Industry groups across the manufacturing, transportation, and retail sectors were cheering news today that a bipartisan infrastructure bill had gained traction in Congress and was proceeding to further debate in the House and Senate.
The progress came as a group of 10 centrist Senators from both major parties agreed on terms to fund $550 billion in new spending and roughly another $500 billion in backing from previously approved federal programs such as pandemic relief plans. However, the details of specific plans supported by the bill are still in flux pending debate in both houses, so the bill’s text has not yet been released.
Despite those vague terms, the need for infrastructure improvement has near universal backing, including planned investments in roads and bridges, public transit, railways, power grids, electric vehicles, airports and waterways, cyber attack and climate change defenses, drinking water, and broadband internet.
“It’s refreshing to see Congress do its job and address national problems facing businesses and families,” American Trucking Associations President and CEO Chris Spear said in a release. “Americans, and the hardworking men and women who carry this economy on trucks, have waited long enough for Washington to act on our decaying infrastructure. We cheer this bipartisan breakthrough and hope it helps elected officials find more areas where they can work together to actually get things done.”
One reason for that support is the ongoing supply chain turmoil caused by Covid-19 flare-ups and the return of public health restrictions in some regions of the country.
“The pandemic has demonstrated to Americans how critically important retail supply chains are to ensuring families have access to the products they need when they need them. Our supply chains rely heavily on our nation’s infrastructure, which is why the bipartisan deal announced today is critically important,” Austen Jensen, senior vice president, government affairs at the Retail Industry Leaders Association (RILA), said in a release.
“Retailers urge policy makers to seize this opportunity to invest in the long-term viability and modernization of our ports, railways, and highways to reduce congestion and the likelihood of future supply chain disruptions,” Jensen said. “Today’s announcement demonstrates that bipartisanship on significant issues is achievable, and retailers applaud the leaders who were instrumental in negotiating a path forward. RILA stands ready to review the details of the deal to ensure it will meet the needs of the retail community and the 50 million jobs the industry supports.”
Additional support came from the National Retail Federation (NRF), whose President and CEO, Matthew Shay, said that the bill’s investments would help alleviate many of the ongoing supply chain challenges that retailers continue to face today.
“We strongly support this deal and its investment in core infrastructure, including roads, bridges and ports that are critical to our nation’s supply chain and global competitiveness. We look forward to swift passage in the Senate and encourage the House to follow suit,” Shay said in a release.
If it clears final approval, the accomplishment would cap decades of failed efforts for Congress to pass an infrastructure bill, according to the National Association of Manufacturers (NAM), which called the progress “history in the making.”
“For many years and across multiple administrations and Congresses, the NAM has led the charge for bold, historic infrastructure investment. We’re not done yet, but we’re closer than ever,” NAM President and CEO Jay Timmons said in a release. “This bill will not just support our economic recovery; it will provide the foundation for decades of American economic leadership. It will save lives and improve the American quality of life. It will help manufacturers in America compete in the world and create jobs here at home. And it will do all that without rolling back all the tax reforms that have allowed manufacturers to hire more workers, raise wages and benefits and invest in our communities. This is truly how we build to win.”
Americans, and the hardworking men & women who carry this economy on trucks, have waited long enough for Washington to act on our decaying #infrastructure.— American Trucking (@TRUCKINGdotORG) July 28, 2021
We cheer this bipartisan breakthrough. https://t.co/wJWZfF1OYv
We are one step closer to bold, historic infrastructure investment. @ShopfloorNAM will continue to work with leaders in both parties to get a final bill through Congress and then to @POTUS’ desk that supports manufacturers’ goals. It's time to #BuildToWin. https://t.co/SVaRG09hhq— Jay Timmons (@JayTimmonsNAM) July 28, 2021