Saturday, December 4, 2021

Biden signs $1 trillion infrastructure package into law

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On Monday, President Biden signed a historic $1 trillion infrastructure bill aimed at repairing the nation’s roads and bridges along with investing billions into expanding access to broadband internet and bolstering the electrical grid.

“For too long, we’ve talked about having the best economy in the world. We’ve talked about asserting American leadership in the world with the best and safest roads, railways, ports, and airports,” Biden said at Monday’s signing ceremony. “But today, we are finally getting it done. And my message to the American people is: America is moving again. And your life is going to change for the better.”

The legislation is the largest federal investment in infrastructure in over a decade and the bill’s passage marks a significant and bipartisan win for the Biden administration’s domestic agenda. The package includes $65 billion to improve broadband access with the goal of achieving universal connectivity by the end of the decade. Another $7.5 billion will go to building out a network of electric vehicle chargers across the country.

The infrastructure package also includes $50 billion to combat the effects of climate change and cyberattacks on national infrastructure and another $73 billion to improve the power grid.

At the beginning of this year, Biden intended to push through this infrastructure funding alongside an additional multi-trillion dollar investment in social programs and climate change. The infrastructure package that was signed into law Monday was sliced off of the broader social spending package and was approved by the Senate in August by a 69-30 vote. On November 5th, the House voted to approve the bill with 13 Republicans in support of the measure.

The second half of Biden’s domestic agenda — nearly $2 trillion — is still awaiting votes in the House and Senate. This additional spending measure includes $550 billion to combat climate change and $320 billion in expanded tax breaks over the next ten years to encourage electric vehicle and clean energy adoption.

Outside of this bolstering of social services, the second package includes several benefits for consumers looking to purchase electric bicycles. If approved, the legislation would offer Americans a refundable tax credit worth 30 percent of a new e-bike worth no more than $1,500.

The plan also creates a new $475 million Commerce Department grant program to help low-income Americans acquire desktops, laptops, and tablets. Community groups will be able to apply for grants in order to provide free or discounted devices for poor and previously incarcerated people.

Congress returned to Washington Monday to continue deliberation on the broader social spending package and move on other critical issues, like avoiding a potential government shutdown before December 3rd. It’s unclear when Congress will vote on social spending bill.



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