Wednesday, August 11, 2021

The Infrastructure Bill Details

The Senate's $1.2 Trillion Infrastructure Package still needs to be passed by the House, would provide $550 Billion in New Federal Spending over Five years.

The New Investments would reach far beyond the Traditional Infrastructure Projects for: Roads, Bridges, and Railroads. There's also Money to improve Americans' access to Broadband, for Electric School Buses, and to start addressing Racial Discrimination in Infrastructure.

The Bill would Change the Tax Reporting Requirements for Cryptocurrencies and Delay a controversial Drug Rebate Rule, both included as ways to help Pay for the Investments.

The Bill leaves Out a number of other Nontraditional Infrastructure Investments Biden had called for. His Original $2.25 Trillion Proposal, known as the American Jobs Plan, included Money for Caregiving for Aging Americans and for Workforce Training, Provisions that Republicans argued did Not belong in an Infrastructure Bill. The Bill also does Not include Corporate Tax Hikes. Instead, Lawmakers found other ways to help cover the Cost, like imposing New Superfund Fees and Repurposing some Covid Relief Funds Approved by Congress during the Pandemic.

But an Estimate from the Nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office found that those Provisions would Not completely Pay for the Bill and the Legislation would Add $256 Billion to the Federal Budget Deficit over 10 years. Despite that Analysis, some say New Spending would be Offset by a Combination of Savings and New Revenue that Total $519 Billion, only some of which is Reflected in the CBO Score, since the Agency is Limited in what it can Include in its Formal Report.

Here are Five things in the Bill that might Surprise you:

1. Broadband Upgrade:

The Legislation would provide a $65 Billion Investment in Improving the Nation's Broadband Infrastructure. The Legislation aims to help Lower the Price Households Pay for Internet service by requiring Federal Funding Recipients to offer Low-Cost Affordable Plans, by creating Price Transparency and by boosting Competition in areas where Existing Providers aren't Providing adequate Service. It would create a Permanent Federal Program to Help more Low-Income Households access the Internet.

2. Electric School Buses:

The Bill makes a big Investment in Electric Vehicles and the Infrastructure needed to Use them. It would help School Districts across the Country buy Clean, American-made, Zero-Emission Buses, aiming to Replace the Yellow School Bus Fleet by providing $5 Billion for Zero-Emission and Clean Buses and $2.5 Billion for Ferries. The Bill would Invest $7.5 Billion to Build a Nationwide Network of Plug-In Electric Vehicle Chargers along Highways to enable Long-Distance Travel, as well as within Communities where People Live, Work, and Shop.

3. Addressing Racial Discrimination in Infrastructure:

The Legislation contains $1 Billion to Reconnect Communities, Disproportionately Black Neighborhoods, that were Divided by Highways and other Infrastructure. It would Fund Planning, Design, Demolition, and Reconstruction of Street Grids, Parks, or Other Infrastructure. Many Black Homes,Bbusinesses, and Neighborhoods across the Country were Bulldozed in the 1950s and 1960s to clear Space for Interstate Highways, Displacing many Residents, Entrepreneurs, and Cutting others off from the Rest of the Community.

4. New Tax Regulations on Cryptocurrencies:

A Provision would Impose New Tax Reporting Requirements on Cryptocurrency Transactions, a move that Congressional Estimates say could raise $28 Billion in New Revenue to Help Pay for the Infrastructure Package. The Legislation could have Sweeping Ramifications for Cryptocurrency Investors and Innovators. Cryptocurrency is Infrastructure. The Provision appears aimed at Future Cryptocurrency Exchanges that Help Investors Trade Bitcoin and other Virtual Currencies. But, who in the Chain, from Development to Broker, should be Taxed?

5. Delaying a Drug Rebate Rule:

To help Pay for the Infrastructure Spending, the Legislation would Delay the Implementation of a Controversial Trump Administration Rule that would Radically Change how Drugs are Priced and Paid for in Medicare and Medicaid. It's Expected to Save $51 Billion. The Rule, which the Trump Administration Unveiled last November, would effectively Ban Drug Makers from Providing Rebates to Pharmacy Benefit Managers and Insurers. Instead, Drug Companies would be Encouraged to Pass the Discounts Directly to Patients at the Pharmacy Counter. The Trump Administration had backed Down from Issuing this Rule in 2019 after it was Found to raise Costs for Seniors and the Federal Government. The Proposed Rule, which was expected to Raise Medicare Premiums, would also have Increased Medicare Spending by $170 Billion over 10 years, according to the CBO.

The Pharmaceutical Care Management Association, which representsPpharmacy Benefit Managers, Sued the Trump Administration to Stop Implementation of the Rule. The Biden Administration, agreed in February, to Push Back the Implementation until 2023, instead of 2022.

6. Funding for Roads and Bridges:

The Legislation calls for Investing $110 Billion for Roads, Bridges, and Major Infrastructure Projects, includeds $40 Billion for Bridge Repair, Replacement and Rehabilitation. The White House says it would be the Single Largest dedicated Bridge Investment since the Construction of the Interstate Highway System, which started in the 1950s. The Deal also contains $16 Billion for Major Projects that would be too Large or Complex for Traditional Funding Programs. The Investments would Focus on Climate Change Mitigation, Resilience, Equity and Safety for All Users, including Cyclists and Pedestrians. Also included in the Package is $11 Billion for Transportation Safety, including a Program to Help States and Localities Reduce Crashes and Fatalities, especially of Cyclists and Pedestrians. It would Direct Funding to hHghway, Truck, Pipelines, and Hazardous Materials Safety efforts.

7. Money for Transit and Rail:

The Package would provide $39 Billion to Modernize Public Transit. The Funds would Repair and Upgrade existing Infrastructure, make Stations Accessible to All Users, bring Transit Service to New Communities and Modernize Rail and Bus Fleets, including Replacing Thousands of Vehicles with Zero-Emission Models. The Deal would also Invest $66 Billion in Passenger and Freight Rail. The Funds would Eliminate Amtrak's Maintenance Backlog, Modernize the Northeast Corridor Line, and bring Rail Service to Areas Outside the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic Regions. Included in the Package is $12 Billion in Partnership Grants for Intercity Rail Service, including High-Speed Rail.

8. Upgrading Airports, Ports, and Waterways:

The Legislation would Invest $17 Billion in Port Infrastructure and $25 Billion in Airports to Address Repair and Maintenance Backlogs, Reduce Congestion and Emissions near Ports and Airports, and Promote Electrification and other Low-Carbon Technologies.

9. Improving Power and Water Systems:

The Bill would Invest $65 Billion to Rebuild the Electric Grid. It calls for building Thousands of Miles of New Power Lines and Expanding Renewable Energy. It would provide $55 Billion to Upgrade Water Infrastructure. It would Replace Lead Service Lines and Pipes so that Communities have Access to Clean Drinking Water. Another roughly $50 Billion would go toward making the U..S Power Grid System more Resilient, Potecting it from Drought, Floods, and Cyberattacks.

10. Environmental Remediation:

The Bill would provide $21 Billion to Clean-Up Superfund and Brownfield Sites, Reclaim Abandoned Mine, Land, and Cap Orphaned Gas Wells.

According to a Statement Distributed, last Thursday, by Sens. Kyrsten Sinema (D-AZ) and Rob Portman (R-OH), who Spearheaded the Bipartisan Negotiations, the Package includes $519 Billion in Offsets.

They include:

- $53 Billion that stems from roughly Two Dozen States opting to Terminate Pandemic Jobless Benefits Early in order to Push the Jobless to Return to Work and from Fewer People Collecting Unemployment Compensation because the Economy Improved Faster than initially Predicted.

- $67 Billion in Unused Savings from the Covid-19 Employer Retention Tax Credit that the CBO Projected would be Utilized but were Not.

- $106 Billion in Unused Savings from Covid-19 Paid and Family Leave Tax Credits that were Projected to be Used but were Not.

- $51 Billion from Delaying the Implementation of the Controversial Rebate Rule for Medicare Part D Prescription Drugs.

- $21 Billion from Repurposing Unused Funding from the 2020 Coronavirus Relief Bills for Programs assisting Small Businesses, Airline Workers, and Schools.

- $10.2 Billion from Sales of Future Federal Communications Commission (FCC) Spectrum Auctions and $67 Billion from Proceeds of the Agency's February Auction for Mid-Band Spectrum that Supports Wireless Services.

- $53 Billion in Economic Growth Resulting from a 33% Return on Investment on the Long-Term Projects.

- $28 Billion from Changing the Tax Reporting Requirements for Cryptocurrencies.

- $21 Billion from Extending Fees Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac Assess on Loans included in Mortgage-Backed Securities.

- $14.5 Billion from Reinstating certain Superfund Fees on Chemicals to help Fund the Cleanup of Highly Contaminated Waste Sites.

- Plus nearly $27 Billion in other Measures.

Total Offsets around = $451.7 Billion.

NYC Wins When Everyone Can Vote! Michael H. Drucker

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