Granholm argues ‘infrastructure’ meaning is out of date, despite mockery from Republicans

Granholm argues ‘infrastructure’ meaning is out of date, despite mockery from Republicans

U.S. Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm on Sunday urged lawmakers to rethink the meaning of infrastructure as Democrats face ridicule for their attempts to redefine the term.

President Biden has proposed a mammoth $2 trillion infrastructure bill that seeks to invest in a number of sectors and industries across the country.

The bill is so sweeping, though, some have criticized Democrats for pushing the boundaries of what infrastructure should mean.

Granholm echoed a stance taken by other Democrats, who argue that the term needs to be redefined.

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“Historically, it’s been ‘what makes the economy move?'” Granholm said on ABC’s “This Week.” “What is it that we all need to ensure we as citizens are productive?”

Former Gov. Jennifer Granholm, D-Mich., testifies before the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee during a hearing to examine her nomination to be Secretary of Energy, Wednesday, Jan. 27, 2021 on Capitol Hill in Washington. (Jim Watson/Pool via AP)

Former Gov. Jennifer Granholm, D-Mich., testifies before the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee during a hearing to examine her nomination to be Secretary of Energy, Wednesday, Jan. 27, 2021 on Capitol Hill in Washington. (Jim Watson/Pool via AP) ((Jim Watson/Pool via AP))

“In 1990 we wouldn’t have thought that broadband was infrastructure because it wasn’t on the scene yet, but of course we have broadband in every pocket of the nation.”

Republicans have signaled strong opposition to the American Jobs Plan, saying that very little of the bill is spent on what is traditionally defined as infrastructure.

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Democrats have urged a redefinition of infrastructure during appearances on talk shows over the past week to drum up support for Biden’s bill.

Last week, National Economic Council Director Brian Deese told Fox News host Chris Wallace that “we need to update what we mean by infrastructure for the 21st century.”

Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg defended a broader approach by stating, “There was a time when railroads weren’t considered ‘infrastructure.’ Then we built them.”

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Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, D-NY, tweeted her expanded definition: “Paid leave is infrastructure. Child care is infrastructure. Caregiving is infrastructure.”

Her message was met with a barrage of criticism. 

The Washington Examiner’s Jerry Dunleavy accused Gillibrand of intentionally stretching the meaning of infrastructure, saying that “by this definition anything you want on a spending wishlist can be deemed infrastructure.”

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Rep. Mary Miller, R-Ill., countered by pointing to the wall along the southern border started by former President Donald Trump and halted by Biden as a very real example of infrastructure.

Fox News’ Ronn Blitzer and Tyler Olson contributed to this report.

Peter Aitken is a New York born-and-raised reporter with a focus on national and global news. 

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