$1 Trillion Infrastructure Bill Signed Into Law by President Joe Biden
President Joe Biden signed a $1 trillion infrastructure bill at a ceremony at the White House on Monday, which drew Democrats and Republicans as the bill was pushed into law with a deeply divided United States Congress. The law was designed and implemented as a measure to create jobs across the country which was done by dispersing billions of dollars across local and state governments to fix bridges and roads and to expand broadband internet access for millions of Americans, nationwide. The bill-signing ceremony was held on the White House South Lawn where members of both the Democratic and the Republican parties were willing to stand beside each other and celebrate a bipartisan achievement.
Biden, whose job approval ratings have declined over his tenure because of his handling of the economy and other issues, had heard supportive chants from the crowd and received a standing ovation as he stepped on to the microphone to speak about this event. Speakers included Senator Kyrsten Sinema, the centrist Democrat from Arizona, whose opposition to some of the tax incentives have forced a scaling of a piece of legislation, Biden’s $1.75 trillion “Build Back Better” social safety net plan. Biden has referred to the bill as a “blue-collar blueprint to rebuild America”. In addition to that, he had also said that the bill’s passage had showed that “despite the cynics”, Democrats and Republicans can come together and work and deliver results.
Along with Sinema, fellow Democratic Senator Joe Manchin, who also attended the event, have disappointed a number of people in the party for not agreeing to a number of items that were sought by progressives in the social spending bill.
Sinema appeared to refer to the criticism in her remarks- “Delivering this legislation for the American people – 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,” she said. Republicans that attended included Senator Rob Portman of Ohio, Senator Mitt Romney of Utah, and Maryland Governor Larry Hogan. A handful of Republicans who drew fire from the right wing for supporting the legislation had stayed away from the event.
Before the event, Biden had signed an executive order which directed that materials made in the United States were to be given priority in every infrastructure project. In addition to that, it also established a task force which was made up of top Cabinet officials in order to guide implementation of the legislation, and it was to be co-chaired by former New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu. The bill had turned out to become a partisan lightning rod, with Republicans complaining that Democrats who now head the House of Representatives had delayed its passage in order to ensure the party’s support for Biden’s $1.75 trillion social policy and climate change legislation, which a majority of Republicans reject.
Regardless of the fact that there have been battles over social spending looms, the general atmosphere at the ceremony was festive. Biden joked that Senator Robert Portman who will not be standing for re-election and does not have to face any critics within his political party said that he is a “hell of a good guy. I know I’m not hurting you, Rob, because you’re not running again.” Representative Don Young, a Republican from Alaska, teased Biden about the hour-plus duration of the ceremony when he sat down to sign the bill- “We were wondering when you were gonna stop. We damn near froze to death,” he said.
Biden’s Build Back Better package will focus on provisions on childcare and preschool, eldercare, healthcare, prescription drug pricing and immigration. The White House is hopeful that House speaker Nancy Pelosi will bring the bill to a vote this week. However, this will only be the first step as the Senate has not yet taken up the legislation, where Democratic divisions in the chamber could threaten its chances. Biden will be hitting the road alongside top officials amongst his administration to promote the infrastructure plan. He will visit New Hampshire on Tuesday and Michigan on Wednesday.