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By Lyle Muller April 30, 2021

Congressman, carrying GOP complaint, leaves a lot out of infrastructure definition

Rep. Randy Feenstra, R-Iowa, was among several members of Congress to respond to President Biden’s first address to Congress the night of Wednesday, April 28.

"The Biden-Harris admin has proposed an unprecedented $6 trillion in spending, using 3 different bills with flashy titles as one massive trojan horse for their far-Left agenda. That is why only <6% of the $2.1 trillion "infrastructure" bill contains funding for roads & bridges," he wrote on Twitter.

We’ve seen the claim before, as it is a major talking point from Republicans concerned about the price tag on Biden’s proposed $6 trillion stimulus combination of  The American Jobs PlanAmerican Rescue Plan, and American Families Plan.

Sen. Tim Scott, R-South Carolina, made the claim in the Wednesday night GOP rebuttal to Biden’s speech, although Scott also said, "Republicans support everything you think of when you think of ‘infrastructure’ Roads, bridges, ports, airports, waterways, high-speed broadband — we’re all in." 

PolitiFact reported previously that elements of infrastructure Scott listed would take up about 26% of Biden’s proposed spending in the proposed American Jobs Plan. Some lawmakers, such as Rep. Liz Cheney, R-Wyo., said only 6% of the jobs plan was for infrastructure of any type, which we rated Pants on Fire.

 Citing the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget, we’ve pointed out that transportation upgrades to rail, air and water travel, for example, would get $207 billion. Protecting land and water resources and upgrading drinking water supplies would get $161 billion, while power infrastructure and high-speed internet would get $100 billion apiece.

Roads, bridges and highways would get $115 billion, for a grand total of $683 billion for infrastructure projects, based on what the Committee for a Responsible Budget estimates will be a $2.65 trillion cost if the plan gains congressional approval. That’s different from other reported figures or the plan and what Feenstra tweeted. At this point, the actual cost would not be determined until the legislation is negotiated, debated and adopted.

Feenstra notes three Biden stimulus plans in his tweet and ties them to his complaint about infrastructure’s share. But, while the $1.8 trillion American Rescue Plan’s stated purpose is to "change the course of the pandemic and deliver immediate and direct relief to families and workers impacted by the COVID-19 crisis through no fault of their own," the program’s fact sheet says. 

But, that law, passed in March, includes $10 billion for local improvements to infrastructure to go along with direct payments to individuals, increased child tax credits, funds to local governments for COVID-19 vaccinations, support for small businesses, employed retention and paid leave credits and homeowner assistance.

The proposed American Families Plan does not have an infrastructure component. It would authorize spending for universal pre-school, direct payments and tax breaks for families with children or in low-income brackets, summer and school meal programs for low-income families, free community college and selected studies in college for up to four years. It also calls for increasing the income tax rate for those making more than $400,000 in a year. 

We asked Feenstra’s Washington, D.C., office in emails about the infrastructure spending beyond roads and bridges and also called his office but did not receive a response to the questions.

Our ruling

Feenstra, as well as Scott and other Republicans for that matter, are correct about the share of the American Jobs Plan spending on just roads and bridges in Biden’s plans. But, focusing only on those two items paints a skewed picture of how much money from the president’s plan is tabbed for infrastructure as key Republican leaders define it. Feenstra didn’t give a full picture in his tweet. We rate the claim to be Half True.

Our Sources

Randy Feenstra tweet, April 28, 2021

Tim Scott, Republican rebuttal to the president’s speech, April 28, 2021

American Rescue Plan Act of 2021

The White House, The American Rescue Plan fact sheet

The White House, The American Jobs Plan fact sheet

The White House, The American Families Plan fact sheet 

Politifact story, by Louis Jacobson, April 13, 2021

"What’s in President Biden’s American Jobs Plan?," Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget, April 2, 2021

"Biden’s Plans Total $6 Trillion. Here’s a Guide," New York Times, April 28, 2021

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More by Lyle Muller

Congressman, carrying GOP complaint, leaves a lot out of infrastructure definition

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