Authored by SMRP government relations staff member Drew Brackbill
On Wednesday March 31st, President Biden outlined a outlined a $2 trillion plan to invest in U.S. infrastructure and address climate change. Another goal of this package is to spur job creation, to help accelerate the American economy as we begin to come out of the worst of the COVID-19 crisis. The planned expenditures would be made over eight years, and would be paid for in part by hiking the corporate tax rate from 21% to 28%. Biden also proposed increasing the minimum tax on profits that U.S. corporations earn overseas, increasing the rate to 21% from roughly 13%. The White House says that with these tax changes, the plan will pay for itself over 15 years.
In addition, the White House is planning to push for a second major package, which could cost $1 trillion or more, later in April. This second wave of stimulus would focus on social measures, including expanding health care and paid-leave access and extending the child tax credit, and it would offset these costs with tax increases on wealthy individuals.
Key elements of the current infrastructure- and jobs-focused plan --
- $620 billion total, which includes, but is not limited to:
- $115 billion to improve bridges, highways, and roads
- $85 billion to modernize public transportation systems
- $80 billion for Amtrak
- $25 billion for airports and $17 billion for ports, inland waterways and ferries
- $20 billion for transportation projects for disadvantaged communities
Research and Development:
- $180 billion to upgrade the country’s research infrastructure and labs at universities and federal agencies
- This funding would also be directed toward climate-science research and addressing gender and racial inequalities in the science, math and technology fields.
Elder Care, VA Hospitals:
- $400 billion for housing and care for the elderly and people with disabilities
- $18 billion for the modernization of Veterans Affairs hospitals and clinics
Manufacturing and Workforce Development:
- $300 billion initiative to boost American manufacturing incorporates a number of bipartisan initiatives that were priorities for Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer
- $50 billion in semiconductor manufacturing and research
- $50 billion for the National Science Foundation to create a technology directorate, modeled after the Endless Frontiers Act
- $50 billion to create a new office at the Department of Commerce dedicated to monitoring domestic industrial capacity and funding investments to support production of critical goods
- $100 billion for workforce-development programs, including training for those who have lost their jobs, as well as apprenticeship initiatives
Other features of the plan include funding for electric vehicles ($174 billion), grid resilience upgrades ($100 billion), broadband access for all Americans ($100 billion), school building upgrades ($100 billion), and housing ($213 billion to construct affordable housing and another $40 billion for public housing).
The plan, which is certainly ambitious in scope, has already attracted opposition. Progressives in Biden’s own party feel it doesn’t do enough to combat climate change. Republicans, on the other hand, oppose the tax increases Biden has proposed to pay for the plan. While Biden wasn’t able to garner even a single Republican vote for his previous $1.9 trillion COVID-19 relief package, he was able to marshal enough support from his own party to pass that bill. Analysts suggest, however, that it may be more challenging to pass this infrastructure package than it was to pass COVID-19 relief.