President Biden unveiled a $2 trillion jobs and infrastructure plan Wednesday to address some of the country’s most pressing problems, including damaged bridges, unequal broadband access, climate change and care for people with disabilities and the elderly.
White House unveils $2 trillion infrastructure and climate plan, setting up giant battle over size and cost of government
The proposal comes just a few weeks after Biden’s $1.9 trillion coronavirus relief package was signed into law, sending $1,400 stimulus checks to most Americans and extending unemployment benefits.
The American Jobs Plan is expected to be followed by a second economic package in April that includes a major expansion in health insurance coverage, child-care subsidies, free access to community colleges and other proposals.
Republicans and prominent business groups, such as the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, have already come out against the plan, particularly the proposed tax increases, arguing they would damage U.S. investment and global competitiveness. The White House’s stance is that higher taxes would offset concerns about adding to the federal deficit.
Meanwhile, economists are still debating whether Biden’s last major bill will overheat the economy and trigger cycles of inflation, compounding Republicans’ spending worries.
Here’s what’s in the proposal, according to White House summaries and breakdowns:
Infrastructure: $621 billion
- The plan would invest $115 billion to revamp highways and roads, including 10 major and 10,000 smaller bridges in need of reconstruction. It also includes $20 billion to improve road safety, including for cyclists and pedestrians.
- The plan calls for $85 billion to modernize existing transit systems and help agencies expand to meet rider demand. The investment would double federal funding for public transit.
- Biden is proposing $80 billion to fix Amtrak’s repair backlog.
- It would establish $174 billion in grant and incentive programs for state and local governments and the private sector to build a national network of 500,000 electric-vehicle chargers by 2030.
- The proposal seeks to replace 50,000 diesel transit vehicles and electrify at least 20 percent of the country’s yellow school bus fleet.
- The plan would invest $25 billion in airports, including programs to renovate terminals and expand car-free access to air travel.
- Biden is also pitching $17 billion for inland waterways, coastal ports, land ports of entry and ferries to invest in the nation’s freight system.
Infrastructure ‘at home’: $650 billion
- Biden’s proposal would invest $213 billion to build and retrofit more than 2 million homes. The plan would build and rehabilitate more than 500,000 homes for low- and middle-income home buyers and invest $40 billion to improve public housing.
- Biden’s proposal aims to deliver universal broadband, including to more than 35 percent of rural Americans who lack access to high-speed Internet.
- The plan would invest $111 billion for clean drinking water, $45 billion of which would be used to replace the country’s lead pipes and service lines. The effort would reduce lead exposure in 400,000 schools and child-care facilities and improve the safety of drinking water.
- The proposal calls for $100 billion to upgrade and build new public schools. It also would invest $12 billion in community college infrastructure and $25 billion to upgrade child-care facilities.
- Biden is proposing $18 billion to modernize Department of Veterans Affairs hospitals and clinics and $10 billion to revamp federal buildings.
Care economy: $400 billion
- The plan expands access to home- or community-based care for seniors and people with disabilities. It would extend a Medicaid program, Money Follows the Person, to move elderly residents out of nursing homes and back into their own homes or into the care of loved ones.
- Biden also calls for improving working conditions, including higher wages and more benefits, for caretakers, who are disproportionately women of color and who have largely stayed on the job during the coronavirus pandemic.
Research and development, manufacturing and training: $580 billion
- Biden’s proposal would invest $180 billion in research and development. That includes a major clean-energy push to reduce emissions, build climate resilience and boost climate-focused research.
- The plan would invest $50 billion in domestic semiconductor manufacturing.
- It would provide incentives for companies to locate local manufacturing jobs in the “industrial heartland.”
- The plan would double the number of registered apprenticeships to more than 1 million and invest in a more inclusive science and technology workforce.
White House dramatically increased tax proposal as it sought to address tensions over next big spending plan
- The White House plan calls for about $2 trillion in new spending over eight years. The proposed tax increases would cover that cost over 15 years and become permanent.
- The plan raises the corporate tax rate from 21 percent to 28 percent.
- It also increases the global minimum tax paid from about 13 percent to 21 percent.
- The proposal ends federal tax breaks for fossil fuel companies.
- It also ramps up tax enforcement against corporations and prevents U.S. corporations from claiming tax havens as their residence.
Responding to climate change
- Much of Biden’s spending package focuses on green infrastructure and job creation. For example, the White House says automakers could hire workers to make batteries and parts for electric vehicles, shoring up their own supply chains. Consumers would also get tax incentives to buy American-made electric vehicles.
- The White House says that 40 percent of the benefits of its climate and clean-infrastructure investments would go to disadvantaged communities.
- The Biden administration argues that retrofitting homes and public infrastructure will reduce the billions of dollars in damage caused by climate disasters. The plan calls for $50 billion to improve resilience to climate change, including by protecting electric grids, food systems, urban infrastructure and hospitals in communities most vulnerable to flooding and other severe weather events.
- The infrastructure overhaul would also cover protection from wildfires, sea-level rise, hurricanes and droughts and shore up dam safety.
- The plan would put $35 billion toward clean-energy technology, new methods for reducing emissions and other broad-based climate research.
- The plan would establish an Energy Efficiency and Clean Electricity Standard that would set specific targets to cut how much coal- and gas-fired electricity power companies use over time.
- Biden’s plan calls for passage of the Protecting the Right to Organize Act, or Pro Act, which is aimed at significantly strengthening workers’ rights to organize.
- The proposal also places a heavy emphasis on creating union-backed jobs.
Alyssa Fowers and Jeff Stein contributed to this report.
The Biden agenda
President Biden begins to reverse Trump administration policies with an ambitious to-do list
Immigration: Overview | Border wall | DACA | Enforcement | Travel ban | Asylum | Refugees | Migrant caravans | Visas
Foreign policy: Overview | Russia and China | Iran nuclear deal | Venezuela and Maduro | The ‘forever wars’ | Strained transatlantic ties | The North Korea threat | A new Middle East
Health care: Overview and the pandemic | Affordable Care Act | Tackling inequalities | Opioids epidemic
Climate change and environment: Overview | Wildlife | Energy | Paris agreement | Funds | Wildfires
Social justice: Overview | Policing | Civil Rights | Extremism | LGBTQ rights | Prisons | Drugs
Economic policy: Overview | Growth | Taxes | Trade | Employment
Tech policy: Overview | Gig work | FCC | Section 230 | Antitrust