Depending on what you read, the White House and Senate Republican leaders have either compromised on a $1.2 trillion infrastructure bill or a $579 billion infrastructure bill. Actually, both are true, sort of.
The difference is that the $1.2 trillion includes “baseline spending,” or the amount that would have been spent on infrastructure even if no bill were passed. The actual infrastructure bill would only include $579 billion of new spending.
That’s quite a concession on the part of the White House, which had originally proposed $2.3 trillion in new spending, or nearly four times as much as the bipartisan agreement. On the other hand, $579 billion is exactly $579 billion more than Republicans had proposed to spend before Biden released his original proposal on March 31.
At the same time, the so‐called baseline appears to represent the amount that would be spent on surface transportation by the bill proposed by House Democrats, or about $78 billion a year. This is a large increase from the amount that has been spent in the past few years, which has been about $55 billion a year. In order to get the total above $1 trillion, allowing the president to save some face, the $78 billion a year is extended for eight years, even though the House bill would authorize only five years of spending.
Read more about Infrastructure Arithmetic here: https://www.cato.org/blog/infrastructure-arithmetic