Biden and his aides believe that the support of the majority of Americans – as well as Republican governors, mayors, and local officials across the country – could help them secure Republican support in Congress, or even give Democrats momentum to promote the plans enforce voting on a party line.
“We turned the tide on a one-time pandemic. Now we face a question. What kind of economy are we going to build for tomorrow? What are we going to do?” Said Biden. “I believe this is our moment to rebuild a bottom-up and center-out economy. Not a run down economy. “
Back in Washington, Senate Republicans sent their latest proposal to Biden on Thursday, but the $ 928 billion infrastructure plan is still hundreds of billions less than the White House’s last $ 1.7 trillion offer.
Biden told reporters he spoke briefly Thursday with Senator Shelley Moore Capito (R-W.Va.), Who is leading the infrastructure negotiations, and planned to meet with Republicans again next week.
“I told her we really need to end this soon,” he said. “We have to close this.”
Biden has been pushing Republicans to support a total of $ 4 trillion in spending for weeks, but he stands ready to support a Congressional maneuver that would allow Senate Democrats to pass laws without the GOP’s support.
The president is encouraged by American support for his proposals, including the popularity of the American rescue plan. His plans are already helping the US return from the economic downturn caused by the pandemic. He is promoting the 1.5 million new jobs and a drop in unemployment claims of more than a third, the lowest level since the pandemic began.
“Covid cases have failed. Covid deaths are down, ”he said. “The unemployment records have fallen. The hunger has decreased. The vaccinations are complete. Jobs are up. The growth has increased. People getting health insurance are on the rise. Small business confidence has increased. Simply put, America is coming back. “
Before the President left for Ohio, the White House released a new memo from Senior Advisor Mike Donilon entitled “The American People Are Behind President Biden’s Civic Economic Vision.”
“If we turn this dark chapter in American history, we are at a turning point about what kind of economy – and land – we want for ourselves and for future generations,” wrote Donilon. “The American people understand that the economy we had before the pandemic left far too many people behind, and that more and more families were finding that their impact on middle class life – and the security it offers – was precarious. They know we can’t afford to just turn the clock back to where we were. “
The White House advertises an average of 500,000 new jobs created every month. The number of new unemployment claims has fallen by almost half and record growth.
Prior to his speech, Biden visited the college’s technology center, where he researched student certification programs and examined a robotic arm. Several dozen students, some masked, gathered to hear his speech. A large sign reading “Blue Collar Blueprint for America” was placed on one side of the room.
“We have to be number 1 in the world to lead the world in the 21st century,” said Biden. “It’s a simple suggestion and the starting gun has already gone off.”
Republicans have opposed the size and scope of Biden’s two spending proposals: the American Jobs Plan, a comprehensive $ 2.3 trillion package designed to repair the country’s crumbling roads and bridges, create jobs, and climate change should be fought; and the American Families Plan, a $ 1.8 trillion plan to fund Democratic priorities including billions of dollars in childcare, preschool, paid family vacations, and non-tuition community college.
The White House cut the size of its employment plan to $ 1.7 trillion on Friday, mainly by moving spending elsewhere, but Republicans have resisted the counter offer. They reduced the amount to $ 928 billion on Thursday after originally proposing a $ 568 billion plan.
In northeast Ohio, infrastructure funds are being spent to expand broadband access and replace lead pipes for safe drinking water, according to the White House.
Many Republicans have already spoken out against the way Biden seeks to raise money, including taxes on corporate and wealthy Americans. Conservative groups have launched a campaign criticizing his proposal to hire nearly 87,000 new IRS employees over the next decade to raise money from tax fraud. Meanwhile, Democrats are opposed to raising leftover Covid aid money, which the White House claims will not be enough to cover the plan anyway.
“We had no problem getting a $ 2 trillion tax plan going to the top 1 percent that wasn’t paid for at all,” Biden said. “But every time I talk about tax cuts for workers, it goes, ‘Oh my god, what are we going to do? “Well, we’re going to take some of that 1 percent money back.”
Some Democrats are pushing him to proceed with what they can do without Republican support, but Biden’s aides and allies have signaled that they are ready to negotiate a few weeks after his self-imposed Memorial Day deadline. In order to pass the bills, all Democratic senators must support them. But some moderate Democrats, including West Virginia Senator Joe Manchin, want to keep negotiating.
Biden had planned a rally at Cuyahoga Community College in March 2020, but it was scrapped because of the pandemic. He remembered the day.
“Life in America had changed. A long dark year was just around the corner, ”he said on Thursday. “Fourteen months later, we finally made it to campus. After a year of darkness we are finally coming to light. “
It is his second visit to Cleveland since he was sworn in.
The League of Conservation Voters launched a $ 40,000 advertising campaign around Cleveland, coordinated with Biden’s visit to push for a package that focuses on climate and clean energy.
“President Biden’s American employment plan will strengthen our economy, protect our environment and fight for climate justice – all while supporting healthier and more resilient communities,” said Heather Taylor-Miesle, president of the Ohio Environmental Council Action Fund.