In first speech to Congress, Biden to push US$4 trillion spending plans

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WASHINGTON (REUTERS) – President Joe Biden plans to unveil a sweeping US$1.8 trillion (S$2.3 trillion) package for families and education in his first speech to Congress on Wednesday (April 28), as he stresses the need to invest to compete with China, the White House said.

Biden will speak at 9pm (9am on Thursday, Singapore time) inside the US Capitol at an event scaled back this year because of the pandemic. He will use the speech to outline his priorities for the rest of his first year in office.

He will argue that the new package, which together with an earlier infrastructure and jobs plan, totals around US$4 trillion, rivalling the annual federal budget – is a once-in-a-generation investment vital to America’s future.

The Democratic president will also plead directly with lawmakers to pass legislation to curb police violence, senior administration officials said, speaking on condition of anonymity.

Biden will highlight repeated police killings of African-American citizens and years of entrenched racism, while honouring the service of the vast majority of officers.

The plan includes US$1 trillion in spending on education and childcare over 10 years and US$800 billion in tax credits aimed at middle- and low-income families, according to a White House fact sheet.

There would be US$200 billion for free, universal preschool for three and four year olds and US$109 billion for free community college regardless of income for two years, the White House said.

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.

The American Families Plan and the infrastructure and jobs plan the White House introduced this month could represent the most significant government transformation of the economy in decades.

Biden faces opposition to his agenda from Republicans who say he is spending too much and liberals who want him to take more aggressive steps.

He addressed Republican opposition in a session with TV news anchors at the White House hours before the speech.

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