President Biden signed his $1 trillion infrastructure deal into law Monday on the White House lawn, hailing it as an example of what bipartisanship can achieve. The president hopes to use the law to build back his popularity and says it will deliver jobs, clean water, high-speed internet, and a clean energy future, the AP reports. Support for Biden has taken a hit amid rising inflation and the inability to fully shake the public health and economic risks from COVID-19. A smattering of Republican lawmakers were on hand for what might be one of the last celebratory displays of bipartisanship ahead of the 2022 midterm elections.
"My message to the American people is this: America is moving again and your life is going to change for the better," Biden said. With the bipartisan deal, the president had to choose between his promise of fostering national unity and a commitment to transformative change. The final measure whittled down much of his initial vision to invest in roads, bridges, water systems, broadband, ports, electric vehicles. and the power grid. Yet the administration hopes to sell the new law as a success that bridged partisan divides. The agreement ultimately got support from 19 Senate Republicans, including Senate GOP leader Mitch McConnell. Thirteen House Republicans also voted for the infrastructure bill.
"Too often in Washington—the reason we don’t get things done is because we insist on getting everything we want,” Biden said in his prepared remarks. "With this law, we focused on getting things done. I ran for president because the only way to move our country forward is through compromise and consensus." The signing included governors and mayors of both parties and labor and business leaders. In addition to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, the guest list included Republicans such as Louisiana Sen. Bill Cassidy, Maine Sen. Susan Collins, New York Rep. Tom Reed, Alaska Rep. Don Young, and Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan. (Read more infrastructure stories.)