President Biden Thursday pitched his $3.5 trillion spending plan as a way to close the wealth gap, arguing that the economy currently doesn't work for many Americans and that Democrats' massive bill can fix it.
"Are we going to continue with an economy where the overwhelming share of the benefits go to big corporations and the very wealthy or are we going to take the moment right now to send this country on a new path?" Biden said in remarks from the White House. "One that invests in this nation, creates real sustained economic growth and benefits everyone."
"The data is absolutely clear: Over the past 40 years the wealthy have gotten wealthier, and too many corporations have lost a sense of responsibility to their workers, the community and the country," Biden added. "How's it possible that the wealthiest billionaires in this country can entirely escape paying taxes on what they made?"
One of the ways Biden said his plan would help close the wealth gap would be through increased tax enforcement on the wealthy, including by surveillance of their bank accounts.
"It would ask just for two pieces of information from the banks of these folks – the amounts that come into their bank accounts and the amounts that go out of their bank accounts." Biden said that this is so they can "pay what they owe, what the existing tax code calls for."
The president said, "I'm not out to punish anyone, I'm a capitalist. If you can make a million or a billion dollars, that's great, God bless you. All I'm asking is that you pay your fair share."
The address comes as Democrats are struggling to hash out details about what exactly will be in their budget reconciliation package – the legislative vehicle that allows them to circumvent the Senate filibuster and thus avoid working with Republicans.
Some moderates are upset at how expensive the legislation is and at how quickly it's being thrown together. There are also disagreements on the details of how to handle certain elements of the bill, like SALT taxes or prescription drugs. A group of moderate Democrats, for example, voted against a prescription drug provision in the House Energy and Commerce Committee this week.
Some moderate Republicans, meanwhile, are threating to withhold their votes on the bipartisan infrastructure bill in protest of how expensive the reconciliation bill is going to be.
But Biden Thursday said he is still confident both of those bills will pass.
"I'm confident the Congress will deliver to my desk both the bipartisan infrastructure plan and the Build Back Better plan that I have proposed. I've said many times before I believe we are at an inflection point in this country," Biden said.
The president also hit back against criticism from Republicans that it will explode the debt, arguing that it is "paid for, it's fiscally responsible … by making sure corporations and the wealthy pay their fair share." House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., last week notably said, "We will pay for more than half, maybe all of the legislation."
Biden Thursday also argued that his plan won't raise taxes on anyone making less than $400,000 and that some economists say it will "ease long-term inflationary pressures."
Congress isn't likely to get the reconciliation bill to Biden's desk until at least October and potentially even later this fall.