WASHINGTON (AP) – An array of progressive and pro-White House groups plan to spend nearly $ 100 million promoting President Joe Biden’s agenda over the next month to pressure Congress while lawmakers are in August holidays.
The push announced on Monday, coupled with a wave of displacements of key substitutes for the president, aims to promote and secure the shift from Biden’s two-track infrastructure plan: a bipartisan package focused on highways, transit and broadband, and a Democrats-only budget reconciliation bill for child care and what the White House calls human infrastructure.
Votes on the two proposals, expected in the coming weeks, are expected to be narrow, with Biden and Democratic leaders expected to maintain a group of moderate Republicans for the nearly $ 1,000 billion bipartisan bill as well as an ideologically set. diversified Democrats for a potentially $ 3.5 trillion reconciliation package.
An outside coalition of progressive organizations has launched a war room and plans to host more than 1,000 events and actions over the next six weeks, the Associated Press has learned. The aim, officials said, was to bombard the home districts of members of Congress with advertisements – both TV and digital – to keep the pressure on tracking their votes as well as to highlight much of the popularity of the agenda with the public.
The Senate voted to move the bipartisan infrastructure bill forward last week, giving Biden a hard-fought legislative victory that, at least for now, seemed to justify his commitment to a bipartisan approach some of which in his own party doubted. Both bills were due for debate and further votes in the coming weeks.
“Progressive groups are going on the offensive as the August break approaches,” said Danielle Melfi, executive director of Building Back Together, an outside group that backs the president. “We know there is a wave of support and we want to show members that while they are back home in their districts.”
Traditionally, August is the slowest month of the year in Washington, in part because Congress is leaving the city, so the White House aims to fill that void with a series of events intended to tout the first six months in office. of Biden while promising to take over. fears of long-term inflation as well as a surge in coronavirus infections, mainly in the unvaccinated, due to the highly contagious delta variant.
“We’re going to use the August break to leverage (support for the president’s plan) by launching a massive push across the country,” White House spokesman Mike Gwin said, “to plead directly to all Americans on why this program will benefit them and their families through lower costs for daily expenses, lower taxes and better economic opportunities. ”
Several Republican senators, including Rick Scott of Florida and Ted Cruz of Texas, criticized the overall price and said they would not support the bill. Cruz estimated that it was a “huge tax and spending bill from Democrats of $ 3.5 trillion.”
Vice President Kamala Harris and her husband Doug Emhoff will be making headlines and in the first two weeks of August alone, 14 cabinet secretaries will visit at least 26 cities in 13 states, the House said. White. Among them, Secretary of the Treasury Janet Yellen will visit Georgia and Secretary of Transportation Pete Buttigieg to Nevada, New Jersey and Texas.
But the biggest name of all doesn’t have a trip planned: Biden is expected to stay in Washington this week before going on vacation to Delaware. White House advisers have said the president will hit the road in late August to promote the plan.
The bipartisan deal, which has come close to collapsing several times, is tentatively expected to receive a vote this week. The timing of the reconciliation bill is less clear.