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Congress Passes $1.2 Trillion Infrastructure Bill, Actually Accomplishes Something Good?

Infrastructure week was really the friends we made along the way.

WASHINGTON, DC - MARCH 11: U.S. President Joe Biden speaks as he gives a primetime address to the nation from the East Room of the White House March 11, 2021 in Washington, DC. President Biden gave the address to mark the one-year anniversary of the shutdown due to the COVID-19 pandemic. (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)

Joe Biden and the democrats seem to have taken their devastating losses in Virginia to heart, expediting the passage of the bipartisan infrastructure bill after months of painful negotiations. The final vote was 228-206, with thirteen Republicans voting in support of the bill, and six Democrats voting against it. The no votes included Reps. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (N.Y.), Ilhan Omar (Minn.), Jamaal Bowman (N.Y.), Cori Bush (Mo.), Ayanna Pressley (Mass.) and Rashida Tlaib (Mich.).

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The bill includes $550 billion in new spending on infrastructure, with $110 billion for roads, bridges and major projects, $39 billion for public transit and $66 billion for railways. It also provides $65 billion for broadband infrastructure deployment and $55 billion for clear water investments. In addition, the bill features $7.5 billion for electric vehicle charging stations and $65 billion to improve the power grid.

BIF (as the bipartisan infrastructure bill is known) was passed in the Senate in August, but has been held up in the House after it was linked with the passage of the $1.75 trillion Build Back Better Act, a sweeping range of popular social programs including universal pre-k, lower childcare costs, 4 weeks of paid leave, and a massive investment to combat climate change. This morning the BBB Act passed a key procedural vote, with final voting on the bill expected in the coming weeks.

For many progressive dems, the infrastructure bill was a key point of leverage in passing the BBB Act, but they have since had assurances from Biden and moderate dems that it would be voted on as soon as the CBO score comes in. Still, the BBB Act faces a tough challenge in the Senate, mainly due to conservative obstructionist senators Joe Manchin and Kyrsten Sinema.

As moderate dems await the CBO score on the BBB Act (an economic analysis from the Congressional Budget Office that determines whether or not the bill will add to the deficit), the passage of BIF is a massive win for democrats and the American people, with the biggest investment in infrastructure in our country’s history.

Nancy Pelosi released a statement saying, “This landmark legislation will create millions of good-paying American jobs and make a lasting difference in our communities: strengthening our roads and bridges, improving public transit, expanding broadband, ensuring clean drinking water for every child and more. While our crumbling infrastructure has long held us back, these monumental investments will ensure America can outcompete any nation on earth for decades to come.”

President Biden called the bill a “monumental step forward for the nation,” adding “This is a blue collar blueprint to rebuilding America.”

After 4 years of the other guy promising “infrastructure week”, Biden has finally delivered on a massive investment and jobs creation program. And given the impossibility of passing ANYTHING major in congress, this is a win for everyone.

(via NPR, image: Alex Wong/Getty Images)

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Chelsea Steiner
Chelsea was born and raised in New Orleans, which explains her affinity for cheesy grits and Britney Spears. An pop culture journalist since 2012, her work has appeared on Autostraddle, AfterEllen, and more. Her beats include queer popular culture, film, television, republican clownery, and the unwavering belief that 'The Long Kiss Goodnight' is the greatest movie ever made. She currently resides in sunny Los Angeles, with her husband, 2 sons, and one poorly behaved rescue dog. She is a former roller derby girl and a black belt in Judo, so she is not to be trifled with. She loves the word “Jewess” and wishes more people used it to describe her.

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