US President Joe Biden thanked senators from both parties for approving his ambitious plan to modernize infrastructure and create jobs for Americans, and commented on the resignation of New York State Governor Andrew Cuomo and the US withdrawal from Afghanistan.
The US president told reporters at the White House that the plan’s passage in the Senate was “a defining moment that transcends all disparities between the Democratic and Republican parties”, shows that “we can work together” and demonstrates that “democracy can work and people’s voices can be heard.”
Biden, in response to a reporter’s question, expressed confidence that the plan, even if not the entirety, could pass in the Democratic-controlled House of Representatives.
For her part, Vice President Kamala Harris, who spoke before Biden, said that the Senate’s passage of the infrastructure plan “will have a clear positive impact on the lives of Americans.”
The US President described the plan as “a plan to rebuild the United States”, “transformational” and “a milestone” and “an unprecedented and historic investment that will change the lives of Americans and lower the cost of living,” noting that it will also “make the structure more resilient and deal with a crisis.” Climate change”.
He spoke of aspects of the plan that would provide “the largest investment in transportation in American history” and make it safer.
The plan will also invest in power plants, some of which “collapsed” during the temperature crisis in Texas last winter, clean water for schools and homes, and supply more than 400,000 schools and nurseries with healthy, unleaded drinking water. It will also provide high-speed Internet “for everyone at the lowest cost”.
He also referred to supporting investment in electric vehicles, changing the country’s transportation methods, reducing road pollution, modernizing railways and speeding up transportation.
He said that the infrastructure plan will provide thousands of job opportunities for non-university degree holders, expecting to create 2 million additional jobs annually.
In her statements, the US Vice President said: “Today we are approaching a step towards investing in building the future of future generations,” noting “supporting bridges, streets and a fleet of electric school buses, providing job opportunities and raising the level of global competition.”
She said that the plan does not mean raising taxes on the middle class, as pledged by the US president, who also stressed during the conference that he would not raise taxes by one cent on individuals and families whose income is less than 400 thousand dollars annually.
Biden’s plan was approved by 68 senators, after weeks of debate and controversy that finally resulted in lawmakers from both major parties reaching an agreement on funding a broad investment scheme to fund the country’s infrastructure improvements.
The vote on the plan took place in the Senate after 22 amendments were approved.
“I do not regret”
Biden said he “does not regret his decision to withdraw US forces from Afghanistan,” saying that this plan “will not change.” He added that the United States had spent more than a trillion dollars in 20 years there, “and trained and provided modern equipment to about 300,000 Afghan fighters.”
“Afghan leaders have to come together,” Biden told reporters. “We’ve lost thousands of American people. They have to fight for themselves and their nation.”
But he stressed that the United States is fulfilling its commitments made to Afghanistan after the withdrawal, the most important of which is providing air support and equipment to the Afghan forces and paying salaries to them.
With the advance of the Taliban, the movement’s fighters took control, on Tuesday, of the cities of Farah, the capital of the province of the same name, in western Afghanistan, and Bil Khumri, the capital of Baghlan province in the north of the country, the last of which was Ghaidabad, the capital of Badakhshan province, amid a mass exodus of civilians on the impact of The rebels’ continuous advance.
Vaccines and the powers of the president
Biden again called on Americans who are reluctant to take vaccines against Covid-19 to do so in order to preserve their health and the health of their families, and said that he will use his federal powers to restrict entry to federal institutions for unvaccinated people, as well as to impose vaccines on workers in the Department of Defense.
He expressed his hope that those hesitant to take vaccines will be able to “overcome fears,” noting that the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) will soon announce that vaccines are safe for children, in response to a question about parents’ fears of their children returning to school.
“I respect Cuomo’s decision.”
The US president said he “respects” the decision of New York Democratic Governor Andrew Cuomo, who announced his resignation on Tuesday, after he was accused by 11 women of sexual harassment and after mounting pressure from members of his Democratic Party to step down.
Biden said he respected his decision, but also noted that he had performed “excellently” on infrastructure, “so I am saddened by his personal actions.”