President Joe Biden on Friday made a renewed push for big spending on infrastructure and social programs, as he appeared on NBC’s “Today” show and spoke in Philadelphia at an event marking Amtrak’s 50th anniversary.
Biden defended his $2.3 trillion American Jobs Plan and $1.8 trillion American Families Plan, when he was asked in an interview that aired Friday morning on the “Today” show about why he wants to tax and spend so much at this stage in the U.S. economy’s rebound from the COVID-19 crisis.
“That’s the reason why it’s recovering, because we’re investing,” he said. “Look how rapidly it’s recovered since we passed the last piece of legislation, and that legislation was $1.9 trillion. If we don’t invest in this country we’re gonna fall behind even further.”
The president also pushed back when questioned about the ability of “Big Government” to deliver big things.
“I don’t have any inordinate faith in government, but there’s certain things only the government can do,” Biden said. “We rank No. 8 in the world in terms of infrastructure for God’s sake. Is the private sector going to go out and build billions of dollars worth of highways, ports, airports, bridges? Are they going to do that? And so, these are things that only government can really do.”
In his Philly speech, Biden said Amtrak can be one of the “great, great contributors” to the country, if the nation invests in the passenger rail service. His American Jobs Plan includes $80 billion to support Amtrak and other rail projects.
“I believe that the best days for Amtrak, for rail and for America are ahead. I really believe that. And I’m just confident we can get this done,” he said.
Biden also talked about his decades riding Amtrak trains between Washington and his home state of Delaware, noting he hosted Christmas and summer parties for the rail service’s workers and considers them family.
“It has been part of my life. I’ve been riding on Amtrak for almost as long as there’s been an Amtrak,” he said.
Biden took his pitch to Georgia on Thursday night for his roughly $4 trillion in proposed spending to rebuild the nation’s aged infrastructure and expand the social-safety net. On Wednesday night, he delivered his first speech to Congress, mentioning jobs frequently as he tried in part to appeal to skeptical Republicans who so far largely have panned his proposals.
were losing ground on Friday as investors assessed earnings reports and weaker economic data out of China and Europe, along with higher-than-expected readings on U.S. personal income, consumer spending, core inflation and consumer sentiment.