Secretary of Commerce stresses importance of parties working together to pass infrastructure plan


WASHINGTON (WFLA) – The American Jobs Plan, President Joe Biden’s proposed $2.3 trillion infrastructure improvement, continues to be a focus of lawmakers and voters as the president pushes for big investments in the backbone of America’s physical structure.

The White House and various cabinet members are working to drum up support for the plan, and Senate Republicans recently released their own infrastructure plan with a $568 billion price tag on Thursday. Secretary of Commerce Gina Raimondo said there’s still room for negotiation and compromise across the aisle.

“We have to sit down with members of Congress and, frankly, do our job. Find compromise, come up with solutions, figure out where we can agree. The worst thing we can do is do nothing,” she said.

The secretary said that, right now, Americans are struggling. She said lawmakers on both sides of the aisle need to sit down at the table and work together to fix things and make things better for everyday Americans.

“Doing nothing is not an option for us,” Raimondo said.

The plan released by Senate Republicans is more limited in what it has outlined for infrastructure improvements. While Biden’s American Jobs Plan focuses on everything from roads and bridges to broadband, clean energy and affordable housing, the GOP plan leaves off housing and energy.

In a previous interview with WFLA’s Washington correspondent Kellie Meyer, U.S. Sen. Rick Scott of Florida called the plan a “radical left agenda” and said it included things that were not necessarily infrastructure. The GOP infrastructure plan makes this divide over what is defined as infrastructure more clear as the two parties work towards improving America’s aging systems.

Despite the differences between the two plans, Raimondo said her conversations with members of Congress and various state governors from both parties have been largely positive.

“You know, no one likes every aspect of everything, but by and large, they see in their communities roads and bridges falling apart, dams that haven’t been repaired in decades, a lot of people living in tribal and rural lands with no broadband, so governors are by and large in favor of it, as are many members of Congress,” Raimondo said.

Focusing in on how the American Jobs Plan will look in a more detailed way, Raimondo said a release of the 2020 Census data next week will help the White House and Congress hone in on the needs that are highest across the U.S. The data is expected to be released sometime after President Biden addresses both chambers of Congress on April 28.

“We’ll have it out by next Friday and, absolutely, that will absolutely inform a lot of these decisions, because we’ll know more about where people are, where the needs are,” Raimondo said. “…it’ll make us better at doing our job because we’ll put the money where it’s most needed.”

The jobs plan is just one of two separate plans that the Biden Administration is working on to help America rebuild and recover. In addition to the American Jobs Plan, the American Families Plan is expected to be announced soon, with an estimated cost of $1 trillion, and $500 million in tax credits, according to a previous NBC report.

When asked about the price tags and details of the various plans, Raimondo kept details close to the vest, but said that Americans should keep an eye on Biden’s address before Congress.

“So there will be big investments in what we need in order to help families get by and take care of one another, care for our children and we’ll just have to wait a little bit longer, that’ll be coming out in the next week or two,” she said. “We’ll have to wait, everyone should tune in.”

WFLA has reached out to Sen. Marco Rubio and Sen. Scott for further comment on efforts to compromise for infrastructure improvements.

A representative for Sen. Rubio referred back to previous comments given to our Nexstar D.C. correspondent:

Copyright 2021 Nexstar Media Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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