President Joe Biden unveiled the $2.3 trillion infrastructure plan this week that will provide funds for transportation upgrades, investments in electric vehicles and charging stations, as well as investments into research, development, and manufacturing among other items. Sen. Tammy Duckworth (D-Ill.) is backing the plan, describing it as bold and necessary.
“We need to get it moving and we need to get it going because it truly will be a stimulus to our economy. Getting it out the door means it’s that much sooner that we can fix our roads and our rails and our bridges and getting the money flowing into local economies so that we can actually spur and then generate revenue growth by having people more actively involved in all of these projects,” she told Cheddar.
The lack of broadband access for a swath of America’s population is a major concern for the senator who said Biden’s infrastructure plan could immediately address that issue.
Tax Hike for Corporations
President Donald Trump's administration offered tax cuts to major corporations, but Duckworth says it's time to reclaim some of those funds to strengthen U.S. infrastructure.
“I think that folks who make more than $4 million a year, or corporations like General Electric that paid no taxes, can afford to pay a little bit so that we can get broadband to communities that don’t have broadband right now,” she added.
Duckworth also said the country’s water systems need attention; upgrading piping systems that directly serve American homes will actually save people money in the long run.
“In parts of the country, only 25 percent of the water that’s processed actually ever comes out of the tap, yet taxpayers are paying for 100 percent of that water to be processed, so there’s a lot of cost savings that can actually happen," she said. "And, I think water infrastructure is a significant priority that has to be addressed right away.”
Federal Government Needs More Representation
Though Duckworth had high praise for the infrastructure plan, she has been critical of the Biden administration for the lack of Asian American and Pacific Islander representation in the federal government. As a result, she said she has been in close, regular contact with the administration on issues related to diversity.
“The first thing that they committed to was putting a senior staffer in the West Wing that would have the ability to actually shepherd through fully-qualified nominees of AAPI descent for many of these highest levels of federal government service. I think that is critically important,” she said.
Duckworth said fair representation is the only way a government of and for the people can truly reflect its citizens.
The decorated veteran, elected lawmaker, and now published author also recently released her memoir titled Every Day Is a Gift.
In the book, she discusses obstacles she has faced such as overcoming hunger in her early years and being shot out of the sky, and losing her legs during the Iraq War. America, she says, never gave up on her, a message she wants to impress on people.
“Even after the insurrection on January 6, I firmly believe this country is a shining light and our democracy is worth fighting for,” Duckworth added.