President Joe Biden defended his plan to hike the corporate tax rate to 28% Monday, arguing there is “no evidence” such an increase would hurt the U.S. economy.
Biden made the comments in response to shouted questions while walking into the White House from Marine One on Monday morning. Reporters asked him whether he was worried the tax increase could scare businesses away from the U.S. and hurt the economy.
“Not at all,” he responded, according to a transcript provided by the White House.
The reporter then questioned why he was so confident.
“Because there’s no evidence of that,” Biden said. “The tax was 36 [sic]%. It’s now down to 21%. And the idea that that’s — bizarre. We were talking about a 28% tax that everybody thought was just fair enough for everybody. The idea — you have — here you have 51 or 52 corporations of the Fortune 500 haven’t paid a single penny in taxes for three years. Come on, man. Let’s get real.” (RELATED: McConnell Says Biden Called Him To Talk About $2 Trillion Infrastructure Plan)
Biden has proposed the tax increase as a way to pay for the multi-trillion dollar infrastructure bill he unveiled Wednesday in Pittsburgh. Republicans lowered the corporate tax rate from 35% to 21% under former President Donald Trump. Biden acknowledged that the 35% rate was too high, but argues 21% is too low.
The Biden administration argues the U.S. has fallen behind the rest of the world on infrastructure and needs to catch up to remain competitive.
Monday was also not the first time he has lashed out at Fortune 500 companies that he said were paying zero dollars in taxes, including Amazon.
“In 2019 an independent analysis found that there are 91 … fortune 500 companies — the biggest companies in the world, including Amazon — that use various loopholes so that they pay not a single solitary penny in federal income tax,” Biden said Wednesday. “I don’t want to punish them; that’s just wrong.”
Biden’s tax increase has come under fire from some members of his own party as well, with Democratic West Virginia Sen. Joe Manchin saying he can’t support a corporate tax rate beyond 25 percent.
“As the bill exists today, it needs to be changed,” Manchin said Monday.
“It’s more than just me,” he added. “There’s six or seven other Democrats who feel very strongly about this. We have to be competitive, and we’re not going to throw caution to the wind.”