President Joe Biden unveiled a more than $2 trillion infrastructure package on March 31 as his administration shifts its focus to bolstering the post-pandemic economy. The plan President Biden outlined includes roughly $2 trillion in spending over eight years and would raise the corporate tax rate to 28% to fund it. Speaking at a union hall in Pittsburgh, the President called it a vision to create “the strongest, most resilient, innovative economy in the world” — and millions of “good-paying jobs” along the way. The White House said the tax hike, combined with measures designed to stop offshoring of profits, would fund the infrastructure plan within 15 years.
The announcement kicks off President Joe Biden’s second major initiative after the passage of a $1.9 trillion Coronavirus relief plan earlier this month. In the new move, the administration aims to approve a first proposal designed to create jobs, revamp US infrastructure, and fight climate change before it turns toward a second plan to improve education and expand paid leave and health-care coverage. President Biden said he will unveil the second part of his recovery package “in a few weeks.” “These are investments we have to make,” Biden said of revamping US infrastructure. “We can afford to make them. To put it another way, we can’t afford not to.”
While Democrats narrowly control both chambers of Congress (with ultra-conservative Democratic Senator Joe Manchin of West Virginia being the deciding vote), the party faces challenges in passing the infrastructure plan. The Republican Party broadly supports efforts to rebuild roads, bridges, and airports and expand broadband access, but Republicans oppose tax hikes as part of the process. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, said that he is “not likely” to support the proposal because of the tax increases. McConnell’s Democratic counterpart, Majority Leader Chuck Schumer of New York, touted the bill as a means to create jobs while promoting clean energy and transportation. In a statement issued on March 31, he said, “I look forward to working with President Biden to pass a big, bold plan that will drive America forward for decades to come.”
President Joe Biden responded to criticism of proposed tax hikes, saying he would not increase the burden on anyone making less than $400,000 per year. He said he did not aim to punish the wealthy. “This is not to target those who’ve made it. Not to seek retribution,” President Biden said. “This is about opening opportunities for everybody else.” Among the administration’s goals, it aims to revamp 20,000 miles of roads and highways and repair 10,000 bridges. The proposal calls to build a national network of 500,000 electric vehicle chargers by 2030 and replace 50,000 diesel public transit vehicles. The administration hopes to build or rehabilitate 500,000 homes for low- and middle-income Americans and replace all lead pipes in drinking-water systems. The plan also aims to deliver universal, affordable broadband service.
President Joe Biden plans to fund the spending by raising the corporate tax rate to 28%. Republicans slashed the tax to 21% from 35% as part of their 2017 tax law. President Biden also wants to boost the global minimum tax for multinational corporations and ensure they pay at least 21% in taxes in any country. The White House aims to discourage firms from listing tax havens as their address and writing off expenses related to offshoring, among other reforms. Biden hopes the package will create manufacturing jobs and rescue failing American infrastructure as the country tries to emerge from the shadow of the Coronavirus pandemic. He and congressional Democrats also plan to combat climate change and start a transition to cleaner energy sources.
President Joe Biden has said he hopes to win Republican support for an infrastructure bill. If Democrats cannot get 10 Republican senators on board, they will have to pass the bill through budget reconciliation, which would not require any Republicans to back the plan in a chamber split 50-50 by party. Biden said he would hear out GOP ideas on infrastructure. “We’ll have a good-faith negotiation with any Republican who wants to help get this done,” Biden said on March 31. “But we have to get it done.”