President Joe Biden’s sprawling $2.3 trillion infrastructure and jobs package also is “a climate bill, in many ways,” his top spokeswoman said Friday in a remark unlikely to help the White House win Republican votes.
The White House used a presidential visit to Pittsburgh, where Biden began his 2020 campaign, to introduce a large hunk of his two-part infrastructure plan. Administration officials have made little attempt to describe “infrastructure” narrowly, instead, they have used a broad definition that also covers Democrats’ worries about a changing climate.
“This package … is a climate bill in many ways, and there is a lot of work in there that is going to help revolutionize the clean jobs market,” White House press secretary Jen Psaki told reporters on Friday.
“This package recognizes the profound urgency and existential threat of the climate crisis,” she added, calling the proposal an opportunity to “right the wrongs of past environment [in]justice” while acknowledging a “significant amount in this package” focuses on “clean jobs.”
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To that end, the first part of the plan calls for hundreds of billions of dollars for everything from boosting the electric-car market to cleaning up abandoned coal mines to retraining fossil-fuel industry workers.
But even as Biden and White House officials plead with GOP lawmakers to sit down at the negotiating table, and even support environmental policies they long have opposed, it is that spending, in large part, that has Republicans howling over its cost and scope. They would prefer to pursue a bipartisan deal focused on roads, airports, bridges, tunnels, and seaports.