LA CROSSE, Wis. — President Joe Biden took his argument for passing the bipartisan infrastructure deal on the road Tuesday, pitching the plan would help working and middle-class families around the country.
Speaking in La Crosse, Wisconsin, Biden’s speech marked the first time he has pitched the bill directly to the American people since a deal was reached last week.
“After months of careful negotiation — of listening, compromising together and in good faith moving together, with ups and downs and some blips — a bipartisan group of senators got together and they’ve forged an agreement to move forward on the key priorities of my American Jobs Plan,” he said.
Biden said the new bill is a way for the United States to present principles of democracy and the economic power to invest in the future of the country.
“This is a generational investment, a generational investment to modernize our infrastructure, creating millions of good-paying jobs and positions America to compete with the rest of the world in the 21st century, because China is way outworking us in terms of infrastructure,” Biden said.
The President said his proposal, which would total $1.2 trillion over eight years, would provide much-needed upgrades to roads and bridges across the country. It would also help other projects such as lead-filled water pipes and overwhelmed power grids. Biden said the plan would help combat the continued growing challenges of climate change.
Biden’s remarks come just days after he issued a statement last weekend, walking back comments he made while speaking to reporters at the White House. The President said then he would not sign the bill unless it came with a proposed Democratic bill of priorities.
“You all know that feeling losing time, sitting in traffic or being rerouted because the bridge isn’t wide enough or the road is poorly maintained. This deal is going to put Americans back to fixing all of that, and good paying jobs,” Biden said.
The President got emotional when discussing the importance of road safety, citing the U.S. has one of the highest road fatality rates of anywhere in the industrial world.
“I lost a wife and daughter and almost lost two sons,” Biden said after a brief pause.
Biden’s first wife and infant daughter were killed in a car crash in 1972. “I bet every one of you here can tell me what the most dangerous intersections in your town are,” he said.
The President praised the way the deal was reached in a bipartisan manner, a far cry from Washington when former President Donald Trump was in office.
“We can’t give up on what we keep finding ways to come together because every time we negotiate in good faith and come together and get something big done, we break a little more of the ice that too often keeps us frozen in place and prevents us from solving the real problems people are facing,” Biden said.
Biden reaffirmed his comments when he was on the campaign trail, ensuring taxes on those making less than 400,000 a year will not go up. He went on to say the wealthy must start paying their fair share of taxes.
Pres. Biden reiterates that he wants the plan to be paid for without raising taxes on Americans making less than $400,000: "I would not support anything that raised a penny in taxes for someone making under $400,000…working families have already paid enough." pic.twitter.com/CkHhixxKER— CBS News (@CBSNews) June 29, 2021
The stop in Wisconsin marks the beginning of a series of presidential trips around the country to sell the bipartisan bill and reassure nervous Republicans about his commitment to the bill in the process.
“I’m going to be out there making the case for the American people until this job is done, until we bring this bipartisan deal home, until our human infrastructure needs are also met, until we have a fairer tax system to pay for all of this,” Biden said.