David O’Brien, Editor
On Wednesday, Biden will make his first address to a joint session of Congress. While Biden’s first one hundred days have focused primarily on Trump’s legacy, getting his cabinet in place and COVID-19 relief, this will be Biden’s first attempt at passing the massive infrastructure plan on which his campaign was built.
The “Build Back Better” infrastructure plan, or The American Jobs Plan, is a sweeping infrastructure bill that will fix roads, restore clean water, create new electrical grids and broadband internet for rural communities, create government subsidized caregiver jobs to care for those unable to afford caregivers and restore union and manufacturing jobs. While this bill may sound too good to be true, the $2 trillion price tag that comes along with it makes its contents seem more realistic. While $2 trillion on infrastructure may seem far too expensive, according to American Society of Civil Engineers, the United States would likely have to spend over $4.5 trillion on infrastructure to fully restore its roads and public works projects.
Biden’s previous calls for this bill’s passage have focused on the U.S.’s competition with China, just infrastructure and wages and the bipartisan agreement that a solution to America’s infrastructural decline must be established. Despite these previous pleas for votes, Biden’s congressional address will primarily focus on convincing moderate Democrats and Republicans to vote in favor of the bill rather than keeping their eyes on the federal budget and deficit. Seeing as the COVID-19 relief bill passed without any Republican votes in Congress, the likelihood of this bill receiving bipartisan support remains low. Republicans continue to hold the view that while the bill does address many key issues, the price is simply too high. It is likely Biden will have to unify the Democratic Congress once again to allow the bill to pass with a narrow 51 votes in the Senate.
The bill served as a keystone of Biden’s campaign and, if not passed, will certainly damage his legacy. The bill and its components were frequently discussed in his campaign as additional help to revitalize the post-pandemic economy. While the COVID-19 relief bill was certainly costly and results can already be seen, this bill would quicken the United States’ effort at economic recovery at exponential speed.