Secretary of State Antony Blinken said Monday that the US must invest more in infrastructure to compete globally with China and other countries as the Senate is gearing up to pass a $1 trillion piece of infrastructure legislation.
During a speech at the University of Maryland, Blinken said investments in public infrastructure in the US have been on the decline while other countries are increasing domestic spending. “For example, China is spending three times as much on infrastructure as we do every year,” he said.
Blinken said that “domestic renewal” is the “most important” thing Washington can do to advance its foreign policy agenda. He portrayed the relationship with both China and Russia as a global competition between democracy and authoritarian governments.
“This is particularly important now, because it’s no secret to any of us that the Chinese and Russian governments, among others, are making the argument in public and in private that the United States is in decline — so it’s better to cast your lot with their authoritarian visions for the world than with our democratic one,” he said. “Nothing would put to rest faster their specious argument about America’s best days being behind us than if the United States made serious investments in our domestic renewal right now.”
The Senate is expected to vote on a $1 trillion infrastructure bill on Tuesday, which includes $550 billion in spending for transportation, utilities, and broadband. The infrastructure bill is expected to pass, and after the vote, Democrats plan to put forward a resolution for a massive $3.5 trillion spending that would invest in domestic programs, such as paid leave, child care, education, health care, and climate policy.
President Biden has been pushing for a massive infrastructure bill since he came into office and has also framed it as vital to compete with China. In his first address to Congress, while pitching an infrastructure plan, Biden said the US was in a competition with China to “win the 21st century.”