‘We delivered!’: Landmark infrastructure bill passes in House, awaits Biden’s signature


It was a messy and at times contentious process, but it was finally “Infrastructure Week,” joked President Joe Biden as he began remarks about the House’s passage of a bipartisan infrastructure deal.

Relishing the week’s turnaround in fortunes from the poor showing for Democrats on Election Day to the strong jobs report on Friday, and now the passage of landmark legislation, President Biden said of voters, “They want us to deliver. Last night we proved we can. On one big item, we delivered.”

President Biden said he would sign the $1.2 trillion infrastructure deal, known as the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, surrounded by lawmakers at a date yet to be announced. The White House touted the measure, calling it a once-in-a-generation investment in the nation’s infrastructure and competitiveness.

“For far too long, Washington policymakers have celebrated ‘infrastructure week’ without ever agreeing to build infrastructure,” The White House said in a statement. “The president promised to work across the aisle to deliver results and rebuild our crumbling infrastructure. After the president put forward his plan to do exactly that and then negotiated a deal with Members of Congress from both parties, this historic legislation is moving to his desk for signature.”

After Congress repeatedly failed to reach a consensus on the president’s domestic agenda and following the catastrophic losses in the November election, Democrats were desperate for a win.

The bill was truly bipartisan, as 13 Republicans voted for the measure, while six Progressive Democrats, including Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN), voted against it. “Passing the infrastructure bill without passing the Build Back Better Act first risks leaving behind childcare, paid leave, health care, climate action, housing, education, and a roadmap to citizenship,” Omar said in a statement.

The White House said the infrastructure deal would rebuild America’s roads, bridges, and rails, expand access to clean drinking water, ensure every American has access to high-speed internet, tackle the climate crisis, advance environmental justice, and invest in communities that have too often been left behind.

“It will drive the creation of good-paying union jobs and grow the economy sustainably and equitably so that everyone gets ahead for decades to come. Combined with the President’s Build Back Framework, it will add on average 1.5 million jobs per year for the next 10 years,” noted the White House.

“The legislation will help ease inflationary pressures and strengthen supply chains by making long-overdue improvements for our nation’s ports, airports, rail, and roads,” President Biden declared.

The president also proclaimed that the bill would make historic investments in environmental clean-up and remediation, “and build up our resilience for the next superstorms, droughts, wildfires, and hurricanes that cost us billions of dollars in damage each year.”

“I’m also proud that a rule was voted on that will allow for passage of my Build Back Better Act in the House of Representatives the week of November 15,” President Biden continued. “It will lower bills for healthcare, childcare, elder care, prescription drugs, and preschool. And middle-class families get a tax cut,” he added.

“This bill is also fiscally responsible, fully paid for, and doesn’t raise the deficit. It does so by making sure the wealthiest Americans and biggest corporations begin to pay their fair share and doesn’t raise taxes a single cent on anyone making less than $400,000 per year,” Pres. Biden concluded.

This story was provided in part by NNPA Newswire senior national correspondent Stacy M. Brown.