Biden Pitches Infrastructure Funding in Talks With House Members

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  • Bloomberg Quicktake: Now published this video item, entitled “Biden Pitches Infrastructure Funding in Talks With House Members” – below is their description.

    President Joe Biden met Thursday with a bipartisan group of House members to push for a major increase in infrastructure spending that could surpass his $1.9 trillion virus relief plan in size.

    “We’re going to talk about infrastructure and American competitiveness and what we’re going to do to make sure that we once again lead the world across the board on infrastructure,” Biden said at the White House as the meeting got underway. “It not only creates jobs but it makes us a helluva lot more competitive around the world.”

    Biden’s push comes the same week the American Society of Civil Engineers gave U.S. infrastructure, including roads, bridges and sewers, a mediocre grade. The group’s overall grade rose to “C-” from a “D+” in 2017, the last time it issued its quadrennial report card on infrastructure.

    Thursday’s meeting included eight lawmakers, including Transportation Committee Chairman Peter DeFazio and the panel’s top Repulican, Sam Graves, according to the White House.

    Biden and Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg met last month with two Democratic senators and two Republicans. He urged Congress to get to work and, speaking the day after a phone call with Chinese President Xi Jinping, warned that the U.S. could fall behind as China pours billions of dollars into infrastructure projects.

    Biden’s infrastructure plan will draw on the “Build Back Better” proposals he offered during his campaign, which included $2 trillion during his first term on infrastructure and clean energy. He will unveil the plan he wants Congress to consider during his first address to a joint session, which the White House has said will take place after Congress passes his stimulus bill.

    In addition to traditional infrastructure programs, such as building roads and shoring up bridges, the administration also wants to spend on building electric vehicle charging stations, developing cleaner cars and creating zero-emission mass transit systems. The spending would also boost sustainable home building, clean energy innovation and conservation. Some of the ideas have faced skepticism from Republicans.

    After meeting with Biden last month, Oklahoma Senator James Inhofe, a leading skeptic of climate change, said it was important not to attach a controversial “agenda” item to infrastructure to hold it hostage.

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