Washington, Nov 6 (EFE).- President Joe Biden celebrated Saturday the passage by the House of Representatives of a $1.2 trillion infrastructure bill that he described as putting the United States “on a path to win the economic competition of the 21st century.”
“Folks, yesterday – I don’t think it’s an exaggeration to suggest that we took a monumental step forward as a nation,” he told reporters at the White House less than 12 hours after the House voted 228-206 in favor of the bipartisan measure that passed the Senate in August.
The “once-in-a-generation investment” will “create millions of jobs, modernizing our infrastructure – our roads, our bridges, our broadband, a whole range of things – to turn the climate crisis into an opportunity,” the Democratic president said.
“And for all of you at home who feel left behind and forgotten in an economy that’s changing so rapidly, this bill is for you,” he said. “The vast majority of the thousands of jobs that will be created don’t require a college degree.”
“This is a blue-collar blueprint to rebuild America. And it’s long overdue, Biden said of the legislation, which is less ambitious than the $2.25 trillion proposal he put forward in March.
Thirteen Republicans joined the Democratic majority in the House to ensure passage of the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act despite “no” votes from six progressive Democrats.
Those progressives, including Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, opposed the bill in protest over the refusal by centrist Democrats to abide by an agreement that called for the infrastructure measure to be passed in tandem with the Biden administration’s Build Back Better (BBB) package of social spending.
Under an agreement reached Friday, the BBB Act, which has been reduced from $3.5 trillion to $1.75 trillion, is supposed to come up for a vote in the House during the week of Nov. 15.
Biden expressed confidence Saturday that the House and Senate will approve the BBB Act.
The president intensified pressure on Democratic lawmakers to make progress on his agenda in the wake of Tuesday’s gubernatorial election in Virginia, where Democrat Terry McAuliffe was upset by Republican Glenn Youngkin.
Asked Saturday about what bearing the election results had on developments in Congress, Biden said that the message sent by voters was: “Get something done. It’s time to get something done. Stop – you all stop talking. Get something done.” EFE