US business leaders and financiers urge Congress to pass key infrastructure bill

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The business leaders wrote to express “strong support” for efforts to design and pass a Bipartisan Infrastructure Framework.

More than 140 business leaders have urged the US Congress to pass President Joe Biden’s bipartisan infrastructure bill, telling lawmakers that the bill is “desperately needed” to renew the nation’s infrastructure.

Writing to Senate leaders in an open letter, the business heads called on Congress to “finalise and adopt the programme to modernise and expand physical and digital assets that are a necessary foundation for our nation’s sustainable growth”.

“It will leverage significant private investment and generate a strong return for the federal government,” they added.

On the same day (26 July), Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway Energy joined the signatories’ call in in support of advancing the bipartisan infrastructure framework.

The bill “will catalyse transmission planning, siting and investment for critical interregional connections, resulting in a more resilient grid and accelerating the delivery of clean, reliable, affordable energy to communities across the country,” it said in a company statement.

It also called for additional legislation to “provide a durable and supportive tax regime to [incentivise] further investment in clean energy generation, transmission and energy storage”.

Last month, Biden reached a bipartisan agreement with Democrat and Republican senators on a US$1.2 trillion infrastructure plan, but compromises were made on clean energy. Most notably, an extension of the Investment Tax Credit was missing from the announcement, with those supports suggested to be earmarked for inclusion within a budget reconciliation later this year.

But the bill met resistance from Republican lawmakers and reached an impasse last week when US Senate majority leader Chuck Schumer failed in an attempt to fast track in through the Senate.

It was suggested last week that the bill could progress as early as Monday (26 July 2021), however negotiations between the two parties stalled further and it now faces an uphill struggle to be agreed upon before Congress rises for summer recess on 9 August 2021.

Senate majority leader Chuck Schumer said yesterday that discussions had reached a “critical moment”, and the subject was broached by reporters present at a White House briefing with President Biden’s press secretary Jen Psaki yesterday.

Psaki said the administration remained in close contactor with negotiators on both sides and remained confident about an agreement being reached, stating that administration had been encouraged as discussions reach the “final issues”.

“We are optimistic about the progress and focused on steadily moving forward.  And we continue to see progress being made each day,” she said.

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