GOP senator says bipartisan infrastructure group wants to double Biden’s spending on roads and bridges

Bill Cassidy
Sen. Bill Cassidy (R-LA).

  • Sen. Bill Cassidy says he’s working on an “alternative” to Biden’s multitrillion-dollar jobs plan.
  • “The money in our bill … would double the amount of money going for roads and bridges” compared to Biden, he said.
  • Cassidy was part of a key GOP working group that made a stimulus counteroffer to Biden this year.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

Sen. Bill Cassidy, a Republican on the Senate Finance Committee, indicated another major infrastructure plan was being drafted by lawmakers searching for another option besides President Joe Biden’s $2.3 trillion proposal.

“I’ll be meeting with governors and bipartisan group of senators and [representatives] on a bill which will be an alternative to the President’s proposal,” Cassidy told Louisiana reporters on Tuesday.

He continued: “As I look at it, the money in our bill – at least what I’m proposing – would double the amount of money going for roads and bridges compared to what the president is putting forward.”

Biden’s plan sets aside $115 billion to upgrade roads and bridges. That suggests a potential alternative plan from Cassidy could allocate at least $230 billion.

Cassidy added his state was hit with a low grade in the White House’s ‘infrastructure report card’ issued on Monday. “In Louisiana if we’re a ‘D,’ we need a lot more infrastructure and a lot less of that something else,” he said.

The Louisiana senator formed part of a group of 10 Republican senators who met with Biden earlier this year and pitched a $618 billion coronavirus relief counterproposal. They recently panned Biden for calling that package inadequate to address the crisis. Democrats ultimately approved a $1.9 trillion rescue plan without Republican votes.

It was not immediately clear whether Cassidy was drafting a plan in tandem with any of those GOP lawmakers. His office did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Democrats favor a large package that ramps up spending on in-home care for the elderly and affordable housing. The GOP argues these measures go beyond traditional infrastructure, besides having a size and scope that are too large. They are also critical of hiking corporate taxes.

“There is bipartisan appetite for smart infrastructure bills that are built the right way,” Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell said on Tuesday. “There isn’t much appetite for using the word “infrastructure” to justify a colossal, multitrillion-dollar slush fund for unrelated bad ideas.”

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Biden’s plan to spend $775 billion on childcare and eldercare could create millions of jobs, study says

taking temperature childcare daycare
In this May 27, 2020 photo, Aaron Rainboth, a teacher at the Frederickson KinderCare daycare center in Tacoma, Wash., wears a mask as he takes the temperature of Benjamin Simpson, 4, after he complained of feeling hot following an outdoor play period, but found it to be normal. In a world weary of the coronavirus, many working parents with young children are now struggling with the decision on when or how they’ll be comfortable returning to their child care providers. Frederickson KinderCare, which has been open throughout the pandemic to care for children of essential workers, removed carpets and spaced out tables and chairs as part of their measures to control the spread of the coronavirus.

    • Spending $775 billion on care could create millions of jobs, per a study from UMass’ Political Economy Research Institute.
    • Across 18 states, it could result in 5.3 million new jobs, the study by Lenore Palladino found.
    • Biden is proposing $400 billion for home and community care and $25 billion for upgrading childcare.
    • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

Spending $775 billion on three different forms of care infrastructure – childcare, home healthcare, and residential care – could create 5.3 million jobs in 18 states over 10 years, a new study found.

The research, from Lenore Palladino at the Political Economy Research Institute at University of Massachusetts, Amherst, models a $775 billion investment in care infrastructure, something that President Joe Biden campaigned on. Currently, the American Jobs Plan, the first part of Biden’s two-pronged infrastructure package, contains $400 billion for home and community care for the elderly and disabled, along with $25 billion for upgrading childcare facilities and making them more accessible.

“As the mother of a son who experiences severe disabilities, I really know firsthand the difference these services can make, and I’m going to work with the administration and members of Congress on the details for significant investments in home and community-based care,” Sen. Maggie Hassan (D-NH) said in a press conference about the study.

In the 18 states studied, labor force participation by women fell by 3.2% from 2019 to 2020. According to the study, there are 1.7 million care workers in those states, and 87% are female. They are disproportionately women of color.

The study also notes that “median hourly wages are extremely low” for those working as nursing assistants, home healthcare or personal care aides, as well as those working in childcare, coming in at an average of $13.09 an hour.

“Wages are extremely low for the care workforce, based in the structural racism and sexism that has consigned care work as ‘women’s work,’ and disproportionately work by women of color that is not seen as economically valuable,” Palladino writes.

Tina Tchen, the president and CEO of TIME’S UP Foundation, said in the press conference that low wages in the industry are “a legacy that goes all the way back to slavery in our country, right, where caregiving, this kind of work was not compensated for.” That marginalization continued, Tchen said, as caregivers were left out of labor protections in the New Deal; wages still remain low today.

“Advocates have been calling for, in some cases, $15 an hour,” Palladino said. “I think that the concept of a family supporting wage is an incredibly important concept because we know that so many people in the care workforce are supporting their families.”

The next part of the infrastructure package, the American Family Plan, is expected to be announced in the coming weeks. That plan will also invest highly in childcare and education. However, Rep. Katie Porter has called it a mistake to split up the two packages. Politico reported that some childcare advocates were disappointed to see that some measures – like raising wages and benefits – weren’t bundled together. Goldman Sachs projects the likeliest scenario is a single bill worth about $3.3 trillion.

On the whole, while there’s been some recovery, women workers have been hit hard during the pandemic. And, following the K-shape of the recovery, low-wage female workers have faced down income losses while risking their lives to work in person.

“You can’t go to work if you don’t have a road to get there. You can’t go to work if you don’t have a safe place for your kid Right. These are like synonymous things,” Jasmine Tucker, the National Women’s Law Center’s director of research, previously told Insider. “Childcare is infrastructure and we need to treat it that way.”

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Secretary Pete on Biden’s remark that his infrastructure plan will create 19 million jobs – it’s more like 2.7 million

Pete Buttigieg
Secretary of Transportation Pete Buttigieg.

    • President Joe Biden said April 2 that his new infrastructure package could create 19 million jobs.
    • Transportation Sec. Pete Buttigieg clarified on Sunday that it will probably directly create 2.7 million jobs.
    • The stat came from a Moody’s report projecting 16.3 million jobs from natural growth and the $1.9 trillion stimulus.

President Joe Biden said on April 2 that his new American Jobs Plan – the first of a two-part package – could lead to the creation of 19 million new jobs.

But Secretary of Transportation Pete Buttigieg clarified on Sunday that the plan would create 2.7 million jobs – not 19 million.

In a Fox News interview with Chris Wallace, Buttigieg said he and the Biden administration “should have been more precise” when saying that the infrastructure plan would create 19 million new jobs, given that the economy was already on track to add millions of new jobs from natural job growth and the $1.9 trillion stimulus package.

“It will create 2.7 million more jobs than if we don’t do it, and that’s very important because there are people on this network and others saying with a straight face that this would somehow reduce the number of jobs,” Buttigieg said.

According to Bloomberg, Biden seemed to be citing a recent Moody’s Analytics report that projects 19 million jobs could be added over the next decade if the infrastructure plan passes; however, it also estimates that 16.3 million jobs would be added over the next decade from a combination of organic job growth jobs and the already-passed American Rescue Plan.

In his remarks, Biden also said that almost 90% of the infrastructure jobs could be filled by people without a college degree.

A March analysis from Morning Consult found that, during the coronavirus pandemic, more educated Americans saw their confidence rebound and grow. The same could not be said for lower-wage, less-educated workers, who feared for their ability to hold onto a job. Higher-educated Americans felt confident enough to ask for pay increases, the analysis showed.

Biden’s remarks were tied to the prior jobs report, which saw the economy add 916,000 jobs, far outpacing economists’ expectations of 660,000.

While different unemployment measures dropped amidst the good jobs news, the country still has a long way to go before returning to pre-pandemic levels. In a blog post, Cecilia Rouse, the chair of the Council of Economic Advisers, said there were still 8.4 million fewer jobs in March 2021 than in February 2020.

Insider’s Andy Kiersz wrote that, if the March growth rate continues, employment could reach pre-pandemic levels by January 2022. Areas like movie theaters and hotels still have a long way to go, as they continue to lag in recovery.

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Amtrak’s $80 billion plan to connect the US is the latest step in a rail revolution but has a glaring omission: high-speed rail

Amtrak Acela
Amtrak’s Acela service runs between Washington D.C., New York City, and Boston.

  • Amtrak has unveiled a plan to further connect the US by rail but it doesn’t include high-speed rail.
  • New routes will be added and current routes will be upgraded as Amtrak aims to repair its network.
  • Private companies and states have taken up the costly task of building high-speed rail on their own.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

Americans are all-aboard for high-speed rail but Amtrak’s new rail plan is putting the brakes on bullet train dreams.

Amtrak is getting ready to spend $80 billion of the federal government’s money as part of President Joe Biden’s planned $4 trillion infrastructure bills. The “Amtrak Connects US” plan calls for greater rail connectivity across the US with the addition of new routes and improvement of old ones in a major step forward for America’s rail system.

But one phrase is notably missing from Amtrak’s proposal: high-speed rail. Amtrak’s fact sheet doesn’t mention the phrase even once.

Rather, Amtrak is using the billions to give service to rail-strapped cities like Phoenix, Las Vegas, and Nashville, Tennessee, and upgrade existing lines. Not one penny will be spent towards building a clean-slate high-speed rail line even though getting America’s high-speed rail network in line with those in Europe and Asia is a desire for many Americans.

Jim Mathews, president and CEO of the Rail Passengers Association, told Insider that Amtrak may still be decades away from true high-speed rail and is still readjusting from an era of extreme cost-cutting.

“As recently as three years ago, Amtrak senior leadership was out talking about how routes have to make a profit and long-distance routes shouldn’t exist,” Mathews said, referring to the tenure of former Delta Air Lines chief executive officer Richard Anderson that saw Amtrak’s most nostalgic offerings cut in a bid to save costs.

Read More: Here are 9 hurdles Biden’s infrastructure plan would have to overcome in Congress before it can become law

Before Amtrak can even consider a brand-new high-speed rail network, there’s still a backlog of repairs to work through on its existing lines. And unlike regional transit authorities, Amtrak’s network stretches from sea to shining sea, leaving a lot to maintain and update.

“There’s all these sort of boring infrastructure investments that you got to do,” Mathews said.

On the Northeast Corridor, where Amtrak has its only high-speed service with the Acela, Mathews said that it would cost around $50 billion just to get the line to a “state of good repair.” That’s 62.5% of Amtrak’s proposed $80 billion funding from the infrastructure bill in just repairs alone and not even laying the foundation for true high-speed rail in the Northeast.

True high-speed rail would require new infrastructure, including straight lines of track so trains can achieve their top speeds. In congested regions like the Northeast, that means spending millions if not billions just to purchase property along the line’s planned route.

“Politically, high-speed has a different ring to it and I think Amtrak is probably unwilling to step into that,” Mathews said. “From their point of view, they’re like, ‘Hey, we just want to run our trains. We want to run more trains and we want them to be on time.'”

Amtrak is already spread thin in its languishing nationwide network. Existing infrastructure across the US has fallen into disrepair and battles with freight railroads prohibit Amtrak from being competitive on existing lines.

Private companies have instead spearheaded the effort to bring high-speed rail to the US. Brightline built a high-speed line to connect West Palm Beach and Miami in Florida that will soon be connected all the way to Orlando. In Texas, the Texas Central Railroad is developing a high-speed rail line that will connect Dallas and Houston in only 90 minutes.

California has even taken up the mantle with a new high-speed rail line between Los Angeles and San Francisco. Construction is currently underway with the 800-mile line taking at least 14 years to complete at an estimated cost of at least $68 billion, according to Architect Magazine.

Amtrak is introducing new trains to the Acela line but those will only travel slightly faster than the current train sets. And pre-pandemic non-stop service between New York and Washington still took two hours and 30 minutes, despite being a comparable distance to the planned route between Dallas and Houston.

“What about grandma?”

Critics of Amtrak and its money-losing ways look too much at the big picture, according to Mathews, and not at the smaller journeys that are more in line with Amtrak’s original congressional charter. Only around 10% of riders take the full length of a long-distance service like the Empire Builder between Chicago and Seattle, for example, whereas most customers are taking the train between intermediary stops.

“The vast majority of trips take place in between,” Mathews said. And those short-distance trips between say Staples, Minnesota and Wolf Point, Montana, where convenient air service is a distant dream, is Amtrak’s bread and butter. Fares are comparatively lower than flying and trains can better accommodate passengers that face issues when flying, whether it be because they require medical devices or the nearest airport is hours away.

Keeping those smaller cities connected is also the reason why Amtrak rushed to get long-distance trains back to daily service after they were reduced to three-times-weekly service during the pandemic. Restoring them to daily service may have seemed counter-intuitive from a revenue perspective but the move ensures more Americans that rely on the rails have access to it.

When Amtrak does eventually enter the high-speed rail realm, it may be relegated to the lines that private companies haven’t already scooped up. But Mathews believes that’s alright because the rail corporation’s purview, after all, is to serve the entire country – profitable or not.

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Rep. Katie Porter calls Biden’s move to split up his infrastructure package ‘a big mistake’

katie porter
Representative Katie Porter (D-CA).

  • Rep. Katie Porter of California called Biden’s move to split his infrastructure plan ‘a big mistake.’
  • She argued Democrats should merge family policies into a large infrastructure plan.
  • Last month, Biden noted that 2 millions women had left the workforce since the pandemic started.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

Democratic Rep. Katie Porter of California called President Joe Biden’s decision to split up his infrastructure plan into separate jobs and family components a major error.

“This idea that there are two separate buckets, a bucket of American Jobs Plan … and this idea he has a second plan coming soon that he’s called the American Families Plan. I told the White House, ‘I think this is a big mistake,'” she said in an Axios interview published Friday.

She continued: “I think it’s mislabeling what you know as president to be true, which is that all of this is about our economy and economic recovery.”

“Strong family policy is strong jobs policy,” she said. Porter previously expressed a fear that women could be left behind in the Biden plan, CNBC reported.

Biden recently unveiled a $2.3 trillion public-works plan, the first of two plans aimed at upgrading the nation’s infrastructure. The plan contains new funds to repair deteriorating roads and bridges, eliminate lead pipes from water systems, and widen the reach of broadband networks.

The second part will be known as the American Family Plan, a package expected to contain a multi-trillion investment into childcare and education. Republicans are strongly critical of the Democratic infrastructure push, arguing that its tax hikes would slam into the economy.

Last month, Biden noted that 2 millions women had left the workforce since the pandemic started.

“A lot of that is because so much extra weight of caregiving and responsibility is falling on their shoulders,” he said at a White House event. “It causes women to miss work, cut hours, and leave their jobs and care for their children and aging loved ones.”

“How many men are staying home and doing it, and the woman’s staying in the workforce?” he asked.

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2 Democratic Senators are already saying Biden’s infrastructure plan probably needs to change

Joe Manchin
Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV).

  • Democrats in the Senate are already voicing their concerns with the infrastructure package.
  • Sen. Joe Manchin says he’s concerned about the increase to the corporate tax rate.
  • And Sen. Mark Warner has “already expressed some concerns” and wants more input.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

Two Democratic senators have already voiced concerns about President Joe Biden’s $2 trillion infrastructure plan.

One of them is Sen. Joe Manchin, a moderate Democrat from West Virginia who has already proven himself to be an outsized presence in the razor-thin Democratic majority. He was also a pivotal voice against the inclusion of a $15 minimum wage in the American Rescue Plan.

Now, he’s expressed his concerns with the infrastructure package. In an interview with Talkline, a West Virginia radio show, Manchin said that, “as the bill exists today, it needs to be changed.”

Regarding Biden’s proposed increase of the corporate tax rate from 21% to 28%, Manchin indicated that he doesn’t support the 28% figure and stressed that the international average is a few percentage points lower. The rate “should have never been under 25%,” he said. “That’s the worldwide average. And that’s what basically every corporation would have told you was fair.”

When asked if he would not support a bill that raises the corporate tax rate from 21% to 28%, Manchin said: “Well, the bill basically is not going to end up that way”

Manchin also said the bill wouldn’t be passed by reconciliation “unless we vote to get on it.” When radio host Hoppy Kercheval said “they” could pass the bill by reconciliation.

“No, they can’t. Not unless we vote to get on it,” Manchin said in response. “And if I don’t vote to get on it, it’s not going anywhere.”

Meanwhile, in a briefing on Monday, Biden said he was “not at all” worried that raising that rate would drive corporations to different countries. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen also argued in support of a global minimum tax rate today.

As Politico reports, Manchin isn’t alone: Another Democratic senator, Mark Warner of Virginia, has also expressed concerns.

“I’ve had some outreach from the White House, but it was more heads-up than input into the development of the package,” he said, according to Politico. “So I’ve already expressed some concerns.”

Getting Democrats on board with the infrastructure package will be key to its passage, as Senate Minority Mitch McConnell has already said that it won’t get any GOP votes in the Senate. That means Democrats will likely have to compromise internally amongst themselves,

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Biden’s economic advisor says America needs an updated definition of infrastructure

Cecilia Rouse, Dean of the Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs, answers a question as she sits near an exhibit titled, "In the Nation's Service? Woodrow Wilson Revisited," Sunday, April 3, 2016, at the school in Princeton, N.J. As Princeton University officials weigh whether to remove alumnus and former President Woodrow Wilson's name from its public policy school, the college is launching an exhibit meant to more fully air his legacy. The Nobel Peace Prize winner heralded as a progressive hero has also faced criticism as a racist who encouraged segregation in his administration. (AP Photo/Mel Evans)
Cecilia Rouse.

  • CEA Chair Cecilia Rouse said infrastructure needs an upgraded definition to better fit the times.
  • She told CBS News that jobs will be created from work on roads and bridges, along with research and development.
  • The GOP says Biden’s infrastructure plan focuses on too many things besides physical infrastructure.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

Amidst partisan disagreements on what the word “infrastructure” encompasses, the chair of President Joe Biden’s Council of Economic Advisors, Cecilia Rouse, said on Saturday that the term itself could use an upgrade.

In an interview with CBS News, Rouse discussed how Biden’s $2 trillion infrastructure plan unveiled last week will help boost the economy and add millions of good-paying jobs. The plan includes not only funding for roads and bridges, but also $174 billion for electric vehicles, $100 billion for broadband, and additional investments that address innovation, climate change, and more.

Rouse said these kinds of investments are just what the country needs right now.

“I think it’s important that we upgrade our definition of infrastructure,” Rouse said. “One that meets the needs of a 21st-century economy. And that means we need to be funding and incentivizing those structures that allow us to maximize our economic activity.”

Funding electric vehicles is important because of the urgency of climate change, Rouse said, and the cost of inaction on the climate later is greater than the cost of acting on climate change now.

Rouse’s arguments echo the White House fact sheet released on Wednesday ahead of Biden’s unveiling of the plan. It argued that, just as the 1936 Rural Electrification Act involved a federal investment in bringing electricity to nearly every home in the US, it’s time to do the same for broadband internet and electric vehicles.

Biden said on Friday that the plan would create 19 million jobs, citing an estimate from Moody’s Analytics. Rouse said most of those jobs will be coming from “traditional infrastructure,” meaning those who will build the roads and bridges, but they will also come from research and development, which received $180 billion in the plan.

Since even before Biden officially introduced his infrastructure plan, Republican lawmakers have criticized it for doing too much and focusing on things they consider physical infrastructure, namely roads and bridges.

For example, after releasing a statement last week calling the plan “a major missed opportunity,” Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell said the plan will get zero GOP votes in the Senate because it’s a “Trojan horse” for liberal priorities. He also opposes the proposed $3.5 trillion in tax hikes to fund the plan.

And on Thursday, Republican Gov. Kristi Noem of South Dakota voiced her opposition to plan, saying that it funds things that don’t qualify as infrastructure, naming housing and pipes as two examples. This sparked a round of criticism online and from left-leaning media figures, who argued that pipes are a core component of any country’s infrastructure.

As Insider previously reported, Republicans and Democrats’ definitions of infrastructure may differ in part because of regional political polarization, as Democrats tend to live in cities and dense suburbs, which Biden’s plan focuses on closely. But even so, a Morning Consult/Politico poll showed that many Republican voters support these aspects of Biden’s plan, such as low-income housing.

“I don’t think you’ll find a Republican today in the House or Senate – maybe I’m wrong, gentlemen – who doesn’t think we have to improve our infrastructure,” Biden said in his speech unveiling the plan on Wednesday. “They know China and other countries are eating our lunch. So there’s no reason why it can’t be bipartisan again. The divisions of the moment shouldn’t stop us from doing the right thing for the future.”

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Biden says his new infrastructure plan could create 19 million new jobs

joe biden amtrak
President Joe Biden.

  • President Joe Biden said Friday that his new infrastructure package could create 19 million jobs.
  • He was citing a Moody’s report that projected 16.3 million jobs from natural job growth and the $1.9 trillion stimulus.
  • He also commented on March’s jobs report, a strong sign of recovery, but still with far to go.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

President Joe Biden said Friday that his new American Jobs Plan – the first of a two-part package – could lead to the creation of 19 million new jobs.

According to Bloomberg, Biden seemed to be citing a recent Moody’s Analytics report that projects 19 million jobs could be added over the next decade if the infrastructure plan passes; however, it also estimates that 16.3 million jobs would be added over the next decade from a combination of organic job growth jobs and the already-passed American Rescue Plan.

In his Friday remarks, Biden also said that almost 90% of the infrastructure jobs could be filled by people without a college degree.

A March analysis from Morning Consult found that, during the coronavirus pandemic, more educated Americans saw their confidence rebound and grow. The same could not be said for lower-wage, less-educated workers, who feared for their ability to hold onto a job. Higher-educated Americans felt confident enough to ask for pay increases, the analysis showed.

Biden’s remarks were tied to Friday’s jobs report, which saw the economy add 916,000 jobs, far outpacing economists’ expectations of 660,000.

While different unemployment measures dropped amidst the good jobs news, the country still has a long way to go before returning to pre-pandemic levels. In a blog post, Cecilia Rouse, the chair of the Council of Economic Advisers, said there were still 8.4 million fewer jobs in March 2021 than in February 2020.

Insider’s Andy Kiersz wrote that, if the March growth rate continues, employment could reach pre-pandemic levels by January 2022. Areas like movie theaters and hotels still have a long way to go, as they continue to lag in recovery.

Read the original article on Business Insider

Kristi Noem’s statement on pipes not being infrastructure sums up her party’s confused reaction to Biden’s plan

Kristi Noem at CPAC
South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem.

  • South Dakota’s Republican Gov. Kristi Noem told Fox News pipes and housing don’t count as infrastructure.
  • Her comments sum up the GOP’s messaging that infrastructure only means roads and bridges.
  • Biden’s plan argues for a broad rethink of what constitutes infrastructure, and the GOP doesn’t want that.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

President Joe Biden unveiled the first part of his $4 trillion infrastructure package on Wednesday, and almost immediately a host of Republican lawmakers criticized the bill for allocating funds to measures not specifically related to physical infrastructure, such as climate change and research initiatives.

South Dakota Republican Gov. Kristi Noem was one of them, but she offered an unorthodox definition of physical infrastructure: one that doesn’t include pipes.

In an interview on Thursday, Noem discussed the president’s infrastructure bill with Fox News’ Sean Hannity, and as the interview progressed, she elaborated on her definition of infrastructure, saying housing doesn’t qualify either.

“I was shocked by how much doesn’t go into infrastructure,” Noem said. “It goes into research and development, it goes into housing and pipes and different initiatives, green energy, and it’s not really an honest conversation that we’re having about what this proposal is.”

Shortly after the interview aired, critics on Twitter highlighted the “pipes” comment in particular, and left-leaning media figures were especially critical. For instance, MSNBC host Mehdi Hasan said Noem had “revealed she doesn’t know what infrastructure is.”

While Noem’s criticism of the bill was likely the most striking on the Republican side, her party has been unified in trying to label the bill as a Democratic “Trojan Horse,” sneaking non-infrastructure things into an infrastructure plan.

In a statement on Wednesday, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell made the “Trojan Horse” comparison and said that while Biden could have drafted a “serious, targeted infrastructure plan” that could have received bipartisan support, “the latest liberal wish-list the White House has decided to label ‘infrastructure’ is a major missed opportunity by this Administration.” The next day, McConnell said the the bill will not get any Republican support, at least not in the Senate.

Both McConnell and House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy have trotted out a key statistic to make this point: 6%, as in, less than 6% of Biden’s proposal is dedicated to roads and bridges.

The truth is that things in the plan outside of that 6% are plausibly related to infrastructure, just not a 20th-century understanding of it. McConnell’s statement highlights that Biden “would spend more money just on electric cars than on America’s roads, bridges, ports, airports, and waterways combined.”

But the White House fact sheet released on Wednesday ahead of Biden’s unveiling of the plan makes the case that it’s time to rethink infrastructure. It notes that the 1936 Rural Electrification Act involved a federal investment in bringing electricity to nearly every home in the US, and it’s time to do the same for broadband internet and electric vehicles. Republicans are saying they don’t want to have that rethink.

Some Republican voters seem open to it, more than half of them in some cases. Insider’s Juliana Kaplan reported on Friday that Republicans and Democrats’ definitions of infrastructure may be different in large part because of regional political polarization, but that even so, a Morning Consult/Politico poll shows significant levels of support among Republican voters for funding low-income housing, among other things.

But regardless of the consistency of Republican rhetoric on Biden’s infrastructure plan, the comments serve to illustrate the likely legislative outcome: zero Republican votes for it. This multitrillion-dollar plan may end up the same as Biden’s $1.9 trillion stimulus, which didn’t get a single vote in the House or the Senate.

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What Biden’s $2 trillion infrastructure plan means for you

2011 02 08T120000Z_1641923879_GM1E7281QJQ01_RTRMADP_3_BIDEN.JPG
President Joe Biden speaking on an Amtrak train in February 2011.

  • President Joe Biden announced the first part of his infrastructure package on Wednesday.
  • It’s called the American Jobs Plan, and it would have wide-reaching impacts on millions of Americans.
  • Here’s how some of its provisions – like technology and transportation – could impact you.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

President Joe Biden is willing to spend big.

Just the first part of his next sweeping economic package – focused on various types of infrastructure spending – has a price tag of $2 trillion. Taken together with the second part of the package, to be announced in coming weeks, it could result in around $4 trillion of spending.

In his Wednesday announcement of the American Jobs Plan, Biden emphasized the importance of rebuilding not just crumbling roads and bridges, but the middle class as a whole.

“Even before the crisis we’re now facing, those at the very top in America were doing very well, which is fine,” Biden said. “They were doing great. But everyone else was falling behind.”

He added: “We all will do better when we all do well. It’s time to build our economy from the bottom up and from the middle out, not the top down.”

The package certainly faces a long, rocky road before anything becomes law. But if all of its provisions get passed, here’s how the current plan could impact you.

Anyone who commutes – whether by train, bus, or car – could feel the impact of the infrastructure package

Broadly, transportation infrastructure would get a $621 billion investment. The biggest expenditures go towards modernizing roads, bridges, and highways; electric vehicles; public transit; and Amtrak.

“The American Jobs Plan will build new rail corridors and transit lines, easing congestion, cutting pollution, slashing commute times, and opening up investment in communities that can be connected to the cities, and cities to the outskirts, where a lot of jobs are these days,” Biden said. “It’ll reduce the bottlenecks of commerce at our ports and our airports.”

Electric-vehicle ports would see heavy investments, and Americans would have beefed-up incentives for buying clean-energy cars. They’ll be able to drive them on 20,000 modernized miles of roads and highways, or hop on a revamped Amtrak route.

“Imagine what we can do, what’s within our reach, when we modernize those highways,” Biden said. “You and your family could travel coast to coast without a single tank of gas onboard a high-speed train. “

Students of color and researchers would get more funding

Biden would allocate $180 billion to research and development. That includes yet more funding for climate causes, with $35 billion for climate research and development alone. It’s part of his efforts to reverse a long trend of declining federal money going to R&D.

“Decades ago, the United States government used to spend 2% of its GDP – its gross domestic product – on research and development,” Biden said. “Today, we spend less than 1%. I think it’s seven-tenths of 1%.”

Notably, the plan has special carve-outs targeted at students of color. Half of the $40 billion allocated for upgrading research infrastructure would go to Historically Black College and Universities (HBCUs), as well as Minority Serving Institutions (MSIs). HBCUs and MSIs would also get $10 billion – and an additional $15 billion for creating over 200 centers at them to serve as research incubators.

“The American Jobs Plan is the biggest increase in our federal non-defense research and development spending on record,” Biden said.

Workers, especially in the care industries, would get new benefits (like childcare at work)

Care workers and the people who rely on them stand to see big infusions of cash. The package would direct $400 billion towards home and community care for the elderly and disabled, expanding both access to services and benefits for workers in the space.

“For too long, caregivers – who are disproportionately women, and women of color, and immigrants – have been unseen, underpaid, and undervalued,” Biden said.

Childcare facilities would get $25 billion for upgrades; there would also be a tax credit incentivizing employers to build childcare facilities.

Biden is also calling for an end to sub-minimum wage provisions, where employers can pay disabled workers less than the federal minimum wage.

Unions were also a big topic throughout his speech, with Biden self-identifying as a “union guy.” He called for the passage of the Protecting the Right to Organize (PRO) Act.

“Unions built the middle class,” Biden said. “It’s about time they start to get a piece of the action.”

Everyone would get access to (affordable) broadband Internet

Technology overhauls worth more than $300 billion could mean more affordable and equitable internet access across the country.

Biden proposed a $100 billion investment in broadband to ensure it reaches 100% coverage across the country while promoting price transparency.

In his speech on Wednesday, Biden said that more than 35% of rural Americans lack access to high-speed Internet, and the disparity has only worsened during the pandemic. His infrastructure plan would help with that.

“When I say ‘affordable,’ I mean it,” Biden said. “Americans pay too much for Internet service. We’re going to drive down the price for families who have service now, and make it easier for families who don’t have affordable service to be able to get it now.”

Small businesses and out-of-work Americans would benefit from new programs

On top of the aid for small businesses and American manufacturers in the stimulus package, Biden wants to invest $400 billion to strengthen and protect American businesses. The infrastructure bill builds on the president’s “buy American” executive order in January and would encourage and promote domestic production of goods.

“Not a contract will go out, that I control, that will not go to a company that is an American company with American products, all the way down the line, and American workers,” Biden said.

Workers can also expect to see investments in job creation and job training efforts, and workforce protections would be strengthened, as well, including efforts to prevent workplace discrimination and supporting the right to unionize.

More affordable housing would get built

The housing sector can expect massive improvements from Biden’s $300 billion investment to revamp homes, schools, and federal buildings across the country. 500,000 homes would be built and rehabilitated for low- and middle-income homebuyers, and jobs would be created to build 1 million affordable and accessible housing options.

“We’ll build, upgrade, and weatherize affordable, energy-efficient housing and commercial buildings for millions of Americans,” Biden said.

Along with building affordable housing, Biden’s plan would update community college infrastructure and invest $28 billion to modernize Veterans Affairs clinics and hospitals and promote more sustainable federal buildings.

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