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Reprinted with permission from American Independent

A new analysis shows that bipartisan infrastructure legislation could result in the creation of 100,000 new high-wage equipment-manufacturing jobs by 2025, and nearly half a million new manufacturing jobs overall. But Senate Republicans are still refusing to allow debate on the bill to begin.

According to data released Tuesday by the Association of Equipment Manufacturers, a trade group, the $579 billion in new infrastructure investment contained in the plan, combined with funding in another bipartisan surface transportation bill pending before Congress, would be a huge boon to manufacturing.

The association represents the interests of construction and agriculture equipment manufacturers.

"The bipartisan infrastructure framework agreed to by the White House and a group of Senators, coupled with a five-year surface transportation reauthorization, is vital for the 2.8 million men and women of the equipment manufacturing industry, for their families and communities, for the U.S. economy, and for bipartisanship in this country," Kip Eideberg, the association's senior vice president of government and industry relations, said in a press release.

"The data shows that it would also create nearly 500,000 new manufacturing jobs overall, generate over $2 billion in new federal, state, and local tax revenue from the equipment manufacturing industry, and result in an additional $27 billion in overall economic output," he noted.

The report predicts that the jobs created would be "highly-skilled and will have an annual income of over $88,000 that is more than 35% above the national average for all employees."

A bipartisan group of senators agreed in June to a framework for infrastructure investment, focusing on transportation, broadband, and water systems, with 11 Republicans pledging to back the proposal. President Joe Biden endorsed the plan and has been pushing Congress to enact it.

But on July 21, every single Republican in the Senate voted against beginning debate on the framework.

Several of the Republicans who had agreed to the deal but refused to debate it said then that they just needed a few more days to work out the legislative text.

"We're a no today because we're not ready," explained Ohio Sen. Rob Portman. "We're saying we do want to take up this bill as soon as we are, and we think that'll be Monday."

But as of Tuesday morning, the group is still refusing to move ahead to debate the legislation.

One key sticking point has been how to pay for the investments. Though the initial bipartisan agreement included a major crackdown on wealthy tax cheats, Republicans have since abandoned those provisions, caving to what Portman called "pushback" from other GOP senators who refused to give more funds to the understaffed Internal Revenue Service for tax code enforcement.

Recent polling shows strong support for the investment package. A Navigator Research survey released on July 22 found 66 perecent of registered voters support the framework. It had support from 86 percent of Democrats, 59 percent of independents, and even a 46 percent plurality of Republicans.

In addition to manufacturing jobs, climate advocates say many of its provisions would help reduce the greenhouse gas emissions that fuel climate change while creating numerous clean energy jobs.

Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.

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Jeff Danziger lives in New York City. He is represented by CWS Syndicate and the Washington Post Writers Group. He is the recipient of the Herblock Prize and the Thomas Nast (Landau) Prize. He served in the US Army in Vietnam and was awarded the Bronze Star and the Air Medal. He has published eleven books of cartoons, a novel and a memoir. Visit him at DanzigerCartoons.

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