A $35-billion water infrastructure bill that forms a portion of President Joe Biden’s infrastructure plan passed the U.S. Senate on April 29 with an overwhelming 89-vote majority and just two dissenting votes.
The Drinking Water and Wastewater Infrastructure Act includes $14.65 billion each for Drinking Water and Clean Water state revolving funds, or SRFs, spread over the next five years.
It is both the first Congressionally approved infrastructure bill and the first component of the American Jobs Plans passed in this legislative session, a relatively easy first win, having sailed through the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee March 24 on a 20-0 vote with support from groups across industry and environmental organizations.
Still, proponents are framing the bill's passage as a potentially propulsive first step for Biden's larger, $2.3-trillion infrastructure plan.
“This legislation shows that water infrastructure investment is a bipartisan issue, and it can serve as an important foundation for including water as a major component in a broad infrastructure package,” said Adam Krantz, CEO of the National Association of Clean Water Agencies, in a statement.
Sen. Tom Carper (D-Del.) also highlighted the bill's economic and environmental benefits, saying it "invests in strengthening our nation’s water systems to foster economic growth, build climate-resilient infrastructure, and help ensure that all Americans have access to clean, safe water.”
Passage "provies that infrastructure can be done on a bipartisan basis,” wrote Sen. Shelley Moore Capito (R-W.Va.) in a tweet. Republicans recently unveiled their own, smaller, infrastructure plan.
The water infrastructure bill reauthorizes program funding through fiscal 2026, with annual amounts for program components to be determined by appropriations committees.