“It’s not a plan that tinkers around the edges,” said President Joe Biden, announcing his American Jobs Plan March 31 at a Carpenters union training center in Pittsburgh. “It’s a once in a generation investment.”
The American Jobs Plan is Biden’s proposal for Congress to approve $2 trillion in federal investment in infrastructure, research, training and expansion of home care over a decade.
America has been underinvesting in infrastructure. Public investment as a share of the economy has fallen by more than 40% since the 1960s. This year, in its most recent report, the American Society of Civil Engineers gave U.S. infrastructure an overall C- grade.
Biden’s proposal would amount to investing about 1% of annual gross domestic product per year over eight years. The plan includes some things not conventionally classed as infrastructure, like in-home health care. It also calls for strengthening workers’ right to join unions. In fact, unions are mentioned two dozen times in the 12,000-word White House fact sheet explaining the proposal.
Biden wants to require employers benefiting from the plan’s investments to follow strong labor standards and remain neutral when employees seek to organize a union; wants to tie federal investments in clean energy and infrastructure to prevailing wages; calls for more goods shipped on U.S.-flagged vessels to be staffed by American workers; and even calls on Congress to pass the PRO Act, which would rewrite labor law to make it easier for workers to get a union contract.
Biden proposes to pay for the infrastructure spending by eliminating corporate tax loopholes and partially rolling back Trump’s corporate income tax cut. In 2017, Trump signed legislation cutting the rate from 35% to 21%. Biden proposes to raise it to 28%. Biden’s plan would also make it harder for companies to avoid paying taxes on both U.S. income and profits stashed abroad, ending the scandal of profitable companies including 91 Fortune 500 companies paying zero federal income tax. The two strategies would raise up to $2.5 trillion over 15 years.
HIGHLIGHTS OF THE PLAN
- $115 billion to modernize 20,000 miles of highways and roads, fix 10 economically significant bridges, and repair 10,000 smaller bridges
- $85 billion for public transit
- $80 billion to repair improve and expand Amtrak rail service
- $174 billion to expand electric vehicle production, build charging stations, and electrify buses
- $25 billion to upgrade airports
- $300 billion to boost manufacturing
- $213 billion to build, maintain and retrofit affordable housing
- $100 billion to expand high-speed broadband
- $400 billion for clean energy
- $111 billion to eliminate all lead pipes and service lines and upgrade and modernize water systems
- $100 billion to build high-voltage capacity power lines and clean up unused oil and gas wells and mines
- $400 billion to expand access to home care for the elderly and disabled and raise wages for workers
- $100 billion to upgrade and build new public schools
- $180 billion in scientific research