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Watch Live: Biden pushes bipartisan infrastructure deal with Wisconsin visit

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Washington — In western Wisconsin Tuesday, President Biden pitched the need for a $1 trillion infrastructure deal reached with a bipartisan group of senators, as the White House works to mitigate concerns on Capitol Hill about its passage alongside a sweeping spending bill encompassing Mr. Biden’s larger infrastructure priorities.

The president toured the La Crosse Municipal Transit Utility in La Crosse, Wisconsin, before delivering a speech spotlighting the infrastructure framework, which the White House says will provide historic investments in roads, bridges, clean drinking water and rail. Speaking in a county that voted for him, but in a region of the state that largely voted for Mr. Trump, the president touted the bipartisan nature of the $1 trillion infrastructure deal. 

“After months of careful negotiation, of listening, compromising, together and in good faith moving together, with ups and downs and some blips, a bipartisan group of senators got together, and they forged an agreement to move forward on the key priorities of my American Jobs Plan,” said the president, facing a road work sign that said “American Jobs Plan.”

Mr. Biden, introduced by a bus driver, told a story about how he drove busses during the summers to help pay the bills during law school. The president touted how the package will address the need for clean water. Earlier this year, the state provided hundreds of water bottles to people on French Island in the La Crosse area because officials were concerned the water was plagued with harmful chemicals. 

“We’ll pay for that. We’ll get that done,” Mr. Biden said of improving water quality. 

Mr. Biden also noted how the package will help strengthen the power grid, and revitalize natural infrastructure, like coastlines and levies. The president mocked the notion that climate change isn’t real or a threat. 

“It’s 116 degrees in Portland, Oregon,” Mr. Biden said. “One hundred and sixteen degrees! But don’t worry, there’s no global warming. It doesn’t exist — it’s a figment of our imagination. Seriously.” 

The president also touted how the package would invest $66 billion in rail. He noted that this deal will be the largest investment in public transit in American history. 

“Here in Wisconsin, we’ll add new stops in Green Bay, Madison and Eau Claire,” Mr. Biden said.

Aboard Air Force One, White House press secretary Jen Psaki said the president visited Wisconsin, and not somewhere else, because, “Wisconsin is a place where the people of the state would hugely benefit from the components of the bipartisan infrastructure package.”

That, Psaki said, entails the need for broadband access, and repairs to roads and bridges. The transit station the president visited purchased two electric busses through a grant. 

Mr. Biden announced Thursday the White House had reached a deal with the group of Republican and Democratic senators, which focuses on traditional infrastructure. Democrats are also expected to move forward with a larger package using the budget reconciliation process that includes Mr. Biden’s policies for child care, education and health care and would only need to pass along party lines.

While the president said last week he would like to see the two measures move through Congress “in tandem,” a comment that rankled Republicans, Mr. Biden clarified Saturday he was not threatening to veto the bipartisan infrastructure deal and reiterated his support for the plan.

Still, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell on Monday called on House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer to follow Mr. Biden’s lead and commit to separating the two bills.


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