During a speech from Lakes Charles, Louisiana, Biden sought to drum up support for his $4 trillion spending proposals designed to redistribute trillions in wealth and dramatically expand the government-funded social safety net. He insisted that he wants to create a tax system where "everyone pays their fair share" by imposing higher levies on corporations and the top sliver of U.S. households.
"This is not punishing anybody," Biden said. "All those folks are still going to have two homes or three homes and their jets. It won't matter. Not gonna change their standing one little bit."
The two measures that Biden is promoting — known as the American Jobs Plan and the American Families Plan — make up the basis of his sprawling "Build Back Better" agenda. The first package, worth roughly $2.3 trillion, includes billions in new funding for the nation’s roads and bridges, as well as transit systems, green energy and elder care, while the latter – with a price tag of about $1.8 trillion – would allocate billions for child care, prekindergarten, paid family leave and tax credits for low- and middle-income families.
The plans would be paid for by a slew of new tax hikes, including raising the corporate tax rate to 28% from 21% and restoring the top individual income tax rate to 39.6%, where it sat before Republicans' 2017 tax law, and doubling the capital gains tax rate for Americans earning more than $1 million. Biden indicated on Thursday that he would consider a corporate tax rate anywhere between 25% and 28%.
"We've got to build from the bottom up and the middle out," Biden said. "That's how we build America."
Biden, Vice President Kamala Harris and other White House officials have fanned out across the country over the past week in an attempt to build widespread support for the proposals. The travel is part of the administration's "Getting America Back on Track Tour" as they seek to move past Biden’s first 100 days in office.
"Infrastructure has historically been a bipartisan undertaking and there's no reason it shouldn't be that way again," Biden said Thursday.
Still, the initiatives face a steep hill to passage, even though Democrats control both chambers of Congress.
Many moderate members of the president's party are likely to push back against his tax-hike proposals amid fears it could jeopardize the U.S. economy's fragile recovery from the coronavirus pandemic. Republicans have already panned the proposal, with Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., predicting that no GOP senator would support the measure, known as the American Families Plan.