The $2.3 trillion plan proposes to transform the US economy, in what Mr Biden billed as “a once-in-a-generation investment in America” that would undo his predecessor’s signature legislative achievement — giant tax cuts for corporations.
“It’s not a plan that tinkers around the edges,” Mr Biden said.
“It’s a once-in-a-generation investment in America unlike anything we’ve seen or done since we built the interstate highway system and the space race decades ago,” he said.
White House officials say the spending would generate those jobs as the country shifts away from fossil fuels and combats climate change.
It is also an effort to compete with the technology and public investments made by China, which has the world’s second-largest economy and is fast gaining on the United States’ dominant position.
“I’m convinced that if we act now, in 50 years people are going to look back and say this is the moment when America won the future,” Mr Biden said.
Economic shift would be paid for by corporate taxes
The Democratic president’s infrastructure projects would be financed by higher corporate taxes — a trade-off that could lead to fierce resistance from the business community and thwart attempts to work with Republican politicians.
Mr Biden said he hopes to pass an infrastructure plan within the next couple of months, which could mean relying solely on the slim Democratic majorities in the House and the Senate.
The higher corporate taxes would aim to raise the necessary piles of money over 15 years and then reduce the deficit going forward.
In doing so, Mr Biden would undo the 2017 tax overhaul by former president Donald Trump and congressional Republicans and lift the corporate tax rate to 28 per cent from the previous 21 per cent rate.
The rate remains lower than the 35 per cent corporate tax rate prior to Mr Trump‘s legislation.
To keep companies from shifting profits overseas to avoid taxation, a 21 per cent global minimum tax would be imposed.
The tax code would also be updated so that companies could not merge with foreign businesses and avoid taxes by moving their headquarters to a tax haven.
And among other provisions, it would increase IRS audits of corporations.
Biden to engage Republicans despite holding majority enough to pass the bill
The President appealed for Republicans and the business community to join him in negotiations on the bill, but the legislative prospects for the proposal already appear to rely on the slim Democratic majorities in the House and the Senate.
“I’m going to bring Republicans into the Oval Office, listen to them, what they have to say and be open to other ideas,” Mr Biden said.
“We’ll have a good-faith negotiation. Any Republican who wants to help get this done. But we have to get it done.”
Democratic leaders embraced the President’s plan. Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer of New York said it would create millions of jobs.
“I look forward to working with President Biden to pass a big, bold plan that will drive America forward for decades to come,” Mr Schumer said.
But Republican opposition to Mr Biden‘s ambitious proposal came swiftly, and with resolve for the long brawl ahead.
Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell dismissed the package as nothing more than a “Trojan horse” for tax hikes.
Mr Trump released a statement blasting his successor’s proposal, claiming it “would be among the largest self-inflicted economic wounds in history.”
ABC / AP