Build America Bonds to be in Biden infrastructure plan, U.S. House Ways & Means chair says

By Karen Pierog

(Reuters) -Federally subsidized Build America Bonds will return as part of President Joe Biden’s $2 trillion-plus infrastructure package, the chairman of the House of Representatives Ways and Means Committee said on Thursday.

Richard Neal, a Democrat who will play a key role in shaping legislation for the plan, said he obtained assurances from U.S. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen that the bonds, along with certain tax credit measures, will be included.

“(Yellen) said all of those issues will be in the president’s proposal and I intend to guard them in the committee,” Neal said at a press conference in Springfield, Massachusetts, carried by a local television station.

A spokesman for Yellen did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Neal said his committee will hold hearings ahead of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s target for having the chamber vote on legislation by July 4.

The popular Build America Bond program was created under the Obama administration as part of an economic stimulus law allowing states, cities, schools, airports, mass transit agencies and others to sell for a limited time taxable debt with the federal government contributing 35% of interest costs.

Between April 2009 and when the authorization expired at the end of 2010, $181.5 billion of the so-called BABs were issued to fund construction projects aimed at helping the nation recover from the financial crisis.

While BABs on average have outperformed other fixed-income assets over the last 10 years, some past issuers said their return should include protection from across-the-board federal spending cuts that have reduced the federal subsidy on the bonds.

(Reporting By Karen Pierog; Editing by Franklin Paul and Dan Grebler)