White House staffers are prepping new spending plans with a price tag of up to $3 trillion to present to President Biden as Mr. Biden prepares a next major legislative push, according to multiple reports on Monday.
The White House said talks are still ongoing and that Mr. Biden will likely have more to say about his priorities in the coming days and weeks.
The package under consideration could involve two parts: the first, an infrastructure and climate change proposal and the second, a suite of domestic items Mr. Biden had campaigned on that includes universal pre-K and free community college.
The White House has long said that Mr. Biden planned to push a more far-reaching “Build Back Better” economic proposal after Congress passed his $1.9 trillion coronavirus relief package.
The New York Times first reported on the framework of the still-evolving package, which will need buy-in from Democrats — and potentially Republicans — on Capitol Hill.
“What the president’s focused on now is figuring out what’s next as a part of his Build Back Better agenda,” White House press secretary Jen Psaki said on CNN. “It’s no secret that’s going to be about jobs. He’s having policy discussions through the course of the next several days and weeks and I expect he’ll have more to convey on what’s next soon.”
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell said Republicans are not going to be on board with tax increases the administration is considering to at least partially offset the costs of the coming plans.
“We’re hearing the next few months might bring a so-called infrastructure proposal that may actually be a Trojan horse for massive tax hikes and other job-killing left-wing policies,” Mr. McConnell, Kentucky Republican, said Monday on the Senate floor.
Without Republican buy-in, congressional Democrats would have to leverage a fast-track budget tool they used to muscle through Mr. Biden‘s $1.9 trillion package without GOP support.
Mr. Biden will also have to deal with advocates on the left who want him to go bigger and who say too many liberal priorities, like an increase in the federal minimum wage to $15 per hour, were left out of the $1.9 trillion law.
Truly combating climate change will require at least $1 trillion in annual spending over the next decade, said Ellen Sciales, a spokeswoman for the Sunrise Movement, a climate change activist group.
“If $3 trillion is what Biden’s team lands on, they’ll be neglecting what’s politically and publicly popular, and what’s quite frankly vital for the future of our society and our planet,” she said.
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