01:41 GMT16 April 2021
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    Joe Biden's ambitious $2 trillion infrastructure plan has been much rebuked by Republican lawmakers over planned tax hikes, with ex-president Donald Trump decrying the proposal as a way to “crush American workers and decimate US manufacturing.”

    White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki gave a “mysterious” response to a Newsmax reporter who pressured her about a “private memo” which apparently claims that Biden’s infrastructure plan is $1 trillion more expensive than initially suggested.

    "There's a private memo that's being circulated in the business community and to some Republican senators that said that the $2.25 trillion price tag is $1 trillion off," Newsmax's White House correspondent John Gizzi said during a Monday press briefing. "And that there's many things in there that were omitted in the initial discussion of the bill."

    According to Gizzi, things that have not been itemised in Biden’s plan – but are apparently implied by the proposal – include $300 billion in “energy tax credits” and some other expenditures.

    But his thoughts on the issue were dismissed by Psaki who responded by sarcastically saying: “Sounds mysterious – the memo, the secret memo.”

    Gizzi went on to clarify: “Somebody went through it, or is claiming to have gone through it, and added it up and came up with $1 trillion more than [what] the president listed as the price tag.”

    Psaki was in no mood to surrender and refused to dive into a deep discussion about the president’s plan. She simply encouraged the public to do the calculations themselves:

    "We laid out very specifically each component of the package and how much we're proposing, so I'd encourage y'all to get your calculators out and charge that up and see how it compares to the secret memo," she said.

    ​But both Gizzi and the unnamed author of the “private memo” remain unimpressed.

    The author told Newsmax following the briefing that the paper in question was “neither ‘secret’ nor ‘confidential’” but rather “a proprietary research report for Wall Street institutional investors by a well-regarded research firm."

    Speaking about the alleged omissions in Biden’s proposal, he said that it was “awfully nice of them to mention a 10-year extension in tax credits for renewable energy and storage. But, I have seen estimates that would be a $300 or $400 billion item.”

    “Where is it in the $2.25 trillion-dollar total that is itemised?" the author asked.

    The report can be called “confidential” only in a sense that is was created “for paying clients,” the author explained, adding that nevertheless “much of it is already in the mainstream media."

    The plan, which is expected to have a difficult time in US Congress, has been harshly criticised by GOP members over proposals to raise the corporate tax rate from 21 percent to 28 percent to finance ambitious infrastructure ventures, including building roads and transit systems.

    Tags:
    Jen Psaki, Joe Biden, United States
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