WASHINGTON – The Democratic-run House on Thursday, July 1, approved a sizable $ 715 billion transportation draft, a potential investment in road, rail, public transportation and water over a five-year period that will serve as a marker could serve to negotiate a bipartisan infrastructure package.

The bill was passed largely along the party lines with 221 to 201 votes.

President Joe Biden and a bipartisan group of senators have already agreed on a draft of a new infrastructure package, but it has not yet been put into law. House Democrats will be pushing to include many of the provisions of their bill when Congress negotiates the broader bipartisan product this summer.

The main draftsman of the House Bill of Representatives, Rep. Peter DeFazio (D-Ore.), Said the proposed investment would allow the country to repair bridges, roads and tunnels, thereby increasing the country’s economic competitiveness while maintaining what it is referred to as “the country” would be tackled. new existential challenge, climate change. “

“We have to rebuild in ways that we never thought of before. It’s going to be expensive, but the good news is that it will create millions, millions of well-paying jobs, ”DeFazio said.

The legislation offers a potential building block for Biden’s broader infrastructure proposals. It serves as the starting point for some of the public construction investments under discussion, but leaves the decision on their payment to another day.

Biden has proposed raising the corporate tax rate to fund infrastructure investments, but Republicans are against and would vote against. The bipartisan group of 10 senators negotiating a nearly $ 1 trillion plan limited themselves to a variety of potential sources of funding that did not include tax increases.

House Republicans have opposed the transportation bill being considered Thursday because it lacks a funding mechanism.

Republicans argued that the new spending on infrastructure would add to the deficit and increase inflation, which would harm families when they buy gasoline and groceries. They also protested the exclusion of their proposals to further streamline the approval process so that large infrastructure projects can be completed faster and at a lower cost to taxpayers.

Rep. Sam Graves, the senior Republican on the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, noted that the Democrats’ efforts to pass an infrastructure bill failed last year after the then Republican-controlled Senate refused to admit it.

“Successful legislation requires partnership – not partiality,” said Graves.

The partisan split contrasts with efforts in the Senate, which overwhelmingly passed a $ 35 billion (89-2) water infrastructure bill earlier this year, and where a key committee unanimously passed a bill earlier this year focused on financing roads and bridges.

House spokeswoman Nancy Pelosi was aiming to pass an infrastructure bill in the House of Representatives before July 4th. Last year, Congress was unable to reach an agreement and decided to approve new transport programs at short notice, which expires on September 30th.

Biden is keen to see Congress pass a bipartisan plan that would boost spending on roads, bridges, railways, and other more traditional forms of infrastructure, which means putting together a package that would garner 60 votes in the evenly divided 50-50 Senate could get. Votes on the nearly $ 1 trillion proposal agreed last week are expected by the end of July.

DeFazio said he was encouraged by the bipartisan Senate’s blueprint. The proposed spending on roads, bridges and public transportation is on par with what the House bill calls for, he said, although rail and water infrastructure spending fell far short of the House bill, which tripled Amtrak spending calls for $ 45 billion to replace leaded water pipes.

The House’s proposal also contains some elements that are intended to counteract climate change. Traffic is the largest greenhouse gas emitter in the United States. The House of Representatives bill aims to make alternatives to driving more attractive by increasing funding for local public transport and rail. In addition, $ 4 billion will be allocated to EV charging stations to accelerate and facilitate the use of EVs.

By Kevin Freking, The Associated Press