- An ideal infrastructure plan would spend $10 trillion, Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez said.
- The plan Biden unveiled Wednesday is “encouraging” in scope but can be bigger, she said on MSNBC’s “Rachel Maddow Show.”
- A larger plan could create tens of millions of jobs and vastly improve housing and health care, she said.
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President Joe Biden has repeatedly said he aims to “go big” with plans to revitalize the US economy. For Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, the administration’s $2 trillion infrastructure plan isn’t big enough.
The president unveiled the American Jobs Plan on Wednesday as a follow-up to the $1.9 trillion stimulus approved in March. The package includes spending on traditional infrastructure projects like roads and bridges as well as measures to cut down on carbon emissions and address the country’s housing shortage. The bill’s massive price tag is meant to be spread out over eight years, completely paid for over 15 years by tax hikes for corporations.
“It’s big, yes. It’s bold, yes. And we can get it done,” Biden said in a speech announcing the plan.
More progressive members of the Democratic party see room to be even more ambitious. The package’s scope is “really encouraging,” she said, but to really get to a plan that tackles America’s challenges, “we’re talking about realistically $10 trillion over 10 years.” That would cover the “ideals” sought by progressive lawmakers, Ocasio-Cortez said Wednesday on MSNBC’s The Rachel Maddow Show.
“I know that may be an eye-popping figure for some people, but we need to understand that we are in a devastating economic moment,” she said. “We have a truly crippled health-care system and a planetary crisis on our hands, and we’re the wealthiest nation in the history of the world.”
Such a plan would create tens of millions of “good union jobs,” improve the country’s health care, revamp infrastructure, shore up housing supply, and bring carbon emissions in line with standards set by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, the representative from New York added.
To be sure, the American Jobs Plan is only half of Biden’s latest spending push. The White House plans to unveil a package aimed at upgrading care facilities and education, named the American Families Plan. The proposal will likely include measures for universal pre-K, free community college, and extending child tax credits included in the March stimulus bill.
The White House is reportedly willing to spend $4 trillion across the two packages, a sum that would bring recovery spending under his term to nearly $6 trillion. Democrats so far have accepted the plan.
Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin of West Virginia – a moderate member of the party with a huge influence on Senate agenda – backed $4 trillion in infrastructure spending in January, saying such spending is necessary to bring back the nearly 10 million jobs still lost to the pandemic.
Manchin’s support marks a shift from the intraparty disagreements seen just years ago. More moderate members of the party increasingly support economic policy that centers working-class Americans, Ocasio-Cortez said.
“People really are starting to understand that these issues are no longer fringe progressive demands, but they are consensus builders,” she added.