Biden Travels to Birthplace to Promote Spending Agenda

President Joe Biden is traveling to Scranton, Pennsylvania, on Wednesday, using his birthplace as a backdrop to push for his infrastructure and social spending bills currently stalled in Congress due to disagreement among lawmakers in his own Democratic Party.

Biden was scheduled to deliver remarks at Scranton’s Electric City Trolley Museum. The city earned its “Electric City” nickname as the home to one of the country’s first electric trolley lines in the late 1880s. White House press secretary Jen Psaki said Tuesday the president will talk about growing up there until age 10 and how his plan will benefit the working class in cities like Scranton.

While both are domestic legislative priorities, Biden often touts the infrastructure and the social spending bills — which include provisions for climate change mitigation — in the context of maintaining America’s global competitive edge. The White House said he will focus on how provisions in the legislation would allow the country to better compete with China, which already has at least 35,405 kilometers of high-speed rail and is planning to double that by 2035.

During a visit to Hartford, Connecticut, last week, Biden pushed for his social spending bill, which includes more government investment in child care. 

“How can we compete in the world if millions of American parents, especially moms, can’t be part of the workforce because they can’t afford the cost of child care or elder care?” he asked at a child development center.

Lower price tag

On Tuesday, in hope of reaching a compromise, Biden hosted two wings of his political party at the White House. To secure the support of moderate Democrats, the bill’s top line is likely to end up between $1.9 trillion and $2.2 trillion, down from Biden’s original $3.5 trillion plan strongly supported by progressives.

Biden needs the votes of all 50 Democrats to pass the bill in the Senate in a budget procedure known as reconciliation, but moderate Democratic senators Joe Manchin and Kyrsten Sinema say the price tag is too high.

This is the first time Biden has returned to Scranton since taking office. As a presidential candidate he chose his home town of 550,000 to advance the idea of “Scranton vs. Wall Street,” pledging that his administration would shift the economic advantage from wealthy investors back to average Americans.

Some information for this report comes from Reuters.