Biden’s infrastructure plan goes from bad to worse

Speaking Security Newsletter | Advisory Note for Organizers and Candidates, n°88 | 10 June 2021

If you find these notes useful, you can support this newsletter here and SPRI, here. Sharing these newsletters also helps. Thank you!


Biden left for his first international trip as president yesterday without having reached an agreement with Republicans on the American Jobs Plan. Once he gets back, the administration might try passing the plan without Republican votes through reconciliation. Or it might try forming another bipartisan coalition; nobody’s sure.

What can be said for certain is that Biden is willing to cut the infrastructure plan down from its original $2.25 trillion price tag. Way down, in fact: in late May, Biden had offered a $1.7 trillion plan. By early June his offer had tumbled to $1 trillion.

Because Republicans will probably vote against the thing regardless, congressional progressives should use what leverage they have to vote against the infrastructure plan unless Biden dramatically scales up its funding. The original $2.25 trillion plan—Biden’s answer to the Green New Deal—was already radically insufficient.

What was in the original infrastructure plan for climate

The original American Jobs Plan obligates at most 56 percent of its funding to climate-related programs. That in itself isn’t bad. The bad part is that the plan provides only $2.25 trillion in spending, and that spending is spread out over 8 years. That means on average, Biden’s infrastructure plan provides $157.5 billion in climate funding per year.

$157.5 billion annually, in context

The top 5 military contractors—Lockheed, Raytheon, General Dynamics, Boeing, and Northrop Grumman—collectively received $158.5 billion in contracts from the Pentagon last year (FY2020), so over a billion more than Biden’s plan would give climate programs annually. Due to the structure and funding of Biden’s proposed military budget for FY2022, these firms will likely get even more.

*Should the $1 trillion keep the same ratio of climate spending to non-, average annual funding for climate programs would plummet to $70 billion. That’s $7 billion less than Lockheed Martin received in federal contract awards last year.

Thanks for your time,

Stephen (@stephensemler;

Find this note useful? Please consider becoming a supporter of SPRI. Unlike establishment think tanks, we rely exclusively on small donations.