It's a good thing President Joe Biden is taking the threat of China and its actions seriously, but Congress doesn't need to pass a $2 trillion infrastructure bill to fight back, Sen. Todd Young said Thursday.
"I actually am glad the president's taking the threat of China and its military adventurism, its economic predation against the United States and many neighbors seriously," the Indiana Republican said on Fox Business' "Mornings With Maria." "What we need is a national security-related counterpunch. We don't need to pass a massive $2 trillion infrastructure bill, 25% of which, by some accounts, actually contains infrastructure in it. We need to become more competitive."
That would mean holding the line on corporate tax rates, he added, so the economy can grow faster.
"We need to make key national security investments, separate and apart from the infrastructure initiative," said Young, which would include 21st-century technologies, artificial intelligence, quantum computing, and robotics.
"We know (that) will not only help our workers grow our economy so we can out-innovate and out-compete the Chinese, but will also help warfighters win the wars of the future because these will be the weapons," said Young. "It won't be airplanes and submarines and aircraft carriers as much as these 21st-century technologies that we are advancing, myself and Democrats in a bipartisan fashion, in a separate piece of legislation called the Endless Frontier Act which I hope we take up in April."
He added that it is "not a positive signal" that the act, or components of it, were included in the larger infrastructure package, because to be serious would be to "go ahead and build on the bipartisan momentum that I've been able to help put together in advancing the Endless Frontier Act and the major tech-related investments that people want and consider that as was promised we would do, working with the administration separately, going through the committee process, allowing for amendments in April."
He added that the larger package conflates issues such as homecare and electric vehicles on one hand with core investment in technology on the other, and he hopes the two can be separated.
Biden unveiled his $2 trillion spending plan of infrastructure improvements paid for by an accompanying hike in corporate taxes on Wednesday, and it is already under fire having come out just weeks after $2 trillion in spending was approved in a coronavirus mitigation package.
The measure calls for spending $620 billion in upgrading roads, bridges, and doubling funding for public transportation, but Biden also said it would "spark the electric vehicle revolution" by building a network of 500,000 EV chargers, replacing 50,000 diesel transit vehicles and accelerating the transition to a greener economy.
"The American Jobs Plan will lead to transformational progress in order to tackle climate change ... by making our infrastructure more secure and resilient and seizing incredible opportunities for American workers and American farmers in a clean energy future," Biden said in his address in Pittsburgh, where he formally unveiled the plan.
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