WASHINGTON (AP) — Beyond roads and bridges, President Joe Biden is trying to redefine infrastructure not just as an investment in America the place, but in its workers, families and people.
The first phase of his “Build Back Better” package to be unveiled Wednesday in Pittsburgh would unleash $2 trillion in new spending on four main hard infrastructure categories — transportation; public water, health and broadband systems; community care for seniors; and innovation research and development, according to people familiar with the proposal.
Those would be paid for by permanently raising the corporate tax rate from 21% to 28%, the people said, which would unwind the lower corporate rate put in place by the Trump administration.
The next phase would focus on soft infrastructure investments in child care, family tax credits and other domestic programs, paid for by tax hikes on wealthy individuals and families, they said.
Swelling to $3 trillion or $4 trillion, Biden’s new package proposes a massive investment on par with the Franklin Roosevelt’s New Deal or Lyndon Johnson’s Great Society. Taken together, the administration’s approach is transforming the old ideas of infrastructure investment into a 21st century concept that includes developing the human capital of America’s population.
“He’s talking about physical infrastructure and we’re talking about human infrastructure,” Sen. Bernie Sanders, the independent from Vermont who is chairman of the Budget Committee, said in an interview Tuesday.
The president is set deliver a speech Wednesday outlining the size and scope of his plan, the administration hoping to take a more deliberate and collaborative approach with the lawmakers than it did on the emergency COVID-19 rescue package, Biden’s first big priority to be signed into law.