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article imageWe may need to update our definition of 'infrastructure'

By Karen Graham     Apr 5, 2021 in Politics
Republicans may support limited infrastructure spending in President Joe Biden’s jobs plan, but it would require scaling back the $2.25 trillion plan and possibly updating the meaning of "infrastructure" as it applies to the modern world.
Biden’s Americans Jobs Plan was the primary theme on the Sunday morning talk shows as Senate Republicans took the limelight in voicing opposition to the plan, calling it a ":corporate-rate increase they say will hold back job creation," reports Aviation Pros.
National Economic Council Director Brian Deese spent time Sunday morning with "Fox News Sunday" anchor Chris Wallace, explaining the plan is a “one-time, eight-year capital investment” that tackles classic infrastructure projects like repairing bridges but also addresses the promotion of long-term job growth.
However, Wallace pressed Deese on the fact that while the plan is being called an infrastructure plan, most of the money in it goes to things not traditionally thought of as infrastructure. Wallace said Deese and the White House are "really stretching the word beyond all meaning."
"I think we really need to update what we mean by infrastructure for the 21st century," Deese replied. "If you look at that number on housing what we're talking about is construction, building housing all around the country to help make sure that there are more affordable housing units for people to access jobs and access economic opportunity."
Wallace was particularly interested in why the White House wants to spend hundreds of billions of dollars for housing and elderly and disabled care - which Wallace likened to “a social program” - saying it was not infrastructure.
”Well, look, I think we really need to update what we mean by infrastructure for the 21st century,” Deese said, reports Politico.
Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg similarly defended the administration’s vision on ABC’s “This Week” after Sen. Roy Blunt (R-Mo.) suggested on the program that Democrats would be more apt to get bipartisan support for the plan if they narrowed the focus to what is considered "traditional infrastructure items."
And then “the other 70 or so percent of the package that doesn’t have very much to do with infrastructure, if you want to force that in a partisan way, you could still do that,” he said.
Buttigieg responded, saying that infrastructure is not just roads and bridges, adding that he would work on convincing Blunt that “electric vehicle charging infrastructure is absolutely a core part of how Americans are going to need to get around in the future.”
It all boils down to redefining what infrastructure means in our modern world. The very meaning of “infrastructure” needs a 21st-century makeover, said Cecilia Rouse, chair of the White House Council of Economic Advisers.
“It’s important that we upgrade our definition of infrastructure, one that meets the needs of a 21st-century economy, and that means we need to be funding and incentivizing those structures that allow us to maximize our economic activity,” Rouse said on CBS’ “Face the Nation.”
More about Infrastructure, Joe biden, Tax increase, care economy, GOP opposition
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