The infrastructure package negotiated with the White House by a bipartisan team of legislators is far from being a law. In fact, it has not even been written. But President Joe Biden made clear Tuesday that he is already considering the next big thing: a huge and expensive budget bill to pay for the “human infrastructure” that the president says is vital to America’s competitiveness.
“Today the American people can be proud … We have shown that American democracy can be successful,” said Biden of the $ 1.2 trillion plan to meet traditional infrastructure needs such as roads, bridges, broadband and lead-free tubes. for clean drinking water.
But “human infrastructure is intertwined with our physical infrastructure,” Biden added in comments in La Crosse, Wisconsin, where he visited the city transportation company and promoted their expense packages. The president said he would continue to defend the two plans “until this work is complete, until our human infrastructure needs are met”.
However, the work is far from finished or even fully defined. Biden’s deal announced on June 22 with a bipartisan team of senators was indeed an important step in getting Congress to pay for upgrading the country’s infrastructure.
But this deal is still somewhat in jeopardy. Republicans objected when, hours after leaving the White House, Biden put his arm around a Republican senator to announce the framework, signaling reporters that he would not sign the bill unless Congress also sent him a package of bigger and bolder expenses to finance for free. Community college, child care and other domestic initiatives.
Biden pulled back on Saturday with that implied threat, and the Republicans involved in the negotiations appeared appeased. Still, Republicans on Capitol Hill, including Kentucky Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell, are skeptical and are demanding a compromise from the White House so as not to “tie” the two bills together.
This assertion is also of dubious value. Nothing prevents the Democrats from passing a limited bipartisan infrastructure bill and then pursuing a broader spending package through “budget reconciliation,” a move that cannot be obstructed. But Republicans are eager for a second such bill because they don’t want to undo former President Donald Trump’s greatest piece of legislation in office: a $ 2 trillion tax cut.
That tax cut would be weakened for at least the richest Americans and businesses if Biden gets away with his second spending package. To pay for it, the president wants to raise corporate tax to 28%, up from 21% today.
Biden wondered why programs like the Child Tax Credit, a refundable tax credit for low-income parents, weren’t as important to Republicans in reducing taxes as similar provisions were for the rich and corporate.
“Why is this not a tax break for workers” when the same break is “for the super-rich tax break”? said Biden. “Well, those of you who make over $ 400,000, I love you. But I don’t care if your taxes go up a bit.”
The President knowingly leaned on the podium and lowered his voice as if he were telling a delicious secret.
“If we raise corporate tax to 28%, you know how much money it makes: $ 1.4 trillion,” Biden said. He then found that 30 Fortune 500 companies “paid no taxes and made billions of dollars”.
“I’m not trying to punish anyone. I’m just saying, ‘Let’s be fair,'” said the president.
Biden spent time detailing what the bipartisan infrastructure plan would do for Wisconsin. While Badger State lawmakers are not critical of the package (Democratic Senator Tammy Baldwin worked with Biden to get it passed, while Republican Senator Ron Johnson has been a constant thorn in the side of the president, Wisconsin has important careers in 2022 Johnson, Should he choose to run again, he will stand for re-election, as will the Democratic governor of the state, Tony Evers.
Biden also needs to win the support of progressives in the Democratic Party who are concerned that Biden will fail to implement a second plan or human infrastructure, or that the package is not big or comprehensive enough. Senator Bernie Sanders, an independent MP from Vermont and chairman of the Budgets Committee, complained to NPR Tuesday morning that the package had not done enough to combat climate change.
White House press secretary Jen Psaki told reporters on the plane en route to La Crosse that the White House had all Democratic chiefs of staff in on Monday.