By: Jeff Stein, Juliet Eilperin, Seung Min Kim, & Alyssa Fowers – washingtonpost.com – March 30, 2021
The White House on Wednesday is expected to unveil a plan to spend $2.25 trillion on a jobs and infrastructure package that could form a cornerstone of President Biden’s economic agenda, two people familiar with the matter said.
Biden’s plan will include approximately $650 billion to rebuild the country’s infrastructure, such as its roads, bridges, highways and ports, the people said. The plan will also include in the range of $400 billion toward home care for the elderly and the disabled, $300 billion for housing infrastructure and $300 billion to revive U.S. manufacturing. And it will include hundreds of billions of dollars to bolster the nation’s electric grid, enact nationwide high-speed broadband and revamp the nation’s water systems to ensure clean drinking water, among other major investments, the people said.
The people, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to reveal internal deliberations, cautioned that White House officials were still making last-minute adjustments to the plan and that details were subject to change. The roughly $2 trillion in new spending is spread out over eight years, according to the blueprint laid out to congressional allies Tuesday afternoon ahead of the unveiling.
White House press secretary Jen Psaki has said the proposal will be paid for in new tax hikes. These hikes will be particularly focused on corporations, seeking to reverse much of President Donald Trump’s 2017 tax law, the people familiar with the plan said. The new tax hikes would offset spending in the plan over a 15-year period, according to Senate officials familiar with White House calls to brief Congress on Biden’s plan.
The plan will also include approximately $400 billion in clean-energy credits on top of the $2.25 trillion in new spending.
A White House spokesman declined to comment on the new details that have emerged.
The plan, which Biden will introduce in Pittsburgh on Wednesday, forms one part of the “Build Back Better” agenda that the administration aims to introduce. Psaki has said the administration within weeks will introduce a second legislative package. That second package is expected to include an expansion in health insurance coverage, an extension of the expanded child tax benefit, and paid family and medical leave, among other efforts aimed at families, the officials said.
White House officials have not explained whether they will seek to have both efforts pass at the same time or try to get Congress to approve one first. The combined price tag of the plans could top $4 trillion.
The jockeying around these efforts has already begun, as Biden’s allies push for inclusion of their priorities in the next major legislative effort. Centrist Democrats have said the package should be targeted to win Republican votes, seeking a return to bipartisan policymaking after a contentious and partisan vote over Biden’s $1.9 trillion relief plan. But liberal lawmakers and some economists are pressing the administration to use Democrats’ narrow majorities in Congress to confront some of the nation’s biggest problems, such as climate change, with solutions they say are necessary to address the scale of the crises.
Senior White House officials briefed Senate leadership as well as Democratic and Republican leaders of relevant committees Tuesday afternoon about the details of the plan, according to multiple Senate officials who spoke on the condition of anonymity to reveal internal planning.
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