Wednesday, December 8, 2021

Biden faces new challenges after infrastructure win

WASHINGTON (AP) – He’s lived here before.

President Joe Biden doesn’t have to look ahead of his time as vice president to understand the challenges he faces in promoting his new $1 trillion infrastructure deal For the American people and getting money out the door fast enough that they can feel a real impact.

When President Barack Obama pushed through a massive stimulus bill in 2009, his administration faced criticism that the money was too slow to do its job in a sluggish economy, and Obama later acknowledged that he would Americans have failed to sell on the benefits.

Obama’s biggest mistake, he said in 2012, was thinking that the job of the presidency was “about getting policy right,” not “a story to the American people that gives them a sense of unity and purpose.”

Biden began his attempt to create such a story when he took a victory lap on Saturday His infrastructure bill came after Congress approved it, marking a hard-won victory over a $1.2 trillion law that he says will improve the lives of Americans in the months and years to come.

The Democratic president called it a “one-time investment” in tackling a number of challenges – crumbling roads and bridges, gaps in access to cheap internet, water contaminated with lead pipes, homes and cities unwilling to face relentlessly with extreme weather conditions.

A particularly difficult weekend is approaching In which his party suffered a sudden defeat in elections across the country, the passage of the law was a respite from a challenging few months for a presiding president, whose polling numbers have plummeted. As Americans despair over the coronavirus pandemic and an uneven economic recovery.

But the legislative victory set up a series of challenges for both promoting the New Deal and continuing the long-standing debate for a more than $1.85 trillion social safety net and climate bill at the same time., which will dramatically expand health, family and climate change programs.

The stakes for Biden are clear in his sluggish polling numbers.

Priorities USA, a Democratic big money group, warned in a memo last week that “voters are frustrated, skeptical and exhausted – from COVID, from financial crunch, school closures, high prices and stagnant wages, without prescriptions.” of medicines and health care and much more.”

“Without results (and how to effectively communicate those results), voters will punish the party in power,” said Speaker Guy Cecil.

While surveys broadly suggest that Americans support the infrastructure package, some indicate that the nation is still not sure what is in it. Nearly half of adults surveyed in a Pew Research Center survey conducted in September said they were in favor of the infrastructure bill, but a little over a quarter said they weren’t sure about it.

In an effort to correct past messaging mistakes, the White House is planning an aggressive sales campaign for the infrastructure bill, with Biden planning a trip across the US to speak about the effects of the law.

He will visit a port in Baltimore on Wednesday and promise a grand signing ceremony for the infrastructure bill when legislators return to the city.

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The administration is also deploying the heads of the Departments of Transportation, Energy, Interior and Commerce as well as administrators of the Environmental Protection Agency and top White House aides to speak about the bill to national and local media and African American and Spanish-language press. Used to be. And they’re putting interpreters on departments’ digital platforms to help Americans better understand what’s in the bill.

But when White House officials talk about what’s in the bill, they also have to make sure the money is spent. It’s a challenge Biden is well aware of, having overseen the implementation of the 2009 stimulus as vice president. Then, despite promises to prioritize “shovel-ready projects”, challenges with permitting and other issues delayed, prompting Obama to joke in 2011 that “shovel-ready was not as shovel-ready as we are”. Were hoping.”

Democrats felt at the time that the party did not do enough to remind Americans how they had improved their lives, and ultimately allowed Republicans to frame the election conversation around government overreach. The next year, the Democrats suffered heavy losses in the midterm elections, losing control of the House and capturing a handful of seats in the Senate.

Biden, for his part, says Americans could start seeing the effects of the infrastructure bill in two to three months. Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg said Monday that once Biden signs the measure into law, his department will begin doling out about $660 billion in federal funding, some projects just awaiting funding, but others. Efforts, such as investing in new electric vehicle chargers, promoting safer roads for cyclists and pedestrians, and reconnecting communities divided by highways, are taking more time. Unlike the 2009 stimulus, Buttigieg said, Biden’s infrastructure bill is “short-term, but it is long-term.”

“It’s several years ahead starting now,” he said. “That’s how we do right by the next generation.”

While he’s selling the infrastructure bill as proof that Democrats can deliver, Biden will still have to contend with his ongoing decrying on the other big item on his agenda – the social spending bill.

Unlike the infrastructure bill, which passed in the Senate with the support of 19 Republicans, the social spending package is facing unified GOP opposition, meaning Biden needs every Democratic vote in the Senate to make it to the last line. Will be Between the moderate and progressive factions of the party over the details of the final bill, and with two centrist holdouts – Sen. Joe Manchin of West Virginia and San Kirsten Cinema of Arizona – Unlike many major progressive priorities, conquering the final route to the second half of your agenda can be a more difficult puzzle.

“Everyone agreed on the infrastructure. Rep. Jim Clyburn, D.S.C., on Fox’s “Fox News Sunday” “You can build roads and bridges or not and build the water and sewage you need and fix your rails and your ports,” he said. “

“But it’s something else again when you start getting into new stuff,” Clyburn said.

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