President Joe Biden on Monday kicks off a crucial week for the future of his spending plans by traveling to New Jersey, where he will tout his proposals and share the spotlight with Gov. Phil Murphy a week before Election Day.© Andre Malok/NJ Advance Media President Joe Biden walks with Gov. Phil Murphy after landing in New Jersey to survey storm damage from Hurrican Ida in September.
Biden’s official trip will focus on his $1 trillion bipartisan infrastructure bill, which includes at least $12.3 billion for New Jersey, and his separate effort to secure funding to fight climate change, increase funding for child care, lower prescription drug costs, and expand health coverage.
Biden is scheduled to visit the East End Elementary School in North Plainfield and then to speak at the NJ Transit Meadowlands Maintenance Complex in Kearny before returning to Washington.
The House is expected to vote this week on the infrastructure bill, which also renews several surface transportation programs that otherwise would expire on Sunday.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., said Sunday that an agreement was close on the second measure. “I think we’re pretty much there now,” she said on CNN’s “State of the Union.”
And Biden, speaking to reporters before boarding Air Force One for Newark Airport, said he hoped to have a deal in place before leaving for Europe on Thursday, according to White House pool reports.
Democrats would love to notch a victory before the Nov. 2 gubernatorial elections in New Jersey and Virginia, seen as a harbinger for the 2022 midterms when control of Congress is at stake.
“With the Gateway Tunnel, SALT, and two million labor jobs on the line, it is time to get the bipartisan infrastructure bill and a smart reconciliation bill across the finish line,” said Rep. Josh Gottheimer, D-5th Dist., who has been pushing for the House to pass the infrastructure legislation even before Democrats reach agreement on the second bill.
“With the president here, I am optimistic that we will see that this week — helping to get shovels in the ground and people to work.”
In a state that he carried by 16 points last fall, Biden can expect a friendly audience as he pushes for both bills. Even as his poll numbers dropped nationally, 51% of New Jerseyans approved of his performance as president in an August Monmouth University Poll, with 41% disapproving.
The president also will use the trip to kick off construction of a new Portal Bridge over the Hackensack River in Kearny. The existing bridge often gets stuck and delays tens of thousands of commuters.
MORE: Biden to use N.J. trip to kick off construction of new Portal Bridge, sources say
His visit also can help Murphy, trying to become the first Democratic governor to win re-election since Brendan Byrne in 1977. Murphy is running against Republican Jack Ciattarelli, a former Assembly member, in a race that recent polls show him ahead by single digits. Early voting began Saturday.
“President Biden’s presence in the state will bring some enthusiasm and energy as people are starting to vote,” said Montclair State University political science professor Brigid Callahan Harrison, who last year ran unsuccessfully for the Democratic nomination to take on Rep. Jeff Van Drew, R-2nd Dist. “It comes at a crucial time to drum up voter participation.”
Murphy, speaking on MSNBC Monday morning, said he wasn’t paying attention to the polls.
“There is a fair amount of fatigue in our state as I suspect there may be around the country,” Murphy said. “But I still think we are well on the right side of history.”
Former Gov. Chris Christie on Sunday blamed Biden’s unpopularity for Murphy’s narrow polling lead. In a Quinnipiac University Poll released earlier this month, only 38% of Americans approved of Biden’s job performance, with 53% disapproving.
“What you’re seeing I think, are national headwinds created by Joe Biden and the congressional Democrats causing problems,” Christie said on ABC’s “This Week.” “What it’s telling you is not what New Jersey is going to do and how they’re going to be governed. It’s telling you what even New Jersey thinks of Joe Biden.”
New Jersey State Republican Chair Bob Hugin said he was :”shocked” Murphy would bring Biden in to the state.
“It reinforces all of the images that the Murphy campaign has fought to avoid: incompetence and radical policies destroying the American dream,” Hugin said.
Still, just having Biden show up is good for Murphy, said Patrick Murray, director of the Monmouth University Polling Institute.
“He elevates his profile, helps Biden get some some excitement over this compromise bill, and Murphy looks like he’s helped the team,” Murray said. “There’s a calculation on Murphy’s part that this is going to earn him some goodwill with the Biden people and with Democrats nationwide.”
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Source : https://www.msn.com/en-us/news/politics/biden-heads-to-nj-today-to-help-murphy-and-pitch-spending-plans-stalled-in-congress/ar-AAPVUhN1312