House Speaker Nancy Pelosi joined other top House Democrats to tout a major infrastructure bill shortly before it was due to come up for a full vote Wednesday.
Watch Democrats’ remarks in the player above.
“It’s called the INVEST in America Act, a strong jobs creating package that seizes the once in a century opportunity to rebuild America’s infrastructure,” Pelosi said.
The bill would authorize nearly $550 billion in federal funding over five years for infrastructure projects, such as road and bridge repair, public transportation and rail service.
Democrats say the bill will reduce traffic congestion, lower carbon emissions and the effects of climate change and encourage more Americans to use rail service, among other things.
“We’re investing one half of one percent of our GDP in infrastructure. China is investing six,” said. Rep. Peter DeFazio, the chairman of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee.
“Our other competitor nations are investing between three and four. We cannot afford to be absent from this debate anymore,” he said.
Democrats also say the legislation would target investments to areas of persistent poverty, tribal communities, rural communities, and other continually disadvantaged areas.
“If you don’t make these investments, whether it’s transportation, or it’s water, what I’m going to talk about, then you just get behind it, everything falls apart,” said Rep. Frank Pallone, the chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee.
“And the bottom line is that the states and the towns need help,” Pallone said.
In his trip to Wisconsin on Tuesday, President Joe Biden said America urgently needs a “generational investment” in its infrastructure, as he looked to sell voters on the economic benefits of the $973 billion bipartisan package that still faces an uncertain future in Congress.
Pelosi said Democrats in the House support the president’s negotiations with the bipartisan group of senators.
She said the dollar figures in the negotiated proposal are good, but she backs the policy proposals contained in the House infrastructure bill that is headed to the floor for a vote.