Schumer Remarks At White House Signing Ceremony For The Historic Bipartisan Infrastructure Investment And Jobs Act

November 15, 2021

Washington, D.C.  Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) today spoke at the White House with President Biden, Vice President Harris, and a bipartisan group of legislators celebrating the signing of the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act:

Thank you Mr. President for inviting us to the White House.

Thank you to Vice President Harris and my colleagues in attendance, all of you, and Senators Sinema, Portman, and Speaker Pelosi.

Now, for years, Americans were promised that an infrastructure bill was coming. Today, we’re telling the American people that an infrastructure bill is finally here. Thank you President Biden!

At the start of this year, we told American families that we’d meet the challenges of our time with boldness and with courage. Now they’re getting one of the largest infrastructure bills ever.

To paraphrase one of my favorite former Vice Presidents: it’s a big effin deal.

There isn’t a community in America—not a city, not a town, or rural hub—that doesn’t have some glaring infrastructure problem requiring immediate attention.

Busted roads make it harder for people to get to work. Dilapidated schools make it harder for kids to learn. Overtaxed seaports and railways and airports make it harder for goods to get to market, hurting businesses, raising prices on consumers, and hurting our economy.

If America is to compete in this century, we can’t do it with an infrastructure that’s stuck in the last century. This infrastructure bill will help us meet the challenges of our time, strengthen our crucial supply chains, and lay the foundation for another generation of economic prosperity.

This bill can be summed up by a four letter word: J-O-B-S. Jobs, jobs, and more local jobs; more good-paying jobs – more union jobs!

This bill will benefit every state – every state – in very significant ways. In New York, my New York, major projects which have been stalled for so long—like Gateway, the Cross Bronx Expressway, the Second Avenue subway, I-81 in Syracuse, the inner loop in Rochester—will have the ability to get going.

And there are projects as important as these in every state across the country.

Today’s infrastructure bill will also begin the necessary efforts to prevent the worst of climate change, putting thousands of Americans to work by investing in resilience in our buildings and, crucially, beginning our task to make America’s transportation system clean.

It will finally bring millions of Americans online with high speed internet, both in rural and underserved communities. New York alone still has over one million households without access or a subscription to broadband.

We will also help eliminate lead pipes in our water systems, so one day parents won’t have to worry if their kids are getting sick every time they turn on the faucet. Cities like Rochester still have 25,000 lead pipes that need replacement. 25,000!

And today’s legislation will also make driving safer in America. It will require new cars to install drunk driving prevention technology. And it will make dangerous, largely unregulated vehicles—like limos—safer to use on the road.

In the audience today we have a great New Yorker: my friend Kevin Cushing. Kevin is the father of Patrick Cushing. Patrick died three years ago when he and 19 friends from the Amsterdam New York area were celebrating a birthday and they were killed in a limo crash in Schoharie. As the President deeply understands, that is a loss no parent should endure.             

It was a horrific, preventable tragedy stemming from outdated federal rules and loopholes that allow dangerous limos to operate on the road unchecked. 

In the face of the loss, rather than curse the darkness, Kevin and the families impacted that day lit a candle. Every day since that accident, they have pushed every single senator to support changes in our laws to make these vehicles safer to ride in. Today, their perseverance has paid off. Kevin, my friend, it was an honor to fight alongside you, and today Patrick is smiling down with pride.

So, Mr. President, thank you for your leadership in achieving this long-sought goal on a bipartisan basis. The benefits go on and on. 

Thank you to all my colleagues who pushed this infrastructure bill over the finish line, including our committee chairs and Speaker Pelosi and everyone who reached across the aisle on this bipartisan achievement.

Today’s signing is a major and historic step forward—and we will keep working with you, Mr. President, to build on today’s success by passing the rest of your Build Back Better Agenda in the weeks ahead, so we can keep our promises to help families achieve the American Dream.

Thank you, everybody. This is a great day for America.