TRAVERSE CITY, Mich.
President Joe Biden is using a visit Saturday to a Michigan cherry farm to talk up his bipartisan infrastructure package and additional plans for investing in families and education.
He arrived midday and was greeted by Democratic Gov. Gretchen Whitmer in Traverse City, which is hosting the National Cherry Festiva l, an event that attracted Presidents Herbert Hoover and Gerald Ford in the past. Biden also plans to tour a cherry farm in nearby Antrim County.
Biden’s trip to Michigan is part of a broader campaign by the administration to drum up public support for the infrastructure package and other polices geared toward families and education.
First lady Jill Biden is going to Maine and New Hampshire on Saturday, while Vice President Kamala Harris is scheduled to visit a union training center in Las Vegas.
The president has said the key to getting his $973 billion deal passed involves taking the case straight to voters. While Republicans and Democrats might squabble in Washington, Biden’s theory is that lawmakers of both parties want to deliver for their constituents.
White House officials negotiated the compromise with a bipartisan group of senators led by Republican Rob Portman of Ohio and Democrat Kyrsten Sinema of Arizona.
The agreement, announced in June, features $109 billion on roads and highways, $15 billion on electric vehicle infrastructure and transit systems and $65 billion toward broadband, among other expenditures on airports, drinking water systems and resiliency efforts to tackle climate change.
It would be funded by COVID-19 relief that was approved in 2020 but unspent, repurposed money for enhanced unemployment benefits and increased enforcement by the IRS on wealthier Americans who avoid taxes. The financing also depends on leasing 5G telecommunications spectrum, the strategic petroleum reserve and the potential economic growth produced by the investments.
Biden intends to pass additional initiatives on education and families as well as tax increases on the wealthy and corporations through the budget reconciliation process. This would allow the passage of Biden’s priorities by a simple majority vote, avoiding the 60-vote hurdle in a Senate split evenly between Democrats and Republicans.