Washington News Cloud

News From Washington DC

Biden Signs $1 Trillion Bipartisan Infrastructure Bill into Law thumbnail
Latest News

Biden Signs $1 Trillion Bipartisan Infrastructure Bill into Law

President Biden delivers a speech during a visit to the Port of Baltimore, Md., November 10, 2021.
(Evelyn Hockstein/Reuters)

President Biden signed the $1 trillion bipartisan infrastructure bill into law at a ceremony on the White House lawn on Monday.

“This law is a blue-collar blueprint to rebuild America,” Biden said in a speech prior to the signing.

“Next year will be the first year in twenty years American infrastructure investment will grow faster than China’s,” Biden later remarked. “We’ll once again have the best roads, bridges, ports and airports over the next decade.”

The legislation allocates $550 billion in new spending over five years towards building and repairing roads, bridges, airports, and railways, as well as funds for electric vehicles and charging stations. The bill also renews existing spending on transportation projects.

The non-partisan Congressional Budget Office estimated that the bill will add $256 billion to the federal deficit over the next ten years, in a report from August. Much of Republican opposition to the legislation has focused on its price, with Representative Dan Crenshaw (R., Texas) calling the bill “too expensive” in a video message earlier this month.

“This is what can happen when Republicans and Democrats say we’re going to work together to get something done,” Senator Rob Portman (R., Ohio) said at the signing ceremony. Portman was one of 19 Republican senators who voted for the legislation in August.

Senator Kyrsten Sinema (D., Ariz.) praised the negotiations of a “group of ten” senators who hammered out details of the legislation.

“This is what it looks like when elected leaders set aside differences, shut out the noise, and focus on delivering results on the issues that matter most to everyday Americans,” Sinema said.

The signing comes just over a week after the House passed the bill 228-206, with 13 Republicans voting in favor of the legislation. The Senate passed the bill 69-30 in August.

“This $1 trillion infrastructure bill continues to spend money our country doesn’t have—and contrary to lots of Enron-style accounting claims, no, it won’t pay for itself,” Senator Ben Sasse (R., Neb.) said in a statement at the time. “Yes, infrastructure is important, but doing it the right way is more important.”

Biden and congressional Democrats are still attempting to pass a $1.75 trillion spending package via budget reconciliation in the Senate, which would allow the bill to pass via a simple majority and avert a filibuster. At the signing ceremony on Monday, Vice President Kamala Harris called for passage of the reconciliation package.

The infrastructure bill, “as significant as it is, as historic as it is, is part one of two,” Harris said. “To lower costs and cut taxes for working families, to tackle the climate crisis at its core, Congress must also pass the Build Back Better Act.”

House progressives initially withheld their support for the infrastructure bill in an attempt to force passage of the reconciliation package, while several moderate Democrats said they could not vote for the reconciliation package before seeing a cost estimate from the Congressional Budget Office.

The two factions eventually reached a deal whereby most progressives backed the infrastructure bill, while moderates agreed to back the reconciliation package as long as it receives a full CBO score ahead of the vote.

Six progressive representatives still declined to vote in favor of the infrastructure bill, which could have spiked the legislation given Democrats’ thin majority in the House. However, 13 Republicans voted in favor of the legislation, providing the necessary support to reach at least 218 votes and pass the House.

At an appearance at the White House Tribal Nations Summit on Monday, Biden was asked whether he’s still confident the reconciliation bill will pass.

“You ask me that all the time and I give you the same answer. I’ve been confident since the day I stepped into office,” Biden replied.

The reconciliation bill is projected to include various tax breaks and investments in clean energy, expanded child tax credits, and funding for universal preschool.

Send a tip to the news team at NR.