- The Washington Times - Wednesday, February 8, 2023

President Biden offered a preview of his likely 2024 reelection message Wednesday, telling an audience in the battleground state of Wisconsin that his legislative victories have an impact on the local level.

In his first remarks after Tuesday’s State of the Union, Mr. Biden said local residents will reap benefits from his bipartisan infrastructure law. He said the rebuilding program will pay for a replacement bridge over the Wisconsin River in Madison, improve roads in nearby Columbia County and pay for 46 electric buses.
“Each of these projects means jobs for laborers, plumbers, pipefitters, electricians, carpenters, cement masons, ironworkers and so many more,” Mr. Biden said. “These are good jobs, jobs you can raise a family on.”

It’s unclear how soon these projects will be delivered, given the time frame for most infrastructure projects that typically take years to complete after the funds are doled out.

Still, it’s a good strategy to focus on Mr. Biden’s infrastructure law because he achieved it by working with Republicans, said Dave Paleologos, director of the Suffolk University Political Research Center.

By underscoring bipartisan victories, Mr. Biden can use it as a cudgel when the Republican-controlled House doesn’t go along with his agenda. The president and the House GOP are already poised for several intense fights, including whether or not to raise the U.S. debt limit.
“It can create a narrative to make Republicans look bad by saying they aren’t really compromising,” he said.
Repeating many themes from his State of the Union address, Mr. Biden called on Congress to pass legislation to eliminate junk fees — hidden surcharges used by businesses to increase consumer costs. The president said the legislation will put money back in the wallets of everyday Americans.

“Junk fees may not matter to the wealthy people, but they matter to most folks like the home I grew up in,” Mr. Biden said. “They add hundreds of dollars a month and make it harder to pay your bills before that family trip.”
Speaking at a training center run by the Laborers’ International Union of North America in Deforest, Wisconsin, Mr. Biden told the crowd his economic agenda is improving the lives of the middle class.

Mr. Biden’s visit was one of two stops on his schedule this week to promote his agenda in the aftermath of the State of the Union. In addition, Vice President Kamala Harris and members of his Cabinet are headed on a 10-state blitz to promote the president’s policies.

On Thursday, Mr. Biden will appear in Tampa to discuss his proposals to safeguard Social Security and Medicare as well as lower the cost of health care.
Both Florida and Wisconsin are seen as swing states in 2024, though Mr. Biden has not made a formal announcement that he is running for reelection. An announcement is expected in the coming weeks.

If he does seek a second term, Mr. Biden will have to overcome skepticism from within his party. A poll released this week from The Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research shows that just 37% of Democrats want him to run again, down from 52% ahead of the midterm elections.
In the 2020 election, Mr. Biden beat President Trump in Wisconsin by less than one percentage point.

• Jeff Mordock can be reached at jmordock@washingtontimes.com.

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