The North American president wishes to bring to the meeting in Rome this weekend the image of a country committed to the energy transition, growth, and the fight against social inequalities.
The White House and the Democratic leadership of the US Congress engaged in frantic negotiations Wednesday to resolve lingering disputes over Joe Biden's massive social spending plan before the president flew to Europe.
While the day had started in the hope of a deal, the prospect of a consensus still seemed distant in the wee hours of the night due to disagreements on how to fund the $ 1.5 to $ 2 trillion of social spending.
Indeed, a critical centrist senator signaled his reluctance to plan a new tax on billionaires.
For her part, Nancy Pelosi, the Democratic Speaker of the House of Representatives, called for further discussions Thursday to advance Joe Biden's agenda.
According to the Wall Street Journal, the president of the United States would have accepted new concessions on Wednesday, such as the abandonment of sick leave, to try to reach an agreement before his departure on Thursday to Rome for the G20 summit.
Biden hopes to present to his international partners the image of a United States committed to the energy transition, growth, and the fight against social inequalities and tax evasion.
"Kindergarten for all. Historical climate reversals. Lower health care costs. All are within reach. Let's get these bills across the finish line," Joe Biden wrote on Twitter.
"We are very close" to an agreement, White House spokeswoman Jen Psaki acknowledged earlier. It would be "the largest investment in the history of the fight against the climate crisis by the United States," he declared.
To fund these comprehensive investment plans, which could reach about $ 3 trillion in 8 to 10 years, the idea of a tax on the ultra-rich was unveiled on Wednesday.
"The tax on the income of millionaires would apply to about 700 taxpayers and would raise billions of dollars," according to this new proposal sponsored by Democratic Senator Ron Wyden, head of the Senate Finance committee.
That would guarantee that "the richest people in the country pay a fair share to (finance) historic investments in favor of childcare, paid vacations, and the fight against climate change," he said.
The big news would be a tax on profits or capital gains on the portfolios of stocks of the great American fortunes.
TAX ON THE RICHEST
Wyden's text specifies that "only those taxpayers with more than $ 100 million in annual income or more than $ 1 billion in assets for three consecutive years would be reached" by the proposal. According to press versions, the tax rate would be 23.8%.
"Some richer people" can escape the tax by keeping assets indefinitely that allow them to take credits and finance their way of life, the text points out, referring to the possibility of buying luxurious houses, yachts, or other goods, putting those values as collateral before the banks.
"Consequently, the middle class, the families that derive their income from their wages, may face higher tax rates than millionaires," he denounces.
It remains to be seen whether this idea will be supported by centrist Democratic senators, notably Kyrsten Sinema, opposed to tax hikes when Democrats have a narrow majority in the Senate.
His colleague Joe Manchin, also from the moderate wing of the Democrats, seems reticent about this type of tax. "I don't like the connotation according to which we target different people, who are people who fundamentally contributed to society by creating many jobs," he explained.
A SOON AGREEMENT
The minimum 15% income tax for multinationals, which should concern some 200 companies in the technology sector, and contribute to the financing of these investment programs, also returned to the top of the agenda.
Sinema supports this tax, which he considers "common sense to ensure that highly profitable companies (...) pay a reasonable minimum tax on their profits."
Democrats discuss two programs: one for $ 1.2 trillion to modernize infrastructure and the other with social and environmental measures for about $ 2 trillion. Biden intends with them to reform the economy and ensure long-term growth. But the Republicans accuse the Government of promoting an inflationary policy.