Hoyer: Infrastructure package to hit floor this month
House Democrats will bring a sweeping infrastructure package to the floor by the end of the month, Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) said Thursday.
The package, authored by Transportation and Infrastructure Chairman Peter DeFazio (D-Ore.), is part of the Democrats’ response to the coronavirus pandemic and the economic crisis that has followed.
The proposal would lay out a plan to put millions of people back to work and is expected to include funding to expand broadband internet access at a time when millions of Americans are stuck at home.
DeFazio plans to mark up his bill in the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee on June 17, Hoyer said, and the package will head to the floor for debate and a vote June 30-July 2.
“It’s going to be probably a three-day bill,” Hoyer, who controls the floor schedule, said on a conference call organized by the firm BakerHostetler.
The House is now on recess but will be returning a week earlier than it had planned, on June 25, to vote on a massive policing reform package in response to nationwide protests against police brutality after the killing of an unarmed black man, George Floyd, by Minneapolis police.
As part of its summer schedule, the House will also take up health care bills later in June to lower the cost of premiums, co-pays and deductibles in the Affordable Care Act.
After the Fourth of July recess, the House will turn its attention to the National Defense Authorization Act and tackling the 12 appropriation bills for fiscal 2021.
The foundation of DeFazio’s infrastructure package, the Invest in America Act, would authorize nearly $500 billion for roads, bridges, rail and public transit. But it’s also expected to include bipartisan elements, like legislation from Majority Whip James Clyburn (D-S.C.) and Rep. Fred Upton (R-Mich.) that would improve access to broadband internet in rural and other underserved areas at a time when most American workers and schoolchildren are working or logging onto online classes from home.
The package would translate into millions of jobs across the country, said Rep. Frederica Wilson (D-Fla.), a member of the Transportation and Infrastructure panel.
“Anytime you do an infrastructure bill, the title of the infrastructure bill is jobs, jobs, jobs. That’s the title. That’s the purpose,” Wilson told The Hill. “That’s the kind of economic boom that occurs when Congress seriously implements an infrastructure bill. It results in jobs, jobs, jobs, and that’s what we need now, because many of the jobs that were interrupted by the coronavirus will never come back.”