At a White House event on Monday, Biden said passing the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act would change Americans’ lives “for the better.”
The signing ceremony took place just days after the bill – which includes around $ 550 billion in new spending on roads, bridges and tunnels, as well as airports, broadband and other improvements. infrastructure – has been approved by the US House of Representatives.
“For too long we have talked about having the best economy in the world. We talked about asserting American leadership in the world with the best and safest roads, railways, ports and airports, ”Biden said in a speech before the signing, in a veiled blow to his voice. Predecessor Donald Trump, who repeatedly promised an “infrastructure week,” but was unable to make large investments in infrastructure.
“But today we are finally getting there. And my message to the American people is this: America is on the move again. And your life will change for the better, ”he added.
The president was flanked by the two senators who were the architects of the compromise legislation – Democrat Kyrsten Sinema of Arizona and Republican Rob Portman of Ohio – as well as Vice President Kamala Harris and Democratic leaders of Congress Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer as he signed the law. .
Nineteen Republican senators and 13 members of the Republican House backed the legislation, in a rare display of two-party politics in a heavily divided Washington.
“I ran for president because the only way to move our country forward is through compromise and consensus,” said Biden, a longtime senator before becoming vice president under Barack Obama. “This is how our system works. It is American democracy. And I am signing a law that is really consistent, because we have made sure that our democracy is at the service of the people. “
Biden will travel to several pivotal states on Tuesday to sell the infrastructure bill to the U.S. public, keeping an eye on next year’s midterms, when control of both houses of Congress is up for grabs. Democrats are increasingly suspicious of their electoral chances after disappointing performances in statewide elections in Virginia and New Jersey earlier this month.
At the same time, Biden’s national approval rating continues to decline as more Americans voice their displeasure with rising consumer prices and the lingering Covid-19 pandemic. A Washington Post-ABC News poll released over the weekend showed that only 41% of American adults approved of Biden’s presidency. An even smaller share – 39% – said they approved of the president’s management of the economy.
Meanwhile, back in Washington, lawmakers from Biden’s own party will continue their bickering this week over the president’s second and biggest flagship proposal: tackling climate change. This package, which Republicans oppose, has been delayed by months of disagreement between progressives and moderates within the Democratic Party.
A handful of moderate Democrats in the House are refusing to support the bill until an independent cost assessment is conducted by the Congressional Budget Office. The CBO said on Monday it planned to release its estimates by the end of the work week.
Graphic by Caitlin Gilbert