Both of Minnesota's senators, Democrats Amy Klobuchar and Tina Smith, voted for the $1 trillion infrastructure plan that passed the Senate on Tuesday, hailing its bipartisan backing.

"There were a lot of disagreements about not just the top line money, but how the money should be spent," Klobuchar. "And so it was on life support a few times, but we never gave up."

Smith called it "once in a generation" legislation that would shore up aging bridges, repair roads and add to public transit. In Minnesota, the bill "is going to clear out a long and deep backlog of projects," she said.

She cited projects on Minnesota Hwys. 23 and 14 specifically. Minnesota would see billions of dollars from the plan, according to the fact sheet released by the White House.

Klobuchar pointed to funding to expand access to broadband internet service in rural Minnesota communities that will make them more attractive in competing for businesses and creating new jobs. She said the bill also addresses "less glamorous parts, the water infrastructure for pipes, the electricity grid."

Smith said she had a hard time understanding why 30 Republicans voted against the bill, which was scaled back from President Joe Biden's original $3 trillion infrastructure proposal. Some conservatives said the package is still too costly and more of it should be paid for.

"It's hard to take seriously, for example, concerns that are raised about increasing the deficit," she said.

"Some of these [Republican] colleagues of mine voted for the big tax cut for big companies and wealthy individuals that contributed dramatically to the budget deficit. I'm sorry we didn't have more Republicans joining us, but it was great that it was bipartisan."

The beginning steps in the overall budget resolution taken up after the infrastructure bill were not bipartisan. Every one of the 49 Republicans who voted opposed the spending plan.

Klobuchar said the larger budget includes important elements that reach beyond infrastructure and are equally important to helping the country recover from economic setbacks caused by the pandemic.

These include allowing Medicare to negotiate drug prices to reduce the cost of prescription medicines, helping with child care to increase the workforce, and job training for good-paying positions that now go unfilled for lack of qualified candidates.

But the first infrastructure bill passed in decades was the top order of business, both senators said. And Klobuchar and Smith each expect the House to agree to the Senate bill and get the legislation to Biden for his signature.

Infrastructure is one of the president's top priorities, Klobuchar said. How long it takes to pass the House is uncertain, "but I don't think you're going to see protracted negotiations at all."

Added Smith: "It's like taking care of your own home. You need to maintain it, and you need to improve it when the time comes."

Jim Spencer • 202-662-7432