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Tag: infrastructure

Biden Orders Only US-Made Steel For Infrastructure Projects


The Biden administration announced on Monday that construction projects funded under the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act will be required to use American-made steel and iron.

A memo issued by Office of Management and Budget Director Shalanda D. Young "for heads of executive departments and agencies" says that "none of the funds made available for a Federal financial assistance program for infrastructure, including each deficient program, may be obligated for a project unless all of the iron, steel, manufactured products, and construction materials used in the project are produced in the United States. ... This means all manufacturing processes, from the initial melting stage through the application of coatings, occurred in the United States."

The infrastructure bill was signed into law by President Joe Biden on November 15, 2021, after passing in Congress with all Democrats voting in favor of it and a majority of Republicans opposing its passage.

The American Iron and Steel Institute, an association of North American steel producers, has estimated that five million metric tons of steel will be needed for every $100 billion of direct infrastructure spending in the legislation. Based on the $550 billion allocated in the final bill, that amounts to an estimated 27.5 million metric tons of steel that would need to be manufactured in the United States.

"Passing this bill today provides a tremendous boost to our industry," Kevin Dempsey, president and CEO of the institute, said in a statement.

Infrastructure construction projects include bridge repairs across the country, as well as road construction and repair and the installation of broadband infrastructure.

Biden's direction to use steel produced in the United States could have a positive environmental impact.

Multiple studies, including one backed by the BlueGreen Alliance Foundation and ClimateWorks Foundation and another from the Climate Leadership Council, have determined that the production of steel in America is more carbon efficient than in other countries.

Both studies found that carbon output from China's production of steel notably exceeded that of American production.

American steel production companies Nucor and U.S. Steel recently announced initiatives they said were aimed at achieved "net zero carbon" goals.

In that same vein, the Biden administration has previously announced its intention to work with the European Union toward policies that limit the use of "dirty steel" from China.

"American-made steel and aluminum is produced with far fewer emissions than dirtier alternatives made in the PRC and elsewhere. To date, American steel companies and workers have received no benefit for their low-carbon production. Low-carbon steel across all production types —and the workers who make it—will be incentivized and rewarded going forward," the administration announced in an October 2021 statement. It also highlighted the value of "green steel production," which it said would ensure "a competitive U.S. steel industry for decades to come."

The United Steelworkers, the union that represents 1.2 million active and retired workers in multiple industries, praised the original passage of the infrastructure bill in November 2021, noting, "Robust investment, coupled with strong domestic procurement provisions, will help American workers, including hundreds of thousands of USW members, not only by making their communities safer but by promoting widespread job growth and economic opportunity.

"Our members stand ready to produce the essential building blocks of a modern infrastructure, as we begin making long-overdue upgrades to the nation's roads, bridges, broadband, public transit, ports, power grids, and more."

Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.

More Republicans Claim Credit For Infrastructure Bill They Opposed

Republicans have adamantly fought against President Joe Biden's infrastructure plan but now a growing list of them are taking credit for the funding provided by the same plan they opposed.

According to HuffPost, over the last several days, several Republican lawmakers have issued press releases praising funding that will be used to improve United States highways and other infrastructure. On Wednesday, January 19, Rep. Ashley Hinson (R-IA) described the $829 million in funding for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to improve infrastructure along the Mississippi River as “game-changing.”

“Over 60 percent of our nation’s grain exports travel through this lock and dam system, and it is a massive economic engine for the entire state,” Hinson said in a statement.

“That’s why I helped lead a bipartisan group of my colleagues in urging the Administration to prioritize funding for these essential upgrades," she added, "I’ll always fight to ensure Iowans’ taxpayer dollars are reinvested at home in Iowa."

However, Hinson's latest remarks differ vastly from her stance back in November. At the time, she described the package as “a raw deal for Iowans” and “spending at its worst,” according to a statement given to HuffPost by her spokeswoman, Sophie Seid.

“Congresswoman Hinson opposed the infrastructure package because it was tied to trillions of other spending in the House,” Seid, said in a statement. “Since the bill was signed into law, this money was going to be spent regardless. If there’s federal money on the table she is, of course, going to do everything she can to make sure it is reinvested in Iowa.”

Another Republican lawmaker in Texas also lauded the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers' funding announcement on Wednesday. Since the funds will also help to mitigate flooding in Fort Worth, Texas, Rep. Kay Granger (R-TX) verbalized her support for the bill.

Sens. Chuck Grassley (R-IA) and Roy Blunt (R-MO) also released statements touting the infrastructure funding announcement.

“When I voted for the bipartisan infrastructure bill, I was voting for exactly this type of federal support for critical infrastructure that Iowans depend on,” Grassley said in a statement.

Grassley and Blunt were among the 19 Senate Republicans who voted in favor of the bill.

Reprinted with permission from Alternet

Biden Names Ex-Mayor Landrieu To Oversee Infrastructure Billions

Washington (AFP) - President Joe Biden on Sunday appointed prominent former mayor Mitch Landrieu to coordinate implementation of the country's massive new infrastructure law and oversee the disbursement of its $1.2 trillion in funds.

In his role as senior advisor, the former New Orleans mayor "will oversee the most significant and comprehensive investments in American infrastructure in generations," the White House said in a statement.

The package, recently passed by Congress after months of wrangling, is aimed at creating millions of high-paying jobs, upgrading crumbling roads, bridges, waterways and ports and strengthening supply chains.

Biden is scheduled to sign the landmark Bipartisan Infrastructure Deal into law on Monday.

Landrieu, 61, is no stranger to managing crises. He took over as mayor of New Orleans in 2010 in the aftermath of deadly Hurricane Katrina as the recovery of the famed Gulf Coast city had stalled.

He also served as Louisiana's lieutenant governor.

Biden has stressed to Americans that it will be a matter of weeks or months before the public begins to see the real effects of the bill which also intends to expand US broadband access and the number of electric car charging stations, along with a slew of other projects.

The president is counting on the program producing an impact -- at least politically -- before Americans vote in midterm elections next November.

House Democrats Advance Biden's Nearly $5 Trillion Spending Plans

Washington (AFP) - US President Joe Biden's plans to spend nearly $5 trillion to change the world's largest economy advanced in the House of Representatives on Tuesday, after Democratic leaders reached an agreement with centrist lawmakers to end a dispute that threatened the bills.

Biden and his Democratic allies controlling the chamber are pushing for passage of both a $1.2 trillion overhaul to the country's infrastructure and a bill costing $3.5 trillion over ten years that would pay for improvements to education, health care and climate change resiliency.

While the infrastructure bill has already won passage in the Senate with some votes from Republicans, Democrats have found no opposition support for the second, larger bill, and are planning to approve it with their votes alone -- a tough task given their narrow majorities in both chambers of Congress.

The dispute erupted when centrist Democrats in the House said the infrastructure bill must be voted on first, but on Tuesday, those lawmakers backed a compromise resolution that would see the infrastructure measure put to a vote in about a month.

"I am committing to pass the bipartisan infrastructure bill by September 27. I do so with a commitment to rally House Democratic support for its passage," House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said in a statement.

The resolution paves the way for further negotiations over the $3.5 trillion measure with the aim of unveiling it by September 15.

The Democrats can afford to lose no votes in the Senate, where two of their lawmakers have already said they won't vote for the bill unless its price is reduced.

Final votes on the bills are not expected until next month or later in the fall.

The infrastructure measure includes $550 billion in new spending and is aimed at revitalizing and expanding the nation's roads, railways, bridges and broadband access.

The $3.5 trillion measure is supported by the Democratic leaders and the party's progressive faction, and includes funding for climate measures, infrastructure investments left out of the other bill, residency status for millions of migrant workers, and two years of paid tuition at public universities.

Biden Will Nominate Buttigieg for Transportation Secretary, Sources Say

President-elect Joe Biden is reportedly going to name former Democratic presidential candidate Pete Buttigieg to play an essential role in Biden's ambitious infrastructure plan as transportation secretary, according to multiple sources.

The role of transportation secretary is an especially important job in the Biden administration which promises a "sustainable infrastructure" plan that heavily relies on the Department of Transportation (DOT). In Biden's plan, he promises to reach "net-zero emissions, economy-wide, by no later than 2050."

According to POLITICO, the 38 year-old Rhodes Scholar and Afghanistan veteran was eyeing the position of United Nations Ambassador, until that post was given to Linda Thomas-Greenfield.

Instead, Buttigieg will play an important role in bringing Biden's infrastructure plan to fruition, even though he doesn't have much experience with transportation. The young former mayor has had a meteoric rise in American politics -- and Biden gave him the "highest compliment I can give any man or woman" by comparing him to his late son Beau, back when Buttigieg delivered his endorsement to Biden in the primaries. If confirmed, Buttigieg will be the first openly gay Cabinet secretary in U.S. history, as Biden has promised a diverse cabinet.

Why New Infrastructure Is A National Imperative

This article was produced by the Independent Media Institute.

Rich Carmona spent decades upgrading his 1970s ranch home in Midland, Michigan.

He lovingly installed new flooring and doors and remodeled the bathrooms. After finishing the kitchen 18 months ago, he finally had the house the way he liked it.

Then the 96-year-old Edenville Dam failed amid heavy rains May 19, unleashing a torrent of water that drowned roads, swept some houses off of their foundations and left others, including Carmona's, in ruins.

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