President Biden on Monday said he will “push as hard” as he can to get his $2 trillion spending bill through Congress, despite criticism from Republican lawmakers about its size and the contents of the package.
Biden, returning to the White House from a weekend at Camp David on Monday, spoke about his infrastructure package, which the White House rolled out last week.
.”Let me say something,” the president said, referring to Republican scrutiny of the package. “Their definition of infrastructure has changed. They know we need it.”
“I am going to push as hard as I can to compete with the rest of the world,” Biden continued. “Everyone around the world invests billions in infrastructure, and we’re going to do it here.”
The White House is framing the $2 trillion spending proposal, called the American Jobs Plan, as an investment in a very broad definition of infrastructure that will modernize the U.S.’s economy and uplift those who are struggling the most.
President Biden walks over to speak to members of the media after arriving on the Ellipse on the National Mall after spending the weekend at Camp David, Monday, April 5, 2021, in Washington. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci) ((AP Photo/Evan Vucci))
“It’s time to build our economy from the bottom-up and the middle-out, not the top-down,” Biden said in remarks unveiling the plan in Pittsburgh last week. “And this time when we rebuild the middle class, we’re going to bring everybody along regardless of your background, your color, your religion, where everybody gets to come along.”
The White House’s spending breakdown of its plan, it says, includes $620 billion for roads, bridges and ports; $400 billion for elderly home care; $580 billion on job training, R&D and clean energy; and $650 billion on the electric grid, broadband and water systems.In the $620 billion for roads bridges and ports, the White House lumps in $174 billion for electric vehicles — more than it is spending on any other individual item in that category.
In order to pay for this legislation, Biden also proposed what he has called the Made in America Tax Plan, which would raise the corporate tax rate to 28% from 21%. It would also increase the minimum tax on multinational corporations to 21% and “calculate it on a country-by-country basis so it hits profits in tax havens,” alongside several other efforts to eliminate perceived loopholes in the corporate tax code.
But Republicans have slammed the proposal claiming it directs unde rhalf of its totla money to things traditionally defined as infrastructure.
“This plan is not about rebuilding America’s backbone. Less than 6% of this massive proposal goes to roads and bridges,” Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., said. “It would spend more money just on electric cars than on America’s roads, bridges, ports, airports, and waterways combined.”
The White House summary of the American Jobs Plan says it will spend “$115 billion to modernize the bridges, highways, roads, and main streets that are in most critical need of repair” out of more than $2 trillion in the plan.Other items that counted to reach a total of just under $750 billion included $50 billion to preserve infrastructure resilience, $80 billion for Amtrak and $20 billion for road safety.
The White House and press secretary Jen Psaki have indicated that they are open to negotiating with Republicans over Biden’s spending plan. But it remains unclear how much Democrats would actually be willing to compromise on in order to secure Republican votes.
If Republicans and Democrats cannot come to the kind of agreement that can get the support of 10 Republicans and reach the 60-vote filibuster threshold in the Senate, Democrats will likely be forced to move the package ahead via budget reconciliation. That process allows them to circumvent the filibuster and therefore avoid negotiating with Republicans.
“I support improving America’s aging roads, bridges, ports, and other infrastructure. And we can do so in a bipartisan way,” Sen. Rob Portman, R-Ohio, said last week. But, he said, Biden’s plan includes “these broad policy priorities that are a far cry away from what we’ve ever defined as infrastructure.”
Fox News’ Tyler Olson and The Associated Press contributed to this report.