August at-a-glance … regulations 

Infrastructure Bill passes Senate, raises supply chain concerns

In approving the $1.2 trillion bipartisian infrastructure package, the U.S. Senate opened the door to a much broader discussion about supply shortages. According to a recent Bloomberg article, “The biggest threat to President Biden’s vision of energizing the U.S. economy with the largest infrastructure program in decades may not be its challenging path through Congress, but a dire shortage of everything from workers to steel, and lumber to cement.” CRU Group, a commodities research firm, adds that the infrastructure plan would increase demand for steel by 5 percent annually in the first five years.

The administration has yet to address how it will help reduce supply chain and worker shortages to achieve the goals of the 2,000+ page Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act. Among other items, the Act alllocates $550 billion in new federal spending, plus an already approved $650 billion. It includes $110 billion for roads, bridges and major projects, $66 billion for passenger and freight rail, $65 billion to rebuild the electric grid, $65 billion to expand broadband internet access, and $39 billion to modernize and expand transit systems. The bill also includes $55 billion for water infrastructure, $15 billion that is earmarked to replace lead pipes. The Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget provided a summary of the Act.

The National Association of Manufacturers (NAM) and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce voiced strong support for the Senate bill. The Senate also approved a $3.5 trillion spending plan that is considered complementary to the infrastructure bill. The House is not expected to take up the infrastructure bill until they return in September and vote on their own $3.5 trillion budget package that also includes infrastructure investments.