Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg on Thursday defended the urgent need for Congress to pass President Joe Biden’s multi-trillion-dollar infrastructure proposal during an appearance on CNBC’s Squawk Box.
Lawmakers on each side of the political aisle in both the House of Representatives and the United States Senate are struggling to establish bipartisan cooperation as the clock ticks on getting Biden’s ambitious domestic agenda passed and enacted.
Regardless of the transient stalemates on Capitol Hill, however, the necessity for substantial investments in the nation’s antiquated access to broadband internet, along with its deteriorating airports, bridges, roads, and water delivery systems have Democrats and Republicans squabbling over the price tag as well as what should be prioritized.
The worsening climate crisis, which highlights the immediate need to break away from fossil fuels and switch to renewable sources of energy is another big point of contention between policymakers.
“What’s not complicated is the need to get something done on infrastructure which is what the president and many Republicans and Democrats have agreed to do, and I saw it myself, I was on the road last week and you can see the need in different forms in every part of the country,” Buttigieg said.
The secretary noted that cities like New York and Chicago as well as states such as Oregon and Arizona are in desperate need of modernization to their transportation infrastructure.
“Literally every part of this country sees the need and I think that’s why you have this incredible level of bipartisan agreement… we’ve gotta get this bipartisan infrastructure framework through and to the president’s desk for his signature,” he said.
When host Joe Kernen pointed out that certain GOP negotiators were displeased with the notion of tying physical infrastructure to “human infrastructure” like education, health care, and paid family leave, Buttigieg said the argument is a false one.
“Nobody’s been able to explain to me in clear terms exactly what that even means,” he said, referring to certain types of infrastructure investments versus others.
“I refuse to give up on the idea that at least some Republicans might come around and vote for Americans to have paid family leave, might come around and vote for us to cut child poverty in half by extending the child tax credit, might come around and vote for an idea like making sure three and four-year-olds can get pre-kindergarten education or that we can have community college. Those are the right things to do. Economists tell us they’ll grow the economy,” said Buttigieg. “But you’re right, these are on two different paths. The infrastructure part we can do together. The other part may be all Democrats.”
Watch below via CNBC:
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Brandon is a political writer for the Hill Reporter specializing in current events, breaking news, and scientific discovery. Brandon holds a Bachelor of Music degree from Indiana University. He lives in New York City.