Biden pitches government expansion with over $4T in new spending on social programs, infrastructure
Biden calls for passage of his new $1.8 trillion plan including universal pre-K and tuition free community college
The Facts Inside Our Reporter’s Notebook
In his first major address as president, President Biden on Wednesday night pitched expansion of the U.S. government with over $4 trillion in new spending on child care, tuition free community college, infrastructure and green energy investments.
Biden's $1.8 trillion American Families Plan is the follow-up to his $2.25 trillion American Jobs Plan. The estimated price tag of these plans is in addition to regular government appropriations.
After 100 days of recovery, Biden said America is "ready for a takeoff."
"After just 100 days, I can report to the nation that America is on the move again," Biden said during his address on the House floor. "America is rising a new."
His American Families Plan includes new spending on child care, universal pre-K and offering two years of community college to every American. The American Jobs Plan is focused on physical infrastructure such as roads, bridges, ports and airports.
Despite the ongoing pandemic putting a wallop a small businesses, particularly restaurants, Biden called on Congress to increase the minimum wage to $15 a hour.
Biden also said Chinese President Xi Jinping "deadly earnest" about his country "becoming the single most consequential nation in the world."
Biden also said Xi think democracy can't compete globally because "it takes too long to get consensus."
"To win that competition for the future, in my view, we also need to make a once-in-a-generation investment in our families and our children," he said, referring to his American Families Plan.
Biden said his plan will "guarantee" everyone two years of a public college education and access to high-quality child care. He said families won't have to pay more than 7% of their income toward child care under his plan. Biden said it would also provide up to 12 years of paid family leave.
"It will provide universal, quality-preschool to all three- and four- year-olds. It will provide Americans two years of free community college," a White House fact sheet states about the plan.
The proposal also extends expanded Affordable Care Act premiums tax credits in the American Rescue Plan, Biden also said.
The president also pledged to raise taxes on corporations so his American Families Plan won't increase the nation's deficit. Biden had previously proposed raising the corporate tax rate to 28% and increasing the top tax bracket to 39.6% on $400,000 or more annual income as a way to pay for his American Jobs Plan.
"I'm not looking to punish anybody, but I will not add an additional tax burden to the middle class," he said. "They're already paying enough. I believe what I propose is fair; fiscally responsible."
Biden told lawmakers that Congress should pass policing reform by the end of next month before the first anniversary of George Floyd's death.
West Virginia Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin said he's "uncomfortable" with Biden's massive spending proposals that followed the passage of his American Rescue Plan, the second-largest stimulus package in history.
In addition to the American Families Plan, Biden vowed to work with Congress to expand Medicare and lower deductibles of Affordable Care Act medical plans.
Biden also proposed gun control measures, including bringing back the assault weapons ban.
"No amendment to the Constitution is absolute," he said.
He also said Congress should pass comprehensive immigration reform with a pathway to citizens for millions of illegal immigrants.
In addition, Biden called on Congress to pass H.R. 1, a sweeping federal election reform bill that Republicans oppose.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has referred to it as a "power grab."
Biden's speech took place on the eve of his first 100 days as president.
The speech, traditionally the U.S. president's first major address to Congress and the American public after getting elected, was a more subdued and scaled-back event this year, compared to previous ones, as a result of the coronavirus.
Only a few dozen seats appeared to be filled on the House floor and gallery, in an effort to continue social-distancing efforts amid the pandemic. Among those in attendance were Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, a New York Democrat, and Missouri Sen. Roy Blunt, a member of GOP Senate leadership.
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