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Biden to call for $4 trillion in new spending during joint address to Congress

Biden's forthcoming $1.8 trillion American Families Plan is the follow-up to his $2.25 trillion American Jobs Plan, and Dems are ready to move elements of the plans through Congress without GOP votes

Updated: April 27, 2021 - 10:30pm

President Joe Biden is expected to call for $4 trillion in new federal spending during his joint address to Congress on Wednesday evening.

Biden's forthcoming $1.8 trillion American Families Plan is the follow-up to his $2.25 trillion American Jobs Plan, which is focused on infrastructure improvements, universal broadband and creating new union jobs. 

After Biden's call for "unity" in his inaugural address, Democrats appear ready to use budget reconciliation again to move elements of the president's latest plans through Congress without GOP votes.

The Democrats used the reconciliation tool to avoid the legislative filibuster in the Senate and pass Biden's $1.9 trillion coronavirus stimulus bill called the American Rescue Plan Act. In addition to funding for vaccines, the extension of a $300 weekly federal unemployment payment and $1,400 stimulus checks, the bill included an $86 billion bailout for union-managed pension plans.

Biden is focusing on labor unions with his American Jobs Plan, driven by physical infrastructure spending and green energy investments. The Biden Administration is pledging to create 2.7 million jobs with the plan. The White House has described these jobs as "good-paying, union jobs of the future." Biden has already called for a corporate tax hike from 21% to 28% as a funding mechanism for the plan.

A Republican member of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee recently said the plan would benefit unions and hurt right-to-work states. House Minority Whip Steve Scalise and other Democrats have compared the proposal to the Green New Deal. Last month, a top Democrat characterized Biden's "transformational" infrastructure package as a "grab bag" that would address a wide range of issues from climate change to health care and immigration. 

Biden teased the upcoming American Families Plan during a recent speech at a union hall in Pittsburgh. The forthcoming proposal is expected to include federal spending on child care, early childhood education, Medicare expansion and more.

Some progressive lawmakers want Biden to also include prescription drug provisions in the plan. Democrats have referred to the proposed spending on social safety net programs as investments in the nation's infrastructure that would help women in particular.

Pennsylvania Sen. Bob Casey touted the federal funding for caregivers in the American Rescue Plan on Tuesday and said lawmakers should not solely count roads, bridges, tunnels and ports as infrastructure. 

"I know there are a lot of Republican politicians in Washington who are saying that home and community based services are not part of an infrastructure, that frankly is insulting to families because infrastructure is about how we live, how we function," Casey said on a conference call with Pennsylvania Democrats. "And frankly, to be blunt, about how women get to work. 

"So why is it that when we do infrastructure, only the men benefit, or mostly benefit? Why is it when it comes to the caregiving infrastructure that allows women to go to work in our society to function, why do we have a one size fits all Washington definition of infrastructure?"

The Congressional Budget Office estimated that Biden's American Rescue Plan would add $1.9 trillion to deficits over a 10-year period. The American Jobs Plan and American Families Plan have not been drafted into formal legislation yet but are estimated to cost about $4 trillion combined. The national debt is currently more than $28 trillion.

The White House is expected to release a framework of the American Families Plan on Wednesday.

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