President Joe Biden’s role in attempting to pass a bipartisan infrastructure bill has now shifted from negotiator to salesman.
What You Need To Know
- In an op-ed for Yahoo, President Joe Biden touted tcalled the bipartisan infrastructure plan “a once-in-a-generation investment to modernize our infrastructure"
- Biden touted the benefits of the package while also defending it against criticism that it doesn’t do enough to combat climate change
- He also said the deal is proof that Democrats and Republicans can — and should — work together
- Biden will also talk up the infrastructure plan during a visit Tuesday to La Crosse, Wisconsin
Ahead of his trip to La Crosse, Wisconsin, on Tuesday to talk up the proposal, Biden wrote an op-ed for Yahoo!, in which he called the plan “a once-in-a-generation investment to modernize our infrastructure that will create millions of good-paying jobs and position America to compete with the world and win the 21st century.”
Biden touted the benefits of the package while also defending it against criticism that it doesn’t do enough to combat climate change. He also said the deal is proof that Democrats and Republicans can – and should – work together.
“I have always believed that there is nothing our nation can’t do when we decide to do it together,” Biden said.
Calling the infrastructure plan “a blue-collar blueprint to rebuild America,” Biden said it will help create millions of jobs for years to come and add trillions of dollars in economic growth.”
Among the projects he said the bill would fund would be rebuilding 10 of the country’s most economically significant bridges and 10,000 smaller ones, as well as replacing lead water pipes “so that every single American child, at home or in school, can turn on the faucet and drink clean water” and making high-speed internet accessible to every American.
Biden has come under fire from environmentalists and some Democrats for accepting a deal that they say compromises too much on measures aimed at mitigating climate change. Biden acknowledges the bill is “missing some critical initiatives on climate change that I proposed,” but said he plans to pursue those in a reconciliation bill that won’t require Republican support as long as all 50 Senate Democrats vote for it.
The president, however, argued that the infrastructure agreement does have several environmentally minded provisions. Among them:
- Investing in clean energy transmission
- Modernizing the power grid to accelerate the build-out of zero-carbon, renewable energy
- Replacing gas-powered buses with electric ones
- Capping abandoned wells leaking methane gas
- Creating a nationwide network of 500,000 charging stations for electric vehicles
- Investing in rail and transit that could reduce the number of cars on roads and reduce fuel consumption
“There’s much more work to do to reach our ambitious climate goals, but the investments in this deal are critical in facilitating our transition to a clean energy economy,” Biden wrote.
The president said the plan would be paid for in part by cracking down on tax cheats through increased IRS enforcement and vowed again that taxes on Americans earning less than $400,000 a year won’t be raised.
Since he was elected, Biden has said he wanted to be a unifier, but before last week he found bipartisan cooperation elusive. Five Democrats and five Republicans negotiated the infrastructure deal — and 11 Republicans have endorsed it.
“It is a signal to ourselves, and to the world, that American democracy can work and deliver for the people,” Biden wrote.
“Neither Democrats nor Republicans got everything they wanted in this agreement. But that’s what it means to compromise and reach consensus — the very heart of democracy. When we negotiate in good faith, and come together to get big things done, we begin to break the ice that too often has kept us frozen in place and prevented us from solving the real problems Americans face.”
On Monday, White House press secretary Jen Psaski said the “most impactful role” Biden can play in passing the proposal at this point “is to make the case to the American people, to the public, about how officials are working together to deliver for them.”
He will attempt to do that Tuesday in Wisconsin, where he will tour La Crosse Municipal Transit before delivering a speech in the early afternoon.
The president's speech will "cut through the noise in Washington to level directly with the American people" about the measure's benefits for middle-class and working families, according to a White House official.