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By Valerie Volcovici WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The United States Senate overwhelmingly passed the first major infrastructure bill in this Congress that would authorize more than $ 35 billion to improve the nation’s drinking water and sewer systems, a rare shows bipartisan support as lawmakers remain divided over other infrastructure. investments. The Drinking Water and Wastewater Infrastructure Act, which was passed 89-2, would provide funding to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) for grant programs and revolving loans to help communities improve aging infrastructure, invest in new technologies and supporting disadvantaged communities. Democrats hope it will help push President Joe Biden‘s $ 2 trillion American Jobs Plan, which focuses on transforming America into a clean energy economy, while Republicans said its success shows an appetite for a legislation focused on more traditional infrastructure investments. “To truly ‘rebuild better,’ our nation must prioritize getting Americans back to work repairing and upgrading the old pipes that we all depend on to supply water,” said Democratic Sen. Tammy Duckworth, a co-sponsor of the bill, referring to Biden’s climate change-focused infrastructure plan. Republican Senator Roy Blunt told Republicans that the water infrastructure bill is “a good indication of the willingness of Congress to participate and unite around traditional infrastructure needs.” Meanwhile, a bipartisan group of lawmakers is working on an alternative to Biden’s $ 2.3 trillion infrastructure plan that would cost about half but would spend much more on roads and bridges, Republican Senator Bill Cassidy said Tuesday. Democratic Senator Joe Manchin, a key Senate swing vote who participated in bipartisan discussions with Cassidy, said Sunday that he would also favor a more specific approach than Biden’s plan.