- Nancy Pelosi defended the proposed tax hikes to fund Biden’s $4 trillion infrastructure plans.
- She told MSNBC the hikes are a response to the GOP “tax scam” of 2017, which benefited the wealthy.
- GOP lawmakers have strongly opposed the hikes, calling them part of a “socialist vision” for the country.
- See more stories on Insider’s business page.
Ahead of President Joe Biden’s unveiling of his $1.8 trillion infrastructure plan on Wednesday, Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi spoke out in defense of the president’s tax increase proposals to fund the plan.
Pelosi joined MSNBC’s Andrea Mitchell on Wednesday afternoon to talk about Biden’s progress since he took office, and she was quick to defend the tax hikes to fund his infrastructure plan, which Republicans have strongly opposed.
She said Biden’s tax hikes are in response to the Republicans’ 2017 tax cuts.
“We’re on a better path for the people,” Pelosi told MSNBC. “What he [Biden] is talking about is exactly just to reverse some of what the Republicans did in their tax scam where they added almost $2 trillion to the national debt, if you include the cost and the interest on the debt, to give tax breaks to the top, top, wealthiest people in the country.”
Pelosi also said that Biden’s plan, which includes funding for universal pre-K and free community college, is “transformative” and works to directly aid Americans.
Pelosi was referring to former President Donald Trump’s 2017 Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, which gave higher-income households larger average tax cuts than lower-income households. This plan was criticized at the time by Democrats who argued that the wealthy should pay their fair share in taxes, and prompted legislation from lawmakers like Sen. Elizabeth Warren, who recently introduced an ultramillionare tax on the wealthiest Americans.
Biden originally proposed a corporate tax hike from 21% to 28% to fund his infrastructure plan, but has since expressed willingness to negotiate on the size and scope of the plan to get Republicans on board. The international average is around 25%, a rate with which Biden would reportedly be comfortable. The 2017 tax cut slashed the rate down from 35%, although American corporations have contributed a lower percentage to GDP than the international average for two decades, per JPMorgan research.
“I am prepared to compromise, prepared to see what we can do and what we can get together on,” Biden said at a bipartisan infrastructure meeting last week. “It’s a big package, but there are a lot of needs.”
But even so, Republicans would rather see a plan funded without any form of an income or corporate tax increase. A group of Republicans introduced a counter-proposal to Biden’s infrastructure plan which would cost between $600 billion and $800 billion, and would be funded by user-fees, like a gas tax, instead of tax hikes.
Senate Minority Whip John Thune tweeted on Tuesday that Biden’s proposed tax hikes are part of a “socialist vision” for the country, repeating the Republican Party’s now-familiar playbook to label any Democratic policy proposal as socialist.
In separate remarks in Congress today, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell reiterated his opposition to Biden’s infrastructure plans, calling them “another multitrillion-dollar smorgasbord of liberal social engineering.”