The holiday break's over. Will Democrats act?

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Nearly one-fourth of American households lack broadband access. A water main breaks every two minutes. With child-care costs soaring, more than 1 million workers—largely women—have been driven out of the economy, even as the economy reopens. Are Democrats ready to act? That is the critical question as Congress returns from its holiday break. While President Biden is selling the bipartisan infrastructure deal as a “generational investment,” the real effort will come from using the budget reconciliation process to pass vitally needed public investments with Democratic votes only. The Republicans' imprint on the bipartisan infrastructure deal makes it clear just how counterproductive they would be; Republican negotiators demanded that, even though the needs of the country are far greater than what the president called for, any package to address those problems had to be far smaller. The $579 billion in spending reduces to $116 billion a year, or roughly $2.3 billion per state per year. That won’t come close to addressing what the American Society of Civil Engineers estimates is a $2.5 trillion investment gap in basic infrastructure alone—roads, bridges, water systems, electric grid, etc.—which does not even include other priorities such as upgrading our rail and broadband networks.

Break’s over. Will Democrats act?