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- US Senators on both sides are hopeful they will reach a deal on the $1tn bill this week
- The legislation would be tied to a broader $3.5tn Democratic priorities package
Senators Set to Finalize $1tn Infrastructure Bill
US President Joe Biden’s $1tn infrastructure package has gathered enough support to pass through the Senate by the end of the week. After Senators give it the green light, the bill will be sent to the White House where Mr. Biden wants to tie its fate to a separate $3.5tn Democratic stimulus package.
Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer said Sunday he expected the bill to pass through the chamber without any hurdles. “Given how bipartisan the bill is, and how much work has already been put in to get the details right, I believe the Senate can quickly process relevant amendments and pass this bill in a matter of days,” he said.
Once the $1tn infrastructure bill is approved by Senators and signed by the President, it will be translated into law that would provide $110bn to fixing roads and bridges, $39bn to public transit, and $65bn to expand access to broadband across the states, among other priorities.
After months of negotiation, Republicans and Democrats agreed to cover the cost of the legislation by repurposing federal funds from the Trump era, coupled with a mix of accounting maneuvers.
The bill, if passed, will represent a crucial win for President Biden. Indeed, it would be the first bipartisan major legislation under his Presidency. It will also be a major step toward materializing his vision of a sweeping $4tn economic agenda aimed to reshape the US economy over the next decade.
The US Experiences a Sharp Case Increase
The challenge, however, now lays in getting enough support in Senate for the approval of a separate $3.5tn antipoverty and climate package. Democrats are aiming to pass this without any GOP backing. While Democrats control the House narrowly, some moderate Democrats have opposed elements of the $3.5tn plan. Republicans, on the other hand, have rejected the Democratic proposal saying it would create higher inflation. In addition to this, the proposed tax increase would slow the economic growth of the US.
Meanwhile, the US has been witnessing a sharp spike in confirmed cases of the coronavirus. Even amid 50% of the population now fully vaccinated. President Joe Biden’s chief medical adviser Anthony Fauci said in an interview over the weekend that “things will get worse” as the Delta strain sweeps through the country, hitting primarily areas with low vaccination rates.
“If you look at the acceleration of the number of cases, the seven-day average has gone up substantially,” said Dr. Anthony Fauci, adding that the states are now going through “an outbreak of the unvaccinated”.
The latest numbers from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention indicate a 64.1% increase in Covid infections for the week ended July 30 compared with the week prior. The jump in infections brings the daily cases to an average of 66,606 a day.
Against that backdrop, the stock market remains elevated on Monday, the first trading day of August. Futures contracts tied to the major indexes are showing solid gains in pre-market trading ahead of the opening bell. Dow futures, S&P500 futures, and Nasdaq futures indicate a higher open by roughly 0.50% each.
However, Bitcoin and cryptocurrencies on Monday are trading relatively subdued after a weekend spike sent the price of bitcoin to a 2.5-month high of $42,500. Thus, the leading crypto token is now trading around $40,000 per coin.
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