6th November, 2021
An excited President Joe Biden on Saturday hailed congressional passage of a long-delayed $1 trillion infrastructure bill as a “once in a generation” investment.
He also predicted a broader social safety net plan will be approved despite tense negotiations.
Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris appeared in the White House State Dining Room about 12 hours after moderate and progressive Democrats in the House of Representative overcame internal bickering and delivered the president his biggest legislative win thus far.
“Finally, infrastructure week,” Biden said with a chuckle. “I’m so happy to say that – infrastructure week!”
The president’s comment referred to a running joke in recent years after Biden’s Republican predecessor Donald Trump declared “Infrastructure week” in 2018 but was unable to pass a bill after multiple tries during his presidency.
The bipartisan bill’s passage gives Biden a jolt of good news after sobering election losses for his Democratic party this week and a drop in his approval ratings.
Referring to the losses, Biden said they showed American people “want us to deliver.”
“I think the one message that came across was – ‘get something done. It’s time to get something done – stop talking,'” said Biden.
The United Steelworkers union welcomed the bill’s passage.
“The House has passed the #InfrastructureBill, which would provide roughly $1 trillion for upgrading the nation’s critical infrastructure. This is a big freakin’ deal for us because Steelworkers supply America in so many ways!” the union tweeted.
The bill had been caught up for months in bitter fighting between Democrats and the impasse had raised questions about Biden’s effectiveness.
The infrastructure bill will create “blue collar” jobs modernising roads and bridges, and transform the transportation system, Biden said. The “vast majority” of the jobs created will not require a college degree, he said.
Americans “will see the effects of this bill probably starting within the next two to three months,” he said.