The Biden administration is holding a signing ceremony at the White House for the bipartisan infrastructure bill that was passed in Congress earlier this month.
Once President Biden signs the bill, the law is set to deliver $550 billion of new federal investments in America’s infrastructure over five years, including money for roads, bridges, mass transit, rail, airports, ports and waterways.
The package includes a $65 billion investment in improving the nation’s broadband infrastructure and invests tens of billions of dollars in improving the electric grid and water systems. Another $7.5 billion would go to building a nationwide network of plug-in electric vehicle chargers, according to the bill text.
Members of Congress, governors and mayors are expected to attend. Former New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu, who has been named a senior adviser and will oversee coordination of the bill’s implementation on behalf of the White House, will also be present.
Landrieu, the White House said, “will oversee the most significant and comprehensive investments in American infrastructure in generations — work that independent experts verify will create millions of high-paying, union jobs while boosting our economic competitiveness in the world, strengthening our supply chains, and acting against inflation for the long term.”
Read more about the signing ceremony here.
Congress passed a $1.2 trillion infrastructure package on Nov. 5, approving a signature part of President Biden’s economic agenda.
Here’s what in the bill:
Funding for roads and bridges:
The bill calls for investing $110 billion for roads, bridges and major infrastructure projects. That’s significantly less than the $159 billion that Biden initially requested in the American Jobs Plan.
Included is $40 billion for bridge repair, replacement and rehabilitation, according to the bill text. The White House says it would be the single, largest dedicated bridge investment since the construction of the interstate highway system, which started in the 1950s.
The deal also contains $16 billion for major projects that would be too large or complex for traditional funding programs, according to the White House.
The investments would focus on climate change mitigation, resilience, equity and safety for all users, including cyclists and pedestrians.
Also in the package is $11 billion for transportation safety, including a program to help states and localities reduce crashes and fatalities, especially of cyclists and pedestrians, according to the White House. It would direct funding for safety efforts involving highways, trucks, and pipeline and hazardous materials.
And it contains $1 billion to reconnect communities — mainly disproportionately Black neighborhoods — that were divided by highways and other infrastructure, according to the White House. It will fund planning, design, demolition and reconstruction of street grids, parks or other infrastructure.
Money for transit and rail:
The package would provide $39 billion to modernize public transit, according to the bill text. That’s less than the $85 billion that Biden initially wanted to invest in modernizing transit systems and help them expand to meet rider demand.
The funds would repair and upgrade existing infrastructure, make stations accessible to all users, bring transit service to new communities and modernize rail and bus fleets, including replacing thousands of vehicles with zero-emission models, according to the White House.
The deal would also invest $66 billion in passenger and freight rail, according to the bill text. The funds would eliminate Amtrak’s maintenance backlog, modernize the Northeast Corridor line and bring rail service to areas outside the Northeast and mid-Atlantic regions, according to the White House. Included in the package is $12 billion in partnership grants for intercity rail service, including high-speed rail.
The funding is less than the $80 billion Biden originally wanted to send to Amtrak, which he relied upon for decades to get home to Delaware from Washington, DC.
Still, it would be the largest federal investment in public transit in history and in passenger rail since the creation of Amtrak 50 years ago, according to the White House.
The bill would provide a $65 billion investment in improving the nation’s broadband infrastructure, according to the bill text. Biden initially wanted to invest $100 billion in broadband.
It also aims to help lower the price households pay for internet service by requiring federal funding recipients to offer a low-cost affordable plan, by creating price transparency and by boosting competition in areas where existing providers aren’t providing adequate service. It would also create a permanent federal program to help more low-income households access the internet, according to the White House fact sheet.
Upgrading airports, ports and waterways:
The deal would invest $17 billion in port infrastructure and $25 billion in airports to address repair and maintenance backlogs, reduce congestion and emissions near ports and airports and promote electrification and other low-carbon technologies, according to the White House.
It is similar to the funding in Biden’s original proposal.
The bill would provide $7.5 billion for zero- and low-emission buses and ferries, aiming to deliver thousands of electric school buses to districts across the country, according to the White House.
Another $7.5 billion would go to building a nationwide network of plug-in electric vehicle chargers, according to the bill text.
Improving power and water systems:
The bill would invest $65 billion to rebuild the electric grid, according to the White House. It calls for building thousands of miles of new power lines and expanding renewable energy, the White House said.
It would provide $55 billion to upgrade water infrastructure, according to the bill text. It would replace lead service lines and pipes so that communities have access to clean drinking water, the White House said.
Another $50 billion would go toward making the system more resilient — protecting it from drought, floods and cyberattacks, the White House said.
The bill would provide $21 billion to clean up Superfund and brownfield sites, reclaim abandoned mine land and cap orphaned gas wells, according to the White House.
Read more about the legislation here.
President Biden will sign a $1.2 trillion bipartisan infrastructure package into law this afternoon, seeking a jolt of momentum for his presidency as he commemorates a major legislative victory with pomp and circumstance on the White House South Lawn.
The signing ceremony comes as Biden faces slumping poll numbers ahead of next year’s critical midterm elections following a bruising gubernatorial loss for Democrats in Virginia earlier this month.
Discontent over the pandemic and resulting economic problems — including record inflation — are contributing to Biden’s lagging popularity, a new ABC-Washington Post poll out over the weekend put the President’s approval rating at 41% approve, 53% disapprove.
The ceremony will be an opportunity for a rare bipartisan gathering, with state and local officials expected from both sides of the aisle as Biden seeks to tout his deal making ability on a topic that has vexed multiple presidencies.
President Biden’s infrastructure bill signing ceremony at 3 p.m. ET will be a rare bipartisan gathering on the White House South Lawn as Biden seeks to inject momentum into his presidency.
CNN has previously reported that GOP Sens. Lisa Murkowski and Susan Collins, as well as GOP Rep. Don Young of Alaska, would be in attendance.
Moderate Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin, a key holdout on the ongoing negotiations on Biden’s broader economic and climate agenda, will be there. Democratic Sen. Kyrsten Sinema, another key moderate, is also going, per her office.
Also in attendance, per a White House aide, Republican Sens. Bill Cassidy and Rob Portman, who worked on the legislation, as well as Rep. Tom Reed of new York, a Republican and member of the bipartisan Problem Solvers Caucus.
The aide added that House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer, and House Majority Whip James Clyburn will attend the event. Other Democratic attendees include Sens. Catherine Cortez-Masto and Raphael Warnock, plus Ohio Rep. Joyce Beatty.
State and local officials from both sides of the aisle will also attend the event, including GOP Gov. Larry Hogan of Maryland, with whom Biden highlighted provisions from the package last week in Baltimore, Democratic Governors Kate Brown of Oregon and John Bel Edwards of Louisiana, plus the mayors of Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, Columbia, South Carolina, Long Beach, California, and Chicago, Illinois.
Key business representatives will also take part in the celebration, including the leaders of United Airlines, Ford, the US Chamber of Commerce, and other groups. And unions, including leaders of IBEW, the Teamsters, and UAW, will be present.
The infrastructure bill includes a multitude of measures to pay for the proposal.
But while lawmakers claim the bill pays for itself, a score from the Congressional Budget Office found it would instead add billions of dollars to the deficit over 10 years and that many of the pay-for provisions would not raise as much money as Democrats said they would.
The bottom line is that the legislation would directly add roughly $350 billion to the deficit, when taking into account $90 billion of spending in new contract authority, said Marc Goldwein, senior vice president at the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget, a nonpartisan group that tracks federal spending.
According to the bill text and a 57-page summary of the bill, lawmakers leaned heavily on repurposing unused Covid-19 relief funds to pay for the legislation. The CBO found these measures would provide roughly $22 billion in savings, rather than the roughly $263 billion claimed by lawmakers, Goldwein said.
The bill text lists savings from rescinding unobligated appropriations for the Economic Injury Disaster Loan program for small businesses and nonprofit groups, the Paycheck Protection Program, the Education Stabilization Fund and relief for airline workers, among others.
Another item in the bill text is $53 billion that stems in part from states opting to terminate the pandemic unemployment benefits early in hopes of pushing the jobless to return to work. Some 24 states stopped at least one of the federal unemployment programs before they officially ended in early September. Also, the CBO reduced its forecast for the unemployment rate because of the improving economy.
Also, the agency found that the Federal Communications Commission’s spectrum auctions would generate far less than the $87 billion originally claimed by lawmakers.
The CBO also said that the bill would raise about $50 billion by imposing new Superfund fees and changing the tax reporting requirements for cryptocurrencies, among other measures.
More savings would come from delaying a controversial Trump administration rule that would radically change how drugs are priced and paid for in Medicare and Medicaid until 2026, at the earliest. The measure would effectively ban drug makers from providing rebates to pharmacy benefit managers and insurers. Instead, drug companies would be encouraged to pass the discounts directly to patients at the pharmacy counter. It is currently expected to go into effect in 2023. The summary lists the savings as $49 billion and the CBO report as nearly $51 billion.
Also, the infrastructure proposal relies on generating $56 billion in economic growth resulting from a 33% return on investment on the long-term projects, according to the summary.
Biden has said that the bill won’t raise taxes on people making less than $400,000 a year and does not include a gas tax increase or fee on electric vehicles. He initially called for raising taxes on corporations to fund the infrastructure investments — but that proposal did not make it into the latest package after strong opposition from Republicans.
President Biden has selected former New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu to oversee the implementation of the roughly $1 trillion bipartisan infrastructure bill, the White House announced Sunday evening.
Landrieu’s role underscores the substantial effort that officials say it will take to enact the massive piece of legislation, which is the first of its kind in decades. Biden and congressional Democrats hope to have some tangible benefit from the new law before next year’s midterm elections but are mindful that the appearance of wasted money could sour the public on a package that, for now, remains widely popular.
Biden will sign the infrastructure bill tooday during a ceremony that will include members of Congress, governors and mayors from both parties.
“I am thankful to the President and honored to be tasked with coordinating the largest infrastructure investment in generations,” Landrieu said in a statement released by the White House Sunday.
“Our work will require strong partnerships across the government and with state and local leaders, business and labor to create good-paying jobs and rebuild America for the middle class. We will also ensure these major investments achieve the President’s goals of combating climate change and advancing equity.”
The Wall Street Journal first reported Landrieu’s appointment.
President Biden will sign the $1.2 trillion bipartisan infrastructure package into law this afternoon, seeking a jolt of momentum for his presidency as he commemorates a major legislative victory with pomp and circumstance on the White House South Lawn.
Here are key things to know:
- What the bill will do: Once signed, it will deliver $550 billion of new federal investments in America’s infrastructure over five years, including money for roads, bridges, mass transit, rail, airports, ports and waterways. The package includes a $65 billion investment in improving the nation’s broadband infrastructure and invests tens of billions of dollars in improving the electric grid and water systems. Another $7.5 billion would go to building a nationwide network of plug-in electric vehicle chargers, according to the bill text.
- How we got to this moment: The bill, first passed by the Senate in a 69 to 30 vote in August, was ultimately passed by the House, including 13 Republican lawmakers, on Nov. 5. Congress is returning to Washington today after a weeklong recess to a bevy of critical issues before the holidays, including passing Biden’s broader economic and climate agenda, funding the government before a Dec. 3 deadline, and raising the debt limit.
- Why the ceremony matters: The event comes as Biden is facing slumping poll numbers ahead of next year’s critical midterm elections following a bruising gubernatorial loss for Democrats in Virginia earlier this month. Discontent over the pandemic and resulting economic problems — including record inflation — are contributing to Biden’s lagging popularity, a new ABC-Washington Post poll out over the weekend put the President’s approval rating at 41% approve, 53% disapprove. The signing ceremony will be an opportunity for a rare bipartisan gathering, with state and local officials expected from both sides of the aisle as Biden seeks to tout his deal-making ability on a topic that has vexed multiple presidencies.
Read more about today’s ceremony here.