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.
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