- The Washington Times - Sunday, May 2, 2021

The Biden administration defended its historic spending proposals Sunday, saying the government splurge is necessary to get shots in arms during the coronavirus pandemic and to help the U.S. economy recover.

Cecilia Rouse, chair of the Council of Economic Advisers, said much of the Biden administration’s spending so far is part of the American Recovery Plan that helped get vaccines distributed and see unemployment claims drop.

“We have started to see our economy come back,” she told “Fox News Sunday.” “But we are not done yet.”

In just over his first 100 days, President Biden has proposed about $6 trillion in spending. That’s compared to $1.8 trillion during the 2009 Wall Street bailout and the $856 billion spent to launch the New Deal, according to Fox News, which adjusted the numbers for inflation. 

But Ms. Rouse said the spending is necessary to build a partnership between the government and the private sector. 

She pointed to the record time Pfizer and Moderna developed the COVID-19 vaccines, crediting government funds for helping speed the research.

“President Biden fundamentally believes government can be very effective and is very important,” she said.

Mr. Biden will travel this week to Louisiana and Virginia to promote his more than $2 trillion infrastructure plan, which not only funds the rebuilding of roads and bridges, but also provides money for child care, education and green innovation. 

Republicans have proposed their own $600 billion infrastructure plan that focuses on roads, bridges, traditional travel and broadband-Internet access. 

Anita Dunn, senior adviser to the president, told CNN’s “State of the Union” program that the president is willing to negotiate. 

“The president said his red line is inaction,” she said. “He is willing to negotiate. He is willing to compromise.”

Ms. Rouse also defended the administration’s proposal to raise corporate tax rates as a way to pay for the proposals.

The current rate is at 21%, but Mr. Biden wants it to go to more than 28%, which would put the U.S. at the top of the industrialized nations for corporate taxes.

She said the increase won’t make the U.S. less competitive but will ensure that corporations are paying their fair share, she said, adding taxes won’t be raised on individuals making less than $400,000 a year.

“The idea is to ensure corporations are paying their fair share,” she said.

Ron Klain, chief of staff to Mr. Biden, also defended the tax hike, saying CEOs make 300 times more than average workers. 

“Many more Americans will see their taxes go down if the president’s plan is passed,” he told the CBS show “Face the Nation.”

But Sen. Bill Cassidy, Louisiana Republican, said the tax increases inevitably have an impact on the middle class and blue-collar workers.

“If you raise taxes on corporations, you have lower wages, you have less investments,” he told Fox News.

Mr. Cassidy also pushed back against the administration’s move to include child care, education and green energy as part of the infrastructure plan. 

“The administration needs to be honest with the American people. If you really want roads and bridges, come where Republicans already are. If you want to give us permission to do a lot of other stuff, that’s a different story,” he said.

• Alex Swoyer can be reached at aswoyer@washingtontimes.com.

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