By Jeff Mason and Trevor Hunnicutt
WASHINGTON, Apr 7 (Reuters) – President Joe Biden on Wednesday made a fiery call for US companies to pay for his $ 2 trillion infrastructure plan, but was open to negotiating the amount of the tax bill. .
“I am ready to negotiate,” he told reporters. “But we have to pay for this.”
Biden faces stiff opposition from Republicans, big business and even some members of his own Democratic Party on key elements of the proposal he laid out a week ago that must be approved by Congress to become a reality.
The president said he would not agree not to make any changes on infrastructure spending and taxes, arguing that the United States’ position as a world power was threatened by China if it could not make the investments he outlined.
“Do you think China is waiting to invest in its digital infrastructure, in research and development?” Biden asked. “I promise you. They are not waiting. But they are counting on that American democracy is too slow, too limited and too divided to keep up.”
“We cannot afford to prove that they are right,” he added.
The president’s plan considers investments in eight years for the construction of roads and bridges, the improvement of homes, the expansion of broadband Internet access, care for the elderly, the financing of factories and the construction of high-speed trains .
Biden has proposed that the plan not increase the country’s debt in the long term. Most of the funding would come from an increase in the corporate tax rate to 28%, from the 21% set by then-President Donald Trump’s 2017 tax cut.
The government released more details Wednesday about the tax components of the plan, which also include higher taxes on the profits of overseas companies, a new minimum tax on profits that companies report to investors and the financing of more. officials of the Internal Revenue Service.
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These efforts would raise $ 2.5 trillion in 15 years, according to the Treasury Department.
Business lobbies and Republicans have harshly criticized the funding portion of the proposal.
Last month, the US Chamber of Commerce called the corporate tax hike “dangerously wrong” and a drag on growth.
(Report by Trevor Hunnicutt and Jeff Mason, Edited in Spanish by Javier López de Lérida)