The Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act finally passed through the House after successfully navigating the Senate earlier this year. Andrew Walmsley, senior director of congressional relations with the American Farm Bureau Federation, said the legislation is now headed to the President’s desk.
"It had, earlier this summer, passed the Senate in a bipartisan vote of 69 to 30. It’s been held up in the House for some time until an agreement was finally struck late--almost into the weekend, it was able to pass the House, and now it is awaiting signature by the president," Walmsley said.
Walmsley says the legislation is similar to a traditional infrastructure bill, but it also contains significant investments to benefit U.S. farmers, ranchers, and rural communities.
"It is $550 billion in new spending over the next five years," Walmsley said. "It has $110 billion for roads and bridges, it invests in broadband, about $65 billion, which has become a crucial issue for rural America; $17 billion for ports and inland waterways, which is key to our international competitiveness on exporting our goods around the world."
He says the bill also has additional benefits outside of the investments in physical infrastructure.
"It also provides regulatory relief for our ag haulers that are hauling live animals, and there's some flexibilities that are key to ensuring those live animals get safely to their destination so it’s another key provision that's in there," Walmsley said. "Otherwise, we're going to wait for the president to sign the bill, which he's indicated he will. And then, over time, we'll start seeing these investments in our rural communities. So, this one is one that Farm Bureau supports, and we look forward to seeing it enacted into law."