On Saturday, President Biden marked a major step forward on a thorny road to his ambitious economic agenda, welcoming bipartisan infrastructure legislation and urging his party to take another step to expand the safety net and fight climate change.
“The sausage is finally cooked,” he said at the White House with tangible relief after months of negotiations on Capitol Hill.
The infrastructure measure, which Biden called “a big step forward,” includes more than $ 1 trillion in roads, bridges, broadband internet, clean drinking water and other projects.
But it also reflects the fulfillment of one of Biden’s campaign promises – that as someone with years of experience in Washington, he can bring compromise and normalcy back to a country paralyzed by guerrilla disputes.
Republican cadres in both the House and Senate endorsed this infrastructural measure, and it received almost unanimous support from Democrats.
Biden called on lawmakers to explain to skeptical voters that “there is not enough money for this, or too much money for this, but overall it was a huge advantage,” a half-glass argument that has become a rarity these days. increasing polarization.
The win also gave Biden the opportunity to prank his predecessor, former President Trump, albeit not by name.
Biden kicked off his speech with the Trump-era “infrastructure week,” which symbolized the former president’s unfulfilled pledges to invest in infrastructure during his four years in office. “I’m so happy to say that,” Biden chuckled.
He said the law would help equalize economic conditions by creating more jobs for people without college degrees.
“For all of you at home who feel abandoned and forgotten in a rapidly changing economy, this account is for you,” he said.
The House vote came days after Democrats lost the governor’s office in Virginia and marched past in New Jersey with disappointing results that convinced the party that voters needed to see progress on Biden’s agenda.
“They want us to work, they want us to work, they want us to work,” Biden said. “Last night we proved that we can. We delivered one big thing. “
Biden said he plans to host a signing ceremony soon with the participation of both Democrats and Republicans.
Despite winning, Biden is entering a delicate moment for his agenda and his party. Progressive Democrats reluctantly agreed to pass the infrastructure measure on Friday, while postponing the social safety net bill until the end of this month, due to the belief that the moderates would back it then.
Failure will split the Democrats on Capitol Hill and make it more unlikely that they will deliver on their campaign promises.
Biden said he is confident he has the votes to take this measure. When asked what gives him confidence, he replied with a smile: “I am.”
Negotiations on social safety nets law have been difficult, and Biden’s original $ 3.5 trillion plan has already been cut to $ 1.85 trillion. This measure will fund universal preschool education, provide subsidies for childcare and expand public health. More money will be invested in clean energy tax credits.
“We are now decisively changing the situation,” he said. “Any single element of this plan would be a fundamental change in America. But taken together, they really do matter. “