President Joe Biden’s joint address to Congress may stand as the prime-time marker of his first 100 days in office, but it will also serve as the launch point for an all-out administration-wide blitz to highlight accomplishments — and the ambitious legislative push ahead.
The Biden administration will launch what officials are calling the “Getting America Back on Track” tour the day after the President’s speech on Wednesday with the President, Vice President Kamala Harris, their spouses and key Cabinet officials fanning out to roughly a dozen states to highlight their first 100 days in office and Biden’s ambitious economic legislative agenda, a White House official told CNN.
“He’s thinking a great deal about what message he can send directly to the American people about what progress has been made but of course what challenges remain ahead,” White House press secretary Jen Psaki told reporters on Monday on Biden’s preparation for his address.
The public sales pitch comes at a crucial stage for Biden’s legislative plans, with the President and top White House officials laying the groundwork for sweeping spending proposals that would total more than $4 trillion.
The first proposal, already unveiled and centered on physical infrastructure, has been the subject of nascent bipartisan talks as the White House and congressional allies look to chart its path forward. A second, to be released as soon as Tuesday, has already been the subject of fierce lobbying from Democrats as it has been crafted behind closed doors by Biden’s policy teams over the last several weeks.
Biden and first lady Jill Biden are scheduled to travel Thursday to Atlanta, the capital of the state that gave his White House its crucial Senate majority. Biden will then head to Philadelphia the next day. Harris will travel to Baltimore on Thursday, then head to Ohio for a stop on Friday.
Douglas Emhoff, the second gentleman, will travel to North Carolina, with Biden, Harris and Cabinet officials scheduled to continue to travel across the country next week. Biden has leaned on top Cabinet officials to lead the public outreach and behind-the-scenes conversations with Capitol Hill since the release of his $2.25 trillion jobs and infrastructure package.
The purpose of the trips will be two-fold, the official said. There will be an element of a victory lap, with Biden highlighting the $1.9 trillion Covid relief law, his cornerstone legislative achievement to this point, as well the administration’s vaccine rollout, which has already clinched Biden’s goal of 200 million doses delivered in his first 100 days in office.
But a significant component of the travel will be to add rhetorical heft around the country to Biden’s next major legislative push — a sweeping two-part package totaling more than $4 trillion that would provide once-in-a-generation investments in physical infrastructure, but also transformative spending on what White House officials are calling “human infrastructure.”
“This is his vision for how we need to put in place a public investment agenda for the country,” Biden’s National Economic Council Director Brian Deese said of the forthcoming plan during the White House press briefing on Monday.
The second proposal, which will be unveiled in advance of Biden’s prime-time address on Wednesday and is expected to be a central component of his remarks to Congress, would direct hundreds of billions of dollars to key Biden priorities including education, paid family and medical leave, child care and health care, according to people briefed on the proposal.
The plan would largely be financed through tax increases on wealth individuals, including an increase in the top rate and a significant increase in the top capital gains rates on households making more than $1 million.
“They’ll use the tour to take the case directly to the American people about the vital need for action on the jobs plan and the families plan so we can make badly needed investments in the financial security of middle-class families, as well as in jobs, growth, and competitiveness,” the official told CNN.
CORRECTION: An earlier version of this story misstated when Biden is traveling to Atlanta. He is traveling there on Thursday.