Politics With nods to FDR, JFK and LBJ, Biden goes big on infrastructure plan
Joe Biden Can’t Stop Talking About History
It’s the clearest sign of how he wants to establish himself as one of the most consequential presidents ever.He talked about the filibuster in part by offering up dusty pieces of his personal past.
President Biden traveled to Pittsburgh on Wednesday to introduce a $2.25 trillion infrastructure plan that, in both scope and cost, amounts to the most ambitious attempt by the federal government to refashion the nation’s economy and social fabric since at least Lyndon Johnson’s Great Society program of the 1960s.
As with many of his recent proposals, Biden framed the infrastructure plan as one of a superpower seeking to regain its footing, arguing that the investments the White House has outlined — $115 billion to repair, $100 billion for - and many other modernizing initiatives — would “put us in a position to win the global competition with China in the upcoming years.”
Joe Biden’s coming infrastructure push, explained
Biden’s massive infrastructure plan is also a climate plan.Shortly after passing his $1.9 trillion Covid-19 relief package, President Joe Biden is preparing to unveil his “Build Back Better” plan Wednesday during a public address in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. The White House discussed an approximately $3 trillion infrastructure package on a call last week with Senate Democrats, but the price tag and final details are still under discussion, a person familiar with the plan told Vox.
In his remarks, Biden noted that the United States wasin the world when it came to the quality of its infrastructure. “Our adversaries are worried about us building this critical infrastructure,” the president said, likening his plan to the creation of the interstate highway system and to the space race with the Soviet Union that John F. Kennedy .
Biden’s ambitions are arguably broader, however, since the infrastructure plan seeks to address both reliance on carbon-based fuels and persistent racial inequalities in housing, transportation and other sectors. His prospects for passing the massive proposal may be helped by a sense of urgency arising from a pandemic that has revealed deep structural flaws in American society. Last summer’s racial justice protests, as well as increasingly frequent catastrophic weather events, have added urgency to Democrats’ case that simply patching up bridges will not do the trick.
Biden is pitching a big infrastructure plan, but Republicans already panned it as going too far
Before Biden even unveiled his infrastructure plan, Republicans lined up to take shots at the proposal.But before Biden even offered specifics of his aims to fix the nation's roads, bridges and railways, Republicans he'll need to work with in Congress panned it, claiming it goes too far beyond traditional infrastructure spending and comparing its climate aspects to the Green New Deal.
Not that patching up bridges is absent from the plan: Biden says his plan will repair 10,000 bridges and 20,000 miles of roadway. His promise to “unclog traffic” could prove more ambitious than Kennedy’s bid to put humans on the moon (that is, if traffic ever returns to pre-pandemic levels, as it is generally expected to).
It was significant, too, that Biden delivered his remarks in Pittsburgh, a onetime redoubt of the steel industry that has diversified its economy in recent years to include tech jobs. A native of Scranton, on the opposite side of Pennsylvania, Biden summoned the“It’s about time they started to get a piece of the action,” Biden said of labor unions, which could prove critical in helping him sell the plan. (Pennsylvania is also a state critical to Biden’s reelection prospects.)
Bidento both Johnson and Franklin D. Roosevelt, both of whom met fraught moments in American history with unbridled ambition. Like them, Biden will face spirited congressional opposition as well as a measure of public skepticism. Critics were , for example, why the infrastructure plan included $400 billion for “expanding access to quality, affordable home- or community-based care for aging relatives and people with disabilities.”
Joe Biden’s $2 trillion infrastructure and jobs plan, explained
Biden’s new plan takes an expansive view of infrastructure.The bulk of Biden’s plan deals with upgrading America’s roads, bridges, and public transit, but it also takes an expansive definition of the word “infrastructure,” expanding long-term care for the elderly through Medicaid, banning exclusionary zoning, and investing in community-based violence reduction programs, among many other things.
Funds allocated for electrical vehicle charging stations, replacement of lead pipes and upgrades to housing and schools met with similar suspicion from the right. Inon Tuesday, Sen. John Barrasso, R-Wy., called the plan a “Trojan horse” for “more liberal spending and much higher taxes,” previewing what is emerging as a central argument from the Republican establishment.
“They want to do all sorts of social things,” Barrasso said of Biden and congressional Democrats.
Biden doesn’t have much hope of convincing Barrasso to vote for the package, known for now as the American Jobs Plan. But he does need to make sure that Barrasso does not persuade centrist Sens. Joe Manchin, D-W.V. and Kyrsten Sinema, D-Ariz., to also oppose the forthcoming bill. It may be with that in mind that BidenManchin’s wife to a committee on Appalachia’s future.
Much like Johnson, Biden comes to the Oval Office after having served on Capitol Hill, and if he never wielded quite as much influence, or engendered as much fear, as the legendaryhe nevertheless understands much better than either of his two direct predecessors the frequently unseemly business of turning a presidential proposal into a bill, then turning that bill into a law.
Biden plan spends billions to 'redress historic inequities'
Joe Biden's $2.3 trillion infrastructure plan includes $12 billion for workforce development in underserved communities, and targets green jobs to women and people of color. President Biden is calling on Congress to also specifically target funding to workers facing some of the greatest challenges,' the plan says.All of it would move in the large $2.3 trillion package – with Senate Democratic leaders hinting they may seek to move it under new 'reconciliation' instructions to protect it from a likely GOP filibuster.
Biden intends to pay for the infrastructure plan by raising the corporate tax rate from 21 percent to 28 percent. The conservative Tax Foundation has alreadythat such a tax hike would “erode American competitiveness and slow our economic recovery.” Spending for the infrastructure plan is expected to last eight years, while the tax increases needed to pay for that plan will be in place for 15.
Some progressives have said that the infrastructure plan should have been more ambitious, with Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortezthat the plan should have been “way bigger.” The infrastructure plan does have a second component, the American Families Plan, which will include more social programs, and the details of which should become clear sometime in April or May. That second phase will also require a second tax hike, this one targeting high-income individuals.
Overall, Democrats are plainly thrilled at the speed and scope of Biden’s plans. In her statement on the plan, Rep. Rosa DeLauro, D-Conn., who chairs the influential House appropriations committee, referenced Infrastructure Week, which during the Trump administrationabout the futility of actually addressing the nation’s infrastructure woes.
“We cannot simply return to normal,” DeLauro said, praising Biden’s “relentless focus on green energy.”
Biden Aims to Outshine Obama as a Progressive Reformer
As a likely one-term POTUS, he is aiming for ‘greatness’ — fast. And the country may pay the price.The answer is that, at age 78, he has bought into the belief that he has only a little time to become a transformational president and leave a legacy of “greatness.” In Washington speak, that means adding to the size of government and ridding oneself of any notion you can spend too much money.
Biden’s first major legislative initiative was the American Rescue Plan, a coronavirus relief packagewith the American public. Although no congressional Republicans supported the measure, they did not put up the kind of resistance that President Obama saw in 2009, when he introduced the Affordable Care Act.
It will now be up to Democratic leaders in Congress to craft a bill that hews to White House outlines while satisfying centrists and progressives alike and depriving Republicans of easy lines of attack like the one Barrasso and others have already been making. While those attacks may be predictable, they could prove effective in a deeply polarized nation, not to mention a Washington that allows little room for political error.
Mitch McConnell, the Senate GOP leader,the infrastructure bill a “Trojan horse” for progressive policies. And that was after a conversation on Tuesday with Biden, one of the few have had in the last two months.
Biden believes that his plan is democratic as much as it is Democratic. He has frequently approached the presidency almost as a local politician might, focusing on policies that, while certainly ideological to a degree, he has sold as common-sense services delivered to his millions of constituents.
In his remarks on Tuesday, Biden said that it was critical to show the world that “democracies still deliver for their people,” as opposed, presumably, to engaging only in unproductive squabbling that has come to definite Washington in the recent past.
“I believe we can,” Biden said. “I believe we must."
Read more from Yahoo News:
'Child care is infrastructure': Democrats mocked for expanded definition beyond roads and bridges .
Arguments from Democrats in favor of an expanded definition of infrastructure as it relates to President Joe Biden's $2 trillion American Jobs Plan, widely described as an infrastructure package, reached a new level on Wednesday. © Provided by Washington Examiner "Paid leave is infrastructure. Child care is infrastructure. Caregiving is infrastructure," New York Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand said in a tweet. Paid leave is infrastructure.Child care is infrastructure.Caregiving is infrastructure.