After months of democratic infighting, President Joe Biden is expected to sign the $1.2 trillion bipartisan infrastructure package on Monday, the first part of his “Build Back Better” agenda.
“We took a monumental step forward as a nation,” Biden said after the House passed the measure on Friday. “We’re just getting started."
The legislation is billed as the single largest investment in the nation's roads, bridges, rail lines, and airports in decades. It includes $110 billion for roads and bridges, $66 billion for Amtrak, $65 billion to improve internet access, and $55 billion to upgrade water and sewer systems.
But it also includes $500 million for "Tree Equity" – making sure streets have the right balance of trees, billions for climate change and even giving money to China for research.
Democratic leaders Sunday insist that if this bill had been passed before last Tuesday's Virginia gubernatorial election, Terry McAuliffe would have won.
“I do think the voters sent a message on Tuesday they wanted to see more action in Washington," said White House Chief of Staff Ron Klain.
Sen. Tim Kaine (D-VA) said Democrats blew the timing of infrastructure and spending bills.
“We should have passed these bills in early October. If we had it would have probably helped Terry McAuliffe win the governor's race,” said Kaine.
Republicans say Democrats did not get the message from voters last Tuesday that Americans struggling to make ends meet under the pandemic and rising inflation are in no mood for big spending in Washington.
“You would think this would be a wake-up call for the Democrats,” said Sen. John Barrasso (R-WY). "It was a rejection election. Voters overwhelmingly across the country rejected these radical policies of the democrats, which have caused inflation, rising prices.”
Republicans see a giant red wave sweeping the country next year.
“Joe Biden and Kamala Harris and the rest of the clown car in Washington is setting the stage for victory in 2022 and bigger one in 2024,” Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) said while speaking at the Republican Jewish Coalition.
Some House Democrats did get the message from last Tuesday's elections, with increasing numbers announcing they're retiring.
Polls not only show Biden's approval rating at 38%, but nearly two-thirds of Americans and almost a third of Democrats don’t want him to run again.
And the second part of Biden's infrastructure could make voters even angrier, a multi-trillion dollar social spending bill Republicans say is nothing more than socialism.