UPDATED Nov. 8, 11:37 a.m.: The House passed a bipartisan $1 trillion bill aimed at rebuilding the country’s aging infrastructure Friday night, fulfilling a promise by President Joe Biden to pour money into highways, bridges and mass transit while also investing in climate resilience and expanding high-speed internet access into rural areas.
Meanwhile, a second bill zeroing in on climate change and the social safety net — the so-called “Build Back Better Act” — was put on hold as some democrats withheld their votes pending an analysis of its price tag by a non-partisan think tank.
The real estate industry has watched the trajectory of that measure closely. It includes $150 billion for housing, down from $330 billion proposed in an earlier version. The bill also includes some language sought by affordable housing developers to change the Low Income Housing Tax Credit program. The measure is expected to be passed the week of Nov. 15.
The infrastructure bill, which already passed the Senate, will result in the largest investment in federal resources for infrastructure projects in more than a decade, a point the president cheered after the bill was pushed to his desk.
“Finally, it’s infrastructure week,” Biden said while discussing the bill’s passage Saturday morning. “Yesterday — I don’t think it is an exaggeration to suggest — we took a monumental step forward as a nation.”
Biden stressed the bill’s passage will keep America near the top of the world’s economic food chain while helping battle back against worldwide crises such as climate change.
“It will turn the climate crisis into an opportunity,” he said. “And it puts us on a path to win the economic competition of the 21st century that we face with China and other large countries.”
The bill’s road to passage was a bumpy one despite the fact 13 Republicans voted for it. Six progressive Democrats still voted against it.
Once signed by Biden, it will invest $65 billion toward the electric grid and energy production, $50 billion to battle cyberattacks and natural disasters, and about $7.5 billion to construct charging stations for electric vehicles across the country.
On Saturday, Biden again promised the bill would not raise taxes on the middle class before blasting the concept of Reagan-era trickle-down economics, which anticipates growth by lowering taxes on businesses and the wealthy.
“I’m so tired of trickle-down economic theory,” he said. “I’m trickled out.”
— Additional reporting by Kathryn Brenzel