March 5, 2024

President Joe Biden speaks during an American employment plan event at the South Court Auditorium on the White House campus on Wednesday, April 7, 2021 in Washington.

Evan Vucci | AP

President Joe Biden said Wednesday he was ready to negotiate the proposed $ 2 trillion increase in corporate tax on his infrastructure plan.

“I’m ready to listen to this,” Biden said at the White House when asked if he would consider lowering the corporate tax rate than 28%, as his plan currently suggests.

“We have to pay for it,” added Biden, noting that there are “many other ways we can do that”.

“But I am ready to negotiate,” he said.

The president’s comment on the corporate tax rate came after he heavily defended the size and scope of his planned infrastructure overhaul.

Republicans were quick to criticize the plan to fund too many projects that they believe do not fall under the definition of infrastructure. Senate Minority Chairman Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., Has attempted to brand the plan as a “Trojan horse” for liberal politics, and other GOP lawmakers have claimed that only a small fraction of the massive bill is for “real infrastructure” is used.

But Biden argued Wednesday afternoon that “the idea of ​​infrastructure has always evolved to meet the aspirations of the American people and their needs. And it is evolving again today.”

The president said he welcomed the debate on the details of the bill and said “any Republican who wants to achieve this” is invited to the White House.

However, he noted that his own view is that infrastructure reform should be designed with the future in mind, rather than focusing on repairing existing structures.

“We’re not just repairing for today. We’re building for tomorrow,” said Biden.

“It’s not a plan that tinkers with the edges. It’s a one-time investment in America, unlike anything we’ve done since building the highway system and winning the space race decades ago,” said the president.

“It’s a plan that will get millions of Americans to fix what’s broken in our country: tens of thousands of miles of roads and highways, thousands of bridges in dire need of repair. It’s also a blueprint of the infrastructure that is needed for tomorrow is needed, “he added.

Biden’s proposal, dubbed the American Employment Plan, will spend around $ 2 trillion over eight years. The White House offered a 15-year path to funding the plan, including by raising the corporate tax rate to 28%. The Republicans had cut the tax under former President Donald Trump’s 2017 tax law from 35% to 21%.

The infrastructure plan would also implement other measures, such as increasing the global minimum tax for multinational companies and closing so-called offshoring gaps for funding.

“Building tomorrow’s infrastructure today requires major investments,” said Biden. “The departments of the moment shouldn’t stop us from doing what’s right for the future.”

The ambitious, expensive push to update U.S. infrastructure began just weeks after Biden signed a $ 1.9 trillion coronavirus relief bill. That package was sent through Congress without GOP support, and it will likely be even more difficult for the White House to convince Republicans to support another major bill that includes tax increases.

Biden is also being pressured by West Virginia Democratic Senator Joe Manchin, who has already spoken out against a corporate rate of 28%. In a 50:50 split of the Senate between the two parties, Manchin’s vote could make all the difference.