On Monday, President Joe Biden signed the $1 trillion bipartisan infrastructure package into law, marking the first step towards his party’s ambitious economic programme.
However, as Biden returns to more arduous negotiations over his $1.85 trillion social spending package ahead of the 2022 midterm elections, the prospects for more collaboration are dimming.
$550 billion in new funds will be invested in transportation, telecommunications, and utilities as part of the package. Biden’s signature comes after years of fruitless attempts in Washington to enhance physical infrastructure, which supporters claim will help the economy and create jobs.
The plan will invest $65 billion in expanding broadband, which has become a top goal since the coronavirus outbreak left millions of Americans without reliable internet access at home. It will also invest $55 billion in water system improvements including the replacement of lead pipes.
The money will be distributed over a five-year period. Many significant projects could take months or even years to get off the ground.
The president fulfilled two key campaign promises at the event, which was attended by about 800 people, including members of Congress, governors, state and local officials from both parties, as well as labour and business leaders, according to the White House. He pledged to broker legislation that could gain support from both Republicans and Democrats, and to get major legislation to provide badly needed money for public works projects that his predecessor failed to do.
After years of futile attempts in Washington, Biden remarked before signing the bill, “we’re finally getting this done.” He emphasised the law’s direct benefits to Americans, as part of a bigger sales pitch he’ll make in the days and months leading up to the 2022 midterm elections.
“So my message to the American people is this: America is moving again, and your life is going to change for the better,” he said.
One part of Biden’s economic vision is to update physical infrastructure. On Monday, he said that Congress should adopt a $1.75 trillion investment in the social safety net and climate policy, which Democrats regard as a complimentary package.
The bill is expected to pass in the House this week. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi tried to tie the measures together as much as possible to guarantee support from her party’s centrist and progressive wings.
“confident that the House can pass this bill, and then we’re going to pass it in the Senate,” President said.
“Together with the infrastructure bill, millions of lives will be changed for the better,” he stated.
Many Democrats have complained that the bipartisan plan does not go far enough to combat climate change or provide greater help for families through measures like child care, education, family tax credits, and health care.
Biden joined members from both parties who helped develop and enact the infrastructure plan to celebrate its passage. When the Senate approved the bill in August, 19 Republicans voted in favour, and 13 Republicans voted in favour when the House passed it earlier this month.
The bill signing was attended by a number of Republican lawmakers. The gathering drew some 800 individuals, including members of Congress, mayors, governors, and union representatives.
Some Republicans who voted in favour of the bill have suffered backlash and even death threats as a result of their support.
As a result of sustained inflation and the lingering pandemic, among other difficulties, Biden has been looking for a signature achievement to celebrate. As they struggle to defend their congressional majorities in the midterm elections, Democrats plan to tout the social safety net and infrastructure bills on the campaign trail next year.
On Tuesday and Wednesday, Biden will promote the infrastructure plan in New Hampshire and Michigan, respectively.
After the plan was signed into law, the president was not the only one who emphasised its advantages. The law’s chief writers, ten Democratic and Republican senators, said in a joint statement on Monday that it will “positively impact every American.”