White House officials have spent recent days seeking to reassure progressives and centrist lawmakers, as well as outside groups that have pushed for all or part of Mr. Biden’s sprawling economic agenda.
Jen Psaki, the White House press secretary, told reporters on Air Force One on Tuesday that Mr. Biden’s aides had in recent days held calls with more than 60 Democratic and Republican lawmakers, chiefs of staff and staff directors, across the House and the Senate. Senior White House staff members met on Tuesday with four Democrats and four Republicans in the House Problem Solvers Caucus, a centrist group, and administration officials also held talks with the Congressional Progressive Caucus. Ms. Psaki said White House staff members addressed more than 100 progressive groups in a call organized by the group Build Back Together.
“We have every senior member of the White House working to communicate directly with the public, with groups, with members of Congress about the components of this package and our continued commitment to also get the reconciliation package across the finish line,” Ms. Psaki said.
In Wisconsin, Mr. Biden sought to reassure everyone involved, in different ways.
His starting point in each case was to highlight the components of the bipartisan deal, casting it as a job creator that would help urban, rural and suburban Americans alike. “This bipartisan breakthrough is a great deal for the American people,” Mr. Biden said, predicting the agreement would produce jobs that did not require a college degree. “This is a blue-collar blueprint to rebuild America.”
He said the deal would improve the quality of life for Wisconsin residents, including through more deployment of broadband internet in rural areas, where the White House says about 35 percent of families lack reliable internet.
Mr. Biden said the $65 billion to expand broadband access in the deal would be enough to make high-speed internet available to “every American home.” Independent experts say the money is unlikely to stretch that far. Mr. Biden’s proposed American Jobs Plan would have allocated $100 billion to fully complete the process of extending broadband to every home.
Mr. Biden also promised the bill would replace the nearly 80,000 water service lines in Milwaukee that are made of lead, along with every other lead water pipe in America. He cast spending on road and bridge repairs as a means to reduce traffic for drivers across the country, which he said amounted to a $1,000 annual loss for the average American because of wasted time. White House officials did not offer details of how much of that “traffic tax” the deal would alleviate.