Caribbean American congresswoman hails passage of bipartisan Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act

By Rumi Samuel Published on November 08, 2021
Caribbean American congresswoman hails passage of bipartisan Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act

On Saturday, Caribbean American Democratic Congresswoman Yvette D. Clarke welcomed the passage of the bipartisan Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act in the United States House of Representatives. 

After months of contentious negotiations, the Democratic-controlled House passed the US$1 trillion bipartisan infrastructure measure just before midnight Friday, 228 to 206 votes, with 13 Republican lawmakers voting in favour. 

In August, the legislation, passed in the US Senate, now heads to President Joe Biden’s desk for his signature. 

“We have seized the moment in our fight to rejuvenate the crumbling and outdated infrastructure of our nation by passing the bipartisan Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act,” Clarke, the daughter of Jamaican immigrants, who represents the 9th Congressional District in Brooklyn, New York, told the Caribbean Media Corporation (CMC). 

“Democrats fought to address the climate crisis, expand broadband access and affordability, and modernize our public transit to ensure all communities can succeed in the 21st Century,” added the chair of the Congressional Black Caucus (CBC) Taskforce on Immigration and a senior member of the House Energy and Commerce Committee. “However, we still have work to do for the American people. 

“I now look forward to passing the Build Back Better Act in the coming weeks to deliver generational investments and relief that our communities so desperately need,” continued Clarke, also a senior member of the House Committee on Homeland Security. “I stand ready to advance this critical and transformative legislation that Brooklyn is counting on. 

“The passage of the infrastructure bill was one giant step forward,” the congresswoman said. “And now, it’s time to bring on the other good foot to allow our country to stand firm in support of all of her people and continue to Build Back Better.” 

CBC Chairwoman Joyce Beatty of Ohio said the caucus’s leadership helped shape the passage of the infrastructure package. 

“Tonight, we saw the diversity of all of our caucus,” she said after the measure was passed. “Together, these bills will bring life-saving change for the people across the nation. 

“By empowering families with tax credits, child care, and universal pre-K, the Build Back Better Act and the Bipartisan Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act deliver once-in-a-generation action to lower the everyday costs that burden working families – from health care to child care – while also fighting inflation,” Beatty added.  

Democratic Caucus Chairman Hakeem Jeffries – a leading CBC member, whose 8th Congressional District in Brooklyn and Queens in New York represents an overwhelming number of Caribbean immigrants – noted that the CBC represents 17 million Black Americans and more than 80 million Americans.

He said that “delivering for the American public was not optional.” 

House Majority Whip James Clyburn, another leading CBC member, said: “It was clear urgency of this moment, and its unique nature required we invest in a foundation for strong economic growth and ensure all communities can compete and succeed in the 21st Century. 

“As a result of our hard work and the hard work of President Biden and Speaker (Nancy) Pelosi, the historic bipartisan Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act is headed to President Biden’s desk,” Clyburn said. 

The White House said in a statement that congressional passage of the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act is “a once-in-a-generation investment in our nation’s infrastructure and competitiveness. 

“For far too long, Washington policymakers have celebrated ‘infrastructure week’ without ever agreeing to build infrastructure,” it said. “The president promised to work across the aisle to deliver results and rebuild our crumbling infrastructure. 

“After the president put forward his plan to do exactly that and then negotiated a deal with Members of Congress from both parties, this historic legislation is moving to his desk for signature,” it added that the legislation will “rebuild America’s roads, bridges, and rails, expand access to clean drinking water, ensure every American has access to high-speed internet, tackle the climate crisis, advance environmental justice, and invest in communities that have too often been left behind. 

“The legislation will help ease inflationary pressures and strengthen supply chains by making long-overdue improvements for our nation’s ports, airports, rail, and roads,” the White House continued. “It will drive the creation of good-paying union jobs and grow the economy sustainably and equitably so that everyone gets ahead for decades to come. 

“Combined with the president’s Build Back Framework, it will add on average 1.5 million jobs per year for the next ten years,” it said.

Rumi Samuel

Rumi Samuel

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