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In first speech to Congress, Biden to push $4 trln spending plans

EconomyApr 28, 2021 05:00PM ET
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© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: President Biden holds a meeting on the American Jobs Plan at the White House in Washington

By Nandita Bose, Jarrett Renshaw and Trevor Hunnicutt

WASHINGTON (Reuters) -U.S. President Joe Biden plans to unveil a sweeping $1.8 trillion package for families and education in his first joint speech to Congress on Wednesday, as he stresses the need to invest to compete with China, the White House said.

Biden will speak at 9 p.m. EDT inside the U.S. Capitol at an event scaled back this year due to the pandemic. He will use the speech to outline his priorities for the rest of his first year in office.

Biden will argue that the new package – which together with an earlier infrastructure and jobs plan totals around $4 trillion, rivaling the annual federal budget – is a once-in-a-generation investment vital to America's future.

The U.S. president will also plead directly with lawmakers to pass legislation to curb police violence, senior administration officials say, speaking on condition of anonymity. Biden will highlight repeated police killings of African-American citizens and years of entrenched racism, while also honoring the service of the vast majority of officers.

The plan includes $1 trillion in spending on education and childcare over 10 years and $800 billion in tax credits aimed at middle- and low-income families, according to a White House fact sheet.

The spending plans "reinvest in the future of the American economy and American workers, and will help us out-compete China and other countries around the world," it said.

Biden faces opposition to his agenda from Republicans who say he is spending too much and liberals who want him to take more aggressive steps.

Biden addressed Republican opposition in a session with TV news anchors at the White House hours before the speech.

"Everybody talks about, can I do anything bipartisan? Well, I got to figure out if there's a party to deal with. We need a Republican Party...We need another party, whatever you call it, that’s unified -- not completely splintered and fearful of one another," he said, according to a tweet from CNN anchor Jake Tapper.

Republican lawmakers have already rejected the $2 trillion-plus infrastructure plan as too large. The Democratic president is gambling that his spending plans, which are largely popular with American voters, can sway Republicans in Congress to cooperate with the White House.

To pay for the plans, Biden has proposed an overhaul of the U.S. tax system. Wednesday's "American Families Plan" is funded by raising the top marginal tax rate for the wealthiest Americans to 39.6% from its current 37%.

It nearly doubles the tax on investment income – known as capital gains – for Americans who earn more than $1 million. The proposed infrastructure plan is funded by corporate tax.

News of the capital gains tax proposal briefly sank stock markets last week.

The Biden administration says the tax reform plan is designed to reward work, not wealth, and "reform the tax code so that the wealthy have to play by the same rules as everyone else."

Biden will use his speech to signal openness to bipartisan compromise on policing, speaking positively about negotiations on a reform bill in Congress.

Senator Tim Scott, the only Black Republican in the upper chamber, is set to give his party's rebuttal to Biden's speech, with police reform expected to be among the topics.

In addition to police reform, Biden will discuss foreign affairs, how his administration has handled the coronavirus pandemic and the status of vaccinations.

One senior congressional aide said Biden is expected to "come out hard on China," noting frequent calls to take a harder line against Beijing from both Republicans and Democrats.

In his decades in elected office, Biden attended dozens of his predecessors' joint addresses to Congress. The scene he faces when he takes the podium at the House of Representatives during a pandemic will look very different.

Just 200 people, mostly lawmakers plus a handful of representatives of other branches of government and family members, will attend the masked, socially distanced speech.

That is a far cry from the 1,600 officials, friends and guests who typically gather for such a presidential speech.

The nationally televised address, however, targets an audience far beyond the reduced-sized crowd on Capitol Hill. About 48 million people watched Biden predecessor Donald Trump's first address to a joint session in 2017.

Republican Senator Mitch McConnell, the Senate minority leader, said ahead of the speech that Biden has not followed through on his promises of seeking unity and has tried to placate liberals instead.

"Over a few short months, the Biden administration seems to have given up on selling actual unity in favor of catnip for their liberal base, covered with a hefty coat of false advertising," McConnell said.

CHILDCARE SAVINGS

The American Families Plan and the infrastructure and jobs plan that the White House introduced this month could represent the most significant government transformation of the economy in decades.

The plan being unveiled on Wednesday includes $200 billion for free, universal preschool for 3- and 4-year olds and $109 billion for free community college regardless of income for two years, the White House said.

In first speech to Congress, Biden to push $4 trln spending plans
 

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Comments (9)
Cathy Bartlett
Cathy Bartlett Apr 29, 2021 7:24AM ET
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On the Road to Serfdom! The sewer of lies raises...
Mike Chen
Mike Chen Apr 28, 2021 8:16PM ET
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4 trillions is just the apetizer. Tens of trillions are behind waiting list. We will have more trillionaires soon! The golden bitcoins Era!
Pedro Trost
Pedro Trost Apr 28, 2021 5:34PM ET
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So his plan is to keep americans that already cant do anything for themselves dependent on the system? Great plan
Bev Mcguffee
Bev Mcguffee Apr 28, 2021 10:44AM ET
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The ‘good ole’ USA is fast becoming the ‘poor ole’ USA!  Our government programs and spending are totally out of control and unsustainable!
Hunter Gassaway
Hunter Gassaway Apr 28, 2021 10:44AM ET
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That's right, let's cut the defense budget and protect our land and not have troops in countries where we tried to overcome...ah, I mean help. Bring our boys home.
James Andrews
James Andrews Apr 28, 2021 10:16AM ET
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Dissolve the borders and make citizenship worthless. Print money and make dollars worthless. If you give something of value away to everyone, it becomes worthless. Children understand that.
Catholic Man
CatholicMan Apr 28, 2021 9:12AM ET
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I support the police 100%. How about people learning not to commit crimes?
Chris Cummins
Chris Cummins Apr 28, 2021 9:12AM ET
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You mean the police? I agree, more training as it seems they do not even know the laws and just pull over and beat minorities at will. I 100% support retraining these bozos!
Tony Coll
Tony Coll Apr 28, 2021 9:12AM ET
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Chris Cummins so .01% of cops commit atricities and now they are all bozos? You know 0 about law enforcement or what they face, and that makes you an expert? It takes a ridiculous amount of ignorance to make such a generalized statement.
Catholic Man
CatholicMan Apr 28, 2021 9:09AM ET
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lefty writers use the term “investment” instead of “worthless spending”
Chris Cummins
Chris Cummins Apr 28, 2021 9:09AM ET
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Took money from the Pentagon that went to help families and decided to build a wall that even CBP said was a bad idea.....yep,  “worthless spending”. Thanks for your insight. Jesus would have been a socialist, right?
Christian Gustafson
Christian Gustafson Apr 28, 2021 8:46AM ET
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"All power, even the most despotic, rests ultimately on opinion." -- Hume
Luke Lee
Luke Lee Apr 28, 2021 8:45AM ET
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Amazing how there are three authors on this article but they can’t say when or where to watch the speech
Christian Gustafson
Christian Gustafson Apr 28, 2021 8:45AM ET
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Everything about this illegitimate administration is fake, fraudulent.
Chris Cummins
Chris Cummins Apr 28, 2021 8:45AM ET
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Christian Gustafson  If only he would tweet more!!! He should hire Rudy to help with his communication!
Tony Coll
Tony Coll Apr 28, 2021 8:45AM ET
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Chris Cummins at least that would be transparent, but apparently you and your ilk would rather have a coward that hides behind a desk and clarifies none of his decisions.
 
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