US President Joe Biden proposed a sweeping new $1.8-trillion (R25.8-trillion) plan in a speech to a joint session of Congress this week, pleading with Republican lawmakers to work with him on divisive issues and to meet the stiff competition posed by China.

Pushing a vision of more government investment funded by the wealthy, the Democratic president urged Republicans who have so far resolutely opposed him to help pass a wide array of contentious legislation from taxes to police reform, gun control and immigration...

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