Despite an agreement on a package of infrastructure investments announced on Thursday, United States President Joe Biden still needs to quell resistance within the Democratic Party to ensure approval of the agenda. The lesson raises a total of US$973 billion over five years and US$1.2 trillion over eight, of which US$579 billion will be spent on new ones.
Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, a star of the most left-wing wing of the government, criticized the proposal, saying it excludes priorities dear to minority groups. “A bipartisan package alone is not acceptable. The boycott and denial of our communities calls for a bipartisan settlement in Washington DC,” he wrote on Twitter.
The agreement announced Thursday was made with ten senators, five from each party – all corresponding to the central ranks of Congress. To garner opposition support, Biden slashed the size of the bill twice, first by more than $2 trillion and then by $1.7 trillion.
The White House also agreed to withdraw a good portion of the statutes that provided for an increase in the tax burden on the richest, a point that sparked staunch Republican disagreement.
Soon after the announcement, Senator Bernie Sanders reiterated his defense of the tax hike. “I don’t accept that some of the richest people in this country don’t pay a penny in income tax. Our job isn’t complicated: it’s to create a government and economy that works for all of us, not just the most powerful for,” he said..
Aiming to gain approval without requiring an absolute majority (60 votes), Biden wants to activate a parliamentary tool known as reconciliation, which is criticized by Republican senators. Republican Lindsey Graham complained, “This will be the final hurdle for me. I don’t mind working with the other side for the common good, but I’m not being urged by the Liberal Democrats or anyone else.”