Buttigieg on exaggerated infrastructure jobs estimate: 'I should have been more precise'

Buttigieg on exaggerated infrastructure jobs estimate: 'I should have been more precise'
© Bloomberg/Pool

Transportation Secretary Pete ButtigiegPete Buttigieg'Funky Academic:' Public has been 'groomed to measure progress by firsts' Biden administration in talks with LA Mayor Eric Garcetti for India ambassador post: reports Business groups target moderate Democrats on Biden tax plans MORE said on Sunday that he "should have been more precise" when confronted over number of jobs that he said would be created by President BidenJoe BidenDefense lawyers for alleged Capitol rioters to get tours of U.S. Capitol Sasse to introduce legislation giving new hires signing bonuses after negative jobs report Three questions about Biden's conservation goals MORE's infrastructure proposal. 

"Fox News Sunday" host Chris WallaceChristopher (Chris) WallaceRepublicans hammer Biden on infrastructure while administration defends plan GOP senator: Two sides 'far apart' on infrastructure compromise Biden economic adviser frames infrastructure plan as necessary investment MORE brought up a remark Buttigieg made a week ago during an interview on NBC's "Meet the Press," during which Buttigieg falsely claimed that the package was estimated to create 19 million jobs.

"It turns out the study you're 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," Wallace said, adding: "Again, Secretary Buttigieg, why mislead folks?"

"Well, you're right, I should have been more precise," Buttigieg responded.

He went on to say: "[T]he bottom line is, it's going to add jobs. And this is a direct refutation of people who are saying otherwise. So, yes, you're right, I should be very precise. The difference in jobs that that particular analysis suggests is 2.7 million more. That is a great place to be. Why wouldn't we want America to create 2.7 million more jobs?"

Buttigieg also stressed that while the $2 trillion proposal unveiled by President Biden at a speech in Pittsburgh had broad bipartisan support nationwide, even if it had yet to pick up any Republican backing in Congress.

Republicans have criticized the president's proposal for containing what is not traditionally considered infrastructure, including parts of the legislation addressing climate change. Several GOP senators have suggested that a bipartisan compromise could be reached around a much smaller bill, though the White House has yet to say how low Democrats would be willing to go.

The plan also faces some resistance from Republicans and Sen. Joe ManchinJoe ManchinBiden's elitist work-family policy won't work for most families The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Emergent BioSolutions - Upbeat jobs data, relaxed COVID-19 restrictions offer rosier US picture Manchin on collision course with Warren, Sanders MORE (D-W.V.), a crucial swing vote, over its proposal to fund the infrastructure measure via raising the corporate tax rate from 21 percent to 28 percent.