President Joe Biden has called for trillions in spending aimed at re-igniting America’s economic growth by upgrading its crumbling infrastructure and tackling climate change.
The $2.3 trillion proposal would direct billions to initiatives such as charging stations for electric vehicles and eliminating lead water pipes.
The spending would be partially offset by raising taxes on businesses.
Those plans have already roused fierce opposition.
Republicans have called the rises “a recipe for stagnation and decline”, while powerful business lobby groups including the Business Roundtable and Chamber of Commerce said they supported investments but would oppose tax increases.
The pushback is a sign of the tough fight ahead for the plan, which needs approval from Congress.
The White House has promoted its proposal as the most ambitious public spending in decades, saying the investments are necessary to keep the US economy growing and competitive with other countries, especially China.
In a speech in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania on March 31, President Biden said: “This is not a plan that tinkers around the edges.
“It’s a once in a generation investment in America.”
The plan calls for investing more than $600 billion in infrastructure, including modernizing roads, replacing rail cars and buses and repairing crumbling bridges.
Billions more would be devoted to initiatives like improving veterans hospitals, upgrading affordable housing, expanding high-speed broadband, and providing incentives for manufacturing and technology research.
It calls for money to be directed to rural communities and communities of color, including establishing a national climate-focused laboratory affiliated with an historically black university.
The spending, which would have to be approved by Congress, would roll out over eight years.
The White House said tax increases would offset the cost over 15 years.
President Biden called for raising the corporate tax rate from 21% to 28%, a move that would partially undo cuts the US passed in 2017. He also proposed raising the minimum rate charged for overseas profits.
In his speech, in an acknowledgment such plans are likely to face, the president said he was also “open to other ideas” when it came to paying for the spending.
“Failing to make these investments adds to our debt and effectively puts our children at a disadvantage relative to our competitors,” he said.
“The divisions of the moment shouldn’t stop us from doing the right thing for the future.”
President Biden’s proposal – which closely resembles promises he made during last year’s election campaign – comes just weeks after Democrats muscled through $1.9 trillion more in aid to address the economic upheaval caused by the pandemic, approving that package without Republican support.
It’s not clear yet how much of President Biden’s latest plan will make it through Congress – or how much of another spending package focused on areas such as childcare and education that he plans to unveil in coming weeks.
President Barack Obama asked the Congress on Thursday night to leave aside the political benefit, think about how many Americans would benefit from the huge American Jobs Act he had proposed.
“You should pass this jobs plan right away,” the president declared over and over in his 32-minute speech.
“The purpose of the American Jobs Act is simple: to put more people back to work and more money in the pockets of those who are working,” Mr. Obama said.
“It will create more jobs for construction workers, more jobs for teachers, more jobs for veterans, and more jobs for the long-term unemployed.”
He also told Republicans he would take his case directly to the American people, and called on “every American who agrees to lift your voice and tell the people who are gathered here tonight that you want action now.”
“Tell Washington that doing nothing is not an option,” Obama said.
Even though Mr. Obama’s proposal weren’t unexpected, the package was a lot larger than predicted, and much of the money would flow into the economic bloodstream in 2012. The measure would be similar to that of the $787 billion stimulus package approved in 2009, which was spread over more than two years. Analysts consider that the package would likely lift growth somewhat.
House Speaker John Boehner said:
“It’s my hope that we can work together to end the uncertainty facing families and small businesses, and create a better environment for long-term economic growth and private-sector job creation”
Since the Republicans control the House of Representatives, they managed to undermine many of Mr. Obama’s legislative projects.
Some Republicans have already disregard the American Jobs Act as an attempt to encourage the president’s flagging popularity in the run-up to next year’s presidential election.
About 9.1% of Americans are at the moment out of work, and the problem is expected to rule the election campaign.
Conservative Sen. Jon Kyl declared:
“President Obama, perhaps not knowing what else to do, is simply calling for more of the same, as if giving us more of the failed policies of the last two-and-a-half years will somehow yield different results. I believe President Obama’s new ‘stimulus’ will further delay economic recovery and continue to inflict harm on so many Americans.”
The Senate’s top Leader Harry Reid of Nevada said in a statement:
“I hope they (Republicans) will show the American people that they are more interested in creating jobs than defeating President Obama. Experts from the ratings agencies to Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke have said that political gridlock is the main obstacle standing in the way of our economic growth. It is time to put jobs and the economy ahead of partisan politics.”
The president has to offer more details on how the American Jobs Act would be paid for, but he suggested that the money could be found in spending cuts and promised to release more details on 19 September.
The centerpiece of the plan is to expand a cut in the Federal Insurance Contributions tax, a levy paid by employers and workers to fund social security and healthcare for retirees.
Congress approved a cut in the tax for workers last year, from 6.2% to 4.2%. But that measure was supposed to expire in December.
Mr. Obama intends to continue that cut next year, to lower the tax even further to 3.1% for workers, and to extend a similar cut to companies, at a cost of $240bn.
He also suggested providing $85bn in federal government aid to local and state governments, to be spent among other things on helping to keep teachers and emergency services workers in jobs.
And a further $50bn should be spent on infrastructure projects, including a plan to upgrade the country’s airports, he said.
Click the link below to find out more information about Obama’s plan to rebuild America through the American Jobs Act:
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