PITTSBURGH (AP) — President Joe Biden outlined a huge $2.3 trillion plan Wednesday to reengineer the nation’s infrastructure in what he billed as “a once in a generation investment in America” that would undo his predecessor’s signature legislative achievement of giant tax cuts for corporations in the process.

Speaking at a carpenters union training center in Pittsburgh, Biden drew comparisons between his hard-hatted proposed transformation of the U.S. economy and the space race — and promised results as grand in scale as the New Deal or Great Society programs that shaped the 20th century.

“It’s not a plan that tinkers around the edges," Biden said. "It’s a once-in-a-generation investment in America unlike anything we’ve seen or done since we built the interstate highway system and the space race decades ago. In fact, it’s the largest American jobs investment since World War II. It will create millions of jobs, good-paying jobs.”

White House officials say the spending would generate those jobs as the country shifts away from fossil fuels and combats the perils of climate change. It is also an effort to compete with the technology and public investments made by China, which has the world’s second-largest economy and is fast gaining on the United States’ dominant position.

“I’m convinced that if we act now, in 50 years people are going to look back and say this is the moment when America won the future,” Biden said.

The Democratic president’s infrastructure projects would be financed by higher corporate taxes — a trade-off that could lead to f ierce resistance from the business community and thwart attempts to work with Republican lawmakers. Biden hopes to pass an infrastructure plan by summer, which could mean relying solely on the slim Democratic majorities in the House and the Senate.

The higher corporate taxes would aim to raise the necessary piles of money over 15 years and then reduce the deficit going forward. In doing so, Biden would undo the action by Trump and congressional Republicans to lift the corporate tax rate to 28% from the 21% rate set in a 2017 overhaul.

“Ninety-one Fortune 500 Companies, including Amazon, pay not a single solitary penny in income tax,” Biden said.

Wednesday's announcement will be followed in coming weeks by Biden pushing a companion bill of roughly equal size for investments in child care, family tax credits and other domestic programs. That nearly $2 trillion package would be paid for by tax hikes on wealthy individuals and families.

“Wall Street didn’t build this country," Biden said. "You, the great middle class, built this country. And unions built the middle class.”

Biden's choice of Pittsburgh for unveiling the plan carried important economic and political resonance. He not only won Pittsburgh and its surrounding county to help secure the presidency, but he launched his campaign there in 2019. The city famed for steel mills that powered America’s industrial rise has steadily pivoted toward technology and health care, drawing in college graduates in a sign of how economies can change.

The White House says the largest chunk of the proposal includes $621 billion for roads, bridges, public transit, electric vehicle charging stations and other transportation infrastructure. The spending would push the country away from internal combustion engines that the auto industry views as an increasingly antiquated technology.

An additional $111 billion would go to replace lead water pipes and upgrade sewers. Broadband internet would blanket the country for $100 billion. Separately, $100 billion would upgrade the power grid to deliver clean electricity. Homes would get retrofitted, schools modernized, workers trained and hospitals renovated under the plan, which also seeks to strengthen U.S. manufacturing.

The new construction could keep the economy running hot, coming on the heels of Biden’s $1.9 trillion coronavirus relief package. Economists already estimate it could push growth above 6% this year.

To keep companies from shifting profits overseas to avoid taxation, a 21% global minimum tax would be imposed. The tax code would also be updated so that companies could not merge with a foreign business and avoid taxes by moving their headquarters to a tax haven. And among other provisions, it would increase IRS audits of corporations.

Biden appealed for Republicans and the business community to join him in negotiations on the bill, but the legislative prospects for Biden's twin proposals already appear to hinge on Democrats coming up with the votes on their own through the budget reconciliation process, which requires just a simple majority in the 50-50 Senate.

“I’m going to bring Republicans into the Oval Office, listen to them, what they have to say and be open to other ideas," Biden said. "We’ll have a good faith negotiation. Any Republican who wants to help get this done. But we have to get it done.”

Democratic leaders embraced Biden’s plan on Wednesday. Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer of New York said it would create millions of jobs.

“I look forward to working with President Biden to pass a big, bold plan that will drive America forward for decades to come,” Schumer said at an event in Buffalo.

But key GOP and business leaders were already panning the package.

“It seems like President Biden has an insatiable appetite to spend more money and raise people’s taxes,” Rep. Steve Scalise of Louisiana, the GOP whip, said in an interview.

Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell dismissed Biden’s package as nothing more than a “Trojan horse” for tax hikes.

The business community favors updating U.S. infrastructure but dislikes higher tax rates. U.S. Chamber of Commerce Executive Vice President and Chief Policy Officer Neil Bradley, said in a statement that “we applaud the Biden administration for making infrastructure a top priority. However, we believe the proposal is dangerously misguided when it comes to how to pay for infrastructure.” The Business Roundtable, a group of CEOs, would rather have infrastructure funded with user fees such as tolls.

Trump, in a statement, blasted his successor’s proposal, claiming it “would be among the largest self-inflicted economic wounds in history.”

Infrastructure spending usually holds the promise of juicing economic growth, but by how much remains a subject of political debate. Commutes and shipping times could be shortened, while public health would be improved and construction jobs would bolster consumer spending.

Standard & Poor’s chief U.S. economist, Beth Ann Bovino, estimated last year that a $2.1 trillion boost in infrastructure spending could add as much as $5.7 trillion in income to the entire economy over a decade. Those kinds of analyses have led liberal Democrats in Congress such as Washington Rep. Pramila Jayapal to conclude Tuesday, “The economic consensus is that infrastructure pays for itself over time.”

But the Biden administration is taking a more cautious approach than some Democrats might like. After $1.9 trillion in pandemic aid and $4 trillion in relief last year, the administration is trying to avoid raising the national debt to levels that would trigger higher interest rates and make it harder to repay.

Biden’s efforts may also be complicated by demands from a handful of Democratic lawmakers who say they cannot support the bill unless it addresses the $10,000 cap on individuals' state and local tax deductions put in place under Trump and a Republican-led Congress.

With a narrow majority in the House, they could conceivably quash any bill that doesn’t significantly lift the cap or repeal it entirely.

“I can only vote for a bill that has meaningful tax impact for my constituents if it addresses the SALT cap,” tweeted Rep. Tom Malinowski, D-N.J.

“We say No SALT, no deal,” said Democratic Reps. Tom Suozzi of New York and Bill Pascrell and Josh Gottheimer of New Jersey in a joint statement.

———

Miller and Freking reported from Washington. AP writers Lisa Mascaro, Josh Boak and Padmananda Rama contributed from Washington

(25) comments

bosco

WAPO reports that only five percent of the 2 trillion infrastructure plan goes to roads and bridges - and yet Lyin' Biden was in Pittsburg warning of bridge collapses if it's not passed.

Another smoke and mirrors campaign for a bait and switch bill.

shiftless88

The hypocrisy of the right wing is astounding here. Trump ran on this kind of thing! And the sudden concerns about the debt are a total red herring. Note that Republicans are at their best when they are just opposing things; when was the last time they actually proposed things?

ma23464

I agree. But it works both ways. The Dems opposed trumps infrastructure plans.

shiftless88

I disagree. To start with, Trump never actually proposed a plan. And second, Pelosi and Schumer met with Trump and said they would support an infrastructure bill.

Blueline

" ...in 50 years people are going to look back and say this is the moment when America won the future,” Biden said." In 50 years, people will be cursing Biden as the debt service approaches 40% of the US budget. Fortune 500 companies put way more people in the middle class than unions did. Unions served a small sector of the population, and many of them, through corruption, etc., bankrupted municipalities making it impossible for the middle class to survive there, so they moved out. Biden is either willfully ignorant or being deceitful, perhaps it's a bit of both.

olefool

Blue: Your last sentence more aptly describes you and your bloviating today.

C.D.Reid

Well fool, I can think of quite a few adjectives that very aptly describe you and your typical bloviating, but the moderators won't allow them.

Greg F

Bloviating: Definition- CD.

olefool

My comment was directed to bosco... Are you, by your response confirming that you and bosco are one and the same person or bot or whatever, CD?

Blueline

Whew olefool, you have bosco on your brain. Do you even know what day it is or where you live?

bosco

Go ahead, CD, but just use your secret code that Fido thinks you use.

bosco

Some people would benefit from a little medicinal marijuana. Gives you a whole new way to start the day.

Greg F

Flatline, do you think this country is competitive now with antiquated and crumbling infrastructure? We are behind many nations once considered 3rd world and especially in transportation and internet. We need better than what the GOP will never build and better power infrastructure as well or we will be a 3rd world nation by the next generation.

Blueline

Gregputz - it's not how much money you spend, but how you spend the money. Look at 3rd world countries & what defines them as such. Factors include the ignorance of the general population & inability of many to fend for themselves, creating mass dependence & lower living standards. An ineffective (& corrupt) government whose politicians generally are above & unaffected by conditions. Throw in wasteful spending & crippling amounts of debt. So maybe we are on a course as you describe, but for different reasons.

bosco

"President Joe Biden outlined a huge $2.3 trillion plan Wednesday to reengineer the nation’s infrastructure in what he billed as “a once in a generation investment in America”

When will he announce how many generations of Americans will be saddled with taxes to pay for the Dimocrat's partisan spending spree?

Dwasserba

“ The Democratic president’s infrastructure projects would be financed by higher corporate taxes — a trade-off that could lead to f ierce resistance from the business community and thwart attempts to work with Republican lawmakers.”

bosco

When you want more of something, you subsidize it. When you want less of something, you tax it.

C.D.Reid

Yep. And Americans will never pay off the debts that the Dims have incurred. Between Barry and Beijing Joe, our kid's kids can just bend over and kiss their retirement security good bye.

shiftless88

CD; it seems you have not looked at the source of the debt. Clinton reduced the deficit to zero, Bush blew it up with his wars and tax cuts, Obama increased it to get us out of a massive recession but then reduced the deficit over time. Trump blew it up again with his tax cuts and inept response to COVID. What is incorrect here?

Greg F

Those subsidies come from taxes.

public-redux

“ Between Barry and Beijing Joe...”

Oh yeah, there was somebody between them.

Hayduke2

Funny isn't it? Seems the deficit never mattered when the Republicans were in charge. Now, suddenly, it is a crisis. Funny how the deficit spending increases occurre more often under those with an R next to their name. I believe the last president with a balanced budget was a president with a D next to his name. It didn't take the next president ( R) long to destroy that! Poor Obama inherited a recession and near depression economy as a result. History doesn't lie.

newspostreader

Exactly Hayduke. Trump took us to a debt I never imagined and now when Biden has a plan that he can fund, it's a problem.

I'm not a fan of huge corporate taxes because that ultimately comes down to each of us. Companies will make cuts at the employee level so they can make up for the 700 billion in profits they make versus the 750 billion they made before. They're still profitable, just not as much and we all know that corporations want that huge profit so the top leaders can make bank. Either way though, they must pay their fair share. The Trump cuts were to benefit his businesses and his cronies. Amazon not paying a penny in tax is unacceptable.

olefool

Bosco: Where were these crocodile tears when Trump blew up the debt with his tax cuts for the rich and corporations.... All I heard from Trumpettes??? Crickets...At least Joe is putting the middle class people ahead of the grifter class. You still don't get it, do you...

Greg F

When will a Republican stop giving away all revenues to the wealthy that should have been paying for upgrades and new infrastructure all along?

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