Beyond that, the Environmental Protection Agency is gearing up to send out $7.4 billion in to start upgrading water and sewage systems and eliminating lead drinking pipes, and the Federal Communications Commission has launched a program to provide subsidies of up to $30/month to low-income households for broadband, and $100 for the purchase of a tablet or computer.
“Whether you’re in rural Kentucky or downtown Philadelphia, you should be able to turn on a faucet and drink clean water,” Biden said. “Students should be able to get the internet if they needed to do their homework at home instead of having to drive to a fast-food parking lot.”
Which is all very true, and this is a historic investment in infrastructure. “The Biden-Harris Administration is thrilled to launch this program to fix thousands of bridges across the country—the single largest dedicated bridge investment since the construction of the Interstate highway system,” said U.S. Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg. “Modernizing America’s bridges will help improve safety, support economic growth, and make people’s lives better in every part of the country—across rural, suburban, urban, and tribal communities.”
The unfortunate timing of this announcement is that it comes Friday, the same day that around 36 million families with children should be getting a Child Tax Credit payment and are not. These payments were helping families have enough food or housing or utilities or child care, to have a cushion to pay for all the small and large emergencies like car repairs or debt. Or just have breathing room to live and build up a little bit of a cushion for some nice things. Or, you know, broadband and devices for doing homework on.
It’s also unfortunate that the White House insists on calling the law the “Bipartisan Infrastructure Law” instead of its actual name, the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA). Emphasizing the “bipartisan” bit also emphasizes the fact that the success of that bill came at the expense of the Build Back Better bill that includes those monthly child payments. It gives Republicans far more credit than they deserve considering they’ve knee-capped Biden at every other turn.
The antics of Manchin, along with Arizona’s Kyrsten Sinema, this week of all weeks should make “bipartisan” a dirty word.