WASHINGTON – President Joe Biden and Mitch McConnell, leader of minorities in the Republican Senate, on Monday reinforced their stance on the tax increases for millionaires and businesses that Biden has proposed to fund his massive infrastructure and education plans.
“We are open to a package of about $ 600 billion that deals with what we all agree on ‘infrastructure,'” McConnell said at an event in Kentucky. “And to talk about how you can pay for that in a way other than reopening the 2017 tax reform bill.”
Raising the corporate tax rate from 21% to 28% is at the heart of Biden’s proposal to pay for the US jobs plan, a major overhaul of the national infrastructure and energy sector that would create jobs in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic.
But McConnell on Monday called the 2017 tax cuts one of the most significant domestic achievements of the past four years under former President Donald Trump. “We’re not going back there,” he said.
McConnell’s push to protect the 2017 tax cuts effectively pour cold water on the best chance the White House and Republicans in Congress had to negotiate a deal on at least part of Biden’s expanded domestic agenda.
“I don’t think there will be any Republican support, none, zero for the $ 4.1 trillion grab bag, which includes infrastructure, but a lot of other stuff,” McConnell said.
Senate Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) arrives to speak after the Republican caucus policy luncheon on Capitol Hill in Washington, April 13, 2021.
Joshua Roberts | Reuters
But it wasn’t just McConnell who drew a line in the sand on Monday.
Biden did, too, while visiting a community college in Norfolk, Virginia, where he praised the proposed expansion of pre-kindergarten and community college scholarships as part of his American Families Plan to expand the social safety net.
This $ 1.8 trillion plan would be largely paid for by changes to individual tax laws, including higher income tax rates for the very wealthy and tougher enforcement by the IRS.
“I’m from the corporate capital of the world,” said Biden, who is from the Delaware founding center. “I’m not anti-corporate, but it’s time they paid their fair share,” he said. “It’s about making a choice.”
“I don’t want to punish anyone, but everyone should participate, everyone here should pay something along the way. The choice is about who serves the economy, so I intend to give tax breaks to the working class, and everyone is paying their fair share,” said the president.
In addition to a return to pre-2017 income tax rates for the highest earners, Biden suggests expanding the IRS’s ability to verify individual incomes, tax capital gains upon death, and raise the capital gains tax rate to nearly 40% , which would correspond to the individual income tax rate.
On Monday, Biden was careful not to personally slander the very wealthy by saying, “They’re good people, they’re not bad people.”
But the president also made it clear that he sees these tax increases as more than just a necessary evil to fund his grand plans: they are an important part of restoring a sense of shared responsibility and burden across the US economy.
“For too long we’ve had an economy that gives every pause in the world to the people who need it the least,” he said. “It’s time to grow the economy from the bottom up and from the center.”
Despite McConnell’s hardline, White House officials plan to spend additional time this week lobbying key Republicans in Congress to support the infrastructure overhaul.
Biden also plans to host McConnell, House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, House Majority Leader Nancy Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer at the White House on May 12 for a broader discussion of shared priorities.
But Democrats in and around the White House recognize that Biden has limited time to hit most of his domestic agenda, and they are wary of spending too much time looking for Republicans for votes that may never come. .
Seasoned Democratic political strategists in Biden’s orbit also vividly recall former President Barack Obama’s extensive outreach to Republicans in 2009 in support of the Affordable Care Act. Despite months of efforts, Obama’s signature legislation ultimately failed to garner GOP votes.
According to Senator Chris Coons, D-Del., A close ally of Biden, there is an unofficial May 31 deadline for the White House and Congressional Republicans to reach a consensus, if at all.
“I believe President Biden is open to negotiating what the possibility is in the coming month,” Coons told Punchbowl News in an interview last month.
If there isn’t a deal by Memorial Day, Coons said, “I think the Democrats just roll it up in a big package and move it.”