House passes $715B transportation, water bill amid bipartisan infrastructure push

House Dems wants $715B transportation bill to serve as basis for infrastructure deal

The Democratic-controlled House voted on Thursday to approve a $715 billion transportation and water infrastructure bill, a five-year initiative focused on rebuilding the nation's roads, rail, public transit and water systems. 

The INVEST in America Act passed mostly along party lines at 221-201, with two Republicans joining Democrats to support the bill. 

Although President Biden and a bipartisan group of senators struck a deal recently for a $973 billion infrastructure bill, they have yet to turn the framework into actual legislation. House Democrats are hoping to include many of their bill's provisions when lawmakers begin broader infrastructure negotiations later this summer.


"I'm suggesting that substantial amounts of the policy in our bill should be negotiated – by the White House and the Senate and the House – to be part of that bipartisan proposal," Rep. Peter DeFazio, D-Ore., the primary author of the bill, told reporters this week.

The proposal would allocate billions to "core" infrastructure projects. Here's how the money would breakdown: 

  • $343 billion for roads, bridges and safety
  • $109 billion for transit
  • $95 billion for passenger and freight rail
  • $117 billion for drinking water infrastructure and assistance
  • $51.25 billion for wastewater infrastructure

Still, the bill does not include any new funding efforts – something that House Republicans criticized. They argued the proposal would add to the already record-high deficit and exacerbate a recent surge in the price of goods and services.


The bipartisan compromise endorsed by Biden and a group of at least 10 senators would be paid for from a variety of sources, including reducing the IRS tax gap by beefing up enforcement, redirecting unused federal unemployment money from the 26 states that are prematurely ending the relief program and repurposing other COVID-relief measures.  

The measure includes $109 billion for roads and bridges, $66 billion for rails including Amtrak, $49 billion for public transit, $65 billion for broadband infrastructure and $75 billion for power, including grid authority, in addition to other "core" infrastructure projects.

Biden has also pledged to fight for a second, larger package that would be passed using a procedural tool known as budget reconciliation, allowing Democrats to circumvent a Republican filibuster.


House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer endorsed a strategy that would make the passage of a smaller bill contingent on the success of a reconciliation bill focused on "human" infrastructure, such as combating climate change, expanding health care, bolstering child care and establishing free community college.

"What I said last week and I reiterate now is that in the House of Representatives that particular version as it is is something that we would take up once we see what the budget parameters are of the budget bill that the Senate will pass," Pelosi said Wednesday.