West Virginia Senator Shelly Moore Capito Claims Schools Don’t Count as Infrastructure

During an appearance on CNBC’s “Squawk Box,” Senator Shelly Moore Capito (R-W.Va.) claimed that Democrats and Republicans can find a “bipartisan sweet spot” on President Joe Biden‘s $2.25 trillion infrastructure plan but noted that it would involve a restructuring of infrastructure priorities.

What I’d like to do is get back to what I consider the regular definition of infrastructure in terms of job creation. So that’s roads, bridges, ports, airports, including broadband into that, water infrastructure,” she said. “We’ve already made our first step there in a bipartisan way through our committee. We have a bill on water and waste water infrastructure. It’s about $30 billion over five years and it works on some of the things that are aspirational in President Biden’s plan. So, I think the best way for us to do this is hit the sweet spot of where we agree and I think we can agree on a lot of the measures moving forward.”

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Capito says shrinking the bill down to the “$600 or $800 billion” ballpark would be appropriate “but we haven’t put all of that together yet.” She also indicated that she does not believe improving schools should not be included in the infrastructure package.

“If we’re going to do this together, which we want to do and is our desire, we’ve got to find those areas and take away the extra infrastructure areas that the president put into his bill like home health aides and school building and all of these kinds of things,” she said. 

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You can watch Capito’s appearance in the video below.

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Capito’s statement was soon criticized by MSNBC‘s Steve Benen who said he was “surprised by her suggestion that upgrading public schools is superfluous to the nation’s infrastructure needs.”

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Since when does repairing, building, and upgrading schools fall outside the ‘regular’ definition of infrastructure?” he wrote. “This is especially notable in West Virginia, where schools are facing a $265 million gap in capital expenditures.”

Indeed, Infrastructure Report Card points out that West Virginia‘s infrastructure is largely in decline, particularly when “much of the state’s infrastructure constructed over the past 70 years has deteriorated, while new construction, replacement, rehabilitation and repair efforts have not kept pace with the needs.”