President Biden hails passage of infrastructure bill, plans to sign it ‘soon’

President Biden hails passage of infrastructure bill, plans to sign it ‘soon’

WASHINGTON (The Hill): President Biden on Saturday hailed passage of the mammoth $1.2 trillion infrastructure bill, describing it as a transformative measure that would reshape the U.S. transportation system, create jobs and prove to the American public that federal policymakers can deliver.

“We did something that’s long overdue, that long has been talked about in Washington but never actually been done,” Biden said in remarks from the White House’s State Dining Room, just hours after the measure passed the House in a vote late Friday night.

The president described the bill as a “once-in-a-generation investment” that would put the U.S. on a path to “win the economic competition of the 21st century.”

Biden said he planned to sign the measure at a signing ceremony “soon” but acknowledged it wouldn’t be this weekend, noting he wants lawmakers who helped get the bill across the finish line to attend the ceremony.

The president also invoked the disappointing results for Democrats in the off-year elections this past Tuesday, arguing the results showed Americans want Democrats to deliver with their majorities in Congress.

“The American people have made clear one overwhelming thing, I think,” Biden said. “They want us to deliver.”

“Last night, we proved we can — on one big item, we delivered,” he added.

The infrastructure bill contains $550 billion in new spending to improve roads, bridges and rail, expand electric vehicle charging stations, expand broadband and remove lead pipes.

The measure passed the Senate with broad bipartisan support back in August, but languished in the House as progressive and moderate lawmakers debated the sequencing and substance of a larger package containing Biden’s proposals to expand social programs and tackle climate change.

The House passed the bill late Friday night in a 228-206 vote after progressive lawmakers agreed to back off their demand that both bills be passed in tandem.

Instead, the House advanced the social spending package and kicked a vote on passing that legislation until later this month. As part of the agreement, a group of moderates issued a statement committing to supporting the measure if a forthcoming Congressional Budget Office assessment matches a cost analysis from the White House.

Thirteen Republicans voted in favor of the infrastructure bill, while six progressive Democrats bucked their party and voted against it in protest of the agreement to delay the final vote on the social spending measure.

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