President Joe Biden grew animated on Wednesday while discussing his pitch to increase certain taxes to fund his sweeping spending proposals, saying his plan will not hurt most wealthy Americans and corporations, but will instead help the kind of people he grew up with.
“We’re not going to deprive any of these executives their second or third home, travel privately by jet. It’s not going to affect their standing at all. Not a little tiny bit. But I can affect the standard of living of people I grew up with – if they have a job,” Biden said during an event at the White House.
“This is about making the average multimillionaire pay just their fair share. It’s not going to affect their standard of living a little bit,” he continued.
Biden also argued for restoring higher tax rates on the wealthiest Americans seen during the last Bush administration, asking, “What’s going to grow America more? What’s going to help you and your security more? The superwealthy having to pay 3.9% less tax or have an entire generation of Americans having associate degrees?”
“Guess what? It grows the economy. Benefits everybody. Hurts nobody,” he added.
The President’s spending proposals include several provisions to raise taxes on the wealthy and corporations to finance a slew of his policy initiatives related to infrastructure, education, jobs, child care and paid leave. One of the most contentious provisions in his $2 trillion infrastructure proposal would be to raise the corporate income tax rate to 28%, up from 21%.
The US Chamber of Commerce strongly criticized Biden’s proposed unwinding of the Trump corporate tax cuts.
The plan has also raised concerns in Congress. Sen. Joe Manchin of West Virginia, a key Democratic vote, has said he would not agree to raising the corporate tax above 25%.
The White House has maintained that it’s willing to negotiate on the corporate tax rate provision, and Biden reiterated Wednesday that he’s open to compromising on the final number the corporate tax rate ends up at, but he is not willing to deficit-spend to pay for his proposal.
“I’m going to meet with Republicans next week when they come back, and seriously meet with them. I’m willing to compromise, but I’m not willing to not pay for what we’re talking about. I’m not willing to deficit-spend. They already have us $2 trillion in the hole,” he said.
At the White House on Wednesday, Biden also leveled criticisms at Republicans for supporting the sweeping Trump tax cuts in 2017, telling reporters, “The bottom line is this: My Republican friends had no problem with voting to pass a tax proposal – it expires in 2025 – that cost $2 trillion, none of it paid for, increased the deficit by $2 trillion, gave the overwhelming percentage of those tax breaks to people who didn’t need it, the top one-10th of 1%.”
CNN’s Donald Judd contributed to this report.