The US Congress has passed a landmark $1tn (£741bn) infrastructure spending package approved three months ago by the Senate. The 228-to-206 vote is a substantial triumph for Biden’s Democrats, who have bickered for months over the ambitious spending bills that make up the bulk of his domestic agenda.
Billed as a “once-in-a-generation” spending measure, the infrastructure legislation proposes $550bn in direct federal expenditure to upgrade highways, roads and bridges, as well as to modernise city transit systems and passenger rail networks.
The bill also puts high on the agenda an expansion of the social safety net for all Americans and new programs to fight climate change.
The package also includes a $65 billion (£48 billion) investment in improving the nation’s broadband infrastructure and tens of billions of dollars in improving the electric grid and water systems.
Another $7.5 billion (£5.5 billion) would go to building a nationwide network of plug-in electric vehicle chargers, according to the bill text.
The vote followed hours of delays and internal debating among Democrats on Friday, including calls from Biden to persuade sceptical progressive members of the Democratic caucus.
A separate social welfare bill is also in the works.
Members of the Congressional Progressive Caucus first pledged they would not support the infrastructure bill until they had voted on the project bill known as the Build Back Better Act.
This new program is supposed to allocate money for healthcare, education and climate change initiatives.
“This funding will upgrade crucial infrastructure, support climate-conscious efforts, create jobs, and expand opportunities for those in San Diego.”
President Biden will still have to face the farthest left part of his own ranks as six of them, including the popular Reps. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York and Cori Bush of Missouri opposed it.
“Welcome to my world,” House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, told reporters as her colleagues were still debating.
“We are not a lockstep party,” she added.
In a statement, President Biden said of the historic bill: “Tonight, we took a monumental step forward as a nation.
“The United States House of Representatives passed the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, a once-in-generation bipartisan infrastructure bill that will create millions of jobs, turn the climate crisis into an opportunity, and put us on a path to win the economic competition for the 21st Century.
“I’m also proud that a rule was voted on that will allow for passage of my Build Back Better Act in the House of Representatives the week of November 15th.
“I look forward to signing both of these bills into law.
“Generations from now, people will look back and know this is when America won the economic competition for the 21st Century.”