President Biden throws a wrench into his own infrastructure plans

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The nation’s spring construction season is starting up, and, in theory, it should be a big one. The 2021 Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act devoted more than $1 trillion dollars to upgrading the country’s roads, rails and ports. The 2022 Inflation Reduction Act is supposed to pump tens of billions more into renewables and other energy infrastructure. But tucked into these laws are provisions that make it harder to build the things the country needs to sustain Americans’ quality of life and reduce planet-warming emissions: protectionist clauses such as “Buy America” requirements. Bloomberg reports that companies interested in helping reach the 30 million people who lack high-speed internet access are begging for exceptions from Buy America requirements. The government’s ambition to connect more Americans is a high one, with a congressional commitment of $42.5 billion in the Broadband Equity, Access and Deployment Program. The obvious solution is for the government to issue a waiver allowing broadband companies to buy abroad the products the U.S. market cannot furnish. The needed electronic components account for only a sliver of what it costs to build broadband networks, according to outside experts — so even with a waiver, most of the spending would go to U.S. workers and firms.

Opinion Biden throws a wrench into his own infrastructure plans