$2.2 Trillion Jobs and Infrastructure Plan Unveiled
President Joe Biden unveiled his plan Wednesday for a $2.2 trillion government investment into improving the nation’s infrastructure.
Biden described the plan as an effort to create jobs and make the United States more competitive while recovering from the economic devastation of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Now it’s time to rebuild,” Biden said during a speech in Pittsburgh, Pa.
He cast the “American Jobs Plan” in historic terms, comparing it to Abraham Lincoln’s effort to build the first transcontinental railroad and Dwight Eisenhower’s program to construct a nationwide interstate highway system.
“If we act now, in 15 years people are going to look back and say, this is the moment when America won the future,” Biden said.
Paying for the plan already is raising objections from Republicans, particularly over Biden’s proposal for raising the average corporate tax rate from 21% to 28%. The president said the higher tax would generate $1 trillion over the next 15 years.
Regardless of claimed tax deductions, no large corporation would pay less than 21% in income taxes under Biden’s plan.
Republicans say a higher corporate tax rate would depress economic growth.
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., said Wednesday he was “not likely” to support the plan because of the tax increases.
“It’s like a Trojan horse,” McConnell said during a press briefing. “It’s called infrastructure, but inside the Trojan horse it’s going to be more borrowed money, and massive tax increases on all the productive parts of our economy.”
Democrats, such as Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer of New York and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi of California, signaled strong support for the American Jobs Plan Wednesday.
“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 in a statement.
Biden said the plan would even out divisions between rich and poor people, which he said deepened during the pandemic’s layoffs.
Major portions of the plan would:
- Allocate $621 billion for transportation projects, such as bridges, roads, railroads, ports, airports and electric vehicle development;
- Invest $580 billion to support manufacturing, research and development and job training to serve the industries;
- Put $400 billion into caring for the elderly and disabled;
- Spend more than $300 billion to improve water systems by replacing lead pipes, upgrading electric grids and expanding broadband, particularly in rural areas;
- Provide more than $300 billion to build or retrofit affordable housing and schools.
A significant part of the transportation funding would be spent on incentives to switch motorists to electric vehicles.
Automobile owners would receive tax deductions for electric vehicle purchases. Government contractors would be paid to install a half-million electric charging stations.
Electric vehicles and high-speed passenger trains also fit with Biden’s ideas for more renewable and clean energy to combat climate change.
“We need to address one of the biggest threats of our time,” Biden said about global warming.
While discussing how taxes on corporations and the wealthy would pay for the plan, he added that low-income and middle-income Americans would not be affected.
“No one making under $400,000 will see their taxes go up, period,” Biden said.
He added, “It’s time to rebuild our economy from the bottom up and the middle out.”
Reposnding to Biden’s proposal, Sarah Greenberger, senior vice president of conservation policy at the National Audubon Society, said in a statement, “We have before us a once-in-a-generation opportunity to re-imagine our nation’s infrastructure to meet our economic, public health, and environmental challenges.
“As we rebuild from the pandemic and record-breaking extreme weather events, we must use both human innovation and naturally-existing landscapes in harmony to protect the places that both people and wildlife need to survive,” she said. “Incorporating natural infrastructure like wetlands, beaches, and barrier islands into engineered systems; investing in habitat restoration and clean energy; and mitigating climate risks to communities that have historically shouldered the burden of climate change will create jobs and result in a brighter, cleaner future for us all.”
Sheldon Kimber, CEO of Intersect Power, which specializes in utility-scale renewable energy projects, said Bidn’s remarks in Pittsburgh “demonstrated an understanding of what it’s going to take to grow the clean energy economy.
“The proposed extension and phase down of an expanded direct-pay tax credit has broad support across industry and would immediately greenlight billions in privately financed, job-creating projects,” Kimber said. “I am also pleased to see the inclusion of investments in the development of green hydrogen.
“Electrification needs to be much more than driving a Tesla, and we see the opportunity for the deployment of green hydrogen as key to linking the electric sector to the deep decarbonization of our entire economy.
Without question, infrastructure is the most important part of combating the climate crisis and the Biden Administration is getting it right. It’s time to stop putting off until tomorrow, what must be done today,” Kimber concluded.
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