Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez Shrugs Off Biden's $2Tn Infrastructure Package as 'Not Enough'

Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, a progressive Democrat from New York, dismissed President Joe Biden's $2.25 trillion infrastructure proposal, arguing that the package was "not enough" to address the problems facing the country.

Details of the White House proposal broke this week, with the package expected to include about $650 billion to rebuild crumbling U.S. infrastructure. Additionally, the package would include about $300 billion to shore up manufacturing and another $300 billion for housing infrastructure, among other proposals.

While the Biden administration is already defending the high price tag, especially coming after the passage of the $1.9 trillion American Rescue Plan this month, Ocasio-Cortez believes the government should spend even more.

"This is not nearly enough. The important context here is that it's $2.25T spread out over 10 years. For context, the COVID package was $1.9T for this year *alone,* with some provisions lasting 2 years," Ocasio-Cortez tweeted on Tuesday. "Needs to be way bigger."

This is not nearly enough. The important context here is that it’s $2.25T spread out over 10 years.

For context, the COVID package was $1.9T for this year *alone,* with some provisions lasting 2 years.

Needs to be way bigger. https://t.co/eTQ7cxuTzF

— Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (@AOC) March 30, 2021

At the outset of March, the American Society of Civil Engineers released its latest "report card" for American infrastructure, giving it a C- overall. Although that was a slight improvement from the D+ the engineers gave the nation's infrastructure in 2017, it still demonstrated a need for significantly greater investment. The engineers' society estimated that $5.9 trillion would need to be invested over the next decade to get the country's bridges, transportation, water systems and roads back into good working conditions.

"The infrastructure funding gap is a major issue for all Americans and it is imperative that the federal government pass a comprehensive package that address current and future needs, particularly as severe weather threatens aging systems that were not built for the type of environmental challenges we're experiencing," Emily Feenstra, ASCE's director of government relations and infrastructure initiatives, told Newsweek.

While some Republicans have expressed interest in working with Democrats on bipartisan infrastructure legislation, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, a Kentucky Republican, has already pushed back against the White House's infrastructure plan. He has raised concerns about the Biden administration's plan to raise the corporate tax rate back to the pre-2017 level. Biden has proposed increasing the corporate tax rate to 28 percent—up from its current level at 21 percent.

"My advice to the administration is if you want to do an infrastructure bill, let's do an infrastructure bill," McConnell said. "Let's don't turn it into a massive effort to raise taxes on businesses and individuals."

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez
Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) speaks during a news conference on Capitol Hill on March 18, 2021, in Washington, D.C. Alex Wong/Getty Images

Although progressives like Ocasio-Cortez might want the government to invest even more in infrastructure, the White House appears to currently be focused on addressing the opposite concern—that it's too much spending. Additionally, White House officials are defending the proposal to raise the corporate tax rate.

"We're talking about bringing corporate revenue as a share of GDP back to its historical average between 2000 to 2017. We think it's a reasonable step and doing so would allow us to make an unprecedented investment in American infrastructure," Brian Deese, White House Director of the National Economic Council, told CNBC's Squawk Box on Wednesday.

Newsweek reached out to the White House for further comment but did not immediately receive a response.