Floor Speech on H.R. 3684, the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act
Washington, D.C. – Speaker Nancy Pelosi delivered remarks on the Floor of the House of Representatives in support of H.R. 3684, the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act. Below are the Speaker’s remarks:
Speaker Pelosi. Thank you very much, Mr. Speaker. I thank the gentleman for yielding and, more importantly, I thank him for his tremendous leadership, his understanding of infrastructure in our country. The way to build it in a green way, to honor our commitment to our children, is something that is a blessing to the Congress. For decades, he has served on the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, and he has done so in a way that has taken us into the future. But we haven't had a bill in a while, so I thank him for his INVEST bill he had earlier that is not all reflected here. But nonetheless, hopefully, we'll see some provisions in the Build Back Better Act.
I rise in support of the bipartisanship infrastructure bill, the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, which is about jobs, jobs, jobs, jobs. Support for this legislation is bipartisan, bicameral and respectful of the needs of workers and communities across the country. Following the vision of President Biden, the bipartisan infrastructure bill addresses a great need in America, which has been neglected for decades, as I mentioned. Our roads, bridges and water systems are crumbling. Some systems are over 100 years old, Mr. Speaker, made of brick and wood. Our electric grid system is vulnerable to catastrophic outages. We must not only build the infrastructure for the 21st Century Economy – we must rebuild the middle class: creating good-paying American jobs and turbocharging American competitiveness and growth. These are connected. These are connected.
Again, I thank again President Biden. He said, ‘I'm happy to work in a bipartisan way in order to have an infrastructure bill where we come to agreement, but I will not confine my vision to that piece, that legislative piece. We must Build Back Better.’ And I think it's very important to note for people across the country who have seen infrastructure in the past come in and divide their communities, perpetuate injustices – environmental injustice in their communities – that it is necessary for us to Build Back Better in a way that empowers women. And when I say ‘build the middle class,’ it's about jobs – but it's about jobs in a new way: more inclusive for women, for people of color, for younger people to be engaged and trained with workforce training to participate in the new economy, with jobs and justice.
In the past, our infrastructure bills have reinforced that environmental injustice and divided communities. The Build Back Better Act will undo that, but the passage of this bill – accompanied by the build back legislation with its equity piece, all of that – much of that injustice, as much as possible, will be reversed. It's about building up. It's not about trickle down. This is what we're going to do, and a lot of people will benefit. ‘And maybe you'll get some of it’ – no. It's about meeting the needs of people, both with water needs and transportation needs, infrastructure needs in many ways, but also that starts and then builds up.
Along with the Build Back Better Act, this prioritizes some aspects of justice and opportunity, helping ensure that – okay, let me be clear: while the investments in the bipartisanship infrastructure bill are strong – an historic down payment for Build Back Better – we are not confining our vision. As the President said, he's not confining his for rebuilding infrastructure to this legislation. We all know that we have to build back in a responsible way to meet our green climate initiatives and our goals and our responsibilities in that regard.
Passing an infrastructure [bill] is always exciting for what it means in terms of jobs and taking our country into the future. And it's always been bipartisan over the years here – not for a while because there was resistance when President Obama was president. We passed a bill, but that was not of the magnitude we needed. This is a step closer to a ‘once-in-a-generation investment in our infrastructure,’ as the Conference of Mayors have said. And now, we must go further to Build Back Better.
With that, I urge strong bipartisan support for this legislation, and I yield back the balance of my time.