WASHINGTON – U.S. President Joe Biden is meeting Monday with a bipartisan group of Republican and Democratic lawmakers to push for adoption of his $2.3 trillion infrastructure plan to repair the country’s aging and deteriorating roads and bridges, add to its broadband internet system and revitalize several sectors of the American economy.
There appears to be wide support for Biden’s plan for traditional infrastructure spending, fixing the country’s crumbling roads and bridges. But Republican lawmakers are balking at his description of infrastructure to include spending for in-home care for older people, child care, health care facilities for veterans and other programs throughout the country.
In addition, Republicans have taken aim at Biden’s call for a 33% tax increase on corporations to pay for the plan, from 21% to 28% on pretax profits.
The White House is beginning an all-out campaign to try to show lawmakers and voters the extent of the country’s infrastructure needs.
It released a state-by-state breakdown of the extent of the disrepair, saying, for example, 1,703 bridges need repair in New York state and 11,700 kilometers in highways are in poor condition.
The analysis showed that California’s drinking water infrastructure needs $51 billion in repairs over the next 20 years, while in the largely rural western state of Wyoming, more than a quarter of the population live in areas without minimally acceptable broadband internet connections.
There is a roughly four-in-10 chance that a public transit vehicle in the midwestern state of Indiana might be ready for the scrapyard, while schools in the eastern state of Pennsylvania need $1.4 billion for maintenance and upgrades.
The Biden administration is hoping that the list will resonate with ordinary Americans in what they encounter in their lives. The White House is painting a picture of dire needs for one of the world’s wealthiest countries, suggesting that too many roadways and bridges are unsafe, while noting that increasingly extreme weather events have contributed to the deterioration.
WATCH: Michelle Quinn’s video report
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“We don’t have a lot of work to do to persuade the American people that U.S. infrastructure needs major improvement,” Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg said on Fox News Channel’s “Fox News Sunday” show. “The American people already know it.”
Overall, Biden’s plan would modernize more than 32,000 kilometers in roadways.
Among those meeting with Biden Monday is one of the critics of his infrastructure plan, Mississippi Republican Senator Roger Wicker.
“This is a massive social welfare spending program combined with a massive tax increase on small business job creators,” Wicker said on ABC’s “This Week” show on Sunday. “I can’t think of a worse thing to do.”
Three other Republicans are joining the White House meeting – Senator Deb Fischer of Nebraska, and Congressmen Garret Graves of Louisiana and Don Young of Alaska. Democrats on the list are Senators Maria Cantwell of Washington and Alex Padilla of California, along with Congressmen Donald Payne of New Jersey and David Price of North Carolina.