On Nov. 5, The Biden administration successfully passed their long-awaited infrastructure bill. The 78-year-old president gushed about the big victory after the $1.2 trillion piece of legislation passed through the House with a 228-206 vote.
“Finally, infrastructure week,” Biden said during his celebratory speech. “I’m so happy to say that: infrastructure week.” The president continued, “The American people have made clear one overwhelming thing, I think. I really mean it — all the talk about the elections and what do they mean? They want us to deliver. Last night we proved we can. On one big item, we delivered.”
Biden has the Congressional Black Caucus to thank for the final push. Black lawmakers negotiated with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi to sign off on the bill to pour trillions of dollars into damaged roads, bridges, tunnels, and transit. Initially, Democrats were steadfast in their decision to pass the infrastructure bill along with the president’s social welfare and climate change proposal estimated at $1.85 trillion. Still, the idea was shot down by House officials. Black Caucus members pushed for Pelosi to pass the bill immediately and then hold a vote for the larger climate bill hopefully come mid-November, The New York Times noted.
“The C.B.C. wants to land the plane because the C.B.C. represents communities that have the most to gain,” said Representative Hakeem Jeffries of New York, the Democratic Caucus chairman who aided in the bill’s passage. “It’s no more complicated than that.”
While Friday’s win was historic, Americans still have fears about what the massive lump sum of money will be used for given the pandemic’s crippling effect on the U.S. economy. Biden says he hopes to clear up any misconceptions.
“I have one focus,” Biden added. “How do we give you some breathing room? How do we get you to the point where we take pressure off you so you can begin to get back to a degree of normality and we move to a different place?”
In addition to the infrastructure bill passing, the jobs report showed a glimmer of hope on Nov. 5, with 531,000 jobs created in October. The unemployment rate also fell to 4.6 percent. Hopefully, the series of big wins will help to improve the president’s approval ratings. Americans’ view of the president took a steep decline in August following the release of U.S. troops from Afghanistan and an uptick in COVID-19 cases, NPR noted.