As President Biden and his administration is working to have his $1.9 trillion COVID-19 relief bill, known as the American Rescue Plan, passed through Congress, another recovery package is currently in development by the administration. While the package may become unpopular among Congress-members concerned about high-cost spending, Biden (who served 36 years in the Senate) and his aides have been discussing the package with Congress members for weeks, and Biden believes a compromise will happen.
The exact details are currently unknown. During his presidential campaign, President Biden spoke about new infrastructure investments, combating climate change, and improving childcare, the manufacturing sector, and racial equality.
While there is bipartisan support for funding to improve American infrastructure, there is a clear rift between progressives whose expensive proposals are designed for numerous, chronic issues in the Democratic agenda, and moderates and/or Republicans who want by-sector spending to reduce costs. Top Republicans on committees have already expressed their concerns. Proposals that Biden made in his campaign have been roughly estimated to be trillions of dollars. There has been discussion among allies of President Biden for Congressional Democrats to use reconciliation with the new package as with the American Rescue Plan.
This second package, continually referred to as the Build Back Better plan, is open to Republican ideas for stronger bipartisan support. However, the current focus is still passing the American Rescue Plan through Congress. The current goal is to have its signed by President Biden in mid-March. In a speech in January, Biden discussed a two-step plan to rebuild the economy post-pandemic that consisted of the Rescue Plan and the Build Back Better plan. At the time, the plan was to go into detail about Build Back Better sometime in February, although there is currently no set date for the planned speech.
Historically, deciding on how to fund infrastructure projects — via government spending, loans, or public-private partnerships, has been a major dividing line between the two major political parties. Both parties are currently working to have their respective infrastructure bills passed through Congress.
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