St. Croix, US Virgin Islands
After President Joe Biden returns this week to a politically reshaped Washington, he will join top Republican officials to announce his infrastructure law as he seeks bipartisan cooperation in a new era of divided government.
Wednesday’s event in Kentucky, which will include Republican Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, is intended to emphasize the importance of the massive public works package that Biden signed into law in 2021. The area, across the state line Ohio from Cincinnati, home of the Brent. Spence Bridge – a lengthy representation of the nation’s crumbling infrastructure that is slated to receive legislative funding for repairs.
For Biden, however, perhaps more important than the law itself is the demonstration of cooperation between Republicans and Democrats as he looks forward to a controversial second half of his term and the likely start of a re-election bid.
As he ended his winter vacation here on Sunday, the president expressed optimism for the year ahead.
“Next year will be a good year,” he said as he left Mass at a local Catholic church, paying attention. “I’m looking forward to it.”
It was a typically optimistic view for the president, who enters 2023 having defied projections of a midterm impeachment but still faces a new political reality in Congress.
As Republicans prepare to take control of the U.S. House of Representatives, Biden is hoping to show his willingness to work across the aisle, even as GOP opponents threaten to block his legislative ambitions and stymie the White House with oversight investigations. .
The president and his staff hope the comparison will prove beneficial as Americans look to Washington for steps to ease economic hardship. In the coming weeks, Biden is expected to reiterate his bipartisan achievements at stops across the country as the Republican majority begins its work, wrapping up its annual State of the Union address.
At his stop along the Ohio-Kentucky border on Wednesday, he will also be joined by Ohio Republican Gov. Mike DeWine, as well as two Democrats: Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear and Senator Sherrod Brown of Ohio.
Several Cabinet officials also plan to travel later this week to promote the infrastructure law. Vice President Kamala Harris will stop in Chicago and Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg will visit New London, Connecticut. They will discuss how the President’s economic plan is rebuilding our infrastructure, creating good-paying jobs — jobs that don’t require a four-year degree, and revitalizing communities that have been left behind,” a House official said. White.
NBC News was the first to report on the upcoming tours.
Biden has spent much of his tenure so far chasing bipartisan legislation, finding success in the infrastructure package as well as measures supporting the US microchip industry, providing funding to Ukraine and guaranteeing health coverage for vulnerable veterans toxic burn pits.
There is little hope among Democrats of finding areas of agreement with the Republican Congress, but in some areas – among them China and, to a certain extent, Ukraine – they were all optimistic.
In other areas, including spending bills and the debt ceiling deadline, aides in both parties are preparing for a steady stream of high-stakes advances.
But under Biden’s guidance, White House officials are in the early stages of preparing for the new reality on Capitol Hill, targeting two key groups as they search for issues that can draw bipartisan support: Moderate Republicans with a proven track record of working across. the aisle and the incoming class of fresh Republicans who turned districts won by Biden two years earlier.
Those lawmakers will be at the heart of any White House effort to secure the bipartisan victories that officials said Biden is interested in pursuing in the next two years. They will also be critical to any White House hopes of scuttling Republican bills in the House and efforts to pressure House GOP leadership on key issues.
White House officials are also closely watching the race among Republicans to elect a new House speaker. Rep. Kevin McCarthy has long been expected to be elevated to the role, but remains locked in a cross-party battle to consolidate support. Biden spoke with McCarthy by phone shortly after the midterm election and the California Republican was one of four leaders who met with Biden at the White House a few weeks later.
After the meeting, McCarthy told reporters that he is “capable of working with anybody,” but noted that the new majority of Republicans in the House who were in the middle of the term showed that “America likes checks and balances.” ”
Adding to the President’s efforts to work with Republicans will be his decision to mount a re-election bid for the White House. Biden has repeatedly said he intends to run again, but said before his vacation this week to the U.S. Virgin Islands that he would consult with family members over the holidays.
As he finalizes his decision, work is underway to build a campaign to be ready when the president announces his intention. Many Democrats close to Biden say they are confident he will run again, and there appears to be little disagreement within his family.
There was little public evidence of intense family discussions this week on St. Croix. Biden left his rented home on the east side of the island to play golf, eat dinner, go to church and tape an appearance on Ryan Seacrest’s New Year’s Eve broadcast, but otherwise stayed out of sight. After much local speculation, he and his family decided to take off at sunrise on New Year’s Day to Point Udall – the easternmost point in the United States.
Instead, it seemed that Biden spent the week in strict peace with his wife, children and grandchildren, perhaps lightly with a few conversations about the year ahead.
As he was leaving dinner just after 9 pm one evening, he was asked if he had discussed his plans for 2024 with his family.
“There’s an election coming up?” he asked, smiling. “I didn’t know that.”