GOP lawmakers are upset that it helps older Americans, contains too many things, and doesn't build Donald Trump's border wall.
Republicans are vocally opposed to President Joe Biden's $2.25 trillion infrastructure plan. But they appear to be struggling to find cogent arguments to support their opposition.
The American Jobs Plan would provide massive investments in bridges, roads, water systems, broadband, transit, clean energy, and human infrastructure like child care.
Polling shows widespread support — even among GOP voters — for both Biden's plan and its main components. An April survey by Data for Progress and the pro-public investment group Invest in America found 73% of likely voters, including 57% of Republicans, support the plan. More than three-fifths of those polled backed its investments in physical infrastructure (76%), the care economy (74%), American manufacturing (65%), clean energy (64%), and housing (61%).
A Morning Consult/Politico poll released Wednesday showed similar results.
Here are some of the strangest arguments the GOP has floated against the infrastructure package.
1. It's secretly the Green New Deal
Several GOP lawmakers have falsely claimed that the infrastructure plan is really just the Green New Deal, the proposals for facing climate change and creating a new economy introduced by Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) and Sen. Edward Markey (D-MA), in disguise.
"Democrats' 'infrastructure' plan is just a Trojan horse to advance socialist Green New Deal priorities," Rep. Rick Allen of Georgia tweeted Monday.
PolitiFact debunked the claim, noting that the Green New Deal contains $7 trillion more in proposed spending than the infrastructure plan and a major focus on agriculture, and would invest significantly more in clean energy than Biden's bill would.
2. It relies too much on new revenue — but would increase the deficit
Republicans have also indicated that they will oppose the infrastructure bill if it is not paid for, but also if it is paid for. "I don't think there's going to be any enthusiasm on our side for a tax increase," observed Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell on March 16.
On March 31, McConnell complained that Biden's plan would increase the deficit: "It's called infrastructure, but inside the Trojan horse it's going to be more borrowed money, and massive tax increases on all the productive parts of our economy."
3. It doesn't include any money for Trump's wall
On Wednesday, several Republicans mocked the human infrastructure investments in the bill, suggesting that instead the bill should include funds for Donald Trump's failed border wall project.
"Border barriers are infrastructure," tweeted California Rep. Darrell Issa on Wednesday.
"Border walls are actually infrastructure," agreed Illinois Rep. Mary Miller.
Trump promised as a 2016 candidate that he would build 1,000 miles of wall along the U.S.-Mexico border within two years and that Mexico would pay for the entire project. Instead, he spent $15 billion of taxpayer money to replace 440 miles of existing fencing and build 12 miles of new wall.
4. It's socialism and would turn America into China
Several Republicans are claiming that billions of dollars more in government investment in key priorities will turn the country "socialist."
"Biden's 'infrastructure' bill: You get a car, you get a car, everyone gets a car!" tweeted Michigan Rep. Lisa McClain on Wednesday. "Goodbye freedom. Hello socialism."
"We need to repair and upgrade our crumbling infrastructure, not burden all Americans with tax hikes to fund the left's socialist agenda," concurred Rep. Michelle Steele of California.
Louisiana Sen. John Kennedy warned that Biden's administration was "moving toward the Chinese model of capitalism" with "government domination."
5. Its support for clean energy will hurt the fossil fuel industry
Sen. Jim Inhofe of Oklahoma argued that because Biden's bill would reduce reliance on fossil fuels, it would be unfair to his state and to the oil and gas industry.
"He is using transportation as an avenue to advance the far left's agenda," Inhofe tweeted on March 31. "The environmental left's vision for the American economy will hurt rural OK & eliminate oil/gas jobs."
6. The White House fact sheet mentions 'climate' too many times
New Mexico Rep. Yvette Herrell opposed the bill on Thursday on the grounds that an administration statement about it used the word "climate" a lot.
"The White House fact sheet on Democrats' 'infrastructure bill' mentions 'climate' 20 times more than 'Highway Trust Fund,'" she complained.
7. It will destroy jobs
But analysis conducted at the Georgetown University Center on Education and the Workforce predicted that a $1.5 trillion infrastructure bill would create or preserve 15 million jobs over the next decade. A Moody's Analytics report estimated the economy will create 19 million jobs if the American Jobs Plan becomes law.
8. It helps labor unions and will force everyone to join one
"This plan isn't about infra, it's a payoff to Biden's favorite unions," tweeted Texas Rep. Brian Babin.
Texas Rep. Kevin Brady said the bill contains "Payoffs for Labor Unions."
Sen. Marsha Blackburn of Tennessee warned that it would "strip Americans of their right to work by forcing them to join Democrat-backed unions."
Arizona Rep. Debbie Lesko took the conspiracy theory a step further, claiming it was a "political plan to use taxpayer funds to coerce states to expand union rolls with cash that will then flow back to elect more Democrats."
9. Its support for electric cars is bad because battery components come from China
Georgia Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene claimed Wednesday in a series of tweets that by focusing on the production of electric cars, the Biden administration is seeking to make Americans more dependent on China.
"Through an election that many consider stolen, if Biden's Infrastructure plan passes, the US will soon be forced from being free and energy independent to completely government controlled and dependent on China for one very specific federally mandated requirement. Batteries," she wrote.
"Chinese chemical companies control 80% of the worlds [sic] total output of the raw materials used to make advanced batteries. Like the batteries that will be required for ALL vehicles by 2035, according to Biden's Infrastructure plan. Biden will force the US to be dependent on China."
10. It is an "extortion scheme"
With little explanation, Colorado Rep. Lauren Boebert charged Tuesday that because only a fraction of the bill funds highway infrastructure, the bill is somehow criminal.
"Less than 6% of the Biden so-called 'infrastructure plan' goes to roads and bridges," she tweeted. "It's really a $2.2 trillion extortion scheme."
11. There are too many things in it
Rep. Nancy Mace of South Carolina took aim at the number of items in the $2.25 trillion package.
"Really does seem like the Biden administration is throwing in whatever they couldn't cram into the last 'relief' package," Mace tweeted Monday. She included a clip from a "Pirates of the Caribbean" film that she called "live footage of the Biden administration" writing the package, showing the pirates loading cannons with ammunition that had the words "environmental justice initiatives," "civilian climate corps," and "Green New Deal" superimposed on it.
12. Instead of raising corporate taxes, fund it with foreign aid cuts
Biden's proposal would bring in about $2.5 trillion in new revenue through a rate increase and loophole closures. To get that much money through cuts to the $39.2 billion annual foreign aid budget would take more than 62 years.
13. It helps old people
Blackburn attacked the bill for including funds for caring for older Americans.
"President Biden's proposal is about anything but infrastructure," she tweeted Wednesday with an image containing the text, "400 BILLION TOWARDS ELDER CARE" included in a series of attacks on the proposal's "liberal agenda."
14. It improves child care
After Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) tweeted Wednesday that the human infrastructure components of the bill, such as child care, are important, Republicans pounced.
"Roads are infrastructure," scolded Texas Rep. Tony Gonzales.
"Important? Yes. Infrastructure? No," replied Oklahoma Rep. Markwayne Mullin. "This is how we've accumulated a national debt of $28,000,000,000."
"Bridges are infrastructure. Roads are infrastructure. Highways are infrastructure. And yet, bridges, roads, and highways only make up 6% of Biden's $2T 'infrastructure' plan," tweeted Buck.
15. It doesn't match my dictionary's definition of 'infrastructure'
Sen. Tim Scott of South Carolina tweeted a photo of a dictionary definition of the word "infrastructure" on Thursday, noting, "President Biden said the definition of infrastructure is 'evolving.' Strangely, my dictionary has not yet been updated."
Scott apparently missed the part of the definition he cited — "the basic physical and organizational structures and facilities (e.g. buildings, roads, power supplies) needed for the operation of a society or enterprise" — that said "organizational structures."
Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.