Joe Biden’s infrastructure plan received the backing of the Senate on Wednesday, which voted to debate the initiative after weeks of negotiations between Democrats and Republicans.
The result shows the willingness of both parties to approve the plan that seeks to invest approximately one trillion dollars over 8 years to rebuild the country’s bridges, railroads, ports and airports.
Specifically, Biden’s plan passed a procedural vote with 67 votes in favor and 32 against, meaning that debate will now focus on the substance of the initiative.
It was necessary for several Republican senators to vote in favor of the bill because Democrats have a narrow majority of 50 seats, an insufficient number to pass the measure on their own. In most cases, 60 votes are needed.
Earlier today, Republicans announced that they had reached an agreement with Democrats and the White House to unblock the infrastructure plan.
Just a week ago, Senate Republicans unanimously blocked Biden’s plan and did not even agree to debate the initiative during a key vote.
In a statement Wednesday, Biden welcomed the agreement and said it showed the world that American democracy can work and do “great things.”
A month ago, Biden and a group of 22 Democratic and Republican senators trumpeted outside the White House that they had reached an agreement, but later negotiations were complicated, especially by Republican reluctance over how infrastructure investment will be financed.
Currently, the plan is valued at about $1 trillion over 8 years, of which $550,000 will be for new projects, the White House detailed on Wednesday.
In March, Biden proposed an investment of 2.3 trillion but the White House had to lower it in the face of criticism from Republicans.
The goal of Biden’s plan is to modernize what he called “physical infrastructure”: roads, bridges, railroads, ports and airports, among others.
The so-called “human infrastructure”, which the Democrats wanted to use to expand Medicare, among other projects of high public spending and state intervention, was left out of the pact.