From 'bold' vision to 'dangerously misguided': reactions to Biden infrastructure plan

(Reuters) - U.S. President Joe Biden is asking Congress to pass a $2.3 trillion jobs and infrastructure plan that fixes roads and bridges and boosts social services like care for the elderly.

FILE PHOTO: An empty freeway intersection is seen two days before Earth Day, after Los Angeles’ stay-at-home order caused a drop in pollution, as the global outbreak of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) continues, in Pasadena, near Los Angeles, California, U.S., April 20, 2020. REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson/File Photo

To pay for it, Biden is seeking to raise corporate tax rates from 21% to 28% and change the tax code to close loopholes that allow companies to move profits overseas.

Not surprisingly, reaction to the plan varies widely, from not big enough to a danger to the economy. Here are some examples, from social media, news releases and interviews.

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Democratic congresswoman from New York:

“This is not nearly enough. The important context here is that it’s $2.25T spread out over 10 years. For context, the COVID package was $1.9T for this year *alone,* with some provisions lasting 2 years. Needs to be way bigger.”

Mitchell Bernard, president of the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC):

“President Biden is demonstrating today that he is committed to building a better society for all people — one that is healthier, more resilient, more just and more prosperous. ... This is the leadership we need. Congress must now work expeditiously to turn this vision into reality by passing legislation to invest in clean energy, safe drinking water, public transit, affordable housing – and much, much more.”

Jamal Raad, Evergreen Action co-founder and executive director:

“We can’t let Republican obstruction stand in the way of taking the bold action that the science and the economy demand. We cannot water down this proposal as it winds through Congress.

If anything, the package should get more robust to meet all the critical investments we need to make. Congress must finally address the existential crisis of our time and get to work building our clean energy future.”

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, Republican from Kentucky:

“Let’s see what this infrastructure package looks like. If it’s a Trojan horse for a massive tax increase, put me down as highly skeptical, if that’s all in-one-package and it’s a take-it-or-leave-it package.”

Neil Bradley, executive vice president and chief policy officer, U.S. Chamber of Commerce:

“We need a big and bold program to modernize our nation’s crumbling infrastructure and we applaud the Biden administration for making infrastructure a top priority.

However, we believe the proposal is dangerously misguided when it comes to how to pay for infrastructure. ... We strongly oppose the general tax increases proposed by the administration which will slow the economic recovery and make the U.S. less competitive globally – the exact opposite of the goals of the infrastructure plan.”

Business Roundtable President & Chief Executive Joshua Bolten:

“Business Roundtable strongly opposes corporate tax increases as a pay-for for infrastructure investment. Policymakers should avoid creating new barriers to job creation and economic growth, particularly during the recovery.”

Matt Dickerson, director of the Heritage Foundation’s Center for the Federal Budget:

“It’s a disappointing proposal. It is rooted in a bad theory that all economic growth comes from the government and not from the private sector.

Reporting By Jarrett Renshaw; editing by Jonathan Oatis