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Biden takes infrastructure pitch to red-state Louisiana

President Biden pressed his case for taxing the wealthy to fund his multitrillion-dollar infrastructure proposal Thursday, pointing to an ageing freeway bridge and crumbling water amenities in Louisiana as proof that the federal authorities must step in with more cash.

“The blinders have been taken off the American folks,” Biden mentioned whereas standing on the fringe of Lake Charles within the state’s southwest nook. “They know the way dangerous [of] form issues are in.”

Behind him, on the opposite facet of the shimmering lake, vehicles and vehicles crossed the overburdened Calcasieu River Bridge, which was constructed seven many years in the past however designed to final solely 5.

“I’ve by no means seen a Republican or a Democratic street. I simply see roads,” Biden mentioned. He added, with a dig at former President Trump’s repeated however unfulfilled guarantees to repair public works just like the bridge: “I received so bored with listening to ‘Infrastructure Week.’ Nothing occurred.”

Biden made a populist pitch within the first purple state he’s visited since unveiling what he calls the American Jobs Plan, arguing that the nation would profit from larger taxes on companies and the rich to finance new roads, bridges, water pipes, instructional packages and social providers. With Democrats holding solely slim majorities on Capitol Hill, Biden is making an attempt to win over some Republican votes earlier than any try and push by laws on a party-line vote.

And Biden’s journey to Louisiana underscores his pitch that purple states would profit from the plan as a lot as blue states.

Republicans on Capitol Hill have argued that larger company taxes would result in larger costs for on a regular basis shoppers.

Biden says the taxes are essential to make desperately wanted enhancements with out including to the deficit.

“I don’t wish to punish anyone,” the president mentioned. “You’re entitled to be a millionaire or a billionaire. Simply pay your fair proportion.”

In spite of everything, Biden argued, the rich gained’t be harm by an elevated tax fee.

“These people are nonetheless going to have two properties or three properties and jets,” he mentioned.

Subsequent, Biden headed to New Orleans to speak about federal investments in water tasks — a doubtlessly fashionable concept in a coastal state more and more threatened with inundation spurred by local weather change. He was met on the airport by quite a lot of elected officers, together with Louisiana’s two U.S. senators, each Republicans.

Thus far, Republicans have lined up in opposition to Biden’s plan, saying that $2.25 trillion in spending over a decade is simply too costly. They’re additionally resisting the president’s effort to partially undo the tax cuts enacted by Trump and Republicans, who managed Congress on the time.

Some Republicans have supplied a much smaller infrastructure bundle and put the price at $568 billion, however a lot of that displays cash already projected for such expenditures, whereas Biden is asking for brand spanking new funding.

Regardless of the shortage of help from elected Republicans, Biden’s plans are broadly fashionable with the general public. Two out of three Individuals help his infrastructure proposal, in response to polls launched by Monmouth College and the New York Occasions final month. Nevertheless, solely one-third of Republicans in these polls backed the plan.

Requested in regards to the low help from Republican voters, Deputy Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre mentioned that Biden would proceed to press his case with them.

“We’re right here in Louisiana, we’re on this tour, and we’re going to proceed to have the dialog and discuss on to the American folks,” she instructed reporters on Air Pressure One.

The 74-acre facility that Biden toured in New Orleans is answerable for purifying consuming water and powering drainage pumps which might be essential in a metropolis that’s largely under sea stage.

A reminder of the realm’s drawback arrived a day earlier than Biden’s go to, when heavy rains led to flash flood warnings. Administration officers estimate that fixing Louisiana’s water infrastructure would value $7 billion over 20 years.

“The entire system might fail,” warned Ghassan Korban, government director of the Sewerage and Water Board of New Orleans.

Whereas visiting, Biden gazed throughout swimming pools of water that have been awaiting purification, stared up at a tower holding 2 million gallons, and visited a boiler room filled with hissing and clanging equipment that generate energy for the drainage pumps.

At one level alongside the tour, Biden joked to reporters: “We’re taking over a set after this,” referring to the urgent want for enhancements.

Later, the president simply shook his head when a neighborhood official mentioned that a number of the tools nonetheless in use dates to the early 1900s.

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