Democrats are trying to expand the definition of “infrastructure” to justify President Joe Biden’s massive $3 trillion infrastructure plan that encompasses everything from roads to childcare to racial equity programs.
Energy Sec. Granholm responds to criticism of the Biden administration’s infrastructure plan: “What is infrastructure? Historically, it’s been what makes the economy move.” https://t.co/MLMwtBqEVj pic.twitter.com/eoAid78NLK
— This Week (@ThisWeekABC) April 11, 2021
After moderate Democratic senators, including Sen. Joe Manchin, W-Va., said he would not support Biden’s plan as it is currently written, the White House suggested dividing the enormous bill into two separate bills: one that would focus on tangible, traditional infrastructure costs, such as roads, bridges, airports, and waterways, and another that would focus on “human” infrastructure.
“What is infrastructure? Historically, it’s been what makes the economy move, what is it that we all need to ensure that we as citizens are productive,” said Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm.
“So we need roads, we need bridges, we need transmission, you need lights in people’s homes and offices, you need to make sure that people can actually go to work if they have an aging parent or a child,” she explained, adding that infrastructure “evolves to meet the American people’s aspirations.”
Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., who chairs the Senate Budget Committee, went even further and argued that “human infrastructure” is what Biden’s plan should focus on.
“When I talk about infrastructure, it means if a worker, a mom and a dad are going to work, they have the right to know that their kids are in decent childcare. That’s infrastructure,” Sanders said this weekend. “Infrastructure is having the best-educated workforce in the world. That means all of our kids should have the ability to get a higher education, not leave school deeply in debt.”
After linking it to his longstanding agenda to cancel student-loan debt, he also tied it to his socialist Medicare-for-all proposal.
“It means that we need a healthy society,” Sanders added.. “Our life expectancy is 40th in the world because we are the only major country not to guarantee healthcare to all people.”
Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, D-N.Y., summed up Democrats’ new definition of “infrastructure” this way:
Paid leave is infrastructure.
Child care is infrastructure.
Caregiving is infrastructure.
— Kirsten Gillibrand (@SenGillibrand) April 7, 2021