President Joe Biden's travel schedule is raising eyebrows as he tries to rally liberal and centrist Democrats around his infrastructure, social welfare, and climate spending priorities.© Provided by Washington Examiner
But instead of attempting to demonstrate the bully pulpit's power in Arizona and West Virginia, two linchpin senators' home states, Biden this week is making trips to Maryland and Pennsylvania, after flying to Connecticut last Friday. And pressure is mounting on Biden to broker a deal before November's Virginia gubernatorial election and the 2022 midterm election cycle.
Biden is not campaigning for his $1.2 trillion bipartisan infrastructure package and what is expected to be a $2 trillion or so social welfare and climate-focused measure because they are unpopular in more conservative-leaning states, such as Arizona and West Virginia, according to Republican strategist Brian Johnson.
"Voters in Arizona and West Virginia don't want the IRS spying on their bank accounts. They don't want an almost 2,000% tax hike on smokeless tobacco. They don't want their vapes taxed higher. They don't want higher taxes on their retirements," he said of floated provisions.
Biden is counting on unions in battleground states, including Pennsylvania, to galvanize support for his agenda and presidency, the Vogel Group principal told the Washington Examiner.
"I'm not even sure that has wings. The reality is the Acela-corridor elitist progressive President Biden is not the moderate candidate Biden who promised to work across the aisle that folks in these states voted for," he said, referring to Amtrak's marque train service between Washington, D.C., and Boston.
Of the possibility that Biden, liberals, and centrists will not be able to compromise by Oct. 31, when federal surface transportation funding elapses, Johnson added: "'Jingle Bells' is going to sound an awful lot like the sounds of kicking cans down the road this December."
The White House defended Biden's trips this week by contending that he operates in "a national media environment." Biden's appearances "elevate the issues that the president is talking about," according to press secretary Jen Psaki.
Biden returning to his birthplace of Scranton, Pennsylvania, was not as surprising as he pitches his spending proposals and how to pay for them as being "Main Street" versus "Wall Street." But the decision to hold a televised town hall in Baltimore, a Democratic stronghold, has perplexed critics. His visit to Connecticut, another blue state, was just as confusing.
"The president had planned, of course, to go to recognize the incredible service of his longtime friend, former Sen. Chris Dodd, and the opening of a center at the University of Connecticut and also felt it was an opportunity to elevate the issue of child care and the issue of the shortage of child care centers, the cost of child care," Psaki said, repeating her "elevate" argument.
The White House has struggled to coerce Sens. Kyrsten Sinema of Arizona and Joe Manchin of West Virginia in the past. In January, Vice President Kamala Harris misspoke of “abandoned land mines” rather than “abandoned mine lands" during a local media interview aimed at persuading Manchin to endorse the $1.9 trillion coronavirus spending framework.
"I saw it. I couldn't believe it. No one called me," Manchin complained at the time. "That's not a way of working together, what was done."
Manchin snapped at Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders as well this week for submitting an opinion piece to West Virginia's Charleston Gazette-Mail.
“This isn’t the first time an out-of-stater has tried to tell West Virginians what is best for them, despite having no relationship to our state," Manchin wrote in response. "Sen. Sanders’ answer is to throw more money on an already overheated economy while 52 other senators have grave concerns about this approach."
"I will not vote for a reckless expansion of government programs," he continued. "No op-ed from a self-declared Independent socialist is going to change that."
A Senate aide quipped, “Joe Biden is a creature of the Senate. He understands a simple fact that Harris doesn’t: Don’t show up where you’re not needed.”
Biden and Capitol Hill Democrats seem to be edging closer to common ground regarding Biden's spending platform, chipping its original price tag of $6 trillion down to $2 trillion. They have managed to make it cheaper by potentially cutting a free community college initiative and reducing the money allocated for other schemes, including paid family leave and universal prekindergarten.
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Original Author: Naomi Lim
Original Location: Biden skips Arizona and West Virginia on trips to tout spending packages
Source : https://www.msn.com/en-us/news/politics/biden-skips-arizona-and-west-virginia-on-trips-to-tout-spending-packages/ar-AAPMVsY1267