President Biden hosted another bipartisan group of lawmakers at the White House Monday to discuss his $2.25 trillion infrastructure plan. Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg was there as well. During the meeting, the president let it be known that he’s ready to deal with the GOP over the massive, far-reaching bill.
But while meeting with legislators to iron out details and work out differences is an essential part of this process, the White House has been busy working another angle. The Biden Administration sees a potentially powerful ally in its fight to get this bill across the finish line: Corporate America.
That may sound strange, given that Biden’s plan calls for corporate tax hikes to fund much of the package, but that is exactly the opportunity the White House is eyeing. In fact, people in the administration have been talking to corporate leaders for some time about this.
“We have prioritized business outreach; we think they have an important role to play and that their voice is important,” Zach Butterworth, the White House’s director of private sector engagement, told The Washington Post.
The growing split between the Republican Party and corporate America gives the president a rare opportunity. From the “election fraud” lies perpetuated by Trump and his allies that led to the January 6th Insurrection at the Capitol to the wave of Republican-led voter restriction bills across the U.S., companies have started to realize being linked to the GOP could be bad for their brands. It’s only gotten worse as Republicans embrace culture wars as their unofficial party platform, forcing companies to take a side. It’s led to unusual moments such as Mitch McConnell telling corporations to stay out of politics after MLB pulled the All-Star Game from Atlanta over Georgia’ voter-restriction bill.
The White House is trying to take advantage of that division, while at the same time softening the blowback from the business world to the proposed tax hikes. The argument Biden’s advisors are making is, the improvements in public infrastructure the bill would provide would benefit companies as much as anyone.
Biden wants to boost the corporate tax rate to 28% from the 21% level implemented by the 2017 Trump tax cuts, but has signaled there is room to negotiate. The White House believes the business sector could live with an increase, as long as it doesn’t rise back up to the 35% level pre-2017.
A big advantage Biden holds is that the American people support his plan.
A recent Quinnipiac Poll shows that not only is Biden’s infrastructure plan popular with voters, it becomes even MORE popular when they find out Corporate America will be paying for the bulk of it.