Joe Biden aims to make the United States a world leader in infrastructure development again
President Joe Biden spent more than an hour Thursday talking to a group of lawmakers from both parties about White House plans to dramatically increase spending on projects to rebuild America’s declining infrastructure.
One of the biggest obstacles to that idea for more than a decade remains the way the government is trying to find trillions of dollars in new spending, given that congressmen are unwilling to raise taxes or find new sources of budget revenue.
President Joe Biden, Vice President Kamala Harris and Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigich attended the meeting with a number of House congressmen, including Democrat Peter DeFazio, chairman of the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, and his deputy, Republican Sam Graves.
Biden began the meeting by stating his desire to make the United States “a world leader in all areas of infrastructure” again, stressing that “this will increase our global competitiveness.” The White House did not say how much Biden planned to spend on infrastructure or how he planned to pay for its construction.
Commenting on the meeting, DeFazio, a Democrat, said Biden “wants to act as quickly as possible” and plans to spend as much as possible on rebuilding infrastructure, seeing it as “key to the success of the recovery package.”
Graves, a Republican, stressed that the infrastructure plan must be negotiated between the two parties, and that a funding mechanism must be determined.
“It can’t be an ‘either/or’ approach, as it was in the last Congress,” Graves said, referring to an earlier bill drafted by Democrats. “The highway bill can’t grow into a multitrillion-dollar omnibus bill, or it will lose Republican support.”
Last month, Biden discussed infrastructure issues with a group of senators from both parties. His predecessor, Donald Trump, failed to agree with lawmakers on a sweeping bill to repair and replace outdated and life-threatening bridges, airports, water pipes and other projects.
During his presidential campaign, Biden pledged to invest $2 trillion to repair highways, bridges and airports, build climate-resilient housing, build broadband Internet, encourage fuel-efficient cars and create charging stations for electric cars.