President Joe Biden flew to Kansas City to highlight the bipartisan credentials of the new $1.2 trillion infrastructure law – lavishing praise on Republicans and vowing to create an ‘infrastructure decade.’
‘Guess what, it’s going to be an infrastructure decade,’ he said, mocking former President Donald Trump’s repeat ‘infrastructure weeks’ – which often coincided with a scandal.
He began his speech at a transit depot by honoring the late son of Russel Kansas, Bob Dole, a Republican who spent 37 years in the Senate – a year longer than Biden.
He praised Dole’s ‘both physical and moral courage’ and called him ‘among the greatest of the great generation,’ calling the former Senate leader, who died Tuesday, a ‘cherished friend to me and my wife, Jill.’
Dole was just one of the Republicans Biden tipped his hat to.
Throughout the day, he made a point of name-checking Republicans, touting a bipartisan accomplishment as he tries to push another measure through the Senate on a party-line vote.
He greeted the state’s GOP governor, Mike Parson, and spent about seven minutes on the airport tarmack with Parson and his wife, first lady Teresa Parson.
President Joe Biden gave an address on infrastructure on Wednesday, making a trip to a bus facility in Kansas City, Missouri
President Joe Biden (left) talks with Will Howard, the president of the Amalgamated Transit Union Local 1287 during a tour of the bus repair garage at the Kansas City Area Transit Authority
Rep. Sharice Davids (left) takes a photo with Kansas City, Missouri Mayor Quinton Lucas (second from left), along with Rep. Emanuel Cleaver (right)
President Joe Biden (right) arrives with Robbie Makinen, president and CEO of the Kansas City Area Transportation Authority (center) and Mayor Quinton Lucas (left) to the Kansas City Area Transit Authority,
Signs reading ‘Better Infrastructure Ahead’ and ‘Building a Better America’ adorned the room where President Joe Biden gave his infrastructure speech
During remarks he namechecked Sen. Roy Blunt of Missouri, who voted for the plan but who Biden said ‘couldn’t be here.’ Back in D.C., the Senate is still in session. He flew up with two Democratic House members, Reps. Emmanuel Cleaver and Sharice Davids.
He also gushed about another local hero, baseball great Buck O’Neil of the Negro Leagues’ Kansas City Monarchs.
Biden called him ‘a great ball player, the first black coach in the majors … One of the game’s greatest ambassadors and finally, finally a Hall of Famer’ – in reference to O’Neil being voted into the Hall Sunday.
‘Now if the sun shines a little brighter on Kansas City this week it’s because Bob and Buck are up there sharing a laugh with one another,’ he said of O’Neil and Dole.
Biden flew to the heartland, visiting a Democratic stronghold inside a Republican state – to tout the new bipartisan infrastructure law and its gusher of funds for roads and bridges.
Although he spoke in a bus facility, he couldn’t help but talk about trains and cars.
‘The fact is, you’re looking at Mr. Amtrak here,’ Biden said, before heading down the track of an oft-told story about his miles riding the rails.
The White House launched a new website to promote the infrastucture law
Promotional campaign includes new slogan: Building a Better America
The White House invites people to share their stories
Biden has been on a promotional tour to draw attention to his $1 trillion program to invest in infrastructure. He’s also made stops in New Hampshire, Michigan and Minnesota.
White House spokesperson Jen Psaki said the Kansas City trip will demonstrate ‘how the president is following through on his promise to forge bipartisan consensus and prove our democracy can deliver big wins for the American people.’
The White House is eager to promote the infrastructure law as part of the series of the president’s accomplishments they are highlighting ahead of the 2022 midterm election.
Democrats are trying to fend off Republican attempts to take control of the House and Senate next year.
The White House also launched a new website, Build.gov, to describe the law and a new branding phrase, ‘Building a Better America,’ to promote it.
The site features an eye-catching new logo and invites people to share their story ‘about how the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law will impact you and your community.’
Additionally, Biden is trying to get the Senate to pass his ‘Build Back Better’ social spending and climate change bill. It’s unclear if he has the votes to do so.
Before departing for Kansas City, Biden attended mass in Georgetown for the Feast of the Immaculate Conception, a holy day of obligation for Catholics.
Biden arrived at Holy Trinity Catholic Church in Georgetown shortly after 8am, waving to a large group of children and adults outside.
There is a school attached to the church. He stayed nearly an hour for the service.
President Biden attended mass ahead of his trip to Kansas City, Mo, to promote his infrastructure law
The president, a devout Catholic, regularly attends Mass in Washington or near his home in Wilmington, Delaware
President Joe Biden waves to school kids as he arrives at Holy Trinity Church in Georgetown
Biden is attending mass for the Feast of the Immaculate Conception
The president, a devout Catholic, rarely misses a religious holiday. When he was in Rome for All Saints Day, he attended private mass at the Embassy, where he was staying.
He also regularly attends mass in Washington or near his home in Wilmington, Delaware. He carries rosary beads that belonged to his deceased son Beau and he keeps a photo of himself and the Pope behind his desk in the Oval Office in the first row of pictures next to ones with his family.
Biden, who supports abortion rights, met with Pope Francis at Vatican City in late October, when he was in Rome for the G20 conference.
The president said the pope told him he’s a ‘good Catholic’ and that the two men did not discuss the controverial issue of abortion during their 75-minute sit down behind the closed doors of the Vatican.
He also said the pope told him to keep receiving communion.
‘We just talked about the fact he was happy that I was a good Catholic and I should keep receiving communion,’ Biden said after the meeting.
Biden met with the pontiff amid pressure from conservative Catholics in the United States about his abortion stance.
The U.S. Conference of Bishops was weighing whether to admonish Catholic politicians like Biden and Speaker Nancy Pelosi, who support a woman’s right to an abortion – which Catholics consider a sin – yet also take Holy Communion at mass.
President Biden and Pope Francis with their translators at their private meeting at the Vatican in October
Ultimately the bishops adopted a document that does not mention the president or any politicians by name.
Instead the new guidance emphasizes the obligation of Catholic public figures to demonstrate moral consistency between their personal faith and their public actions.
‘Lay people who exercise some form of public authority’ have a duty to ‘serve the human family by upholding human life and dignity,’ the document states.