Vice President Kamala Harris visited Columbus Nov. 19 to tout the recently enacted Infrastructure, Investment and Jobs Act while also promoting President Joe Biden’s proposed domestic spending legislation, the Build Back Better Act.
Harris, speaking to union members at Plumbers and Pipefitters 189, discussed the $1.2 trillion infrastructure plan that Biden signed into law Nov. 15. The bill includes funding for roads, bridges, ports, rail transit, safe water, the power grid and broadband internet.
Harris began by thanking the bipartisan legislators who she said helped make passage of the bill possible. These lawmakers included members of Ohio’s congressional delegation, Sen. Sherrod Brown, D-Cleveland, Sen. Rob Portman, R-Cincinnati, and Rep. Joyce Beatty, D-Columbus.
“Because of their work and because of our work together, America is moving forward,” she said in her speech.
The Infrastructure, Investment and Jobs Act will allow the federal government to address a number of needs, including repairing and rebuilding roads and bridges, ensuring access to broadband internet and ensuring clean drinking water by removing and replacing lead pipes, she said. For example, Ohio has nearly 5,000 miles of highway that need to be repaired, Harris said.
“Our bipartisan infrastructure law will make the most significant investment to fix our roads and bridges in 70 years,” she said. “And the impact will be generational.”
Harris also made the point that all of these repairs mean more jobs, which would benefit unions.
“Our bipartisan infrastructure law will put millions more Americans to work in good union jobs,” Harris said.
In the meantime, Harris also made the case for the $1.75 trillion Build Back Better Act.
“As significant as it is, as historic as it is, our bipartisan infrastructure law is part one of two,” Harris said. “We are determined to lower the cost of living for working people in America. And to lower the cost of living means taking serious, serious care of paying attention to the cost of child care, the cost of health care, the cost of housing (and) the cost of prescription drugs.
“And so that’s what our Build Back Better agenda is about: lowering the cost of child care, elder care, housing, prescription drugs, because those all add up to the cost of living.”
The Build Back Better legislation passed the House of Representatives Nov. 19 and now goes to the Senate for consideration.