Biden promises 'once-in-a-generation' investment during pitch for $2 trillion infrastructure and climate plan

By Kate Sullivan, CNN

    (CNN) -- President Joe Biden unveiled a roughly $2 trillion jobs proposal focused on infrastructure and the climate crisis in a speech in Pittsburgh on Wednesday, stressing his support of labor unions and his hope the investment would lift the middle class.

The President's next major legislative push, the American Jobs Plan, would heavily invest in rebuilding the nation's crumbling infrastructure and shift to greener energy over the next eight years. Biden plans to pay for his proposal by raising corporate taxes and eliminating tax breaks for fossil fuels, which was one of his core campaign promises. The White House says this tax hike would raise more than $2 trillion over the next 15 years.

"It's not a plan that tinkers around the edges," Biden said. "It's a once-in-a-generation investment in America, unlike anything we've seen or done since we built the Interstate Highway System and the Space Race decades ago."

Biden made the case the spending would pay for desperately needed upgrades for roads and bridges as well ports and airports -- all while helping to reduce climate change.

"It's the largest American jobs investment since World War II. It'll create millions of jobs, good paying jobs, it'll grow the economy, make us more competitive around the world, promote our national security interests and put us in a position to win the global competition with China in the upcoming years," Biden said.

"It's big, yes. It's bold, yes. And we can get it done," he added.

The proposal includes building or retrofitting more than 2 million homes or housing units, replacing every lead pipe in the country and ensuring that all Americans have access to affordable, reliable and high-speed broadband.

It also calls for investments in manufacturing, transportation, research and development, bolstering caregiving for aging and disabled Americans and building new public schools and upgrading existing buildings.

The White House says the plan would benefit communities of color, rural Americans and others burdened by the nation's decaying infrastructure.

The plan is the first of a two-part proposal to help the nation's economy recover from the coronavirus pandemic. The other is expected to be a set of investments aimed at helping American workers and boosting education.

Biden announced his sweeping infrastructure plan from a city that carries personal significance. Pittsburgh is the city in which he launched his bid for the White House about two years ago.

While this first proposal would be the most likely to earn GOP votes, given its emphasis on traditional infrastructure projects, it's unlikely to do so because of the tax increases. That means Senate Democrats are looking to potentially use the same onerous budget process they used to pass the Covid-19 economic relief bill with just a simple Democratic majority. But passage is far from certain.

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