A group of US industrial metal trade associations lobbied leaders of Congress on June 11 to unite and continue work with President Joe Biden in efforts to pass a metals-intensive infrastructure spending bill that will make "historic investments" towards the nation's construction initiatives.
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"A deal that creates good-paying manufacturing and construction jobs and fuels long-term economic growth is achievable," the group said in a letter ot the legislators.
"We urge you to fast track passage of those matters on which there already is agreement between Republicans and Democrats," they said. "That means investing in the physical, metals-intensive infrastructure that US businesses and families need to thrive."
The letter was sent on behalf of the Aluminum Association, American Iron & Steel Institute, American Wire Producers Association, Fabricators & Manufacturers Association, Forging Industry Association, Metals Service Center Institute and Steel Manufacturers Association.
The group described the nation's infrastructure situation as "dire," citing a 2021 report from the American Society of Civil Engineers.
"The report found that, of the country's 617,000 bridges, 42% are at least 50 years old and 7.5% are structurally deficient," they said. "If infrastructure investment continues at its current limited pace, American families and businesses will suffer."
Infrastructure spending in the US will especially boost a domestic metals industry that has been damaged by global overcapacity and unfair trading practices, the letter added.
The trade associations said any legislation should prioritize investments towards physical infrastructure and find ways to expedite approvals for projects.
Infrastructure negotiations were at risk of breaking down earlier this month as Biden and Senate Republicans clashed over certain spending allocations and programs that were to be included in the bill.
Republican Senator Shelley Moore Capito of West Virginia said in a recent press conference that Republicans were not willing to include provisions pushed by Biden that would not be traditionally classified as "core physical infrastructure."
Biden has since pivoted away from talks with Capito and is now looking to a bipartisan group of 10 senators to revise the bill.
Progress on infrastructure bill
The bipartisan group of senators drafting the new infrastructure bill said June 10 they have "worked in good faith and reached a bipartisan agreement on a realistic, compromise framework to modernize the nation's infrastructure and energy technologies."
"We are discussing our approach with our respective colleagues, and the White House, and remain optimistic that this can lay the groundwork to garner broad support from both parties and meet America's infrastructure needs," the senators said in a statement.
The US Chamber of Commerce praised the recent collaboration between political parties and encouraged continued work in achieving passage of the spending package.
"Ongoing negotiations among the core group of bipartisan senators prove there are paths that will lead to a bill that can be signed into law," the chamber said in a June 10 statement. "There is more in common between Democrats and Republicans on the core elements of an infrastructure bill. The need for comprehensive infrastructure legislation is growing by the day."