President Biden said yesterday he is open to compromise on how to pay for his $2.5 trillion infrastructure and jobs package but added that “inaction is simply not an option.”
Biden said the plan would pay for itself over the next 15 years but the White House wants to offset spending now by increasing the corporate tax rate from 21 to 28 percent and by taxing some foreign income of large multinational corporations. Biden said he wants Republican buy-in on the package but Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) and other key Republicans have attacked both the proposed tax hike and the overall size of the plan.
“Debate is welcome. Compromise is inevitable. Changes are certain,” Biden said. “I’m open to ideas about how to pay for this plan.”
Biden reiterated he would not raise taxes on households earning less than $400,000 per year, a pledge he made during the presidential campaign.
The White House has a lot of convincing to do to sell the package, as even some Senate Democrats are squeamish about the tax hike. Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV) said earlier this week that he could support raising the corporate rate from 21 percent to 25 percent, but not all the way to 28 percent.
“If I don’t vote to get on it, it is not going anywhere,” Manchin said. “It’s more than just me. There are six or seven other Democrats that feel strongly about this. We have to be competitive and we are not going to throw caution to the wind.”
While Senate Democrats may have to prepare to move the infrastructure package through budget reconciliation, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) has set an ambitious goal for the House to pass a package by July 4. Pelosi will have to convince some progressive lawmakers who have criticized the plan as too small to get on board.