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Wednesday, May 5, 2021

The Senate authorizes $ 35 billion to improve the nation’s water in a radical bipartisan vote.

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The Senate overwhelmingly authorized $ 35 billion to improve the country’s water infrastructure, offering a demonstration of bipartisan support for some of the infrastructure legislation even as lawmakers remained divided over the scope of the country’s economic agenda. trillion dollars from President Biden.

The radical bipartisan vote by an 89-2 margin belied broader divisions over the scope and cost of Mr Biden’s ambitions to overhaul the country’s aging public works system. But lawmakers from both parties insisted it was a sign, however small, of the potential for bipartisan cooperation on infrastructure.

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The bill, led by senators from the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee, would strengthen existing programs designed to improve water quality with the approval of $ 35 billion in funds, of which about 40% in the form of grants for small rural and tribal communities. historically, have struggled with inferior systems and poor water quality.

Mr Biden’s $ 2.3 trillion infrastructure plan, which is paired with a $ 1.8 trillion plan to address child care, access to education and improved equity, also provides billions in new spending to improve water quality across the country. But with Republicans questioning the scale of the plan, lawmakers have vowed to try to find a bipartisan compromise on the individual arrangements.

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“The gist is very simple: we are moving forward, wherever we can, in a bipartisan fashion,” said Senator Chuck Schumer of New York, the majority leader. “So let this be a signal to our fellow Republicans that Democratic senators want to work together on infrastructure, when and where we can.”

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The White House earlier this week issued a statement supporting the legislation, calling it “a good start to the funding needed to provide communities with the water quality they deserve.”

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“This legislation aligns with the administration’s goals of improving and modernizing aging infrastructure, improving the health of children and small and disadvantaged communities, developing new technologies and helping to combat cybersecurity threats. and mitigate the dangers of climate change, ”the Bureau of Management and Budget said. in an administrative policy statement.

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