Biden Social Spending Package Discussions To Continue With Auto CEOs


Wednesday, January 26th 2022, 9:01 am
By: CBS News


The CEOs of top American automakers and other heads of industry are expected to meet at the White House on Wednesday to discuss the future of President Biden's proposed social and climate spending package, a person familiar with the meeting plans told CBS News.

General Motors CEO Mary Barra and Ford CEO Jim Farley are expected to attend the meeting, the source added. These two leaders of two of the three big auto manufacturers in the U.S. are expected to advocate for tax credits for electric vehicles and the infrastructure to support them. The original Build Back Better proposal included around $12,500 in tax credits for buyers of new and used electrical vehicle purchases. 

A White House official said the purpose of the gathering with CEOs, all of whom have supported the passage of the spending bill, is to talk about how the legislation can help boost U.S. competitiveness, worker productivity and workforce participation and lower inflation. Private-sector leaders are expected to discuss the Build Back Better provisions would apply to their businesses and help grow the American economy. 

These CEOs and the White House share a keen interest in long-term investments in children — the Build Back Better legislation had included an extension of the child tax credit, free universal preschool and provisions to help parents with child care. It also had measures that aimed to help the middle classes and tackle climate change, an official familiar with the meeting said. Although the ambitious spending plan is essentially now defunct, the president hopes that parts of the plan can still pass. The CEOs coming to the White House are willing to accept new taxes — though they don't agree with every element in the original bill — and they think the benefits of much of Build Back Better outstrip their individual concerns. 

In addition to Barra and Farley, Salesforce co-CEO Marc Benioff, Siemens CEO Barbara Humpton, HP's Enrique Lores, Etsy's Josh Silverman, and others will be joining Mr. Biden, Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo, National Climate Adviser Gina McCarthy and other administration officials at the White House Wednesday.

GM on Tuesday announced a $7 billion dollar investment into four facilities for electric vehicle production in Michigan. Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer, a close ally of Mr. Biden's, said her state will be "leading the way in electrifying." 

Last week, Mr. Biden admitted his proposed $1.7 trillion dollar spending package — named for his campaign slogan "Build Back Better" — wasn't likely to pass in its current form and would likely have to be broken into "chunks." 

"It's clear to me that we are going to have to probably break it up," Mr. Biden said at his first news conference of the year, explaining his hope that certain environmental provisions to address climate change could be passed. 

The head of climate change policy at the White House, Gina McCarthy, expressed confidence last week that tax credits for electric vehicles could remain in the narrower social spending package. "I'm not seeing any dispute about the need to continue to make sure that these technologies are affordable and accessible to everyone," McCarthy said at the Washington Auto Show, according to Bloomberg

Mr. Biden also admitted last week that two popular but more costly provisions — free community college and an extension of the child tax credit — would likely have to be cut from the spending package for other elements to pass. 

First published on January 25, 2022 / 3:51 PM

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