President Biden on Wednesday said that compromise on his $2.25 trillion infrastructure plan was “inevitable” but that inaction was not an option.
“Democrats and Republicans will have ideas about what they like and what they don’t like about our plan. That’s a good thing,” Biden said. “Debate is welcome. Compromise is inevitable. Changes are certain.”
Biden said he and Vice President Kamala Harris would be meeting with Republicans and Democrats about the plan. “We will be open to good ideas and good faith negotiations,” Biden said, adding, “Here’s what we won’t be open to: We will not be open to doing nothing. Inaction simply is not an option.”
Republicans have criticized Biden’s plan, arguing that traditional infrastructure investments comprise only a fraction of the total spending it proposes. Biden said he was happy to debate what should be in the plan, but defended his proposals as the right path to help American workers. “We are America. We don’t just fix for today. We build for tomorrow,” he said. “The idea of infrastructure has always evolved to meet the aspirations of the American people, and their needs. And it’s evolving again today.”
To pay for his plan, Biden has proposed corporate tax increases that his administration says would raise about $2.5 trillion over 15 years. Those proposals have been dismissed by Republicans and criticized by business groups. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) continues to call Biden’s plan “a Trojan horse for massive tax increases and a whole lot of more debt and whole lot of spending.”
McConnell said Wednesday that he’s “hopeful that not every single Democrat” will line up behind Biden’s bill and that some centrists “will have some skepticism about this massive growth of government.” Sen. Joe Manchin of West Virginia, a key Democratic vote in the evenly divided Senate, said this week that he and other Democrats weren’t comfortable with Biden’s proposed 28% corporate tax rate and would seek to set the rate at 25%.
Biden on Wednesday reiterated a campaign pledge that he would not raise taxes on households earning less than $400,000 and said he would be open to other ideas about how to pay for his infrastructure package.