a-generation” spending measure, the infrastructure legislation proposes $550bn in new federal expenditure, over the next eight years, to upgrade highways, roads and bridges, and to modernise city transit systems and passenger rail networks.

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The agreement also sets aside funding for clean drinking water, high speed internet, and a nationwide network of electric vehicle charging points.

It is the largest federal investment in the country’s infrastructure for decades.

“Tonight, we took a monumental step forward as a nation,” Mr Biden said in a statement. “Generations from now, people will look back and know this is when America won the economic competition for the 21st Century.”

It will be financed in several ways, including unspent emergency relief funds from the Covid pandemic.

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Its passage marks a huge achievement for the Biden administration amid low approval ratings and a defeat for the Democrats in Virginia’s gubernatorial election this week.

Three months ago, 19 Republicans joined with Democrats to approve the legislation in the evenly split Senate, a rare bipartisan feat in an increasingly divided Congress.

On Friday the bill passed the House with support from 13 Republicans, too. But more liberal lawmakers balked at its final version, complaining that key liberal policies had been dropped in exchange for the bipartisan win.

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Six Democrats voted against it, including Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York and Ilhan Omar of Minnesota. The group of six – dubbed The Squad – are among the most left-wing and progressive members of the House.

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