Biden hails bipartisan Senate vote in victory lap speech
President Biden on Tuesday extolled the virtues of bipartisanship, declaring the concept is not dead after 19 Republicans joined Democrats to pass a $1 trillion infrastructure bill in the Senate.
“This is transformational. I know compromise is hard for both sides. But it’s important, it’s necessary for democracy to be able to function,” Biden said in prepared remarks from the White House. “So I want to thank everyone on both sides of the aisle for supporting this bill. Today, we proved democracy can still work.”
Biden singled out Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) and thanked him for backing the bill, something former President Trump has relentlessly attacked the senator for in recent days. The president called Senate Majority Leader Charles Schumer’s (D-N.Y.) handling of the legislation “masterful.”
The president said he’d reached out to many of the Republicans who voted in favor of the bill earlier in the day to express his gratitude.
“I know it wasn’t easy,” Biden said from the White House. “For the Republicans who supported this bill, you showed a lot of courage.”
Senators voted 69-30 to approve the bill, which was spearheaded by a bipartisan group of senators led by Sens. Kyrsten Sinema (D-Ariz.) and Rob Portman (R-Ohio).
The Senate’s passage of the bipartisan measure on Tuesday provides Biden with a signature victory on infrastructure, which has been an elusive issue for lawmakers in recent years. It also offers a concrete example of both parties coming together after Biden explicitly campaigned on his ability to lower the temperature in the nation’s capital.
“Where we can agree, we should, and here on this bill we proved we can still come together to do big things, important things, for the American people,” Biden said.
The bipartisan deal includes roughly $550 billion in new funding, making it substantially smaller than the $2.6 trillion proposed by Biden earlier this year. It includes money for new investments for infrastructure projects like roads, bridges, broadband, water and rail.
The bill must still get through the House, where it faces some reluctance from progressive Democrats who are hoping to see a reconciliation bill packed with liberal priorities passed first. Biden on Tuesday expressed confidence both pieces of legislation would reach his desk.
“There are no Republican bridges or Democratic roads,” Biden said, hailing the bipartisan nature of Tuesday’s vote in the Senate. “This is a moment that lives beyond the headlines, beyond partisan soundbites, beyond the culture of instant outrage, disinformation and conflict as entertainment. This is about us doing the real, hard work of governing. It’s about democracy delivering for the people.”