WASHINGTON — Republicans’ main gripe with President Biden’s American Jobs Act is that a majority of the bill has nothing to do with “traditional infrastructure.”
Infrastructure is typically thought of as roads, bridges, buildings, and the power grid. But, congressional Democrats are pushing the boundary of what the definition of infrastructure is. President Biden said on Wednesday that the definition of infrastructure has always “evolved” to meet the needs of the American people.
Indiana Senator Todd Young said to Fox News that he would always support infrastructure investment, as long as that investment goes towards what he believes in infrastructure.
“When the president was asked what constitutes infrastructure because this is a malleable term he’s trying to fit a lot into, he responded that it involves energy, transportation, or the Internet,” Young said.
“There’s a whole category of ‘goodies’, in fact about 70-percent of the goodies in this $2.5 trillion phase one of the bill, fall outside that definition.”
The bill includes $400 billion dedicated to raising pay for home healthcare workers, pushes for expanded Medicaid coverage, and promotes workforce development in underserved communities. It also promotes initiatives to help American workers unionize.
“Hoosiers support, Americans support, Republicans support infrastructure investment,” Young said. “I support vigorous infrastructure investments, but so much of this stuff should not fall under the infrastructure banner or is just deceiving the American people.”
Young said he may be supportive of a lot of the “non-infrastructure” initiatives in the bill if they were to be considered where he feels they appropriately should be.
“Paid leave is infrastructure. Child care is infrastructure. Caregiving is infrastructure,” said New York Democrat Kristin Gillibrand.
Moderate Democrats, like Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV), have said that they would have a hard time supporting the bill because it raises corporate tax rates from 21-percent to 28-percent. Manchin said he would support raising corporate taxes to only 25-percent.
The Senate parliamentarian said this week that Democrats would be able to pass the bill through the process of budget reconciliation, meaning it does not fall under the purview of a Senate filibuster. This clears the way for Democrats to pass it without Republican support as long as every Democrat is on board.
President Biden has said he is open to working with Republicans on the bill.