WASHINGTON — President Joe Biden on Monday signed into law his $1.2 trillion bipartisan infrastructure bill during a ceremony at the White House packed with some 800 supporters, heralding what he said was a “truly consequential” spending bill that will improve Americans’ day-to-day lives.
But Democrats also emphasized that there is more to come—a $1.85 trillion social spending measure that still faces a close final vote in the U.S. House and major changes in the evenly divided Senate, where passage will have to come without GOP support.
Biden said the infrastructure legislation— backed by nearly all congressional Democrats, as well as 19 Senate Republicans and 13 House Republicans — is a signal that polarized public officials in Washington can come together to create jobs and solve long-lingering problems.
“My message to the American people is: America is moving again. And your life is going to change for the better,” Biden said during the South Lawn ceremony attended by federal and state legislators, governors, mayors, labor leaders, business leaders, and other supporters.
The signing marked a significant victory for the president’s economic agenda.
But the tougher step still looms, as Democrats attempt to rally their narrow majorities to pass the accompanying bill that would spend trillions more on new programs to expand access to child care and preschool and combat climate change.
Two senators critical to reaching agreement on the infrastructure plan, Democratic Sen. Kyrsten Sinema of Arizona and Republican Sen. Rob Portman of Ohio, joined Biden on stage for the bill signing and spoke ahead of the president’s remarks.
“Our legislation represents the substantive policy changes that some have said are no longer possible in today’s Senate,” Sinema said. “How many times have we heard that important policy can only happen on a party line? Our legislation proves the opposite.”
Portman also lauded the bipartisan work involved in approving the infrastructure measure, saying the deal became possible after the group of lawmakers involved in negotiations agreed to shrink the package down to physical infrastructure — and separate out Biden’s proposals for new social and climate-change programs.
“Mr. President … you and I will disagree on the tax and spending (provisions) in the other priority you have, the reconciliation bill, but I think we can both agree that this infrastructure investment shouldn’t be a one-time bipartisan accomplishment,” said Portman, who is retiring at the end of his term next year.
“This should be the beginning of a renewed effort to work together on big issues facing this country,” Portman added.
In his remarks before signing the bill, Biden praised Portman as well as Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, (R-Ky.), who voted for the bill but did not attend Monday’s ceremony.
The new law, Biden said, is “proof that despite the cynics, Democrats and Republicans can come together and deliver results.”
North Carolina Democratic congressman David Price, who chairs the Transportation, Housing and Urban Development Appropriations Subcommittee and attended the ceremony, lauded the new law and noted in a statement that North Carolina will receive an estimated $7.6 billion to upgrade roads and bridges. Other North Carolina lawmakers in attendance included Rep. Deborah Ross (D-2nd District), Rep. Alma Adams (D-12th District) and Rep. G.K Butterfield (D-1st District).
Bipartisan members of the U.S. House and Senate who attended the bill signing included, according to news releases and social-media posts: Read more