USA

Biden argues US is at an 'inflection point' as he pushes economic agenda

(CNN)President Joe Biden argued on Thursday the US is at an inflection point as he pushed for the passage of his economic packages in Congress.

"I believe we're at an inflection point in this country — one of those moments where the decisions we're about to make can change, literally change the trajectory of our nation. For years and possibly decades to come," Biden said, speaking from the White House.

The President continued: "Each inflection point in this nation's history represents a fundamental choice. I believe that America at this moment is facing such a choice."

"The choice is this: Are we going to continue with an economy where the overwhelming share of the benefits go to big corporations and the very wealthy? Or are we going to take this moment right now to set this country on a new path, one that invests in this nation, creates real sustained economic growth and that benefits everyone, including working people and middle class folks," Biden said.

The speech comes as sharp divisions in the Democratic Party threaten to bog down Biden's $3.5 trillion economic package to expand the nation's social safety net, which is the centerpiece of the President's agenda.

White House press secretary Jen Psaki tweeted Thursday morning: "Later this afternoon, @POTUS will lay out his case on the economy--and the big choice facing America at this moment: Are we going to continue with an economy that benefits the wealthy and big corporations or are we going to set the country on a path that benefits working people?"

The $3.5 trillion plan includes funding for paid family leave, education, health care and to address the climate crisis. Senators are at odds over the price tag of the plan, the tax hikes to pay for it, the health care provisions in the proposal and climate provisions that liberals are insisting must be included.

These disagreements within the Democratic Party have raised questions about whether all 50 members of the Senate's Democratic caucus can quickly unite behind the legislation. Democrats are planning to pass this legislation using the budget reconciliation process, which only requires 50 votes and would therefore not need Republican support.

If that economic package stalls in the Senate, liberals are warning they will sink the $1.2 trillion bipartisan infrastructure bill as well, which is also key to Biden's agenda.

Congressional leaders have set an end-of-September deadline in the House to pass their massive budget bill alongside the separate bipartisan infrastructure bill.

Earlier this week, Biden focused on and touted the investments that the twin economic proposals would make to address the climate crisis. The President traveled to California and Idaho to survey damage from wildfires and argued that extreme weather events were only increasing in intensity and frequency and that the nation needed to act swiftly to address the climate crisis.

The packages contain hundreds of billions of new climate investments, which Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer has argued will get the US most of the way to hitting Biden's fossil-fuel emissions target of 50-52% below 2005 levels by 2030.

This is a breaking story and will be updated.

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