“For too long, Congress has failed to act boldly when it comes to our infrastructure, leaving our country with congested roads, failing sewer systems, lead in our pipes, unsafe bridges, unreliable broadband and slow-moving trains,” U.S. Rep. David Scott, a Democrat from Atlanta, said in a statement.
U.S. Rep. Sanford Bishop, an Albany Democrat, said the bill is the largest federal investment in infrastructure.
“This includes expanding the Interstate 14 designation through Columbus to Augusta, supporting new intercity passenger rail routes which can connect communities along the Interstate 75 corridor, increasing our commitment to rural broadband, and making smart investments in clean energy that will create more good-paying manufacturing jobs,” he said in a statement.
Expect Democrats in Georgia to take a victory lap in the coming days with public events across the state during a weeklong recess from Washington. Biden started his with remarks Saturday morning from the White House.
“Finally, infrastructure week,” he said with a laugh.
His reference to infrastructure week was a jab at former President Donald Trump, whose administration promised to work with both parties to pass a bill for infrastructure spending but did not follow through.
“We did something that’s long overdue,” Biden said Saturday. “That long has been talked about in Washington, but never actually been done.”
Republicans from Georgia criticized their 13 colleagues who helped give the bill the votes needed to pass, because the six Democratic “no” votes would have been enough to tank the legislation if Republicans had stayed unified in opposition.
U.S. Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene, of Rome, described the 13 as assisting in a “communist takeover of America.” Georgia Reps. Austin Scott, R-Tifton, and Drew Ferguson, R-West Point, each issued statements saying these Republicans were assisting Democrats in passing Biden’s agenda, including a $1.9 trillion social services and climate change bill.
“I’ve been explaining for months that the so-called ‘bipartisan infrastructure package’ is simply a Trojan horse for the Democrats’ multitrillion-dollar budget reconciliation bill,” Ferguson said. “I oppose these big-government socialist policies.”
The bill’s impact in Georgia, according to U.S. Sen. Jon Ossoff’s office, includes $1.36 billion in funding to improve or expand public transportation options, at least $100 million for broadband coverage, $135 million for build electric vehicle charging stations, $225 million for bridge replacement and repairs and over $619 million for repairs and upgrades at airports.
The money will be spent over a five-year window.
The Senate passed the infrastructure bill back in August, but it languished in the House and became a bargaining tool while members negotiated on the separate social spending and climate change bill.
The half-dozen progressive members who withheld their votes on Friday said they were doing so because they disagreed with approving the infrastructure legislation without a simultaneous vote on the larger package.
The House did take a procedural vote on Friday night on that measure, known as the Build Back Better plan. That legislation will proceed to a final vote despite having no Republican support, and because of the special process being used to pass the legislation, not a single GOP vote will be necessary in either change.
Georgia U.S. Rep. Carolyn Bourdeaux was the focus of speculation Friday that she was withholding support for the $1.9 trillion package, which House leaders initially had hoped to wrap up on Friday. Bourdeaux, D-Suwanee, took to her Twitter account to clarify that she was not among those standing in the way of final passage of the bill, noting it included many of her priorities like Medicaid expansion and universal pre-kindergarten.
“There are a lot of rumors swirling,” she wrote. “Let me be clear — this bill is paid for, and it has a number of my priorities in it. If it comes to the Floor today — I will support the Build Back Better Act.”
How they voted on H.R. 3684, the $1.2 trillion infrastructure bill
U.S. Rep. Sanford Bishop, D-Albany
U.S. Rep. Carolyn Bourdeaux, D-Suwanee
U.S. Rep. Hank Johnson, D-Lithonia
U.S. Rep. Lucy McBath, D-Marietta
U.S. Rep. David Scott, D-Atlanta
U.S. Rep. Nikema Williams, D-Atlanta
U.S. Rep. Rick Allen, R-Evans
U.S. Rep. Buddy Carter, R-Pooler
U.S. Rep. Andrew Clyde, R-Athens
U.S. Rep. Drew Ferguson, R-West Point
U.S. Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene, R-Rome
U.S. Rep. Jody Hice, R-Greensboro
U.S. Rep. Barry Loudermilk, R-Cassville
U.S. Rep. Austin Scott, R-Tifton