Senate passes massive infrastructure Bill

U.S. President Joe Biden hailed the Senate passage on Tuesday of a “historic” $1.2 trillion infrastructure package, celebrating a major bipartisan win on a plan he vowed would “transform America.”

By funding work on roads, bridges and ports, as well as clean water and high-speed internet, Mr. Biden said the Bill — which still needs House approval — would create thousands of high-paying jobs for people without college degrees.

“This historic investment infrastructure is what I believe you, the American people, want,” he said in a White House address. “This Bill shows that we can work together,” he added.

Some seven weeks after the Democratic leader stood with senators from both parties hailing a preliminary agreement, the bill received rare bipartisan support in Washington’s highly-polarized political atmosphere.

Needing just a simple majority, it passed by 69 votes to 30 with backing from a third of Republican Senators. The measure now faces a make-or-break vote in the House of Representatives in coming weeks, where its future is less certain as divisions have sprung up in the Democratic majority.

Democratic Senate majority leader Chuck Schumer credited Mr. Biden for winning approval of “the first major infrastructure package in over a decade on a bipartisan basis” after just seven months in office. “It’s been a long and winding road, but we have persisted,” Mr. Schumer said.

The ambitious plan provides for $550 billion in new federal spending on transport infrastructure, but also for public transit, broadband internet, and clean water, as well as electric charging stations and other measures to fight climate change. The total price tag relies on other public funds that have already been appropriated.

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In a deeply divided Washington, the Bill’s final approval would mark a resounding victory for Mr. Biden, a former senator who touts his ability to reach across the aisle.

In a sign of the continued influence wielded by former president Donald Trump, three Republican senators who participated in the negotiations announced they would not support the plan after Mr. Trump threatened reprisals for helping to hand Mr. Biden a political win.

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Printable version | May 19, 2022 8:04:20 pm |