Congress Should Spend Responsibly and Invest Wisely

Between the American Jobs Plan and the American Families Plan, President Biden has proposed roughly $4.45 trillion of new spending and tax breaks. The plans also include roughly $3.25 trillion of revenue-increasing provisions, enough to offset the cost of the plan over 15 years based on the Administration's estimates but still leaving $1.2 trillion of borrowing over the traditional ten-year budget window. Congress should increase offsets and/or scale back spending so the plans are fully paid for over a decade. At the same time, they must make sure the dollars are invested wisely.

In addition to fully paying for both plans, Congress should assure taxpayers that their money is being well spent, including using mechanisms to ensure money goes where it can have the greatest return. As the Biden Administration put it in its American Jobs Plan factsheet, we should Invest resources wisely to deliver infrastructure projects [and other spending] that produce real results.”

To achieve these goals, policymakers could consider:

  • Relying on non-political experts to determine which specific investments to make. 
  • Using infrastructure banks, competitive grants, or other structures to depoliticize and better prioritize investment choices. 
  • Coordinating, streamlining, and expediting the building process, including with permitting reforms and regulatory waivers. 
  • Requiring transparency and measurable performance goals and metrics for new projects and spending. 
  • Demanding ongoing accountability, including by empowering the Government Accountability Office, inspectors general, and new oversight bodies where appropriate.

We will write more about these and other issues in the coming weeks.