Twenty-two congressional Democratic leaders and Vice President Kamala Harris will join the president to celebrate the passage of the massive measure, but no Republicans will be present. That’s because no House or Senate Republicans crossed the aisle to vote in favor of the bill.
“I signed into law the American Rescue Plan, an historic piece of legislation that delivers immediate relief to millions of people,” Biden told the nation on Thursday night during the first primetime address of his presidency. “It includes $1,400 in direct rescue checks — payments. That means a typical family of four earning about $110,000 will get checks for $5,600 deposited if they have direct deposit or in a check — a Treasury check.”
The package, the first major legislative success in Biden’s brief tenure so far in the White House, will likely be a defining factor in next year’s midterm elections, which will be a referendum on the Democratic president’s first two years in office. With that likely in mind, Biden and Harris will hit three crucial 2022 midterm election battlegrounds over the next week as they sell the plan to the public.
Republicans, aiming to win back the House and Senate majorities they lost in the last two election cycles, are taking aim at the new law.
As Fox News first reported, the National Republican Senatorial Committee (NRSC) is taking aim two of the most vulnerable Democrats up for reelection in 2022. The Senate GOP reelection arm on Friday launched ads starting Friday that target Sens. Mark Kelly of Arizona and Raphael Warnock of Georgia with digital ads that slam their support for the relief package. The narrator in the spots argues that the measure will send “stimulus checks to illegal immigrants and violent criminals.”
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, the most powerful Republican lawmaker on Capitol Hill, took to the floor of the Senate on Thursday to describe the spending bill as “a multitrillion-dollar Trojan horse.”
The longtime senator from Kentucky stressed that the health and economic recoveries were already underway by the time Biden was inaugurated, saying, “the American people already built a parade that has been marching toward victory.” And he charged that “Democrats just want to sprint in front of the parade and claim credit.”
McConnell’s House counterpart, Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, argued that the measure “pays people more to stay home than go back to work.” And on “Fox and Friends” on Friday morning, McCarthy charged that the legislation “is going to cost every family of four $22,000.”
With no letup in the drumbeat of GOP attacks, Biden and top administration officials are getting ready to hit the road to sell the package to the public, which according to most national polling, is mostly supportive of the measure.
“In the coming weeks and months, I’ll be traveling, along with the first lady, the vice president, the second gentleman and members of my Cabinet, to speak directly to you, to tell you the truth about how the American Rescue Plan meets the moment,” Biden outlined on Thursday night.
Escaping Washington and taking the message directly to the public is a time-honored practice for presidents – and Biden’s no different.
“It’s critically important that President Biden and Vice President Harris tell that story to the American people both so they get vaccinated and we get to herd immunity as fast as possible — and to begin to restore faith in our government,” veteran Democratic consultant Lynda Tran told Fox News.
And it’s no surprise that the Biden and Harris itinerary takes them to three key battleground states in next year’s elections.
Harris will be in Las Vegas, Nevada, on Monday, with Biden in Delaware County in suburban Philadelphia on Tuesday. And on Friday of next week, both Biden and Harris will travel to Atlanta, Georgia. All three states will likely hold crucial Senate contests next year, as well as important House and gubernatorial elections.
And First Lady Jill Biden will stop Wednesday in New Hampshire, another state that will likely be home to a key Senate 2022 showdown.
“It makes sense for President Biden and Vice President Harris to head to battleground states early, where by definition a substantial proportion of the population may be both skeptical and persuadable,” noted Tran, who ran communications for the Obama-era grassroots group Organizing for America and was a founding partner of the communications firm 270 Strategies.
“That’s both smart policy and good politics — which isn’t always a given — and guaranteed, Democratic elected leaders will welcome their visit to showcase how Democrats are delivering for the American people,” she added.