The White House is preparing to roll out new announcements on a number of President Joe Biden’s unrealized campaign promises this fall, even as Congress works to advance the president’s dual infrastructure proposals in hopes of final passage.
White House officials did not dispute that a number of Biden’s economic campaign promises, including pledges to alleviate student loan debt and installing a first-time homebuyer tax credit, were not included in the bipartisan or budget reconciliation infrastructure packages, which combined would account for nearly $5 trillion in new spending initiatives.
Those officials stressed to the Washington Examiner that “the president and his whole team are proud of and are fighting for the substance of his Build Back Better agenda, which is fully paid for by asking big corporations and the wealthiest Americans to pay their fair share and by empowering Medicare to negotiate lower prices with pharmaceutical companies.”
“We need to cut prescription drug costs, take on climate change, and help families afford childcare, care for older Americans, and education; and extend the biggest middle class tax cut in American history,” one official explained in a statement. “Think of all the ways that will cut costs for families. And importantly, Build Back Better and the bipartisan infrastructure bill will reduce inflation by making our economy more efficient, making it easier to move goods, and making it easier to enter the labor force — without adding to the deficit.”
The official maintained that “these are complex processes, but as recent weeks have demonstrated, leaders in Congress and the president know how to move them forward.”
However, both senior Democratic and Republican officials suggested to the Washington Examiner that while the administration would always have continued to push Biden’s unrealized campaign pledges, the White House is urgently looking for new narratives to focus on following America’s Afghan troop withdrawal and the humanitarian evacuation that ensued.
“Just look at the polling on the president’s agenda. The majority of Americans approve of his economic proposals, especially the family care provisions,” one Democratic strategist wrote. “Now look at the president’s own approval numbers after Kabul fell. It’s kind of obvious what the White House would rather be talking about.”
A veteran Democratic congressional aide stated that “when messaging around progressive economic ideas, the White House knows exactly where the battle lines are drawn.”
“Democratic leadership will line up behind Biden and whip the necessary votes. Meanwhile, you can expect Republicans to basically fall into lockstep opposition,” the aide continued. “But on Afghanistan, you’re seeing members from both parties criticizing Biden’s handling of a situation. Democratic senators are calling for hearings. That’s not a winnable battle.”
A senior GOP aide also stated that Republicans will do everything they can to keep the media focused on Afghanistan, but waved off the strategy as political sabotage.
“This isn’t about hamstringing Biden’s socialist policies, although there is a double-sided benefit there,” the aide told the Washington Examiner. “The American people were lied to for 20 years about what was happening in Afghanistan. Now that the war is over, they deserve to know the truth.”
Since the fall of Kabul, the Biden administration has announced a number of new economic initiatives.
On Aug. 19, the Department of Education waived all student debt for payees with permanent disabilities. The measure impacted nearly 400,000 individuals with nearly $6 billion combined in student debt.
“We’ve heard loud and clear from borrowers with disabilities and advocates about the need for this change, and we are excited to follow through on it,” Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona said in a statement accompanying the announcement. “This change reduces red tape with the aim of making processes as simple as possible for borrowers who need support.”
The White House also took new action to expand affordable housing, a core Biden-campaign promise, on Wednesday.
“The large and long-standing gap between the supply and demand of affordable homes for both renters and homeowners makes it harder for families to buy their first home and drives up the cost of rent. Higher housing costs also crowd out other investments families can and should make to improve their lives, such as investments in education,” White House officials said in a statement at the time. “President Biden is committed to using every tool available in government to produce more affordable housing supply as quickly as possible, and to make supply available to families in need of affordable, quality housing — rather than to large investors.”
Specifically, those actions relaunched the Department of Housing and Urban Development’s Risk Sharing Program and the Federal Financing Bank, boosting the Low-Income Housing Tax Credit Investment Cap offered by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, and allocate Capital Magnet Fund money for Affordable Housing Production and Community Development Financial Institutions.
Biden himself also lobbied heavily for both the infrastructure bills and his economic proposals from the White House on Friday.
“We’re going to pass these measures. We’re going to build an economy from the bottom up and the middle out, not from the top down,” the president reiterated in televised remarks. “Just think about it: Throughout our history, when the middle class has done well, when it prospers, has there ever been a time the wealthy and corporate America doesn’t do well? I can’t think of one.”
“We have to put ourselves on track to accomplish extraordinary things: a strong, inclusive, historic economic growth; landmark investments to create even more good jobs and deliver breathing room to millions of families; a giant step forward in the fight against climate change — the crisis made more evident than ever by the death and destruction caused by extreme weather just these past few days,” he continued. “My agenda, I believe, is one that every American, if they understand it, they can get behind. And because of the work we’ve all put in, not just here in Washington, but in communities across the country, every one of those goals is now within our reach.”
You can watch Biden’s speech in its entirety below.
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Original Author: Christian Datoc