Washington, D.C. – Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) today spoke on the Senate floor regarding the enactment of the bipartisan Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act and laid out the urgent need to follow up on this historic legislation by passing the rest of President Biden’s Build Back Better agenda. Below are Senator Schumer’s remarks:
Yesterday our country took a major step forward to prepare our economy for the challenges of the 21st century.
As we all know, the American people have been told for years—for years!—that another infrastructure bill was coming. One infrastructure week after another.
But after yesterday, we can now tell the American people that an infrastructure law is here! The president signed it yesterday!
The enactment of bipartisan infrastructure legislation is so long overdue. There isn’t a community in America that doesn’t have some glaring need: crumbling roads, dilapidated schools, untrustworthy bridges, overburdened airports, seaports, and railways.
The new infrastructure law will tackle these challenges head on, and I thank the President and my colleagues from both sides of the aisle—both sides of the aisle—in making yesterday possible.
The President’s Infrastructure bill can be summarized with a four letter word: J-O-B-S. Jobs, jobs, jobs: more local jobs, good-paying jobs, and union jobs! Unions as we know, have been a ladder up through the decades, and they will continue to be under this bill as there will be more of them.
And the jobs will put people to work on projects in every state and every community. In New York—my state, so dependent on good transportation—major undertakings like Gateway, the Cross Bronx Expressway, the Second Avenue Subway, I-81 in Syracuse and the north inner loop in Rochester—the list could go on and on and on—all of them will finally get a great chance happening after years of paralysis.
And the federal dollars that the government is sending to the states is already having an effect in my state. Yesterday our governor announced that because of the federal dollars, there won't be fare increases or cutbacks in service on the M.T.A. and the commuter rail. That is really good news.
Well, what's happening in New York holds in every other state in the nation. Major projects that have been long-awaited have a real good possibility of getting going.
So there's great news. And jobs, jobs, jobs will rain down on every state.
There is much to celebrate with yesterday’s signing, and in the weeks and months and years to come the American people will see the benefits with their own eyes.
I want to thank President Biden for finally delivering on something that previous Administrations have tried to do but been unable to complete.
And make no mistake—we will keep going in the weeks ahead by passing the rest of President Biden’s Build Back Better Agenda.
It’s very simple: if we want to create more jobs, if we want to fight inflation, if we want to help families lower costs—the best thing we can do is to pass Build Back Better.
Let me repeat that: Want to fight inflation? Support Build Back Better!
For all of 2021, we have seen an historic and unprecedented economic recovery compared to where we were at the depths of the COVID crisis.
But there’s no denying that as our recovery continues, we must work to address supply chain troubles that have exacerbated inflation in recent months.
Build Back Better is exactly what the doctor ordered: no fewer than seventeen Nobel-prize winning economists—and economists across the political spectrum—have said, repeatedly, that Build Back Better and Infrastructure together will help reduce, reduce, inflationary pressures.
The child care investments alone will save parents thousands of dollars a year. Right now, families pay an average of $10,000 annually on child care for each kid under 4, and many pay far more than that. That’s a back breaking expense too many families, the majority, simply can’t afford.
Well, Build Back Better will provide the largest investment in child care ever.
Extending the Child Tax Credit will help parents save on things like diapers and groceries and gasoline.
And of course, Build Back Better will finally empower Medicare to directly negotiate drug prices in Part B and Part D, lowering costs for millions of seniors and American families.
On insulin alone, our plan will make it so that Americans with diabetes won’t pay more than $35 per month for insulin.
None of the things I’m talking about are luxuries. None are handouts. They are daily essentials that families need to thrive with and which over the years have grown expensive.
And America is behind this. Every poll you see, they're for all of these things. Why will not a single Republican vote for it? Why will not a single Republican vote to reduce insulin cost to $35? Not a single Republican vote to help Americans with child care? Not a single Republican vote for the best way to reduce inflation, even though they talk about it a lot?
It’s profoundly disappointing to see our Republican colleagues more focused on exploiting problems faced by the American people.
Just recently, my colleague the Junior Senator from Florida told Americans precisely how he feels about the rising costs faced by families. His quote: “it is a gold mine for us.”
A gold mine for us! That's what the Republican junior Senator from Florida said. How low, how cynical, how low, how wildly out of touch is that? The same Republicans who spent years under Donald Trump cutting taxes for the wealthy are now opposing relief for the middle class and cheering for costs to go up.
I hope the American people remember that: Democrats are fighting to pass legislation to lower costs. Republicans, on the other hand, think inflation is a “gold mine” for them and are rooting for prices going up.
These are the same partisan, short-sighted games that have frustrated American families, who’ve increasingly wondered who in government is looking out for them.
Well yesterday, Americans got to see one shining example of what can happen when elected officials do look out for them. Build Back Better is another opportunity to do the same and we will not let up until we pass Build Back Better and keep our promise to recapture that sunny American optimism that’s long been the key to our success.