Remarks by President Biden on the Senate Passage of the Bipartisan Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act | Beaufort County Now | Remarks by President Biden on the Senate Passage of the Bipartisan Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act

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Press Release:

East Room  •  Washington D.C.  •  August 10  •  3:10 P.M. EDT

    THE PRESIDENT: Well, thank you, Madam Vice President.

    First of all, I want to thank the group of senators — Democrats and Republicans — for doing what they told me they would do. The death of this legislation was mildly premature, as reported. They said they were willing to work in a bipartisan manner, and I want to thank them for keeping their word. That's just what they did.

    After years and years and years of "Infrastructure Week," we're on the cusp of an infrastructure decade that I truly believe will transform America.

    As you all know, just a short while ago the United States Senate passed the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act — the very legislation I ran on when I announced my candidacy for the nomination for President — a historic investment in the nation's roads and highways, bridges and transit; in our drinking water systems; in broadband, clean energy, environmental clean-up; and making infrastructure more resilient and the climate crisis much more in our minds as to how do we deal with it.

    You know, we're poised once again — and I mean this in a literal sense — to make the same kind of historic investments that have so often made possible — made it possible for America to build the future and allow us to outcompete the rest of the world.

    From building the Erie Canal in the early 1800s — a bipartisan effort; to the Transcontinental Railroad, to construction — that was constructed during the Civil War; to Dwight Eisenhower's Interstate Highway System in the 1950s — the investments that literally connected our entire nation and fundamentally changed the pattern of life in America.

    To the public investments that took us to the Moon, and the discovery of lifesaving medicines and vaccines, and gave us the Internet — America has often had the greatest prosperity and made the most progress when we invest in America itself.

    And that's what this infrastructure bill does with overwhelming support from the United States Senate — 69 votes in the Senate — a vote margin bigger than when the Interstate Highway System passed in the Senate in 1956.

    It makes key investments that will, one, create millions of good union jobs all across the country in cities, small towns, rural and Tribal communities.

    America — America, this is how we truly Build Back Better.

    This bill is going to put people to work modernizing our roads and our highways and our bridges so commuters and truckers don't lose time in traffic, saving billions of dollars nationally.

    Today, up to 10 million homes in America and more than 400,000 schools and schools — and childcare centers have pipes with lead in them, including for drinking water. This is a clear and present danger to the health of America, particularly to our children's health.

    This bill is going to put plumbers and pipefitters to work replacing all of the nation's lead pipes so every child, every American can turn on a faucet at home or in school and know they're drinking clean water.

    During remote learning in the — during the pandemic last year, we saw too many families forced to sit — literally sit — in their vehicles in a fast food parking lot so their children could get on the Internet they couldn't afford and didn't have access to at home. This bill will deliver affordable, high-speed Internet to every American — a necessity for the 21st century.

    We'll also see in the last — we've seen in the last couple of years the damage done in Texas and other places when transmission lines carrying power were taken down by extreme and unanticipated weather, leaving millions of folks without electricity for weeks and weeks, and costing our economy billions and billions of dollars. This bill provides upgrades to our power grid so that more secure and resilient and cleaner energy can be transferred across those wires.

    Down in New Orleans, I met with the incredible women and men who are in charge of the water system, some of it running on technology that is literally 100 years old. This bill is going to provide opportunities to upgrade their system.

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    It also allows American workers to strengthen our national — our natural infrastructure, like our levees. These are at risk of catastrophic collapse in the face of extreme weather like superstorms, wildfires, droughts, hurricanes, and heat waves.

    Last week, I stood — and many of you were with me — on the South Lawn of the White House with the United Auto Workers and the leaders from the Big Three automobile companies in America, surrounded by iconic American vehicles that will all be electric and made right here in America in the not-too-distant future.

    This bill is also going to put IBEW workers — electrical workers — to work installing a truly national network of electric vehicle charging stations that will transform the way we travel and move commerce.

    And, by the way, around those charging stations, you'll see — just like around — we put in gas stations in our state highways — you'll see other industries build up. We have the benefit of significantly reducing pollution from vehicles on our roads.

    Look, this bill, I believe, will make the most important investment in public transit in American history.

    When I went to Philadelphia not too long ago for Amtrak's 50th anniversary, I was proud to be able to say that this bill was in the works and that it would be the most important investment in rail since the creation of Amtrak itself. This bill will upgrade railroad tracks so people can get to work and their destinations faster, and it will build new lines to get people to more places faster — reducing, I might add, pollution, as well.

    And here's another critical part of the bill: 90 percent of the jobs created don't require a college degree. You're tired of hearing me saying it, I know, but this is a blue-collar blueprint to rebuild America.

    We're going to do all of this by keeping my commitment. We will not raise taxes by one cent on people making less than $400,000 a year.

    Everyone from union to business leaders to economists -left, right, and center — believe the public investments contained in this bill will generate more jobs, higher productivity, higher growth for our economy over the long term.

    Forecasters on Wall Street project that over the next 10 years our economy will expand by trillions of dollars, and it will create an additional 2 million jobs a year beyond what was already projected — good-paying jobs all around the country.

    Experts believe that the majority of the bill's benefits will flow to working families: faster commutes, cleaner water, less expense, available and affordable Internet — these are the things that working families needs — that they need.

    As last week's jobs report shows, our economy is recovering at a record rate — 934,000 new jobs created in July. It's going to go up and down, but 4 million jobs created since I took office.

    This bill is going to help make a historic recovery a long-term boom.

    Folks, above all, this historic investment in infrastructure is what I believe you, the American people, want — what you've been asking for for a long, long time. This bill shows that we can work together.

    I know a lot of people — some sitting in the audience here — didn't think this could happen. This bill was declared dead more often than — anyway. That bipartisanship was a thing of the past. From the time I announced my candidacy (inaudible) bringing the country together and doing things in a bipartisan way, it was characterized as a relic of an — an earlier age.

    As you may well remember, I never believed that. I still don't.

    So, I want to thank those senators who worked so hard to bring this agreement together. I know it wasn't easy.

    For the Republicans who supported this bill, you showed a lot of courage. And I want to personally thank you for that, and I've called most of you on the phone to do just that.

    You have — and no doubt, you will — disagree with me on many issues. But where we can agree, we should. And here, on this bill, we proved that we can still come together to do big things, important things for the American people.

    For the Democrats who supported this bill, we can be proud of these unprecedented investments that are going to transform this nation and change millions of lives for the better.

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    Think about what's going to happen, in a practical sense. Clogged arteries at the heart of our economy — they're going to be opened up. That will reduce transportation costs, reduce commuting costs, and, as a result, reduce costs overall for families and businesses.

    And there's safety provisions being — as I said not long ago, everyone can tell you what the most dangerous intersections in their communities are. There's money in there to deal with those pac- — those specific needs. Thousands of bridges will be safer and more accessible.

    And, by the way, as you've heard me say before, some bridges are so weak that they couldn't have a firetruck go across it — requiring the fire department to go 10, 12 miles out of the way to get just, literally, a mile away to put out a fire.

    Millions of lead pipes carrying drinking water to our homes and schools and daycare centers — they're finally going to rep- — be replaced. Never again can we allow what happened in Flint, Michigan; and Jackson, Mississippi. Can never let it happen again.

    High-speed Internet — going to be available and affordable everywhere, to everyone, so farmers nationwide can get the brest [sic] prices for their products at home and abroad by knowing when to sell, and children in Chicago or Philadelphia never have to again sit in a McDonald's parking lot to do their homework.

    This is transformational. I know compromise is hard for both sides, but it's important — it's important, it's necessary — for a democracy to be able to function.

    So, I want to thank everyone on both sides of the aisle for supporting this bill. Today, we proved that democracy can still work. A lot more work to do.

    But I want to thank the Republican — Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell for supporting this bill.

    And I want to give special thanks to Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer. Your leadership, Chuck, in the Senate was masterful.

    But, look, let's be clear: The work is far from done. The bill now has to go the House of Representatives, where I look forward to winning its approval.

    And we have to get to work on the next critical piece of my agenda — my Build Back Better plan — making housing more affordable — it's so unaffordable to so many Americans; providing clean energy tax cuts, including homeowners to make energy efficiency improvements in their homes; bringing down the cost of prescription drugs; making eldercare more affordable; and continuing to give middle-class families with children a tax break — a tax cut — the one they're receiving now — well-deserved childcare and healthcare that gives them just a little bit of breathing room.

    This is a plan that invests in the American people — in their future and their success. And it will be paid for by having the largest corporations — including 55 of them who didn't pay a single penny in federal income tax — and the super-wealthy to begin to pay their fair share.

    [ ... ]

    Read the full transcript HERE.



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