WASHINGTON – As Vice President Kamala Harris stood behind him during a news conference on Wednesday, President Joe Biden said the $2 trillion American Jobs Plan adopted a modern definition of infrastructure.
Aside from investing in traditional infrastructure such as bridges, Biden’s plan also includes investments in electric cars and broadband.
“The idea of infrastructure has always evolved to meet the aspirations of the American people and their needs, and it is evolving again today,” Biden said.
Biden’s news conference followed a news briefing by Gina Raimondo, the U.S. Secretary of Commerce, who said the plan calls for a $50 billion investment in semiconductor manufacturing and research in response to the global chip shortage.
“The fact is, we have failed for a long time to invest,” Raimondo said. “And as a result, we have fallen behind. So why does that matter? It matters because it makes it harder for small businesses to compete.”
Biden agrees and said there is an urgency to get the plan done. He said there are hundreds of Flints all across America, as he referred to the need to replace lead pipes to make sure children have access to safe water.
“How many of you know when you send your child to school the fountain they’re drinking out of is not fed by lead pipe? How many of you know the school your child is in still has asbestos in the walls? Is that not infrastructure?”
Biden said the United States needs to invest in jobs today so that America can lead the way tomorrow. He said China’s autocrats are counting on Democracy to be too slow.
“This is a moment when we prove whether or not Democracy can deliver ... I believe Democracy can come through,” Biden said.
Biden said the IRS is going to make sure that it won’t be as easy for companies to be able to hide their income in tax havens. He said the investment in the IRS is fiscally responsible.
Sen. Mitch McConnell has been critical of the plan, which he said earlier this week includes a “whooping” tax increase on the most productive parts of our society.
“We are going to raise the corporate tax rate. It was 25% for the longest time ... the previous administration reduced it all the way down to 21% ... what I am proposing is that we meet in the middle,” Biden said about his proposed 28% raise.
Biden added he is open to ideas on how to pay for the plan, but he will not impose taxes on anyone who earns less than $400,000 a year. He said he is sick and tired of ordinary people being fleeced.
“We will not be open to doing nothing,” Biden said. “Inaction is simply not an option.”
Watch the news conference
Torres contributed to this report from Miami.