Biden’s $2tn infrastructure plan ‘needs to be changed’, says key Democrat Manchin – live

 

Powered by Guardian.co.ukThis article titled “Biden’s $2tn infrastructure plan ‘needs to be changed’, says key Democrat Manchin – live” was written by Joan E Greve, for theguardian.com on Monday 5th April 2021 20.30 UTC

Today so far

That’s it from me today. My west coast colleague, Lois Beckett, will take over the blog for the next few hours.

Here’s where the day stands so far:

  • Joe Biden’s infrastructure plan is facing criticism from Democrats and Republicans in Congress. Senator Joe Manchin, whose vote will be crucial for the bill’s Senate passage, said today he does not support the president’s proposal to raise the corporate tax rate to 28% to help pay for the infrastructure plan. “As the bill exists today, it needs to be changed,” Manchin said.
  • The Minneapolis police chief testified in Derek Chauvin’s murder trial. Police chief Medaria Arradondo said Chauvin’s neck restraint on George Floyd “absolutely” violated department policies on use of force. Chauvin kept his knee of Floyd’s neck for more than nine minutes, causing the Black man to lose consciousness and then die.
  • More than 4 million coronavirus vaccination doses were administered in a single day over the weekend, setting a new US record. The White House also announced it was establishing three more federally funded mass vaccination sites in Columbia, South Carolina; Pueblo, Colorado; and St Paul, Minnesota.
  • The Republican governor of Arkansas, Asa Hutchinson, vetoed a controversial anti-trans bill passed by the state legislature last week. The bill, which had been widely criticized by pediatricians and parents of transgender youth, would have prevented anyone under 18 from getting treatment involving gender reassignment surgery or medication.
  • Treasury secretary Janet Yellen called for a global minimum corporate tax rate. Speaking to the Chicago Council on Global Affairs today, Yellen said US competitiveness must include “making sure that governments have stable tax systems that raise sufficient revenue to invest in essential public goods and respond to crises, and that all citizens fairly share the burden of financing government.”

Lois will have more coming up, so stay tuned.

The Guardian’s Abené Clayton reports:

The bankruptcy trial for the National Rife Association (NRA) kicked off this morning, and for the first time embattled CEO Wayne LaPierre and other NRA executives will be testifying about the organization’s finances in open court.

The gun rights advocacy group filed for bankruptcy in January 2021, six months after New York’s attorney general filed a lawsuit to dissolve the group following allegations of financial fraud and mismanagement.

The six-day trial will decide whether the bankruptcy petition will be dismissed for being filed in bad faith.

Everytown for Gun Safety, a violence prevention organization, described the bankruptcy filing as “an attempt by an organization already losing power and hemorrhaging money to escape legal responsibility from the New York Attorney General’s lawsuit, for alleged fraud and lining the pockets of its top executives,” in a press release.

The NRA has been embroiled in internal conflict for the past two years as the extravagant spending habits of CEO LaPierre lead to increasing claims of financial mismanagement. Watch the trial here.

Police chief: Chauvin’s neck restraint ‘absolutely’ violates department policy

Minneapolis police chief Medaria Arradondo said Derek Chauvin’s neck restraint on George Floyd “absolutely” violated department policies on use of force.

“I absolutely agree it violates our policy,” Arradondo said. “Force has to be reasonable … for an entire encounter.”

Chauvin kneeled on Floyd’s neck for more than nine minutes, continuing to do so even after Floyd lost consciousness. The former police officer now faces murder charges in connection to Floyd’s death.

The Guardian’s Joanna Walters is watching the trial, so read her updates on the other live blog:

Janet Yellen calls for global minimum corporate tax rate

The treasury secretary, Janet Yellen, made the case for a global minimum corporate tax rate on Monday as the Biden administration faces opposition to its plans to raise rates on US businesses.

Yellen’s comments come as Republicans and some Democrats have pushed back on Joe Biden’s proposed $2tn infrastructure investment bill. The bill would be funded in part by raising rates on US business and closing loopholes that allow domestic and foreign corporations to take advantage of lower taxes overseas.

“Competitiveness is about more than how US-headquartered companies fare against other companies in global merger and acquisition bids,” Yellen said in remarks to the Chicago Council on Global Affairs.

“It is about making sure that governments have stable tax systems that raise sufficient revenue to invest in essential public goods and respond to crises, and that all citizens fairly share the burden of financing government.”

The Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) has been working on a new set of cross-border tax rules that would include a global minimum tax rate for multinational corporations.

Updated

Joe Biden addressed the Republican opposition to his $2tn infrastructure plan earlier today, as he arrived back at the White House after his weekend at Camp David.

The president was asked about Republican complaints that his plan covers many issues besides infrastructure, such as clean water access and broadband expansion.

“It’s kind of interesting. When the Republicans put forward an infrastructure plan, they thought everything from broadband to other things were worth paying for infrastructure,” Biden said.

“When you’re in a situation where you can’t turn on a water fountain in school because the water affects your health, that’s infrastructure,” he added. “I’m talking about making sure we are in a situation where we can redo federal buildings that are absolutely leaking energy every single day, that’s infrastructure, in addition to roads and bridges and broadband.”

Biden pledged to “push as hard as I can” to get his infrastructure plan through Congress. “Everybody else in the rest of the world is investing billions and billions of dollars in infrastructure, and we’re going to do it here,” the president said.

A former aide to Matt Gaetz told reporters earlier he was questioned by FBI agents over the Republican congressman’s alleged involvement in sex trafficking.

Matt Gaetz.
Matt Gaetz. Photograph: Octavio Jones/Reuters

“Neither I nor any other member of Congressman Gaetz’s staff had any knowledge of illegal activities,” said Nathan Nelson, formerly director of military affairs for the Florida representative.

Axios reports that Nelson said the “‘baseless claim’ that led to his questioning left him ‘further convinced’ that the allegations against Gaetz were fabricated to ‘discredit a vocal conservative’.”

Here’s our latest on l’affaire de Gaetz, or maybe Gaetzgate, which includes a rather amazing quote harvested by the Daily Beast:

Arkansas governor vetoes anti-trans bill

The Republican governor of Arkansas, Asa Hutchinson, has vetoed a controversial bill which would have stopped anyone under the age of 18 getting treatment involving gender reassignment surgery or medication in the southern state.

Arkansas would have been the first state to take such a move. Its Republican-controlled legislature could still enact the measure, however, since it only takes a simple majority to override an Arkansas governor’s veto.

The bill, known to supporters as the SAFE Act, would prohibit doctors from providing gender-confirming hormone treatment, puberty blockers or surgery to anyone under 18, or from referring them to other providers for the treatment.

Hutchinson’s veto followed pleas from pediatricians, social workers and parents of transgender youth who said the measure would harm a community already at risk for depression and suicide.

A number of measures targeting transgender people have advanced in states controlled by Republicans this year. The governors of Arkansas, Mississippi and Tennessee have signed laws banning transgender girls and women from competing on school sports teams consistent with the gender identity.

Hutchinson recently signed a measure allowing doctors to refuse to treat someone because of moral or religious objections, a law opponents have said could be used to turn away LGBTQ patients.

Last month, the Guardian interviewed a number of young transgender Americans about such threats to their rights and what they can do to fight them.

Corey Hyman, 15 and from Missouri, said: “It’s going to take a lot of us to stop these bills. It’s going to take a lot out of us, out of our parents, out of our supporters. [This fight will] probably go on for many years.

“I’m worried and I’m scared that even more bills are going to be put through. Sometimes we don’t get notice about the bills until 24 hours before. It’s like, ‘By the way, tomorrow’s a Senate hearing that could quite literally end your life.’

“They just don’t care.”

Today so far

Here’s where the day stands so far:

  • Joe Biden’s infrastructure plan is facing criticism from Democrats and Republicans in Congress. Senator Joe Manchin, whose vote will be crucial for the bill’s Senate passage, said today he does not support the president’s proposal to raise the corporate tax rate to 28% to help pay for the infrastructure plan. “As the bill exists today, it needs to be changed,” Manchin said.
  • The Minneapolis police chief testified in Derek Chauvin’s trial. Police chief Medaria Arradondo was called as a witness for the prosecution as Chauvin faces murder charges in connection to the killing of George Floyd.
  • More than 4 million coronavirus vaccination doses were administered in a single day over the weekend, setting a new US record. The White House also announced it was establishing three more federally funded mass vaccination sites in Columbia, South Carolina; Pueblo, Colorado; and St Paul, Minnesota.

The blog will have more coming up, so stay tuned.

The Easter Bunny arrived in the White House briefing room as press secretary Jen Psaki concluded the daily briefing.

Psaki expressed disappointment that the White House was not able to hold the annual Easter Egg Roll this year because of the coronavirus pandemic, so the Easter Bunny handed out commemorative eggs and chocolates to reporters to make up for it.

Updated

White House press secretary Jen Psaki was asked whether Joe Biden would consider supporting Republican Senator Roy Blunt’s $600 billion infrastructure plan.

Blunt’s proposal is much more narrow than Biden’s $2 trillion proposal, and it is focused on what has traditionally been considered infrastructure, meaning the nation’s transportation networks.

Psaki defended the Biden administration’s broader definition of infrastructure, which includes things like access to clean water and reliable broadband internet.

The press secretary emphasized the importance of strengthening the US workforce to guarantee a more promising economic future for American families.

“Infrastructure is not just the roads we get a horse and buggy across,” Psaki said.

Updated

Senate minority leader Mitch McConnell also reiterated his criticism of Joe Biden’s infrastructure plan at a press conference in Kentucky earlier today.

The Republican leader once again argued that the bill is not truly an infrastructure bill because it includes a wide range of proposals, many of which are not directly related to the nation’s infrastructure.

McConnell also specifically criticized Biden’s proposal to roll back some Trump-era tax cuts to help pay for the $2tn plan.

“If that’s the package, a bunch of more borrowed money plus undoing the tax relief that drove our economy to a 50-year high — I can’t imagine that’s going to be very appealing to many Republicans,” McConnell said.

The White House press secretary, Jen Psaki, is now holding her daily briefing with reporters.

A journalist asked Psaki about criticism from members of both parties over Joe Biden’s $2tn infrastructure plan. The reporter specifically cited comments from Democratic Senator Joe Manchin that he would not support the plan as it currently exists.

Psaki said the president “looks forward to having conversations with members of both parties” as he works to advance an infrastructure bill.

When pressed on Manchin’s specific comments, Psaki deflected the question, saying, “We’re open to hearing ideas and proposals from members, and we encourage them to put them forward.”

Manchin criticizes Biden’s infrastructure plan: ‘It needs to be changed’

Senator Joe Manchin, whose vote will likely determine whether Joe Biden’s infrastructure plan can pass the Senate, has expressed criticism of the proposal.

In a radio interview with a local West Virginia station today, Machin said he had serious concerns about Biden’s plan to raise the corporate tax rate to 28% to help pay for the legislation.

“As the bill exists today, it needs to be changed,” the Democratic senator said.

Manchin said he was open to the idea of raising the corporate tax rate to 25%, but he expressed concern that raising it to 28% would make the US less competitive.

Manchin added, “If I don’t vote to get on it, it’s not going anywhere.”

Biden said last week that he hoped Congress would negotiate over his proposal, but he stressed the need to pass an infrastructure bill.

“Congress should debate my plan, change it, and offer alternatives if they think that’s what they have to do,” the president said on Friday. “But Congress should act.

Bidens celebrate Easter with a masked-up Easter bunny

Joe and Jill Biden just appeared on the Truman Balcony at the White House to wish Americans a happy Easter.

The president and the first lady were joined by a special guest: the Easter Bunny, who was played by Lt Col Brandon Westling of the US Air Force this year. Westling’s costume included a mask covering the bunny’s mouth.

Biden acknowledged many Americans were not able to celebrate Easter with their families as they usually would this year because of the ongoing pandemic, but he expressed optimism about the country’s trajectory as vaccinations ramp up.

“As we celebrate the renewal of this season, we know that longed-for dawn is almost here,” Biden said. “We will rebuild our nation. We will reengage and reimagine what we can be. We’ll remember that with faith, hope and love, anything is possible.”

The president said he was looking forward to next year, adding, “And there will be an Easter Egg Roll, God willing.”

The White House noted Joe and Jill Biden still managed to find a way to celebrate Easter with Americans this year, despite the ongoing pandemic.

The White House said in a statement to the press pool, “To spread Easter cheer safely this year, The President and the First Lady distributed wooden souvenir Easter Eggs to vaccination sites across the nation and local hospitals.”

The annual White House Easter Egg Roll is expected to resume next year, after more Americans receive their coronavirus vaccinations.

Joe Biden will soon deliver remarks to commemorate Easter, and the White House has been decorated to celebrate the occasion.

In past years, the White House has hosted an annual Easter Egg Roll, but that wasn’t possible this year due to the coronavirus pandemic.

However, the White House noted there will still be an Easter Bunny joining Biden for his speech. This year, the bunny will be played by Lt Col Brandon Westling, a US Air Force military aide to the president.

The House chaplain opened today’s pro-forma session by offering a prayer for William “Billy” Evans, the US Capitol Police officer who was killed in Friday’s attack.

“Gracious God, we grieve yet again for the loss of one of our own, another brave member of the Capitol Police, William ‘Billy’ Evans,” Chaplain Margaret Grun Kibben said.

“We pray for his family and friends, for those who served alongside him and all those who so deeply feel his passing.”

Kibben noted Evans’ death came on Good Friday, the day that Christians commemorate the crucifixion of Jesus.

“How profound it is that, on that same day, Officer Evans sacrificed his own life for the love of his country and the defense of democracy,” Kibben said. “There is no greater love.”

Kibben questioned whether they should also pray for Noah Green, the suspect in the Capitol attack who died after officers opened fired on him as he wielded a knife at them.

“Lord, even in our anger may we find a way to pray for those who would turn their wrath on us,” Kibben said.

Minneapolis police chief testifies at Chauvin trial

The Minneapolis police chief, Medaria Arradondo, is now testifying as a witness for the prosecution at Derek Chauvin’s trial.

Experts have said Arradondo’s decision to testify against Chauvin in connection to the killing of George Floyd is a remarkable and potentially unprecedented move for a police chief.

Arradondo fired Chauvin and the other officers involved in Floyd’s arrest shortly after the Black man was killed last May.

The Guardian’s Joanna Walters is providing updates on the trial in a separate live blog. Follow along here:

Fewer than half of Americans belong to a house of worship, a new study shows, but religion – and Christianity in particular – continues to have an outsize influence in US politics, especially because it is declining faster among Democrats than Republicans.

Just 47% of the US population are members of a church, mosque or synagogue, according to a survey by Gallup, down from 70% two decades ago – in part a result of millennials turning away from religion but also, experts say, a reaction to the swirling mix of rightwing politics and Christianity pursued by the Republican party.

Among other groups Gallup reported, the decline in church membership stands out among self-identified Democrats and independents. The number of Democratic church members dropped by 25% over the 20 year period, with independents decreasing by 18%. Republican church members declined too, but only by 12%.

David Campbell, professor and chair of the University of Notre Dame’s political science department and co-author of American Grace: How Religion Divides and Unites Us, said a reason for the decline among those groups is political – an “allergic reaction to the religious right”.

“Many Americans – especially young people – see religion as bound up with political conservatism, and the Republican party specifically,” Campbell said.

“Since that is not their party, or their politics, they do not want to identify as being religious. Young people are especially allergic to the perception that many – but by no means all – American religions are hostile to LGBTQ rights.”

Risk of surface transmission of coronavirus is low, CDC director says

The director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Dr Rochelle Walesnky, noted the agency has updated its guidance on cleaning surfaces to limit the spread of coronavirus.

“People can be infected with the virus that causes Covid-19 through contact with contaminated surfaces and objects. However, evidence has demonstrated that the risk by this route of transmission is actually low,” Walensky said.

The CDC director noted “regular cleaning of surfaces with soap and detergents” is enough to severely limit the risk of surface transmission of the virus.

Disinfecting surfaces is only recommended for indoors settings that have recently documented a confirmed case of coronavirus, Walensky said.

She also once again urged Americans to continue to wear masks and practice social distancing, which can further limit the risk of surface transmission of coronavirus.

The White House coronavirus response team’s briefing has now ended.

A reporter asked members of the White House coronavirus response team whether they anticipated coronavirus cases to fall as the weather warms up.

Dr Rochelle Walesnky, the director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, acknowledged the spread of other viruses usually decreases during warmer months. However, she expressed skepticism about a natural decrease in coronavirus cases in the coming months because of the surge in cases during last summer in the US.

Senior White House adviser Andy Slavitt emphasized vaccinations are the much stronger strategy for lowering the number of coronavirus cases.

Despite the encouraging news about the increase in vaccinations, coronavirus cases and hospitalizations continue to rise in the US, the director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said.

Dr Rochelle Walensky noted the country’s seven-day average of new daily cases is approximately 64,000, representing a 7% increase from a week earlier.

“Please continue to hang in there,” Walensky said during the coronavirus response team’s briefing.

More than 4 million shots in a single day this weekend, White House says

The White House coronavirus response team is now holding a briefing to provide an update on vaccine distribution and case numbers.

Senior White House adviser Andy Slavitt announced the Biden administration is establishing three more federally funded mass vaccination sites.

The three sites will be located in Columbia, South Carolina; Pueblo, Colorado; and St Paul, Minnesota.

“These three new sites bring us closer to the president’s goal,” Slavitt said, noting the existing sites have already helped the administration “reach communities that have been hurt the most by the pandemic”.

Vaccinations continue to ramp up, Slavitt said, and more than 4 million vaccinations were administered in a single day this weekend, setting a new record.

Nearly 1 in 3 Americans and over 40% of US adults now have at least one shot, and nearly 1 in 4 adults are now fully vaccinated. But Slavitt emphasized the country must remain vigilant about limiting the spread of the virus, echoing Joe Biden’s comments on Friday.

“We’re headed in the right direction,” Slavitt said. “The worst thing we could do right now is to mistake progress for victory.”

Updated

Supreme court dismisses case over Trump blocking Twitter critics

The supreme court has dismissed a case involving Donald Trump’s efforts to block some of his critics on Twitter, arguing the case is no longer relevant now that Twitter has permanently blocked the former president and he has left office.

The AP has more details:

The court also formally threw out an appeals court ruling that found Trump violated the First Amendment whenever he blocked a critic to silence a viewpoint.

Justice Clarence Thomas wrote a separate opinion arguing that the bigger issue raised by the case, and especially Twitter’s decision to boot Trump, is ‘the dominant digital platforms themselves. As Twitter made clear, the right to cut off speech lies most powerfully in the hands of private digital platforms.’

Thomas agreed with his colleagues about the outcome of the case, but said the situation raises ‘interesting and important questions.’

Twitter banned Trump from its platform two days after the Capitol insurrection, which resulted in five deaths. Trump had used his Twitter account to encourage people to attend the Washington rally that culminated in the insurrection.

It’s looking increasingly likely that we will get Minneapolis police chief Medaria Arradondo on the stand for the prosecution today.

Arradondo (often known informally in the Twin Cities as “Rondo”) became chief in 2017. He very quickly condemned the killing of George Floyd, calling it murder last summer. He had swiftly fired Derek Chauvin and the three officers who helped him in the arrest of Floyd.

We expect that Arradondo will work hard to keep the focus on Chauvin and make efforts to show that the former officer stepped outside his training and police principles when he pinned down Floyd and knelt on his neck, even after the man was unconscious. (Floyd subsequently died on May 25, 2020. Chauvin denies murder.)

However, it will be difficult for the chief to divorce the department from the officer. Chauvin had been a police officer in Minneapolis for 19 years and had multiple complaints against him. There has also been evidence that he had used his knee to hold people down before, including by the neck.

Chauvin trial resumes, with police chief’s testimony expected

Derek Chauvin’s trial has resumed in Minneapolis, where the former police officer is facing murder charges over the killing of George Floyd last May.

The sixth day of the trial may include testimony from Minneapolis police chief Medaria Arradondo, who is expected to be called as a witness for the prosecution as early as today.

Last week, the court heard gut-wrenching testimony about the final moments of Floyd’s life as Chauvin kept his knee on the man’s neck for more than nine minutes.

Several witnesses became emotional and started crying as they testified, expressing guilt over not having prevented Floyd’s death.

Darnella Frazier, the teenager who recorded a video of Floyd’s death, told the jury last week: “When I look at George Floyd, I look at my dad. I look at my brother. I look at my cousins, my uncles, because they are all Black.”

She added: “It’s been nights I stayed up apologizing, and apologizing to George Floyd for not doing more and not physically interacting and not saving his life.”

The Guardian’s Joanna Walters will be providing updates and analysis of the trial as the day unfolds. Follow along:

Anthony Fauci has described attacks on him from Republicans as “bizarre”, after a barrage of criticism from senior GOP figures.

The infectious disease expert who has led the US effort against Covid-19 was forced to defend himself after a former Trump official called him “the father of the actual virus” and the senator Lindsay Graham followed other Republicans in urging Fauci – Joe Biden’s chief medical adviser and the head of the National Institute for Allergy and Infectious Diseases, to travel to the US-Mexico border.

Speaking to Fox News, Fauci said he had become a scapegoat for rightwing figures.

“I’ve been a symbol to them of what they don’t like about anything that has to do with things that are contrary to them, anything outside of their own realm,” he said.

In a flurry of tweets on Friday, Graham, from South Carolina, told Fauci: “You need to go to the southern border and witness in person the biggest super-spreader event in the nation.”

“It’s a little bit bizarre, I would say,” Fauci said. “I mean … Lindsey Graham, who I like, he’s … you know, he’s a good person, I’ve dealt with him very, very well over the years, you know, equating me with things that have to do at the border? I mean, I have nothing to do with the border.”

Senate minority leader Mitch McConnell released a statement this morning criticizing the outrage over Georgia’s law restricting voting access.

“We are witnessing a coordinated campaign by powerful and wealthy people to mislead and bully the American people,” the Republican leader said.

McConnell added, “The President has claimed repeatedly that state-level debates over voting procedures are worse than Jim Crow or ‘Jim Crow on steroids.’ Nobody actually believes this. Nobody really thinks this current dispute comes anywhere near the horrific racist brutality of segregation. And a host of powerful people and institutions apparently think they stand to benefit from parroting this big lie.”

In reality, a number of voting rights activists, including Stacey Abrams, have compared the Georgia law to Jim Crow-era tactics.

It’s also worth noting McConnell’s use of the phrase “big lie,” which has come to refer to Donald Trump and his allies’ false claims of widespread fraud in the 2020 presidential election.

McConnell went on to say, “Our private sector must stop taking cues from the Outrage-Industrial Complex. Americans do not need or want big business to amplify disinformation or react to every manufactured controversy with frantic left-wing signaling.”

The Republican leader’s statement comes three days after Major League Baseball announced it was moving its All-Star Game from Atlanta due to criticism over the voting law.

Joe Biden has said his $2tn plan to rebuild America’s “crumbling” roads, bridges, railways and other infrastructure would rival the space race in its ambition and deliver economic and social change on a scale as grand as the New Deal. The president has also vowed his “once-in-a-generation” investment will reverse long-standing racial disparities exacerbated by past national mobilizations.

Embedded in his sprawling infrastructure agenda, the first part of which Biden unveiled this week, are hundreds of billions of dollars dedicated to projects and investments the administration says will advance racial equity in employment, housing, transportation, healthcare and education, while improving economic outcomes for communities of color.

“This plan is important, not only for what and how it builds but it’s also important to where we build,” Biden said at a union carpenters’ training facility outside Pittsburgh last week. “It includes everyone, regardless of your race or your zip code.”

His proposal would replace lead pipes and service lines that have disproportionately harmed Black children; reduce air pollution that has long harmed Black and Latino neighborhoods near ports and power plants; “reconnect” neighborhoods cut off by previous transportation projects; expand affordable housing options to allow more families of color to buy homes, build wealth and eliminate exclusionary zoning laws; rebuild the public housing system; and prioritize investments in “frontline” communities whose residents are predominantly people of color often first- and worst-affected by climate change and environmental disaster.

The plan also allocates $100m in workforce development programs targeting historically underserved communities and $20m for upgrading historically Black college and universities (HBCUs) and other minority-serving institutions (MSIs), and quadruples funding for the Manufacturing Extensions Partnership to boost investment in “minority owned and rurally located” businesses.

Maurice Mitchell, national director of the Working Families Party (WFP), said it was clear Biden had been listening to activists and understood the interlocking challenges of racial injustice, climate change and economic inequality.

“This is not race-neutral – it’s actually pretty aggressive and specific,” he said, noting the coalition of Black voters and women who helped Biden clinch the Democratic nomination and win the White House.

Biden faces hurdles as Democrats and Republicans raise concerns with infrastructure plan

Greetings from Washington, live blog readers.

Joe Biden and his administration are frantically trying to build momentum in Congress to pass the president’s $2tn infrastructure plan.

However, members of both parties are already raising concerns about the proposal, which Biden officially introduced last week.

Republicans have signaled they do not intend to support the plan because of Biden’s proposal to raise the corporate tax rate to help pay for the legislation.

And now Democrats are making similar complaints. The Wall Street Journal reports:

Rep. Peter DeFazio (D., Ore.), the chairman of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, said he didn’t think paying for the full cost of the plan through tax increases was necessary. Mr. DeFazio said he would support an increase in the gas and diesel tax to pay for the new investments over time, as well as more borrowing to cover part of the cost. …

Rep. Josh Gottheimer (D., N.J.) said he wanted to see the Biden administration consider alternatives to the corporate tax increases to try to court Republican support. ‘I think on the corporate piece, if it’s a nonstarter for the Republicans and it means we can’t get bipartisanship, I’m eager to hear their other ideas,’ he said, listing user fees as one possibility.

Mr. Gottheimer and other lawmakers from the New York area have also insisted that Congress restore the deduction for state and local taxes, which was capped at $10,000 in the 2017 tax law. [House speaker Nancy Pelosi] said she was sympathetic to that idea, while the White House has said lawmakers should propose a way for paying for the deduction.

Given his party’s narrow majorities in Congress, Biden needs to convince nearly every Democratic member of the House and the Senate to support his plan in order to get it passed.

As of now, it’s still unclear whether Biden will be able to get his own party on board.

The blog will have more coming up, so stay tuned.

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