President Joe Biden cheered the Senate’s passage of the bipartisan infrastructure bill Tuesday, calling it a “historic investment” in America and praising the group of Democratic and Republican senators who negotiated the final deal.
The president marked the day as a step toward years of new investments in improved infrastructure throughout the country after Senators voted 69-30 earlier Tuesday to pass the measure.
“America has often had the greatest prosperity and made the most progress when we invest in America itself. That's what this infrastructure bill does,” Biden said from the White House.
Like Biden, former president Donald Trump had campaigned on a promise to address U.S. infrastructure, but the previous administration never met that goal.
“After years and years of ‘infrastructure week,’ we're on the cusp of an infrastructure decade that I truly believe will transform America,” President Biden said Tuesday, referring to past attempts to achieve a deal.
Biden highlighted the ways the $1.2 trillion bill — the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act — could create jobs and impact American families.
It includes $55 billion for new clean water efforts, for example, which the president said could both employ plumbers and pipefitters while also ensuring schools and homes have their lead pipes replaced.
President Biden also spoke about doubts cast on his promise to achieve a bipartisan infrastructure deal.
“Bipartisanship was the thing of the past,” he said. “It was characterized as a relic of an earlier age.”
He personally thanked the Republican senators who voted for the bill for their “courage,” specifically calling out Minority Leader Mitch McConnell for his support.
“There are no Republican bridges or Democratic roads.This is a moment that was beyond the headlines. Beyond partisan sound bites,” he said. “This is about us doing the real hard work of governing. It's about democracy delivering for the people. It's about winning the future. It's about doing our job.”
The Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act now goes to the House, whose lawmakers are for now on recess until September 20.
And some House Democrats have promised only to pass the infrastructure bill if it’s paired with the larger budget bill full of the president’s other domestic priorities, which could cost up to $3.5 trillion and pass without Republican support. The details of that bill are expected to be outlined by September 15, meaning the fate of both bills will play out over the next weeks or months.