Biden Calls for Infrastructure Cooperation in Speech

In his first address to a joint session of Congress, President Joe Biden once again touted the need for infrastructure spending, and even applauded a group of Republican senators who have put forward their own infrastructure proposal as a counter to his plan.

“I’d like to meet those who have ideas that are different,” Biden said. “I welcome those ideas.” But he said he won’t wait too long to get consensus. “Doing nothing is not an option,” he said. “We can’t be so busy competing with each other that we forget the competition is with the rest of the world to win the 21st century.”

American Road & Transportation Builders Association (ARTBA) President and CEO Dave Bauer said, “the proposal from Senate Republicans illustrates that the desire to address the nation’s mobility and economic competitiveness challenges is broad-based and real. A wide-ranging federal infrastructure renewal initiative is much needed and long overdue.”

Kip Eideberg, Association of Equipment Manufacturers (AEM) senior vice president, government and industry relations, issued the following statement in response to President Biden’s joint address to Congress:

“AEM welcomes President Biden’s commitment to pro-growth, pro-jobs policies that will benefit the 2.8 million men and women of the equipment manufacturing industry. This includes his promise to pass comprehensive legislation that makes a transformational investment in our nation’s infrastructure,” said Eideberg. “We urge the Biden-Harris administration and Congress to work together to advance policies that will help revitalize U.S. manufacturing, secure domestic and international supply chains, invest in R&D, and train Americans for the jobs of the future. The only way to build a more resilient and equitable economy is through bipartisanship, and we urge Democrats and Republicans to work together to restore America’s economic competitiveness, enhance equipment manufacturers’ ability to meet the challenges and opportunities of the 21st century, and improve the lives of all Americans.”

Associated Equipment Distributors’s (AED) President and CEO Brian P. McGuire issued the following statement from Dublin, Ohio, while on the “Driving For Dealers 2.0” tour:

“This evening, President Biden reiterated his desire for substantial investments in our nation’s infrastructure and other government programs. However, it’s important that Congress not take its eye off the ball. With constructive, bipartisan discussions proceeding to rebuild our nation’s crumbling physical infrastructure, it’s critical that our leaders in Washington focus on policies that will ignite job creation and economic growth as the nation continues to recover from the pandemic.

“I’ve been traveling the country by motor coach, experiencing firsthand the poor condition of our nation’s roads, bridges and highways. Equipment dealers and manufacturers have delivered a clear message – the men and woman of the equipment industry are ready to sell, rent, service and manufacture the machinery needed to rebuild America. The time for action is now.”

“Congress and the administration must continue working in a bipartisan manner to enact legislation that will provide long-term investments in road, bridge, highway, airport, broadband, port, water systems and other projects, paid-for without sacrificing America’s productivity and international competitiveness. There’s a once-in-a-generation opportunity to upgrade the country’s critical infrastructure, and Congress must not lose sight of the task at hand – growing the economy and creating well-paying jobs for all Americans.”

“Driving for Dealers 2.0” has traveled through Indiana, Kentucky, Alabama, Tennessee, Mississippi and Ohio covering approximately ,2800 miles visiting AED members and making the case for infrastructure legislation.

In his speech, President Biden detailed his American Families Plan. The proposal spends $1.8 trillion on childcare, education, and family-leave programs by raising taxes, such as increasing capital gains rates and eliminating “step-up in basis.”

AED is leading the charge in Washington, pushing Congress and the administration to complete work on a bipartisan infrastructure package while warning about the negative impact of misguided tax and labor policies.

Mark Compton, president of the International Bridge, Tunnel and Turnpike Association (IBTTA), the worldwide association for the owners and operators of toll facilities and the businesses that serve them, said, “In his address tonight to Congress and the nation, we were encouraged by President Biden’s call for Republicans and Democrats to work together to make the critical repairs and improvements needed to our long-neglected transportation infrastructure. As our country recovers from the pandemic and focuses on rebuilding the economy, it is essential that all elected officials in Congress and at the state and local level work together to find common ground for our infrastructure and our nation’s future.”

Kevin Dempsey, president and CEO of the American Iron and Steel Institute (AISI), issued the following statement in response to President Biden’s speech to Congress last night:

“We appreciate President Biden’s commitment in his speech last night to improving our highways, roads and bridges and ensuring taxpayer-funded projects use products made in America – especially the use of American steel, which is among the cleanest steel in the world. Structural steel made in America, for example, typically contains 90% or more recycled content. Our industry provides good-paying jobs, and our workers are critical to the development of the sustainable infrastructure and renewable energy solutions that the president has supported.

“We were also encouraged to hear President Biden’s remarks on advancements in technologies in the automotive market, including through electric vehicles (EV). As EVs continue to be part of many automakers’ future sustainability plans, steel remains the preferred material for battery pack protection due to its inherent strength. We look forward to continuing to work with the administration to advance these issues and ensure American steel remains the backbone of our economy and essential to promoting sustainable products.”

In the Republican response to the speech, Sen. Tim Scott (R-S.C.) called Biden’s infrastructure spending plan “big government waste.”

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