The Infrastructure Plan: What’s In and What’s Out

Sources: Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget; White House·Figures are rounded; figures for climate resiliency and Western water storage are approximate.

The infrastructure bill that started moving forward again Wednesday is undeniably large: It calls for new federal spending of about $550 billion, an amount roughly equivalent to the cost of the Interstate Highway System, after adjusting for inflation.

But the bipartisan deal is less than a quarter the size of the $2.6 trillion plan that President Biden proposed in March, which included $2.2 trillion in spending and around $400 billion in tax credits. It’s also significantly smaller than the counteroffer the White House proposed in May, which scaled back spending by $500 billion, and it leaves out many of the Democrats’ biggest ambitions.

Democrats have also put forward a $3.5 trillion budget proposal that they intend to pass through a process known as budget reconciliation, which requires fewer votes.

This budget is expected to contain some of the pieces that were left out of the bipartisan infrastructure agreement — including investments in housing and education; child care; research and development; manufacturing; and clean energy. But moderate and progressive Democrats currently disagree on what will be included.

There were six major areas in Mr. Biden’s original infrastructure proposal: transportation, utilities, pollution, innovation, in-home care and buildings. Almost all these areas were scaled back or eliminated in the bipartisan plan, with one exception: pollution cleanup.

What got left out

Sources: Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget; White House·Figures are rounded.

Three major areas of President Biden’s original proposal were not included in the bipartisan deal: buildings, in-home care and innovation. The bipartisan plan also left out $363 billion in clean energy tax credits.

Some of what the bipartisan plan leaves out:

In-home care: This focused on raising wages for workers who provide health care for older adults and people with disabilities. They are predominantly women of color and are among the lowest-paid workers, the White House said.

Buildings: This included funding public housing — an area that would “disproportionately benefit women, people of color and people with disabilities,” according to the White House. It also included investing in child care centers and community colleges; modernizing public schools; and upgrading federal hospitals and buildings.

Innovation: This included investing in U.S.-based manufacturing; funding research on climate change and energy; and providing research grants to historically Black colleges and universities.

What shrank

Sources: Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget; White House·Figures are rounded.

Transportation funding fell by $263 billion compared with the original proposal. The largest change was in the area of electric vehicle adoption, which shrank by $142 billion, or 90 percent.

Another area with a large drop in funding: reconnecting communities that have been separated by or disconnected from major highways and bridges. Funding for reconnecting these communities — typically communities of color — fell to $1 billion from $24 billion.

Utilities funding fell by $463 billion, including a $363 billion cut in clean energy tax credits. The budget for water infrastructure (which includes the president’s plan to replace all of the nation’s lead pipes) was cut in half, to $55 billion from $111 billion.

What got bigger or stayed the same

Sources: Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget; White House·Figures are rounded.

The new plan adds funding toward pollution remediation. Funding for airports was essentially unchanged, as was funding for Western water infrastructure and climate resiliency, which involves upgrading the nation’s infrastructure to better withstand the effects of climate change such as intensifying wildfires, hurricanes and flooding.

The bipartisan agreement

Sources: Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget; White House·Figures are rounded.

Overall, the bipartisan plan focuses spending on transportation, utilities and pollution cleanup; pulls back spending on clean energy and electric vehicle adoption; and eliminates spending on innovation, buildings and in-home care.

Proponents of the bipartisan plan say it focuses on “core infrastructure,” while critics point out that it leaves out major components that would address climate change, health care and racial inequity.

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