He’s starting in Woodstock, New Hampshire, which has an 82-year-old steel bridge spanning the Pemigewasset River that’s been on the state’s “red list” of structurally deficient bridges, requiring two safety inspections every year. “That’s what this law is all about: keeping communities safer and more efficient,” Biden said at Monday’s bill signing, announcing this trip to New Hampshire. “On Wednesday,” he said, “I’ll be in Detroit to meet with the UAW workers who are building the next generation of electric vehicles. And that’s just the beginning.”
“Here in Washington, we’ve heard countless speeches and promises, white papers from experts, but today we’re finally getting this done,” Biden said Monday. “So my message to the American people is this: America’s moving again, and your life is going to change for the better.”
He acknowledged the difficulty of getting this bill done. “I know you’re tired of the bickering in Washington, frustrated by the negativity,” Biden said. “And you just want us to focus on your needs, your concerns and the conversations that are taking place at your kitchen table, conversations as profound as they are ordinary.” To put a point on that, he added this: “I also want to thank Minority Leader Mitch McConnell for voting for this bill and talking about how useful and important it is.”
That could either be a sincere “thank you” to McConnell, or a more pointed remark about the chaos among Republicans—stoked by Trump—and efforts to excommunicate House Republicans who helped get the bill passed. It doesn’t hurt to keep McConnell, who refused to attend the signing ceremony, reminded of the thin ice he’s maneuvering every day.
“[W]hen you see those projects start in your hometowns,” Biden said Monday, “I want you to feel what I feel: pride — pride in what we can do together as the United States of America.” He didn’t focus much on the second part of his agenda, but did suggest that the job isn’t done with the passage of hard infrastructure.
“Folks, you know, the same goes for my plan to build back better for the people—getting folks back to work and reducing costs of things like child care, elder care, housing, health care, prescription drugs, and meeting the moment on climate change,” he told the gathering. Vice President Kamala Harris reinforced that point in her remarks.
“This legislation, as significant as it is, as historic as it is, is part one of two,” Harris said. “Congress must also pass the Build Back Better Act.”