US President Joe Biden has called for trillions in spending aimed at re-igniting America’s economic growth by upgrading its crumbling infrastructure and tackling climate change.
The $2.3tn (£1.7tn) proposal would direct billions to initiatives such as charging stations for electric vehicles and eliminating lead water pipes.
The spending would be partially offset by raising taxes on businesses.
Those plans have already roused fierce opposition.
Republicans have called the rises “a recipe for stagnation and decline”, while powerful business lobby groups including the Business Roundtable and Chamber of Commerce said they supported investments but would oppose tax increases.
The pushback is a sign of the tough fight ahead for the plan, which needs approval from Congress.
Joe Biden could have gone in a number of different policy directions after narrowly getting his covid pandemic aid package through Congress. That he opted to push for an infrastructure bill, rather than upping the pressure for gun control, voting rights, immigration, the environment or healthcare reform, suggests he’s looking for a popular, non-controversial legislative second act.
Of course, like that coronavirus package, the Biden administration is likely to use a massive piece of legislation to quietly advance some of those other policy priorities. The proposal contains hundreds of millions of dollars in green energy spending, expanded care for the elderly and disabled and job training, for instance.
Also like the coronavirus aid bill, even non-controversial infrastructure provisions that have high public support will be swamped in partisan acrimony. In particular, Republicans are going to vehemently object to the tax increases for corporations and businesses contained in the proposed legislation.
Chances are, Democrats will again have to go it alone when it comes to passing Biden’s legislative agenda.
The challenge, then, will be keeping the Democratic coalition together at a time when a wide number of constituencies, many of whom held their tongue during the Covid negotiations, line up to ensure their priorities are funded.
The White House has promoted its proposal as the most ambitious public spending in decades, saying the investments are necessary to keep the US economy growing and competitive with other countries, especially China.
“This is not a plan that tinkers around the edges,” Mr Biden said in a speech in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania on Wednesday. “It’s a once in a generation investment in America.”
What’s in the American Jobs Plan?
It calls for investing more than $600bn in infrastructure, including modernising roads, replacing rail cars and buses and repairing crumbling bridges.
Billions more would be devoted to initiatives like improving veterans hospitals, upgrading affordable housing, expanding high-speed broadband, and providing incentives for manufacturing and technology research.
It calls for money to be directed to rural communities and communities of colour, including establishing a national climate-focused laboratory affiliated with an historically black university.