On Wednesday, The White House unveiled an approximately $2 trillion jobs plan focused on infrastructure and the climate, a blueprint that represents President Biden’s vision for how to reshape the U.S. economy.
Under what the administration calls the American Jobs Plan, Biden aims to tackle some of the nation’s most pressing problems — from climate change to decaying water systems to the nation’s crumbling infrastructure.
The administration’s promises are vast and may prove difficult to enact, even if the effort can get through Democrats’ extremely narrow majority in Congress.
The plan, set to be introduced by Biden in Pittsburgh on Wednesday, says it will enable drivers across the country to find electric charging stations for their vehicles on the road. Every lead pipe in the country would be replaced. All Americans would have access to high-speed Internet broadband by the end of the decade. As many as 2 million homes and housing units would be built, retrofitted or renovated.
Biden released the spending plan with a slew of tax hikes on businesses that is likely to be the most contentious part of his proposal. The White House says the proposal would pay for itself over 15 years because many of the tax increases would remain even as the spending proposals only last for eight years. Legislation in Washington is typically evaluated on a 10-year budget window, and it is unclear precisely what the plan would cost over a decade.
On the tax side, Biden’s plan includes raising the corporate tax rate from 21 percent to 28 percent; increasing the global minimum tax paid from about 13 percent to 21 percent; ending federal tax breaks for fossil fuel companies; and ramping up tax enforcement against corporations, among other measures.
The tax measures help Biden address concerns that his spending package would add to an already large federal deficit, but they are likely to provoke a torrent of opposition from lobbyists and business groups who celebrated President Donald Trump’s 2017 tax cuts. Congressional Republicans have also panned the tax increases as damaging to U.S. investment and competitiveness and have pledged to oppose them.
Among Democrats, the plan has been met by objections from lawmakers in the Congressional Progressive Caucus, who say it is insufficient to meet the scale of the threat posed by climate change. Centrist Democrats are balking at another large spending package. Three House Democrats have already vowed to oppose the package because it does not reverse a cap on state and local tax deductions from Trump’s tax law.
And a number of priorities critical to congressional Democrats, including an extension on the expanded child credit, are being left by the White House for a second package, where their fate and timing remain unclear.
While opening the door for negotiations over the details with Congress, the White House is adamant about the need for a sweeping economic program that goes beyond immediate coronavirus relief. It cites the threat posed by climate change, the deterioration of America’s infrastructure and the long decline of U.S. manufacturing. But the White House may face a significantly more difficult path toward enacting the jobs plan than it did with the stimulus plan, Biden’s first legislative priority, which unified congressional Democrats with relatively little dissent.
“It’s about jobs. It’s about investing in the industries of the future. And it’s about rebuilding parts of our communities that have long been forgotten,” White House press secretary Jen Psaki said on Tuesday.
A second economic proposal to be released in April is expected to include a major expansion in health insurance coverage, subsidies for child care and free access to community colleges, among other measures.
Biden’s plan devotes more than $600 billion to rebuilding America’s infrastructure, such as its ports, railways, bridges and highways; about $300 billion to support domestic manufacturing; and more than $200 billion in housing infrastructure. Other major measures include at least $100 billion for a range of priorities, including creating national broadband, modernizing the electric power grid, upgrading school and educational facilities, investing in research and development projects, and ensuring America’s drinking water is safe.
Biden’s plan also includes measures unrelated to either infrastructure or the climate, such as an approximately $400 billion investment in home-based care for the elderly and disabled that was a top demand of some union groups. Additionally, the plan calls for passage of the Protecting the Right to Organize Act, or the PRO Act, a bill aimed at significantly strengthening workers’ rights to organize.