Reported by VIRGINIA KRUTA, ASSOCIATE EDITOR | April 11, 2021
“Fox News Sunday” anchor Chris Wallace challenged Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg directly over his claims about President Joe Biden’s infrastructure plan. Wallace asked Buttigieg about claims that the United States ranked 13th in infrastructure as well as claims that the proposed infrastructure plan would create some 19 million jobs.
“I want to start with a fact-check of how the Biden administration is selling this plan,” Wallace began, noting that several administration officials and Biden himself had claimed that the United States ranked 13th in the world in infrastructure. Wallace went on to point out that many of the countries ranked higher — such as Singapore, Hong Kong and the United Arab Emirates — were too small to truly be comparable.
“Of the 10 largest countries … the U.S. actually ranks first,” Wallace continued. “So secretary, not to say that everything is fine, but why not be straight about the actual conditions here in the U.S. to the American people?”
“Well, the American people already know that our infrastructure needs a lot of work,” Buttigieg replied, arguing that everyone who’s driven on America’s roads and bridges understands the need for a comprehensive plan to fix them.
“We don’t have a lot of work to do to persuade the American people that U.S. infrastructure needs major improvement. The American people already know it and that’s one of the reasons why there is such extraordinary Republican and independent and Democratic support for this package among the American people,” Buttigieg added.
“Not necessarily in Congress, however,” Wallace replied before pivoting to offer up a second fact-check.
“I want to give you another fact-check. All of you in the Biden administration have been selling this plan as a huge jobs creator,” Wallace said, sharing a video of Buttigieg from a week earlier touting the plan and claiming that it would create 19 million jobs. “But it turns out the study you are citing from Moody’s Analytics says the economy will add 16.3 million jobs without the infrastructure bill and 2.7 million more with it. So it doesn’t, as you said last Sunday, create 19 million jobs. Again, Secretary Buttigieg, why mislead folks?”
“You’re right, I should have been more precise,” Buttigieg agreed, saying that the real takeaway was that there would be more jobs created with the plan than without it.
“Two million, not 19 million,” Wallace pushed back.
“According to that Moody’s analysis, 2.7 million additional jobs if we pass this package — just further proof that it’s good for the economy and taken as a whole it’s going to add jobs compared to doing nothing,” Buttigieg repeated his point, prompting Wallace to ask whether it was fair to say that he and others within the administration had “exaggerated the jobs impact.”
“Look, there are a lot of different analyses about just how many million jobs this is going to create,” Buttigieg pushed back, but Wallace interrupted.
“Secretary, you’re the one who cited Moody’s Analytics as 19 million and it’s actually 2.7 million, which is a bunch, but it’s not what you said,” he said.
“It’s part of a scenario that Moody’s says will create 19 million jobs,” Buttigieg insisted, once again repeating that the real message was that passing the plan would ultimately create more jobs than not passing it. “Why wouldn’t we want America to create 2.7 million more jobs?”