President Joe Biden’s $2 trillion, eight-year "American Jobs Plan," to be unveiled Wednesday, contains money for a smorgasbord of interests from roads to the power grid and will also include money for cleaning up abandoned mines — an obvious nod to coal state senators who could be the key to its passage.
Abandoned mine remediation would be particularly attractive for Sen. Joe Manchin, a Democrat whose support in a tightly locked Senate is key for movement on virtually any legislation, even under sped-up budget reconciliation procedures under which Republicans’ votes largely wouldn’t matter.
According to several sources who were on a call where White House officials briefed lawmakers Tuesday afternoon, the plan would encompass not just highways and transit but water systems, broadband, supply chain issues and more. It would address electrification and has a major plank on innovation, which involves research funding targeted at areas where the United States is falling behind China and other competitors, such as on semi-conductors and batteries.
National Economic Council Director Brian Deese said on the call that the plan would be paid for by changes to the corporate tax rate, including an effort already underway by the administration to achieve worldwide agreement on setting a global minimum corporate tax rate so that corporations could no longer pit countries against each other in search of the lowest rate.
The plan will likely have to be moved under reconciliation procedures to have any hope of passage. But even Democrats may be squeamish about the tax hikes. At one point during the briefing with Deese, House Ways and Means Chair Richard Neal (D-Mass.) raised concerns that people might not spend their stimulus checks if they heard that tax increases were on the horizon, according to two GOP sources on the call.
In his speech Wednesday, Biden will emphasize the need to move away from dependency on fossil fuels in order to meet Biden’s goal of zeroing out power grid emissions by 2035 and economy-wide by 2050.
That includes a massive $174 billion investment in vehicle electrification, including the installation of 500,000 new electric vehicle charging stations by 2030, according to a document viewed by POLITICO. The document says that the plan would "enable automakers to spur domestic supply chains from raw materials to parts, retool factories to compete globally, and support American workers to make batteries and EVs."
The plan also calls for buyer rebates and incentives for electric vehicles, swapping out 50,000 diesel-powered transit vehicles and electrifying at least 20 percent of school buses, as well as the entire federal vehicle fleet. In addition, it would seek to upgrade the power grid and make it more resilient; build and maintain VA hospitals and housing; and boost job training and apprenticeships.
It also will invest in home- and community-based services to reduce backlogs for those who need access and will seek to improves wages and job quality for essential workers, most of whom are women of color — an element labor has been pushing the administration to include. More items related to caregiving, like the child tax credit and paid leave, are expected to be in a second bill.
The infrastructure plan won’t be funded with any changes to the tax rate for individuals — only corporations — which could make it harder for Republicans to fight if they don’t “want to be seen as defending the corporations,” a source on the White House call suggested.
A mechanism to leverage private investment, like an infrastructure bank, apparently has interest from the White House but has not yet been baked into the plan.
It’s also unclear how an eight-year plan will dovetail with the five-year surface transportation bill lawmakers are planning for later this year, a question that is already causing confusion on Capitol Hill.
Two weeks after Wednesday’s rollout of the infrastructure piece, Biden will unveil the remaining parts of his "Build Back Better" agenda, which he’ll be calling the “American Families Plan,” dealing with caregiving and health care.
Olivia Beavers, Marianne Levine and Melanie Zanona contributed to this report.