President Joe Biden on Wednesday unveiled a $2 trillion, eight-year "American Jobs Plan" that contains an ambitious plan to invest billions of dollars in a massive modernization effort for Department of Veterans Affairs hospitals.
Biden's plan calls for $18 billion to modernize VA hospitals across the country. The proposal noted the median age of private sector hospitals is roughly 11 years, but the VA's 170 medical centers are 58 years old on average.
Revamping VA hospitals is part of Biden's larger objective of upgrading federal buildings and focusing on climate change by boosting sustainability and the overall resilience of buildings. The plan notes that Biden aims to purchase low-carbon materials for construction and invest in clean power.
Biden’s $1.9 trillion American Rescue Plan delegated $750 million for construction grants to boost the safety and quality state-run veterans homes.
The plan contains a smorgasbord of infrastructure objectives aimed to supercharge the nation's ability to create jobs, rebuild crumbling infrastructure and out-compete China. It includes 20,000 miles of road, rebuilding economically critical bridges, establishing 500,000 electric vehicle charging stations and investments in broadband, water systems and more.
"Public domestic investment as a share of the economy has fallen by more than 40 percent since the 1960s," the White House said in its released policy proposal. "The American Jobs Plan will invest in America in a way we have not invested since we built the interstate highways and won the Space Race."
The plan is likely to draw Republican backlash due to its sweeping size and scope, especially following the expenditure of trillions on coronavirus relief. The administration said the plan would cost 1% of GDP over eight years and would be funded with an increase to corporate taxes, not changes to tax rates for individuals. That, the White House said, would pay off the proposal in 15 years.
-- Steve Beynon can be reached at Steve.Beynon@military.com. Follow him on Twitter @StevenBeynon.