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Biden to lay out first piece of sweeping infrastructure and jobs package Wednesday

Al Drago

President Joe Biden will lay out the first of a sweeping two-pronged infrastructure and jobs proposal Wednesday, with the administration launching its expected months-long effort to pass proposals that will total between $3 trillion and $4 trillion, according to senior administration officials.

Biden, who will detail the infrastructure and climate piece of the proposal in Pittsburgh, is set to focus on repairing the physical infrastructure of the country while pushing for significant investments in climate infrastructure and research and development.

“The President has a plan to fix our infrastructure and a plan to pay for it,” White House press secretary Jen Psaki told reporters Monday. “But we are also open to having a discussion, and we certainly expect to have a discussion with members of Congress moving forward.”

Biden’s proposal will mark the first step of what are expected to be lengthy negotiations with lawmakers on Capitol Hill, where Democrats have worked through their own versions of several key pieces of the proposal and are also in the midst of drafting potential revenue sources to pay for part, or all, of the plan, aides say.

But the decision to follow through on campaign pledges for a sweeping jobs, infrastructure and social safety net package underscores the desire of Biden and his top aides to continue to push forward on proposals that have the potential to be transformative for the U.S. economy – even if that means GOP support will be difficult to secure.

Biden will announce the proposal in the same Pennsylvania city where he launched his presidential campaign in 2019.

It’s a strategy that already led to the passage of Biden’s cornerstone legislative achievement to this point — a $1.9 trillion Covid relief package. But it’s one that also carries risks, with Democrats across Congress and powerful outside groups representing business, climate and unions all pushing for specific priorities.

The first prong of the White House proposal will be financed in large part through business tax increases, including an increase of the corporate rate to 28%, from its current level of 21%, and increases in the global minimum tax, the ending of federal subsidies for fossil fuel firms and a requirement that multinational corporations pay the US tax rate.

Internal debates on how much of the proposal to pay for have been ongoing for several weeks, with White House officials keenly aware of potential inflationary risks, officials said. Psaki told reporters the proposal laid out on Wednesday would include mechanisms to finance the entirety of the package over time.

That proposal is expected to include significant investments to repair roads, bridges and railways, as well as other key elements of an aging and, in some places, dilapidated US core infrastructure system. It will also include a major focus on domestic manufacturing and significant funds for school and child care infrastructure.

Biden’s initial proposal will also direct significant resources to bolstering caregivers — a major focus of one of his campaign proposals.

The proposal laid out this week will be followed next month by a second major package aimed at addressing social welfare, with funds directed to expanding paid family leave, child care and access to health care, the officials said. That proposal is expected to be financed through a menu of tax increases that would target wealthier individuals and investors.

Biden has pledged not to increase taxes on families or individuals making less than $400,000.

The unveiling of the initial proposal will mark the starting gun for what is expected to be a months-long process with lawmakers on Capitol Hill to agree on legislation that can pass both chambers of Congress.

Administration officials view the first prong of the proposal as the most likely to garner bipartisan support, but with many Republicans already rejecting tax increases, Democrats are already laying the groundwork to move the proposals through a budgetary process that would allow Senate Democrats to pass them with a simple majority vote.

CORRECTION: An earlier version of this story incorrectly described Biden’s plans for raising taxes to pay for infrastructure. He has pledged not to increase taxes for families or individuals making less than $400,000.

Article Topic Follows: National Politics

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