Republicans suddenly have a very narrow definition of infrastructure.
President Joe Biden has proposed more than $2 trillion in infrastructure spending over the next decade through his American Jobs Plan. Congressional Republicans are falsely claiming that it is a secret scheme to enact the Green New Deal.
"Did you know that less than 6% of the Biden 'infrastructure plan' actually goes to repairing our roads and bridges?" Sen. Tim Scott (R-SC) tweeted on Monday. "The other 94% is just another progressive, job-killing payment plan for the Green New Deal and the Left’s remake of America."
House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy retweeted Scott's post shortly after.
Rick Allen of Georgia tweeted Monday, "Democrats' 'infrastructure' plan is just a Trojan horse to advance socialist Green New Deal priorities."
Ken Buck of Colorado said the plan had nothing to do with infrastructure, falsely claiming, "The proposal only invests 6% into infrastructure. Biden wants to spend trillions to help out his union buddies and implement the Green New Deal."
"The Biden infrastructure plan is far more about forcing Green New Deal policies than actually addressing our nation's infrastructure," claimed Alabama's Gary Palmer. "It would hinder economic recovery and take jobs away from from [sic] hardworking Americans."
Florida's Kat Cammack also described the bill to Fox News as a version of the Green New Deal, adding, "This is the Green New Deal. This is universal health care, all wrapped up into one, at the expense of you and I."
Biden's proposal includes trillions of dollars for roads, bridges, transit, water systems, broadband, and other priorities. A PolitiFact debunk on Monday, referencing claims that the plan is really the Green New Deal — a massive proposal to invest in climate-friendly programs — noted that that Green New Deal calls for about $7 trillion more in funding than Biden's plan, contains a massive focus on agriculture, and would invest significantly more in clean energy than this bill.
"The two plans share some common approaches, but a spending plan inspired by the Green New Deal is about four times larger than the Biden plan," the outlet determined. "The Green New Deal also advocates broader social goals that are absent from the White House infrastructure proposal."
Buck and other Republicans have also been pushing the false argument that because only a fraction of the bill goes to improving roads and bridges, the rest does not count as infrastructure.
The Washington Post debunked this on Monday as well. Noting that some proposed investments don't fit the traditional definition of infrastructure, such as $400 billion for expanded home-care services and $100 billion for electric vehicles, the fact-check noted that the 5% to 7% figure Republicans are citing excludes things like rail and water systems that were even part of Donald Trump's infrastructure proposals.
The Post also noted, "In English common usage, the definition of 'infrastructure,' or at least 'public infrastructure,' has grown over time to encompass new inventions such as electricity, railways and, more recently, broadband pipes and fibers." It determined the GOP arguments were little more than talking points meant to rewrite the English language.
Trump ran in 2016 on a promise of massive investment to tackle infrastructure. His repeated botched attempts to do so became a national punchline and he ultimately called off bipartisan negotiations on a $2 trillion plan to protest congressional oversight over his administration.
Now, Biden is trying to get a nearly $2.3 trillion plan through Congress. Republicans have indicated already that they plan to oppose his bill and have demanded the Democratic majority instead slash it by more than two-thirds.
Experts, meanwhile, say if the plan is enacted, the economy would create 19 million jobs over the next 10 years while increasing the nation's GDP by hundreds of billions of dollars annually.
Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.