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April 8, 2021 1:00 PM, EDT

Biden Promotes Infrastructure Plan Amid GOP Opposition

Joe BidenPresident Joe Biden delivers a speech on infrastructure in Pittsburgh on March 31. (Evan Vucci/AP)

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President Joe Biden and his team are galvanizing public support for their multitrillion-dollar infrastructure proposal as Congress prepares to debate both the plan and the administration’s budget request for federal agencies.

The president on April 7 touted proposals in his $2.25 trillion American Jobs Plan that would invest in climate change programs, freight and passenger corridors, and electric vehicle technology, among other infrastructure elements.

Biden said his team will ramp up negotiations with congressional leaders over the next few weeks. “We’ll be listening,” he said. “We’ll be open to good ideas and good-faith negotiations. But here’s what we won’t be open to. We will not be open to doing nothing. Inaction simply is not an option. I’d like to tell you my view. We are America. We don’t just fix for today; we build for tomorrow.”

Specifically, the plan calls for $115 billion for highways and bridges, $85 billion for transit, $80 billion for Amtrak, $25 billion for airports and $17 billion for inland ports. The funding element of the plan consists of raising the corporate tax rate to 28% from the current 21%.

“Above all, infrastructure is about meeting the needs of a nation and putting Americans to work and being able to do and get paid for doing [and] having good jobs,” Biden added.

A recent review of the country’s infrastructure system received a “C-” grade from the American Society of Civil Engineers.

ASCE 2021 report card

American Society of Civil Engineers' report card gives a grade to 17 infrastructure-related categories (ASCE)

The president’s remarks came as Republican leaders in Congress continue to express their opposition to the plan’s size and funding mechanism.

Congress resumes its legislative session the week of April 12 and Republicans remain largely opposed to the proposal.

They suggest Democrats focus instead on traditional infrastructure policy, such as roads and bridges. Republicans also take issue with the proposed increase in the corporate tax structure to pay for the plan.

“This proposal appears to use ‘infrastructure’ as a Trojan horse for the largest set of tax hikes in a generation. These sweeping tax hikes would kill jobs and hold down wages at the worst possible time, as Americans try to dig out from the pandemic,” said Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.). “Democrats should stop worrying about pleasing the far left and work across the aisle on bipartisan solutions that could pass with big bipartisan majorities.”

Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo emphasized the plan’s potential benefits related to the freight industry and the manufacturing sector, and argued approving massive investments in infrastructure programs would enhance supply chains, and lead to job creation.

“The American Jobs Plan also is about strengthening our supply chains, making things in America, making critical goods in America, creating good jobs in the process, and increasing the security that we have, knowing that we aren’t overly dependent on other countries for critical supplies,” Raimondo told reporters April 7.

A preview of the president’s fiscal 2022 budget request is scheduled to be unveiled April 9. In a few weeks, the White House will unveil a more detailed budget request. The administration’s funding request is meant to guide the congressional appropriations process, as well as help to elucidate the infrastructure plan’s funding proposal.

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