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Politics Biden releases breakdown of what needs fixing for infrastructure plan

18:08  12 april  2021
18:08  12 april  2021 Source:   dailymail.co.uk

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Republicans slammed President Joe Biden's $2.7 trillion infrastructure plan as a 'dog's breakfast of slush funds' for Democrats ahead of bipartisan meeting at the White House to discuss the package.

Biden will host four GOP lawmakers - along with four Democratic ones - on Monday to discuss his massive infrastructure plan, which Republicans have criticized for containing more than traditional infrastructure projects.

The White House argues all its items - including money for improved schools and the climate - contributes to the nation's infrastructure and it released a state-by-state break down to show how the plan's benefit across the country.

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

  Biden's economic advisor says America needs an updated definition of infrastructure Cecilia Rouse, chair of the Council of Economic Advisors, told CBS that a new infrastructure definition is needed to meet the 21st century's needs.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.

But, in a memo circulated by the Senate GOP conference and obtained by DailyMail.com, Republicans assail Biden's plan as one that will 'kill jobs and create slush funds on the taxpayer dime.'

They note the plan 'spends just 5% of the total $2.7 trillion on roads and bridges.' And they call it 'a dog's breakfast of slush funds for Democrats' pet projects without any accountability or transparency.'

They also cite a study from the National Association of Manufacturers that claims the legislation will result in 1 million jobs lost in the first two years.

Biden, in contrast, calls his bill the American Jobs Plan, and claims it will create 19 million jobs - many of those 'good jobs, blue-collar jobs' as he describes them.

WHAT BIDEN NEEDS TO FIX

. 7,300 miles (11,748 kilometers) of highway in Michigan alone that are in poor condition

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. Damaged streets in North Carolina impose an average yearly cost of $500 on motorists

.  Iowa has 4,571 bridges in need of repair

. There is a roughly 4-in-10 chance that a public transit vehicle in Indiana might be ready for the scrap yard

.  Pennsylvania's schools are short $1.4 billion for maintenance and upgrades

. Biden's plan would modernize 20,000 miles (32,187 kilometers) worth of roadways, but California by itself has 14,220 miles (22,885 kilometers) of highway in poor condition

. Mississippi needs $4.8 billion for drinking water and $289 million for schools. Nearly a quarter of households lack an internet subscription, and a similar percentage lives in areas without broadband

. Mississippians who use public transportation have to devote an extra 87.7% of their time to commuting

Additionally on Monday, the White House released a state-by-state breakdowns that show the dire shape of roads, bridges, the power grid and housing affordability - all part of its argument for the trillion dollar plan.

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Lawmakers meeting with Biden on Infrastructure Plan

REPUBLICANS:

Senator Deb Fischer of Nebraska

Senator Roger Wicker of Mississippi

Congressman Garret Graves of Louisiana

Congressman Don Young of Alaska

DEMOCRATS:

Senator Maria Cantwell of Washington

Senator Alex Padilla of California

Congressman Donald Payne of New Jersey

Congressman David Price of North Carolina

Biden's plan spends billions on roads, bridges and highways but it also funds additional projects such as broadband internet across the nation, affordable housing, improvements to schools and day care centers, and a Civilian Climate Corps.

In detailed breakdowns for the 50 states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico, the White House used private and public data to demonstrate the dire condition of roads and bridges in many states.

The sheets also highlight the cost of extreme weather events and climate change has on the country and note the many areas that don't have broadband internet access, which became a huge issue when children needed to be home schooled and people had to telework during the coronavirus pandemic.

Biden's infrastructure plan is huge; his political margins are minuscule

  Biden's infrastructure plan is huge; his political margins are minuscule “It’s not a plan that tinkers around the edges,” Biden said. The plan broadens the meaning of the term “infrastructure,” as it seeks to accelerate a move away from a coal economy and reverse decades of systemic racism, two central themes of the Biden administration. But it is political horse-trading, not visionary thinking, that will decide the fate of this no-tinkering-around-the-edges proposal. The sweeping proposal will succeed or fail based on the whims of just a few legislators — perhaps few enough to fit into a Capitol elevator in the pre-social distancing days.

Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg, one of the five Cabinet officials Biden tasked with selling the plan, pushed back on the GOP criticism about the array of projects funded by the trillion dollar plan.

'Look, I very much believe that all of these things are infrastructure, because infrastructure is the foundation that allows us to go about our lives,' he said Sunday on CNN's 'State of the Union.'

'But if there are Senate Republicans who don't agree, we can agree to disagree on what to call it. I'm still going to ask you to vote for it. To me, it makes no sense to say, I would have been for broadband, but I'm against it because it's not a bridge. I would have been for eldercare, but I'm against it because it's not a highway. These are things the American people need,' he argued.

Among the specific projects the White House points out are: 7,300 miles of roads in Michigan hat are in poor condition; Damaged streets in North Carolina result in a yearly cost of $500 on motorists; Iowa has 4,571 bridges that need repair; and  Pennsylvania's schools are short $1.4 billion for maintenance and upgrades.

The sheets also point out the benefits of the plan in the states from the GOP lawmakers meeting with Biden on Monday.

In Nebraska, for example, 16.82% of Nebraskans live in areas where there is no broadband infrastructure that provides minimally acceptable speeds. And 50.98% of Nebraskans live in areas where there is only one such internet provider.

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In Mississippi, an average low-income family spends 12-14% of their income on home energy costs forcing tough choices between paying energy bills and buying food, medicine or other essentials, the White House points out. The administration argues its plan will upgrade low-income homes to make them more energy efficient.

In Louisiana, from 2010 to 2020, the state experienced 30 extreme weather events, costing the state up to $50 billion in damages. And Alaska’s drinking water infrastructure will require $987 million in additional funding over the next 20 years.

Debate over the plan is expected to consume Capitol Hill over the next few months. Biden has indicated he's open to amending his original proposal as it moves through the legislative process. The White House is pushing for the plan to be passed by Memorial Day although Speaker Nancy Pelosi predicted it will take until Fourth of July.

a group of people on a sidewalk: Biden's infrastructure plan contains billions for traditional projects like roads but also contains funds for housing, schools, and fighting climate change © Provided by Daily Mail Biden's infrastructure plan contains billions for traditional projects like roads but also contains funds for housing, schools, and fighting climate change a group of people in a car: Republicans have criticized Biden's plan for containing more than just traditional infrastructure projects © Provided by Daily Mail Republicans have criticized Biden's plan for containing more than just traditional infrastructure projects

Republican Senator Roger Wicker of Mississippi, one of the four GOP lawmakers who will meet with Biden, said he's willing to negotiate but the trillion dollar price tag is too high.

'I'm meeting with the president tomorrow at 1:30 if my plane gets into Washington on time,' he said Sunday on ABC's 'This Week.' 'We are willing to negotiate with him on an infrastructure package, and this trillion dollar number is way too high for me, I'll just tell you.'

Moderate Republicans Accuse Biden of Trying to Pass His Agenda

  Moderate Republicans Accuse Biden of Trying to Pass His Agenda Republicans suspect that Biden will forgo bipartisanship and pass a partisan infrastructure bill. Here are five reasons why they’re probably right.In interviews with Politico Wednesday, staffers for the “G-10” — a group of ten Senate Republicans with an ostensible appetite for compromise — claimed that the president’s avowed interest in bipartisanship is insincere. In their account, Biden’s negotiations with the G-10 over infrastructure are a mere formality; his true intention is to make Republicans an offer they can’t accept, then use their refusal as a pretense for passing his $2.25 trillion plan through budget reconciliation.

Republicans also object to Biden funding the legislation by increasing the corporate tax rate from 21% to 28% and increasing the global minimum tax. They argue the changes will cause companies to flee America and result in more jobs being lost.

'This is a massive social welfare spending program combined with a massive tax increase on small-business job creators,' Wicker said. 'I can't think of a worse thing to do.'

Biden launched a full-throated defense of his corporate tax hike in a speech last week, saying he was tired of ordinary Americans being fleeced.

Biden pointed to the numerous companies that don't pay taxes, the Trump tax cuts that benefited top wage earners, and the amount of money billionaires made during the K-shaped economic recovery.

'I’m not trying to punish anybody, but damn it, maybe it's because I come from middle class neighborhood, I'm sick and tired of ordinary people being fleeced,' he said on Wednesday.

BIDEN'S HUGE INVESTMENT IN RACIAL EQUITY AND CLIMATE CHANGE

Alongside roads, bridges and schools, the White House has also included social issues in President Biden's infrastructure plan which include 'advancing racial equity' and addressing climate change with enormous cash boosts.

Below is how the Biden administration plans to tackle these areas in the $2.3trillion infrastructure plan that has sparked furious opposition from the Republicans and led critics to question the true meaning of 'infrastructure'.

For generations, entrenched disparities in our economy and our society have made it harder for communities of color to get a fair shot at the American dream.

The consequences of decades of disinvestment in Americans physical and care infrastructure have fallen most heavily on communities of color, while the impacts of pollution and the climate crisis disproportionately threaten the lives and livelihoods of Americans of color.

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It is time for long overdue investments that tackle systemic racism and rebuild our economy and our social safety net so that every person in America can reach their full potential. President Biden's American Jobs Plan will make a generational investment in racial justice.

His plan will build our economy back better through transformational investments in programs to combat racial disparities in health, safety, and access to opportunity.

President Biden's plan takes a comprehensive approach to advancing equity for communities of color in sectors of our economy and society where racial injustice has been allowed to fester for too long.

The American Jobs Plan will bring our nation closer to the promise of equity and justice for all. Specifically, President Biden's American Jobs Plan will:

EXPAND JOB OPPORTUNITIES FOR COMMUNITIES OF COLOR

Invest in equitable workforce development and job training programs. One in ten Black workers, and one in eleven Latino workers have faced unemployment during the COVID-19 crisis. And as more Americans rejoin the workforce or seek out new opportunities in a changing economy, there is a greater need for skills development opportunities for all workers.

President Biden's plan invests $100 billion in workforce development programs targeted at underserved communities to get our students on paths to trades and careers before they graduate from high school. His plan will help trainees compete for indemand jobs through wraparound services, income supports, counseling, and case management, paired with high-quality training and effective partnerships between educational institutions, unions, and employers.

• Target workforce development opportunities in underserved communities. Structural racism and persistent economic inequities have undermined opportunity for millions of workers. All of the investments in workforce training in President Biden's plan will prioritize underserved communities and communities who have struggled in a transforming economy. Specifically, the American Jobs Plan will ensure that new jobs created in clean energy, manufacturing, and infrastructure are readily accessible to women and people of color. This includes training programs like registered apprenticeships and preapprenticeships, which will strengthen the pipeline for more women and people of color to access these opportunities using successful pre-apprenticeship programs.

• Bridge the digital divide by achieving 100 percent coverage of high-speed broadband. There is a stark digital divide in America. Black and Latino families are less likely to be able to access home broadband internet than white families, compounding systemic barriers to opportunity and economic equality. The President's plan will prioritize building 'future proof' broadband infrastructure in unserved and underserved areas so that we finally reach 100% high-speed broadband coverage. He is committed to lower internet prices for all Americans, and for promoting adoption of affordable broadband internet in both rural and urban communities to help close the digital divide. His plan will also invest in long-overdue expansion of broadband on Tribal lands, in consultation with Tribal Nations, and in U.S. Territories.

• Protect the health, safety, and rights workers of color. President Biden is calling on Congress to provide the federal government with the tools it needs to ensure employers are providing workers with good jobs – including jobs with fair and equal pay, safe and healthy workplaces, and workplaces free from racial, gender, and other forms of discrimination and harassment. In addition to a $10 billion investment in enforcement as part of the plan's workforce proposals, the President is calling for increased penalties when employers violate workplace safety and health rules.

• Support returning citizens in accessing employment. President Biden's plan will also invest in job training for formerly incarcerated individuals and justice-involved youth, who, because of entrenched disparities in the criminal justice system, are disproportionately Black and brown. President Biden's plan will facilitate effective reentry and support evidence-based violence prevention programs while promoting public safety.

• Ensure communities of color can excel in jobs in the technologies of the future. Barriers to careers in high-innovation sectors remain high for students and workers of color. As part of President Biden's plan to advance U.S. leadership in critical technologies and upgrade America's research infrastructure, he will invest $20 billion in upgrading research infrastructure and laboratories at Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) and other Minority Serving Institutions, including the creation of a new national lab focused on climate that will be affiliated with an HBCU.

• Empower workers of color. Workers of color have endured discrimination and exclusion from economic opportunities for generations. President Biden's American Jobs Plan will empower workers of color by ensuring all workers have a free and fair choice to join a union by passing the Protecting the Right to Organize (PRO) Act, and guaranteeing union and bargaining rights for public service workers.

• Eliminate racial and gender inequities in research and development and science, technology, engineering, and math. Persistent inequities in access to research and development dollars and to careers in innovation industries prevent the U.S. economy from reaching its full potential. President Biden's plan makes a $10 billion R&D investment at HBCUs and other MSIs. He is also calling on Congress to invest $15 billion in creating up to 200 centers of excellence that serve as research incubators.

• Ensure that minority-owned manufacturers thrive. President Biden's plan will quadruple support for the Manufacturing Extensions Partnership —increasing the involvement of minority-owned and rurallylocated small- and-medium-sized enterprises in technological advancement.

• Invest in evidence-based community violence interventions that reduce violence and promote employment and economic development. Violence disrupts employment and prevents a community's economic development. Gun violence alone kills almost 40,000 people annually and injures more than twice as many. It disproportionately impacts Black and brown communities. Black men are 6% of the population but over 50% of gun homicide victims. One analysis has found that such violence causes $280 billion in economic loss annually. President Biden's plan will invest $5 billion over 8 years in evidence-based community violence intervention programs that train at-risk individuals for jobs and provide other wraparound services to prevent violence and assist victims. These strategies have been proven to reduce violence and will help rebuild economies in the hardest hit areas.

• Create a new Community Revitalization Fund to support innovative, community-led redevelopment projects. Communities of color and rural communities have long suffered from years of disinvestment. President Biden's plan creates a Community Reinvestment Fund to support innovative, community-led redevelopment projects that can spark new economic activity, provide services and amenities, build community wealth, and close the current gaps in access to the innovation economy for communities of color and rural communities. He is also calling on Congress to invest $20 billion in regional innovation hubs and a Community Revitalization Fund. At least ten regional innovation hubs will leverage private investment to fuel technology development, link urban and rural economies, and create new businesses in regions beyond the current handful of high-growth centers.

• Help Black and Brown-owned small businesses access capital and scale through over $30 billion in investments. President Biden is calling on Congress to invest in federal programs that empower small firms to participate in federal research and research and development that has the potential for commercialization. The American Jobs Plan will also create a new grant program through the Minority Business Development Agency that will help small, Brown- and Black-owned manufacturers access private capital. It will enable small businesses to drive the economic recovery by investing $15 billion the Small Business Administration's 7(a) loan program.

MAKE GENERATIONAL INVESTMENTS IN CLIMATE JUSTICE

• Deliver 40 percent of the benefits of climate and infrastructure investments in underserved communities. President Biden's American Jobs Plan targets 40 percent of the benefits of climate and clean infrastructure investments to disadvantaged communities, including communities of color. Through this Justice40 initiative, President Biden will make a once in a generation investment in climate justice.

• Eliminate all lead pipes across the nation to safeguard the health and safety of families of color. President Biden's plan will eliminate all lead pipes and service lines in our drinking water systems, improving the health of our country's children, especially in communities of color. This investment will also reduce lead exposure in 400,000 schools and childcare facilities.

• Safeguard communities of color from climate crises and extreme weather risks. People of color are more likely to live in areas most vulnerable to flooding and other climate change-related weather events. President Biden's plan makes critical, targeted investments in climate disaster resilience in communities of color and Tribal communities.

• Invest in clean energy to advance climate justice and mitigate the disparate impacts of pollution on communities of color. Black, Latino, and Native communities are more likely to be burdened by pollution. Black people are almost three times more likely to die from asthma related causes than their white counterparts. And more than one in three -- or over 23 million -- Latinos in the U.S. live i counties where the air doesn't meet EPA public health standards for smog. The President's plan makes ambitious investments in clean power and clean energy, and will mobilize historic levels of private investment into modernizing our power sector.

ADVANCE RACIAL JUSTICE THROUGH AMERICA'S TRANSPORTATION SYSTEM

• Build a more equitable transportation infrastructure and public systems. Americans of color are more than twice as likely as white Americans to rely on public transportation. In fact, Asian American and African American workers commute by public transit at nearly 4 times the rate of white workers. President Biden's plan will double the federal government's investment in public transportation, and will help local public transit systems expand their systems so that communities of color have increased access to public transportation and the economic opportunity that equitable transit systems unlock.

• Make historic investments in addressing residential segregation caused by decades of failed federal infrastructure investments. Historic investments in transportation infrastructure, especially highway construction, cut too many Americans off from opportunity, dividing and demolishing communities, and perpetuating economic and racial injustices. President Biden's American Jobs Plan includes $15 billion for a new 'Highways to Neighborhoods' program that will reconnect neighborhoods cut off by historic infrastructure projects and ensure new projects increase opportunity, advance racial equity and environmental justice, and promote affordable access.

DELIVER RACIAL EQUITY THROUGH CRITICAL HOUSING INVESTMENTS

• Deliver affordable housing to communities of color who are most burdened by the affordable housing crisis. Following decades of racially discriminatory federal housing policies, Americans of color are more likely to be rent burdened, or to live in sub-standard housing. President Biden's plan invests $213 billion to produce, preserve, and retrofit more than two million affordable and sustainable places to live, extending affordable housing opportunities to underserved communities nationwide.

• Address the racial gap in homeownership. Families of color have on average a fraction of the wealth that white families have, in large part because of barriers to homeownership. President Biden's plan creates new opportunities for families of color to buy a first home and build wealth by spurring the construction and rehabilitation of homes for underserved communities.

• Mitigate exclusionary zoning policies that entrench residential segregation. For decades, exclusionary zoning laws have inflated housing and construction costs and locked families of color out of areas with more opportunities. President Biden's plan creates an innovative new approach to incentivize local communities to take steps to eliminate these exclusionary zoning policies.

INVEST IN EDUCATIONAL EQUITY

• Eliminate inequitable school infrastructure conditions. Black and brown children are more likely than their white peers to attend schools with run down and unsafe facilities. President Biden's plan supports $100 billion in investments to upgrade and build new public schools, ensuring that children of color in the United States have equal access to healthy learning environments with the labs and technology they need to prepare them for the jobs of the future.

• Upgrade and build new child care facilities to support equity in early childhood experiences. Families of color are more likely than white families to live in childcare deserts. And, the child care sector is a key engine of opportunity for women of color in the workforce. President Biden's plan includes $25 billion to help upgrade child care facilities and increase the supply of child care in areas that need it most.

• Invest in community college infrastructure to support students of color and rural students. Community colleges are vital institutions that enroll nearly half of all students of color. President Biden's plan invests $12 billion in community college facilities and technology to help protect the health and safety of students and faculty, grow local economies, improve energy efficiency and resilience, and narrow funding inequities in the short-term, as we rebuild our higher education finance system for the long-run.

BUILD A CARE ECONOMY THAT ADVANCES RACIAL JUSTICE

• Invest in caregivers, who are disproportionately women of color. Caregivers – who are disproportionally women of color – have been underpaid and undervalued for far too long. President Biden's plan ensures domestic workers – who are disproportionately women of color – receive the benefits and protections they deserve and tackles pay inequities based on gender.

• Address racial disparities in access to home- and community-based care. Native Americans and Black adults are overrepresented in the population of people with disabilities and older adults for whom home and community-based care is needed. President Biden's plan will put $400 billion towards expanding access to quality, affordable home- or community-based care for aging relatives and loved ones with disabilities. These investments will help hundreds of thousands of Americans finally obtain the long-term services and supports they need, while creating new jobs and offering caregiving workers a long-overdue raise, stronger benefits, and an opportunity to organize or join a union and collectively bargain.

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American voters overwhelmingly support the nontraditional measures in Biden's infrastructure bill .
A CNBC survey found that just 36% of voters like Biden's infrastructure plan as it is. But they largely support measures that GOP lawmakers oppose.According to a CNBC survey released on Thursday, just 36% of Americans supported Biden's infrastructure plan as he presented it - only three percentage points higher than those who oppose the plan, at 33%. This is about half the level of support that Biden's $1.9 trillion stimulus plan received in similar polling in March.

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