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'Child care is infrastructure': Democrats mocked for expanded definition beyond roads and bridges

Washington Examiner logo Washington Examiner 4/7/2021 Emily Brooks
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Arguments from Democrats in favor of an expanded definition of infrastructure as it relates to President Joe Biden's $2 trillion American Jobs Plan, widely described as an infrastructure package, reached a new level on Wednesday.

"Paid leave is infrastructure. Child care is infrastructure. Caregiving is infrastructure," New York Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand said in a tweet.

That sparked widespread mockery over Democrats claiming that whatever policy priority they prefer can be called "infrastructure." Republicans used the tweet to highlight their own talking point that only 6% of funds in the bill would be spent on roads and bridges.

Former Virginia Republican Rep. Denver Riggleman, a distillery owner, chimed in with a photo of whiskey barrels, saying: "Whiskey is infrastructure."


But Gillibrand's tweet argument cuts to the core philosophy that has already permeated through the Democratic Party. She is not alone in her assertions that paid leave and child care are infrastructure.

The White House called the $400 billion in the proposal that would fund child care, long-term care for the elderly, and care for people with disabilities “care infrastructure."

“Infrastructure is not just the roads we get a horse and buggy across,” White House press secretary Jen Psaki said Monday. “The definition of infrastructure, we have a disagreement about.”

In another recent tweet, Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders said: "Rebuilding our infrastructure is not just roads and bridges. The new reconciliation bill must include protecting the planet, health care, education, housing and providing for the needs of a long-neglected working class."

"Roads and bridges are built, predominately, by men. Care work is done, predominately, by women. Those who say the former is infrastructure while the latter is not are telling on themselves," New York Rep. Jamaal Bowman tweeted Wednesday.

California Rep. Katie Porter argued last week" "Just as roads and bridges are essential for people to get to work, childcare makes it possible for parents — especially working women — to participate fully in our economy."

Massachusetts Democratic Rep. Katherine Clark backed up Gillibrand's tweet following the widespread mockery: "If you don't think that care work is #infrastructure then you haven't been paying attention."

Disagreement over whether Biden's proposal can be considered an infrastructure plan is at the heart of Republican opposition to supporting what would normally be an area ripe for widespread bipartisan support and collaboration.

"Even if you stretch the definition of infrastructure some, it's about 30% of the $2.25 trillion we are talking about spending," Missouri Republican Sen. Roy Blunt said on Fox News Sunday.

"The president’s definition of infrastructure is extraordinarily broad," Republican Sen. Susan Collins of Maine said last week.


Biden addressed the battle over what counts as infrastructure head-on in a speech on Monday.

"The idea of infrastructure has always evolved to meet the aspirations of the American people and their needs. And it is evolving again today," Biden said.

Tags: News, Kirsten Gillibrand, Congress, Senate, Senate Democrats, Infrastructure, Infrastructure Week, Biden

Original Author: Emily Brooks

Original Location: 'Child care is infrastructure': Democrats mocked for expanded definition beyond roads and bridges


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