Biden unveils 'bold' $2tn infrastructure proposal to bolster US economy

'It's going to create the strongest, most resilient, innovative economy in the world,' president says

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US President Joe Biden revealed details of a $2 trillion infrastructure proposal on Wednesday, a plan he hopes will reshape the US economy after the pandemic.

"It's not a plan that tinkers around the edges," Mr Biden said in Pittsburgh.

"It's an once-in-a-generation investment in America unlike we've ever seen or done since we built the interstate highways or entered the Space Race decades ago.

"In fact, it's the largest American jobs investment since World War 2. It will create millions of jobs, good-paying jobs."

The White House says the American Jobs Plan, will fix more than 32,000 kilometres of motorway, expand rail services, ensure clean drinking water, provide high-speed broadband internet and build a resilient electricity grid.

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"If we act now, in 50 years, people will look back and say this was the moment America won the future."

The plan will invest heavily in essential in-home care services, modernise public schools and community colleges, offer workforce training and create more cheaper housing.

The administration’s hope is that the projects in the eight-year plan will create millions of much-needed jobs.

Mr Biden heralded the efforts as the next step for the US to strengthen its global competitiveness, especially against China.

"We've fallen back," he said. "The rest of the world is closing in and closing in fast."

The White House said this was the first of two bills Mr Biden will propose to expand the US economy and improve how things work across the country.

The second will be titled the American Family Plan, which will be revealed in the next few weeks.

Some of the allocations mentioned in the bill are $213 billion for cheaper housing, $174bn infrastructure for electric vehicles and $400bn to expand access to care for the elderly and disabled.

There will be $45bn to eliminate lead pipes, $30bn for pandemic preparedness and $25bn for research at historically black colleges and universities.

Mr Biden hopes he can use the bill’s funds to help low-income workers and families, underserved communities nationwide, and people of colour.

This can be seen in particular in the proposed expansion of high-speed internet, clean water and a solid electrical grid, all of which are issues these parts of the US population face.

"This plan is important not only for what and how it builds, but also where we build," Mr Biden said. "It includes everyone, regardless of your race and your zip code."

There is also a heavy focus on projects that will help the US economy to fend off climate change, with $16bn to help fossil fuel workers move into green energy jobs.

The plan also proposes that Congress passes a clean electricity standard, making sure a set amount of electricity comes from zero-carbon energy sources.

The proposal follows Mr Biden’s $1.9tn Covid rescue bill, which is distributing funds to US households, schools, small businesses and the country’s pandemic response sector.

It is also helping to fuel the vaccination programme.

Mr Biden declared the bill was a big leap forward for the US.

“If we act now, in 50 years, people will look back and say this was the moment America won the future," he said.

It is not yet clear how the proposal will be received in Congress.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi reportedly suggested to her Democratic colleagues that the House could pass the bill by July 4, the nation's independence day.

That could shift if members of Congress want to debate parts of the proposal.

Meanwhile, in the Senate, split evenly between Democrats and Republicans, it looks as if Mr Biden will face a challenge.

Senate minority leader Mitch McConnell called the plan a “Trojan horse” on Wednesday after Mr Biden called him to discuss it.

“It’'s called infrastructure, but inside the Trojan horse it’s going to be more borrowed money and massive tax increases on all the productive parts of our economy,” Mr McConnell said.

Mr Biden said he wanted to stick to his commitment to bipartisanship.

"I'm going to bring Republicans into the Oval Office," he said.

He said he was open to ideas but would not budge on avoiding a tax increase on people making less than $400,000.

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