Biden, Cabinet fan out around nation to sell domestic agenda

President Joe Biden and top administration officials fanned out across the country the day after his State of the Union address as Democrats try to build momentum ahead of November’s midterm elections.

Each trip Wednesday was calibrated for maximum political impact, showing a presidency tending to domestic issues even as the world has been riveted by the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

Biden headed to Wisconsin, a crucial battleground that helped secure his 2020 victory, to promote the benefits of his $1 billion infrastructure legislation, which passed with bipartisan support last year. He’s expected to visit a bridge that connects to Minnesota but he is unable to support large trucks because it’s too old.

Vice President Kamala 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 on 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 was expected to speak at the University of Illinois’ campus in the city.

Biden is looking to regain his footing after his proposals to expand educational opportunities, enact financial incentives for fighting climate change and limit the cost of prescription drugs failed to advance in Congress.

Although many of his goals remain the same this year, Biden appears to be rebranding his initiatives. He did n’t use the phrase “Build Back Better,” the name of his stalled legislation, in his State of the Union address, and the White House said Biden would be talking about “Building a Better America” on Wednesday.

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He’s also looking to salvage his sagging approval ratings and lift Democrats’ spirits as they try to limit their losses in November, when Republicans are poised to retake control of Congress. The White House has said that Biden plans 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.


Associated Press writers Fatima Hussein in Chicago and Josh Boak and Matthew Daly contributed to this report.

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George Holan

George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.

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