White House Fights GOP’s Tax Attack With Small-Business Outreach

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The White House plans to push back against Republican criticism of President Joe Biden’s infrastructure-and-tax plan with an event Tuesday highlighting benefits for smaller businesses.

The virtual event with thousands of small-business owners late Tuesday afternoon represents the latest step in a coordinated public-relations campaign to sell the administration’s “American Jobs Plan.”

Top administration aides plan to highlight the way the president’s plan would boost federal contracting opportunities for small companies, help minority-owned manufacturing firms access capital and create a network of small-business incubators across the country -- one of Biden’s campaign pledges.

Biden has already made two public speeches on his program, which spans infrastructure to funding for elderly care, paid for with corporate-tax hikes, and on Monday he hosted a bipartisan group of lawmakers to discuss the proposals at the Oval Office.

At that meeting, GOP Senator Deb Fischer said she pressed Biden on whether the planned tax hike would make allowances for small and family-owned businesses -- reflecting her party’s broader criticism of the damage higher business levies would do to the economy.

Tax Plan

A White House official argued that the tax hikes aren’t aimed at smaller firms, and that tens of billions of dollars will flow to them as the program aims to ensure those businesses in particular benefit from federal contracting and subcontracting.

The official said that Biden’s proposed corporate tax hikes are very targeted toward large and multinational enterprises, in an effort to crack down on loopholes that benefit them -- not the average neighborhood coffee shop.

White House aides argue the infrastructure-focused spending plan will also broadly help small businesses by boosting broadband access in rural areas, improving roads and highways for the transit of goods and supporting the domestic supply chain.

The White House is defining small businesses as any company with 500 or fewer employees, with the goal of helping businesses that employ as few as a handful of people.

As part of the American Jobs Plan, the president is also asking Congress to fund a new financing program for small manufacturers and create a new office to monitor industrial capacity.

Republicans, back in Washington after a two-week congressional recess, are joining business groups in refining their criticisms of the Biden proposal, going beyond its size. GOP lawmakers say the plan incorporates Democratic social-policy priorities that go way beyond infrastructure. The Business Roundtable is also starting a multimillion-dollar campaign aimed at stopping tax increases.

Top Biden administration aides have been doing outreach to small businesses, business groups and leaders dating back to the presidential transition.

Many Democrats expect that an infrastructure bill, if successful, would narrowly pass the Senate, with the GOP united in opposition.

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