April 7 (UPI) -- President Joe Biden on Wednesday defended his plan to raise the corporate tax to help pay for his $2 trillion infrastructure package but said he's willing to compromise with Republicans on how high.
He made the remarks during a speech on the so-called American Jobs Plan in the South Court Auditorium of the White House.
The Biden administration has proposed raising the corporate tax rate from the 21% established by Republicans' 2017 Tax Cut and Jobs Act to 28%, which would still be lower than what it was between World War II and 2017.
The White House said the tax hike would fund the infrastructure plan within 15 years and would be combined with plans to discourage firms from listing tax havens as their address and offshoring profits.
Biden indicated the proposed 28% tax rate isn't a hard figure.
"We have to pay for this," he said of his infrastructure and jobs plan. "But I'm willing to negotiate that."
Biden said, though, that he won't budge on his promise to not raise taxes on people making less than $400,000.
"I'm open to ideas about how to pay for this plan, with one exception," he said. "I will not impose any tax increases on people making less than $400,000 a year. If others have ideas out there on how to pay for this investment, without violating that rule, they should come forward."
Biden said he's willing to work with Republicans on the plan and called for bipartisan support.
"We will not be open to doing nothing. Inaction simply is not an option," he said.
Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell expressed early opposition to the plan, calling it a "Trojan horse."
"It's called infrastructure, but inside the Trojan horse it's going to be more borrowed money, and massive tax increases on all the productive parts of our economy," he told reporters on March 31.
Biden unveiled his American Jobs plan last week, calling for people to be put to work in ways that will provide infrastructure upgrades "that we badly need."
According to the White House, the American Jobs Plan aims to:
-- Spend $621 billion on bridges, roads, public transit, ports, airports and electric vehicle development. Biden has said the plan will create "really good-paying jobs" and help the nation better compete.
-- Invest $174 billion in the electric vehicle market by giving consumers rebates and tax incentives to buy electric vehicles made in America and establish programs to build a national network of 500,000 charging stations by 2030. It would also electrify at least 20% of school buses.
-- Allocate $115 billion to modernize 20,000 miles of highways, roads and main streets -- and $20 billion to improve road safety and repair the worst 10,000 smaller bridges.
-- Put more than $300 billion to expand broadband Internet access, upgrade electric grids and improve the nation's drinking water infrastructure.
-- Spend $300 billion to construct and upgrade schools and affordable housing.
-- Inject $580 billion into job training, manufacturing and research and development.
-- Put $400 billion into care for elderly and disabled Americans.