Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand's 'everything is infrastructure' tweet may have backfired

Kirsten Gillibrand.
(Image credit: Michael Reynolds-Pool/Getty Images)

The Biden administration's latest $2.3 trillion spending proposal designates a lot of money to improving roads, bridges, and airports, and expanding broadband. But many Republicans think it should solely focus on infrastructure, and bristle at the inclusion of what they consider separate issues. In an apparent effort to counter that argument, Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.) tweeted Wednesday that child care, caregiving, and paid leave are, in fact, infrastructure. The message didn't land the way she hoped, it seems.

A few folks on the right, including Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell's (R-Ky.) speech writer, had some fun with Gillibrand's tweet, painting it as devoid of any serious meaning. "If everything is infrastructure, is anything really infrastructure?" was a common response.

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Others predicted Gillibrand's words would backfire and actually give momentum to Republican lawmakers fighting against Biden's plan. Lo and behold, Rep. Rick Crawford (R-Ark.) quickly jumped on it, arguing Gillibrand's "framing" would pave "the road to socialism."

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The senator didn't just get heat from conservatives, however. "We don't have to pretend every good thing is 'infrastructure,'" Slate's Jordan Weissman tweeted. Weismann has previously made the case that "agonizing about the exact proportion of infrastructure spending and what counts" in Biden's "infrastructure, energy, and jobs plan" is "not productive," though he added that Biden himself played a role in creating the debate.

At the moment, the Biden administration is content to move forward with the proposal without any Republican support in Congress, instead relying on its popularity with American voters across the political spectrum, but they likely don't want to give the GOP any opportunities to refocus the debate.

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Tim O'Donnell

Tim is a staff writer at The Week and has contributed to Bedford and Bowery and The New York Transatlantic. He is a graduate of Occidental College and NYU's journalism school. Tim enjoys writing about baseball, Europe, and extinct megafauna. He lives in New York City.