Biden praises passage of infrastructure bill, plans to sign ‘soon’

On Saturday, President Biden praised the passage of the gigantic $ 1.2 trillion infrastructure bill, describing it as a transformative measure that would reshape the U.S. transportation system, create jobs, and demonstrate to the American public. that federal legislators can comply with.

“We did something that was due a long time ago, that has been talked about for a long time in Washington, but it has never really been done,” Biden said in remarks from the White House State Dining Room, a few hours after the measure. was approved by the House in a vote Friday night.

The president described the bill as a “one-time investment in a generation” that would put the United States on a path to “winning the economic competition of the 21st century.”

Biden said he planned to enact the measure at a signing ceremony “soon,” but acknowledged it would not be this weekend, noting that he wants lawmakers who helped get the bill across the finish line to attend.

The comments represented a much-needed victory lap for Biden, who has negotiated with lawmakers for months to get his broad national legislative agenda passed in Congress.

The president also invoked the disappointing results for Democrats in last year’s election last Tuesday, arguing that the results showed that Americans want Democrats to comply with their majorities in Congress.

“The American people have made an overwhelming thing clear, I think,” Biden said. “They want us to comply.”

“Last night, we showed that we can – in a great article, we delivered,” he added.

The infrastructure bill contains $ 550 billion in new spending over five years to improve roads, bridges and railways, expand electric vehicle charging stations, expand broadband, and remove lead pipes.

The measure passed the Senate with broad bipartisan support in August, but languished in the House as progressive and moderate lawmakers debated the sequence and content of a broader package containing Biden’s proposals to expand social programs and address climate change.

The House passed the bill on Friday night in a vote of 228-206 after progressive lawmakers agreed to drop their demand that both bills pass together.

Instead, the House advanced the social spending package and launched a vote to pass that legislation until the end of this month. As part of the agreement, a group of moderates issued a statement pledging to support the measure if an upcoming Congressional Budget Office assessment matches a White House cost analysis.

Thirteen Republicans voted in favor of the infrastructure bill, while six progressive Democrats opposed their party and voted against it in protest of the agreement to delay the final vote on the social spending measure.

Biden sought on Saturday to project confidence in the way forward for the largest spending package, despite the uphill battle in both the House and Senate, where the Sen. Joe manchinJoe ManchinHouse Passes 1 Trillion Infrastructure Bills, Advances Social Spending Plan On The Money – Presented By Citi – A House Divided On A Unified Agenda Billion Dollar Tax Proposal Would Raise 7B: JCT PLUS (DW.Va.) has expressed doubts about aspects of the bill and its fiscal impact.

“Let me be clear: We will pass this in the House and we will pass it in the Senate,” Biden said. He insisted the bill would be “fully paid for” and would “ease inflationary pressures” that Americans have experienced as the economy recovers amid the coronavirus pandemic.

Still, there are questions about what will ultimately be in the final package to pass both the House and Senate with only Democratic votes through a process known as budget reconciliation. When asked by a reporter if paid leave would ultimately be included in the bill, Biden said “time will tell.”

Biden seemed genuinely giddy as he walked into the room with Vice President Harris and prepared to tout elements of a bill he negotiated with a bipartisan group of senators several months ago.

“Finally, infrastructure week!” Biden said, smiling and laughing. “I’m so happy to say that.”

The president predicted that the US would begin to see the impacts of the infrastructure bill “within the next two to three months, as we put the shovels down.”

“It is going to be a bill that will have a profound impact over time,” he said.

Biden argued that his agenda would be a boon to the American middle class because both bills together would create jobs and lower the costs of health care, child care and education for working families.

“They bet on average Americans. They believe in America. They believe in the unlimited capacity of the American people, ”Biden said.

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