wintrymix.png
Monday January 17th, 2022 1:35AM
12:00AM ( 1 hour ago ) News Alert

Democrats sell infrastructure bill, push for Biden backup

By The Associated Press
Related Articles
  Contact Editor

STILWELL, Kan. (AP) — Traffic whizzing behind her, Rep. Sharice Davids gathered reporters at a transportation facility along U.S. 69 in eastern Kansas this week to celebrate the surge of federal money headed in her state's direction.

The massive infrastructure package passed last week means $2.6 billion for Kansas roads — some of the largest investments in them since President Dwight D. Eisenhower, once a Kansan himself, supported the construction of the national highway system in the 1950s.

“I think that a lot of us recognize, just like President Eisenhower did, that infrastructure is a key to long-term economic growth," said Davids, who proudly declared herself a “born-again transportation enthusiast.”

Davids is hardly the only member of her party celebrating. With their narrow control of Congress at stake in 2022, Democrats across the country are donning hard hats and staging photo ops near bridges to highlight long-neglected public works projects set to spring to life thanks to the more than $1 trillion plan.

It’s an attempt to move past months of infighting between progressives and moderates and unite around a shovel-ready approach to kicking the post-coronavirus pandemic economy into high gear.

For Democrats like Davids, facing tough reelection fights, the public works bonanza may be their ticket out of political peril — a potential boon with moderate and independent voters who turned against the party in last week’s elections in New Jersey and Virginia and who will decide races in most swing districts next year.

“Now is the time to turn the corner,” said New York Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney, Democratic Congressional Committee chairman. “There’s enough blame to go around, but we have achieved a huge win for working and middle-class people.”

Among those Maloney blames for the current climate is President Joe Biden, who Maloney says has failed to properly promote what's already been achieved.

“I think my colleagues on Capitol Hill are desperate to follow the president, but we need him to lead and he needs to use that extraordinary voice that he has,” Maloney said, recalling Biden channeling his working-class Pennsylvania roots on his way to winning that state and the presidency last year. “We want Scranton Joe out there explaining this blue-collar blueprint to grow the American economy and we will follow him."

The White House says Biden will aggressively sell his party's legislative accomplishment. The president traveled to the Port of Baltimore on Wednesday to tout the package, though he acknowledged it would not quickly ease the rising inflation or supply chain issues weighing on the economy: “We still face challenges and we have to tackle them," he said.

Maloney said he wants more. He called for Biden to use a nationally televised address to cheer the measure, coupled with 25 visits around the country for himself and an equal number for Vice President Kamala Harris to promote popular public works projects it will fund. Maloney also wants to see House Democrats stage more than 1,000 of their own events to do the same, backed by a $10 million Democratic National Committee advertising buy to explain the plan to the public.

The goal isn't just detailing the package, but wielding it as a cudgel over congressional Republicans — all but 13 of whom voted against it. The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee says it plans to “weaponize” the infrastructure plan — praising it while attacking Republicans facing their own close reelection fights next year for opposing it.

Infrastructure spending has broad bipartisan support in polling, but House Republicans argued the bill was packed with Democratic priorities beyond road repairs and bridges.

Still, former President Donald Trump seemed to acknowledge the political potential for Democrats this week when he blamed Republicans who backed the measure for voting "for Democrat longevity.” Many who did have faced sharp criticism from constituents; Michigan Rep. Fred Upton said he and his family had received death threats.

Democrats report that the reaction back home has been the opposite. In New Jersey, Rep. Josh Gottheimer said he received a high-five when he walked into a diner Monday.

Gottheimer, a top GOP target next year, led an effort by House moderates to ensure the infrastructure bill passed even as his progressive colleagues pushed for more immediate action on a separate, larger social spending plan dubbed “Build Back Better.” Now he's is pushing colleagues to promote the pieces voters can relate to — expanding a tunnel known as Gateway, a commuter rail line under the Hudson River that links his state and New York City, or fixing the state’s roads.

“You actually have to explain it to people. It can’t be a number. It has to be about how it affects their lives," he said. He added with a laugh, “If you talk to anyone who’s from Jersey, you get the tire insurance because you’re always getting flat tires from hitting potholes.”

Rep. Jennifer Wexton, D-Va., said the legislation “is going to be huge” for “the daily commutes and the daily lives” of her constituents, noting that the package could help further expand Metro train service in her exurban territory west of Washington. It could also bolster internet service in areas where families sometimes had to drive to libraries to access broadband — despite being only around 50 miles (80 kilometers) from the nation's capital.

Republican Glenn Youngkin won Virginia's governorship in an upset last week, and his party could take control of the state House depending on the outcomes of two races apparently headed to recounts. Youngkin's Democratic opponent, Terry McAuliffe, had suggested in vain that Democrats should act more quickly to pass the infrastructure bill.

“I don’t know what it would have done," Wexton said of whether that would have changed the results. “Obviously, it was not ideal not to have it passed.”

Now at home on recess, vulnerable Democrats are emphasizing the local projects that could mean improved quality of life — and jobs. In Michigan, Democratic Rep. Elissa Slotkin praised the plan alongside labor union members this week, noting that $1.3 billion can be used to replace pipes in a state that has seen communities struggle with lead in tap water.

Even as they sell the bill, some Democrats remain focused on the next priority. They want approval of Biden's even bigger $1.85 trillion measure, which is designed to dramatically expand federal spending for social programs, child care and climate change mitigation — but has yet to clear Congress.

That was part of Rep. Cindy Axne’s message to renewable fuel advocates at a western Iowa ethanol plant this week. The Democratic congresswoman has secured funding for renewable fuels, a major industry in her district, in the second spending package.

“If we do not support the human infrastructure, which is truly what’s driving this country, we aren’t supporting infrastructure," she said.

In Minnesota, Rep. Angie Craig, a Democrat representing swing suburbs outside the Twin Cities, described the infrastructure plan as equally a jobs and public projects plan. But she, like Axne, noted that Biden's broader proposal might register more with voters.

“There is so much in Build Back Better that people are going to actually feel in their daily lives,” Craig said. "Build Back Better is going to change the way people can function in their daily lives, and that it’s at least as important as infrastructure.”

___

Weissert reported from Washington, Beaumont from Atlantic, Iowa. Associated Press writer Steve Karnowski in St. Paul, Minnesota, contributed to this report.

  • Associated Categories: U.S. News, Associated Press (AP), AP National News, AP Online National News, Top U.S. News short headlines, Top General short headlines, AP Online Headlines - Washington, AP Online Congress News, AP Business, AP Business - Economy
© Copyright 2022 AccessWDUN.com
All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed without permission.
Chris Stapleton takes 6 at CMA Awards, Combs wins top prize
Chris Stapleton won the most trophies, but Luke Combs won the biggest one at the Country Music Association Awards
12:21AM ( 11 minutes ago )
Saudi Arabia denies playing climate saboteur at Glasgow
Saudi Arabia's energy minister is rejecting complaints that the oil kingdom is working behind the scenes to undermine global climate talks
12:10AM ( 23 minutes ago )
Can at-home COVID-19 tests make holiday gatherings safer?
Home test kits for COVID-19 can add a layer of safety and reassurance to holiday gatherings by providing on-the-spot results
12:06AM ( 26 minutes ago )
Associated Press (AP)
Rittenhouse gives account of shootings: 'I defended myself'
Kyle Rittenhouse told jurors at his murder trial that he tried to get away from his pursuers the night he shot three men during street unrest in Kenosha
11:54PM ( 39 minutes ago )
SpaceX crew launch marks 600 space travelers in 60 years
SpaceX has launched four astronauts to the International Space Station
11:38PM ( 55 minutes ago )
China's leader Xi warns against 'Cold War' in Asia-Pacific
Chinese President Xi Jinping has warned against letting tensions in the Asian-Pacific region cause a relapse into a Cold War mentality
11:00PM ( 1 hour ago )
AP National News
Kareem Abdul-Jabbar's son sentenced for stabbing neighbor
The son of basketball legend Kareem Abdul-Jabbar has been sentenced to six months in jail for stabbing a Southern California neighbor with a hunting knife during an argument over trash cans
8:55PM ( 3 hours ago )
Dixie State University name change passes Utah Legislature
Dixie State University in Utah is poised to change a name often associated with the Deep South and slavery after the state Legislature approved a new name Wednesday despite local backlash
8:09PM ( 4 hours ago )
Rittenhouse: 'I didn't do anything wrong. I defended myself'
Kyle Rittenhouse testified Wednesday that he was under attack when he shot three men during a turbulent night of street protests in Kenosha
8:01PM ( 4 hours ago )
Top U.S. News short headlines
Dems call for censure of GOP congressman over violent video
Ten House Democrats say they will introduce a House resolution condemning Republican Rep. Paul Gosar for tweeting a video that included altered animation showing him striking Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez with a sword
9:42PM ( 2 hours ago )
DC strikes deal to improve conditions at city's main jail
The Washington, D
9:36PM ( 2 hours ago )
Federal judge refuses Trump request to block Jan. 6 records
A federal judge has rejected former President Donald Trump’s request to block the release of documents to the House committee investigating the Jan. 6 Capitol riot
9:27PM ( 3 hours ago )
AP Online Headlines - Washington
Gerrymandering surges as states redraw maps for House seats
Gerrymandering is surging in states where legislatures are in charge of redrawing voting districts used to elect members of Congress
2:59PM ( 9 hours ago )
Powerful Democrat concedes to GOP newcomer, cites 'red wave'
One of New Jersey’s most powerful elected Democrats has conceded that he lost reelection to a Republican political newcomer, a commercial truck driver who spent only a couple thousand dollars on his campaign
2:46PM ( 9 hours ago )
The Latest: China, US agree to redouble climate efforts
China and the United States have agreed to redouble efforts to fight climate change with “concrete actions” in a joint statement in climate talks in Glasgow
2:04PM ( 10 hours ago )
AP Online Congress News
Asian shares mixed after US inflation report
Asian shares are trading mixed after a worrisome report on U.S. inflation that slammed into the bond market and knocked stocks lower on Wall Street
10:56PM ( 1 hour ago )
Ducks GM Murray resigns, plans to enter treatment program
Anaheim Ducks general manager Bob Murray has resigned one day after he was placed on administrative leave amid an investigation into his workplace conduct
9:03PM ( 3 hours ago )
Climate finance isn't charity, says Indian minister at COP26
India's environment minister says climate finance is not charity and rich countries should deliver on an unfulfilled promise to raise $100 billion a year to help poor nations adapt
8:18PM ( 4 hours ago )
AP Business
China, US pledge to enhance climate cooperation at UN talks
The world’s top two carbon polluters, China and the United States, have pledged to increase cooperation on climate action in a joint declaration at U.N. climate talks in Glasgow
3:23PM ( 9 hours ago )
Heavy burden for consumers as holidays near: Soaring prices
A worsening surge of inflation for such bedrock necessities as food, rent, autos and heating oil is setting Americans up for a financially difficult Thanksgiving and holiday shopping season
2:57PM ( 9 hours ago )
Hot inflation report slams bond market, sends stocks lower
An eye-opening report on inflation that was hotter than expected slammed into the bond market on Wednesday, sending yields jumping, and helped knock stocks lower
2:45PM ( 9 hours ago )
AP Business - Economy
Chris Stapleton takes 6 at CMA Awards, Combs wins top prize
Chris Stapleton won the most trophies, but Luke Combs won the biggest one at the Country Music Association Awards
12:21AM ( 12 minutes ago )
Saudi Arabia denies playing climate saboteur at Glasgow
Saudi Arabia's energy minister is rejecting complaints that the oil kingdom is working behind the scenes to undermine global climate talks
12:10AM ( 24 minutes ago )
Can at-home COVID-19 tests make holiday gatherings safer?
Home test kits for COVID-19 can add a layer of safety and reassurance to holiday gatherings by providing on-the-spot results
12:06AM ( 28 minutes ago )
EXPLAINER: Why US inflation is so high, and when it may ease
Inflation is starting to look like that unexpected — and unwanted — houseguest who just won’t leave
12:01AM ( 33 minutes ago )
Rittenhouse gives account of shootings: 'I defended myself'
Kyle Rittenhouse told jurors at his murder trial that he tried to get away from his pursuers the night he shot three men during street unrest in Kenosha
11:54PM ( 40 minutes ago )