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Sunday, April 14, 2024

Biden to build roads, bridges, railways worth $1 trillion

The House of Representatives passed the $1 trillion package of highway, broadband and other infrastructure improvements last week.

U.S. President Joe Biden will sign a bipartisan infrastructure bill on Monday at a ceremony that will include members of Congress who helped write the legislation, the White House said on Wednesday.

The House of Representatives passed the $1 trillion package of highway, broadband and other infrastructure improvements last week. It was passed by the Senate in August.

After months of tense negotiations, the House of Representatives has passed a $1 trillion bipartisan infrastructure bill, 228-206, fulfilling a major priority for President Biden’s domestic agenda and cementing a political victory for Democrats.

Biden said Saturday that the vote was a “monumental” step forward and that he would sign the bill into law next week.

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“We did something that’s long overdue, that has long been talked about in Washington, but never actually been done,” he said, joking that infrastructure week was finally accomplished.

The measure includes significant investments in roads, bridges, railways and broadband internet.

It passed late Friday night largely along party lines, with 13 Republicans joining 215 Democrats in support of the legislation.

But the bill also saw six progressive Democrats vote against it because a larger social spending measure failed to secure enough support for a floor vote on Friday.

Biden also addressed his Build Back Better agenda and predicted that the social spending bill, which has also been heavily debated among lawmakers, will pass through the House and the Senate

But he acknowledged that the “likely outcome” is for the Senate to pass the bill solely with Democratic votes and that getting the entire party on board will be “a process.”

Policy provisions

The Build Back Better spending package originally had a price tag of $3.5 trillion. Democrats chose to use a process called budget reconciliation to pass the package in the Senate without any Republican support. Given the extremely narrow margin in the chamber, every senator who caucuses with Democrats has to be on board in order for the bill to survive.

That proved difficult, with moderate Sens. Joe Manchin of West Virginia and Kyrsten Sinema of Arizona expressing concerns over the size and scope of the package.

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Manchin said he could only support a package at $1.5 trillion, prompting Democrats to whittle down the multitrillion-dollar package to about $1.75 trillion.

The slimmed-down spending package includes universal pre-K for all 3- and 4-year-olds, investments in affordable housing, premium reductions under the Affordable Care Act, major investments aimed at addressing climate change and an additional year of the expanded child tax credit.

Reuters with additional input by GVS News Desk