Today President Biden traveled to Lake Charles, in the Republican-dominated state of Louisiana, to build bipartisan support for his $2.3 trillion American Jobs Plan. The proposed law is designed to create good jobs while it rebuilds America’s badly neglected infrastructure.
Biden stood in front of the Calcasieu River Bridge, built in 1952 and twenty years overdue for renovation, in a state hit 30 times in the past ten years by natural disasters that cost up to $50 billion in damage. “I’ve never seen a Republican or Democrat road. I just see roads,” Biden said. He called for a once in a lifetime investment in roads, bridges, electrical grids, schools, childcare, job training, broadband, and so on, to make America competitive in the twenty-first century.
Biden has called for funding this investment by raising the corporate tax rate from its current 21% to 28%—still lower than the 35% it was before Trump’s 2017 tax cut—and by making sure corporations can no longer skip out on paying their taxes.
Polls show that the plan is popular with about 56% of Americans, who seem eager to see the federal government invest in ordinary Americans again, particularly after seeing the willingness of Republicans to pass the 2017 tax cut that fueled a projected $1.9 trillion increase in the national debt in its first eleven years and primarily benefited households that made more than $200,000 a year. That bill passed without a single Democratic vote, but Republicans later complained about Democrats’ “irresponsible” refusal to cut spending, saying that “America is driving toward a fiscal cliff….”
Indeed, Republicans seem eager to take credit for the $1.9 trillion American Rescue Plan, which passed Congress in March without a single Republican vote. The plan is popular—77% of Americans backed it—and Republicans are touting the help it’s bringing to their constituents without noting that they opposed it. The Restaurant Revitalization Fund, which supports restaurants hurt by the pandemic, is especially popular.
But while Republican lawmakers are willing to embrace the popular American Rescue Plan now that it’s law, they oppose the American Jobs Plan, saying that higher taxes would hurt the economy. “I’m going to fight them every step of the way,” Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) said last week. Yesterday, he said, "100 percent of my focus is on stopping this new administration."
In Louisiana today, Biden said he was willing to talk to opponents. “I’m ready to compromise,” he said. “What I’m not ready to do is, I’m not ready to do nothing. I’m not ready to have another period where America has another Infrastructure Month and it doesn’t change a damn thing.”