Biden said Wednesday that he is willing to listen to lawmakers opposed to his proposal to increase the corporate tax rate to 28 percent, but reiterated his pledge not to raise taxes on any American making less than $400,000.
“Ask the moms and dads in the sandwich generation, the folks carrying enormous personal financial strains trying to raise their children and care for their parents, their elderly parents, or members of their families with a disability,” said Biden in a bid to build urgency and gain bipartisan support. “Ask them what infrastructure they need to build a better life, to be able to breathe a little bit.”
Biden proposed a sweeping infrastructure package last week, which invests in traditional projects but also seeks to change the course of the economy by addressing climate change and boosting human services such as eldercare. In his remarks Wednesday, Biden stressed the importance of evolving infrastructure to fit the needs of America such as internet access.
“200 years ago, trains weren’t traditional infrastructure either, until America made a choice to lay down tracks across the country. Highways weren’t traditional infrastructure until we allowed ourselves to imagine that roads could connect our nation across state lines,” Biden said. “The idea of infrastructure has always evolved to meet the aspirations of the American people and their needs.”
The plan would largely be funded by an increase in the corporate tax rate to 28% and an expanded global minimum tax set at 21%. Republicans in Congress have continuously expressed disapproval over the proposal, saddling the Democrats with its ownership and the corporate tax hike Biden says is needed to pay for it.
Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell said Monday that Biden’s plan is “something we’re not going to do.”
“We will not be open to doing nothing,” Biden said Wednesday. “Inaction is simply not an option.”
McConnell said Republicans could support a “much more modest” approach, and one that doesn’t rely on corporate tax hikes to pay for it.
Biden is expected to meet with a bipartisan group of lawmakers on infrastructure next week, White House press secretary Jen Psaki said early Tuesday.
The disagreement almost ensures a months-long slog as Congress hunkers down to begin drafting legislation and the White House keeps the door open to working across the aisle with Republicans, hoping that continued public attention may encourage their support.
The Associated Press and Reuters contributed to this report.