Biden unveils $2.2 trillion infrastructure plan

PITTSBURGH — President Joe Biden, promising to rebuild “the backbone of America,” on Wednesday introduced the first part of his $2.2 trillion plan that aims to improve infrastructure in the United States.

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“Here’s the truth: We’ll all do better when we all do well,” Biden said at a union hall in Pittsburgh as he unveiled the American Jobs Plan.

“Today, I’m proposing a plan for the nation that rewards work, not just rewards wealth,” Biden said. “It builds a fair economy that gives everybody a chance to succeed. And it’s going to create the strongest, most resilient innovative economy in the world. It’s not a plan that tinkers around the edges. It’s a once-in-a-generation investment in America.”

Biden is expected to unveil his package focusing on the “care economy,” including investments in education and child care, over the next few weeks.

“Today, I return as your president to lay out the vision of how I believe we do that,” Mr. Biden said. “It is a vision not seen through the eyes of Wall Street or Washington, but through the eyes of hard-working people.”

Biden wants to pay for his programs by proposing tax hikes on corporations, The Washington Post reported.

The key elements of the plan include transportation, home care services, manufacturing, digital infrastructure, housing and workforce development.

Transportation: Funding improvements to roads, bridges, railways will cost $621 billion on roads, bridges, public transit, rail, ports, waterways, airports and electric vehicles in service of improving air quality, reducing congestion and limiting greenhouse gas emissions.

“The American jobs plan will modernize 20,000 miles of highway, roads and main streets that are in difficult, difficult shape right now,” Biden said. “It will fix the nation’s 10 most economically significant bridges in America that require replacement. Remember that bridge that went down? We’ve got 10 most economically significant bridges with more commerce going across it that need to be replaced.

“We’ll also repair 10,000 bridges, desperately needed upgrades to unclog traffic, keep people safe and connect our cities, towns and tribes across the country.”

Home care services and workforce: Biden is proposing $400 billion to build caregiving for aging and disabled Americans. His plan would expand access to long-term care services under Medicaid, eliminating the waitlist for hundreds of thousands of people.

Manufacturing: Biden wants to earmark $300 billion toward boosting manufacturing. Under his plan, $50 billion of the money would be invested in semiconductor manufacturing and another $30 billion would go towards medical manufacturing to help shore up the nation’s ability to respond to a future outbreak.

Digital infrastructure: Biden proposes to invest $100 billion to give every American access to affordable, reliable and high-speed broadband. The proposal would build a high-speed broadband infrastructure to reach 100% coverage across the nation.

“When I say affordable, I mean it,” Biden said.

Housing: Biden’s plan would invest $213 billion toward building or renovating more than 2 million homes and housing units. Biden wants Congress to produce, preserve and retrofit more than a million affordable and energy-efficient housing units.

Schools: Biden is seeking $100 billion to build new public schools and upgrade existing buildings with better ventilation systems, updated technology labs, and improved school kitchens.

Workforce development: Biden would earmark $100 billion to workforce development. His plan would help dislocated workers, assist underserved groups and steer students on career paths before they graduate high school.

The new infrastructure plan Biden is proposing is in addition to the $1.9 trillion stimulus plan Biden signed into law earlier this month. That plan was financed entirely by borrowing and was passed with no support by the Republican Party, The New York Times reported.

Biden said he spoke with Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell about his plan, and he is hoping for bipartisan support.

“I don’t think you’ll find a Republican today, in the House or Senate -- maybe I’m wrong, gentlemen -- who doesn’t think we don’t have to improve our infrastructure,” Biden said. “They know China and other countries are eating our lunch. So there’s no reason why it can’t be bipartisan again.

“The divisions of the moment shouldn’t stop us from doing the right thing for the future. We have to move now because I’m convinced that, if we act now, people are going to look back in 50 years and say this is the moment when America won the future.”

Biden said that people making under $400,000 annually will not be affected.

“No one making under $400,000 will see their taxes go up. Period,” Biden said.

Here is how Biden plans to pay for the plan:

Corporate tax hike: Biden would raise the corporate income tax rate to 28%, up from 21%.

Global minimum tax: The proposal would increase the minimum tax on U.S. corporations to 21% and calculate it on a country-by-country basis to deter companies from sheltering profits in international tax havens.

Tax on book income: The President proposes levying a 15% minimum tax on the income the largest corporations report to investors.

Corporate inversions: Biden’s plan would make it more difficult for U.S. companies to acquire or merge with a foreign business to avoid paying taxes in the United States by claiming to be a foreign company. He wants to encourage other countries to adopt strong minimum taxes on corporations, including the denial of certain deductions to foreign companies based in countries without such a tax.

“Not a contract will go out, that I control, that will not go to a company that is an American company, with American products all the way down the line and American workers,” Biden said. “And we’ll buy the goods we need from all of America, communities historically that have been left out of these investment, Black, Latino, Asian American, Native American, rural, small businesses, entrepreneurs across the country.”

If Biden can pass his full set of proposals, it would mark a new era of federal spending to address social and economic problems, the Times reported.

If his full set of proposals become law, they would mark a new era of ambitious federal spending to address longstanding social and economic problems.

“It’s big, yes. It’s bold, yes,” Biden said. “ And we can get it done.”

Check back for more on this developing story.