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Saturday, January 22, 2022

Joe Biden signs bipartisan infrastructure bill

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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 at a ceremony on the White House lawn on Monday.

“This law is a workers’ project to rebuild America,” Biden said in a speech before the signing.

“Next year will be the first year in twenty years, American infrastructure investments will grow faster than Chinese investments,” Biden later noted. “Once again we will have the best roads, bridges, ports and airports in the next decade.”

The legislation allocates $ 550 billion in new spending over five years to the construction and repair of 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 has estimated that the bill will add $ 256 billion to the federal deficit over the next ten years, in a August report. Much Republican opposition to the legislation has focused on its price, with Rep 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 will work together to do something,” 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 worked out the details of the legislation.

“This is what it looks like when elected leaders put aside differences, rule out 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 past Bill 228-206, with 13 Republicans voting in favor of the bill. The Senate passed bill 69-30 in August.

“This $ 1 trillion infrastructure bill continues to spend money that our country doesn’t have – and contrary to many 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 getting it right is more important.”

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

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

House progressives initially denied their support for the infrastructure bill in an attempt to force approval of the reconciliation package, while several moderate Democrats said they couldn’t vote for the reconciliation package before seeing a cost estimate. by the Congressional Budget Office.

The two factions eventually reached an agreement whereby most progressives supported the infrastructure bill, while the moderates agreed to support the reconciliation package as long as they receive a full CBO score before the vote.

Six progressive representatives still refused to vote in favor of the infrastructure bill, which could have increased the legislation given the low majority of Democrats in the House. However, 13 Republicans voted in favor of the legislation, providing the support needed to reach at least 218 votes and pass the House.

During an appearance at the White House Tribal Nations Summit on Monday, Biden was asked if he is still sure the reconciliation bill will pass.

“You always ask me and I give you the same answer. I’ve been confident since the day I took office, ”Biden replied.

The reconciliation bill is expected to include various tax breaks and investments in clean energy, increased tax credits for children and funding for universal preschool.

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Zachary Evans is a news writer for National review online. He is a veteran of the Israeli Defense Forces and an experienced violist.

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