President Joe Biden arrived in Michigan Tuesday to hawk his $1.2 trillion bipartisan infrastructure bill and the larger budget bill at a union hall.
The president landed in Lansing and was greeted by Democratic Rep. Elissa Slotkin, who is facing a tough re-election fight next year. Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer and Lt. Gov. Garlin Gilchrist linked up with Biden on-site.
Biden visited a branch of the International Union of Operating Engineers in Howell, Michigan, the county seat of Livingston County, which chose former President Donald Trump over Biden by more than 20 points.
More than a thousand pro-Trump protesters lined the streets directly outside the union facility, with demonstrators holding up signs saying ‘Trump Won’, ‘Go Home Sleepy Joe’ and ‘unmask kids’ as he made his way from the airport to his event.
Makes me smile, I get more pumped up,’ he said of the protesters after the event.
Speaking to a small group of union members and lawmakers, Biden pitched his infrastructure plans as non-partisan.
‘These bills are not about left versus right or moderate versus progressive or anything that pits Americans against one another,’ Biden said. ‘To oppose these investments is to be complicit in America’s decline,’ he said.
President Joe Biden delivers remarks in Howell, Michigan on Tuesday about his Build Back Better agenda
President Joe Biden is shown how simulators for heavy equipment work at the International Union of Operating Engineers Training Facility in Howell, Michigan on Tuesday, alongside Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer
President Joe Biden is shown a front-end lower simulator at the International Union of Operating Engineers Training Facility in Howell, Michigan on Tuesday before delivering remarks
President Joe Biden was shown both vintage and modern heavy equipment on the second stop of his tour
President Joe Biden (right) hugs Rep. Elissa Slotkin (left) as he arrives in Lansing, Michigan Tuesday. Biden made the trip to pitch his $1.2 trillion infrastructure bill, along with the bigger reconciliation bill that includes a number of liberal goodies
The trip comes after Biden dashed progressives’ hopes telling them that the $3.5 trillion budget bill needed to be slashed by more than a trillion dollars.
CBS News reported that the new pricetag for the ‘human instrastructure’ bill was to be between $1.9 and $2.2 trillion. A source told the network that the White House was open to means testing, though progressives have voiced that measuring eligibility for some programs could be burdensome for government workers – actually making them more expensive.
Biden also met with a more moderate group of House members virtually Tuesday morning before departing the White House.
Upon arriving in Howell, Biden made two stops inside the International Union of Operating Engineers Training Facility.
He first was shown a number of simulators that teach people how to drive front-end loaders and fly drones.
‘You get up there and you feel like you own the world,’ Biden said, talking about heavy machine operators.
Entering a larger room, that contained a vintage piece of equipment and a modern spider crane, Biden marveled to reporters, ‘I learned how to fly a drone!’
Biden (right) is visiting Slotkin’s (left) district and will speak in Howell, the county seat of Livingston County, which chose former President Donald Trump over Biden by more than 20 points
Protesters lined the streets as Biden’s motorcade drove from the airport to his first event
The demonstrators held up signs saying ‘Trump won’ and ‘Go Home Sleepy Joe’ as he tried to sell his massive spending plan
One demonstrator compared Biden to Stalin and a youngster said unmask kids. Biden did have a small group of supporters there to greet him for his trip
The Trump supporters waved and recorded videos on their phones as the motorcade and press van went by
President Joe Biden departs for Michigan where he’ll tout the two bills he wants Congress to pass – the $1.2 trillion bipartisan infrastructure package and a larger, budget bill that will include ‘human infrastructure’ programs
President Biden exits the Oval Office into the White House Rose Garden to head to Michigan to sell his infrastructure plan
President Joe Biden salutes as he boards Air Force One for a trip to Howell, Michigan
The $3.5 trillion bill includes climate change provisions, universal pre-K, child care assistance, tuition-free community college, paid medical and family leave, the extension of the child tax credit and enhanced Medicare coverage.
In Michigan, Biden will talk about some of the programs proposed in the bill.
‘People don’t think of their roads as partisan, for good reason, nor do they think of their childcare is partisan. And so that’s why the president wants to make the case in Michigan,’ press secretary Jen Psaki explained Monday, when asked why Biden was voyaging into Trump country.
‘We’re going to a state and part of a state that could benefit from all of these packages, because they’re hugely popular whether you’re a Democrat or Republican or independent,’ she added.
While the county went for Trump in 2020, Howell is represented by Slotkin.
Slotkin is one of 17 House Democrats being targeted by ads funded by the National Republican Congressional Committee, linking her to Biden, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and ‘$3 trillion in tax hikes.’
Biden aims to tout what goodies are actually in the two packages, Psaki said.
‘He wants to go out there and talk about the components and the pieces of these bills that will make people’s lives better, even as we’re having very important conversation about the legislative logistics here,’ Psaki said.
A Thursday night vote on the $1.2 trillion infrastructure bill was stalled over a progressive threat to tank the bill.
They used the tactic to try and get moderate support for the larger package, which was originally pitched as a $3.5 trillion investment.
‘People don’t think of their roads as partisan, for good reason, nor do they think of their childcare is partisan,’ said White House press secretary Jen Psaki when asked by Biden decided to go into Trump country to sell his two bills
Besides being one of the three formerly Democratic states that Biden flipped back from Trump, Psaki said the president chose Michigan because it would ‘benefit greatly from both the bipartisan infrastructure package and the Build Back Better agenda.’
‘Just to give you a couple of examples, Michiganders – I confirmed that is actually what people from Michigan call themselves … spent an extra 67 per cnet of their time commuting because of their need for updating infrastructure,’ Psaki said.
‘Almost 10 per cent people in Michigan don’t have broadband access, that is really something that will help level the playing field for people, whether they’re in urban or rural communities,’ she continued. ‘Forty-four per cent of people in Michigan live in childcare deserts.’
‘These are all issues that are addressed by both of these packages,’ the press secretary added.