The White House Monday launched a series of videos to highlight crumbling infrastructure in Eastern Kentucky as part of a media push to drum up support for President Joe Biden’s proposed infrastructure bill.
As moderate Democrats and Republicans have been at loggerheads in coming up with an agreement on how much money to allocate to fixing roads, bridges and drinking water — among other projects — the White House made videos highlighting the lack of broadband access and clean drinking water in Eastern Kentucky.
One follows Danielle Adams of Pikeville as she heads into town to get online when her wi-fi goes down in her home. In the other, BarbiAnn Miner in Martin County, shows off the dirty tap water in her kitchen sink and some of the decrepit roads and bridges in Martin County.
“People talk about ‘Eastern Kentucky is poor and they don’t really have anything,’” Miner says in the video. “Well, how are we ever going to have anything if our government won’t invest in our infrastructure?”
The videos, which are set to include stories from across the country, will be shown only on social media. They kick off in the home state of U.S. Sen. Mitch McConnell, who has come out against Biden’s infrastructure package.
McConnell’s office declined to comment, and he has been mercurial about bipartisan talks between moderate Democratic and Republican senators, proclaiming the era of bipartisanship over before saying an infrastructure deal was still possible.
The latest proposal from the group of moderates would allocate $579 billion in new infrastructure spending over the next five years, but the lawmakers haven’t yet agreed on how to pay for it, Politico reported.
They would also have to get support from the more liberal and conservative members of the Senate.
Democrats have said they are fine with a bipartisan bill so long as there is another, likely Democrat-only supported bill that comes along to address the climate, child care and higher taxes on corporations.
While McConnell has left the door open to a bipartisan infrastructure package, he’s said repeatedly that his top priority is stopping Biden’s agenda.
Conservatives point to the growing national debt, which increased significantly during the administration of former President Donald Trump, as a reason not to pass the bill without clear-cut funding.
McConnell has said he and Republicans will not support any bill that relies on reversing the tax cuts from the Republican’s 2017 tax bill — one of his signature accomplishments in the era of former President Donald Trump — to pay for more government spending.
He has suggested relying on public-private partnerships, like the kind that helped fund new bridges in Louisville, as a possible solution for a new infrastructure package.
Republicans have also chafed at some of the things the Biden administration has pitched as infrastructure, saying any package should stick to things like roads, bridges, water and internet and not include things like home health care or childcare.
Already, some federal money has been allocated to improving broadband internet and water infrastructure in Kentucky. During the final days of the legislative session, the Kentucky General Assembly allocated more than $550 million from the American Rescue Plan to increase broadband access and on clean drinking water projects.