- The Washington Times - Thursday, April 1, 2021

White House Chief of Staff Ron Klain on Thursday defended President Biden’s push to increase corporate taxes to help pay for his $2.25 trillion American Jobs Plan, saying it is “just good policy” and a “commonsense” way to come up with the money to fund his ambitious proposal.

Republicans have been quick to signal their opposition to raising the corporate tax from 21% to 28%, warning it would hurt economic growth and flatten worker paychecks.

But Mr. Klain, in a Politico Playbook interview, said funding to improve infrastructure, replace lead pipes and expand broadband has to come from somewhere, and increasing corporate taxes makes sense.

“These are things this country has been talking about for decades,” Mr. Klain said during a Politico Playbook interview. “The question is are we going to stop talking about them and actually do them, and if we are going to do them, how are we going to pay for them?”

“We put a proposal on the table to pay for them,” he said. 

Mr. Biden laid out his vision Wednesday in Pittsburgh, touting his proposal as the largest American jobs investment since World War II.

Mr. Biden is seeking $620 billion for transportation projects; $650 billion for universal broadband, clean water, upgrades to the electric grid and affordable housing; $400 billion for caregiving initiatives for seniors and the disabled; and $580 billion for research and development, manufacturing and training.

The centerpiece of Mr. Biden’s plan to pay for the far-reaching proposal is to increase taxes on businesses. President Trump and GOP lawmakers cut the corporate tax rate from 35% to 21% as part of 2017 tax cuts.

Mr. Klain said at that time there was a “lot of consensus” that the corporate tax rate should be lower — just not that low.  

Given that businesses have enjoyed record profits, and stand to benefit from the new investments included in the president’s proposal, Mr. Klain said corporations can and should pay more. 

“I do think between 21% and 35% there is a lot of room and we think 28% is a reasonable number between the two,” Mr. Klain said.

“If people have other ideas on how to pay for this investment, then they should put those on the table,” he said. 

Mr. Klain said Mr. Biden hopes that he can win the votes of GOP lawmakers on Capitol Hill, but signaled that is not a prerequisite to passage.

“In the end, let me be clear the president was elected to do a job and part of that job is to get this country ready to win the future,” Mr. Klain said. “That is what he is going to do.”

Mr. Klain said polls show there is broad bipartisan support across the country for investments in crumbling roads and bridges.

He said that sort of support became the “driving engine” behind the $1.9 trillion American Rescue Plan that passed Congress without support from GOP lawmakers.

“I think that support is what is going to drive this plan to passage through the Congress,” Mr. Klain said. 

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