WASHINGTON, D.C. (KERO) — It's no secret there's some confusion over infrastructure: what exactly it covers, and how President Joe Biden plans to change the current systems. 23ABC is taking an in-depth look at what's on the table, why politicians can't seem to agree, and how much it's going to cost you.
Back in March, the president announced his infrastructure plan dubbed the American Jobs Plan. The president says those moves will create thousands of jobs while fixing roads, bridges, and broadband connections in need of repairs. Since then he's also rolled out the American Families Plan which looks to add more social programs for Americans.
So how much will all this cost?
It's no surprise members of Congress are looking for answers about where the money is coming from.
United States infrastructure was the main topic of discussion Wednesday as congressional leaders met with President Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris in the Oval Office. Among those in attendance was House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA 23rd District).
It was just two weeks ago that Rep. McCarthy told 23ABC that he was still waiting for his first meeting with President Biden and Wednesday, it finally happened, and the two aimed to find common ground.
“I felt our meeting was very strong. We talked about infrastructure. I think there’s a place we can find bipartisanship.”
AMERICAN JOBS PLAN:
According to the White House website, President Biden’s plan will:
- Fix highways, rebuild bridges, upgrade ports, airports and transit systems.
- Deliver clean drinking water, a renewed electric grid, and high-speed broadband to all Americans.
- Build, preserve, and retrofit more than two million homes and commercial buildings, modernize our nation’s schools and child care facilities, and upgrade veterans’ hospitals and federal buildings.
- Solidify the infrastructure of our care economy by creating jobs and raising wages and benefits for essential home care workers.
- Revitalize manufacturing, secure U.S. supply chains, invest in R&D, and train Americans for the jobs of the future.
- Create good-quality jobs that pay prevailing wages in safe and healthy workplaces while ensuring workers have a free and fair choice to organize, join a union, and bargain collectively with their employers.
Both Democrats and Republicans talked about the future of infrastructure spending nationwide. Discussions circling around the $2.3 trillion infrastructure proposal that President Biden announced earlier this year.
Rep. McCarthy speaking to the press afterward explained that in order for both sides of the aisle to come to an agreement, they need to decide what counts as infrastructure, which they remain divided on.
“One thing I brought up to the president, we need to start with the definition of ‘what is infrastructure?',” said McCarthy. “That’s roads, bridges, highways, airports, broadband.”
“Whereas Democrats are saying that our infrastructure can also be things like childcare. It can be things like wifi networks, things like pre-K,” added political science teacher Jeremy Adams at Bakersfield High School.
AMERICAN FAMILIES PLAN:
To grow the middle class, expand the benefits of economic growth to all Americans, and leave the United States more competitive, President Biden’s American Families Plan will:
- Add at least four years of free education.
- Provide direct support to children and families.
- Extend tax cuts for families with children and American workers.
According to Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnel, both Democrats and Republicans agree there is a need for investment toward the country’s infrastructure, but also differ on how much to spend. Republican senators making a much smaller offer than President Biden's $2.3 trillion.
“Which is $568 billion," said Adams. "This weekend, Mitch McConnell said they are willing to go even higher as long as they are sticking with a traditional definition of what infrastructure is.”
Another point that will need to be negotiated, according to McCarthy, is where that money comes from.
“You won’t find any Republican who is going to go raise taxes,” said McCarthy.
Republicans did not give specifics on how they would like to pay for an infrastructure bill. This is just the first step in many more negotiations to come.
There also isn’t a solid timeline, however, Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi said Wednesday that she believes the bill will be ready within the next couple of months. She's targeting the Fourth of July.
So how does the government plan to pay for all of these programs?
The Biden Administration says it'll be funded by new taxes. Most of those taxes will come from corporations.
The American Jobs Plan calls for a roughly 7 percent tax hike on corporations. The American Families Plan will raise taxes on the nation's highest earners, bringing that tax rate to nearly 40 percent.
The president says households making less than $400,000 a year will not be impacted by any of these tax hikes.