Memos & Research

What is ‘real infrastructure’? Take it from Republicans themselves.

Apr 7, 2021

Contact: Emily Samsel,, 828-713-9647

In the days since President Biden announced the American Jobs Plan we’ve heard a lot of talk from Republicans claiming this isn’t a ‘real infrastructure’ plan.

We think that’s pretty ridiculous. And so does Secretary of Energy Jennifer Granholm — at our event yesterday she said, “I think that’s just an attack that doesn’t make sense in the 21st century … the rail, ports, airports, bridges, roads, broadband, transmission, water, all of that is classic infrastructure, whether [Republicans] want to admit that or not.”

But don’t just take our word for it — this is what Republicans themselves have said constitutes infrastructure in recent months and years:

Sen. Steve Daines (R-MT)

“Infrastructure seems to be on the top of many minds lately, not the least of which is our president’s infrastructure. And that doesn’t just mean roads and bridges, it also includes broadband, national parks, and, important for today and really important to Montana, energy infrastructure.” [2/8/18]

Sen. Ron Johnson (R-WI)

“Every day our adversaries target our critical infrastructure, including our electric grids, dams, and airports.” [7/22/20]

Sen. John Barrasso (R-WY)

“As chairman of the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works, I’ll be working with President Trump to modernize our infrastructure. This includes working to upgrade America’s energy infrastructure – things like electric transmission lines and natural gas pipelines.” [2/28/18]

Sen. Thom Tillis (R-NC)

“With the COVID-19 pandemic bringing our economy to a grinding halt, we should be … supporting job-creating energy infrastructure projects.” [8/5/20]

Sen. John Hoeven (R-ND)

“This new transmission line is a great example of why we fund USDA’s loan and grant programs, to provide infrastructure that will meet the demands of a growing economy and ensure that residents have access to essential services, regardless of their ZIP code … To remain competitive globally, we are working to spur this same kind of investment across all of our infrastructure systems, including energy, broadband, water, rail, roads and airports.” [2/19/20]

Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-AK)

“The pandemic has clearly underscored the need for these communities to have better water infrastructure. Simply washing your hands multiple times throughout the day to protect against the spread of COVID should not be a difficult task, but that’s unfortunately the reality that some Alaskan communities face.” [3/25/21]

Sen. Joni Ernst (R-IA)

“It is important that we continue to update and improve our nation’s energy infrastructure to support and promote economic growth and job creation.” [3/24/17]

Sen. Rob Portman (R-OH)

“I’m grateful to the Trump Administration for taking decisive action designed to save America’s last producer of grain-oriented electrical steel. This steel is an important component of our electric grid, which is part of our critical infrastructure and key to our national security.” [5/4/20]

Sen. Roy Blunt (R-MO)

“Moving forward, I again call on the Corps to prioritize flood control infrastructure along the lower Missouri River and the protection of lives and property in its river management plans.” [12/17/20]

The hypocrisy is staggering. And this is only a small selection from Congressional Republicans’ long history of supporting wide-ranging investments in our nation’s infrastructure.

The reality is, President Biden’s American Jobs Plan will make a once in a generation investment in America, rebuild our infrastructure and put millions of people back to work in new good-paying, union jobs in the clean energy economy while tackling climate change and environmental racism. The plan itself, and investments in infrastructure and clean energy, are extremely popular — even with a majority of Republican voters

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