WH defends hiking taxes on businesses following lockdowns to pay for Biden’s infrastructure package

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The White House said Thursday that the administration believes businesses that benefited from former President Donald Trump’s 2017 tax cuts can “bear the brunt” of paying for President Biden’s nearly $2 trillion infrastructure package, despite the strain of rolling lockdowns over the last year.

Asked about House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy’s comments in opposition to the president’s plan, that Republicans back infrastructure but not the taxes that come with it, Press Secretary Jen Psaki said businesses can handle the proposed 7 percentage point hike in the corporate tax rate.

“We believe that corporations should be able to bear the brunt for investing in America’s workers, but they can come forward with their ideas,” she said of congressional Republicans.

“We believe we can start from a place where we agree,” she said.

But pressed about whether it made sense to burden American businesses that have already been struggling because of the coronavirus economic slowdown, Psaki claimed they “can afford to help but rebuild our workforce” and “make sure infrastructure makes us competitive with China.”

“That’s exactly why we shouldn’t be increasing taxes on the American people, on people making less than $400,000 a year,” Psaki said. “But we shouldn’t be putting in place user fees, because people are still trying to get through this period of time.”

“Corporations who have had their tax rate lowered to 21 percent, lower by a great margin than it’s been ever in history, corporations that didn’t pay any taxes in 2018,” she continued.

“We think they can afford to help but rebuild our workforce, help invest in industries of the future and make sure infrastructure makes us competitive with China.”

Biden rolled out his infrastructure and jobs plan in a speech Wednesday in Pittsburgh that proposes huge spending on roads, railways and airports, electric vehicles and broadband that would be paid for in taxes on corporations and individuals.

“The rest of the world is closing in and closing in fast. We can’t allow this to continue,” Biden said during his address.

The president said hiking the corporate rate to 28 percent from 21 percent would still mean they have the lowest rate at any point between World War II and 2017, when it was slashed by Trump from 35 percent.

He is also proposing a 15 percent minimum tax on corporate profits reported to investors so that deductions won’t allow lower payments, as well as taxing companies’ overseas profits.

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