WASHINGTON – President Joe Biden said Wednesday he was open to compromise on his administration’s proposal to raise the U.S. corporate tax rate to fund $ 2 trillion in infrastructure projects.
“Debate is welcome. Compromise is inevitable. Changes to my plan are certain,” Biden said in a speech at the White House hours after his administration published an 18-page revision of proposed tax legislation to raise funds for his infrastructure plan.
A week after unveiling his sweeping proposal to modernize the country’s roads, railways and bridges, Biden explained how his administration will fund the eight-year project. The proposed tax plan will increase the corporate income tax rate from 21 percent to 28 percent and the overseas corporate income tax rate to 21 percent.
The Biden government believes the series of proposed corporate tax changes will generate $ 2.5 trillion over 15 years to fully pay for the infrastructure plan. But Congressional Republicans and business leaders have pushed the proposed increase back, arguing that it will boost business overseas.
Biden defended his urge to hike the corporate tax rate – which was cut from 35 percent under the Trump administration in 2017 to 21 percent – citing a recent study that found that at least 55 of the largest companies in the country had in the past No federal taxes paid in the year.
“It’s not fair to the rest of American taxpayers,” Biden said.
Addressing concerns from Republican lawmakers that the plan was too extensive and costly, the president argued that in America, “we’re not just repairing for today, we’re building for tomorrow.”
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Senate Republican leaders have said they are ready to work on an infrastructure bill, but have questioned some of the proposals in Biden’s multi-trillion-dollar plan that they believe are about traditional physical infrastructure projects like Biden’s pitch to create a network of 500,000 electric vehicle charging points across the country.
“Two hundred years ago, trains weren’t a traditional infrastructure either until America made the decision to move tracks across the country,” Biden said. “Highways weren’t traditional infrastructure until we imagined that roads could connect our nation across state lines. The idea of infrastructure has evolved to meet the aspirations and needs of the American people, and it is evolving today further again.”
Senior administrators joined forces on Wednesday in defense of the plan.
Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen argued on a conference call with reporters that the corporation tax hike was necessary because the country’s tax revenues are already at their lowest levels in generations and we have less money to invest in if they keep falling roads, bridges, broadband and [research and development]. “
“The revenue from the tax plan will be used to finance both traditional and more modern infrastructure required to run a digital economy such as high-speed broadband networks,” said Yellen.
Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo said at the start of the White House press conference on Wednesday that there was “room for compromise” with executives on the rate and timeframe for the plan.
“What I’m begging the business community not to do is say, ‘We don’t like 28 [percent]. We go away. We don’t discuss, “said Raimondo.” This is unacceptable. Come to the table and solve the problem with us to come up with a sensible, responsible plan. ”
Prominent corporate groups like the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and Business Roundtable have said they support infrastructure investment but oppose the proposed tax hike, arguing that it would affect the country’s ability to get businesses to stay in the U.S.
Some business leaders, including the founders of Amazon and Lyft, have spoken out in favor of the increases.
Lyft President and Co-Founder John Zimmer said he supported the president’s proposed tax plan in an interview with CNN on Wednesday.
“I think it’s important to get back to investing in the country and the economy, and as the economy grows, so do jobs and people’s needs to get around.” Said room.
Jeff Bezos, the CEO and founder of the Amazon CEO, said in a statement posted on the company’s website Tuesday that the company “supported” an increase.
“We understand that this investment will require concessions on all sides – both in terms of the details of the benefits included and in terms of how they are paid for (we support an increase in the corporate tax rate),” wrote Bezos. “We look forward to Congress and the government coming together to find the right, balanced solution that will maintain or improve US competitiveness.”