Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen stated that President Joe Biden’s spending recommendations would address long-overdue infrastructure jobs in the United States while also preparing the country for future problems. 

In remarks to the National Association of Business Economists, Yellen asked Congress to embrace the Biden administration’s $3.5 trillion “Build Back Better” project, which would improve the social safety net and combat climate change. She also advocated for bipartisan support for a $1 trillion bill to address more traditional infrastructure, such as roads and bridges. “The investments in the president’s agenda would be a sweeping overhaul of our national infrastructure,” Yellen said. 

Among the upgrades she mentioned were a new electric grid and power structure, new passenger and freight rail systems, and repairs to roads and bridges that had been “in disrepair and unsafe for decades.” She also mentioned broadband, new schools, good drinking water, and environmental jobs measures to help minimize the effects of climate change. 

Yellen spoke as the administration and Democratic leaders in Congress work behind the scenes to get support for the two infrastructure bills, as well as a rise in the debt ceiling and a stop-gap spending package, all of which must be passed by Friday to avoid a government shutdown. “Over the course of American history, we have seen inflection points where policymakers had the courage to think big and act big to address longstanding flaws in the prevailing economic landscape,” Yellen said. “We face a similarly significant moment today where Congress can think big and act big to send us down a better path decisively.” 

Yellen stated that all of the investments jobs would be fully paid by higher taxes on large, profitable firms, improved enforcement of the current tax system, and savings from government health care reforms. However, Republicans strongly oppose Biden’s “Build Back Better” initiative, claiming that the $3.5 trillion price tag is excessive and that the extra taxes are unconstitutional. 

In a question-and-answer session, Yellen defended the administration’s efforts to establish a global corporate minimum tax, which Republicans on Capitol Hill have opposed. “If you look at corporate tax rates globally, you see a steady downward progression over decades,” Yellen said. “That reflects a competitive race to the bottom.” 

Yellen stated that the administration is close to obtaining an agreement from 140 countries to enact a minimum corporate tax of 15%. She stated that countries seeking to be tax havens, such as Ireland, Estonia, and Hungary, have declined to sign on to this agreement but that “we are working hard to find methods to bring them on board.” 

She stated that she intended to receive political support from world leaders at the Group of 20 major industrial countries gathering in late October. She stated that provisions for necessary changes to US law had been incorporated in the $3.5 trillion spending proposal that the administration is attempting to push through Congress with only Democratic support. 

 Source: Marshalltown Times Republican