President Joe Biden on Wednesday urged the Congress to support his $1.8 trillion spending plans to enable America stay ahead of China and other competitors.
“China and other countries are closing in fast,” he said in a speech to mark his first 100 days.
He said he had spent a lot of time talking to Chinese President Xi Jinping.
“He’s deadly earnest about becoming the most significant, consequential nation in the world.
“He and others, autocrats, think that democracy can’t compete in the 21st century with autocracies. It takes too long to get consensus,” he said.
The U.S. sees China as a major strategic challenger.
Biden declared the United States is “on the move again”.
“The economy created more than 1.3 million new jobs in 100 days. That’s more new jobs in the first 100 days than any president on record. America is moving forward — and we can’t stop now”, he said.
Seizing on the need to rebuild after the coronavirus pandemic to advance Democratic priorities at a time of political polarization, Biden told the joint session and millions of people watching on television that “America is ready for a takeoff.”
“Now, after just 100 days, I can report to the nation: America is on the move again, turning peril into possibility, crisis into opportunity, setback into strength,” Biden said.
He argued that a new spending and tax-credit package, which together with an earlier infrastructure and jobs plan, totals around $4 trillion, rivalling the annual federal budget – is a once-in-a-generation investment vital to America’s future.
“Tonight, I come to talk about crisis — and opportunity,” he said. “About rebuilding our nation — and revitalizing our democracy. And winning the future for America.”
Biden argued that the spending plans were needed to keep up with China, which his administration sees as a major strategic challenger.
Biden is trying to thread the needle between Republicans opposed to more spending and the tax increases needed to pay for it, and liberal Democrats who believe Biden needs more aggressive plans.
The Democratic president spoke of a willingness to speak with lawmakers on both sides of the aisle to come to an agreement. He is to meet the top Democratic and Republican lawmakers at the White House on May 12 to try to find common ground.
His plan includes $1 trillion in spending on education and childcare over 10 years and $800 billion in tax credits aimed at middle- and low-income families, according to a White House fact sheet. It also includes $200 billion for free, universal preschool and $109 billion for free community college regardless of income for two years, the White House said. read more
The American Families Plan and the infrastructure and jobs plan the White House introduced this month could represent the most significant government transformation of the economy in decades.
Republican U.S. Senator Tim Scott in a rebuttal to Biden’s speech said the president’s proposals are “socialist dreams” that will hamper long-term economic growth.