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Biden names 5 Cabinet secretaries to spearhead infrastructure push

Biden holds first Cabinet meeting 
Biden holds first Cabinet meeting  07:41

Washington — In his first Cabinet meeting on Thursday, President Biden announced that he had tapped five Cabinet secretaries to spearhead his efforts to get his massive $2 trillion infrastructure proposal approved by Congress. The meeting comes after the president unveiled the American Jobs Plan on Wednesday, promising that it would be a "once in a generation investment in America."

"While most of the Cabinet will have a role in helping shape and press the Jobs Plan, today I'm announcing that I'm asking five Cabinet members to take special responsibility to explain the plan to the American public," Mr. Biden said in remarks to the press during the meeting at the White House. 

He announced that his emissaries on the American Jobs Plan will be Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg, Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm, Housing and Urban Development Secretary Marcia Fudge, Labor Secretary Marty Walsh and Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo.

"Working with my team here in the White House, these Cabinet members will represent me in dealing with Congress, engage the public in selling the plan and help work out the details as we refine it and move forward," Mr. Biden said. All of Mr. Biden's Cabinet secretaries had been confirmed by the Senate since he took office 10 weeks ago, as well as most of his nominees to other Cabinet-level positions.

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President Biden holds his first Cabinet meeting in the East Room of the White House on April 1, 2021. ANDREW CABALLERO-REYNOLDS/AFP via Getty Images

Mr. Biden's wide-ranging infrastructure plan tackles a litany of issues, including transportation, energy and affordable housing, meaning that it falls under the jurisdiction of multiple agencies across federal government. The proposal would also be paid for with an overhaul of the nation's corporate tax policy by raising corporate tax rates from 21% to 28%, and would renegotiate with other countries a global minimum tax on multinational corporations.

But Mr. Biden's proposal is already facing significant opposition from Republicans, raising questions about its prospects in Congress. Most legislation requires 60 votes to advance in the Senate, and Democrats hold a narrow 50-seat majority. Since garnering support from 10 Republicans is unlikely, Democrats are exploring other avenues to pass the legislation without GOP votes. They may opt to employ the complicated process of budget reconciliation, which was used to pass the $1.9 trillion American Rescue Plan without any Republican votes last month.

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell said on Thursday that he did not believe any Republicans would vote for Mr. Biden's infrastructure proposal.

"The last thing the economy needs right now is a big whopping tax increase on all the productive sections of our economy," McConnell said in a press conference. "I think that package that they are putting together now as much as we would like to address infrastructure is not going to get support from our side."

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