Biden: New social spending package is historic, despite downsizing

Washington, Oct 28 (EFE).- President Joe Biden on Thursday called his new social spending package valued at $1.75 trillion “historic,” containing as it does significant allocations for dealing with climate change, despite acknowledging that it had to be reduced in size to get all members of the moderate and progressive wings of congressional Democrats to agree to back it.

In a speech delivered from the White House, Biden said that the bill, which still must be approved by Congress, has sufficient legislative support to become law.

“I think we have a historic – I know we have a historic – economic framework,” Biden said in his Thursday speech. “It’s a framework that will create millions of jobs, grow the economy, invest in our nation and our people.”

Biden held up the plan as an example of the search for consensus that has marked his political career.

“No one got everything they wanted, including me. but that’s what compromise is, that’s consensus, that’s what I ran on,” Biden said, adding that “Compromise and consensus are the only ways to get big things done in a democracy.”

The president hours before departing Washington to take part in the G20 leaders summit in Italy and the COP26 climate conference in Glasgow, Scotland, and in recent days it had been apparent that he wanted an agreement to be able to show his counterparts in governments around the world that “important things can get done in a democracy.”

The plan maintains significant investments in addressing climate change and child education that had been included in the initial $3.5 trillion package, but it dispensed with the original family leave and maternity leave provisions paid for on the national level.

Among the other spending included in the bill is $555 billion to fight climate change, mainly through tax incentives for renewable and low-emission energy sources, $400 billion for free preschool learning and care for all children 3-4 years old and $165 billion to lower health care premiums for US citizens covered under the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare.

In addition, the plan includes $150 billion to build one million affordable housing units.

Meanwhile, financing for the president’s spending plan is based on implementing a 15 percent base tax on big companies within the standing global agreement to impose a minimum international tax on multinational firms.

It also includes a 5 percent increase in taxes on people earning more than $10 million per year and a 3 percent tax increase for those earning more than $25 million.

Despite the optimism displayed by Biden, several key Democratic senators in the party’s progressive wing – including Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders and New York Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez – have been more cautious in their assessments and have said that they intend to read the text of the agreement closely before giving it their unequivocal support.


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