US President Joe Biden plans to unveil a sweeping $US1.8 trillion ($A2.3 trillion) package for families and education in his first joint speech to Congress as he stresses the need to invest to compete with China, the White House has said.
Biden will on Wednesday argue that the new package – which together with an earlier infrastructure and jobs plan totals around $4 trillion ($A5.1 trillion), rivalling the annual federal budget – is a once-in-a-generation investment vital to America’s future.
The US president will also plead directly with lawmakers to pass legislation to curb police violence, senior administration officials say.
Biden will highlight repeated police killings of black citizens and years of entrenched racism, while also honouring the service of the vast majority of officers.
The plan includes $US1 trillion ($A1.3 trillion) in spending on education and child care over 10 years and $US800 billion ($A1 billion) in tax credits aimed at middle and low income families, according to a White House fact sheet.
The spending plans “reinvest in the future of the American economy and American workers, and will help us out-compete China and other countries around the world,” it said.
Republican lawmakers have already rejected the $US2 trillion ($A2.6 trillion)-plus infrastructure plan as too large. The Democratic president is gambling that his spending plans, which are largely popular with American voters, can sway Republicans in Congress to cooperate with the White House.
To pay for the plans, Biden has proposed an overhaul of the US tax system. Wednesday’s “American Families Plan” is funded by raising the top marginal tax rate to 39.6 per cent for the wealthiest Americans.
It nearly doubles the tax on investment income – known as capital gains – for Americans who earn more than $US1 million. The proposed infrastructure plan is funded by corporate tax.
News of the tax proposal briefly sank stock markets last week.
The Biden administration says the tax reform plan is designed to reward work, not wealth, and “reform the tax code so that the wealthy have to play by the same rules as everyone else”.
Biden will use his speech to signal openness to bipartisan compromise on policing, speaking positively about negotiations on a reform bill in Congress.
Republican Senator Tim Scott of South Carolina is set to give his party’s rebuttal to Biden’s speech, with police reform expected to be among the topics.
In addition to police reform, Biden will discuss foreign affairs, how his administration has handled the coronavirus pandemic and the status of vaccinations.
One senior congressional aide said Biden is expected to “come out hard on China”, noting frequent calls to take a harder line against Beijing from both Republicans and Democrats.