Nov 15, 2021
Joe Biden Signs Infrastructure Bill: White House Speech Transcript
President Joe Biden signed the infrastructure bill at the White House on November 15, 2021. Read the transcript of remarks from Biden, Kamala Harris, Nancy Pelosi, Chuck Schumer, and others here.
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Donita Williams: (00:00)
I am Donita Williams. I’m a optical fiber maker at Corning in Wilmington, North Carolina. Our 326 members there and the steel workers throughout our great union supply America. We have the materials and components needed in our nation’s infrastructure. Investments in infrastructure are critical to workers like me, my brothers and sisters in other industries, and I was so proud to join them to help pass this bill you have signed today, President Biden. One of the most excited part about this bill, the 65 billion upgrade to expand broadband in communities across the country, communities like mine in rural North Carolina. This is not just an investment in broadband, but in jobs at Corning, where I make fiber and investments in fellow North Carolinians, this bill will help everyone have access to the internet that they need to teach their children, run their businesses and sell products from their farms. These jobs are important. Working at Corning making optical fiber, I’ve been there 26 years. It helped me raise my daughter, who’s now 30. As a single mom, I was able to have healthcare provided, able to send her to school to get a education, and it has allowed me to contribute to my local economy and community. And it also helped me contribute to the tax space that’s needed for essential items. We need it you all, so hey. It has.
Donita Williams: (02:17)
I just want to thank President Biden. I want to thank him for investing in me, workers like me, my brothers and sisters all throughout this great United States. I just want to thank you, and thank you for your bold leadership and vision, and thank you for the opportunity to be here today. And now it is my honor to introduce the mayor of Fontana, California, Acquanetta Warren.
Acquanetta Warren: (02:57)
Thanks. Thank you so much. Good afternoon. Mr. President and distinguished guests, I’m Acquanetta Warren, mayor of Fontana, California, a city of 220,000 in San Bernardino County. I’m honored to be here and represent small and mid-sized communities in America. This bill, the bipartisan infrastructure bill, is designed to help all of us: big, small, and in between. The bill brought together both Republicans and Democrats, and will address the critical needs of our community by putting millions of Americans to work and providing long term funding to address our nation’s crumbling infrastructure. I congratulate not only President Biden on this tremendous accomplishment, but the members of Congress, including my representatives, Norma Torres and Pete Aguilar.
Acquanetta Warren: (04:05)
Of both parties who voted for this, I attended many meetings regarding this bill, virtually of course. I attended these meetings and I was so struck by the bipartisan nature of the discussions. It doesn’t matter whether you were a Republican or a Democrat, you worked together to put the safety and efficiency of American people first. This bill will invest millions and produce countless jobs for cities such as Fontana. It will improve roadways, transit systems, our access to clean water, and millions of Americans, their ability to access high speed internet and bridge the digital divide. This bill will also address climate change, and it is a major step forward in protecting our communities against fire, drought and floods.
Acquanetta Warren: (05:04)
After the Great Depression, Roosevelt had his new deal, putting Americans back to work and bringing forth programs that are still with us generations later: social security, unemployment insurance and federal agricultural subsidies. Now, after a pandemic that is shaking the global economy at its core, we have this newer deal, one that will put America back while protecting and advancing our infrastructure for generations to come. You know, Mr. President, I’ve been working on infrastructure since I was elected as mayor in 2010. I just have to thank the members of Congress, and thank you, Mr. President, for making this a reality. Thank you.
Please welcome Senator Kyrsten Sinema.
Nancy Pelosi: (06:10)
Oh, thank you. You’ll hear a lot today about what this historic legislation means for everyday Americans; from better roads to stronger electric grids, to cleaner water, to faster internet in more places. Our plan will create millions of jobs and make our country stronger, safer, and more globally competitive without raising taxes on everyday Americans. You may have heard less about new policies on our bill that do not grab the same media attention, but will make a big difference. States like Arizona that are confronting historic drought will see billions of dollars to strengthen water systems throughout the American west. Communities will see historic investments to prevent and recover from wildfires. Land ports of entry, key national security infrastructure and commercial hubs will see major upgrades. And our bill makes significant investments in tribal communities’ infrastructure, including all necessary funding to complete authorized Indian water rights settlements.
Nancy Pelosi: (07:18)
Beyond historic financial resources, our plan includes a significant update of transportation policy. From strengthening public transit and mid-size communities, to new technologies preventing impaired driving, to new federal positions to raise the voices of tribal communities and infrastructure policy. Our legislation represents the substantive policy changes that some have said are no longer possible in today’s Senate. How many times have we heard that bipartisanship isn’t possible anymore, or that important policy can only happen on a party line? Our legislation proves the opposite, and the senators who negotiated this legislation show how to get things done. The senators in our group of 10 effectively represented the needs of the Regents we represent. Senator Cassidy in the deep south, Senator Warner in the Mid-Atlantic, Senator Manchin in Appalachia, and Senators Romney and Tester in the west. And the Northeast and Alaska, each with unique needs, were ably represented by Senator Shaheen, Collins and Murkowski, the wonder women of our group, always focused on the practical outcomes.
Nancy Pelosi: (08:40)
And I sincerely thank my partner in co-leading this long effort, Senator Rob Portman, whose knowledge of the federal budget is matched only by his steadfast commitment to delivering on this priority for America. Delivering this legislation for the American people, this is what it looks like when elected leaders set aside differences, shut out the noise and focus on delivering results on the issues that matter most to everyday Americans. I look forward to the work that we will all do together to implement this historic legislation. Thank you.
Please welcome Senator Rob Portman,
Senator Rob Portman: (09:32)
Kyrsten, thank you very much. And it was great being your partner in this. I’ve heard you say, in fact, I’ve heard President Biden say that this infrastructure bill that will be signed today is going to have a positive impact on every single American. And that’s true. This is true today, it’ll be true for decades to come. And I want to congratulate everyone gathered here today for the role you’ve played in making this possible. This is what can happen when Republicans and Democrats decide we’re going to work together to get something done.
Senator Rob Portman: (10:10)
The bipartisan process that resulted in this historic investment began with a meeting about eight months ago with my colleague, Senator Sinema, whose persistence was absolutely key to us being here today. We met frankly, in response to the initial Biden infrastructure plan, which included tax increases and also included substantial investments in so-called human infrastructure. By removing the tax hikes and shrinking the package to only fund core infrastructure, we saw an opportunity to find bipartisan consensus on finally fixing our nation’s outdated infrastructure. And from there, the group quickly grew to the G10 negotiators. They were just mentioned, but I got to mention them again. Senators Susan Collins, Mitt Romney, Lisa Murkowski, Bill Cassidy, Joe Manchin, Jeanne Shaheen, Mark Warner and John Tester; five Republicans and five Democrats. It ultimately grew to 22 senators evenly divided by party, and a partnership with the house problem solvers caucus led by Brian Fitzgerald and Josh Gottheimer. Give them round of applause. Senator Mitch McConnell, to his credit, supported our efforts to find a way forward, and eventually lent his critical support. Senator Shelley Moore Capito helped lay the foundation for our success in her white house discussions and also in her committee work with Senator Tom Carper.
Senator Rob Portman: (11:49)
Our work was guided by a few simple principles: core infrastructure only, no tax increases and no linkage to the broader partisan reconciliation process. Instead, we agreed this would be a truly bipartisan process; working from the middle out, not the top down. There were plenty of bumps along the way, but we got there because we were all committed to ultimately delivering a result for the constituents we represent. We also got there because a lot of smart, hardworking staff, as usual. I want to commend my team as well as the staff of our G10 members, and I want to commend the white house negotiators, led ably by Steve Rachetti and supported by Brian Deese.
Senator Rob Portman: (12:35)
Every President in every Congress in modern times has proposed major infrastructure improvements. They all have. By making infrastructure a real priority in his administration, President Trump furthered the discussion and helped Republicans like me think differently about the positive impact of investment in core infrastructure. And core infrastructure is what this law’s all about; it’s about roads and bridges and rail and transit and ports and airports and water systems, the electric grid, broadband and more. We’ve got a major bridge in my hometown, and it’s also a major bottleneck desperately in need of replacing. We’ve been trying to do it for 25 years, but we haven’t been able to pull together the funding and figure out how to do it. This new law finally gives us the tools we need to fix the Brent Spence bridge. And the same is true for major projects all around the country. That’s why you see so many of my colleagues here from every region of the country, because they know this is going to help to create more economic efficiency, more productivity, and maybe lessen that commute for their constituents.
Senator Rob Portman: (13:46)
This long term investment in our nation’s capital assets will grow the economy because of that efficiency and that productivity. It’ll create hundreds of thousands of new jobs. It’ll make us more competitive against countries like China, who are investing heavily in infrastructure, much more than we have been. Maybe most importantly, at a time of surging inflation, these long-term investments are actually going to help. Inflation, of course, is caused when demand [inaudible 00:14:13] supply. And in this case, we’re not funding stimulus spending that adds to the demand side, but ports and freight rail and roads and bridges and other assets that will help on the supply side. That’s why economists say this bill is counter inflationary, which is so important right now as American families are facing higher prices on everything from gas to groceries. This new law also includes landmark permitting reforms to reduce timelines for infrastructure projects while maintaining environmental and safety standards.
Senator Rob Portman: (14:45)
We want taxpayer funded infrastructure projects to be done as cost effectively as possible, right? Get them done on time and under budget. This bipartisan support for this bill comes because it makes sense for our constituents, but the approach from the center out should be the norm, not the exception. The increasing polarization of our country is keeping us from getting things done, and we have a responsibility to do better. The American people want to see us coming together. They know that despite our differences, we should be able to figure it out and work together to solve big problems. We can start by recognizing that finding common ground to advance the interest of the American people should be rewarded, not attacked.
Senator Rob Portman: (15:43)
Mr. President, in a moment, you’re going to sign this bill. I will say that you and I will disagree on the tax and spending 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. This should-
Senator Rob Portman: (16:03)
… a one time bipartisan accomplishment. This should be the beginning of a renewed effort to work together on big issues facing our country. Again, I want to thank everybody who’s here today for what you did to make this possible. Thank you.
Speaker 1: (16:20)
Please welcome Senate Majority Leader, Chuck Schumer.
Chuck Schumer: (16:25)
Thank you. Thank you, Mr. President, for inviting us to the White House. Thank you to Vice President Harris, my colleagues in attendance, all of you, and Senator Sinema, Portman, and Speaker Pelosi. Now, for years Americans were promised that an Infrastructure Bill was coming. Today, we’re telling the American people that an Infrastructure Bill is finally here. Thank you, President Biden. At the start of this year, we told American families that we’d meet our challenges, the challenges of our time, with boldness and with courage. Now they’re getting one of the largest Infrastructure Bills ever. To paraphrase one of my favorite former Vice Presidents, “It’s a big F’ing deal.”
Chuck Schumer: (17:20)
There isn’t a community in America, not a city, not a town or rural hub that doesn’t have some glaring infrastructure problem requiring immediate attention. Busted roads make it harder for people to get to work. Dilapidated schools make it harder for kids to learn. Overtaxed seaports and railways and airports make it harder for goods to get to market, hurting businesses, raising prices on consumers, and hurting our economy. If America is to compete in this century, we can’t do it with an infrastructure that’s stuck in the last century. This Infrastructure Bill will help us meet the challenges of our time, strengthen our crucial supply chains, and lay the foundation for another generation of economic prosperity. This bill can be summed up by a four letter word, J-O-B-S, jobs, jobs, and more local jobs, more good paying jobs, more union jobs.
Chuck Schumer: (18:36)
This bill will benefit every state, every state in very significant ways. In New York, my New York, major projects have been stalled for so long, like Gateway, the cross Bronx Expressway, the Second Avenue subway, I81 in Syracuse, the Inner Loop in Rochester will all have the ability to get going. And there are projects important as these in every state across the country. Today’s Infrastructure Bill will also begin the necessary efforts to prevent the worst of climate change, putting thousands of Americans to work by investing in resilience in our buildings, and crucially beginning our task to make America’s transportation system clean. It will finally bring millions of Americans online with high speed internet, both in rural and underserved communities. New York alone still has over one million households without access or a subscription to broadband.
Chuck Schumer: (19:37)
We’ll also help eliminate lead pipes in our water system so one day parents won’t have to worry if their kids are getting sick every time they turn on the faucet. Cities like Rochester still have 25,000 lead pipes that need replacement, 25,000. And today’s legislation will also make driving safer in America. It’ll require new cars to install drunk driving prevention technology and it will make dangerous, largely unregulated vehicles like limos safer to use on the road. In the audience today, we have a great New Yorker, my friend Kevin Cushing. Kevin, where are you amidst this big crowd? Thank you, Kevin. He’s way back there. Kevin is the father of Patrick Cushing. Patrick died three years ago when he and 19 friends from the Amsterdam, New York area were celebrating a birthday and they were killed in a limo crash in Schoharie. As the President deeply understands, that is a loss no parent should endure. It was a horrific, preventable tragedy stemming from outdated federal rules and loopholes that allow dangerous limos to operate on the road unchecked. In the face of the loss, rather than curse the darkness, Kevin and the families impacted that day lit a candle. Every day since that accident, they have pushed every single Senator to support changes in our laws to make these vehicles safer to ride. Today, their perseverance has paid off. Kevin, my friend, it was an honor to fight alongside you, and today Patrick is smiling down with pride.
Chuck Schumer: (21:38)
So Mr. President, thank you for your leadership in achieving this long sought goal on about bipartisan basis. The benefits go on and on. Thank you to all of my colleagues who pushed this Infrastructure Bill over the finish line, including our Committee Chairs and Speaker Pelosi and everyone who reached the aisle on this bipartisan achievement. Today’s signing is a major and historic step forward, and we will keep working with you, Mr. President, to build on today’s success by passing the rest of your Build Back Better agenda in the weeks ahead so we can key keep our promises to help families achieve the American dream. Thank you, everybody. This is a great day for America.
Speaker 1: (22:28)
Please. Welcome Speaker of the House, Nancy Pelosi.
Nancy Pelosi: (22:39)
Good afternoon, everyone. Thank you so much to everyone who made today possible. I especially want to acknowledge President Biden for the glorious vision and the great commitment that he had to bring this legislation forward for the people. It is a great achievement. Thank you, Mr. President. When our nation was experiencing the depths of pandemic and economic crisis, you knew, Mr. President, that we needed not only to recover, but we had to seize the opportunity to Build Back Better. Following your vision, Congress passed the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, an historic step to rebuild the infrastructure and the middle class. Your agenda is historic, transformative, and the biggest, boldest investment in our country’s history.
Nancy Pelosi: (23:36)
I just want to talk about the history for a moment. The very first major infrastructure investment was President Thomas Jefferson’s. He tasked the Secretary of Treasury Gallatin for the Gallatin Project to build the infrastructure to reach into our ever-growing nation, resulting in the Erie Canal, the Cumberland Road in Maryland, and other initiatives. Then under President Lincoln and through legislation from Congress, America launched the Transcontinental Railroad, connecting the country from coast to coast. On the 100th anniversary of the Gallatin Project, President Theodore Roosevelt established the National Park Service to preserve God’s beautiful, natural patrimony of our country. And then President Eisenhower years later established the interstate highway system, initially a national security initiative, but significantly connecting America for commerce and communities.
Nancy Pelosi: (24:35)
And today, Mr. President, with the stroke of your pen, we will take a giant and step to achieve your vision to build America’s roads, bridges, water systems, and so much more, creating good paying union jobs, ensuring clean air and clean water, delivering better quality of life with equity, helping businesses thrive, and turbocharging our global competitiveness, connecting communities again through the internet, and making America safer as we protect our planet. And we do so building back better. This historic achievement was possible thanks to so many who have been acknowledged already, honors granted to all of them, to our chairs, members, and staff who have in every step brought a depth of knowledge, commitment, and values-based leadership that is making a difference. Especially I salute in the House Transportation Infrastructure Chair, Peter DeFazio, a maestro of all things related to infrastructure and sustainability.
Nancy Pelosi: (25:41)
I do want to acknowledge Mr. Clyburn, who was taking great pride, I think almost blushing, when our guest from the Carolinas was talking about broadband especially, but among other things. Thank you, Mr. Clyburn for your leadership in all of that. May I just say and associate myself with the closing remarks of Mr. Schumer, this is a great accomplishment and there’s more to come and so happy that hopefully this week we will be passing the Build Back Better to give tax cuts to America’s working families, to create millions more jobs, to lower healthcare costs, and all of it paid for by making everyone pay his or her own fair share. I’ll close by saying, last week in Glasgow at the COP 26, members were met with great enthusiasm over the Build Back Better agenda, which is a show of force to the world. As the President has said, “America is back.” With President Biden’s signature, we show America’s leadership for ourselves, for the people, and to the world. Thank you, Mr. President, and thank all of you.
Speaker 1: (27:31)
Ladies and gentlemen, the President of the United States accompanied by the Vice President of the United States and Heather Kurtenbach, a member of Iron Workers Local 86. Please welcome Heather Kurtenbach.
Kamala Harris: (28:45)
In a moment. Please have a seat. President Joe Biden, Speaker Nancy Pelosi, Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, cabinet members, Congress members, Governors, and Mayors, and my fellow Americans. This is an historic day. In the middle of the Civil War, President Abraham Lincoln started construction on the Transcontinental Railroad. In the middle of the Great Depression, President Franklin Roosevelt finished construction on the Hoover Dam. President Dwight Eisenhower signed the National Interstate and Defense Highways Act in the middle of the Cold War. And today, President Joe Biden will sign the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act into law. Indeed it is an historic day today. From the very start of our administration, we were determined to follow through, not just on our promise to invest in our nation’s infrastructure, but on the promises that the American people have heard for years now.
Kamala Harris: (30:07)
And we would not be here today where it not for your leadership, Mr. President. From the very start, you welcomed Democrats, Independents, and Republicans to meet with us in the Oval Office. You welcomed ideas, you welcomed debate, all in the service of getting this bill done. And here is what I know to be true, Mr. President, you are equal parts believer and builder, and because you are, we are all better off. On behalf of our nation, thank you, Mr. President. And, of course, our administration did not arrive at this day by ourselves. We are also here because of leaders in the House and the Senate who worked on this bill together, who voted for this bill, and we are here because of the millions of Americans who believed that we could get this done. Well, we got it done, America. We got it done.
Kamala Harris: (31:25)
In many ways, this day embodies our character as a nation. It demonstrates exactly who we are. We are believers through and through. We see what can be unburdened by what has been. We are as bold as we are determined to do big things. The Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act proves that. It proves that, in America, we have the courage to believe a better future is possible and to build it together.
Kamala Harris: (32:03)
Possible and to build it together. After this bill is signed into law, millions more Americans will go to work in good paying good union jobs. Americans like Jovan Johnson, a carpenter I met in Nevada who said that she has, quote, built her career on infrastructure and fed her family on infrastructure. Americans like Jeff Bird, a line design technician I met with in New Hampshire. He attaches fiber to utility poles to keep with the demand for high speed internet. Or Leslie Killgore, a engineer I met with in North Carolina, whose team is building electric school buses. Or Walter Cody, a construction inspector with whom I met, who is working to get clean water to families in California.
Kamala Harris: (33:03)
This will be a nationwide effort, the likes of which we have not seen in a generation. It will make our country more competitive and it will deliver on our nation’s and our administration’s commitment to equity.
Kamala Harris: (33:22)
Now this bill, as significant as it is, as historic as it is, is part one of two. To lower costs and cut taxes for working families, to tackle the climate crisis at its core, Congress must also pass the Build Back Better Act. The work of building a more perfect union did not end with the railroad or the interstate, and it will not end now. So on this historic day, let us all continue to believe in our people, believe in our country and believe in what we can do when we work together. Thank you all. May God bless you and make God bless America.
President Joe Biden: (34:24)
Speaker 2: (34:28)
Please welcome Heather Kurtenbach.
Heather Kurtenbach: (34:35)
Thank you Madam Vice President.
Heather Kurtenbach: (34:38)
As a proud union iron worker from Local 86 in Seattle Washington, I am honored to be here at the White House on this historic day for workers like me and our country. I am an elected leader in my local union as a business agent and active in the Sisters Committee, which mentors newer iron workers. Before I got where I today, however, I had to overcome some challenges. In 2005, I was released from incarceration. While incarcerated I was able to work on a wild land firefighting crew, sometimes heading out in the middle of the night to fight fires. That experience taught me a powerful work ethic and gave me lasting friendships. When I got out of prison, however, doors were closed to me. I searched for a job for six months with no offers. Finally, as a last ditch effort, I asked my brother-in-law, a union iron worker, excuse me, how he made a living. He told me, “Go to the union and apply. You could totally do this work.” And I’m so glad that I did. Thank you. Yeah.
Heather Kurtenbach: (35:48)
I was accepted into the apprenticeship and went right out to a rebar job. I loved working rods and I fit right into the trade. I graduated from my apprenticeship at an uncertain time, the Great Recession 12 years ago was more of a depression for the construction industry and many of my fellow journeymen, workers, my coworkers, excuse me, couldn’t find the word. Luckily, the Obama Biden administration passed the Recovery Act that created a vital life line of jobs as the economy recovered. Yes. Just like this infrastructure law will do for workers today. Enabling them to rebuild America and take care of their families over the coming years. Roads and bridges, rail, transit, airports, water, a whole generation of our nation’s infrastructure will be built creating good union jobs for people people just like me.
Heather Kurtenbach: (36:46)
It invests in historically disadvantaged communities, creating jobs and opportunities for people of every race, gender, and background. I’m proud to stand here today and represent the most diverse labor movement in history. Nearly half of my locals apprentices are women or people of color. And this law empowers unions to keep building the middle class leaving no one behind. Most of all, I’m proud to stand here as an American in this moment. In our line of work, you have to trust one another to get the job done, and throughout this process I knew we could trust someone to get this law done. Someone who understands what workers like me are going through and who always believes in us and what we can do if given a chance. I never imagined in a million years that I would be standing here today. Yeah. But what’s great about America. Thank you. Thank you. Oh, thank you. Thank you.
Heather Kurtenbach: (37:57)
Yeah, but, what’s so great about America and having a president who believes someone like me should be standing here. On behalf of Local 86 in Seattle and union workers everywhere for, the faith he’s placing in us I am honored to introduce the 46th President of the United States, Joe Biden.
President Joe Biden: (38:23)
Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you, Heather. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. Oh, thank you.
President Joe Biden: (38:51)
Heather, you thought you’re surprised you’re standing here, Jill was very surprised I’m standing here. Well, Heather, thank you for the introduction. And I can’t look over here because the sun shinning in my eyes, but all this other crowd over here, thank you, thank you, thank you, thank you, for all you’ve done.
President Joe Biden: (39:13)
Look, thanks for sharing this day with us. Why this day matters to you and your fellow iron workers and your families, and you explained it well. For all the folks at home, I know this day matters to you as well. I know you’re tired of the bickering in Washington, frustrated by the negativity, and you just want us to use and focus on your needs, your concern and the conversations that are taking place at your kitchen table. Conversation as profound as they are ordinary, how do I find work? And how do I get there? How can our small business thrive and our child succeed in school? Or how do we emerge from this pandemic, not with just a little bit of breathing room, but with real fighting chance to get ahead?
President Joe Biden: (40:05)
When we ran for president, I thought maybe I could help answer some of those questions for you and the needs you have, because every time I’d ride home on Amtrak, I’d go through just south of Baltimore, I’d look out and go through a suburban neighborhood, I’d look in all those lights on in the windows, Nance, and I look and I wonder, what are they talking about? I’m serious. Swear to God. What are they talking about sitting at that table? What are they talking about? They’re talking about the things that I talked about at our kitchen table, Jill at hers, and all of you as well. And that’s about how can we come together. To be president for all Americans to make sure our democracy delivers for you for all of you, and I promised that we couldn’t just bill back to what it was before we literally had to build back better. We’re the only country that’s always come out of great crises stronger than we went in. And the world has changed and we have to be ready. My fellow Americas today I want you to know, we hear you and we see you.
President Joe Biden: (41:15)
The bill I’m about to sign to law is proof that despite the cynics Democrats and Republicans can come together and deliver results. We can do this. We can deliver real results for real people, we see in ways that really matter each and every day to each person out there. And we’re taking a monumental step forward to build back better as a nation.
President Joe Biden: (41:43)
I want to thank everyone who helped make this happen. Vice President Harris, my cabinet members, my White House team, Jill, Doug, our First Lady and our second husband. No, I’m joking. These guys travel all over the country together, I’m getting worried, and Doug’s one hell of a lawyer besides. And everybody from the United States Senate, Majority Leader Schumer, and a group of Senate Democrats, Republicans who established this bipartisan framework, including representatives and all the folks you heard from, Senator Rob Portman is a really hell of a good guy. I’m not hurting you Rob because I know you’re not running yet, that’s the only reason I say, but you are a hell of a good guy. And the most determined woman I know Senator Kyrsten Sinema, congratulations Krysten.
President Joe Biden: (42:40)
Look, Committee Chair Tom Carper, Ranking Member Shelley Moore Capito, I also want to thank Minority Leader Mitch McConnell for voting for this bill and talking about how useful and important it is. And from the House of Representatives, Speaker Pelosi, Steny Hoyer, Jim Clyburn and Committee Chair Peter DeFazio, Democrats and Republicans, Progressives and Moderates, I’d like to pause and ask all the committee chairs and ranking members of the United States Senate and House that are here today please stand, will all you stand. Come on. All right. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. To state the obvious, none of this would’ve happened without all of you. I really mean it. And also to the governors, where are the governors? Governors stand up. Come on. I want you to stand up. Red states, blue states, y’all contacted me, y’all said you were four of this, you all stepped up. And more than 375 mayors, Democrats and Republicans from every state and District of Columbia, wrote me asking to get this done. You got it kid. In nearly 50 of whom are here today, including Republican Mayor Fontana, from Fontana, California, Mayor Warren, who spoke earlier. And the county and state and tribal leaders as well. Civil rights leaders, faith leaders.
President Joe Biden: (44:20)
This law was supported by business groups. The US Chamber of Commerce, the National Association of Manufacturers, the Business Roundtable, representing 200 of the largest corporations in America and other top business. And I want to especially thank, and I’m sure you’ll all as we used to say in the Senate, I stand point of personal privilege, I want to thank organized labor who understands this is about jobs. You all stood up. Jobs, jobs, jobs, jobs. Special thanks to the AFL CIO, the United Auto Workers, electric workers, the IBW, the iron workers, it goes on, plumbers, pipe fitters, and the building trades, steel workers… Who I leave out? Pardon me. And my wife is a member of a union, the NEA. I’ve going to get in trouble. Machinists, so many more.
President Joe Biden: (45:17)
Look folks, for too long we’ve talked about having the best economy in the world. We’ve talked about asserting American leadership around the world with the best and the safest roads, railroads, ports, airports. Here in Washington, we’ve heard countless speeches and promises and white papers from experts. But today, we’re finally getting this done. So my message to the America people is this, America’s moving again. And your life is going to change for the better. If you live in one of the 10 million homes, or you’re a child who attends one of the 400,000 schools or childcare centers that still has lead pipes in them, you face a clear and present danger to your child’s health and your health now. This law is going to start to replace 100% of the nation’s lead pipes and service lines, so every American, every child, can turn on the fallen and drink clean water and tens of thousands of plumbers and fight fitters are going to get work done and good paying jobs.
President Joe Biden: (46:23)
Folks, as we saw with remote learning, remote working, during the pandemic access to high speed internet is as essential as access to water and electricity. This law is going to make high speed internet affordable, available everywhere, everywhere in America, urban, suburban, rural, and create jobs laying down those broadband lines. Excuse me. No parent should have to sit in a parking lot at a fast food restaurant again, just so their child can use the internet to do their homework, that’s over. And folks, if I visited your town I’m sure you’d be able to tell me where you hold your breath as you cross the particular bridge or where the most dangerous intersection in your town is. This law makes us the most significant investment in roads and bridges in the past 70 years. It makes the most significant investment in passenger rail in the past 50 years and in public transit ever.
President Joe Biden: (47:27)
So, what that means is you’re going to be safer and you’re going to get there faster, and we’re going to have a whole hell of a lot less pollution in the air. The bipartisan law will modernize our ports, our airports, our freight rail, to make it easier for companies to get goods to market, reduce supply chain bottlenecks, as we’ve experiencing now, and lower cost for you and your family. The law also builds on our resilience so that the next storm, super storm, drought, wildfire, hurricane, can be dealt with. Last year alone, the United States, as a consequence of these-
President Joe Biden: (48:03)
Last year alone, the United States, as a consequence of these kind of extreme weather events lost $99 billion in the United States alone in damage. After Hurricane Ida, I see the distinguished governor from Louisiana’s over there. I saw him stand up. I went down to see him. We went through and saw the damage there. They had 179 mile an hour winds at top speed in Louisiana, but then I headed on up to New York. Chuck, up in your area in the Queens, in New Jersey. More people died there than in the hurricane. More people died in the flooding. Record wildfires raged. I went to Idaho and California and saw it. More land is burning the ground than the entire state of New Jersey out west. Folks, walk the neighborhoods and looked at people in the eye, in these circumstances, as many of you have, and you’ll see the despair and the heartache.
President Joe Biden: (49:02)
So many of you understand. You’re living through it. This law builds back our bridges, our water systems, our power lines, our levies, better and stronger so fewwe Americans will be flooded out of their homes or lose power those days and weeks as a consequence of the storms that hit.
President Joe Biden: (49:19)
Folks, this bipartisan law for the first time ever creates a true national network of charging stations for electric vehicles, over 500,000. So you can charge your car here and drive all the way to California, not worrying about having to find places to charge. Creating thousands of jobs, thousands. It was also going to make it possible for Americans to get off the sidelines and into the game of manufacturing. Solar panels, wind turbines, batteries to store energy and power for electric vehicles, including electric school buses, which will mean millions of children will no longer inhale the dangerous diesel fumes that come out of the buses. For real, it’s a big deal. And it’ll reward companies for paying good wages and for buying America and sourcing their products here in America right now. It’s going to help the United States export clean energy technologies to the world, creating tens of thousands of more jobs. There’s so much more in the law, but most of all, it does something truly historic. A ren for president, believing it was time to rebuild the backbone of this nation, which I characterize as working people in the middle class. They’re the ones who built the country. And to rebuild the economy from the bottom up in the middle out, this law delivers on that long overdue promise in my view.
President Joe Biden: (50:38)
It creates better jobs for millions of Americans and no one, no one earning less than $400,000 a year will pay a single penny in federal taxes because of it. And it does not include, as we did the bipartisan infrastructure, but it does not include a single penny in gas tax, which I rejected because people under $400,000 would be paying it.
President Joe Biden: (51:04)
This law is a blue collar blueprint to rebuild America. It leaves no one behind and it marks an inflection point that we face as a nation. For most of the 20th century we led the world by significant margin because we invested in ourselves. But somewhere along the way, we stopped investing on ourselves. We risk losing our edge as a nation and China and the rest of the world are catching up. Our infrastructure used to be rated the best in the world. Now, according to the world economic form, we ranked 13th in the world. Well, that’s about to change. Things are going to turn around in a big way.
President Joe Biden: (51:43)
For example, because of this law next year will be the first year in 20 years American infrastructure investment will grow faster than China’s. We’ll once again have the best roads, bridges, ports, and airports over the next decade. It will lead the world into the 2020 first century with modern cars and trucks and transit systems. We’re going to do this by building again and moving again. Folks, too often in Washington, the reason we didn’t get things done is because we insist on getting everything we want, everything. With this law, we focus on getting things done. I ran for president because the only way to move this country forward in my view was through compromise and consensus. That’s how the system works. That’s American democracy and I’m going to be signing a law that is truly consequential because we were made our democracy delivered for the American people.
President Joe Biden: (52:37)
We compromised. We reached the consensus. That’s necessary, and now our focus moves to implementing an infrastructure law that’s going with speed and with discipline, I have a lot of experience in doing that. When I was vice president, I was given responsibility for overseeing and implementing the Recovery Act for nearly $900 billion emergency package. I’m proud to say that when we finished implementing that Recovery Act, it was determined that there had been less than two tenths of 1% waste, fraud, or abuse. And it was how I learned and earned the nickname, Sheriff Joe from President Obama, because I made it a point every single day for well over a year to stay on top of how the money was being used.
President Joe Biden: (53:21)
I spoke with over 160 mayors, two, three times sometimes, and I spoke with county executives and every governor save one. I won’t mention that. And save one. She could see Alaska from reports, but monitor what we’re doing. That’s just how it was being done. And it was one of the most efficient implement of a major program in American history. And now we owe it to the American people do the same thing again. And to make sure every penny is spent where it’s supposed to go in a timely fashion I’ve asked the former mayor of New Orleans and former Lieutenant governor of Louisiana, Mitch Lander, to oversee this responsibility. He’ll have full access to every tool the federal government has and to get it done. And we have the high obligation and responsibility to make sure this money is used wisely and used well. Folks, I’ve been looking forward to this day for a long time like all of my colleagues here have. Tomorrow, I’ll be traveling to New Hampshire to visit a bridge that is structurally not safe, like thousands of bridges across America. That’s what this law is all about. Keeping communities safer and more efficient. On Wednesday, I’ll be in Detroit to meet with the UAW workers who are building the next generation of electric vehicles. And that’s just the beginning. You’ll be seeing me, the Vice President Harris, Jill and Doug, cabinet officials hitting the road to help you understand how this is going to transform your lives for the better.
President Joe Biden: (54:49)
And folks, when you see those projects starting in your hometowns, I want you to feel what I fee, pride. Pride in what we can do together as the United States of America. Folks, the same goes for my plan to build back better for the people, getting folks back to work and reducing cost of things like childcare, elder care, housing, healthcare, prescription drugs, and meeting the moment on climate change. I’m confident that the House will pass this bill and then we’re going to have to pass it in the Senate and that’s fully paid for. It will reduce the deficit over long term, according to leading economists in the world. And again, no one earning less than $400,000 will pay a single penny more in federal taxes. And together, together with the infrastructure bill millions of lives will be changed for the better.
President Joe Biden: (55:38)
Folks, Let me close with this. Throughout our history, we’ve emerged from crises by investing in ourselves. During and after the Civil War has been referenced. We built the transcontinental railroad uniting east and west and uniting America. During the Cold War, we built the interstate highway system transforming how America lived their lives. And now we’re emerging from COVID-19 pandemic and we’ll build an economy for the 21st century.
President Joe Biden: (56:06)
When I met with the president of China, who I’m going to be speaking with tonight several years ago, he asked me when we were in China. He asked me, he said, could I define America? And I said, absolutely. That’s the God’s truth. I said, absolutely. I can define it in one word, possibilities. Possibilities. There is no limit to what our people think we can do. And there is no limit to what our nation can do. And there is no one thing that I know more than this.
President Joe Biden: (56:37)
It’s never, ever been a good bet to bet against the American people. Never, never, never. Given half a chance, the American people have never, ever, ever let this nation down. And it’s our job to give our people that chance. It’s our job to come together and make sure we remain a nation of possibilities. As I look out at this crowd today, I see Democrats and Republicans, national leaders, local leaders, all elected officials, labor leaders, business leaders. And most of all, I see fellow Americans. I see America. Let’s remember this day. Let’s remember we can come together. Most of all, let’s remember what we’ve got done for the American people when we do come together.
President Joe Biden: (57:20)
I truly believe that 50 years from now, historians are going to look back at this moment and say, that’s the moment America began to win the competition of the 21st century. So with confidence, optimism, with vision and faith in each other, let’s believe in possibilities. Let’s believe in one another. And let’s believe in America. God bless you all and make God protect our troops. Now, let me sign this bipartisan bill.
Speaker 3: (57:52)
[crosstalk 00:57:52] out of your way sir.
President Joe Biden: (57:54)
Speaker 3: (57:54)
Here you go. Yes, sir.
President Joe Biden: (57:59)
Oh, my mask.
Speaker 4: (58:05)
Speaker 4: (58:06)
Speaker 5: (58:06)
Were wondering when you were going to stop for a moment [inaudible 00:58:28].
President Joe Biden: (58:28)
I tell you what, I know what you mean. It’s the only reason I did stop. Well, folks, I’m going to get you each a pen, but there’s 30 of you up here. I only got one pen.
Speaker 6: (58:36)
Sorry, vice president, please.
President Joe Biden: (58:36)
Speaker 6: (58:36)
President Joe Biden: (58:36)
Okay, here we go.
President Joe Biden: (58:59)
President Joe Biden: (58:59)
Thank you. Thank you. Thank you.
President Joe Biden: (58:59)
Everybody gets one. All right. Nice one.
President Joe Biden: (59:28)