Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand on Wednesday tried to redefine “infrastructure” — and got torn down on social media for it.
Infrastructure is generally defined as “basic physical and organizational structures and facilities,” such as buildings, roads and power supplies.
But in a push for President Biden’s massive $2.3 trillion tax-and-spend plan, the New York Democrat attempted to pave a new meaning, tweeting: “Paid leave is infrastructure. Child care is infrastructure. Caregiving is infrastructure.”
The message drew a wall of mockery.
“Unicorns are infrastructure. Love is infrastructure. Herpes is infrastructure. Everything is infrastructure,” Daily Wire founder Ben Shapiro wrote on Twitter.
Journalist Josh Barro joked that, “Mayonnaise is infrastructure. It supports the other flavors in the sandwich.”
“The bread is also infrastructure,” Barro added. “But the meat and cheese and tomatoes are not infrastructure. And making the sandwich is not infrastructure. But the plate is infrastructure.”
Many users noted, “If everything is infrastructure then nothing is infrastructure.”
Jordan Weissman, a writer for Slate, made the case that “We don’t have to pretend every good thing is ‘infrastructure.’”
Republicans have argued that President Biden’s $2.3 trillion infrastructure proposal isn’t actually “infrastructure,” arguing that it includes funds for things like long-term care services, manufacturing and research and development.
Biden argued for expanding the definition of “infrastructure” on Wednesday, saying that the idea “has always evolved to meet the aspirations of the American people and their needs. And it is evolving again today.”
Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg also defended the broader approach, noting that railroads used to not be considered infrastructure, either.
“There was a time when railroads weren’t considered ‘infrastructure.’ Then we built them,” he tweeted.
“Now’s the time to build the 21st century economy Americans need.”