By Colson Parker
“This bill has given hope to the nation after its bipartisan victory. With steady implementation we can see a widely improved system for America’s commuters and travelers.”
A Bipartisan Victory
On Friday, Nov. 5th, the Senate passed a $1 trillion infrastructure bill. The bill was a smaller piece of Biden’s larger $3 trillion Build Back Better plan. Included in the bill are plans for improvements to several areas of infrastructure including roads and bridges, internet, and public transit and rails. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi was hoping to pass the entire $3 trillion plan in its entirety, but Democrats only managed to squeeze through this single piece of bill. President Biden has championed the passing of this bill as a major bipartisan success that emerged out of the division surrounding the rest of the plan. Senate minority leader Mitch McConnell joined with Biden in celebrating the bill’s passing. In a statement made by McConnell, he noted, “I was proud to support today’s historic bipartisan infrastructure deal and prove that both sides of the political aisle can still come together around common-sense solutions.” Biden noted his gratitude to Republicans for showing “a lot of courage” in passing the bill.
Complications with Biden’s Bill
The larger plan proposed by Biden and Democrats focuses on climate, healthcare, education, and other areas of social welfare spending contained within a second bill intended to be passed alongside the infrastructure bill. While the Democrats have a slight majority in the Senate, the party ran into trouble arriving at an agreement within itself. The divisions have appeared between the Democratic moderates, who want to pass the infrastructure bill as quickly as possible, and the Democratic progressives, who wanted to continue negotiations on the second bill to ensure increased government commitment to climate, education, and health.
On Wednesday, Biden held a rally with Democrats in an attempt to get them refocused for the passing of the second bill. We are not quite sure how this renewed effort will play out, but Congress will reconvene on November 15th to readdress the bill, with the infrastructure portion of the plan already having been signed into law. The urgency around the passing of the bill is heightened by looming threats of a potential government shutdown within the next few weeks. Part of the budget proposed will go to critical government funding needed to avoid such a threat. Biden is hopeful that successful negotiations will prevent the shutdown from happening. The successful negotiations resulting in Republican support of the infrastructure bill inspire hope for future bipartisan deals. However, the road to passage for the bipartisan bill deciding the allocation of the additional two trillion dollars in the President’s plan will not be easy.
What Will Change?
The $1 trillion infrastructure bill has rightly made people nervous for the application of the money. It is important to note that “the current infrastructure package will dwarf anything that preceded it.”
If prudence and efficiency are used in spending the money, then we can look towards great hope for the American people in this display of bipartisan legislation. One of the bill’s main goals is to address America’s neglected roads and bridges. Hopefully commuters of all kinds will be able to benefit from the bill.
The bill allocates funding for building protected bikes lanes, new rail lines, improved roads, and improving bus and transit networks. Supporters of the bill are also hoping the bill addresses and improves efficiency in transportation of goods throughout the states. Cities both big and small are projected to be positively affected by these changes. Some of the bigger projects will not kick off for another year, providing time for adequate planning and implementation.
The President and members of both parties are optimistic about the direction of the bill, but the bill will face its challenges. The spending of the bill will be spread out over five years, and we will see how the changes take place over time. Like many industries in the nation, the large projects of the bill face the obstacle of nationwide labor shortages.
This bill has given hope to the nation after its bipartisan victory. With steady implementation we can see a widely improved system for America’s commuters and travelers.
Colson is a Junior at Grove City College studying Social Work and Biblical and Religious Studies. Colson is involved in multiple roles on Grove City College’s campus. He serves as the Chaplain for the Student Government Association, on the executive team on the college’s orientation board, and as the Inner-City Outreach Student Liaison for the colleges short term missions program.
Colson enjoys researching and learning about global studies, community development, and poverty alleviation. He has a passion for missions and spent the last summer in Casablanca, Morocco in a language and cultural internship.