President Joe Biden makes remarks from the White House Saturday following the House passage of the bipartisan infrastructure bill. Photo by Chris Kleponis/UPI | License Photo
Nov. 6 (UPI) -- President Joe Biden said Saturday the House's passage of the $1.2 trillion bipartisan infrastructure bill the night before makes the country more competitive globally.
The bill's passage will create millions of jobs modernizing roads, public transit, bridges, broadband, water ports, airports, and doing other things to address the "climate crisis," Biden said in remarks Saturday morning at the White House.
In particular, Biden said the legislation will create jobs replacing lead pipes, "so every American, every child can drink clean water," and it will create jobs "making high-speed Internet available to every American," along with other jobs in wind, solar and electric power.
He added that it also helps the country better compete economically with China and the rest of the world by creating more "good-paying jobs, union jobs, that can't be outsourced."
"I truly believe that 50 years from now, folks are going to look back and say this was the moment, this was the period in this year and the next couple years when Americans decided to win the competition of the 21st century, to get in the game, full bore," Biden said.
Biden add that the United States used to have the best infrastructure in the world, but the World Economic Forum currently ranks the United States 13th in the world in infrastructure.
Other highlights he mentioned include the improved infrastructure making it easier for companies to get goods to market more quickly and reduced "bottlenecks" for supply chains.
According to economists, the legislation will also ease inflationary pressures for working families, Biden said.
The House passed the $1.2 trillion infrastructure bill after months of negotiation among Democrats, sending the legislation to Biden's desk.
But Biden said Saturday he doesn't plan on having the actual signing ceremony for the legislation this weekend because he wants people who worked hard on the legislation to be there when its signed.
He continued that he's looking forward to "shovels in the ground," in the coming months.
"This is a blue collar blueprint to rebuild America, and it's long overdue," Biden said. "The American people want us to deliver, last night, we proved we can, on one big item, we delivered."
The chamber voted 228-206 late Friday, with six progressive Democrats voting against it, saying they were unhappy that it was voted on before passage of $1.75 trillion social safety net spending bill, NBC News reported. Thirteen Republicans voted with Democrats.
The funding package invests $550 billion in U.S. infrastructure and jobs over five years, including money for roads, bridges, airports and public transit. Additional funding will go toward broadband Internet and a nationwide network of electrical vehicle chargers.
Rep. Andy Biggs, R-Ariz., was among the majority of Republicans who voted against the infrastructure bill.
"The passage of phase one of the Democrats' socialist spending bills is a slap in the face to every American citizen and a complete undercut to American prosperity," Biggs said in a statement on his Twitter page.
New York alone is expected to receive $12.6 billion in federal highway money, $685 million for airport renovations, and $100 million for broadband coverage to help low-income families, the Rochester Democrat & Chronicle reported.
New York Gov. Kathy Hochul, a Democrat, said in a statement it will allow the state "to make critical investments in our roads, bridges, and transit."
Still, two Democrats in New York, Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, and Rep. Jamaal Bowman, voted against the legislation, criticizing it for not investing more in climate change and impoverished communities.
Four Republicans in New York voted for it, including Reps. Andrew Gabarino, Nicole Malliotakis, and two upstate Republicans, John Katko and Tom Reed.
"Make no mistake: This bill is a win for Central New York," Katko said in a statement on Twitter. "I urge the president to move swiftly in signing it into law."
Biden called House Speaker Nancy Pelosi shortly before midnight to congratulate her on the bill's passage, a source familiar with the call told CNN.
In an earlier statement, Biden called the House's passage of the bipartisan infrastructure bill "a monumental step forward as a nation."
The Senate approved the bill in August, but it took months to pass amid clashes between House progressives and Democratic centrists. Progressives had held up the infrastructure bill to use it as leverage to beef up the social safety net bill, the Build Back Better Act.
The House is now expected to vote on the social safety net bill before Thanksgiving, according to NBC News.
The Build Back Better Act would ensure lower-income families are permanently eligible for full benefits from the expanded Child Tax Credit enacted under the pandemic recovery plan, helping to cut child poverty in half, according to a budget report.
The $1.75 trillion bill would also lower childcare costs for working families, establish free high-quality universal pre-school, support child nutrition, and permanently authorize the first-ever national paid family and medical leave guarantee for U.S. workers. Some other highlights of the bill include historic investments in historically Black colleges and universities, lowering the cost of prescription drugs, and investments to tackle climate change.
Biden said that both plans would be funded by making sure the wealthy who earn more than $400,000 will pay their "fair share."
Despite his support of the infrastructure bill, Katko told the Democrat & Chronicle the Build Back Better plan was a "far-left wish list," he would not support.
On the other hand, Democratic Rep. Joseph Morelle, R-N.Y., praised the infrastructure plan, and urged Congress to move forward with the Build Back Better Act.
"The COVID-19 pandemic has shined a stark light on the inequities that plague our nation, including woefully under-resourced infrastructure that demands our attention," Morelle said in a statement.