President Biden will travel to Michigan on Tuesday to rally Americans to support the massive social and infrastructure spending packages that he has failed to sell to members of his own Democratic Party.
The $1.2 trillion bipartisan infrastructure bill passed in the Senate is being held hostage by progressives in the House of Representatives until the Senate also passes Biden’s $3.5 trillion social spending plan, which moderates like Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV) say is at least $2 trillion too high.
The infighting forced House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) to cancel a vote last Thursday on the Senate-passed bipartisan infrastructure deal and sent Biden scrambling to Capitol Hill the next day for a half-hour meeting with Democrats, after which he said the infrastructure bill will not be able to be passed without a deal on the social spending measure, calling his key legislative measures “tied together.”
White House press secretary Jen Psaki said Biden’s trip to Michigan will serve as a reset to the gridlock on Capitol Hill and a way to illustrate how the initiatives in those legislative packages can help Americans.
“He wants to go out there and talk about the components and the piece of these bills that will make people’s lives better, even as we’re having very important conversations about the legislative logistics here,” Psaki told reporters at the White House briefing Monday.
She pointed out that Michigan is a state that would benefit from the spending measures.
“Just to give you a couple of examples: Michiganders … spend an extra 67 percent of their time commuting because of the need for updating infrastructure. I mean, this is something that impacts people across the state every single day,” she said.
“Almost 10 percent of people in Michigan don’t have broadband access. That is really something that will help level the playing field for people, whether they’re in urban or rural communities. Forty-four percent of people in Michigan live in childcare deserts,” Psaki added.
Biden said the negotiations were continuing but blamed two Democratic senators for holding up his agenda.
Responding to a question about why the Capitol Hill veteran was having trouble getting his Democratic colleagues on board, Biden said he has been stymied by two senators.
“I have been able to close a deal with 99 percent of my party — two people,” Biden told reporters Monday, referring to Manchin and Sen. Kyrsten Sinema (D-Ariz.).
Both senators have balked at the price tag for the spending plan.
“Look, I need 50 votes in the Senate. I have 48,” Biden said.
Before jetting off to Michigan, Biden will hold a virtual meeting with Democratic members of the House about the two bills, the White House said.
In Michigan, the president will visit a training facility in Howell for the International Union of Operating Engineers and make public remarks about the infrastructure and the Build Back Better agenda, the White House said.
He’ll appear at the union training center with Rep. Elissa Slotkin, who won re-election in November in a district that former President Donald Trump narrowly carried in 2020.
Slotkin is among the Democrats who have said they won’t consider the bipartisan infrastructure plan until the Senate votes on the $3.5 trillion package that funds a range of social programs like paid leave, child care, pre-K, and expansions of Medicare and Medicaid.
“I’m just a believer that you strike when the iron is hot, and that a bipartisan deal in Washington does not have a long shelf life. So you should move quickly when you have a deal,” Slotkin told the Detroit News.