President Joe Biden speaks with Sen. Rob Portman, R-Ohio, and other bipartisan group of senators, Thursday June 24, 2021, outside the White House in Washington. Biden invited members of the group of 21 Republican and Democratic senators to discuss the infrastructure plan. From left are Portman, Sen. Bill Cassidy, R-La., Sen. Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, Biden, Sen, Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., rear, and Sen. Kyrsten Sinema. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin)
WASHINGTON (AP) — President Joe Biden will look to sell voters on the economic benefits of the $973 billion infrastructure package while in Wisconsin on Tuesday, hoping to boost the bipartisan agreement that is held together in large part by the promise of millions of new jobs.
White House officials issued an internal memo that highlights how the largest investment in transportation, water systems and services in nearly a century would boost growth. The memo notes that the total package is four times the size of the infrastructure investment made a dozen years ago in response to the Great Recession and the biggest since Franklin D. Roosevelt’s New Deal in the 1930s.
It also emphasizes an analysis suggesting that 90% of the jobs generated by the spending could go to workers without college degrees, a key shift as a majority of net job gains before the pandemic went to college graduates.
“This is a blue-collar blueprint to rebuild America,” the memo says.
Potential economic gains were a shared incentive for the group of Democratic and Republican senators who agreed to the deal on Thursday. But the process briefly fell into disarray late last week as Biden suggested the deal would be held up until he also received a separate package for infrastructure, jobs and education that would be determined solely by Democrats through the budget reconciliation process.
Biden said Saturday that this was not a veto threat, and by Sunday the package appeared back on track.
White House press secretary Jen Psaki said Monday that Biden is “eager” for both bills to be approved by Congress and that the president is going to “work his heart out” to make it happen.
“The president intends to sign both pieces of legislation into law,” Psaki said at her daily briefing.
Approval of both bills by Congress remains a long haul with this summer’s initial votes expected in July. Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell questioned the legislative process ahead and mounted fresh obstacles while speaking Monday in Kentucky.