Progressive lawmakers want a 'single, ambitious' infrastructure package instead of Biden's 2-parter

  • The Congressional Progressive Caucus wants Biden’s infrastructure bills to be a “single, ambitious package.”
  • Biden is floating two plans: one investing in things from roads to broadband, and the other on the care economy.
  • Progressive lawmakers argue that Biden’s plan isn’t big enough and more needs to be done.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

President Joe Biden unveiled the first part of his up to $4 trillion infrastructure package on Wednesday, but House progressives argue one big package would better tackle the challenges facing the country today.

Congressional Progressive Caucus Chair Pramila Jayapal of Washington said in a statement on Wednesday that while Biden’s infrastructure plan is a step in the right direction, an “even bolder, more comprehensive” climate and infrastructure plan is needed. She said her caucus prefers “a single, ambitious package” that would tackle climate change, reduce inequality, and create jobs, rather than the president’s two-part plan.

“While President Biden’s proposal is a welcome first step, more must be done to improve on this initial framework to meet the challenges we face,” Jayapal said.

The Democratic lawmaker also stressed the need to get the package passed, with or without Republican support, before the August recess, and this would be easier to do if the infrastructure plan isn’t split up into multiple small bills.

In terms of a timeline for getting the package passed, Speaker Nancy Pelosi already floated the idea of a passage by July 4 to the Democratic caucus, but a source familiar with the matter told CNBC that July 4 is not intended as a deadline. 

Jayapal is not the only progressive lawmaker to say Biden’s infrastructure plan is too small. New York Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez said on Twitter on Tuesday that Biden’s package is “not nearly enough.”

“The important context here is that it’s $2.25T spread out over 10 years,” Ocasio-Cortez said. “For context, the COVID package was $1.9T for this year *alone,* with some provisions lasting 2 years. Needs to be way bigger.”

 

While Biden’s plan is recognized as a needed improvement to the nation’s infrastructure and care economy, progressive lawmakers want to ensure Americans, and the climate, are receiving sufficient aid that can be passed quickly.

Jayapal said: “Given the President’s fierce resolve in passing the overwhelmingly popular American Rescue Plan earlier this month, it makes little sense to narrow his previous ambition on infrastructure or compromise with the physical realities of climate change.”

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