Republicans have made it no secret that they believe President Biden’s recent $2.3 trillion American Jobs Plan contains a far-too-broad definition of infrastructure. The Republican National Committee, for example, is reportedly moving forward with the viewpoint that only “roads, bridges, waterways, ports, and airports” count. As some folks have pointed out, it may be unnecessary to haggle over semantics on some issues, but not even electric grid, water systems, school buildings, broadband, and public housing make the RNC’s cut.
Biden, unsurprisingly, is standing by his administration’s plan, and on Wednesday he provided several reasons why he believes going beyond traditional infrastructure spending makes sense for the U.S. right now. For starters, he argued infrastructure is an evolving concept and should meet the needs of the moment, likely referring to more modern developments like broadband.
Biden argues trains and highways once weren’t seen as infrastructure, but the definition has always changed to meet the moment: “The idea of infrastructure has always evolved to meet the aspirations of the American people and their needs. And it is evolving again today.”
— Kyle Griffin (@kylegriffin1) April 7, 2021
He also appealed to safety and health concerns, specifically mentioning schools. “How many of you know when you send your child to school the fountain they’re drinking out of is not fed by lead pipe? How many of you know the school your child is in still has asbestos in the walls? Is that not infrastructure?”
Finally, he turned to China. Beijing, Biden said, is “counting on American democracy to be too slow, too limited, and too divided to keep pace” with its digital infrastructure and research and development programs, so the U.S. needs to invest in those things to prove them wrong. Tim O’Donnell
Biden: “Do you think China is waiting around to invest in its digital infrastructure or in research and development? I promise you, they are not waiting. But they’re counting on American democracy to be too slow, too limited and too divided to keep pace.” https://t.co/Sht2c5jEVS pic.twitter.com/2UV9ZEDTAE
— Bloomberg Quicktake (@Quicktake) April 7, 2021