White House Optimistic About New Infrastructure Deal

Heather Boushey, member of the U.S. Council of Economic Advisers, says the Biden administration is optimistic about the infrastructure deal struck with a bipartisan group of senators. Watch below for more on the recent deal.

Host: Let’s talk about first the bipartisan part of this and what this accomplishes, how much of the president’s plan this gets done, assuming this does, in fact, make it through congress?

Boushey: Well, that’s a big if, but we remain very optimistic, very exciting yesterday to see Republicans and Democrats come together on infrastructure plan. That could be a game changer for American industry and for the American economy. And we desperately need these investments all across the country in basic infrastructure, roads and bridges. And of course, the plan included making sure that we replace those lead pipe so that people can get clean drinking water, as well as investments in electric vehicle charging stations all across the country. These are the kinds of investments that our economy needs in order to thrive. So that businesses can thrive and hire workers and make sure that America gets back to work and stays at work.

Host: Talk about the lead pipes. I must say, this is a pet issue of mine because I’ve read some about it from Westmore and we tend to think about roads and bridges and railroads as being infrastructure. We don’t think about the effect on our children often, often on their cognitive development because of lead pipes. Explain what this could do, the economy in terms of really bringing along the next generation of Americans.

Boushey: Well, you know, some of this very basic infrastructure, water, sewers, you know, so many of us take for granted. But yet for so many communities across these United states, people simply can’t turn on the pipe and know that that water is safe to drink. There is no amount of lead in water that is safe for young children. It leads to brain damage and developmental problems. And those are both expensive for families and communities and government to help those families cope to that. And we are one of the richest countries in the world. We should be able to make sure that every American has access to safe drinking water. This is an investment in our future and investment in American business. Those businesses, if they don’t know that the water is clean and safe, they may not choose to invest in that community. So this is certainly a win for the economy as well as so important for children and families.

Host: So this is a fair amount of what President Biden originally proposed. As I said, it’s not all of it by any means. There is what I think the president calls the human infrastructure part of it. There was talk about that at the White House yesterday, that somehow this is contingent upon that. Give us a sense of what this leaves out, what is left to be done.

Boushey: Certainly in the American Jobs Plan and the American families plan that the president laid out in the spring include investments in things like home health care, in child care, in establishing a nationwide paid family medical leave program, investments in moving towards universal pre-kindergarten, as well as an expansion extending the expansion of the child tax credit. So it is really important that those pieces remain a part of the plan because they’re so important to American families. And these are also important to American business. And the president made clear yesterday that there is a two pronged strategy. So this bipartisan bill that has these core pieces that Republicans and Democrats agree are important on, that has one path. But then these other pieces, which around the country, Republicans and Democrats agree are important but isn’t a part of the package. The president is committed to making sure that those go through another congressional vehicle.

I think just I just want to underscore that both of these pieces are economically critical. We need to be making investments in young people and in care and in those care workers because so many Americans hold those jobs. We need to make sure that those are good jobs.

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