Jul 29, 2021
Chuck Schumer Bipartisan Infrastructure Bill Speech Transcript July 29
Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer spoke about the bipartisan infrastructure deal on the Senate floor on July 29, 2021. Read the transcript of the speech here.
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Sen. Schumer: (00:00)
Madam President, well, as we all know, last night, the Senate voted by a substantial margin to move forward with a debate on a bipartisan infrastructure bill. I want to commend the group of senators who worked with President Biden to reach a deal. The agreement will ultimately dedicate over a trillion dollars to strengthening virtually every major category of our country’s physical infrastructure. The vote last night also means that the Senate is on track to reach the two-track goal I laid out for this chamber at the beginning of the month. The first track is the bipartisan bill focused on traditional brick-and-mortar infrastructure projects. The second track is a budget reconciliation bill, where Democrats will make historic investments in American jobs, American families, and efforts to fight climate change. In order to start work on a reconciliation bill, the Senate must pass a budget resolution first, and we are on track for that as well.
Sen. Schumer: (01:04)
It’s been my goal to pass both the bipartisan infrastructure bill and a budget resolution during this work period. Some pundits have called that a tall order. I understand that, but because of the vote last night, the Senate is now moving forward with the bipartisan infrastructure bill, and we are on track to pass both elements of the two-track strategy before we adjourn for August recess. It took some prodding and a few deadlines, but it all has worked out for the better. I want to take a step back and explain why these two bills are so important at this moment. For the past two years at the end of the Trump presidency, the country was angry, divided, plagued by COVID, and our economy was stuck in the muck. The COVID pandemic washed over our country like a plague, and was met by staggering incompetence from the Trump administration.
Sen. Schumer: (02:05)
America was sick, dying. Our economy was in shambles. The discovery of the vaccine played no small part in our country’s recovery, and we Democrats pushed early on last February and March, not this past one, but a year ago, to increase funding for BARDA when even then the Trump administration was sort of being stingy about that money. But we got the money done, and the vaccine, as I said, played no small part in our country’s recovery. But elections have consequences. I say that to the American people, elections have consequences. When we ran as Senate Democrats, when President Biden ran, we promised we would get the vaccines out. We would get the country’s economy moving again. We would give hope to the middle class and those struggling to get to the middle class, where hope had been a distant and hazy frame on their horizon previously.
Sen. Schumer: (03:06)
The Biden administration came in. We came in as a Senate majority, and we immediately set to work beating the pandemic with a relentless focus on getting the country vaccinated and getting our country back to normal. Congressional Democrats swiftly passed the bold, strong American Rescue Plan, one of the largest federal packages in American history to keep families, businesses, workers afloat until the country could reopen. And we’ve done that. Six months into the Biden administration and Democratic majorities in the House and Senate, the country has stabilized. And this morning, this morning, it was reported that in the second quarter, the US economy grew at a rate of 6.5%, erasing all of the losses from the COVID pandemic.
Sen. Schumer: (04:00)
It happened a lot quicker and a lot sooner than many anticipated. And let me repeat that, because it is great news. Under President Biden and Democratic House and Senate majorities, the economy recovered so fast this year that we’ve already raised the losses and growth that we experienced as a result of the COVID pandemic. That’s very good news. It certainly doesn’t mean every family’s back on their feet yet. It certainly doesn’t mean our work is complete, but the American economy is back. It’s thriving, and set for even brighter days ahead. And again, elections have consequences. Such a difference between the bumbling, nasty, divisive last two years of the Trump administration and a new Democratic majority in the House and Senate and a Democratic president.
Sen. Schumer: (04:58)
Vaccines are out there as we promised to get them. There’s still some people resisting taking a vaccine they should. And we’re getting some resistance even from ideological right-wingers, which is just awful, but vaccines are out there. Money’s been pumped into the economy through the ARP, and things are moving forward. But now is not the time to rest on our laurels. Now is the time to press forward to cement these gains and build on them. We must continue encouraging vaccinations. We must keep a very close eye on the Delta variant, and take necessary precautions, but we also must address the underlying structural economic conditions that held back the middle class and those trying to get there even before the pandemic. The American dream, that if you work hard, you’ll be doing better 10 years from now than you’re doing today, and your kids will be doing still better than you was fading for the last 20 years.
Sen. Schumer: (06:05)
If you look at the economic statistics, they show that that dimmer view that the American people had was accurate in terms of economic circumstances. But now we need to get it bright and sunny again. We need to return to the bright, sunny American optimism that has been so much part of our character for more than two centuries. And how do we do it? We don’t just sit on our hands. We don’t just say, “Let business take care of it.” They won’t. They have a different mission. A massive investment in public infrastructure will create tens of thousands of good paying jobs. That’s just what the doctor ordered. And we need to go beyond that to restore that bright, sunny optimism. We need to help American families keep up with the exorbitant costs of childcare, healthcare, housing, college, and more.
Sen. Schumer: (07:00)
We need to press on and fight to reverse climate change, because as bad as COVID was, if we do nothing about climate change, a few years from now, each year will be worse than COVID, and each year after that will get worse and worse and worse. And if we do nothing, the people several years from now, even people now will say, “Why didn’t we do more?” We Democrats want to do more on climate. We must. Madam President, the numbers show that the American economy has gotten back to where it was prior to COVID. Now is the time to go further, and build back even better than before. And we Democrats, when we can in a bipartisan way, but on our own when our Republican colleagues are adamantly against us, we will move forward on both tracks, both tracks. And I’m proud of my Democratic caucus, every one of them voting yesterday for this bill and all pledging to go forward on the second track as well.