AP

Biden, Cabinet fan out around nation to sell domestic agenda

Mar 2, 2022, 10:09 AM | Updated: 5:13 pm

President Joe Biden and first lady Jill Biden visit the John A. Blatnik Memorial Bridge that connec...

President Joe Biden and first lady Jill Biden visit the John A. Blatnik Memorial Bridge that connects Duluth, Minn., to Superior, Wis., Wednesday, March 2, 2022, in Superior, Wis. Standing between the Biden's are Wisconsin Gov. Tony Evers and Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky)

(AP Photo/Patrick Semansky)

SUPERIOR, Wis. (AP) — President Joe Biden, struggling to regain his political footing as the midterm elections approach, visited the crucial state of Wisconsin on Wednesday to promote one of his top accomplishments, a bipartisan infrastructure measure that will distribute billions of dollars to fix roads, bridges and other public works.

Biden’s trip was part of a customary post-State of the Union blitz that enlisted Vice President Kamala Harris and Cabinet officials, who fanned out across the country to showcase the administration’s plans.

Along with first lady Jill Biden, the president shook hands with workers in hard hats and neon vests near the base of the John A. Blatnik Memorial Bridge, which connects Wisconsin and Minnesota by spanning a corner of Lake Superior. The span is a perennial candidate for replacement because it’s too corroded to support heavy trucks, limiting its ability to serve as an economic lifeline for the region.

“After years of talking about infrastructure, we’re finally getting it done,” Biden said in a speech at a nearby college campus.

Although the $1 trillion infrastructure legislation was a bright spot in his rocky first year, Biden’s broader agenda — including education programs, price controls for prescription drugs and financial incentives for fighting climate change — remains stalled on Capitol Hill.

The White House has brushed off questions about whether Biden was rebranding his legislative proposals, previously known as “Build Back Better,” but the signs flanking the president in Wisconsin told a different story.

“Building A Better America,” they said, echoing a line from his State of the Union address.

Biden is also trying to demonstrate that his administration remains focused on domestic issues even as he confronts the Russian invasion of Ukraine, a crisis that has required close coordination with European allies.

“When the history of this era is written, Ukraine will have left Russia weaker and the rest of the world stronger,” Biden pledged.

Harris was in North Carolina, a swing state that remained out of reach for Democrats in the last election, to visit an apprentice training program for union electrical workers. She was joined by Labor Secretary Marty Walsh, one of several Cabinet officials who were traveling Wednesday.

One of the most notable trips was made by Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen, who rarely makes appearances with political undertones. She touched down in Chicago, where she had lunch at a Ukrainian restaurant in a show of solidarity with the besieged country and spoke at the University of Illinois’ campus in the city.

Yellen defended the administration’s economic sanctions on Russia, saying they’ve driven down the worth of the ruble and forced Moscow to close the stock market for days to limit losses.

“The objective is to keep the pain to the maximum extent possible, focused on Russia and not on the rest of us,” she said, an acknowledgement that economic ripple effects could affect Americans with higher gas prices.

Biden’s approval ratings have sagged since last summer, and Republicans are poised to retake control of Congress. The White House has said Biden intends to spend more time traveling this year to promote his administration’s plans.

“He’s got to take his message above and beyond the national press, and the chattering class of the northeastern corridor,” said Cornell Belcher, a Democratic pollster. “He’s got to hit the local television networks, he’s got to get into the local paper.”

Belcher encouraged Biden to take a page from President Ronald Reagan, who promised “morning in America,” at a time when polls show voters are pessimistic about the future.

“He’s got to be cheerleader in chief,” he said. “He’s got to make Americans feel better.”

Other trips are highlighting a mix of administration successes and pending proposals.

Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Michael Regan planned to promote investments in water infrastructure during a visit to South Carolina, while Interior Secretary Deb Haaland was headed to Connecticut to talk about funding for tribal communities to expand broadband internet access and repair roads.

Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm was going to Kentucky to tour a solar farm and participate in a roundtable discussion about clean energy investments across Appalachia.

More trips are coming up.

Health and Human Services Secretary Xavier Becerra heads to Manchester, New Hampshire, on Friday to pitch Biden’s new initiatives on mental health, along with other administration priorities on COVID-19 vaccination and health equity.

___

Hussein reported from Chicago and Megerian reported from Washington. Associated Press writers Josh Boak, Matthew Daly and Ricardo Alonso-Zaldivar contributed to this report.

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

AP

A Gila monster is displayed at the Woodland Park Zoo in Seattle, Dec. 14, 2018. A 34-year-old Color...

Associated Press

Colorado man dies after being bitten by pet Gila monster

A Colorado man has died after being bitten by his pet Gila monster in what would be a rare death by one of the desert lizards if the creature's venom turns out to have been the cause.

12 hours ago

Police clear the area following a shooting at the Kansas City Chiefs NFL football Super Bowl celebr...

Associated Press

1 dead, many wounded after shooting at Kansas City Chiefs’ Super Bowl victory parade

One person died after 22 people were hit by gunfire in a shooting at the end of the Kansas Chiefs' Super Bowl victory celebration Wednesday.

8 days ago

This image from House Television shows House Speaker Mike Johnson of La., banging the gavel after h...

Associated Press

GOP-led House impeaches Homeland Security Secretary Mayorkas — by one vote — over border management

Having failed to impeach Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas the first time, House Republicans are determined to try again Tuesday.

8 days ago

Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin, right, and Kenya's Defense Minister Aden Duale, left, listen during...

Associated Press

Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin hospitalized with bladder issue

Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin has been hospitalized following symptoms pointing to an “emergent bladder issue."

10 days ago

Joel Osteen, the pastor of Lakewood Church, stands with his wife, Victoria Osteen, as he conducts a...

Associated Press

Woman firing rifle killed by 2 off-duty officers at Houston’s Lakewood Church run by Joel Osteen

A woman entered the Texas megachurch of Joel Osteen and started shooting with a rifle Sunday and was killed by two off-duty officers.

11 days ago

Joel Osteen, the pastor of Lakewood Church, stands with his wife, Victoria Osteen, as he conducts a...

Sponsored Content by

A woman entered the Texas megachurch of Joel Osteen and started shooting with a rifle Sunday and was killed by two off-duty officers.

Sponsored Articles

...

DISC Desert Institute for Spine Care

Sciatica pain is treatable but surgery may be required

Sciatica pain is one of the most common ailments a person can face, and if not taken seriously, it could become one of the most harmful.

...

Day & Night Air Conditioning, Heating and Plumbing

Day & Night is looking for the oldest AC in the Valley

Does your air conditioner make weird noises or a burning smell when it starts? If so, you may be due for an AC unit replacement.

...

Sanderson Ford

The best ways to honor our heroes on Veterans Day and give back to the community

Veterans Day is fast approaching and there's no better way to support our veterans than to donate to the Military Assistance Mission.

Biden, Cabinet fan out around nation to sell domestic agenda