President Biden on Wednesday said the US needs his $2.3 trillion infrastructure plan to compete with China, framing it as part of an ideological competition between Washington and Beijing.
“You think China is waiting around to invest in this digital infrastructure, on research and development?” Biden asked. “I promise you, they are not waiting. But they’re counting on American democracy to be too slow, too limited and too divided to keep pace.”
When asked about China at his first press conference last month, Biden used Cold-War style language to describe what he sees as a competition between “autocracy” and “democracy,” which he repeated when trying to sell the infrastructure plan.
“You’ve heard me say it before: I think this generation is going to be marked by the competition between democracies and autocracies, because the world is changing so rapidly,” Biden said Wednesday. “We have to show the world — and much more importantly, we have to show ourselves — that democracy works.”
Biden announced the plan on March 31st, and China was mentioned in the unveiling of the proposal, known as the American Jobs Plan. A fact sheet put out by the White House described the American Jobs Plan as “an investment in America that will create millions of good jobs, rebuild our country’s infrastructure, and position the United States to out-compete China.”
While the American Jobs Plan is a domestic initiative, Biden has also floated the idea of a global infrastructure project to compete with China’s Belt and Road Initiative.