Friday, January 28

Biden Promises “Historic” $ 2 Trillion Spending on Infrastructure, But Capitol Fight Awaits | Joe biden

Joe Biden will present an expansive $ 2 trillion proposal to rebuild the country’s infrastructure, tackle climate change and curb wealth inequality, part of a widespread spending package that could define the president’s economic legacy.

Biden’s plan, which he will present in a speech in Pittsburgh Wednesday afternoon, includes “historic and exciting” investments in traditional infrastructure projects like highways, bridges and highways, as well as hundreds of billions of dollars to strengthen the network. electrical. expand high-speed broadband and rebuild water systems to ensure access to clean water, an administration official said Tuesday. It also seeks to expand access to community care facilities for seniors and people with disabilities and invest in research and development and training in the workplace.

It will propose to pay for the new spending with a substantial increase in corporate taxes that would offset eight years of spending over the course of 15 years, authorities said. Among the changes, Biden will call for an increase in the corporate tax rate from 21% to 28% and measures to force multinational corporations to pay more taxes in the US on profits made abroad. The tax plan would undo important parts of Donald Trump’s tax cut bill, which lowered the corporate tax rate from 35% to 21%.

The package, known as the American jobs plan, is just the first part of the president’s extensive infrastructure agenda. Attendees say he will introduce a second legislative package next month that will focus on investments in healthcare, child care and education. That package is expected to pay off, at least in part, by raising taxes on the country’s highest-income earners.

As a candidate, Biden promised not to raise individual taxes on those who earn less than $ 400,000.

The scale of the proposals, which together are expected to cost up to $ 4 trillion, has been compared to Franklin Roosevelt’s New Deal or Lyndon Johnson’s Great Society. A memo describing his ambition reads: “Like the great projects of the past, the president’s plan will unify and mobilize the country to meet the great challenges of our time: the climate crisis and the ambitions of an autocratic China.”

Biden’s allies on Capitol Hill are bracing for a fight over infrastructure legislation that is likely to turn out to be significantly more contentious than the swift passage of Biden’s $ 1.9 trillion financial aid bill, which was enacted earlier. this month with only Democratic votes.

While the urgency of the pandemic helped Democrats overcome a handful of objections to approve Biden’s coronavirus relief plan, there is an internal dispute over what belongs in the package and whether the administration should spend time trying to forge consensus. bipartisan.

Both Democrats and Republicans share the goal of repairing the nation’s old roads, bridges, and other critical infrastructure. However, they disagree on the details: how much to spend, what constitutes “infrastructure” and how to pay for investments. This gulf was too great for Barack Obama or Trump to bridge, and both failed to advance after promising to rebuild the country’s infrastructure.

In a briefing with reporters Tuesday night, the administration official said Biden believed the current moment offered a unique opportunity “to show that the United States and democracies can deliver on the people they serve.”

“The stakes at this moment are high,” the official continued, adding that the president was confident that this package would demonstrate once again that massive public investment programs have the ability not only to create millions of new jobs. work but to “revitalize and revitalize our national imagination.”

“We think they are investments that as a country we cannot afford not to make,” said the official.

But Congressional Republicans are already resisting the scope of the bill, warning that tax increases will hurt American competitiveness and slow the nation’s economic growth as it struggles to recover from the pandemic. His opposition could force Democrats to pass the bill through reconciliation, a parliamentary process that would allow them to bypass Republicans in the Senate.

Even then, grassroots Democrats are far from aligned. With a narrow majority in the House and an evenly divided Senate, Biden has little room for error and the maneuver is already underway as Democrats push through a series of competing political demands and ultimatums.

On Tuesday, Congressman Josh Gottheimer, a centrist Democrat from New Jersey, saying would oppose any tax proposal that did not include a waiver of the cap on state and local tax deductions implemented as part of the Republican Party’s 2017 GOP tax cut plan.

Meanwhile, liberal lawmakers want Biden to grow even bigger. On Monday, Senator Edward Markey and Congresswoman Debbie Dingell proposed a climate and infrastructure plan that would spend $ 10 billion over the next decade.

There is also an internal debate on how to proceed. Moderate Democrats say the package should be aimed at attracting Republicans, fulfilling a campaign promise Biden made to work with members of both parties. But many progressives see little value in compromise.

Congresswoman Pramila Jayapal, chair of the Congressional Progressive Caucus, urged the administration not to waste precious time trying to woo Republicans.

“We can’t wait for Republicans to wake up a bit about climate change here; we’ll be waiting forever if we do that,” he said Tuesday. “We have a window to do this and we have to move with the urgency and boldness that this moment requires.”

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