- The Washington Times - Thursday, February 17, 2022

President Biden traveled to Ohio Thursday to tout the new spending included in the $1 trillion infrastructure law to speed up the Great Lakes clean-up and boost the restoration of polluted areas in the region.

Mr. Biden said the “historic investment” of $1 billion is going to “restore the Great Lakes, strengthen the region’s economy, provide clean drinking water, clean up our communities and create good-paying jobs.”

“We are investing like never, ever, in history,” Mr. Biden said in Lorain, Ohio, near the shores of Lake Erie. “It is going to allow the most significant restoration of the Great Lakes in the history of the Great Lakes.”

Mr. Biden is looking to pivot the conversation away from his political struggles, including record-high inflation, and shine a light on the moves that his administration has made to deliver on his promise to “rebuild” America.

The Democratic National Committee also highlighted the new infrastructure spending in a conference call with mayors from the port and transportation hub cities of Portsmouth, New Hampshire; Richmond, Virginia, and Savannah, Georgia,  who hailed the “investments” and criticized Republicans who voted against the law.

“By investing in our ports and waterways, we’re going to strengthen our supply chains to get people their stuff faster and cheaper—this is a key piece of Democrats’ plan to bring down costs and fight inflation,” said Jaime Harrison, chair of the DNC. “That’s the difference between Democrats and Republicans—this isn’t about scoring political points for us, we’ve actually got a plan and they don’t.”

The National Republican Senatorial Committee, meanwhile, questioned why Rep. Tim Ryan, the leading Democratic contender for the U.S. Senate in Ohio, passed on the chance to appear with Mr. Biden, suggesting he has become political kryptonite for fellow Democrats.

“The Democrats are running as far away from Biden as possible,” said NRSC spokeswoman Lizzie Litzow. “So far that they don’t even want to greet him when he’s in their state. Ouch.”

Mr. Biden signed the infrastructure bill into law in November.

He heralded it as a monumental bipartisan achievement, and a long-overdue response needed to address the nation’s crumbling roads and bridges, tackle concerns about the climate and expand broadband access.

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell and 18 other Republicans, including retiring Sen. Rob Portman of Ohio, backed the proposal, ignoring former President Donald Trump’s pleas to oppose the bill.

Mr. Biden on Thursday said the infrastructure improvements, including the efforts to clean up areas of environmental concern around the Great Lakes, which is a major source of drinking water in the region, will boost local economies.

“American workers building these roads and bridges with American-made steel is how we are going to do it,”  Mr. Biden said.

• Seth McLaughlin can be reached at smclaughlin@washingtontimes.com.

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