President Biden, anticipating intense negotiations with Congress over his infrastructure and jobs plan, said Wednesday he had been willing to compromise but would not slow his drive for a few of the most bold and costly proposals in recent decades.
He continued to press his case for the domestic initiative in global terms, saying that autocratic leaders around the world, particularly in China, were counting on the United States being overly sluggish or divided to make the required investments in streets, bridges, electrical grids and much more.
“We can’t afford to prove them right,” Biden said from the White House complex. “We have to show the world — and much more importantly, we have to show ourselves — that democracy works, that we can come together on the big things.”
Biden would like to spend more than $2 trillion over eight decades, which would be funded by higher corporate tax prices. But Republicans and some Democrats have objected, and he stated,”I’m willing to negotiate that.”
It’s likely that number will change, and not merely because of Republican opposition. Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.V.), a key swing vote, said that Biden’s projected 28% income-tax rate on corporations had been too large, and he would rather set it at 25%. The rate was 35% before former President Trump signed laws slashing it to 21% in late 2017.
“As the bill exists today, it needs to be changed,” Manchin told a West Virginia radio host.
Senate Majority Leader Charles E. Schumer (D-N.Y.) said Monday the Democrats could sidestep a possible Republican filibuster by pushing the legislation during the reconciliation process, which may be utilized for budget-related issues as it had been earlier this year after Congress approved Biden’s $1.9-trillion pandemic-relief package. Nevertheless, they couldn’t afford to lose a single vote within their 50-member caucus.
Biden defended his proposal contrary to Republican criticism he was including too many provisions unrelated to infrastructure, together with less than 6 percent of their entire spending going to roads and bridges.
“The idea of infrastructure has always evolved to meet the aspirations of the American people and their needs,” he explained. “And it’s evolving again today.”
The proposal includes money to make broadband internet access universal, replace lead pipes and also construct a community of charging stations for electric automobiles. There’s also financing for research and development and to expand caregiving programs for the elderly and disabled.
The plan could potentially create a huge number of jobs in manufacturing, construction and related services.
Congress returns from its recess next week, and Biden needs a final deal passed that summer — a very demanding timetable given the bundle’s scope and the political pitfalls.
“We’ll be listening. We’ll be open to good ideas and good-faith negotiation,” Biden said. “But here’s what we won’t be open to — we won’t be open to doing nothing. Inaction simply is not an option.”