Biden hopes for support on infrastructure, federal budget

WASHINGTON – President Joe Biden is eager to have both Democrats and Republicans sign off on the American Jobs Plan. South Florida’s representatives in Congress are deeply divided.

Republican Sen. Rick Scott, a Republican, referred to the infrastructure bill as “a disastrous plan to raise taxes.” Rep. Frederica Wilson, a Democrat, wrote the bill will greatly benefit her congressional district, which includes Miami Gardens, Opa-locka, Miramar, Pembroke Pines, and Hollywood.

Some lawmakers from both parties are worried about the bill’s $2.3 trillion price tag. Sen. Chris Coons, a Democrat from Delaware, said hundreds of billions of dollars will need to be cut for there to be a consensus.

Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg talked to reporters about the American Jobs Plan on Friday at the White House briefing room. He defended Biden’s plan to increase the corporate tax to 28% to pay for it.

“This is not something that should burden ordinary American families at a time when we have got so many corporations that are paying literally zero,” Buttigieg said, adding that “You can’t live, or work, or thrive without things like roads, clean water, electricity, broadband — yes, that’s infrastructure.”

There is no firm deadline on Biden’s bill, but House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said she expects Congress to pass the bill by August recess.

“I’m hoping it’ll have some bipartisan support across the board,” Biden said on Friday. “I have already spoken to some of my Republican colleagues.”

Biden released his first federal budget with a request for an 8.4% increase. White House press secretary Jen Psaki said this is because Biden’s administration is “inheriting a legacy of chronic underinvestment” in public services.

It includes a 40.8% increase for the Department of Education, a 23.1% increase for the Department of Health Human Services, a 21% increase for the Executive Office of Immigration Review, a 15.1% increase for Housing and Urban Development, and a 12% increase for the State Department and U.S. Agency for International Development.

Sen. Marco Rubio criticized the 1.6% increase in the Pentagon’s budget. The budget also includes a 0.2% increase for Homeland Security. Rubio and other Senate Republicans released a joint statement in response.

“We can’t afford to fail in our constitutional responsibility to provide for the common defense,” the statement said. “To keep America strong, we must balance domestic and defense spending priorities.”

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Torres contributed to this report from Miami.

About the Authors:

Ben Kennedy is an Emmy Award-winning Washington Bureau Chief for Local 10 News.

The Emmy Award-winning journalist joined the Local 10 News team in 2013. She wrote for the Miami Herald for more than 9 years and won a Green Eyeshade Award.