Javier Zarracina, Joey Garrison and George Petras, USA TODAYPublished 4:31 AM PDT Apr. 1, 2021 Updated 4:16 PM PDT Apr. 6, 2021
WASHINGTON — President Joe Biden on Wednesday introduced a sweeping $2 trillion infrastructure and jobs package that looks to reshape the American economy and make the most significant domestic U.S. investments in generations.
His far-reaching American Jobs Plan includes spending to repair aging roads and bridges, jump-start transit projects and rebuild school buildings and hospitals. It would also expand electric vehicles, replace all lead pipes and overhaul the nation’s water systems.
But the plan goes far beyond infrastructure.
It’s as much a jobs program – one that looks to build the nation’s clean energy workforce, expand manufacturing and boost caregiving as a profession to serve the elderly and disabled.
“Put simply, these are investments we have to make,” Biden said. “Put another way, we can’t afford not to.”
The plan, the centerpiece of Biden’s economic agenda, will next need to pass Congress, where Republicans are already lining up against it.
According to White House, the plan is divided across four main areas. Here is how the money would be spent:
The plan would make a massive investment in America’s roadways, railways and bridges with a focus on clean energy.
It would spend $174 billion, or about 28% of the transportation portion, on electric vehicles. That includes a network of 500,000 electric vehicle stations, using electric vehicles in bus fleets, and replacing the federal government’s fleet of diesel transit vehicles with electric vehicles. It would also offer tax incentives and rebates for electric cars.
About $115 billion would pay for fixing roads and bridges, chosen by those in most need of repair. That includes 20,000 miles of highways and roads, the 10 most “economically significant” bridges in the U.S. as well as 10,000 smaller bridges.
Another $85 billion is set aside for modernizing transit systems and $80 billion for a growing backlog of Amtrak repairs as well as improvements and route expansion. Airports, ports and waterways would also receive improvements.
The largest part of the plan focuses on American homes, school buildings, underground water infrastructure and broadband expansion.
The plan would spend $213 billion to build, preserve and retrofit more than 2 million affordable homes and commercial buildings. This includes the construction or rehabilitation of 500,000 homes for low- and middle-income owners. An additional $111 billion would go toward clean drinking water, including replacement of all lead pipes and service lines.
The plan sets aside $100 billion for constructing or modernizing public schools, while another $100 billion would be used to build high-speed broadband networks throughout the country. The goal would be for broadband to become universal for all Americans and to drive down the costs for internet.
The plan also calls for $40 billion to improve public housing, $18 million for Veterans Affairs hospitals and clinics, $12 billion for community college infrastructure and $16 million to plug oil and gas wells and reclaim abandoned mines.
Biden wants to pump $400 billion to improve access to quality, affordable home or community-based care for the elderly and people with disabilities. It would expand a Medicaid program to make more services available and eliminate a backlog that prevents thousands from getting care.
It would also boost pay for care workers, who are disproportionately women of color and typically earn about $12 an hour.
“For too long, caregiver have been unseen, underpaid and undervalued,” Biden said.
About $300 billion in the plan would be invested in manufacturing, including support for domestic production of technologies and critical goods. Around $50 billion would go toward semiconductor manufacturing and research.
The plan would spend $180 billion on new research and development with an emphasis on clean energy, fewer emissions and climate change research. That total includes $100 billion for worker training and an increase of worker protection systems.
“We’ve fallen back,” Biden said of U.S. investment in research and technology. “The rest of the world is closing in and closing in fast. We can’t allow this to continue.”
Biden wants to raise the corporate tax rate to 28% to pay for the plan – a percentage that the White House noted is still below what corporations paid before President Donald Trump’s tax cuts in 2017. Biden also wants to increase the minimum tax on U.S. multinational corporations to 21%.
The tax overhaul, dubbed the Made in America Tax Plan, seeks to incentivize job creation and investment in the U.S., end profit-shifting to tax havens and ensure large corporations pay “their fair share,” according to the White House.
The plan would eliminate a rule that allows U.S. companies to pay no taxes on the first 10% of returns when they locate investments in other countries.
Under the tax hikes and other reforms – eliminating tax loopholes for intellectual property and denying companies deductions for offshoring jobs, for example – the White House projects the spending would be fully paid in 15 years and reduce deficits in the following years.
SOURCE USA TODAY reporting and research; whitehouse.gov