Biden’s $2 trillion-plus infrastructure package includes funding for what is traditionally thought of as infrastructure — including money for things like roads and bridges — but also for broader, structural changes to the American economy. Biden’s plan would raise the corporate tax rate to help foot the bill. Corporations have largely opposed the plan, which comes after Biden signed a $1.9 trillion coronavirus relief bill into law in March.
The president’s plan would raise the corporate tax rate to 28 percent, up from 21 percent, but he said on Wednesday that he was willing to negotiate on the rate. Before corporate rate cuts under Trump in 2017, the U.S. had the highest corporate tax rate among developed countries.
“Compromise is inevitable,” Biden said, calling on Congress to come together on the plan. “But here’s what we won’t be open to. We will not be open to doing nothing. Inaction simply is not an option.”
The infrastructure plan, among other things, would electrify federal vehicles, and boost transportation infrastructure, home care services, housing and broadband, as well as pipes and the electric grid. Biden aides and operatives see the infrastructure plan as a way to cement and expand the Democratic coalition.
White House press secretary Jen Psaki called the package “essentially a jobs bill” in Wednesday’s daily press briefing.
“Yes, there is a lot in here that is infrastructure, but … our workers, our workforce is part of the backbone and the infrastructure of America’s economy and communities,” Psaki said.
In his speech Wednesday, Biden defended a changing definition of infrastructure.
“Two hundred years ago, trains weren’t traditional infrastructure, either,” Biden said. “The idea of infrastructure has always evolved to meet the aspirations [of] the American people and their needs. And it’s evolving again today.”
Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg also took on the definition of infrastructure in an interview with MSNBC on Wednesday.
“There’s this semantic debate that’s opening up. To me it’s a little bit beside the point,” he said. “I can’t imagine why someone would say, ‘I’m for broadband, we should definitely have rural broadband, but I’m going to vote against it because I don’t think it meets the traditional definition of infrastructure.’”
“If it’s a good policy, vote for it and call it whatever you like,” Buttigieg said.