Roads, bridges, jobs: Biden selling big infrastructure deal

“This deal is not just the sum of its parts. It is a signal to us and to the world that American democracy can come and deliver for all of our people.” “America has always been driven into the future by historical investments.”

He said there is a critical need to repair crumbling infrastructure – from heavy power grids to lead-filled water pipes to traffic-clogged roads – and stressed that the effort should not only affect the daily lives of Americans To improve requires being ambitious, but also to compete. The growing challenges of climate change.

“We’re not just tinkering around the edges,” Biden said.

He also spoke personally, reminiscing about driving a bus during law school and watching the 1972 traffic accident that killed his first wife and daughter, as he sought reforms to make the country’s roads safer. called upon.

The visit to Wisconsin will be the start of what the White House has announced will be a series of presidential visits to sell the bipartisan bill — and to reassure the nervous Republicans who helped prepare it.

“I’m going to make the case for the American people until we bring this bipartisan bill home,” the president said. compromise” is to be made.

The process briefly fizzled out late last week as Biden suggested the deal be held until he received a much larger, separate package for infrastructure, jobs and education, Which will be determined entirely by Democrats through a Congressional “budget reconciliation” process.

Biden said on Saturday that it was not a veto threat and that by Sunday the package was back on track. But there were still concerns on both sides of the aisle.

Some Republicans have questioned the prudence of signing a bipartisan bill if it ties into a party-line reconciliation bill that would have a host of additional Democratic priorities. And GOP Senate leader Mitch McConnell, who has often declared his strong opposition to the Biden agenda, has questioned the process.

Meanwhile, a balancing act awaits even among Democrats: some more liberal members of the party have urged Biden to push for a Democrats-only bill at least as big as his previously announced $4 trillion goal, while some more Liberal members have indicated that they’d like a much smaller number. With a 50-50 deadlock in the Senate, with Vice President Kamala Harris severing ties, the White House cannot afford to lose a single vote.

As Biden publicly trumpeted the bipartisan first edition, the White House worked furiously behind the scenes to keep it on track.

Senior aides from the West Wing, including top adviser Steve Richetti, met with House Democrats at the Capitol on Tuesday. White House press secretary Jen Psaki told reporters on Air Force One on her way to Wisconsin that others have called this week along with more than 60 Democratic and Republican members and chiefs of staff and other aides.

Rape. Ilhan Omar, D-Min., said he and other leaders of the Congressional Progressive Caucus were assured that the strategy was simultaneously pushing bipartisan infrastructure and Democrat-only reconciliation bills.

“They seem to be very firm on that strategy, that the bills go together and there is a feeling that this is the only way we are able to get them passed,” Omar said.

Psaki said the White House was going along the timeline outlined by Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, who has said he wants to put both packages on the floor for debate next month.

An internal White House memo highlights how the administration opposes the biggest investment in transportation, water systems and services in nearly a century that would spur growth. The memo notes that the total package is four times the size of infrastructure investments made a dozen years ago in response to the Great Recession and is the largest since Franklin D. Roosevelt’s New Deal in the 1930s.

It also stresses an analysis suggesting that 90% of jobs generated by spending may go to workers without college degrees, as the majority of net jobs before the pandemic go to college graduates. an important change.

“This is a blue-collar blueprint for rebuilding America,” the memo says.

The trip to La Crosse was actually a blue-collar political drama, with faux traffic construction signs saying the “American Jobs Plan” scattered throughout the site. The president has long been associated with working-class voters, while Wisconsin is one of a trio of Great Lakes states—along with Michigan and Pennsylvania—that Biden narrowly switched to Democrats after being captured by Donald Trump in 2016. reclaimed from

Biden, making a quick stop for ice cream after his speech, received a suggestion to order a taste of the rocky road to the infrastructure bill. He quipped, “It’s been a rocky road, but we’re going to get it done” and ordered cookies and cream and strawberries instead.

The potential economic gains were a shared impetus for the group of Democratic and Republican senators who agreed the deal last week. McConnell said he has yet to decide whether he will support a bipartisan package, but he wants Biden to pressure House Speakers Nancy Pelosi and Schumer to say they pass a bipartisan system without mandates. a much larger and wider follow-up bill. at Place.

McConnell said this week, “I applaud the president for saying he’s prepared to deal with infrastructure separately, but he doesn’t control Congress.”

The two bills were expected to go side-by-side, and are likely to continue as Biden drops his veto threat, but with a nearly $1 trillion bipartisan package in the aisle for a comprehensive package of his own. are reached. Democratic leaders are moving forward on broader bills, including proposals for Biden’s family and climate change, as well as their own investments in Medicare, swelling to some $6 trillion.

Joe Manchin of West Virginia, one of the Democratic moderates, reiterated Tuesday that he would be liable for the party-line budget bill, but did not address its size.

“I agree it can be done,” he told MSNBC.


Lemire reported from Washington. Associated Press writers Lisa Mascaro and Kevin Freking in Washington and Bruce Schreiner in Louisville, Ky., contributed to this report.


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