Update: On June 28, 2021, the Senate voted to move ahead on the infrastructure bill, an indication that the legislation could pass the chamber in short order.
Pass the $579 billion infrastructure plan today. That's the message a group of business leaders sent to Congress, where a bipartisan group of lawmakers and the White House has trying for weeks to cobble a deal together.
More than 140 business leaders, including Microsoft president Brad Smith, Etsy CEO Joshua Silverman, and BlackRock CEO Larry Fink, sent the letter to lawmakers on Monday, encouraging them to act on infrastructure as a means for helping America back to work.
"Investment in the country's physical and digital assets are essential for the well-being of the economy and the workforce," reads the letter. "Mass transit funding is of particular concern to urban centers like New York City where commuters are dependent on subways, buses and commuter rail."
The letter is a product of the Partnership for New York City, a business advocacy group that boasts 330 members and has separately backed legislation including the American Rescue Plan, passed in March by President Biden.
The timing of the letter is notable, as the most recent Senate infrastructure talks missed a key deadline on Monday, after various GOP members rejected a plan from the White House and Democrats to address outstanding issues. The latest impasse revolves around transit funding, spending on water projects, and how much of the leftover Covid-19 relief money can be redirected, among other things.
Arizona Senator Kyrsten Sinema -- the lead Democratic negotiator on the bill -- was called to the White House Tuesday to meet with Biden to discuss the talks. Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer is reportedly weighing whether to extend the Senate's session into the weekend so lawmakers can overcome issues.
Regardless of the political wrangling, the issues at hand are gaining urgency in the business community. The U.S. Chamber of Commerce has also expressed support for an infrastructure deal, issuing its own letter to Congress last week.
"Our nation has been waiting more than a decade for important investment and modernization of America's infrastructure," writes Neil Bradley, executive vice-president and chief policy officer at the Chamber. "The bipartisan group of Senators are close to an agreement and it's imperative that both Republicans and Democrats keep their promises and continue to see this through."