U.S. Sens. Murkowski and Sullivan help Senate pass trillion-dollar infrastructure bill

Senators Dan Sullivan and Lisa Murkowski speaking to the media
Sens. Dan Sullivan and Lisa Murkowski in Anchorage last year. (Jeff Chen/Alaska Public Media)

The U.S. Senate passed a $1.2 trillion infrastructure bill Tuesday, with both Alaska senators voting yes.

“We really did something historic in the United States Senate,” Sen. Lisa Murkowski said shortly after the 69-30 vote. “We moved out an infrastructure package, something that we have talked about doing for years and that we haven’t seen done in decades.”

The bill has billions of dollars for Alaska’s ferry system, to improve rural sanitation and extend broadband internet, along with money for the nation’s highways, bridges and electrical grid. 

Some conservatives complain that Murkowski and the other 18 GOP senators who voted for it delivered a victory to President Biden. Murkowski calls the legislation good for Alaska and the country. 

RELATED: Alaska senators mixed on weekend votes moving $1T infrastructure bill toward finish line

“It’s incredible to me to think that we would want to deny the American people a win, just because we don’t happen to like our current president and his politics,” she said.

The vote was a tough one for Sen. Dan Sullivan, he said in a media statement.

“While flawed in a number of ways, this bill addresses Alaska’s historic deficit in infrastructure in a way that I believe will be important for our state,” Sullivan’s statement says

The bill goes next to the House.

The Democratic-led Senate moved on to take up a separate, much larger infrastructure package – $3.5 trillion for climate programs, child care, education and other social spending. Murkowski opposes that bill, saying it’s a Democratic wishlist, compiled in a partisan process that makes use of a budget procedure to avoid a filibuster.

The $3.5 trillion measure is expected to pass with no Republican votes.

RELATED: U.S. Senate approves $1 trillion bipartisan infrastructure bill in a historic vote

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Liz Ruskin is the Washington, D.C., correspondent for Alaska Public Media. She reports from the U.S. Capitol and from Anchorage. Reach her at lruskin@alaskapublic.org.

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