Democrats Introduce $1.5 Trillion Infrastructure Package
Yesterday, Speaker of the House Rep. Nancy Pelosi formally introduced the Democrats $1.5 trillion infrastructure plan. H.R. 2, the Moving Forward Act, combines the recently passed surface transportation reauthorization bill, the INVEST in America Act, with a wide range of Democratic policy goals.
These include issues such as affordable housing, expanded broadband access, green energy projects, and school construction. The bill is relying on several bonds and low interest rate loans to pay for the $1.5 trillion in spending.
The highway bill includes several provisions of concern to TRALA members. Specifically, the Truck Leasing Task Force, an increase in the required minimum insurance for motor carriers, a new mandate on rear impact guards, and a new mandate on Automatic Emergency Brake systems (AEBs). Each of these proposals are now part of the Moving Forward Act which is why TRALA is already engaging with trucking stakeholders on an amendment strategy to strip out the massive insurance increase and continues to work with allies to amend or strike the leasing task force language from the final bill.
In addition to the provisions from the INVEST in America Act, the Moving Forward Act includes a pilot program to provide grants, rebates, and low-cost loans for eligible entities to replace diesel powered transport refrigeration units with electric units. Additionally, the pilot programs allow eligible entities to purchase and install shore power infrastructure to enable transport refrigeration units to connect to electric power or to operate and maintain vehicles and equipment related to electric transport refrigeration units. Furthermore, the bill includes a series of grants and incentives to increase the infrastructure for incorporating a greater number of electronic vehicles onto US highways.
On the revenue side, the bill relies on an extensive number of bond and tax credits to encourage investment in green programs. Additionally, the bill extends at current rates the Highway Trust Fund including the tax on gas and diesel, and the Federal Excise Tax on heavy duty trucks and trailers until September 30, 2027. Finally, the bill calls for a general fund transfer of $145.3 billion to pay for the shortfall in the Highway Trust Fund created by the additional spending in the INVEST in America Act.
The House Rules Committee has set a deadline of June 25, 2020 for submitting amendments to the Moving Forward Act. Once all amendments have been submitted, the Rules Committee will meet next week to vote on what is likely to be a structured rule, meaning that the Rules Committee will have to vote on whether an amendment is in order for consideration during floor debate. This process gives tremendous power to the majority party to overrule amendments that they do not want to be debated on the floor, as well as limit debate on the House floor. If the Rules Committee is able to finish amendment debate and pass a rule out of the committee early next week, the bill could be considered for final passage by the end of next week. Once the bill passes, it will be sent to the Senate where it will be used in negotiations with the Senate on another stimulus package, as well as a messaging bill for the fall elections. TRALA is confident that, as written, the infrastructure package including the highway reauthorization bill will not move in the Senate. That said, it may ultimately be the House version during a conference committee with the Senate over an overall infrastructure package and so TRALA will focus much of its lobbying efforts in the Senate.
You may view a copy of the Moving Forward Act by clicking here.
You may view a section-by-section of the Moving Forward Act by clicking here.
If you have any questions or concerns regarding the Moving Forward Act, please do not hesitate to contact Jake Jacoby at firstname.lastname@example.org or Andrew Stasiowski at email@example.com.