Buttigieg says infrastructure bill will affect ‘every American’

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Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg said Sunday the nearly $1 trillion bipartisan infrastructure bill in the Senate will affect every community and “every American.”

“Every American is going to see a difference,” Buttigieg told ABC’s “This Week.” “And I think that’s one of the reasons why you had this extraordinary sight, something you just don’t see in today’s Washington on a major issue, which is Republicans and Democrats coming together and saying, ‘Let’s do this.’”

SENATE ENDS SATURDAY SESSION — WITH INFRASTRUCTURE BILL STILL IN LIMBO

“We’re talking about roads and bridges, we’re talking about ports and airports, we’re talking about rail and transit, not to mention the work that’s going on on water, on broadband – there is no county, no community, certainly no state in this nation that won’t see improvements because of this,” he said. 

The Senate entered a rare session on Saturday to work on the bill that allocates about $550 billion in new spending over five years, including $110 billion for roads and bridges. Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer said he hoped to wrap up voting before senators break for their August recess on Friday.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi indicated last week she planned to hold up the bill until the Senate delivers a larger, Democratic-only, $3.5 trillion package of social spending and taxes.

Asked Sunday whether he agreed with that strategy, Buttigieg declined to give a direct answer, saying President Biden hoped to eventually get both deals through.

“We believe in both of these packages and we believe in each of these packages, and the president has made clear that he supports them both and looks forward to signing them both,” the transportation secretary said.

“I don’t want to give up on the idea that at least some Republicans could vote for the second bill, too,” he continued. “I mean, what’s taking shape there on what’s called the human infrastructure side — maybe they don’t want to call it human infrastructure. Fine. They can call it whatever they like. But cutting child poverty in half by extending the childhood tax credit, making sure that Americans can have paid family leave so we’re not virtually the only country in the world that lacks that. Why can’t at least a few Republicans vote for that? We’re going to keep pushing on that end.”

ABC’s Jonathan Karl pressed Buttigieg, asking, “Should Congress pass this even if this is the only infrastructure bill that is passed, or should this basically be held up unless you get both?”

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“We think Congress should pass both, and the president looks forward to signing both,” Buttigieg replied.

“All right, not quite an answer,” Karl responded. “But we tried.”

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