Biden to sign infrastructure bill when Congress reopens

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Biden to sign infrastructure bill when Congress reopens

Forget about 1,000 words, this picture’s going to be worth $1.2 trillion.

After pressing Congress to urgently pass the bipartisan infrastructure bill last week, President Biden is now holding up the Senate- and House-passed legislation — until he can gather key congress members for a bill-signing photo op. 

During Monday’s White House daily press briefing, Deputy Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre was asked why Biden has not yet signed the bill after the White House and president “talked about the urgency” of passing it. 

“So he talked about this on Saturday — he and he basically said he wants to make sure that the congressional members who work very, very hard on this when they come back, then we’ll — we’ll figure out a time to sign it,” Jean-Pierre told reporters. 

“But you’re right, is it — it’s urgent, but we also want to make sure that the people who spent the last couple of weeks, last couple of months just all in delivering on this — on this promise are here for the signing as well,” she added. 

President Joe Biden and First Lady Jill Biden.
After urging the bill’s passage last week, Joe Biden is taking his time. Here, he and First Lady Jill Biden arrive back at the White House on Monday.
Chris Kleponis/CNP/startraksphot

When pressed on a specific date, Jean-Pierre said she does not have a date set but “it will be very soon.” 

Congress will not be back in session until the week of Nov. 15. 

Just before midnight Friday, the $1.2 trillion Bipartisan Infrastructure Framework, or BIF, was approved 228-206 after 13 GOP members joined 215 Democrats to successfully pass the key part of Biden’s agenda. 

Prior to the vote, Biden urged members to pass the bill after weeks of negotiation and battling within the Democratic party.  

“I’m asking every House member — member of the House Representatives, to vote yes on both of these bills right now,” Biden said. 

“Send the infrastructure bill to my desk, send the Build Back Better bill to the Senate. Let’s build on incredible economic progress. Build on what we’ve already done. And this will be such a boost when it occurs,” he added.

The president celebrated its passage Saturday morning, saying “Finally it’s Infrastructure week.” 

Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg was minutes earlier pressed at the same briefing on when the president will sign the infrastructure package. He did not reveal a date and referred to the White House. 

White House deputy press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre, left, calls on a reporter as Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg listens during the daily briefing at the White House in Washington, Monday, Nov. 8, 2021.
White House deputy press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre, left, calls on a reporter as Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg listens during the daily briefing at the White House in Washington, Monday, Nov. 8, 2021.
AP

The infrastructure bill’s passage comes as House Democrats also look to pass Biden’s Build Back Better Act, a $1.75 social and environmental spending bill. For weeks, progressives were using the infrastructure package as leverage to pass the spending bill through reconciliation, and multiple Democrats still voted against it late Friday in an attempt to get their measure through first. 

While the House did not vote on the Build Back Better Act last week, they did agree on rules that will allow the bill to get a separate vote later this month. Some moderate Democrats were waiting to get an evaluation from the Congressional Budget Office on the bill’s impact on the federal deficit before committing to voting for the package. 

The package is still facing strong headwinds in the Senate from moderate Sens. Joe Manchin (D-WV) and Kyrsten Sinema (D-Ariz), however Biden remains confident it will also pass.

“I feel confident that we will have enough votes to pass the Build Back Better plan,” he told reporters.

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