U.S. President Joe Biden holds first Cabinet meeting at the White House in Washington, U.S., April 1, 2021.
U.S. President Joe Biden holds first Cabinet meeting at the White House in Washington, U.S., April 1, 2021. REUTERS/Tom Brenner

- U.S. President Joe Biden held his first Cabinet meeting Thursday, directing five Cabinet members to lead the way in explaining his $2 trillion infrastructure plan to the American public.

Biden, who unveiled the massive program to repair the country’s deteriorating roads and bridges and ramp up broadband internet connections on Wednesday, also instructed all of his agency chiefs to look at their spending plans to make sure “Buy American” rules are being followed, to maximize job opportunities for U.S. workers.

President Joe Biden delivers a speech on infrastructure spending, at Carpenters Pittsburgh Training Center, in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, March 31, 2021.
Biden Unveils $2 Trillion US Jobs, Infrastructure Plan
President’s plan aims to put the United States in position to out-compete China and other adversaries

Biden named Transportation secretary Pete Buttigieg, Energy chief Jennifer Granholm. Housing secretary Marcia Fudge, Labor Department leader Marty Walsh and Commerce secretary Gina Raimondo to lead the public effort to lobby support for the infrastructure plan.

While U.S. lawmakers broadly support infrastructure spending in their states and communities, top Republican congressional leaders are attacking Biden’s plan because he is calling for a sizable corporate tax increase to pay for it, which they contend would ultimately lead to higher costs for consumer products.

The White House said 25 people attended Thursday’s meeting. That number included Vice President Kamala Harris and heads of such executive departments as the Department of Defense, Department of State and Treasury Department, as well as other high-level officials, including the director of national intelligence.

Instead of convening in the typical Cabinet meeting room at the White House, the session was held in the East Room where there was more space for social distancing amid the coronavirus pandemic. All the attendees wore face masks.

In addition to the infrastructure plan, administration officials are working to promote the already-approved $1.9 trillion coronavirus relief bill that Biden signed last month that includes direct payments to many U.S. households and help for businesses and local governments.