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Biden is looking for a new view of infrastructure beyond the asphalt

WASHINGTON (AP) – President Biden has given himself too much leeway when it comes to infrastructure spending money on it. It’s not just steel, it’s homegrown. Not just digging up dirt, but building “dignity.”

The Republican Party says that if it is not a pit, a port, a plane or a bridge, forget about it. Do not worry that Donald Trump, like Biden, wanted schools to get a piece of infrastructure pie.

In any case, theoretically everyone likes the infrastructure, is ready to spend a lot of money on it. That is why the definition of infrastructure is possible, as Biden seeks to sell the country և Congress on the largest such package in generations.

In short, much of Biden’s program does not fit into the traditional understanding of infrastructure, which means inferior or fundamental. Biden and his team did rhetorical exercises to make almost everything in the package sound like infrastructure.

For example, strengthening the right of workers to join unions does not resemble concrete in an underpass. But the White House document argues that the rights of stronger unions “will create the infrastructure to create good class jobs,” an argument that can be used to justify domestic spending on many things. Democrats add another layer to the definition as they take part in a “care infrastructure” event over the weekend.

Meanwhile, the Republican National Committee, in order to score points against Biden, has adopted a highly distorted view of what is considered infrastructure.

Roads, bridges, waterways, ports դան airports count, but public transport, utilities և economy այլ other basic elements of daily life do not count, says the GOP.

Here is the RNC email. By mail Wednesday.

“Biden’s non-infrastructure bill raises taxes by $ 2 trillion, all while spending only 7% of the bill on roads, highways, bridges, waterways, ports and airports.”

And one from April 1.

“Biden’s ‘infrastructure’ program is not really about infrastructure, but another trillion-dollar wish list. Just look at the actual bill. “Only 7% of the bill is spent on what Americans traditionally consider infrastructure.”

The claim that only 7% of the proposed amount goes to traditional infrastructure is false. It is 30% to 40% with traditional rocks. And the rest is at least closely related to infrastructure, if not a classic example.

According to what the GOP describes as traditional, infrastructure costs will be limited to $ 157 billion for bridges, highways, roads, main roads, airports, inland waterways, ports and ferries.

But that narrow focus misses on other transportation costs, such as $ 85 billion for public transportation, $ 80 billion for the Amtrak rail service and $ 20 billion for road safety.

Overall, even the non-partisan Federal Budget Committee responsible, a deficit-based organization that does not like government accounting or wasteful spending, described Biden’s $ 621 billion, or about 30 percent, as “transportation infrastructure.”

Missouri Sen. Roy Blunt, the Republican leader of the Senate, says that if Biden simply voted for that 30%, “here you have an easy bipartisan victory.”

By any strict definition, of course, the country’s infrastructure is not limited to transport. At the heart of society are also utilities and communication systems.

About $ 932 billion, or 40% of Biden’s program, is infrastructure when you add money to power grids, improve drinking water and wastewater, and expand broadband.

Faster internet is a relatively new component of infrastructure spending, but not entirely new. Although Trump’s infrastructure program was never consolidated, he wanted it to include money for broadband expansion “for our big farmers, in rural areas,” as his White House said.

The Republican National Committee did not hang its gloomy quotes on “infrastructure” when Trump proposed it.

Trump, like Biden, though in much more detail, entered happier areas that stretched the meaning of infrastructure. Here is how he described his infrastructural hopes in his 2016 victory speech.

“We intend to repair our inner cities, rebuild our highways, bridges, tunnels, airports, schools, hospitals. We are going to rebuild our infrastructure, which, by the way, will become nobody’s business. And we will employ millions of our people as we rebuild it. ”

It turns out that Trump’s description is a reasonable hint of a plan to reach Congress, but by Biden.

Biden’s plan helps Trump save money on infrastructure for schools, hospitals, roads, bridges, and infrastructure while moving to new areas. It offers $ 400 billion to expand access to long-term home and community care services. And he got about $ 400 billion for clean energy, which is never Trump’s priority.

One component is addressing the inequalities of past infrastructure. Many of the roads in the past were built to destroy the communities of the SA, Biden’s project offers $ 20 billion to try to repair that torn fabric.

There is also $ 590 billion for research and development of somewhat uncertain job training initiatives.

What do dictionaries say about all this? Traditional definitions provide facilities, not programs such as on-the-job training or home health care assistants.

“Infrastructure or underlying foundation. especially the main economic, social or military facilities and locations of the community, the state. ” says Webster’s new Universal Uninterrupted Dictionary from 1983.

Since 1887, according to the Dictionary of Online Etymology. “Installations that underlie any action or system. Initially in the military sense. “

In Washington, however, such things are not defined by dictionaries, but by who wins the dispute.

Biden’s definition. The foundation that people need to “live, go to work, raise their families with dignity, ensure that their children have a good job, no matter who they are or what postal code they live in. That’s what infrastructure means in the 21st century. “

He insisted. “Two hundred years ago, trains were not a traditional infrastructure either, until America chose to launch tracks across the country.”

Biden’s speech was rhetorical. Noah Webster’s first comprehensive American English dictionary, since 1828, does not address infrastructure at all.

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Associated Press writer osh Osh Boak contributed to this report.

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