December 8, 2021

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Infrastructure bill signing: Who was there – Washington Post – The Washington Post

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More than 800 lawmakers, elected officials and other political leaders from both sides of the aisle gathered on the White House lawn Monday afternoon to celebrate the passing of an infrastructure bill that President Biden believes will revolutionize how Americans go about their lives for years to come.

After months of attempts to get House members to back the legislation, enough lawmakers — including 13 Republicans — supported the bill that ultimately looked drastically different from the one Biden originally proposed. However, Biden will list the passage of the $1.2 trillion bill as a key accomplishment of his first term and is doing so with a ceremony that the White House probably hopes convinces viewers of how hard the president is working for the American people.

The events of this bill signing look much different from previous ceremonies. The White House is eschewing an Oval Office signing or even an event in front of the stairs leading to the South Lawn — a popular location for Biden’s predecessor for bill signings. But the Oval Office does hope to provide a visual that changes the minds of the majority of Americans, who said in a recent Post-ABC News poll that Biden has accomplished “little or nothing” or “not very much.”

Members of Congress, governors, mayors, state and local elected officials, as well as labor leaders, business leaders and other stakeholders, sat before a dais that included 30 key players from both sides of the aisle and representing diverse communities across America.

The picture could provide a glimpse of some of the figures that Biden will depend on most — in D.C. and elsewhere — to carry out his agenda. Here’s who came to the ceremony:

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi

The House’s top Democrat repeatedly implored her colleagues to come together to support the legislation. In the end, the overwhelming majority of Democrats backed the bill, displaying the impact of their numbers in Congress.

Vice President Harris

The president’s second-in-command visited various landmarks around the country that she said would benefit from the passage of the bill. She worked to gin up public support for the bill while lawmakers remained undecided.

Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg

Buttigieg was arguably the most visible Cabinet member speaking in support of the bill in public, often pointing out how existing infrastructure made life more difficult for particular communities when compared with others.

Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm

Granholm often appeared on cable news to champion the infrastructure bill and to respond to misinformation about the effort, which the administration sought to address as widely as possible.

Senate Majority Leader Charles E. Schumer

The powerful New York Democrat worked to keep as many lawmakers onboard as possible and often met with the Democrats in the Senate who were not immediately convinced, hoping to persuade them to support the legislation.

Sen. Kyrsten Sinema (D-Ariz.)

The Arizona Democrat’s profile grew as she became one of the most visible negotiators among the Democratic caucus while frustrating many in her party for holding out on the more expansive social spending bill.

Sen. Thomas R. Carper (D-Del.)

The lawmaker who is often involved in some of the most consequential transportation policy conversations championed the bill from its earliest moments and attempted to rally his colleagues around it.

Treasury Secretary Janet L. Yellen

Yellen has touted the potential economic impact of the bill, which she says “will grow our economy and make it more resilient and sustainable in the process.”

Labor Secretary Marty Walsh

The former Boston mayor often spoke about the potential jobs that the bill would create if passed. And he promised many of the jobs would provide professional opportunities for Americans with various levels of education.

Sen. Shelley Moore Capito (R-W.Va.)

The lawmaker co-authored an op-ed in West Virginia newspapers on Sunday explaining support for the bill and highlighting how the bill would benefit projects in the state, which largely voted against Biden in the 2020 election.

Sen. Rob Portman (R-Ohio)

(Portman is partially obscured in this image.)

The lawmaker pointed to the rare bipartisanship that the infrastructure bill’s passing showcased given the hyperpolarization of the political climate, including in his home state, as voters look toward the midterm elections. Portman has announced that he will not seek reelection to the Senate in 2022.

Rep. Don Young (R-Alaska)

(Young is partially obscured in this image.)

Young was one of 13 Republicans who went against former president Donald Trump’s wishes and backed the bill. He defended his decision in local media, explaining how the bill would benefit Alaskans in necessary ways that would enhance the state.

Interior Secretary Deb Haaland

Haaland often spoke about the bill’s potential investment in conservation efforts that would make exploring America’s national parks a more positive experience for the millions of Americans who frequent them annually.

Roxanne Brown

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p class=” font–article-body font-copy color-gray-darkest pb-md mw-md ma-auto pr-sm pl-sm “>The international vice president of United Steelworkers got the presidents attention when she spoke at the White House Leadership Summit on climate change. She spoke about the importance of including USW members in conversations about infrastructure.

Lee Saunders

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p class=” font–article-body font-copy color-gray-darkest pb-md mw-md ma-auto pr-sm pl-sm “>The president of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees heads the largest trade union of public employees in the country.

Nan Whaley (D)

The Dayton mayor is running for governor of Ohio and has campaigned on continuing to address many of the projects that the infrastructure bill will help fund.

Ray Curry

The president of United Auto Workers (UAW), the labor union representing workers in the automobile, higher-education and gaming industries, among others, backed the legislation as a potential provider of more jobs for more Americans.

Barbara Humpton

Barbara Humpton is president of Siemens, the largest manufacturing company in Europe with offices in the United States. Humpton has said infrastructure will be key in helping America fully recover from the coronavirus pandemic.

Joseph Sellers

Sellers is general president of the International Association of Sheet Metal, Air, Rail and Transportation Workers, a trade union that endorsed Biden in 2020 in part because they believed he had an infrastructure plan that could improve job opportunities for those in the industries the organization represents.

James P. Hoffa

Hoffa is general president of the International Brotherhood of Teamsters, a union that counts infrastructure development and worker rights among the top issues it advocates for in Washington.

David Gitlin

Gitlin is president and CEO of Carrier Global, a manufacturer of heating and air-conditioning systems that made headlines after Donald Trump failed to keep his promise to keep the company’s jobs in the Indiana.

About this story

Natalia Jiménez, Felicia Sonmez, Kevin Uhrmacher and Amy B Wang contributed to this report. Photo by Demetrius Freeman. Design and development by Garland Potts.

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