Overnight Finance

On The Money: Biden seeks GOP support for infrastructure plan | Democrats debate tax hikes on wealthy | Biden, Congress target semiconductor shortage

Happy Monday and welcome back to On The Money, where we're eagerly awaiting reports on Major Biden's training. I'm Sylvan Lane, and here's your nightly guide to everything affecting your bills, bank account and bottom line.

See something I missed? Let me know at slane@thehill.com or tweet me @SylvanLane. And if you like your newsletter, you can subscribe to it here: http://bit.ly/1NxxW2N.

Write us with tips, suggestions and news: slane@thehill.com, njagoda@thehill.com and nelis@thehill.com. Follow us on Twitter: @SylvanLane, @NJagoda and @NivElis.

THE BIG DEAL-Against mounting odds, Biden seeks GOP support for infrastructure plan: President Biden on Monday intensified his effort to win broad congressional support for his massive infrastructure plan, huddling with eight lawmakers from both chambers in search of the rarest thing in today's hyperpolarized Washington: bipartisanship.

  • The gathering marked the first time the president has met with a bipartisan group of lawmakers on infrastructure since he introduced his American Jobs Plan on March 31 in Pittsburgh. He previously hosted a small cadre of Republican and Democratic senators in the Oval Office in February.

  • But the two parties remained far apart after the nearly two-hour meeting. 

Mississippi Sen. Roger Wicker, the top Republican on the Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee, called it a "good discussion," one in which Biden did most of the talking. But Wicker said pieces of Biden's proposal would be "non-starters" for Republicans, particularly his idea to pay for the package through big corporate tax increases.

The Hill's Mike Lillis, Scott Wong and Rachel Frazin break it down here.

Democrats debate tax hikes on wealthy: Another potential complication is mixed signals from the White House over its plans to raise taxes on the wealthy to pay for some of its policies, which means a lack of clarity about how President Biden's $400,000 threshold for tax increases would work. The issue splits the party across both philosophical and regional lines:

  • Most Democrats support the idea of raising taxes on the wealthy and corporations, but the distinction between middle and upper class is different among Democrats from suburban areas with high costs of living.
  • Conservatives have already started to argue that Biden is seeking to violate his pledge to raise taxes on only the wealthiest Americans, which could be an issue for vulnerable Democrats in purple districts if it takes hold.

What Biden has said: Biden has used varying language when referring to the income level above which he'd raise taxes, not always being clear about whether he's targeting individuals making more than $400,000 or also households with couples making a combined $400,000.

Why it's an issue: The first part of Biden's infrastructure plan only touches corporate taxes, not personal, so it's not the most pressing matter for Democrats. But Biden is also expected to release a proposal in the future focused on health care and child care, and that bill is expected to be paid for through tax increases on high-income individuals. How those tax increases are structured would impact who might be affected.

The Hill's Naomi Jagoda explains here.

LEADING THE DAY

Lawmakers, industry call on Biden to fund semiconductor production amid shortage: A bipartisan group of more than 70 House and Senate lawmakers on Monday called on President Biden to support funds for semiconductor research and manufacturing, as Biden hosted a meeting with technology leaders to discuss a critical shortage in chips. 

In a letter to Biden spearheaded by Sen. John Cornyn (R-Texas), the lawmakers asked that he work to fund initiatives for semiconductors created by the CHIPS Act, legislation included in the most recent National Defense Authorization Act, noting the need to compete with China. 

  • They specifically cited concerns around keeping up with China on semiconductor manufacturing, describing the need to do so as a "national security priority."
  • The letter was sent the same day Biden hosted some two dozen leaders involved in semiconductor production at the White House, including the CEOs of Google, AT&T, Dell Technologies, Intel Corporation, Ford Motor Company, and General Motors (GM). 

What's going on? The meeting was held amid an increasing crisis in semiconductor production. 

  • A nationwide shortage has hit the automobile sector particularly hard, with chips used in multiple aspects of modern vehicles. 
  • GM was forced to shut down production at several North American plants last week due to the shortage. 

The Hill's Maggie Miller explains here.

 

ON TAP TOMORROW:

  • The Senate Banking Committee holds a hearing on the legacy of racial discrimination in housing at 10 a.m.
  • The House Rules Committee holds a hearing on the Paycheck Fairness Act and other bills at 1 p.m.
  • A Senate Banking subcommittee holds a hearing on the federal student debt burden at 2:30 p.m.

Plus: Investing in Sustainability (Wednesday, April 14-Friday, April 16; daily at 3:00 PM ET)

How and why are more companies and organizations investing in sustainability initiatives? Join us for daily conversations as part of "The Sustainability Imperative" as we discuss both the costs and rewards of doing business in an environmentally sensitive manner with Rep. Abigail Spanberger (D-VA), Rep. Garret Graves (R-LA), BlocPower CEO Donnel Baird, CA Sec. for Environmental Protection Jared Blumenfeld and more. View the full schedule and RSVP today.

 

GOOD TO KNOW

  • The House Budget Committee is not considering any plans to fire Congressional Budget Office (CBO) Director Phillip Swagel, a spokeswoman told The Hill on Monday, pushing back on a report that Democratic staffers were mulling the nonpartisan budget keeper's ouster. 
  • Top Republicans on the House Ways and Means Committee are raising concerns about the expansion of the child tax credit (CTC) contained in President Biden's coronavirus relief law.
  • Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell said the economy would have been "so much worse" if the COVID-19 relief bills were never passed by Congress.
  • Amazon's defeat of a union in Bessemer, Ala., is the latest in a string of victories for Big Tech companies over labor that may force groups to rethink their organizing efforts.
  • Large-company CEOs who are members of a top business group share a nearly unanimous sentiment that President Biden's proposed tax hikes would hurt business competitiveness.

 

ODDS AND ENDS

  • Environmental advocates are hopeful that parts of the White House's multitrillion-dollar infrastructure package's sustainability measures can gain traction with lawmakers in Congress.
  • Uber said Monday that it recorded its highest monthly gross bookings in company history in March from Uber and Uber Eats as more Americans got vaccinated.
Outbrain