Biden Bits: It’s Infrastructure Week

Biden Tweets Logo. Image by Lenny Ghoul.

It’s Thursday.

Throwback!!!

For Thursday, July, 29th, 2021, President Biden has received his daily brief. This morning he will have signed two bills into law: S.957, the Dispose Unused Medications and Prescription (DUMP) Opioids Act, and S.1910, the Major Facility Authorization Act of 2021. This afternoon President Biden will receive his weekly economic brief. Later this afternoon President Biden will deliver remarks “laying out the next steps in our effort to get more Americans vaccinated and combat the spread of the Delta variant.”

S.957 summary: This bill requires the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) to designate periods during which any individual may dispose of controlled substances medications at VA medical facilities with an on-site pharmacy or a physical location dedicated for law enforcement purposes. The bill also authorizes the VA to carry out public information campaigns regarding the designated disposal periods.

The bill passed the Senate by unanimous consent on April, 22nd, 2021. It passed the House July, 27th, 2021. Congress.gov records the House vote as follows; On motion to suspend the rules and pass the bill Agreed to by the Yeas and Nays: (2/3 required): 424 – 0 (Roll no. 224).(text: 07/26/2021 CR H3883)

Text of bill S.957 can be found here.

S.1910 summary: This bill authorizes the Department of Veterans Affairs to carry out specified major medical facility projects during FY2021. The bill also indicates the maximum amount that can be spent on each project.

The bill pass the Senate by unanimous consent on July, 21st, 2021. Congress.gov records the House vote as follows; Passed/agreed to in House: On motion to suspend the rules and pass the bill Agreed to by the Yeas and Nays: (2/3 required): 413 – 7 *(Roll no. 225).(text: 07/26/2021 CR H3884)

Text of bill S.1910 can be found here.

*6 Republicans and 1 Democratic member of the House voted against passage.*

During his remarks this afternoon Reuters reports that President Biden will announce “that all civilian federal workers will need to be vaccinated against the coronavirus or face regular testing, social distancing, mask requirements and travel limits.”

According to their source there will be no vaccine mandate “for federal employees and those who decide against getting a vaccine will not be at risk of being fired.”

CNN, who was first to report the plan on Wednesday, said; While the specifics are still being finalized, the source said, federal workers would be required to attest to their vaccination status or submit to regular testing. The source said the proposal will be roughly similar to what is being implemented in New York City. Additional requirements for the unvaccinated could be added as agencies push to vaccinate their employees. Biden will not impose the requirement on the US military, despite his authority to do so, for the time being. He is, however, likely to outline how the Department of Defense may seek to approach the issue going forward, the source said.

President Biden has tweeted 3 times so far for Thursday. 

Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA.gov) reported this morning; Real gross domestic product (GDP) increased at an annual rate of 6.5 percent in the second quarter of 2021.

The increase in real GDP in the second quarter reflected increases in personal consumption expenditures (PCE), nonresidential fixed investment, exports, and state and local government spending that were partly offset by decreases in private inventory investment, residential fixed investment, and federal government spending. Imports, which are a subtraction in the calculation of GDP, increased.

BEA.gov. 07/29/2021.

Some highlights:

  • Current‑dollar GDP increased 13.0 percent at an annual rate, or $684.4 billion, in the second quarter to a level of $22.72 trillion. In the first quarter, current-dollar GDP increased 10.9 percent, or $560.6 billion.
  • The price index for gross domestic purchases increased 5.7 percent in the second quarter, compared with an increase of 3.9 percent (revised) in the first quarter.
  • Current-dollar personal income decreased $1.32 trillion in the second quarter, or 22.0 percent, in contrast to an increase of $2.33 trillion (revised), or 56.8 percent, in the first quarter.
  • Disposable personal income decreased $1.42 trillion, or 26.1 percent, in the second quarter, in contrast to an increase of $2.27 trillion, or 63.7 percent (revised), in the first quarter. Real disposable personal income decreased 30.6 percent, in contrast to an increase of 57.6 percent.
  • Personal outlays increased $680.8 billion, after increasing $538.8 billion. The increase in outlays was led by an increase in PCE for services.
  • Personal saving was $1.97 trillion in the second quarter, compared with $4.07 trillion (revised) in the first quarter.  The personal saving rate—personal saving as a percentage of disposable personal income—was 10.9 percent in the second quarter, compared with 20.8 percent in the first quarter.
BEA.gov. 07/29/2021.

His 3rd tweet for Thursday will be shared down thread.

When Biden Bits for Wednesday was published, President Biden had tweeted 2 times. He added 9 tweets giving him a Wednesday Tweeting Total of 11 tweets and 0 retweets.

Tikhanovskaya told AFP she “was not asking to be recognized by Biden as the president of Belarus, but that she was looking to increase pressure on Lukashenko. “We talked about multiple points of pressure on the regime to force him to stop violence, release political prisoners and start dialogue” with the opposition, she said. “Belarus can be an example of non-violent transitional power.””

CNN reports over the last two weeks on her tour around the U.S., Tikhanovskaya has met with several White House Administration officials, including National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan.

As part of her larger tour around the US over the last two weeks, Tikhanovskaya has met with a number of administration officials, including White House national security adviser Jake Sullivan, Secretary of State Antony Blinken, Agency for International Development (USAID) Administrator Samantha Power and US Agency for Global Media (USAGM) acting CEO Kelu Chao.

CNN. 07/28/2021.

They go on to explain; Tikhanovskaya is a former teacher whose husband was jailed by the Lukashenko regime. She’s been living in exile in Lithuania after she opposed Lukashenko in their fraudulent 2020 presidential election. The US and international community have taken a series of actions against the Lukashenko government in the wake of last August’s election, in which “Europe’s last dictator” refused to step down and initiated a violent and ongoing campaign of crackdowns on protesters, dissidents and journalists in Belarus.

The “Buy American” tweets.

The video stream is 38 minutes and 49 seconds long. President Biden begins his remarks at the 3 minute and 46 second mark. His full remarks can be found here.

President Biden (16:34): Because we know that trickle-down economics has never worked. But when working families do well, everybody does well, including the wealthy. Everybody. (Applause.)

President Biden (19:12): In recent years, “Buy American” has become a hollow promise.  But my adma- — my administration is going to make “Buy American” a reality.  And I’m putting the weight of the federal government behind that commitment with Made in — in the White House itself, we put in a Made in America Office to oversee — not in an agency, in the White House itself — to oversee these efforts.

President Biden (32:34): Today, a lot of the folks who said we shouldn’t rescue the American auto industry are the same folks who are saying, “We don’t need to buy American.”  What those people never realized is, if you give an American worker just a chance — a fighting chance — there’s nothing they won’t do.  And if you give American companies and communities the chance, there’s nothing they can’t build.  Just look around. 

The Bipartisan Infrastructure tweets.

From his remarks:

President Biden (11:15): You may have heard that, in Washington — and I was just on the phone — it looks like we reached a bipartisan agreement on infrastructure — a fancy word for bridges, roads — (applause) — transit systems, high-speed Internet, clean drinking water, cleaning up and caffing [sic] — capping the orphan wells, over thousands of them abandoned, and abandoned mines — and a modern, resilient electric grid to build. And guess what? A lot of those abandoned wells are leaking methane. And guess what? The same union guys that dug those wells, they can make the same union wage capping those wells. (Applause.) And I’m working with Democrats and Republicans to get this done, because while there’s a lot we don’t agree on, I believe that we should be able to work together on the few things we do agree on. (Applause.) I think it’s important.

From Thursday:

His statement regarding the bipartisan deal:

I am pleased to join a bipartisan group of United States Senators and announce our deal to make the most significant long-term investment in our infrastructure and competitiveness in nearly a century.

I want to thank the bipartisan group for working together and the committee chairs for raising their ideas and concerns with me, Vice President Harris, and members of the Cabinet.

This deal signals to the world that our democracy can function, deliver, and do big things. As we did with the transcontinental railroad and the interstate highway, we will once again transform America and propel us into the future.

This deal makes key investments to put people to work all across the country—in cities, small towns, rural communities, and across our coastlines and plains.

It will put Americans to work in good-paying, union jobs repairing our roads and bridges. It will put plumbers and pipefitters to work replacing all of the nation’s lead water pipes so every child and every American can turn on the faucet at home or school and drink clean water—including in low-income communities and communities of color that have been disproportionally affected by dangerous lead pipes.

Americans will build transmission lines and upgrade our power grid to be more resilient and cleaner. Americans will strengthen our infrastructure, like our levees, in the face of extreme weather like superstorms, wildfires, droughts, hurricanes, and heat waves.
American workers will make a historic investment to install the first-ever national network electric vehicle charging stations and undertake critical environmental clean-ups.

This bipartisan deal is the most important investment in public transit in American history and the most important investment in rail since the creation of Amtrak 50 years ago. It will deliver high speed internet to every American.

And, we’re going to do it without raising taxes by one cent on people making less than $400,000 a year—no gas tax increase and no fee on electric vehicles.

This agreement will help ensure that America can compete in the global economy just when we are in a race with China and the rest of the world for the 21st Century.

And, it comes at a critical time. We are emerging from this pandemic with an economy that is back from the brink. We are seeing the fastest job growth on record. We are experiencing the fastest economic growth in nearly four decades.

Everyone from unions to business leaders and economists left, right, and center believe the public investments in this deal will mean more jobs, higher productivity, and higher growth for our economy over the long term. Experts believe that the majority of the deal’s benefits will flow to working families.

Of course, neither side got everything they wanted in this deal. But that’s what it means to compromise and forge consensus—the heart of democracy. As the deal goes to the entire Senate, there is still plenty of work ahead to bring this home. There will be disagreements to resolve and more compromise to forge along the way.

But the bottom line is—the Bipartisan Infrastructure Deal is a blue-collar blueprint to rebuild America that will help make our historic economic recovery a historic long-term boom.

White House.gov. 07/28/2021.

The White House *fact-sheet:

Roads, Bridges, and Major Projects.

  • The Bipartisan Infrastructure Deal will invest $110 billion of new funds for roads, bridges, and major projects, and reauthorize the surface transportation program for the next five years building on bipartisan surface transportation reauthorization bills passed out of committee earlier this year.  This investment will repair and rebuild our roads and bridges with a focus on climate change mitigation, resilience, equity, and safety for all users, including cyclists and pedestrians. The bill includes a total of $40 billion of new funding for bridge repair, replacement, and rehabilitation, which is the single largest dedicated bridge investment since the construction of the interstate highway system. The bill also includes a total of $17.5 billion for major projects that are too large or complex for traditional funding programs but will deliver significant economic benefits to communities.

Safety.

  • America has one of the highest road fatality rates in the industrialized world. The deal invests $11 billion in transportation safety programs, including a new Safe Streets for All program to help states and localities reduce crashes and fatalities in their communities, especially for cyclists and pedestrians. It will more than double funding directed to programs that improve the safety of people and vehicles in our transportation system, including highway safety, truck safety, and pipeline and hazardous materials safety.

Public Transit. 

  • America’s transit infrastructure is inadequate – with a multibillion-dollar repair backlog, representing more than 24,000 buses, 5,000 rail cars, 200 stations, and thousands of miles of track, signals, and power systems in need of replacement. The deal invests $39 billion of new investment to modernize transit, and improve accessibility for the elderly and people with disabilities, in addition to continuing the existing transit programs for five years as part of surface transportation reauthorization.  This is the largest Federal investment in public transit in history, and devotes a larger share of funds from surface transportation reauthorization to transit in the history of the programs. It will repair and upgrade aging infrastructure, modernize bus and rail fleets, make stations accessible to all users, and bring transit service to new communities. It will replace thousands of transit vehicles, including buses, with clean, zero emission vehicles.  And, it will benefit communities of color since these households are twice as likely to take public transportation and many of these communities lack sufficient public transit options.

Passenger and Freight Rail.

  • Unlike highways and transit, rail lacks a multi-year funding stream to address deferred maintenance, enhance existing corridors, and build new lines in high-potential locations. The deal positions Amtrak and rail to play a central role in our transportation and economic future. This is the largest investment in passenger rail since the creation of Amtrak 50 years ago. The deal invests $66 billion in rail to eliminate the Amtrak maintenance backlog, modernize the Northeast Corridor, and bring world-class rail service to areas outside the northeast and mid-Atlantic. Within these totals, $22 billion would be provided as grants to Amtrak, $24 billion as federal-state partnership grants for Northeast Corridor modernization, $12 billion for partnership grants for intercity rail service, including high-speed rail, $5 billion for rail improvement and safety grants, and $3 billion for grade crossing safety improvements.

EV (Electric Vehicle) Infrastructure.

  • U.S. market share of plug-in electric vehicle (EV) sales is only one-third the size of the Chinese EV market. The President believes that must change. The bill invests $7.5 billion to build out a national network of EV chargers. This is the first-ever national investment in EV charging infrastructure in the United States and is a critical element in the Biden-Harris Administration’s plan to accelerate the adoption of EVs to address the climate crisis and support domestic manufacturing jobs. The bill will provide funding for deployment of EV chargers along highway corridors to facilitate long-distance travel and within communities to provide convenient charging where people live, work, and shop.  Federal funding will have a particular focus on rural, disadvantaged, and hard-to-reach communities.

Electric Buses.

  • American school buses play a critical role in expanding access to education, but they are also a significant source of pollution. The deal will deliver thousands of electric school buses nationwide, including in rural communities, helping school districts across the country buy clean, American-made, zero emission buses, and replace the yellow school bus fleet for America’s children. The deal invests $2.5 billion in zero emission buses, $2.5 billion in low emission buses, and $2.5 billion for ferries. These investments will drive demand for American-made batteries and vehicles, creating jobs and supporting domestic manufacturing, while also removing diesel buses from some of our most vulnerable communities. In addition, they will help the more than 25 million children and thousands of bus drivers who breathe polluted air on their rides to and from school. Diesel air pollution is linked to asthma and other health problems that hurt our communities and cause students to miss school, particularly in communities of color and Tribal communities.

Reconnecting Communities.

  • Too often, past transportation investments divided communities – like the Claiborne Expressway in New Orleans or I-81 in Syracuse – or it left out the people most in need of affordable transportation options. In particular, significant portions of the interstate highway system were built through Black neighborhoods. The deal creates a first-ever program to reconnect communities divided by transportation infrastructure. The program will fund planning, design, demolition, and reconstruction of street grids, parks, or other infrastructure through $1 billion of dedicated funding.

Airports, Ports, and Waterways.

  • The United States built modern aviation, but our airports lag far behind our competitors. According to some rankings, no U.S. airports rank in the top 25 of airports worldwide. Our ports and waterways need repair and reimagination too. The bill invests $17 billion in port infrastructure and $25 billion in airports to address repair and maintenance backlogs, reduce congestion and emissions near ports and airports, and drive electrification and other low-carbon technologies. Modern, resilient, and sustainable port, airport, and freight infrastructure will support U.S. competitiveness by removing bottlenecks and expediting commerce and reduce the environmental impact on neighboring communities.

Resilience and Western Water Infrastructure.

  • Millions of Americans feel the effects of climate change each year when their roads wash out, airport power goes down, or schools get flooded. Last year alone, the United States faced 22 extreme weather and climate-related disaster events with losses exceeding $1 billion each – a cumulative price tag of nearly $100 billion. People of color are more likely to live in areas most vulnerable to flooding and other climate change-related weather events. The deal makes our communities safer and our infrastructure more resilient to the impacts of climate change and cyber attacks, with an investment of over $50 billion. This includes funds to protect against droughts and floods, in addition to a major investment in weatherization. The bill is the largest investment in the resilience of physical and natural systems in American history.

Clean Drinking Water. 

  • Currently, up to 10 million American households and 400,000 schools and child care centers lack safe drinking water. The deal’s $55 billion investment represents the largest investment in clean drinking water in American history, including dedicated funding to replace lead service lines and the dangerous chemical PFAS (per- and polyfluoroalkyl). It will replace all of the nation’s lead pipes and service lines. From rural towns to struggling cities, the deal invests in water infrastructure across America, including in Tribal Nations and disadvantaged communities that need it most.

High Speed Internet.

  • Broadband internet is necessary for Americans to do their jobs, to participate equally in school learning, health care, and to stay connected. Yet, by one definition, more than 30 million Americans live in areas where there is no broadband infrastructure that provides minimally acceptable speeds – a particular problem in rural communities throughout the country. The deal’s $65 billion investment ensures every American has access to reliable high-speed internet with an historic investment in broadband infrastructure deployment, just as the federal government made a historic effort to provide electricity to every American nearly one hundred years ago. The bill will also help lower prices for internet service by requiring funding recipients to offer a low-cost affordable plan, by creating price transparency and helping families comparison shop, and by boosting competition in areas where existing providers aren’t providing adequate service. It will also help close the digital divide by passing the Digital Equity Act, ending digital redlining, and creating a permanent program to help more low-income households access the internet.

Environmental Remediation.

  • In thousands of rural and urban communities around the country, hundreds of thousands of former industrial and energy sites are now idle – sources of blight and pollution. 26% of Black Americans and 29% of Hispanic Americans live within 3 miles of a Superfund site, a higher percentage than for Americans overall. Proximity to a Superfund site can lead to elevated levels of lead in children’s blood. The deal invests $21 billion in environmental remediation, making the largest investment in addressing the legacy pollution that harms the public health of communities and neighborhoods in American history, creating good-paying union jobs in hard-hit energy communities and advancing economic and environmental justice. The bill includes funds to clean up superfund and brownfield sites, reclaim abandoned mine land and cap orphaned gas wells.

Power Infrastructure.

  • As the recent Texas power outages demonstrated, our aging electric grid needs urgent modernization. A Department of Energy study found that power outages cost the U.S. economy up to $70 billion annually. The deal’s $73 billion investment is the single largest investment in clean energy transmission in American history. It upgrades our power infrastructure, including by building thousands of miles of new, resilient transmission lines to facilitate the expansion of renewable energy. It creates a new Grid Deployment Authority, invests in research and development for advanced transmission and electricity distribution technologies, and promotes smart grid technologies that deliver flexibility and resilience. It invests in demonstration projects and research hubs for next generation technologies like advanced nuclear reactors, carbon capture, and clean hydrogen.

Offsets.

  • In the years ahead, the deal will generate significant economic benefits. It is financed through a combination of redirecting unspent emergency relief funds, targeted corporate user fees, strengthening tax enforcement when it comes to crypto currencies, and other bipartisan measures, in addition to the revenue generated from higher economic growth as a result of the investments.

*I skipped a bunch of statements in the fact-sheet. For formatting purposes I pasted as plain text which erased the text in bold*


The daily press briefing is scheduled to start @ 1:00 p.m. D.C., time. Principal Deputy Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre is filling-in for White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki.

President Biden is scheduled to begin his remarks at 4:00 p.m. D.C., time.

This is an Open Thread.

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About Tiff 2011 Articles
Member of the Free Press who is politically homeless and a political junkie.