President Biden made his latest in a string of visits to the Midwest on Wednesday, traveling to Crystal Lake, Ill., a suburb of Chicago, in an effort to rally support for his $1.8 trillion American Families Plan.
It came on the heels of trips to Traverse City, Mich., and La Crosse, Wis., last week in which he promoted other top items on his agenda, including his administration’s ongoing vaccination campaign and the infrastructure plan the White House negotiated with a bipartisan group of senators last month.
In his remarks on Wednesday, Mr. Biden brought together Democratic leaders in McHenry County, which he narrowly lost, and pitched a spending package aimed at reducing poverty by expanding access to child care, offering free community college and increasing subsidies under the Affordable Care Act, among other measures. The proposal would be financed by new taxes on the wealthy.
“We need to invest in our people,” Mr. Biden told a group of about 200 students and teachers at McHenry County College. He spoke after touring a manufacturing laboratory and a child-care center at the college.
“I’m here to make the case for the second, critical part of my domestic agenda,” the president said, adding that “it’s about a country once again that inspires” the world.
Like the infrastructure plan, the fate of the American Families Plan hinges on the administration’s ability to rally support on Capitol Hill. While White House officials are working to pass the infrastructure plan with bipartisan support, Mr. Biden has said he would be willing to push through his social spending plan with only Democratic votes by using the fast-track budget reconciliation process.
Yet some moderate Democrats, like Senator Joe Manchin III of West Virginia, have expressed reservations with the proposal. And progressives including Senator Bernie Sanders, independent of Vermont, argue that it does not go far enough and are pushing to expand it to as much as $6 trillion.
Gov. J.B. Pritzker and the State Senate president, Don Harmon, joined Mr. Biden along with Representatives Lauren Underwood and Sean Casten of Illinois.
The president spoke in Crystal Lake as violent crime surges in nearby Chicago, where more than 100 people were shot, 19 fatally, over the July 4 weekend, according to local reports.
While Mr. Biden met with a host of Democratic officials, White House officials said the trip was merely part of the administration’s effort to inform the public about the president’s goals.
“I would see this as less of a political trip, more of as an opportunity to speak to all Americans about why his Build Back Better agenda, and why his effort to extend the child tax credit, to make community college more affordable, to make universal pre-K a reality, is something that many people of all political stripes should be able to support,” Jen Psaki, the White House press secretary, told reporters on Tuesday.
Source: NYT > U.S. > Politics