WASHINGTON – U.S. President Joe Biden and key administration officials are embarking on an extensive campaign to promote his $4 trillion spending proposals to repair the country’s infrastructure and boost assistance for children and families.
On Thursday, his 100th day in office, Biden headed to the southern state of Georgia, a key political battleground he narrowly captured in the November election to hold a campaign-style drive-in rally near the state’s biggest city, Atlanta.
His effort comes the day after his first address to a joint session of Congress in which he laid out what he called a “blue-collar blueprint” to help middle-class Americans gain or maintain family financial stability.
In the coming days, he is planning other events in the eastern states of Pennsylvania and Virginia, with the rallies aimed at winning support from voters to pressure skeptical lawmakers in Washington to approve his plans to speed the American economic recovery from the coronavirus pandemic.
In the politically divided Congress, Biden’s plans are drawing wide support from Democratic lawmakers aligned with the president, but almost no applause from opposition Republicans, who oppose the spending as too extensive and object to Biden’s plans to raise taxes on corporations and wealthy individuals to pay for the programs.
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Vice President Kamala Harris is headed Thursday to Baltimore, Maryland, to promote the Biden plans, and to the Midwestern state of Ohio on Friday, while her husband, second gentleman Doug Emhoff, is speaking in the mid-Atlantic state of North Carolina.
Biden Cabinet members are also delivering speeches across the country to promote his proposals.
While the number of coronavirus deaths and new infections have slowed in the U.S. and the economy grew by 6.4% in the first three months of the year, Biden is attempting to use the spending clout of the national government to add jobs, rebuild aging infrastructure and create a new, heretofore unknown economic safety net for American families.
Georgia’s Democratic Party said Biden would appear at a “Getting America Back on Track” rally in the city of Duluth, located 50 kilometers north of Atlanta.
Republican presidential candidates have long captured Georgia’s 16 electoral votes, but Biden defeated former President Donald Trump by nearly 12,000 votes out of 2.9 million ballots that were cast, even as Trump continues to make unfounded claims that he was cheated out of winning the state. It was the first victory in the state for a Democratic presidential candidate in 28 years.
Subsequently, two Democrats, Raphael Warnock and Jon Ossoff, won Senate run-off elections in early January, creating a politically divided Senate, with 50 Republicans and 50 Democrats.
The Democratic victories pushed the Republican-controlled state legislature to enact tighter election laws that Democrats say are likely to trim the number of minorities, especially Blacks, who vote in upcoming elections. Biden has opposed the new Georgia law, calling it “sick” and “un-American.”
While in Georgia, Biden and first lady Jill Biden, plan to visit former President Jimmy Carter, a close friend who at 96 is the longest-living U.S. president, and his wife, former first lady Rosalynn Carter, who is 93. The Carters were unable to attend Biden’s inauguration in January because of the pandemic.