The sprawling package is the first part of a two-pronged “Build Back Better” plan to include democratic priorities for maintaining and improving wages for key workers, due to be rolled out in mid-April.
Together, the initiatives form a core part of the President’s agenda, which is expected to dominate for the next several months as US lawmakers debates where to go. And to get it through Congress, just weeks after securing a $ 1.9 trillion coronavirus aid package, Biden will have to score a second legislative victory without a single Republican vote – one that will either polish up his legacy or his Record could tarnish.
It would also finally fulfill the promises made by Presidents Barack Obama and Donald Trump, who both tried to deliver comprehensive infrastructure plans during their years in the White House and which failed due to widespread political opposition to tax hikes or increasing the national deficit.
“The bailout was only part of the economic challenge he posed for the president,” a senior Biden administration official said during a press conference Tuesday evening previewing the plan. “Then the rest and the work to better rebuild could not come too soon.”
Under the Infrastructure umbrella, the plan reflects several of Biden’s top priorities, including tackling climate change and providing assistance through specific programs to disadvantaged communities to reduce inequality.
Climate issues include calling for an end to fossil fuel subsidies – a move progressive Democrats have long urged – and a $ 174 billion investment in vehicle electrification that will power at least 20 percent of school buses and of the entire federal vehicle fleet would be involved. It would also bring 40 percent of the value of its investments in clean infrastructure and climate to deprived areas.
Some of the investments in research and development would also aim to eradicate racial and gender inequalities – for example, by reserving research funds for historically black colleges and universities.
The $ 620 billion for transportation infrastructure is said to be a massive cherry on top of a normal re-authorization of road, rail, and transit programs that must be completed by the end of this fiscal year and could itself be as high as $ 500 billion.
“The American Employment Plan is really about how we can make a historic capital investment in America to improve our competitiveness, create millions of jobs, rebuild our infrastructure and enable our economy to face crises and threats that we in the US face the future, “said the government official,” and ultimately address the climate crisis as a nation. “
While the White House won an early victory in its US bailout, the legislative path for Biden’s next priorities is already laden with political landmines. The president has to make it through a congress that is almost evenly distributed, where it is difficult to reach consensus on even smaller, more secular matters.
And he has to face a growing number of stern and often conflicting demands from members of both parties, hoping to please progressive Democrats who want trillions more in investments paid for in a variety of tax hikes, as well as at least some Republicans – the So far resisting new taxes and wondering whether another gigantic round of government spending could overheat the economy and slow growth.
Republicans in Congress have been warning for weeks that to get its support, an infrastructure plan needs to be scaled down, scaled down, not laden with too many climate change initiatives, and paid for.
This plan will clearly miss this mark. Wyoming Republican Senator John Barrasso has already mentioned it “A Trojan horse for more liberal spending and higher taxes.” With Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) It is also pushed back from the left. tweet that the package is “nowhere near enough” and “must be much bigger.”
At the same time, however, the bill points to the political realities of Capitol Hill – and particularly the Senate, where two West Virginia senators will overshadow its fate. One, Democrat Joe Manchin, is the casting vote on almost everything the Senate does and has already expressed his desire for a “huge” infrastructure bill, paid for in tax increases. The other is Shelley Moore Capito, the top Republican woman on the committee that drafts the Senate Infrastructure Bill. For them, Biden’s plan includes money to clean up abandoned mines in the Coal Country.
Many Capitol Hill Democrats ultimately expect Biden’s two-pronged infrastructure initiatives to go through reconciliation, meaning the party legislature doesn’t need Republican support. But at least so far, the White House has been vague about its legislative strategy for passing the bills, trying to get at least some GOP votes.
The government sent Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg to Capitol Hill to solicit both party lawmakers, and Biden has invited both Republican and Democratic lawmakers to study the White House plan. Brian Deese, who heads the White House’s National Economic Council, and Louisa Terrell, who heads the Legislative Affairs Bureau, also briefed members of both parties on Tuesday of the details.
Some aspects of this first package reflect this bipartisan goal. It has a heavy focus, for example, on investing in hard infrastructure and transport, which has long been backed by both parties, rather than incorporating the more progressive goals of some Democrats that are likely to be included in the later package – like the permanent child tax credit to invest in childcare and make tuition fees free.
The White House also presents it as a plan that is fully paid for at least over 15 years and includes tax increases only for businesses and not for high net worth individuals. The proposed corporate income tax hike would reverse only part of the Trump administration’s corporate tax cut, increasing it from 21 percent to 28 percent while strengthening the global minimum tax for multinational corporations.
And Biden officials stress that they will welcome the feedback and input from lawmakers to best implement their priorities, while Biden will not compromise on the “urgency of the moment” and the “need to really deliver.”
“We hope the elements of this investment package are places where we have seen a lot of excitement for progress in the past,” said the administrative officer. “These are issues that have broad support from the American people and there has been a great deal of eagerness to be dealt with in Congress.”