Nancy Pelosi slams GOP ‘tax scam’ of 2017 in defending Biden’s wealthy tax hike

nancy pelosi
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA).

  • 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.”

Polls show American voters overwhelmingly like the things Republicans would like to strip out of Biden’s first infrastructure plan, and support raising corporate taxes to pay for them.

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The 4 major takeaways from Biden’s $1.8 trillion economic spending package

Biden
President Joe Biden.

  • Biden unveiled a new spending plan focused on families with new spending on childcare and education.
  • It aims to flood federal money into sectors of the economy and make the lives of families easier.
  • The plan likely won’t attract much Republican support – if any.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

President Joe Biden is aiming to unleash a flood of new federal spending to cut into inequality and realign the role of the federal government to better assist families.

The second plan is different from the first measure, which was largely focused on physical infrastructure such as roads and bridges, although it also included other provisions like major funding for in-home elder care and broadband expansion.

This plan from the White House includes around $1 trillion in new spending and $800 billion set aside as tax credits. It’s likely to undergo some changes, however, as Congress takes it up and writes the legislation in the coming months.

Here are the four key takeaways from the administration’s latest plan.

(1) Flooding new money into education and childcare

The plan would parcel out money for childcare, education, and healthcare initiatives. Experts say many parts of the plan are geared toward assisting middle and low-income families, especially those with kids.

“Almost everything in the plan would directly benefit people, particularly children, particularly lower-income children,” Jason Furman, a former top economist to President Barack Obama, wrote on Twitter. “You can’t go very wrong with these policies.”

It essentially guarantees an additional four years of education for Americans with a universal pre-K and two years of tuition-free community college. Those two measures come out to around $309 billion, largely contingent on a partnership between the federal government and states.

It also tackles the rising costs of childcare, which is often beyond the reach of many families. Most have to pay the majority of those care expenses on their own. The Biden plan aims to keep a family’s childcare spending at no more than 7% of monthly income.

(2) Biden wants the wealthiest Americans to pay up with tax hikes

The package includes tax hikes on the richest Americans. A central element in the administration’s revenue plans appears to be $80 billion set aside for the IRS to crack down on tax evasion. The White House projects raising $700 billion from the agency over a decade.

As reported by Insider’s Ayelet Sheffey, that would represent a huge jump over current collections, but still leave hundreds of billions on the table very year. It would also only partially reverse a dramatic decline in IRS audits over the past decade.

Biden also wants to raise the top marginal income-tax rate to 39.6% from 37% and hit investors earning above $1 million with a new tax on capital gains, among other things.

(3) Permanently maintaining some emergency stimulus programs

The plan includes a permanent extension of subsidies for people to buy health insurance from exchanges set up under the Affordable Care Act. It would also make permanent the Earned Income Tax Credit, a step to benefit essential workers like

The administration is likely to face pressure from Democrats to keep the boosted child tax credit. It was enlarged to $3,600-per-child under age 6 and $3,000 per kid between 6 and 17. Starting in July, parents will be able to get a monthly payment.

The current plan only extends the elevated levels until 2025, while leaving untouched the monthly payment component. Rep. Rosa DeLauro, a lead architect of the expansion and chair of the House Appropriations Committee, said in a statement to Insider that lawmakers would take up the Biden blueprint and advocate for changes.

“I look forward to turning the framework of the American Families Plan into legislation and working with Chairman Neal to enact our shared desire to include a permanent extension of the expanded Child Tax Credit in the final bill,” she said, referring to Rep. Richard Neal, chair of the House Ways and Means panel.

(4) The ‘families plan’ is unlikely to attract GOP support

Republicans were largely opposed to Biden’s first infrastructure plan, arguing it went beyond the scope of physical infrastructure spending that they could back. Some lawmakers, however, favor a slimmed-down spending plan, and negotiations are ongoing.

The GOP appears likely to resist the newest plan on the basis of its tax hikes and spending priorities.

“Even if the spending’s popular -a lot of it probably will be – the tax increases I think are going to be a hard sell, not just with people in the country or with Republicans, but I think for some Democrats too,” Sen. John Thune told reporters on Wednesday.

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Biden wants to spend $225 billion in his new plan to give you guaranteed sick and family time off work

Joe Biden
President Joe Biden.

  • Biden’s infrastructure plan includes $225 billion to create a paid medical and family leave program.
  • It would eventually guarantee 12 weeks of paid leave and would provide workers up to $4,000 per month.
  • House Democrat Richard Neal unveiled a similar plan on Tuesday to ensure paid leave for every American.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

In a measure that has been pushed for by Democratic lawmakers and organizations, President Joe Biden’s $1.8 trillion plan being unveiled on Wednesday includes funding to create a national paid family and medical leave program.

Last month, Biden released the first part of his infrastructure plan, which focused both on rebuilding physical infrastructure, like roads and bridges, as well as on climate initiatives and affordable housing investments. The second part of his plan proposes childcare funding and universal pre-K, along with $225 billion over a decade to create a paid medical and family leave program, which would reduce racial disparities in wage loss and improve employee retention.

Nearly one in four mothers return to work within two weeks of giving birth, and according to AARP, one in five retirees left the workforce earlier than planned to care for sick family members. Dept. of Labor data also found that 95% of the lowest-wage workers, mostly women and workers of color, lack any access to paid family leave.

“The US would join the rest of the world – and certainly the rest of the high-income world – in offering paid leave to new parents and particularly to new moms, as well as ensuring the ability for people to take leave when they’re sick or need to care for a loved one,” paid-leave expert Vicki Shabo, from think tank New America, told Insider. “We are the only country that doesn’t have any guaranteed paid leave for any reason.”

According to a White House fact sheet, Biden’s plan would guarantee 12 weeks of paid parental, family, and personal illness leave by year 10 of the program, and it would also provide workers up to $4,000 a month, with a minimum of two-thirds of average weekly wages replaced, rising to 80% for the lowest-wage workers.

This program resembles Chair of the House Ways and Means Committee Richard Neal’s plan introduced on Tuesday to provide universal paid sick leave by setting up 12 weeks of paid family and medical leave for every worker in the US, calculating benefits based on average monthly earnings.

“For our economy to fully recover from this pandemic, we must finally acknowledge that workers have families, and caregiving responsibilities are real,” Neal said in a statement. “By acting on this plan, we will rebuild our society to be better and stronger than ever before.”

Insider reported last week that 17 state treasurers were calling on Congress to pass paid family and medical leave, which followed 55 progressive groups urging Biden to invest in the same measure earlier this month.

And In March 2020, a paid sick leave mandate for workers was actually included in President Donald Trump’s Families First Coronavirus Response Act, but an expansion of that mandate was blocked by now-Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell. Biden’s American Rescue Plan extended that credit through September 30.

Shabo said that Biden’s proposal is a good start, and there’s precedent for a phased rollout of paid leave policies. Still, there are some proposals – such as that from Rep. Neal – that would enact leave sooner. But it’s a “good foot in the door.”

“What I would tell a worker is that if the Biden plan is enacted, they’ll no longer have to wonder whether they’ll be able to see their baby’s first smile, or hold the hand of their dying parents,” Shabo said.

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Biden will unveil $1.8 trillion spending plan to extend cash payments for parents, set up universal pre-K and free community college

Joe Biden
President Joe Biden speaks during an event with the CEOs of Johnson & Johnson and Merck at the South Court Auditorium of the Eisenhower Executive Office Building March 10, 2021 in Washington, DC.

  • Biden is unveiling $1.8 trillion in new economic programs for families on Wednesday.
  • The plan extend cash payments for parents and set up universal Pre-K – paid for with tax hikes on the wealthy.
  • Biden’s spending plans would rank among the largest in US history.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

President Joe Biden will unveil a $1.8 trillion economic aid plan during his address to a joint session of Congress on Wednesday, seeking to devote massive new federal spending on families through new initiatives in childcare, education, and healthcare.

The proposal is designed as the second part of a massive infrastructure package to overhaul the American economy, following the release of a $2.3 trillion plan last month concentrated on repairing roads and bridges, domestic manufacturing, and in-home elder care. It’s offset with tax increases on rich Americans.

Taken together, they would rank among the largest spending programs in the nation’s history, totaling nearly $4 trillion. A senior administration official called them “once-in-a-generation investments in our nation’s future.”

“The American Families Plan invests in our children and our families, helping families cover the expenses that so many struggle with now, lowering health insurance premiums, cutting child poverty and producing a larger, more productive and healthier workforce in the years ahead,” the official told reporters on a Tuesday phone call.

The plan is patterned with an emphasis on recasting the role of government to slash inequality and shore up the middle class in an eight-year spending program consisting of:

  • $225 billion in childcare funding.
  • $225 billion for paid family and medical leave.
  • $200 billion for free universal Pre-K.
  • $200 billion to permanently extend Obamacare insurance subsidies.
  • $109 billion for two years of free community college.
  • $45 billion in nutrition-related spending.

The plan also attempts to make permanent some elements of Biden’s $1.9 trillion stimulus law – mainly, the expanded tax credits for families as well as subsidies to purchase health insurance in marketplaces under the Affordable Care Act.

The lowest-earning families will be able to tap into the child tax credit through monthly payments, but the bigger benefit level expires in 2025. At that point, it would fall to $1,000 without additional action in Congress.

The White House seeks to work with lawmakers to overhaul unemployment insurance and tie benefits to economic conditions, though the plan does not offer specifics. Sens. Ron Wyden and Michael Bennet recently unveiled a bill to permanently boost jobless benefits.

Administration officials are also envisioning 12 weeks of a national paid family and medical program with two-thirds wage replacement for most workers, a measure endorsed on Tuesday by Rep. Richard Neal, a powerful House Democrat.

But the Biden measure would be set up over a decade. Advocates are likely to pressure the president to accelerate the timeline since the US lacks a national leave program in stark contrast to other developed nations. The pandemic forced two million women out of the labor force as it devastated the economy, shuttering schools and pushing many of them to pick up the majority of childcare duties at home.

“This is a tremendous recognition of the centrality that paid leave plays in people’s lives and the gaps we have,” Vicki Shabo, a paid-leave expert at the think-tank New America, told Insider. “The country has invested almost nothing in paid leave up to this point.”

The Biden administration says it wants to fully pay for the programs with a series of tax hikes on the wealthiest Americans. Chief among them is strengthening the IRS’s ability to crack down on tax avoidance and ramp up the agency’s staffing levels. The White House projects raising $700 billion over ten years from the agency.

That step would be combined with raising the top marginal income tax rate to 39.6% from 37% and hitting investors earning above $1 million with a new tax on capital gains among others. The White House wants to avoid growing the national debt, which rose sharply as Congress signed off on $5 trillion in emergency COVID-19 relief spending in the last year.

Biden’s latest plan is unlikely to garner significant, if any, support from Republicans. The GOP quickly lined up against the first infrastructure plan from the White House, assailing it as a costly package that went far beyond only roads and bridges. However, the president’s spending plans are garnering strong majority support in public polling.

The American Family Plan’s path ahead in Congress remains unclear, and some Democrats say the infrastructure push could be split into two. That move may attract Republican votes on provisions popular in both parties, such as expanding broadband access.

At least some or the entire $4 trillion plan could be muscled through Congress under reconciliation, a procedural tactic allowing some budgetary bills to clear the Senate with a simple majority vote.

A group of Senate Republicans recently unveiled a $568 billion infrastructure plan largely directed at fixing roads and bridges last week. On Tuesday, Sen. Bill Cassidy of Louisiana announced he would soon unveil another bipartisan proposal that matched half of Biden’s spending.

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Democrats are pushing Biden at the last minute to put a permanently expanded child tax credit in his latest economic plan

Rosa Delauro
Rep. Rosa DeLauro (D-CT).

  • Democrats are doubling down on efforts for Biden to keep the expanded child tax credit.
  • “Kids don’t grow up in five years,” one House Democrat said.
  • Making CTC changes permanent could stumble in the Senate if Democrats decide to bypass the GOP.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

As President Joe Biden’s $1.9 trillion emergency stimulus law was about to clear the House in late February, some Democrats started setting the stage for their next battle: Making the beefed-up child tax credit permanent.

Sen. Sherrod Brown told reporters that Democrats would press the Biden administration on the issue as soon as the stimulus law was signed, speaking as part of a group of other Democratic lawmakers.

He later tweeted an image of the group on Twitter. It included Sens. Michael Bennet and Cory Booker and Reps. Rosa DeLauro, Suzan DelBene, and Ritchie Torres. DeLauro recently dubbed the group “the CTC Six.”

The stimulus strengthened the child tax credit, increasing it to $3,600 per child under age 6 and $3,000 for kids between 6 and 17. Previously, the amount stood at $2,000, and families with little or no tax obligations could not tap into it.

Those Democrats are now ratcheting up the pressure on Biden as he gears up to unveil a massive new economic plan focused on families on Wednesday, particularly education and childcare. They are already warning against a temporary expansion until 2025, a five-year extension the White House is reportedly eyeing.

“Kids don’t grow up in five years. Parents need predictability to plan for their future over the long term,” DelBene told reporters on a Tuesday press call. “I asked the president in March if he supports permanently expanding the credit, and he said yes.”

The right-leaning Tax Foundation projects it would cost $1.6 trillion over a decade.

“Some have been concerned about the cost. I say the cost of inaction is too great,” DelBene said. “The president will propose his plan. Congress is going to write the bill.”

Democrats may move parts or the entirety of Biden’s $4 trillion infrastructure plan through reconciliation, a maneuver to guard legislation from the 60-vote threshold in the Senate and pave the way for a simple-majority vote. But it must comply with strict budgetary rules, such as barring any deficit increases after a decade.

“The issue really is budgetary score and permanence,” Zach Moller, a budget expert from the center-left group Third Way, told Insider.

Moller said making the child tax credit expansion permanent requires a finding a way to pay for it. “All of these things are competing for offsets. You can increase the deficit inside a 10-year window, outside that 10-year window or whatever budget window you want for the bill, you cannot increase the deficit.”

Meanwhile, other lawmakers said Republicans would fight to prevent an extension, or tie it to another conservative policy priority.

“We know that when this expires in five years … if we don’t do a permanent fix, we know in five years they will come after that and they will want huge corporate tax cuts, which they always do,” Brown told reporters.

Republicans largely oppose the child tax credit expansion, assailing it as a costly liberal priority. But some conservatives, Mitt Romney and Josh Hawley, have put out proposals over the last few months that include monthly cash benefits to families. Hawley’s plan was focused on married couples and it had a steep income requirement to qualify.

Still, many conservatives argue a program for monthly cash payments with no strings attached would foster dependency on the federal government.

“I still think its a bad idea to create a policy where large swaths of the population come to anticipate and look forward to the federal government sending them a check in the mail every month,” Scott Winship, director of poverty studies at the right-leaning American Enterprise Institute, said in an interview.

Democrats are gearing up to continue making their case to the Biden administration, focused on its benefits to families. Many believe that argument will be easier to make once the IRS begins distributing the checks in July.

“Just because it doesn’t make it in the plan, it doesn’t mean that door is completely closed,” a House Democratic aide told Insider.

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Top House Democrat unveils plan to establish universal paid family and medical leave programs

Richard Neal
Rep. Richard Neal, D-Mass., speaks at a news conference on Capitol Hill in Washington, Friday, July 24, 2020, on the extension of federal unemployment benefits.

  • Top House Democrat Richard Neal introduced a plan for universal paid sick and medical leave on Tuesday.
  • The typical worker would get around two-thirds of their past wages replaced.
  • Progressives are urging Biden to prioritize paid leave programs as part of his latest economic plan.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

Rep. Richard Neal of Massachusetts, chair of the House Ways and Means Committee, introduced a plan for universal paid sick and medical leave on Tuesday.

The proposal would set up 12 weeks of paid family and medical leave for every worker in the US, calculating benefits based on average monthly earnings. The typical worker would get two-thirds of their wages replaced, though it covers up 85% of a worker’s earnings below $1,257. Higher-paid workers are set at lower wage replacement rates.

“For our economy to fully recover from this pandemic, we must finally acknowledge that workers have families, and caregiving responsibilities are real,” Neal said in a statement to Insider. “By acting on this plan, we will rebuild our society to be better and stronger than ever before.”

It would take effect at the start of 2023, an apparent recognition of the difficulties of setting up a robust paid leave initiative. Benefits would be distributed through employers, the Treasury Department, and state paid leave programs. It also makes permanent a monthly check program for parents, a top Democratic priority.

Currently, the US stands alone among developed nations for not federally mandating a paid sick leave program. Such a measure was scrapped as part of President Joe Biden’s stimulus. A vast collection of progressive groups as well as 17 state treasurers are now urging Biden, along with Congress, to approve comprehensive leave programs.

The pandemic underscored the lack of affordable childcare as rising costs collided with the shuttering of daycare centers, disproportionately impacting women and compelling many to quit their jobs.

A recent report from the National Women’s Law Center and the Center on Poverty and Social Policy at Columbia University said 2.3 million women dropped out of the workforce due to the crisis, compared to 1.8 million men.

Neal’s measure comes as Biden prepares to unveil the second part of his infrastructure plan, largely directed at ratcheting up government spending on families as a product of childcare and education initiatives. The Washington Post reported it will contain $225 billion for child care funding and $200 billion to establish universal Pre-K.

The latest proposal will be funded with tax increases on the wealthiest Americans, including a new capital gains tax on the top 0.3%.

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Sen. Josh Hawley wants to send $1,000 monthly checks to families with kids under 13, but provide less to single parents

Josh Hawley
Sen. Josh Hawley (R-MO).

  • Hawley rolled out a plan for a new “Parent Tax Credit” on Monday.
  • It would distribute $1,000 cash payments to married couples, and slash that in half for singles.
  • Experts said the plan contained design flaws that could hurt low-income workers during recessions.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

Sen. Josh Hawley introduced a plan for a “Parent Tax Credit” on Monday aimed at offsetting the high cost of raising a child. It reflects a push among some conservatives to increase federal spending on families.

The proposal would establish a new, fully refundable tax credit of $6,000 for singles and $12,000 for couples, meaning families with minuscule or no tax obligations would qualify for a payment.

“Millions of working people want to start a family and would like to care for their children at home, but current policies do not respect these preferences,” Hawley said in a press release. “American families should be supported, no matter how they choose to care for their kids.”

To get the money, households must report earnings of $7,540 for the prior year, an amount equal to 20 hours of work each week at the $7.25 federal minimum wage. The earnings floor is the same regardless of whether a person is married or not, and families do not receive more cash if they have more than one child. Families would sign up for the plan through the IRS.

A spokesperson for Sen. Hawley told Insider the program would be in addition to the existing child tax credit. The proposal did not include a cost estimate.

The current CTC provides up to $2,000 per child, though it leaves out families with small tax bills. Democrats beefed it up for a year in President Joe Biden’s stimulus law to $3,600 per child aged 5 and under, and $3,000 for each kid between 6 and 17. Democrats want keep it permanently.

Other Republicans have put forward child allowance measures as well. Sen. Mitt Romney of Utah introduced a plan in February to distribute even larger cash payments to parents, paid for with the elimination of some safety net programs.

Patrick Brown, a policy fellow at the conservative-leaning Institute of Family Studies, told Insider that Hawley’s plan appeared to be an attempt at a middle ground between competing GOP childcare plans.

“They’re trying to find a way to say, ‘We want to require work but not screw too many low-income single parents, ” Brown said, though adding “the structure of the CTC still makes more sense to me.”

Seth Hanlon, a tax expert at the liberal-tilting Center for American Progress, told Insider he believed the plan had major design flaws, starting with its earnings threshold.

“That would seem strange if you get nothing if you’re $1 short of that,” Hanlon said. If the Hawley plan was in effect during the pandemic, he said, millions of parents who lost jobs and thus saw their annual incomes fall below $7,540 would have gotten their government aid yanked.

“The number of families benefitting in 2020/2021 would be much lower than other years, which highlights the backwardness,” Hanlon said. He also pointed out parents under the plan need Social Security numbers to qualify, a move that would exclude undocumented families from receiving aid.

Other Republicans, including Sens. Marco Rubio of Florida and Mike Lee of Utah, slammed the Romney plan as “welfare” after it was unveiled, torching its universal assistance to families as a step that discouraged work.

Brown said he thought the Hawley plan wouldn’t go far among Republicans. “But it does indicate there’s openness to actually not just talking the talk about being a pro-worker party, but actually being willing to invest in that,” he said.

Biden is set to introduce the second part of his infrastructure plan this week with an extension of the monthly child tax credit payments to 2025, The Washington Post reported. The IRS recently said it was on course to start monthly payments of the child tax credit in July.

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AOC praised the ‘vision’ of Biden’s $1.9 trillion infrastructure package, but wants the administration to be more ambitious

Representative Alexandria Ocasio Cortez Capitol Hill April 2021
Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez on Capitol Hill.

  • Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez offered praise on Friday for Biden’s infrastructure package.
  • She is, however, “pressuring the administration to be a little more ambitious” with it.
  • Opponents have called Biden’s infrastructure plan a “radical, left wing, socialist agenda.”
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez on Friday said President Joe Biden’s first 100 days in office have exceeded the expectations of progressive lawmakers.

She particularly lauded the “vision” of Biden’s proposed $1.9 trillion infrastructure package, the American Rescue Plan, although she said it was too small.

“However, my concern is that the actual plan, their starting offer that they presented, doesn’t have the numbers necessary to actually do what they say they wanted to do,” she said. “That’s why we’ve been on the side of pressuring the administration to be a little more ambitious.”

Ocasio-Cortez offered overall praise for Biden’s actions since taking office. “I do think that the Biden administration – President Biden – has definitely exceeded expectations that progressives had,” she said during a virtual town hall in response to a question from NY1 television.

She added: “I’ll be frank, I think a lot of us expected a much more conservative administration.”

It was still early to judge whether the Biden administration would be “keeping or raising its ambitions” with future legislation, she said.

Ocasio-Cortez’s comments echoed those made by the Congressional Progressive Caucus, a group that has called Biden’s massive infrastructure plan “a welcome first step.”

“To that end, we believe this package can be substantially larger in size and scope,” Rep. Pramila Jayapal, caucus chair, said in a statement after Biden introduced the plan.

On the other side of the aisle, opponents have said Biden’s American Rescue Plan proposal included too much spending that ranged too far from traditional infrastructure.

Speaking on Fox Business on Friday, Sen. Ron Johnson said he supported fixing roads and bridges that have been “ignored for far too long,” according to a transcript provided by his office.

But he said, “they’re enacting their radical, left wing, socialist agenda.”

Other leading progressives have defended Biden wide-ranging approach. Sen. Bernie Sanders earlier this month said the country needed to invest in “human infrastructure.”

“Education. Health care. Child care. Good wages. Affordable prescriptions. That’s human infrastructure. Yes, we have got to rebuild this country’s crumbling infrastructure,” he told CNN.

Progressives have also sought more action on the climate crisis. Ocasio-Cortez on Friday again pushed for a Green New Deal, which she said could create millions of jobs. Earlier in the week, she and Sen. Ed Markey reintroduced their plan.

“Historically there has been this tension between environmental – this idea that we have to choose between environmental concerns or jobs or the economy,” Ocasio-Cortez said on Friday.

“You may hear on Fox News or from Republicans who are trying to scaremonger around climate, that stewarding our Earth and transitioning to renewal energies will destroy our economy and kill jobs,” she added.

Biden on Thursday will mark 100 days in office with an appearance in Georgia, the White House said. He’ll participate in a car rally and “highlight how he’s delivered on his promises to the American people,” according to Jen Psaki, press secretary.

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Democrats torch the 2-page GOP infrastructure blueprint as ‘a slap in the face’ and ‘a joke’

Ron Wyden
Sen. Ron Wyden (D-OR).

  • Democrats assailed the two-page GOP infrastructure blueprint, calling it too meager.
  • One Democratic senator said the GOP was “light years” away from their position.
  • The prospect of a short-term breakthrough on infrastructure appeared scant.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

Democrats had scathing assessments for the two-page Republican infrastructure outline released on Thursday, a sign that a bipartisan deal was not immediately in sight on one of President Joe Biden’s top economic priorities.

A group of Senate Republicans led by Sen. Shelley Moore Capito of West Virginia had unveiled the $568 billion infrastructure blueprint that was less a detailed plan than a two-page outline of principles. It amounted to about a quarter of Biden’s proposed $2.3 trillion stimulus spending.

The GOP plan would spread out new spending over a five-year period, largely paid for with user-fees. It included no corporate tax hike, and set aside over half of its funding on to repair roads, highways, and bridges. Capito called it “a robust package” at a news conference.

But some Democrats sharply disagree – and they torched the plan as too meager to confront the dual crises of climate change and economic inequality.

“I think this Republican proposal is light years out of the ballpark in terms of being able to get a bipartisan compromise,” Sen. Ron Wyden, chair of the Senate Finance Committee, said on a press call. “They really dump it all on the backs of middle-class workers.”

Sen. Bob Casey of Pennsylvania pointed to the Republican plan slashing the $400 billion in-home elder care component of Biden’s infrastructure plan, calling it a “terrible insult” to average workers.

“When they eliminate every penny for that investment, that’s a slap in the face to not just older Americans and people with disabilities, millions of families would need this care over the next number of years,” he told reporters on the same press call.

Democratic opposition to the plan appeared to run deep, and aides said they were skeptical of Republican seriousness on cutting a deal. Insider granted anonymity to two aides so they could speak candidly.

“Having a two-pager with four bullets on four [revenue] raisers, I don’t think it’s very serious,” one Democratic aide said, referring to the GOP plan.

“It doesn’t do anything on climate, which is non-negotiable for our caucus,” the aide said. “We can’t let a decade go by without doing something more substantial on climate.”

“It’s a joke,” another Democratic aide said. “Their number is so low and achieves so few of the things even they agree are important. It’s not remotely in the ballpark of what is serious.”

Republicans recently defended the early plan, saying they sought to strike an agreement.

“Could we just kind of tone the rhetoric down here and really try to get something done?” Capito told Politico on Wednesday. “I understand disagreement, but I read that we’re trying to stall it out and not make it happen. Or being too cheap? We’re talking about a very robust package here.”

The plan set the stage for additional talks, though it was unclear how disagreements over revenue sources and the plan’s size would be bridged.

The White House said on Thursday it was ready to kick off negotiations with the group of Senate Republicans on an infrastructure plan. The GOP proposal drew Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell’s approval earlier in the day.

“The president has said from the beginning he would welcome any good faith effort to find common ground because the only unacceptable step would be inaction,” White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki said.

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Biden reportedly briefed major bank CEOs before unveiling infrastructure plan, corporate tax hike

Biden
President Joe Biden has framed his infrastructure plan as a means of strengthening democracy and undermining autocracy.

  • President Joe Biden’s infrastructure package includes an increase in the corporate tax rate.
  • He briefed several bank CEOs on the package the morning before the announcement, the WP reports.
  • Business had a mixed response to it, while it has broken clearly with the GOP on several issues.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

President Joe Biden wants to increase taxes on corporations with his American Jobs Plan – and he let some leading business executives know before he announced it.

According to The Washington Post, the Biden administration briefed Brian Moynihan, the CEO of Bank of America, and David M. Solomon, the CEO of Goldman Sachs – along with “four other chief executives of the country’s biggest banks” – the morning of the infrastructure plan’s announcement.

They weren’t the only ones briefed, according to the Post; “in a 24-hour period,” groups like the Business Roundtable, the Chamber of Commerce, and National Association of Manufacturers also heard from White House officials, with outreach to thousands of small businesses also being planned.

All three of those groups have raised public objections: The Chamber of Commerce has come out against the corporate tax hikes, as have the Business Roundtable and the National Association of Manufacturers.

According to the Post, Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo “has spoken to more than 50 leading executives in recent days about the plan.”

On the whole, the business reaction to that hike has certainly not been uniform, with CEOs surveyed by the Business Roundtable saying that the increase could impact hiring and wage raises, but Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos saying he supports an unspecified increase to the corporate tax rate, while Lyft cofounder and President John Zimmer supports the 28% rate.

But overall, the reaction from the business community has been somewhat tepid, as many businesses have opted to stay silent. The Post partially attributes this to the weakened relationship between the business community and the GOP, which accelerated after the January 6 insurrection on the Capitol.

Many prominent business leaders – including at least one who had previously supported President Donald Trump – spoke out against those attacks. More recently, some businesses have stepped up to voice their support for voting rights and access following the passage of a restrictive voting bill in Georgia, as some activists called for boycotts of companies that did not take action.

Republicans have come out against the proposed increase, which would bring the corporate tax to 28% from 21%. That’s still lower than the 35% rate in place prior to the Trump administration’s 2017 tax cuts. As Insider’s Joseph Zeballos-Roig reported, the GOP has instead been suggesting that average people shoulder the cost of infrastructure improvements in the form of “pay-fors.”

But another reason that the response has been tepid could be a looming compromise: Axios reported that Senate Democrats will push a 25% corporate tax rate, an amount that powerful moderate Sen. Joe Manchin has signaled his support for.

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