Joe Biden took advantage of a visit to a cherry farm in Michigan on Saturday to discuss his bipartisan infrastructure package and additional plans to invest in families and education. He also presented his immigration plans when he spoke with two couples from Guatemala who were picking cherries.
Michigan Democratic Gov. Gretchen Whitmer greeted Biden’s arrival at noon in Traverse City, which is home to the National Cherry Festival, an event that has drawn presidents in the past. While touring the cherry farm in nearby County Antrim, Whitmer told reporters that he had not spoken to Biden about any infrastructure projects for Michigan specifically.
“I’m the governor of fixing the damn highways, so I discuss infrastructure with everyone, including the president,” she said. In the recent floods, he said, the state saw “underinvested infrastructure collide with climate change.”
“So this is an important moment. And that is why this infrastructure package is so important. That’s why I also got the President Rocky Chocolate Road from Mackinac Island for his trip here. “
When asked if the infrastructure package had enough money for electric vehicles, Whitmer suggested that more was needed.
“There is a lot of investment that will have to happen to support EVs … but we have a lot more to do about it,” he said.
Biden’s host at King Orchards, Juliette King McAvoy, introduced him to the two Guatemalan couples, who said they had been working the farm for 35 years. He told them he was proposing a path to citizenship for farm workers. Biden then took a cherry from one of his baskets and ate it.
The trip to Michigan was part of a larger campaign to win public support for the infrastructure package and other policies geared towards families and education.
The first lady, Jill Biden, was going to Maine and New Hampshire on Saturday, while Vice President Kamala Harris was scheduled to visit a union training center in Las Vegas.
Biden has said the key to getting his $ 973 billion deal through Congress involves taking the case directly to the voters. As Republicans and Democrats fight in Washington, according to Biden’s theory, lawmakers from both parties want to comply with voters.
White House officials negotiated a compromise with a bipartisan group of senators led by Republican Rob Portman of Ohio and Democrat Kyrsten Sinema of Arizona.
The deal, announced in June, includes $ 109 billion in roads and highways, $ 15 billion in electric vehicle infrastructure and transit systems, and $ 65 billion in broadband, among other spending on airports, drinking water systems and resilience efforts to face climate change.
It would be funded by Covid-19 relief passed in 2020 (money unspent and reused to improve unemployment benefits) and increased enforcement of the law for wealthier Americans avoiding taxes. Financing also depends on the leasing of 5G telecommunications capabilities, the strategic oil reserve, and the potential economic growth produced by the investments.
Biden intends to pass additional initiatives on education and families, as well as tax increases for the wealthy and corporations through the budget reconciliation process. This would allow approval of their priorities by a simple majority, avoiding the 60 vote hurdle in a Senate split between Democrats and Republicans.