President Joe Biden will open the new year with a show of bipartisan support to tout one of his biggest legislative victories, appearing with Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell in Kentucky to announce a major project funded by the infrastructure bill.
The appearance with McConnell, R-Ky., and other regional leaders from both parties on Wednesday signals a two-pronged approach for a White House that aims to stay above the political fray in 2023. The standoff, and others like it this week with other administration officials across the country, will come a day after the new Republican-led House of Representatives assumes power in Washington, kicking off a period of divided government as the 2024 presidential election campaign also begins to kick off. take shape.
After two years of tough legislation in a Congress completely in Democratic hands, administration officials see 2023 as primarily a year for implementing Biden’s signature economic initiatives, including steps to boost semiconductor manufacturing under CHIPS and new cost reduction measures of the Inflation Reduction Law. Act.
But the bipartisan infrastructure bill will be front and center as the White House says 20,000 new projects funded by the bill will come online in the next year.
In 2021, the president kicked off a major public effort to build support for the infrastructure bill with a televised town hall in Cincinnati in which he vowed to “fix that fucking bridge of yours that goes to Kentucky,” referring to the Brent Spence Bridge, a crossing A key interstate classified as “functionally obsolete” that has long stood as an example of the need for major new investment in highways, bridges, and other public works projects.
Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine, a Republican, and Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear, a Democrat, who are also expected to join Biden on Wednesday, announced last week that they had obtained $1.6 billion from the infrastructure bill to replace the bridge.
Vice President Kamala Harris will hold an event in Chicago on Wednesday while Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg does the same in Connecticut. On Thursday, White House infrastructure coordinator Mitch Landrieu will visit San Francisco, a week after outgoing House Speaker Nancy Pelosi announced that the city’s iconic Golden Gate Bridge will undergo a facelift. $400 million renovation funded by law.
While more work must be done and possible setbacks lie ahead, National Economic Council Director Brian Deese and Senior Advisor Anita Dunn wrote in a year-end memo that there is “clear evidence that the economic strategy of the President Biden to grow the economy from the bottom up and the middle is working.
Beyond the focus on implementing the President’s previous legislative programs, top White House advisers insist that the President intends to move forward with additional legislative initiatives that they believe could, or will argue should, win support in a divided Congress. Bipartisanship is expected to be a major focus of Biden’s State of the Union address, a major speech that is expected to come as it also makes clear his intentions for 2024.
“I have never been more optimistic about America in my entire career,” Biden said during an appearance on ABC’s New Year’s Eve special. “We have been through so, so many hardships, the pandemic, the flu, a whole host of things. And look at how the American people fought back, and they stood up, and there’s nothing that can stop them.”
The appearance was one of the few public glimpses of the president since he and members of his family arrived in the US Virgin Islands last week. Although he has said he would discuss a possible re-election bid during such holiday gatherings, NBC News reported in October that first lady Jill Biden and the rest of the family are fully behind another campaign. Asked Friday if the 2024 election has come up in discussions this week, Biden quipped, “Is there an election coming up?”