Above: Gottheimer and members of the Bergen County Building and Construction Trades Council and local labor groups push to pass the Bipartisan Infrastructure Bill.
PARAMUS, NJ— On August 23rd, 2021, U.S. Congressman Josh Gottheimer (NJ-5), members of the Bergen County Building and Construction Trades Council, and local North Jersey labor groups rallied together to push for immediate House passage of the bipartisan infrastructure bill — the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act — to get it to the President’s desk. The Council represents more than 25,000 local workers and their families, many of whom work in industries where thousands of jobs will be created by the infrastructure bill.
“This once-in-a-century bipartisan infrastructure bill can bring many of us together at a moment when our nation is deeply divided. It will add jobs, build the economy, fix our crumbling infrastructure, and help tackle climate change,” said Congressman Josh Gottheimer (NJ-5). “As they say in Washington, time kills bills. We have this opportunity within our grasp – why would we blow it? For New Jersey’s sake, we need to get the infrastructure bill to the President’s desk. Now, not later.”
“This infrastructure bill is not only important to the men and women of labor in this country, but it’s especially vital for New Jersey, where our transit, roads, and bridges are in dire need of repair. Creating millions of jobs while at the same time bringing our infrastructure into the 21st century is just a win win for all. I’m glad we have an ally in Congressman Gottheimer, who is doing the right thing for the people of the Fifth District, and New Jersey,” said Tom Sullivan, President of Bergen Building and Construction Trades Council.
Gottheimer also recently joined with members of the Labor International Union of North American (LiUNA) from across New Jersey to highlight the importance of passing the bipartisan infrastructure bill as soon as possible.
Below: Gottheimer meets with members of the Bergen County Building and Construction Trades Council and local labor groups.
Watch the press conference here.
Gottheimer’s full remarks as prepared for delivery are below.
We are all joining together here today to urge the House of Representatives to immediately vote on the bipartisan infrastructure bill, and to get it to the President’s desk. I know how important this is to working men and women of New Jersey. To the two million jobs per year this bill will help create. And to fixing those crumbling roads, bridges, and rail.
For everyone who has hit a pothole, has been stuck on a train, and spent too much time commuting, this bill is a game changer.
This is a once-in-a-century investment in repairing and improving our infrastructure, which we are on the brink of turning into a reality.
This will be a major win for New Jersey. And it is a win that the country needs.
In Jersey, we have the third worst roads in the nation; and a third of our bridges are in desperate need of repair. New Jersey’s public transit has been ranked the worst in the nation, causing endless delays and frustration. Parents are often late to work in the morning and miss bedtime in the evening. Our key tunnel, the Gateway Tunnel, connecting 20 percent of the nation’s GDP, between New York and New Jersey still needs to be built; and the current tunnel is 113 years old and crumbling.
New Jersey residents who take public transit spend an extra 82.7% of their time commuting.
On top of all this, there’s still lead in our children’s drinking water in schools; and many rural New Jersey families, including far too many in my District, do not have basic broadband connectivity to connect to school, work, or a doctor’s appointment.
That is why this bill is so important for the Garden State. It is an opportunity to finally solve these problems. And we can do it!
The good news is that our bipartisan infrastructure package makes an unprecedented investment in our nation’s roads, bridges, and mass transit — including billions of dollars right here in New Jersey. It will finally get the Gateway Tunnel between New York and New Jersey built. It infuses the largest investment in bridges since the construction of the interstate highway system, and commits unmatched resources to climate resiliency, electric vehicle infrastructure, and clean drinking water. Plus, it will ensure that all Americans, including those living in rural stretches throughout Jersey, have access to reliable high-speed internet.
Nothing will make me happier than when the real work will begin — led by our hardworking building trades — repairing those crumbling roads on Route 17 and the bridge, cleaning up the lead coated pipes across the county, expanding broadband access in Sussex and Warren Counties, and finally getting the Gateway Tunnel project fully moving forward. Man, do we need the help.
What’s more, this historic legislation will help create two million jobs a year for the next decade, and it has earned the support of groups ranging from the national AFL-CIO to our great local building and construction trades who are here with us today, to the U.S. and New Jersey Chambers of Commerce.
Over the last month, I’ve spent time speaking with the hard-working men and women of labor — many who are here today — who build our roads, tunnels, transit, and electric vehicle stations, and who lay new broadband fiber, and they have made it clear that they want to see this incredible bill become law as soon as possible. The question I get most from these folks is: What’s the hold up?
So, that’s what we need to address, and this is what I’m pushing for: the House should immediately pass this historic bipartisan infrastructure bill that the Senate voted on earlier this month, with support from all fifty Democrats — from Bernie Sanders to Joe Manchin — and nineteen Republicans.
For everyone who has hit a pothole, has been stuck on a train, and spent too much time commuting (and, yes, we’re going back to that), this bill is a game changer.
Some have suggested that we hold off on voting for the infrastructure package, or never vote on it at all, while we wait for another major bill to get done. But, the House can’t afford to wait months. Plus, if we do that, that could jeopardize passing this infrastructure bill or losing the bipartisan support behind it.
As they say in Washington, time kills bills. We have this opportunity within our grasp – why would we blow it?
For New Jersey’s sake, we need to get the infrastructure bill to the President’s desk.
Now, not later.
This bill is too important for anyone to use as a political football.
Once the infrastructure bill is passed and signed into law by President Biden, the House can quickly move on to our next major priority — “budget reconciliation” — which includes many things that I believe are critical for our district. It’s not written yet, but let me tell you what I’ll be fighting for — policies including reinstating the State and Local Tax Deduction (SALT), something that is a huge priority for many New Jersey residents who are being hit with unfair double taxation, just because we live in a high tax state.
I’m confident it will include adding hearing, vision, and dental benefits as part of Medicare, implementing strong critical climate protections that we need to combat global warming, and increasing support and accessibility of child care — which is something that I know will be life changing for working parents. I’ll fight to make sure it includes this, but that bill hasn’t even been written yet, and we need time to consider it appropriately. We need to see the details.
In the meantime, the bipartisan Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act has passed the Senate and is sitting in the House awaiting action. Let’s vote on it and send it to the President’s desk. We need to get people to work and shovels in the ground now. We have already waited far too long for major infrastructure investments. Why would we wait any longer?
This once-in-a-century bipartisan infrastructure bill can bring many of us together at a moment when our nation is deeply divided. It will add jobs, build the economy, fix our crumbling infrastructure, and help tackle climate change.
The bottom line is that our country needs this legislation now. New Jersey needs it. After years of gridlock on infrastructure, we can finally show Americans that, indeed, we can unite, put country first, and govern together.
Thank you again to the Bergen County Building and Construction Trades Council — thank you for standing up and calling for this infrastructure bill to get done.
By working together — just like we’re coming together today — I know our best days, for New Jersey and for our nation, will always be ahead of us.
Thank you and God bless.