Speed Reads

infrastructure week but real

Biden is apparently determined to focus on infrastructure this week

One leitmotif of former President Donald Trump's tenure was his administration announcing "infrastructure week" at the White House — only to have Trump, or circumstances beyond the president's control, intervene and demolish any such plans. President Biden, however, appears determined to make "infrastructure week" something other than a punch line. And this week, a sort of infrastructure week, should test his resolve.

"Biden is putting his foot on the gas pedal and moving ahead with his plans to sell an expansive infrastructure proposal this week," even as he "faces mounting pressure to act on other legislative priorities that have become increasingly difficult to ignore," USA Today reports. He will lay out the contours of his infrastructure plan, expected to cost up to $3 trillion, at an event in Pittsburgh on Wednesday.

White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki said on Fox News Sunday that Biden has decided to break his "Build Back Better" plan into two legislative proposals, the first of which will deal with broadly popular items like rebuilding roads and bridges, shoring up railroads, and expanding broadband to rural communities — projects Republicans have supported in the past.

"I will say that I don't think Republicans in this country think we should be 13th in the world as it relates to infrastructure," Psaki said, referring to a World Economic Forum ranking. "Roads, railways, rebuilding them — that's not a partisan issue." Biden will release the second proposal, focused on the "caregiver economy" — expanding access to child care and health care, for example — in April, she added.

Biden is probably wise to take "a kind of hard-nosed assessment about what's politically possible and moving forward on those items," William Howell, a political scientist at the University of Chicago Harris School of Public Policy, tells USA Today. "The politics of infrastructure aren't like the politics of gun violence. It's about decaying roads and bridges that are not quite as safe as they once were. If you say we've got to always respond to the latest crisis, most of the time, you're going to put infrastructure on the back burner."