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President Joe Biden said the $1.2 trillion infrastructure bill that finally passed Congress late on Friday night would “transform” the US transportation system, help tackle the climate crisis and create millions of jobs.
The president had postponed his weekend trip to Delaware to help persuade fellow Democrats to back the bill, which had been held up in Congress as progressives put pressure on moderate colleagues to support the Build Back Better programme of social spending.
The White House hopes that second – and more contentious – bill will be agreed to before Thanksgiving.
In a statement shortly after the infrastructure bill was passed, Mr Biden said: “Tonight, we took a monumental step forward as a nation.
“The United States House of Representatives passed the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, a once-in-generation bipartisan infrastructure bill that will create millions of jobs, turn the climate crisis into an opportunity, and put us on a path to win the economic competition for the 21st Century.
“It will create good-paying jobs that can’t be outsourced. Jobs that will transform our transportation system with the most significant investments in passenger and freight rail, roads, bridges, ports, airports, and public transit in generations.
“This will make it easier for companies to get goods to market more quickly and reduce supply chain bottlenecks now and for decades to come. This will ease inflationary pressures and lower costs for working families.
“The bill will create jobs replacing lead water pipes so every family can drink clean water.
“It will make high-speed internet affordable and available everywhere in America.
“This bill will make historic and significant strides that take on the climate crisis. It will build out the first-ever national network of electric vehicle charging stations across the country. We will get America off the sidelines on manufacturing solar panels, wind farms, batteries, and electric vehicles to grow these supply chains, reward companies for paying good wages and for sourcing their materials from here in the United States, and allow us to export these products and technologies to the world.
“It will also make historic investments in environmental clean-up and remediation, and build up our resilience for the next superstorms, droughts, wildfires, and hurricanes that cost us billions of dollars in damage each year.
“I’m also proud that a rule was voted on that will allow for passage of my Build Back Better Act in the House of Representatives the week of November 15th.
“The Build Back Better Act will be a once-in-a-generation investment in our people.
“It will lower bills for healthcare, child care, elder care, prescription drugs, and preschool. And middle-class families get a tax cut.
“This bill is also fiscally responsible, fully paid for, and doesn’t raise the deficit. It does so by making sure the wealthiest Americans and biggest corporations begin to pay their fair share and doesn’t raise taxes a single cent on anyone making less than $400,000 per year. I look forward to signing both of these bills into law.
“Generations from now, people will look back and know this is when America won the economic competition for the 21st Century.”