‘Blue-collar blueprint’: Biden pushes for infrastructure deal as economy rebounds

National / World

WASHINGTON (NewsNation Now) — President Joe Biden pushed for a bipartisan infrastructure deal in remarks touting the economic progress made since he has taken office.

“We’ve brought this economy back from the brink,” Biden said during a Monday address. “We’re building an economy from the bottom up and middle out.”

The $1.2 trillion bipartisan infrastructure bill will face an initial procedural floor vote in the Senate Wednesday, Majority Leader Chuck Schumer announced last week in an apparent effort to jump-start the process.

Biden called his plans a “blue-collar blueprint for building an American economy back.”

“This is the best strategy to create millions of jobs and lift up middle class families, grow wages and keep prices affordable for the long term,” he said.

The legislative wrangling marks a major test of Biden’s ability to deliver on a massive package of economic promises and reforms he made during his campaign. He’s been putting public pressure on lawmakers with a series of speeches highlighting the strengthening economy while emphasizing the need for further investment to continue that growth and to bolster the middle class.

“What the best companies do — and what we as a country should do — is make smart, sustainable investments with appropriate financing,” the president said during remarks at the White House Monday.

Legislators from both parties are working to forge a consensus on details of the measure, which is expected to fund roads, bridges, ports and other “hard” infrastructure. Biden backs the deal but first the working group of over 20 senators must resolve their own differences, including over how to fund the deal.

Signs of difficulty emerged on Thursday when the Republican leader of the group, Senator Rob Portman, said he would not vote to advance the measure next week unless the legislation was ready.

The debate over infrastructure comes amid evidence that the U.S. economy and job market are quickly rebounding from the pandemic recession. In June, employers added a strong 850,000 jobs, and hourly pay rose a solid 3.6% compared with a year ago, faster than the pre-pandemic annual pace and a sign that companies are being compelled to pay more to attract and keep workers.

Biden said Monday that his proposed investments would help rebuild U.S. supply chains and ease pressures on U.S. production that some economists say have contributed to inflation.

“If we make prudent, multi-year investments in better roads, bridges, transit systems and high speed internet, a modern resilient electric grid, here’s what will happen: It breaks up the bottlenecks in our economy,” he said.

“These steps will enhance our productivity, raising wages without raising prices. That won’t increase inflation, it’ll take the pressure off of inflation,” Biden added.

The Associated Press and Reuters contributed to this report.

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