United States President Joe Biden speaks at Emory University in Atlanta, Georgia on March 19, 2021.
Eric Baradat | AFP | Getty Images
President Joe Biden will come up with a plan to overhaul U.S. infrastructure and manufacturing on Wednesday that will set the stage for his second major legislative battle in less than three months as president.
Biden will travel to Pittsburgh to unveil the first of two major economic recovery proposals. Together, they are likely to carry a multi-trillion dollar award that dwarfs the $ 1.9 trillion Covid relief plan he signed earlier this month.
The government economics team is still ironing out the details of the second plan, which will involve huge investments in US health and childcare. The White House says it will launch this proposal sometime in April.
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The Steel City speech – Biden’s first trip to western Pennsylvania since taking office – comes as the president prepares to look beyond the imminent threat of a still-raging pandemic and focus on longer-term issues.
The first leg of the dual restoration package will focus on repairing American infrastructure – its roads, bridges, railways, water systems, and other structures. Biden will also call for investments in domestic manufacturing, research and development, and nursing staff.
Experts say that an infrastructure update is long overdue. The most recent “testimony” from the American Society of Civil Engineers gave the country’s infrastructure an overall grade of C-Minus.
The group estimates that the US faces an infrastructure “investment gap” of nearly $ 2.6 trillion over a 10-year period. Continued underinvestment will cost more than 3 million jobs and $ 10 trillion GDP by 2039.
A Florida Turnpike Interchange construction site is seen in Miami, Florida on May 22, 2019.
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Biden’s handling of the pandemic has so far received high approval ratings and increased its popularity, as surveys show. But he may soon have to resort to built-up political capital as the White House tries to raise taxes to pay for the new infrastructure plan.
Legislators of both parties have long pushed for the revitalization of America’s aging infrastructure. For example, the administration of former Republican President Donald Trump made repeated comments on plans to combat infrastructure. Those plans never came to fruition, and “Infrastructure Week” turned into a running joke in Washington.
But Biden has already encountered strong opposition from Republicans in Congress, none of whom voted for his widespread bailout from Covid. The staggering cost of Biden’s upcoming stimulus package – potentially more than $ 3 trillion, the New York Times reported – and the threat of higher taxes will spark the wrath of the GOP.
Some moderate Democrats also have concerns, Axios reported.
Sergio Hernandez works on the median east of the new I-25 interchange in Castle Rock, Colorado.
Helen H. Richardson | The Denver Post | Getty Lmages
Wall Street is watching too. Strategists expect Biden to push to reverse some of the Trump-era tax cuts and increase others for individuals and businesses. Some warn that the stock market could be hit by tax hikes.
The administration reached out to industry leaders before the legislation was introduced. White House climate adviser Gina McCarthy spoke to oil and gas managers last week about infrastructure plans, the Times reported.
Biden has promised not to collect taxes on those who earn less than $ 400,000 a year. The White House recently made it clear that the income threshold would apply to individuals and families.
The president “believes we have an opportunity to rebalance parts of tax legislation that are” out of date “,” White House press secretary Jen Psaki told reporters Monday. She said that “some in our country may pay more than they currently do not.”
Psaki later added, “I can assure you that if the president interprets his infrastructure plan, he will also make a plan to pay for it.”
The administration has released few details, but some administrators have raised eyebrows with their comments.
Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg suggested to CNBC on Friday that several possible levies, including a vehicle mileage tax, could be on the table to fund the infrastructure project.
He later said a gas or mileage tax wouldn’t be part of the plan.
Following the polarized battle in Congress over the latest Covid relief bill, government officials have signaled that they do not want to exclude Republicans from future talks.
“During this process, we look forward to working with a broad coalition of congressional members to collect their input and ideas and determine the way forward,” said Psaki on Monday.
She also declined to comment on whether Biden supports the reported efforts of Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, DN.Y., to allow the evenly-divided Senate to pass more laws through budget balancing. The process would allow the Democrats to pass a law without a Republican vote.
“The White House and the President will leave the mechanisms of the bill to Leader Schumer and other leaders in Congress,” said Psaki.
Once the package is revealed, the administration’s focus will be on “this engagement and discussion with members of Congress”.
“If your goal is to build our infrastructure for the future, but you don’t like the way he suggests paying for it, we welcome your suggestions,” she added.
“If you don’t want to pay for it, you can suggest that too. Maybe you don’t support infrastructure spending.”