LIVE: Biden Meets With House Members on Infrastructure Funding in the Oval Office

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  • Bloomberg Quicktake: Now published this video item, entitled “LIVE: Biden Meets With House Members on Infrastructure Funding in the Oval Office” – below is their description.

    (Mar. 4) Watch live as President Joe Biden meets 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.

    Biden “believes we have to rebuild our crumbling roads and bridges, improve our communities, and create good union jobs for Americans,” White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki told reporters.

    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.

    “If we don’t get moving, they’re going to eat our lunch,” he said then.

    “It used to be that infrastructure wasn’t a Democratic or Republican issue,” Biden also said at that meeting. “We’re going to see what we can put together.”

    U.S. infrastructure including roads, bridges and sewers received a mediocre grade this week from the American Society of Civil Engineers. Crucial systems from public transit to wastewater treatment and the energy grid remain badly underfunded despite modest improvements over the past four years, according to ASCE. The group’s overall grade rose to “C-” from a “D+” in 2017, the last time it issued its quadrennial report card on infrastructure.

    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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