Kamala Harris Defends 'Human Infrastructure' in $2 Trillion Package

Vice President Kamala Harris has defended the Biden administration's proposed $2.3 trillion infrastructure package and argued for a broad definition of infrastructure projects.

Harris told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution on Tuesday that infrastructure included what's traditionally understood by the term, such as roads and bridges, but there was also a need for what she referred to as "human infrastructure."

Some Republican opponents of President Joe Biden's infrastructure plan have criticized it for containing measures that they don't consider to be real infrastructure, such as $400 billion for homecare service.

Harris spoke about projects specific to the state of Georgia during the interview but also defended the proposal in broader terms.

"The way that we think about infrastructure is the things that we need in place to get to work, to take care of our kids, the apparatus that supports working families," Harris said.

"In a state like Georgia, there are a whole lot of folks who cannot afford to live where they work, so they're on those roads and bridges, sometimes for hours," she said.

"We want to make sure that they don't have to get on those roads and bridges and then get flat tires because they're so dilapidated."

Harris said she was talking about the kind of infrastructure that "allows working families to go to work" and that included non-traditional forms of investment, such as childcare.

"The pandemic highlighted that a working family with kids cannot go to work unless there is someone taking care of their children — during the day, depending on the age, and after school," Harris said.

"And let's talk about all those folks who are in what we call the sandwich generation. They are raising kids and also taking care of their parents."

She went on to discuss people with disabilities "who deserve to have the kind of care they need to be functional and to participate in society."

"So that's all about infrastructure. I call it human infrastructure, but it's infrastructure. You can't go to work or do the basics without that stuff," she said.

"It's all about the infrastructure that is required to live, those things that are necessary for us to actually function, that we take for granted often."

The Republican National Committee criticized Biden's plan a day after it was announced, saying: "Joe Biden's 'infrastructure' plan is not really about infrastructure, it is another multi-trillion dollar far left wish list."

The RNC also said just 7 percent of the plan was what is "traditionally" considered infrastructure, though a CNN fact-check found that claim to be "misleading," noting that the party's email on the subject excluded proposed investments in modernizing public transit, Amtrak, safeguarding critical infrastructure and road safety.

The infrastructure plan also includes $621 billion for transportation, $300 billion for manufacturing and $180 billion for research and development as well as the $400 billion for homecare service.

Vice President Kamala Harris
U.S. Vice President Kamala Harris leads a roundtable discussion with faith leaders in her Ceremonial Office in the Eisenhower Executive Office Building on March 31, 2021 in Washington, DC. Harris has defended the Biden administration's proposed $2.3 trillion infrastructure package. Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images