President Joe Biden on Monday signed into law a $1.2 trillion bipartisan infrastructure package and marked the major legislative victory at a White House event with lawmakers from both parties.
The legislation will deliver $550 billion of new federal investments in America’s infrastructure over five years, including money for roads, bridges, mass transit, rail, airports, ports and waterways. The package includes a $65 billion investment in improving the nation’s broadband infrastructure and invests tens of billions of dollars in improving the electric grid and water systems. Another $7.5 billion would go to building a nationwide network of plug-in electric vehicle chargers, according to the bill text.
The bill, first passed by the Senate in a 69 to 30 vote in August, was ultimately passed by the House, including 13 Republican lawmakers, on November 5.
Congress returned to Washington Monday after a weeklong recess to a bevy of critical issues before the holidays, including passing Biden’s broader economic and climate agenda, funding the government before a December 3 deadline, and raising the debt limit.
The ceremony comes as Biden is facing slumping poll numbers ahead of next year’s critical midterm elections following a bruising gubernatorial loss for Democrats in Virginia earlier this month. Discontent over the pandemic and resulting economic problems — including record inflation — are contributing to Biden’s lagging popularity, a new ABC-Washington Post poll out over the weekend put the President’s approval rating at 41% approve, 53% disapprove.
The signing ceremony marked a rare bipartisan gathering, with state and local officials attending from both sides of the aisle.
Republican Sens. Lisa Murkowski, Susan Collins, Rob Portman, and Bill Cassidy were among those scheduled to be in attendance. Moderate Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin, a key holdout on the ongoing negotiations on Biden’s Build Back Better agenda, was also scheduled to be there, as were GOP Reps. Don Young of Alaska and Tom Reed of New York.
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, who voted for the bill, said last week he was not planning to attend.
Bipartisan state and local officials were also scheduled to attend the event, the White House aide said, including GOP Gov. Larry Hogan of Maryland, with whom Biden highlighted provisions from the package last week in Baltimore, Democratic Governors Kate Brown of Oregon and John Bel Edwards of Louisiana, plus the mayors of Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, Columbia, South Carolina, Long Beach, California, and Chicago, Illinois.
Key business representatives will also take part in the celebration, including the leaders of United Airlines, Ford, the US Chamber of Commerce, and other groups. And unions, including leaders of IBEW, Teamsters, and United Auto Workers, will be present.
Oklahoma City Mayor David Holt, a Republican, told CNN the bill will provide funding for his city’s roads and bridges.
“This is a celebratory day for mayors. We have fought for the better part of a decade to get this major investment in our nation’s infrastructure. So I’m very pleased that Congress and the White House were able to work together to finally get this done. This means a lot for roads and bridges, water infrastructure, broadband, passenger rail, transit, all the things that are core infrastructure and that cities like mine really need help with,” Holt told CNN’s “New Day.”
Former New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu, who has been named a senior adviser and will oversee coordination of the bill’s implementation on behalf of the White House, will also be present.
Landrieu, the White House said, “will oversee the most significant and comprehensive investments in American infrastructure in generations — work that independent experts verify will create millions of high-paying, union jobs while boosting our economic competitiveness in the world, strengthening our supply chains, and acting against inflation for the long term.”
Top administration officials, as well as the President, have said it will take some time for Americans to see and feel the results of the bill’s investments.
“They’ll see the effects of the bill — this bill — probably starting within the next two to three months,” Biden told reporters following the bill’s passage, adding that it is “going to have a profound impact over time.”
This story has been updated with Biden signing the bill.
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