WASHINGTON (Nexstar) — Lawmakers say the pandemic highlights the need to update the nation’s infrastructure, from healthcare to broadband access. But the price tag of that infrastructure package and the clean energy provisions will be big road blocks.
The pandemic has “laid bare a glaring shortcoming, that our nation’s public health infrastructure is outdated and unprepared for crisis,” California Democratic Congresswoman Anna Eshoo said. “The bill rebuilds our health system after a year from hell.”
Accessing broadband internet is also a problem for many Americans that suddenly need it for virtual school and work. Democrats said the infrastructure package — the Lift America Act — would solve those issues by investing $80 billion to expand broadband access.
There is also tens of billions of dollars to keep lead out of water and support health care.
The package would also dedicate nearly $70 billion to modernizing the power grid and clean energy programs and $40 billion toward an electric car fleet.
Republican West Virginia Congressman David McKinley said Democrats are ignoring key questions.
“What’s the impact on jobs and refineries, pipelines and drilling?” he said. :How are we going to develop a domestic battery supply chain?”
Ohio Rep. Bob Latta said the package excludes all the work Republicans did to try to roll out a nationwide modern 911 system and rural broadband expansion.
“Not a single one of those proposals is included in the legislation before us today,” Latta.
At $300 billion, Republicans say Democrats infrastructure package has ballooned out control.