Biden touts infrastructure bill in Minnesota swing district
President Biden on Tuesday traveled to Minnesota for the latest stop in his cross-country bid to sell the benefits of a bipartisan infrastructure law and rally support for a more ambitious social spending plan working its way through Congress.
“Over the next several weeks I’m going to be traveling all over the country, and so will Vice President Harris and my Cabinet and folks throughout our administration to show how these investments are going to change your lives, change lives for the better,” Biden said after touring Dakota County Technical College.
Biden toured the local trade school and delivered remarks in Rosemount, Minn., located in the state’s 2nd Congressional District. Rep. Angie Craig (D-Minn.) represents the area and is expected to face a tough re-election bid next November.
The president pointed to multiple infrastructure projects in Minnesota that could use funding, including a local train crossing that has become a traffic bottleneck. He spoke about investments in bridges that were badly needed, as evidenced by the 2007 collapse of the I-35 bridge near Minneapolis that killed 13 people and injured dozens more.
“It would not be possible without the Minnesota congressional delegation,” Biden said of signing the bipartisan infrastructure law.
Biden won Minnesota in 2020 by 7 percentage points, though former President Trump and his campaign viewed is a possible swing state heading into the election. Sen. Tina Smith (D-Minn.), who attended Tuesday’s event, also won re-election last year with ease.
But the state is home to competitive House races in the midterms, including the 2nd Congressional District. Craig spoke before Biden about the need to pass his agenda, and Biden noted she would be getting a ride back to Washington, D.C., on Air Force One.
The National Republican Congressional Committee (NRCC) has already identified Craig and Rep. Dean Phillips (D-Minn.), who represents the neighboring 3rd Congressional District, as targets for the 2022 midterm elections.
Biden and Democrats are hopeful that passing and implementing the infrastructure bill, which contains hundreds of millions of dollars in new spending, will boost the party’s prospects ahead of the midterms as local communities see the benefits.
Attention on Capitol Hill is shifting to a roughly $2 trillion spending plan that is the centerpiece of Biden’s Build Back Better agenda. The bill would include funding for climate programs, child care, health care and education initiatives. It will need to be passed via the reconciliation process with Democratic votes, as no Republican lawmakers are expected to support it.
The final details of the bill are still being negotiated, but Senate Majority Leader Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) has said he hopes it can pass by Christmas, giving Biden and Democrats another key piece of legislation to campaign on next year.
“Folks, lowering the cost of child care, elder care, housing, health care, prescription drugs and meeting the moment on climate change, that’s what this plan does,” Biden said. “Frankly, I’m surprised that not a single Republican has joined us in supporting it.”