LA CROSSE — President Joe Biden attempted to sell voters on the economic benefits of the $973 billion infrastructure package in a visit to La Crosse on Tuesday.
Biden noted that past infrastructure deals — like the interstate highway system, signed into law 65 years ago Tuesday — fueled further growth for the nation in speaking at one of the city's public transportation facilities.
"America has always been propelled into the future by landmark national investment," Biden said. "This is a generational investment to modernize our infrastructure and create millions of good-paying jobs."
Biden touted provisions in the bill that would replace lead pipes, improve rail service and improve access to high-speed internet.
"It isn't a luxury; it's a necessity, like water or electricity," Biden said of internet access.
The White House hopes the trip will boost the bipartisan agreement that is held together in large part by the promise of millions of new jobs.
White House officials issued an internal memo that highlights how the largest investment in transportation, water systems and services in nearly a century would boost growth.
The memo also emphasizes an analysis suggesting that 90% of the jobs generated by the spending could go to workers without college degrees, a key shift.
Biden and a bipartisan group of senators struck a deal at the White House Friday to invest nearly $1 trillion in America's roads, bridges, public transit, water systems and electrical grids. The agreement does not raise any taxes.
The deal does not include funds for child care, elder care and other "family infrastructure," which Biden had originally included in his initial package. Democrats now hope to pass that funding in an upcoming budget plan.
Over the weekend had to walk back comments on Friday saying that the two bills were "tied together" and that he would not sign one without the other. In a statement issued Saturday, Biden said it was not his "intent" to suggest he would issue a veto threat on the bill.
During his remarks Tuesday, Biden said he would continue to push for those provisions through budget reconciliation.
"I'm going to make the case that critical investments are still needed," Biden said.
He also made the case that to pay for those additional provisions; the U.S. should raise taxes on those making more than $400,000 and raise the corporate tax rate.
"I think you should be able to be a billionaire; I think you should be able to be a millionaire. But for God's sake, pay your fair share," Biden said.