Biden to focus on DC traffic jams to swing state benefits
By Jarrett Renshaw and Trevor Hunnicutt
WASHINGTON (Reuters) – President Joe Biden will hit the road on Tuesday in an attempt to deflect bickering within his Democratic Party over his massive social spending program to its potential benefits for a wide range of Americans.
The feud between moderates and progressive Democrats inflicted a major setback on Biden last week when they failed to move forward with his $ 1 trillion infrastructure bill or the $ 3.5 trillion social spending law, which could now be cut.
The president will visit Michigan “to continue to rally public support” for the two initiatives, the White House said.
“He wants to go out there and talk about the elements and elements of these bills that will improve people’s lives, even though we are having some very important conversations about legislative logistics here,” the spokeswoman said on Monday. White House, Jen Psaki. .
Democrats fear that if they fail to pass the infrastructure bill, they could be punished by angry voters in next year’s congressional election. Rebuilding America’s infrastructure was one of Biden’s main election promises.
Biden’s larger “Build Back Better” bill includes child care, housing and health care benefits, free community college tuition, and clean energy grants, which , according to the White House, would not increase the debt of the country because they would be paid by taxes on the rich and the companies.
Before heading to Michigan, Biden plans to virtually meet with Democratic members of the House on Tuesday at 10:15 a.m. (2:15 p.m. GMT) about the infrastructure bill and its Build Back Better program, according to the White House schedule. .
That meeting will be with moderate Democrats, White House communications director Kate Bedingfield said following a Monday afternoon meeting with progressives to discuss a less expensive spending bill.
“He is reaching out to Democrats from all walks of life,” she told MSNBC on Tuesday in an interview.
“We are in the process of converging on an agreement here,” Bedingfield added. “We’ll be working on the details. We’re 99% of the way.”
Biden’s allies fear his planned programs, many of which are popular with a majority of Americans according to opinion polls, have been lost in legislative wrangling.
Michigan is an electoral battleground state that Biden moved from Republican to Democrat in 2020. The White House said aging infrastructure has slowed the movement of Michigan residents and many lack high internet access. debit and child care.
Biden will travel to Howell, a town of about 9,500 people located about 55 miles (89 km) west of Detroit, and visit a training center of the International Union of Operations Engineers. The city sits in the highly competitive 8th Congress District. Voters chose Trump there in 2020 but also sent Democratic Representative Elissa Slotkin back to Congress.
Slotkin supports the $ 1,000 billion roads and bridges bill and has argued for elements of the broader social spending legislation, but said she should review the plan in its entirety.
Progressive House Democrats have said they will not vote for the infrastructure bill until they support Biden’s social spending bill, the price of which pushed some moderates back . The dispute forced Democratic leaders last week to postpone a planned vote on the infrastructure measure, which has already won bipartisan support in the Senate.
Biden said the size of the social spending bill will have to drop to win over two Senate Democrats, Kyrsten Sinema and Joe Manchin. Their support is needed because all Republicans in the Senate oppose the larger bill and every Democratic vote is needed for it to pass.
The president set a range of $ 1.9 trillion at $ 2.2 trillion during his meeting with progressive lawmakers on Monday, CBS News reported, citing anonymous sources familiar with the discussions.
(Reporting by Jarrett Renshaw and Trevor Hunnicutt; additional reporting by Susan Heavey; editing by Ross Colvin, Leslie Adler and Steve Orlofsky)