President Joe Biden signed the $1.2 trillion bipartisan infrastructure bill into law during a Nov. 15 signing ceremony, fulfilling the first of a two-part effort to combat climate change, among other priorities.
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"Today, we're finally getting this done," the president said before signing the bill.
After a months-long struggle to pass the infrastructure bill along with a more partisan budget bill, the US House of Representatives advanced the former on Nov. 5. Congress is still considering the budget reconciliation bill, dubbed the Build Back Better Act, and the House could act on it later this week.
Biden touted the infrastructure bill's investment in electric vehicle infrastructure, creating the first "true national network of charging stations for electric vehicles."
The infrastructure bill aims to help the US meet Biden's goal of decarbonizing the power sector by 2035. Among other provisions, the legislation includes more than $65 billion for power infrastructure, including $29 billion for the electricity grid.
It also clarifies the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission's role in issuing construction and modification permits pertaining to interstate transmission facilities should a state deny approval for a project.
Additionally, the bill includes incentives to prevent nuclear plants from closing prematurely for financial reasons and will offer low-interest loans for CO2 transport projects.
Billions of dollars in grants would be devoted to battery processing, manufacturing and recycling as well.
The president also issued a Nov. 15 executive order to implement the infrastructure bill, directing federal agencies to, among other things, implement the legislation's "Made-in-America requirements and [bolster] United States manufacturing and supply chains."
Build Back Better Act
While the infrastructure bill received some Republican support, the Build Back Better Act, packed with funding for social programs and climate mitigation, has been more polarizing.
During the ceremony, Senator Rob Portman, Republican-Ohio, who is not seeking reelection in 2022, told Biden that they may "disagree on the tax and spending in the other priority you have, the reconciliation bill, but I think we can both agree that this infrastructure investment shouldn't be a one-time bipartisan accomplishment."
Vice President Kamala Harris pointed to the need for the Build Back Better Act to advance the Biden administration's priorities.
"This bill -- as significant as it is, as historic as it is – is part one of two," Harris said of the infrastructure bill. "To lower costs and cut taxes for working families, to tackle the climate crisis at its core, Congress must also pass the Build Back Better Act."