On August 10th, the U.S. Senate voted 69-30 in favor of the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (H.R.3684) — sweeping bipartisan legislation intended to revitalize the country’s infrastructure.
Specifically, the legislation includes around $550 billion in new U.S. infrastructure spending over the next five years for surface transportation, including roads, bridges, rail, public transit, and airports; broadband; resiliency; water infrastructure, including for wastewater and drinking water, and ports and waterways; and modernization, including low-carbon programs, electric vehicle charging, connecting communities, and addressing pollution. (You can read all 2,702 pages of the bill here.)
President Biden and his Administration are touting the Senate passage as a major win for American jobs, the economy, and the environment. (The President’s remarks are available here.)
The legislation has also been welcomed within the textile and sewn products industries. National Council of Textile Organizations (NCTO) President and CEO Kim Glas noted the bill will “provide critical resources for our nation’s aging infrastructure and at the same time help incentivize the reshoring of personal protective equipment (PPE) production, an important priority of the U.S. textile industry.” NCTO worked with an industry coalition and congressional allies to include a version of the Make PPE in America Act, legislation co-sponsored by Senator Rob Portman (R-OH) and Senator Gary Peters (D-MI), in the infrastructure legislative package. The bill ensures all PPE purchased by the Departments of Homeland Security, Health and Human Services, and Veterans Affairs are Berry Amendment-compliant; guarantees long-term contracts to U.S. manufacturers; and creates a tiered preference for PPE made in the Western Hemisphere by U.S. free trade partners using U.S. components, after domestic manufacturing capacity has been maximized. (Read the NCTO press release here.)
On the other end of the supply chain, the American Apparel & Footwear Association (AAFA) also welcomed the legislation’s passage. However, they added: “We cannot over-stress the need for additional federal support to address the current — and worsening — shipping crisis that has caused destructive chaos at the ports, on the oceans, and increasingly at retail from empty shelves to inflation.” (Read the AAFA press release here.)
The legislation now goes back to the U.S. House of Representatives for consideration. (It actually started there as the INVEST in America Act introduced by Peter DeFazio (D-OR), but has changed significantly since then.) However, there may be a bit of a wait on that front as the House plans to coordinate passage of the infrastructure bill with the Democrats’ $3.5 trillion spending package. The House is due to take up the budget part of the puzzle when it returns from summer recess on August 23.
Here are some additional resources for anyone interested in learning more about the political maneuvers at play: