Joe Biden Proposes a $2 Trillion Clean Energy Infrastructure Program

Joe Biden speaks on Tuesday in Wilmington, Delaware.

Democratic presidential challenger lays down another plank in his economic platform.

Diamond Joe Biden is still hittin’ us with proposals as his campaign rolls out more of his economic policy program ahead of this fall’s presidential election.  

Last week it was a massive investment in a Buy America procurement plan that had President Trump's allies talking about how the presumptive Democratic challenger was eating the president’s lunch.

If last week’s proposal was – as the Wall Street Journal describes it – an "economic revival program", this week’s expands on it. In a speech in Delaware, Biden announced a $2 trillion infrastructure package focused heavily on clean energy projects.

After Hillary Clinton in 2016 (with her finger on the political pulse of America) quipped that her policies would “put a lot of coal miners and coal companies out of business,” Biden is going out of his way to argue his clean energy plans will mean domestic job creation.

Here's what he said today:

“When Donald Trump thinks about climate change, the only word he can muster is ‘hoax.’ When I think about climate change, the word of I think of is ‘jobs.’ Good paying, union jobs that put Americans to work making the air cleaner for our kids to breathe, restoring our crumbling roads and bridges and ports, making it fast and cheaper and cleaner to transport American made goods all across the country and around the world.

“Jobs to build and install a network of 500,000 charging stations along our existing and new highways we’ll build across the country, which will not only help America – and help the American automobile industry lead the world in manufacturing electric vehicles, it will also Americans billions of dollars over time in the cost of gasoline for their vehicles.

Call it what you will, but it’s ambitious!

Biden’s plan calls for a $2 trillion investment in infrastructure spending with union employment protections attached. This is aside from the $400 billion Buy America procurement program and the $300 million investment in industrial research and development he previously proposed. The Biden camp argues such a massive influx of infrastructure cash will create 1 million jobs retrofitting millions of buildings and weatherizing 2 million homes to make them more energy efficient, and another 1 million new jobs in auto manufacturing, auto supply chains, and auto infrastructure – like the national network of 500,000 electric vehicle charging stations he mentioned in his speech.

Left unsaid is what will happen to the great American truck stop in this new electric future. But maybe Biden will address that in a different speech when he gets to the "truck stops" plank of his economic policy platform.

All of this, the Biden campaign says, is part of its goal of creating a carbon pollution-free power sector by 2035, which is a proposal borne out of a Democratic unity task force formed by representatives of the Biden campaign and the former Bernie Sanders campaign.

As Axios notes, a lot of Biden’s spending proposals would require Congressional approval, which means that should he win the presidential election, the Democrats would likely have to take the Senate and ditch its filibuster rule for them to go anywhere.

But … talking about it is certainly a start. President Trump has proposed a massive infrastructure spending package a few times since October 2016, when he rolled one out only weeks before his election victory. So far they’ve gone nowhere.

Maybe Biden’s will too. But at least he’s making Buy America purchasing and union protections part and parcel of his proposal. When the United States gets around to addressing its long overdue infrastructure deficiencies, at least the bar for what we should expect from such a package will have been raised.

Read Biden's clean energy and infrastructure policy here.