By Lucía Leal
WASHINGTON – The President, Joe Biden, launched a months-long battle Thursday to pass its first major non-pandemic initiative: an ambitious jobs and infrastructure plan that faces stiff resistance from Republicans.
While the conservative opposition mobilized its allies in the pressure groups to combat Biden’s plan, the White House acknowledged that it does not believe it can approve the project until the summer, and it dropped that it may have to resort to maneuvers that will allow it. let it go ahead without any Republican support.
“We will see if there is a way to achieve it (with Republican support). But at the end of the day, I will be very clear: the president has been chosen to do a job, and part of that job is to prepare this country to win the pulse for the future, “said Thursday the White House Chief of Staff Ron Klain.
“Our intention is to comply with that,” Klain added in an interview with the daily Politico.
Biden’s right-hand man in the White House thus admitted the difficulty of approving with Republican support the plan detailed this Wednesday by the president, valued at $ 2.25 billion dollars and destined to renew the country’s infrastructure, improve its competitiveness with respect to China and cut carbon emissions.
Undoing Trump’s legacy
Biden wants to finance that plan by raising corporate taxes to 28%, in addition to forcing large companies like Amazon, which now pay no federal tax, to accept a minimum rate of 15% of their income.
That would undo the main legacy at the domestic level of his predecessor, Donald Trump, who in 2017 signed a tax reform that lowered corporate tax from 35% to 21%, so Biden’s plan has put investors on the warpath. Republicans in Congress.
“I’m going to fight them every step of the way, because I think this is a bad recipe for the United States,” Senate Republican Minority Leader Mitch McConnell said Thursday.
Speaking from the state he represents, Kentucky, the Republican senator predicted that Biden’s plan will not get “any support from the conservative side” of the Senate, which will complicate its approval.
Little room for maneuver
Although the Democrats – Biden’s party – control the Lower House, the seats in the Senate are divided equally between both parties, and the progressives can only aspire to pass without support from the opposition those measures that have to do with the budget or the Cabinet office nominations.
Democrats have already begun exploring the idea of using a budget mechanism to push through Biden’s new plan, just as they did with the $ 1.9 trillion bailout package to ease the economic effects of the pandemic, approved nearly a year ago. month without any Republican support.
However, that route could undermine the credibility of a president who came to power with the commitment to seek points of unity with the Republicans, and Biden has promised that he will invite the opposition to the White House to try to reach an agreement.
The president is also aware that having public opinion on his side will be key, and this Thursday he commissioned five members of his cabinet to help him with this.
“They will represent me in dealing with Congress, engaging with the public to sell the plan, and helping with the details as we refine and push it forward,” Biden explained during the first meeting with his cabinet of his tenure.
Those in charge of this mission are the US Secretary of Transportation, Pete Buttigieg; of Energy, Jennifer Granholm; of Commerce, Gina Raimondo; of Labor, Marty Walsh, and of Housing and Urban Development, Marcia Fudge.
Complaints from the left
The obstacles to approving the plan come not only from the Republican side: both the most progressive Democrats and some moderates have objected to Biden’s proposal, and the White House will likely have to make concessions to win them over.
“This is not enough,” Democratic congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez tweeted on Wednesday, who later specified in an interview with the MSNBC network that what she would like to see is an investment almost five times greater, of 10 billion dollars throughout of a decade.
White House spokeswoman Jen Psaki said Thursday that Biden is willing to expand the scope of the plan if they propose ways to finance it, but defended the general lines of the text and hoped that it could be “approved for the summer.” which implies more than two months of legislative battle in Washington.
Eddie is an Australian news reporter with over 9 years in the industry and has published on Forbes and tech crunch.