On a visit to California, Joe Biden took a not-so-subtle blow to critics of the Congressional Democrats’ proposed $ 3.5 trillion budget – including those in the party – by telling them from a shed in the state ravaged by forest fires that investing less was a “prescription for disaster”.
“We have to think big,” Biden said. “Thinking small is a prescription for disaster.”
The President traveled across the West on Monday, visiting the National Interagency Fire Center in Boise, Idaho, and then heading to California, where the the most destructive fire in state history, the Dixie Fire, continues to burn. Recent disasters like the fires in the West and destructive Hurricane Ida underscore the need for massive investments to stop the climate crisis, Biden argued.
“We cannot ignore the reality that these wildfires are being supercharged by climate change,” he said. “These are not red or blue states. These are fires, just fires.
The $ 1,000 billion bipartisan infrastructure package, along with the Democrats’ broader budget reconciliation proposal, contains billions of dollars in climate-related investments, including a recently announced $ 150 billion plan to get utilities to invest more in clean energy.
The budget proposal has no Republican support, and some moderate Democrats like West Virginia’s Joe Manchin and Arizona’s Kyrsten Sinema have balked at the price. Democrats need their 50 senators to pass the reconciliation package in the equally divided upper house.
“For my part, I will not support a $ 3.5 trillion bill, or anywhere near that level of additional spending, without greater clarity on why Congress chooses to ignore the bills. severe effects of inflation and debt on existing government programs, “Manchin wrote in a September editorial in the the Wall Street newspaper.
Mr Biden defended the scope of the party’s proposals during his remarks on Monday, noting that the extreme weather conditions alone cost America nearly $ 100 billion last year, while noting how the dollars invested in climate resilience pay off later in savings.
To pay for the ambitious spending program, Democrats said on Monday they were hoping cancel many of the Trump administration’s tax cuts on the rich.
The proposed changes include increasing the corporate tax rate to 26.5% from the current 21%, and restoring the personal income tax rate to 39.6% for those earning over $ 400,000.
The Independent Gt