Bipartisan Infrastructure Investment & Jobs Act: A Needed Investment in America’s Infrastructure and Economy

August 6, 2021 | Portman Difference

The United States Senate is continuing to debate the landmark bipartisan Infrastructure Investment & Jobs Act.

The legislation, which Senator Portman has played a key role in crafting, represents the largest investment in core infrastructure in our nation’s history.

The Infrastructure Investment & Jobs Act will benefit America’s infrastructure, its economy, and most importantly, the American people. Below are some key victories in this historic legislation:

NEW AND IMPROVED CORE INFRASTRUCTURE: America’s infrastructure is crumbling. The American Society of Civil Engineers gives our infrastructure a ‘C-’, and project our economy stands to lose more than $10 trillion in GDP by 2039 should we fail to invest in repairs. We have fallen to 13th in the world in infrastructure while key foreign competitors like China spend nearly four times as much on infrastructure as a percentage of GDP.

The Infrastructure Investment & Jobs Act provides $550 billion in new spending to modernize and upgrade our nation’s core infrastructure, including roads and bridges, ports and waterways, railroads, the electrical grid, broadband, and more, helping to reverse this trend and improve the competitiveness of the American economy.

LONG-TERM ECONOMIC BENEFITS: This targeted investment in core infrastructure will grow our economy through building out hard assets that improve productivity and efficiency without adding inflation.

This investment will also create hundreds of thousands of good-paying jobs in industries ranging from construction and plumbing to electrical engineering and software development, with one recent study finding that the legislation could create around half a million new jobs by 2024.

Importantly, the Infrastructure Investment & Jobs Act will achieve these goals without adding to the surging inflation the United States is currently experiencing.

According to American Enterprise Institute economist Michael Strain: “There are good reasons to believe this bipartisan infrastructure spending won’t be inflationary. Its focus is on improving longer-term productivity, not near-term demand. By strengthening the supply side of the economy, it would ease inflationary pressures. In addition, the spending would be spread out over a decade, and would likely add very little to the deficit until 2024.”

In a joint statement with Strain, American Action Forum President Douglas Holtz-Eakin agrees: “A well-structured infrastructure bill would boost the supply side of the economy, reducing inflationary pressures. Improving roads, bridges, and ports would make it less costly for businesses to operate, allowing them to increase their output per hour, and putting downward pressure on consumer prices.”

RESPONSIBLE PAY FORS, NO NEW TAX HIKES: The Infrastructure Investment & Jobs Act makes this investment in our long-term economic health offset through a combination of new revenue and savings and without new tax hikes on American families or businesses.

Notably, the legislation leaves intact the 2017 Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, sweeping legislation that helped fuel robust economic growth, leading to record-low unemployment, higher wages, and the lowest poverty rate since the metric was established in 1959. By preserving these tax cuts, the bipartisan infrastructure legislation puts American families and job creators first.

STRONGLY SUPPORTED BY THE AMERICAN PEOPLE: Congress has talked about repairing America’s infrastructure for decades and the American people strongly support making a bipartisan investment to do so. The Senate is now in a position to do just that. A CBNC poll conducted in late April indicated 87 percent of the public backs bipartisan efforts to fix our roads and bridges.  

A CBS News/You Gov survey also found that 87 percent of Americans support more federal spending on building and repairing roads and bridges. 59 percent of respondents in the same survey said they support the Bipartisan Infrastructure Agreement.