Wisconsin lawmakers clash on infrastructure ahead of joint session speech

Published: Apr. 28, 2021 at 8:43 AM CDT
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WASHINGTON (Gray DC) - With COVID-19 restrictions in place, several members of Congress won’t be in Washington for the President’s long-awaited joint address to Congress, but members of the Wisconsin delegation say they’ll still be tuning in.

Present Biden is set to deliver his first speech to a joint session of Congress tonight. He’ll likely focus his remarks around COVID-19 relief efforts and his plan to build back the economy while working to gain support for his multi-trillion-dollar infrastructure plan.

As it stands, the President’s infrastructure proposal would rebuild aging roads and bridges in Wisconsin. It also includes funding for clean energy, in-home health care, and housing.

Representative Bryan Steil (R-Wis.) says he expects the President to push his expansive plan during his speech tonight.

“We saw a $1.9 trillion dollars COVID stimulus plan that didn’t have a lot to do with COVID,” said Rep. Steil. “We’ve seen an infrastructure bill that doesn’t have a lot to do with infrastructure.”

Steil says he hopes the President will talk about compromising on the cost and what’s inside the bill.

“I would like to see the President put out legislation that’s as unifying as his rhetoric,” said Rep. Steil.

The White House says it’s time to “reimagine” infrastructure in the U.S., to mobile and “meet the challenges of our time.”

Sen. Tammy Baldwin (D-Wis.) says she’s eager to hear more about the President’s vision.

“He has a very visionary definition, very broad definition,” said Sen. Baldwin. “And I hope he takes the time to discuss that with the American public.

White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki says President Biden will also talk about his next major policy announcement, the American Families Plan. That’s the next phase of the administration’s infrastructure reinvestment program -- a $1.8 trillion spending plan for child care, health care, and education.

Psaki says the president will also tackle police reform and the work being done to get the pandemic under control.

The speech comes just before President Biden’s 100th day in office.

The setting will look much different from previous speeches because of COVID protocols. Not every member was invited. Only about 200 people will be inside the House chamber, and there will be no outside guests.

South Carolina’s Sen. Tim Scott will be delivering the GOP response.

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