WASHINGTON (AP) — President Joe 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. 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.
President Joe Biden speaks before signing the $1.2 trillion bipartisan infrastructure bill into law during a ceremony on the South Lawn of the White House in Washington, Monday, Nov. 15, 2021. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)
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 and will elevate the country with clean drinking water, high-speed internet and a shift away from fossil fuels.
“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.”
Biden will get outside Washington to sell the plan more broadly in coming days.
He intends go to New Hampshire on Tuesday to visit a bridge on the state’s “red list” for repair, and he will go to Detroit on Wednesday for a stop at General Motors’ electric vehicle assembly plant, while other officials also fan out across the country. The president went to the Port of Baltimore last week to highlight how the supply chain investments from the law could limit inflation and strengthen supply chains, a key concern of voters who are dealing with higher prices.
“We see this as is an opportunity because we know that the president’s agenda is quite popular,” White House press secretary Jen Psaki said Monday before the signing. The outreach to voters can move “beyond the legislative process to talk about how this is going to help them. And we’re hoping that’s going to have an impact.”
Biden held off on signing the hard-fought infrastructure deal after it passed on Nov. 5 until legislators would be back from a congressional recess and could join in a splashy bipartisan event. On Sunday night before the signing, the White House announced Mitch Landrieu, the former New Orleans mayor, would help manage and coordinate the implementation of the infrastructure spending.
The gathering Monday on the White House lawn was uniquely celebratory with an upbeat brass band and peppy speeches, a contrast to the drama and tensions when the fate of the package was in doubt for several months. The speakers lauded the measure for creating jobs, combatting inflation and responding to the needs of voters.
Michigan defensive back Vincent Gray (4) attempts to intercept a pass intended for Penn State wide receiver Jahan Dotson (5) in the first quarter of an NCAA college football game in State College, Pa., Saturday, Nov. 13, 2021. (AP Photo/Barry Reeger)
Trucks queue at motorway 65 on their way to the Polish-Belarusian border between Bialystok and Bobrowniki, Poland, Sunday, Nov. 14, 2021. (AP Photo/Matthias Schrader)
Migrants warm themselves at a fire as they gather at the Belarus-Poland border near Grodno, Belarus, Saturday, Nov. 13, 2021. A large number of migrants are in a makeshift camp on the Belarusian side of the border in frigid conditions. Belarusian state news agency Belta reported that Lukashenko on Saturday ordered the military to set up tents at the border where food and other humanitarian aid can be gathered and distributed to the migrants. (Leonid Shcheglov/BelTA pool photo via AP)
Las Vegas Raiders wide receiver Zay Jones (7) sits on the sidelines with his head in his hands during the second half of an NFL football game against the Kansas City Chiefs, Sunday, Nov. 14, 2021, in Las Vegas. (AP Photo/Rick Scuteri)
St. Bonaventure guard Dominick Welch (1) dunks while defended by Canisius guard Armon Harried (11) during the second half of an NCAA college basketball game, Sunday, Nov. 14, 2021, in Olean N.Y. (AP Photo/Joshua Bessex)
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Attendees at an opening ceremony for the Beijing Stock Exchange pass by a display showing the stock market prices in Beijing Monday, Nov. 15, 2021. A stock exchange set up in the Chinese capital to serve entrepreneurs opened trading Monday with 81 companies amid a crackdown the country's tech giants that has wiped more than $1 trillion off their market value abroad. (AP Photo/Ng Han Guan)
Green Bay Packers' AJ Dillon celebrates with fans after rushing for a touchdown during the second half of an NFL football game against the Seattle Seahawks Sunday, Nov. 14, 2021, in Green Bay, Wis. (AP Photo/Aaron Gash)
Escorted by U.S. marshals, three of the "New Orleans Four," from left to right: Leona Tate, Gail Etienne and Tessie Prevost are presented to the crowd on the steps of McDonogh 19 Elementary School, the same steps they climbed during integreation in 1960, as they were participate in the New Orleans Four Day 61st anniversary ceremony in New Orleans, Sunday, Nov. 14, 2021. The three women, along with Ruby Bridges, were the first African Americans to integrate the all-white public schools in New Orleans. (AP Photo/Ted Jackson)
Serbian players celebrate at the end of the World Cup 2022 group A qualifying soccer match between Portugal and Serbia at the Luz stadium in Lisbon, Sunday, Nov 14, 2021. (AP Photo/Armando Franca)
Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton, of Britain, celebrates his victory in the Brazilian Formula One Grand Prix in Sao Paulo, Brazil, Sunday, Nov. 14, 2021. (Lars Baron, Pool Photo via AP)
Carolina Panthers quarterback Cam Newton (1) gives Arizona Cardinals inside linebacker Zaven Collins (25) a shove as Newton runs for a touchdown during the first half of an NFL football game Sunday, Nov. 14, 2021, in Glendale, Ariz. (AP Photo/Ralph Freso)
Matthew Wolff lets go of his driver in reaction as his tee shot on the eighth hole goes left into the rough during the final round of the Houston Open golf tournament Sunday, Nov. 14, 2021, in Houston. (AP Photo/Michael Wyke)
Australian cricketers celebrate after winning the Cricket Twenty20 World Cup final match in Dubai, UAE, Sunday, Nov. 14, 2021. (AP Photo/Aijaz Rahi)
MotoGP rider Valentino Rossi of Italy, center, waves at the end of the Valencia Motorcycle Grand Prix, the last race of the season, at the Ricardo Tormo circuit in Cheste, near Valencia, Spain, Sunday, Nov. 14, 2021. Rossi will be retiring from MotoGP racing as the season ends in Valencia. (AP Photo/Alberto Saiz)
Arkansas place-kicker Cam Little (29) celebrates an overtime field goal against LSU during an NCAA college football game in Baton Rouge, La., Saturday, Nov. 13, 2021. (AP Photo/Matthew Hinton)
Southern Mississippi wide receiver Jason Brownlee (1) makes a catch in front of UTSA cornerback Ken Robinson (21) during the first half of an NCAA college football game, Saturday, Nov. 13, 2021, in San Antonio. (AP Photo/Eric Gay)
Baylor defensive lineman Rob Saulin (91) celebrates with fans after a 27-14 victory over Oklahoma following an NCAA college football game in Waco, Texas, Saturday, Nov. 13, 2021. (AP Photo/Ray Carlin)
The 79-foot tall Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree arrives from Elkton, Md., is setup onto Rockefeller Plaza from a flatbed truck, Saturday, Nov. 13, 2021, in New York. New York City ushered in the holiday season with the arrival of the Norway spruce that will serve as one of the world's most famous Christmas trees. (AP Photo/Dieu-Nalio Chery)
Victoria Sinitsina and Nikita Katsalapov of Russia at the ISU Grand Prix of Figure Skating NHK Trophy competition in Tokyo, Japan, Saturday, Nov. 13, 2021. (AP Photo/Shuji Kajiyama)