Update: President Biden signed the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act into law on November 15, 2021.
On Saturday, President Biden praised Congress's passage of the $1 trillion infrastructure bill, which paves the way for the single largest public works deal since the Federal Aid Highway Act of 1956. It's also the single largest investment made to address climate change in U.S. history.
In a statement, Biden called the bipartisan bill, dubbed the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, "a once-in-a-generation investment that's going to create millions of jobs modernizing our infrastructure -- our roads, our bridges, our broadband, a whole range of things -- to turn the climate crisis into an opportunity."
In August, the Senate passed the bill, which calls for $550 billion in new spending above and beyond existing authorized funding over five years. The House approved the measure just before midnight on Friday.
Thirteen Republican members of the House voted in favor of the deal, despite House GOP leaders pressing their members to oppose the pro-business legislation. Nineteen Republican senators voted to approve the bill when it passed on August 10, 2021, and, when he was president, Donald Trump had often called on congress to approve a plan for shoring up the nation's crumbling infrastructure.
With its passage, the infrastructure deal stands to benefit small businesses ranging from construction firms to energy and telecommunications-industry consultancies. Appropriations include $17 billion for shoring up port infrastructure and $25 billion for airports to address repair and maintenance backlogs. There's $65 billion for broadband infrastructure and $7.5 billion for building out a network of electric vehicle chargers along highways and in rural and disadvantaged communities. There's also $110 billion for rebuilding roads, bridges, and connected surface transportation projects.
The bill, which the President says he'll sign imminently, will also provide funding for energy efficiency upgrades and manufacturing modernization, along with grants for workforce training, which small businesses will be able to access.
Companies and business groups from Ford Motor to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce praised the bill as a means for modernization and job creation. "The Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act will help connect 14 million Americans to broadband, provide clean drinking water for 10 million families, upgrade our energy grid, and create millions of jobs," Suzanne Clark, the Chamber's president and CEO said in a statement.
House Democrats agreed to move ahead on the infrastructure bill even though negotiations over a newly-reduced $1.85 trillion social spending budget resolution measure -- Biden's Build Back Better plan -- are ongoing. The bill, which formerly weighed in at $3.5 trillion, passed the House on August 24, 2021.