SEE: Biden signed into law the infrastructure bill at the White House

WASHINGTON (AP) – President Joe Biden signed his $ 1 trillion infrastructure deal in front of a two-party, ceremonial crowd on White House lawn on Monday and announced a new infusion of cash for roads, bridges, ports and more. did. To “change life for the better” for the American people.

Watch the signing up in the player above.

But the prospects for the next bipartisanship ahead of the 2022 midterm elections are more difficult as Biden returns to more complex negotiations over his $ 1.85 trillion social spending package.

The President hopes to use the Infrastructure Act to restore its popularity, which has been hit by rising inflation and the inability of COVID-19 to fully address the health and economic risks to the population.

“My message to the American people is this: America is moving again and your life is changing for the better,” he said.

Under the bipartisan agreement, the president had to choose between a promise to strengthen national unity and a commitment to transformative change. The final measure frustrated much of his initial vision of infrastructure. Nevertheless, the administration hopes to sell the new law as a success that has eliminated divisions between parties and will lift the country up by giving up clean drinking water, high-speed internet and fossil fuels.

“People, the reason we don’t often get things done in Washington is because we want to get everything we want,” he said. That’s all, “Biden said. “With this law, we have focused on getting things done. I nominated my candidacy for the presidency because I think the only way to move our country forward was through compromise and consensus. ”

Biden will be out of Washington in the coming days to sell the plan more widely.

He plans to visit the state’s “red list” bridge in New Hampshire on Tuesday for repairs and travel to Detroit on Wednesday to stop at the General Motors electric car assembly plant, while other officials will travel around the world. . country. The president went to the port of Baltimore last week to point out how the supply chain investment from the law could limit inflation and strengthen supply chains, which is a concern for voters dealing with high prices.

“We see this as an opportunity because we know the president’s agenda is very popular,” White House spokeswoman Jen Psaki said before signing on Monday. Communicating with voters “can go beyond the legislative process and talk about how it can help them. And we hope that will have an impact. “

Biden has suspended the signing of a tough infrastructure deal passed on Nov. 5 until lawmakers return from a break in Congress and will not join the two parties’ tumultuous event. On Sunday evening before the signing, the White House announced that former New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu would help coordinate the management and implementation of infrastructure spending.

The meeting on the White House lawn on Monday was in a peculiarly upbeat mood with musical instruments and lively speeches, which, unlike the drama and tension, the fate of the package was in doubt for months. Speakers praised the measures aimed at creating jobs, combating inflation and meeting the needs of voters.

Ohio Sen. Rob Portman, a Republican who helped negotiate the package, said Biden was ready to rescind much of his initial proposal to help bring in GOP lawmakers. Portman even blamed former President Donald Trump for raising awareness of infrastructure, even though the man who lost the 2020 election strongly opposed the final deal.

“Bipartisan support for this bill comes because it makes sense for our voters, but a centralized approach should be the norm, not the exception,” Portman said.

The signature included governors and mayors of both parties, as well as representatives of labor and entrepreneurship. In addition to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, the guest list includes Sen. Bill Cassidy of Louisiana, Sen. Susan Collins of Maine, Tom Reed of New York, Don Yang of Alaska and Republican Larry of Maryland. Hogan.

To reach a bipartisan agreement, the president had to cut his initial ambitions of spending $ 2.3 trillion on infrastructure by more than half. The bill, which takes effect Monday, will actually include about $ 550 billion in new spending over 10 years, as part of the package’s spending was already planned.

The deal was eventually backed by 19 Senate Republicans, including Senate GOP leader Mitch McConnell. Thirteen Republicans in the House also voted in favor of the infrastructure bill. Outraged, Trump issued a statement attacking the “old crow” McConnell and other Republicans for collaborating on a “terrible democratic socialist infrastructure plan.”

McConnell said the country was “in dire need” of new infrastructure money, but he missed Monday’s signing ceremony and told WHAS radio in Louisville, Kentucky, that he had “other work to do.”

Historians, economists and engineers interviewed by the Associated Press praised Biden’s efforts. But they say $ 1 trillion is not enough to sustain the government’s decades of failure to maintain and upgrade the country’s infrastructure. Politics has forced us to have the ability to outdo the rest of the world and remain a dominant economic power, not only in terms of its potential impact on the climate, but in this century.

“We need to be vigilant about what the infrastructure gap is in terms of the level of investment, and consider that this will not solve our infrastructure problems across the country,” said David Van Slick. Dean of the Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Relations at Syracuse University.

Biden also sought to link the infrastructure package to the $ 1.85 trillion wider package proposed for the transition to renewable energy, which will help families address health and climate change. The measure has not yet received enough support from the narrow Democratic majority in the Senate and House.

Biden continues to work to appease Democratic skeptics for a broader package, such as Senator Joe Manchin of West Virginia, while maintaining the most liberal sections of his party. Pelosi said in a bill signed Monday that a separate package would pass “hopefully this week.”

Texas Sen. Ted Cruz said in an interview with Fox News on Sunday that Republicans’ support for the infrastructure bill could eventually lead Democrats to rally and support a second package.

“They gave Joe Biden a political victory,” Cruz said of his Republican colleagues. “He’s now touring all over the country, look at the big win of the two parties. And that extra momentum, unfortunately, increases the likelihood that they will shape their Democrats and pass a multi-trillion-dollar spending bill.

Infrastructure trade has shown that Biden can unite Democrats and Republicans, even as tensions continue over the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Constitution by Donald Trump supporters who falsely believed Biden was not legally elected president. Still, the result is a product that may not respond to the existential threat of climate change or the transformational legacy of Franklin Delano Roosevelt, whose portrait hangs in Biden’s Oval Office.

“Yes, the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act is a big issue,” said Peter Norton, a history professor at the University of Virginia’s Department of Engineering. “But the bill is not transformational because most of it is the same.”

Norton likened the limited movement on climate change to the outbreak of World War II, when Roosevelt and Congress redirected the entire U.S. economy after the attack on Pearl Harbor. Car production was banned for two months. For four years, there were no new cars sold in dealer stores, as factories focused on weapons and war materials. A national speed limit of 35 miles per hour has been introduced to save fuel consumption.

“The emergency we are facing today requires similar emergency measures,” Norton said.

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