Biden Goes Big! (Again)
The President’s American Jobs Plan underscores his resolution to ¨go big¨, build our country back better, restore our country’s global standing while preparing for the future of American innovation.
During the 2020 Democratic presidential primary, Joe Biden was described by media pundits and Democrats as a washed-up centrist statesman who represented a moribund era in American politics when Democrats and Republicans could cast aside their differences and work together in the spirit of bipartisanship.
In a July 2019 NPR interview, Allegra Dengler, a Democratic activist from Westchester County, NY described then-former Vice President Joe Biden “We need to go to the future,” she says. “Why is he so popular? I have no idea. He’s like a corporate Democrat from Delaware, which is like the corporate headquarters of everything.”
21 months later, President Joe Biden has exfoliated his image as a political moderate for something new and stupefying by many Democratic voters.
Last month, in Pittsburgh, PA, Biden unveiled the “American Jobs Plan”, the second installment of his “Build Back Better” legislative agenda. During his speech last month the President proclaimed that the American Jobs Plan was “the largest American jobs investment since World War Two. It will create millions of jobs, good-paying jobs.”
The $2.3. trillion infrastructure package which will copiously overhaul the nation’s enfeebled infrastructure underscores the President’s promise to “go big”. The President showed how “big” he was willing to go when Congress passed his $1.3. trillion economic stimulus bill entitled the American Rescue Plan which passed with only Democratic votes in both houses of Congress last March—and is already spurring economic growth according to the Washington Post “First-time unemployment claims fell sharply last week to a pandemic low of 576,000, the Labor Department reported Thursday. That’s down 193,000 from the preceding week’s surprise spike, an unexpectedly strong showing even as unemployment remains elevated.”
The American Jobs Plan is a far cry from the constant barrages of “infrastructure weeks” that defined the ignominious former President Trump’s tenure in office. Instead of cheap taglines subterfuge as policy — the American Jobs Plan offers concrete solutions to jumpstart our economy, create millions of new jobs while preparing for the next phase of American innovation.
The U.S. is the wealthiest nation in the world, yet we rank a dismal 13th when it comes to the overall state of our infrastructure. According to the White House, The American Jobs Plan will modernize more than 20,000 miles of highways, roads, and main streets. Additionally, the President’s American Jobs Plan will fix ten of the most economically significant bridges in the country in need of reconversion, repair 10,000 smaller bridges, replace and repair outdated buses, rail cars, and stations. While repairing airports and expanding transit and rail into new communities. In 2016, Flint MI experienced a water crisis that exposed failure in government and our nation’s infrastructure. The American Rescue Plan addresses the failures that caused Flint to occur.
The American Jobs Plan will invest $45 billion in eliminating all lead pipes and service lines in our drinking water infrastructure, thus improving the health of communities of color and children throughout the nation. Additionally, the American Rescue Plan will invest $100 billion in bringing affordable high-speed broadband to every American including 35% of rural Americans who lack access to affordable high-speed broadband at dismal speeds.
The President’s American Jobs Plan will invest $621 billion in transportation infrastructure by repairing our roads and bridges, modernizing our public transportation, investing in passenger and freight transportation, improving waterways, ports and airports. The American Jobs Plan invests $20 billion in addressing historic infrastructure inequities by creating a program “that will reconnect neighborhoods cut off by historic investments and ensure new projects increase opportunity, advance racial equity and environmental justice, and promote affordable access.”
The President’s American Jobs Plan will generate good-paying jobs by investing $25 billion in “shovel ready” infrastructure projects and the production of electric vehicles. By investing in electric vehicles the American Jobs Plan will replace 50,000 diesel transit vehicles and enable automakers to “spur domestic supply chains from raw materials to parts, retool factories to compete globally,” The President’s American Jobs Plan ensures that the best minds in America are put to work preparing for the jobs of the future while securing America’s place in the world in our battle against Chinese global dominance.
Given how the American Jobs Plan will reinvest in our infrastructure, create new jobs, and put us on the path to outpace China, it would be surmised that the Republican Party, the so-called “party of the working class” would be in support of President Biden’s American Rescue Plan.
However, the Republican Party’s intransigence towards the President’s agenda knows no bounds. Congressional Republicans have taken up with the issue that the American Jobs Plan does not address “infrastructure” their argument is based on the pretext the American Jobs Plan is filled with provisions diacritical to the traditional definition of infrastructure.
In December of 2018, then-Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell voiced his support for a farm bill that included “conservation programs, outdoor recreation, and upgraded watershed and drinking water infrastructure.” McConnell was so agog about the farm bill that he praised the bill’s provisions that “enhance infrastructure investment in rural communities, on everything from local water projects to broadband internet to helping curb the drug epidemic in rural America.” If the President altered his bill’s name to the “American Farms, Energy and Jobs Act” would Sen. McConnell further drop his jaundice towards water, energy, and broadband infrastructure provisions?
Sen. McConnell is far from the only Senate Republicans who favored various provisions of the American Jobs Plan—before Biden acceded to the presidency. Republican senators Josh Hawley, Marco Rubio, Ted Cruz, Rob Portman, Tom Cotton, and Roger Wicker all previously supported various infrastructure provisions now featured in Biden’s American Rescue Plan.
Congressional Republicans viewed broadband access, pipeline, and water projects as advantageous infrastructure investments, but because a Democrat is sitting in the Oval Office they will be in opposition to everything President Biden proposes notwithstanding if certain provisions such as efficient public transportation will be beneficial to their respective states.
If passed, the American Jobs Plan will be the most transformative jobs investment for the first time since World War II. The American Jobs Plan underscores Biden’s ambition to pass meaningful and transformative pieces of legislation. The American Jobs Plan will reinvest in our nation’s infrastructure, prepare our country for the future, combat China’s global rise, put our country on the pathway towards economic growth and build our country back better.