‘Blue-collar plan’: Biden pushes for infrastructure deal as economy rebounds

WASHINGTON (NewsNation now) – President Joe Biden has pushed for a bipartisan agreement on infrastructure in remarks touting the economic progress made since taking office.

“We’ve brought this economy back from the brink,” Biden said during a speech on Monday. “We are building an economy from the bottom up and from the middle.”

The $1.2 Trillion Bipartisan infrastructure bill will face a first procedural vote in the Senate on Wednesday, Majority Leader Chuck Schumer announced last week in an apparent effort to revive the process.

Biden called his plans “a blue-collar blueprint for rebuilding an American economy.”

“It’s the best strategy to create millions of jobs and raise middle-class families, raise wages and keep prices affordable for the long term,” he said.

The legislative wrangling marks a major test of Biden’s ability to deliver on a massive set of economic promises and reforms he made during his campaign. He has exerted public pressure on lawmakers with a series of speeches highlighting the strengthening economy while stressing the need for new investments to continue that growth and strengthen the middle class.

“What the best companies are doing — and what we should be doing as a country — is making smart, sustainable investments with the right funding,” the president said during a White House address on Monday.

Lawmakers from both sides are working to forge consensus on the details of the measure, which is expected to fund roads, bridges, ports and other “hard” infrastructure. Biden supports the deal, but the task force of more than 20 senators must first resolve its own disputes, including over how to fund the deal.

Signs of trouble emerged on Thursday when the group’s Republican leader, Sen. Rob Portman, said he would not vote to push the measure forward next week unless the legislation was ready.

The infrastructure debate comes as the U.S. economy and labor market rapidly recover from the pandemic recession. In June, employers added 850,000 jobsand hourly wages rose 3.6% from a year ago, faster than the pre-pandemic annual pace and a sign that companies are being forced to pay more to attract and keep workers.

Biden said on Monday his proposed investments would help rebuild U.S. supply chains and ease pressures on U.S. production that some economists say have contributed to inflation.

“If we make careful, multi-year investments in better roads, bridges, public transit systems and high-speed internet, a modern, resilient power grid, here’s what will happen: It breaks the bottlenecks in our economy” , did he declare.

“These measures will improve our productivity, increasing wages without increasing prices. It won’t increase inflation, it will reduce the pressure of inflation,” Biden added.

The Associated Press and Reuters contributed to this report.

Elizabeth J. Harless