The column below reflects the views of the author, and these opinions are neither endorsed nor supported by WisOpinion.com.
President Joe Biden has signed the bipartisan infrastructure bill passed by the Congress into law. And, the Democratic-led House passed the Build Back Better Act. Both are historic and transformative. Biden is delivering on commitments to regular folks in Wisconsin.
On signing the bipartisan infrastructure bill, supported by 19 GOP senators and 13 GOP representatives, Biden said: “For all you at home who feel left behind and forgotten in an economy that’s changing so rapidly this bill is for you. The vast majority of the thousands of jobs that will be created do not require a college degree. This is a blue-collar blueprint to rebuild America, and it’s long overdue.” The signing ceremony was attended by Democratic and GOP members of Congress, governors, business and labor leaders.
Ohio GOP Senator Rob Portman said: “The infrastructure bill will make our economy more productive and competitive against other countries like China. Importantly, by making long-term investments in capital assets, it is counter-inflationary at a time when inflation remains a serious concern for American families.” Wisconsin Democratic Senator Tammy Baldwin issued a strongly supportive news release: “I am especially proud of working across party lines to make sure we included strong Buy America standards … . It will help make sure America is buying what Wisconsin makes … delivering results for our manufacturers and workers.”
The infrastructure legislation will give Wisconsin: $5.2 billion for repairing and rebuilding roads, $225 million for bridge repairs and replacement, over $590 million for public transit, $100 million for broadband, $841 million for water infrastructure, $198 million for airports, $79 million for a state electric vehicle charging network and more. All Wisconsin Democratic members of Congress voted yes, while all state GOP members opposed. Although Wisconsin GOP Representatives Mike Gallagher and Bryan Steil are members of the bipartisan Problem Solvers Caucus (PSC), they didn’t join 8 other GOP PSC members in negotiating and passing the bill.
On Friday, the Democratic-led House passed the Build Back Better Act on a party line vote. All Wisconsin Democrats voted yes, while all state Republicans were opposed. The NYT reported: “It offers universal prekindergarten, generous subsidies for child care that extend well into the middle class, expanded financial aid for college, (help for healthcare coverage), housing support, home and community care for older Americans, a new hearing benefit for Medicare and (some) price controls for prescription drugs. More than half a trillion dollars would go toward shifting the U.S. economy away from fossil fuel to renewable energy and electric cars … .”
The bill now goes to the Democratic-led Senate. In order to pass, all 50 Democratic senators must support the bill. That means it will be amended to reduce the cost and eliminate some provisions. Baldwin tweeted: “I’m not going to let congressional Republicans stop me from delivering results for Wisconsin. It is time to make billionaires and the largest corporations pay their fair share of taxes so we can invest in an economy that works for hard-working Wisconsin families.” Spot-on.
– Kaplan wrote a guest column from Washington, D.C., for the Wisconsin State Journal from 1995 – 2009.