U.S. President Joe Biden on Monday signed into law a bipartisan 1-trillion-U.S.-dollar infrastructure bill after months of delay amid Democratic infighting over a social spending package.
"Here in Washington, we've heard countless speeches and promises, white papers from experts, but today we're finally getting this done," Biden said Monday at a signing ceremony at the White House attended by members of Congress, governors and mayors.
"So my message to the American people is this, America's moving again, and your life is going to change for the better," he said.
Biden has tapped former New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu as a senior White House adviser to coordinate the implementation of the infrastructure bill.
The bill includes 550 billion dollars in new spending on infrastructure projects, such as roads, bridges, passenger rails, drinking water and waste water systems. The rest of the infrastructure package involves previously approved spending.
The U.S. Senate approved the bill in August. Then progressive House Democrats held up the Senate-passed bill for months, demanding a vote on the larger social spending package, but eventually failed.
The U.S. House of Representatives finally approved the infrastructure bill earlier this month after progressive and moderate House Democrats agreed to take up the 1.75-trillion-dollar social spending package no later than the week of Nov. 15.
It is not clear whether both chambers of Congress have enough votes to pass the social spending package as some lawmakers become more concerned about rising inflation pressures.
"By all accounts, the threat posed by record inflation to the American people is not 'transitory' and is instead getting worse," Joe Manchin, a key moderate Democratic senator from West Virginia, said recently on Twitter.
"From the grocery store to the gas pump, Americans know the inflation tax is real and DC can no longer ignore the economic pain Americans feel every day," Manchin said.
The consumer price index (CPI) rose 6.2 percent in October from a year earlier, the strongest annual gain in over 30 years, the U.S. Labor Department reported last week.
U.S. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen said on Sunday that controlling the COVID-19 pandemic was key to taming inflation.
"The pandemic has been calling the shots for the economy and for inflation. And if we want to get inflation down, I think continuing to make progress against the pandemic is the most important thing we can do," Yellen said on CBS's Face the Nation.
"I would expect that if we're successful with the pandemic to be sometime in the second half of next year, I would expect prices to go back to normal," she said.