Biden Vows to Keep Pushing for Infrastructure, Spending Bills
(Bloomberg) -- President Joe Biden vowed Tuesday to keep up pressure on Congress until lawmakers pass both a bipartisan infrastructure deal and a larger tax and spending bill that would carry out the rest of his agenda.
“I’m going to be out there making the case for the American people until this job is done,” Biden said as he toured a transit facility in La Crosse, Wisconsin. “Until we bring this bipartisan deal home. Until our human infrastructure, also, needs are met. Until we have a fairer tax system to pay for all of this.”
Republicans are attempting to head off an effort by Democratic leaders to use a fast-track budget process to pass a Democrat-only bill with trillions of dollars in spending and tax hikes on the wealthy.
For Democratics, moving both measures through Congress nearly in tandem is key to passing the bipartisan bill in the two chambers because liberals don’t want to risk having their priorities -- on climate, health and social programs -- left behind while the bipartisan infrastructure plan becomes law.
Biden’s sales pitch for both the infrastructure and social spending legislation -- delivered in a key swing state -- came as the White House has spent recent days clarifying Biden’s commitment to the $579 billion bipartisan measure. On Saturday, Biden issued a statement acknowledging his remarks had “created the impression that I was issuing a veto threat on the very plan I had just agreed to, which was certainly not my intent.”
The clean-up effort appears to have pacified some of the infrastructure proposal’s Republican supporters, though it remains unclear if the legislation still has the 10 Republican votes that -- if paired with every Democrat in the Senate -- could overcome filibuster efforts.
Biden acknowledged there is “a lot of work ahead” on both packages, and predicted additional disagreements and compromises as lawmakers attempted to pass even just the bipartisan deal. But he sought to solidify Republican support by casting the project as “living proof” that compromise was possible.
“This deal isn’t just the sum of its parts, it’s a signal to ourselves and the world that American democracy can come through,” Biden said.
The president also touted individual components of the proposal, including funding to replace lead pipes and provide high-speed internet to rural families.
While White House officials cast Biden’s visit as kicking off a lengthy effort to promote both legislative packages, the location suggested the president may be eying future political battles. La Crosse is situated in Wisconsin’s third congressional district, which was narrowly won by longtime Representative Ron Kind, a Democrat, in 2020. The state is also expected to have a competitive Senate election in 2022 for the seat currently held by Ron Johnson, a two-term Republican.
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