Building with Biden

President Biden passed an Infrastructure plan covering transportation methods and vehicles and is in the process of passing the Build Back Better act to focus on climate change and social issues.

On Nov. 15, President Joe Biden signed his $1 trillion plan to improve infrastructure into law. Biden’s plan will work to improve and build public transportation, roads, waterways, railways, airports and electric vehicles. It will also help fix electric systems, water systems, high-speed internet and other infrastructure. 

Biden aims to pair this first law with his proposed Build Back Better Act, which will cost nearly $2 trillion and will invest in infrastructure for improving education, climate and social issues. The Build Back Better Act was passed in the House of Representatives on Nov. 19 but has yet to be passed by the Senate.

Victor Shi ’20, a Stevenson alumnus and a delegate in President Biden’s election campaign, is actively following the plan and watching how it will affect the common person. One of the biggest concerns of this plan is the source of the funding; many fear that taxes will rise across the board for all economic classes in the U.S.

“That’s one of the big myths because during the Trump era, the taxes for the rich were cut and the revenue of the country went down,” Shi said. “This bill reverses that plan so it goes back to a pre-2017 time. This is not meant to affect the middle-class and below.”

Regardless of the source of funding, the short-term inflation and other related economic risks raise concerns. On the other hand, this plan also requires a large task force to complete including architects, material companies and construction workers, creating more jobs and stimulating the economy.

“There are going to be short-term risks, but we have to have some kind of long-term thinking to bring this change,” Shi said.

U.S. Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, who voted against Biden’s Infrastructure bill, is concerned about these risks. She fears that if the Build Back Better Act isn’t passed soon, Biden’s bill will not sufficiently address other relevant issues like climate change.  

On an Instagram Live explaining why she voted against the bill, Ocasio-Cortez said, “What we’re really concerned about is that we’re having a class crisis. A crisis of wages, or lack of healthcare, or lack of childcare, of social security/Medicare. All of these are infrastructure too.”

The Build Back Better Act intends to make healthcare and senior citizen care more affordable, preschool universal, family and medical leave paid and combat climate change. While the act has not passed, Ocasio-Cortez fears there will be repercussions if it never passes and Biden’s Infrastructure Plan stands alone. 

“By passing Biden’s Infrastructure without Build Back Better, my main concern is that we just locked in the U.S. to increase their climate emissions,” Ocasio-Cortez said. 

Even though the Build Back Better Act is a crucial component, the Infrastructure Plan still plays a huge part in the physical improvement of the country. It still improves the U.S. by making bridges, roads and buildings much more functional. 

“When Americans go outside, they won’t see broken roads and non-existent pathways,” Shi said. “The [Build Back Better Act] is like the ‘human infrastructure bill.’”