One of the basic themes running through President Joe Biden’s recent address to the Congress was that President Joe Biden's American Jobs Plan will focus on rebuilding our nation so we can compete on a global level with nations like China.

The pandemic relief acts were only a beginning. The American Jobs Plan is a way to reinvent the nation with a focus on repairing a crumbling infrastructure, which the American Society of Civil Engineers has not given a very favorable rating, but it is an infrastructure in need of repair beyond water systems, roads and bridges, as too many lack access to affordable, high-speed internet and quality housing.

Biden's is a plan for the blue-collar working class, as the American Jobs Plan will create jobs that don't necessarily require a college degree or even an associate's degree. This is an infrastructure plan to target disadvantaged minority communities with much climate and clean energy investment geared toward these "fenceline" communities. This Biden plan will create jobs, and that means people will be put to work laying thousands of miles of transmission lines and capping hundreds of thousands of orphan oil and gas wells and abandoned mines.

The bottom line is, this is a historic investment worth around $ 2 trillion that will upgrade not only American infrastructure, but an investment in terms of science, research, improving supply chains, and revitalizing manufacturing. During Biden’s address to Congress, the president spoke of a fair tax code, and how it is time that the 1 percent elite pay their fair share. And in addition to investing in the U.S., this plan involves legislation to stop the shifting of jobs and profits overseas, and Biden is proposing to make it harder for U.S. companies to acquire or merge with a foreign company to avoid paying U.S. taxes.

Currently, however, Biden’s plan for improving U.S. infrastructure is not advancing forward amidst Republican opposition on the Hill, as the GOP recently shot down Biden’s $1.7 trillion proposal. The next 100 days are already proving to be a sight more challenging than the first 100 days of the Biden White House, with COVID relief legislation and the confirmation of Biden’s nominees in the rearview mirror while accomplishing other legislative goals would seem to appear a much more daunting task. And it is obvious Biden’s domestic priorities could involve a Democratic Party go-it-alone strategy, as bipartisanship deals don’t appear to be a reality for the current administration.

The economic forecast for the country right now should be one of optimism due to increased vaccinations, job growth, and increased government aid, and the recovery of the American economy is directly linked to massive amounts of federal government assistance. A combination of government spending on support measures last year, and Biden’s $1.9 trillion in additional support, have resulted in a resilient recovery from the pandemic recession.

As Republican lawmakers continue to push their watered-down infrastructure bill, devoid of any tax increase with government spending to be offset by user fees on electric vehicles, and repurposing of state and local relief passed as part of COVID relief bills, both parties disagree on what should count as infrastructure. The GOP has homed in on maintaining the corporate tax rate cut, and the Biden administration is willing to include care for the elderly and the disabled as infrastructure.

Brent Been is a Tahlequah educator with an emphasis on civics and history.

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