President Joe Biden praised the Senate passing the bipartisan infrastructure bill during remarks Tuesday – despite the bill facing upcoming hurdles in the House.
The $1.2 trillion bill passed with a 69-30 vote in the Senate and garnered support from 19 Republican lawmakers. Biden thanked lawmakers for working “in a bipartisan manner” and declared that the country is “on the cusp of an infrastructure decade,” holding up the bill as one that will “transform America.”
“A historic investment in the nations roads and highways, bridges and transit,” Biden said. “And our drinking water systems and broadband, clean energy, environmental cleanup. And making infrastructure more resilient and the climate crisis much more in our minds in how do we deal with it.”
“You know, we’re poised once again – and I mean this in a literal sense – to make the same kind of historic investments that have so often made it possible for America to build the future and allow us to outcompete the rest of the world,” Biden continued.
The president said this infrastructure bill “invests in America itself” and highlighted the “overwhelming support” it received by the Senate. He said the proposal will create “millions of good union jobs” around the country.
“America. America, this is how we truly build back better,” Biden said. “This bill’s gonna put people to work, modernizing our roads and our highways and our bridges so commuters and truckers don’t lose time in traffic, saving billions of dollars nationally.”
The president continued to highlight portions of the bill, mentioning clean water, available and affordable internet, and more. He also said that the July jobs report indicates the “economy is recovering at a record rate.” The report indicated 943,000 added jobs and a fall to 5.4% for the unemployment rate.
“This bill shows that we can work together. I know a lot of people – some sitting in the audience here – that didn’t think this could happen,” Biden said, noting that bipartisanship was “characterized as a relic of an earlier age.”
“As you may well remember, I never believed that. I still don’t,” the president said, once again thanking the various senators and particularly expressing gratitude towards the Republicans who backed it.
Biden briefly mentioned the uphill battle the bill still faces, declaring the “work is far from over.” He noted the bill has to go through the House and expressed optimism that he’ll be able to win “its approval.”
The president’s biggest battle yet, however, may involve his own party, as progressive Democrats – including House Speaker Nancy Pelosi – have vowed to hold the bill until the Senate passes a separate, larger and more partisan reconciliation bill.
White House press secretary Jen Psaki defended Pelosi’s decision to sit on the infrastructure bill, even as the administration presses how important it is to get passed. Psaki told reporters Tuesday that the administration is “confident and comfortable” with Pelosi’s decision. (RELATED: Jen Psaki Says ‘Never Doubt Speaker Pelosi In Anything She Says’ When Asked About COVID-19 Relief Package Timeline)
“Well, these are vital because they are long overdue, and it’s important to modernize our infrastructure and make sure kids have access to clean drinking water,” Psaki explained. “It’s also designed as a plan that would be implemented over the course of eight years.”
Republican lawmakers are not fans of the second infrastructure package. Some Democratic lawmakers, like West Virginia Sen. Joe Manchin and Arizona Sen. Krysten Sinema, have also expressed concern over the bill’s large cost and what it might do to the economy, CNBC reported.