Top Democrats are already moving the legislative goalposts as President Joe Biden pushes his second multi-trillion dollar spending package.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), who controls the Senate Budget Committee, are defending Biden’s push for a massive infrastructure bill — which critics say has very little to do with American infrastructure — by citing the need to address “human infrastructure.”
What is the background?
Despite boasting a price tag of $2.25 trillion, Biden’s plan spends relatively few tax dollars on American highways, bridges, and other traditional infrastructural systems.
Instead, the plan advances countless progressive policy initiatives, and is being described as, basically, the Green New Deal.
As TheBlaze reported:
According to a chart obtained by the Washington Post, which details the proposal’s spending breakdown, the administration plans to spend only $115 billion — roughly one-twentieth of the total — on highways, bridges, and roads, while spending $174 billion on electric vehicles, $213 billion on affordable and sustainable housing, $137 billion on public schools and community colleges, and $180 billion on climate-based research and development.
Other large expenditures include $111 billion for clean drinking water, $100 billion for high-speed broadband, and $100 billion for workforce development.
What did Pelosi say?
Speaking on CBS’ “Face the Nation,” Pelosi said the infrastructure bill will not be trimmed down despite criticisms because infrastructure is more than highways and bridges.
“Infrastructure is about education, about getting children healthily in school with separation, sanitation, ventilation. It’s about investments in housing as well,” Pelosi said. “Overwhelmingly, this bill is about infrastructure in the traditional sense of the word.”
“We also think that infrastructure– there’s a need for workforce development in order to have the workforce fully participate in how we go forward and childcare so that women can be involved in that as well,” she added. “So it’s physical infrastructure. It’s also human infrastructure that is involved.”
Pelosi says “the door is open” for bipartisan cooperation on infrastructure
What did Sanders say?
Speaking on MSNBC Saturday, Sanders invoked a similar line of defense by attempting to broaden the definition of what exactly “infrastructure” means.
“[W]e’ve got to take a broad look at what infrastructure means, human infrastructure for ordinary people,” Sanders said.
“Human infrastructure means housing. You’ve got a half a million people in this country who are homeless. You’ve got 19 million households who are spending 50% of their limited incomes on housing. We need to build housing,” Sanders continued. “And by the way, when you deal with housing, you create jobs.”
“When I talk about infrastructure, it means if a worker, a mom and dad are going to work, they have the right to know that their kids are in decent childcare. That’s infrastructure,” Sanders said. “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.”
“[Infrastructure] means that we need a healthy society. Our life expectancy is 40th in the world because we are the only major country not to guarantee health care to all people,” Sanders added. “And so, I think as a nation we’ve got to take a very broad look at what we mean by infrastructure, it’s physical infrastructure, obviously, bricks and mortar. It is human infrastructure.”