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Biden, Dems seek to redefine 'infrastructure' to justify $4 trillion more in new spending

"The personal infrastructure must be built in order for the physical infrastructure to involve everyone in its success," House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said on Thursday.

Published: May 3, 2021 2:48pm

Updated: May 4, 2021 1:19pm

President Joe Biden and his allies in Congress are seeking to expand the longstanding definition of "infrastructure" as a way to pass $4.1 trillion in new government spending. 

Democrats used budget reconciliation to avoid a Senate filibuster and pass Biden's $1.9 trillion American Rescue Plan Act, a coronavirus stimulus bill, in March. 

After signing the stimulus bill, Biden proposed the $2.25 trillion American Jobs Plan, predicting that it will create "good paying" union jobs. He rolled out a $1.8 trillion American Families Plan focused on social programs during his address to Congress last week. The legislation language has yet to be drafted for either plan. 

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has referred to the American Families Plan as a "personal infrastructure" proposal.

"The personal infrastructure must be built in order for the physical infrastructure to involve everyone in its success," she said on Thursday. "And that's why, whether it's women, minorities, people of color, veterans, rural Native American communities, as well as businesses, must be able to participate in all of that."

Others have called Biden's proposal a "human infrastructure" plan.

Democratic New York Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand tweeted earlier this month that paid leave, child care and caregiving are considered infrastructure.

McConnell said on Monday that Biden's new plans are "loaded with tax increases that will slow the economy and more amounts of debt all in the name of infrastructure, but of course infrastructure is only a part of what they have in mind."

The Kentucky Republican argued that Democrats in Congress "just can't resist stretching out the pandemic" and "using it as a rationale for additional spending far beyond what is best for the country." 

McConnell was asked if he thinks any Republicans will get behind Biden's plans.

"I think it's worth talking about, but I don't think there will be any Republican support, none, zero for the $4.1 trillion grab bag, which has infrastructure in it but a whole lot of other stuff," McConnell said, setting the stage for Democrats to try using budget reconciliation again.

In March, as Just the News previously reported, a top Democrat referred to Biden's forthcoming infrastructure plan as a "grab bag" for other Democratic agenda items related to issues like climate change, health care and immigration.

McConnell said a targeted physical infrastructure plan should total about $600 billion.

"We're open to doing a roughly $600 billion package which deals with what all of us agree is infrastructure and to talk about how to pay for that in any way other than reopening the 2017 tax-reform bill," he said, attributing the growth of the pre-pandemic economy with low unemployment to the tax reform law. "If it's going to be about infrastructure, let's make it about infrastructure."

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