White House Targets GOP Leaders' Home States in Infrastructure Push Senate Minority Leader Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) speaks during a hearing before Senate Rules and Administration Committee at Russell Senate Office Building March 24, 2021 on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC. (Alex Wong/Getty Images)
By Sandy Fitzgerald | Monday, 12 April 2021 07:36 AM
The White House is targeting the home states of Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., and House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., first in its push to sell President Joe Biden's $2.25 trillion infrastructure plan to show how the funding, if approved, will help their states.
Both lawmakers, however, are already fighting back agains the measure, calling it a Democrat laundry list of progressive demands rather than a true infrastructure plan that includes much more than the restoration of roads and bridges, reports Axios.
"I'm going to fight them every step of the way because I think this is the wrong prescription for America," McConnell said of the infrastructure plan at a news conference in Kentucky, nd McCarthy has released a memo accusing Biden of planning a "kitchen sink of wasteful progressive demands."
In fact sheets from the White House, the administration outlines how the states will benefit.
Kentucky, one fact sheet notes, will benefit through a multi-billion dollar push for broadband internet.
"12% of Kentuckians live in areas where, by one definition, there is no broadband infrastructure that provides minimally acceptable speeds." the document says. "The American Jobs Plan will invest $100 billion to bring universal, reliable, high-speed, and affordable coverage to every family in America."
The fact sheet also points out that Kentucky has "1,033 bridges and over 1,322 miles of highway in poor condition. Since 2011, commute times have increased by 6.3% in Kentucky, and on average, each driver pays $444 per year in costs due to driving on roads in need of repair. The American Jobs Plan will devote more than $600 billion to transform our nation's transportation infrastructure and make it more resilient, including $115 billion in repairing roads and bridges.
Another fact sheet says that in California, "there are 1,536 bridges and over 14,220 miles of highway in poor condition. The American Jobs Plan will devote more than $600 billion to transform our nation's transportation infrastructure."
And even with California being the home of Silicon Valley, "5.5% of Californians live in areas where, by one definition, there is no broadband infrastructure that provides minimally acceptable speeds. And 59.2% of Californians live in areas where there is only one such internet provider," the sheet says. "Even where infrastructure is available, broadband may be too expensive to be within reach. 10% of California households do not have an internet subscription."
The Senate Republican Conference, though, has slammed the infrastructure plan, saying that even though it is "described as both a jobs plan and an infrastructure plan, the proposal undermines both. Biden’s partisan, job-crushing slush fund spends just 5% of the total $2.7 trillion on roads and bridges."
Meanwhile, Congress returns to work on Monday, with Democrats working to either pass the president's infrastructure plan or "make real progress" on it by Memorial Day.
The White House has also devised "report cards" that will come along the fact sheets to help Democrats on the state level to sell the plan, according to a Democratic National Committee spokesperson. According to the report cards, Kentucky and California both have rated a C-minus.
Biden, Vice President Kamala Harris, and various members of the Cabinet are also expected to travel around the country in upcoming weeks to sell the plan, a White House official told Axios.