President Joe Biden has selected former New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu to oversee the implementation of the roughly $1 trillion bipartisan infrastructure bill, the White House announced Sunday evening.
Landrieu’s role underscores the substantial effort that officials say it will take to enact the massive piece of legislation, which is the first of its kind in decades. Biden and congressional Democrats hope to have some tangible benefit from the new law before next year’s midterm elections but are mindful that the appearance of wasted money could sour the public on a package that, for now, remains widely popular.
Biden will sign the infrastructure bill Monday during a ceremony that will include members of Congress, governors and mayors from both parties.
“I am thankful to the President and honored to be tasked with coordinating the largest infrastructure investment in generations,” Landrieu said in a statement released by the White House Sunday.
“Our work will require strong partnerships across the government and with state and local leaders, business and labor to create good-paying jobs and rebuild America for the middle class. We will also ensure these major investments achieve the President’s goals of combating climate change and advancing equity.”
The Wall Street Journal first reported Landrieu’s appointment.
The White House statement pointed to the Democrat’s previous roles as New Orleans mayor and lieutenant governor of Louisiana, saying he “knows what it’s like to lead at the state level and will be able to work with and relate to governors and other state officials.”
The President had indicated last week that he would select someone to oversee implementation of the bill. He recalled his own assignment during the years he served as vice president ensuring the 2009 stimulus bill was implemented smoothly.
“I made it a point every day to stay on top of how exactly the money was spent, what projects were being built, what projects were not being built and how it was functioning,” he said during a Friday afternoon meeting with members of his Cabinet.
“We owe it to the American people to make sure the money in this infrastructure plan and the Build Back Better plan — which, God willing, we’re going to be able to still finish — will be able to be used for purposes it was intended,” Biden continued.
Both Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg and Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo have said they expect to hire a significant number of people in their departments in the months ahead.
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