The White House is mounting an all-out effort to sell the bipartisan infrastructure deal President BidenJoe BidenHouse Democrat threatens to vote against party's spending bill if HBCUs don't get more federal aid Overnight Defense & National Security — The Pentagon's deadly mistake Haitians stuck in Texas extend Biden's immigration woes MORE and a group of senators agreed to last week, deploying top administration officials to states and engaging lawmakers to help build support inside and outside Washington for the package.
Biden in a speech in Wisconsin on Tuesday touted the $1.2 trillion bipartisan infrastructure deal, describing the compromise as proof that American democracy can function and saying it would create good-paying blue-collar jobs if passed by Congress.
“I know that neither the Democrats nor Republicans got everything they wanted in this deal, it’s not all that I proposed but that’s what our economy is all about. That’s what it means to compromise and reach consensus. And that’s what’s in the heart of every democracy,” Biden said.
He added that Democrats and Republicans can’t give up on finding ways to come together.
“Every time we negotiate in good faith and come together and get something big done, we break a little more of the ice that too often keeps us frozen in place and prevents us from solving real problems for the people of this country,” he said at the La Crosse Municipal Transit Utility.
The Biden deal with GOP and Democratic senators has come under criticism from the right and the left.
Democrats are worried passage of the bipartisan deal will make it harder to pass a larger package of Democratic spending priorities on climate change, health care, education and other issues. Democrats want to move that package through budget reconciliation rules that would avoid a GOP filibuster in the Senate.
But the party would need all 50 Democratic senators to back the larger plan, and centrist Sens. Joe ManchinJoe ManchinBriahna Joy Gray: Push toward major social spending amid pandemic was 'short-lived' Overnight Energy & Environment — Presented by Climate Power — Emissions heading toward pre-pandemic levels Biden discusses agenda with Schumer, Pelosi ahead of pivotal week MORE (D-W.Va.). and Kyrsten SinemaKyrsten SinemaOvernight Energy & Environment — Presented by Climate Power — Emissions heading toward pre-pandemic levels Biden discusses agenda with Schumer, Pelosi ahead of pivotal week Biden goes after top 1 percent in defending tax hikes MORE (D-Ariz.) want to see the bipartisan deal move forward. Both have expressed reservations about the larger bill, though it is also possible both could end up supporting it in some form.
Biden said he will continue to fight for his broader agenda during his Wisconsin speech.
But his focus was on the bipartisan deal, and his address was just one part of a broader effort taken by the administration to sell the deal.
White House officials on Monday spoke with dozens of lawmakers and chiefs of staff in both parties, press secretary Jen PsakiJen PsakiOvernight Health Care — FDA panel backs boosters for some, but not all White House to host global COVID-19 summit next week Overnight Defense & National Security: US-Australian sub deal causes rift with France MORE said, including members of the Congressional Progressive Caucus and the bipartisan Problem Solvers Caucus.
Top aides, including Biden adviser Steve RicchettiSteve RicchettiChanging Joe Biden's mind is no easy task DNC members grow frustrated over increasing White House influence The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Facebook - McConnell plays 'long game' on government funding, reconciliation MORE, legislative affairs director Louisa TerrellLouisa TerrellPelosi sets up risky House vote to deem .5T budget approved The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by AT&T - Census marks US first: White population shrinks Trouble: IRS funding snags bipartisan infrastructure deal MORE and deputy legislative affairs director Shuwanza Goff were dispatched Tuesday to meet with lawmakers on Capitol Hill to discuss the infrastructure framework.
Transportation Secretary Pete ButtigiegPete ButtigiegOn The Money — Presented by Wells Fargo — Pelosi plows full speed ahead on jam-packed agenda Blumenthal calls on Buttigieg to investigate American Airlines-JetBlue partnership LGBT film festival to premiere documentary about Pete Buttigieg MORE, one of a handful of Cabinet officials leading outreach efforts at the local level on infrastructure, spent Monday and Tuesday in New York state touring infrastructure projects in need of federal funding.
Buttigieg visited Syracuse alongside Senate Majority Leader Charles SchumerChuck SchumerBiden discusses agenda with Schumer, Pelosi ahead of pivotal week CEOs urge Congress to raise debt limit or risk 'avoidable crisis' If .5 trillion 'infrastructure' bill fails, it's bye-bye for an increasingly unpopular Biden MORE (D-N.Y.) and Sen. Kirsten GillibrandKirsten GillibrandHochul tells Facebook to 'clean up the act' on abortion misinformation after Texas law Democratic senators request probe into Amazon's treatment of pregnant employees The FBI comes up empty-handed in its search for a Jan. 6 plot MORE (D-N.Y.) on Tuesday. They went to I-81, an interstate highway built decades ago that bisected the city and led to income disparities in neighboring communities. The future of the highway, which is in disrepair, has been the subject of debate for years.
“When people talk about ‘the wrong side of town,’ they’re often literally talking about a highway or a set of tracks that has served to keep a community segregated,” Buttigieg tweeted. “It's on us to right the wrongs of the past.”
Energy Secretary Jennifer GranholmJennifer GranholmBiden administration launches new effort to help communities with energy transition Biden expresses confidence on climate in renewable energy visit Overnight Energy & Environment — Spotlight on solar MORE spent the day in New York City to highlight new charging stations installed there. The administration has pushed for charging stations and investments in electric vehicles to be a cornerstone of infrastructure spending in a bid to reduce carbon emissions.
Biden is also doing his part to build public support for the bipartisan infrastructure package, including penning an op-ed in Yahoo News on Monday and reiterating many of its themes in the speech in La Crosse the following day.
“Neither Democrats nor Republicans got everything they wanted in this agreement. But that’s what it means to compromise and reach consensus — the very heart of democracy,” Biden wrote. “When we negotiate in good faith, and come together to get big things done, we begin to break the ice that too often has kept us frozen in place and prevented us from solving the real problems Americans face.”
Biden over the weekend walked back comments in which he said he would not sign the bipartisan bill if Democrats did not also pass a reconciliation package.