President Joe Biden gave a speech on Monday, highlighting a tunnel project funded by the $1.2 trillion Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act signed in 2021.
“But folks look, I made a thousand trips through this tunnel, so I’ve been through this tunnel a thousand times,” Biden told the audience. “But when folks talk about how bad the…tunnel needs an upgrade, you don’t need me to tell you.”
“I also know that it’s not just Amtrak; I know how important this tunnel is to the computer rail – computer rail, commuter rail – and MARC rail back and forth to Washington,” he continued.
According to the White House, the estimated cost of the project is $6 billion, and up to $4.7 billion of this cost could be covered by the proposed infrastructure bill.
“This law is the most significant investment in American roads and bridges since the interstate highway system, and it’s the most significant investment in the rail on America since Amtrak was created 50 years ago,” Biden boasted.
Following the passing of the bill, Rep. Jim Banks (R-IN) pointed out that only a fraction of the $1.2 trillion in spending, specifically $110 billion, would be allocated towards crucial infrastructure projects such as roads and bridges. Meanwhile, the Republican Study Committee stated that the bill would provide $66 billion in funding for Amtrak, with no accountability for the railway service.
The current situation is concerning, as Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen recently announced that the U.S. has reached its debt ceiling of 31.3 trillion and the Treasury Department predicts it may have to resort to “extraordinary measures” until June to avoid defaulting on its debt.
Biden’s press secretary, Karine Jean Pierre, has expressed the President’s stance that the debt ceiling should be raised without conditions, and the White House has made it clear that they do not intend to negotiate with Republicans who seek cuts to balance the debt in exchange for raising the ceiling.
However, Biden himself, despite the recent spending spree, acknowledged the need to focus on reducing the accumulation of debt while speaking to mayors at the White House. He even proposed the idea of tax hikes and aimed to challenge the notion that Republicans seek cuts in Social Security and Medicare.
“Cut waste, fraud, and abuse everywhere that we can find it, and there’s plenty of it, but do not cut the benefits our seniors worked for and paid for their entire lives. Save social security, don’t destroy it,” he said.