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President Joe Biden departed the White House Friday morning for a quick trip to Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania where he’ll tout the bipartisan infrastructure law and his plans for American manufacturing  

His trip comes just hours after a bridge collapsed in the city, sending several people to the hospital, but so far causing no fatalities.  

‘Yeah, you’re going to see it in a minute,’ Biden said when reporters asked as he arrived in the Steel City if he planned to visit the bridge.  

The president has long talked about the nation’s crumbling infrastructure, especially as he sold the bipartisan infrastructure bill, which passed Congress last year.  

Biden is scheduled to visit Mill 19, a redeveloped steel mill that is being used as the headquarters for Carnegie Mellon University’s Manufacturing Futures Institute. 

The development is in the city’s Hazelwood neighborhood, adjacent to the Monongahela River.   

President Joe Biden traveled to Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania Friday with plans to talk infrastructure just hours after the city suffered a bridge collapse

President Joe Biden traveled to Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania Friday with plans to talk infrastructure just hours after the city suffered a bridge collapse

President Joe Biden traveled to Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania Friday with plans to talk infrastructure just hours after the city suffered a bridge collapse 

President Joe Biden departed the White House Friday morning for a quick trip to Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

President Joe Biden departed the White House Friday morning for a quick trip to Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

President Joe Biden departed the White House Friday morning for a quick trip to Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

Biden, boarding Air Force One, will talk tout his bipartisan infrastructure bill and talk about American manufacturing

Biden, boarding Air Force One, will talk tout his bipartisan infrastructure bill and talk about American manufacturing

Biden, boarding Air Force One, will talk tout his bipartisan infrastructure bill and talk about American manufacturing 

Biden's trip comes just hours after a bridge collapsed in Pittsburgh's East End, crumbling a portion of Forbes Avenue

Biden's trip comes just hours after a bridge collapsed in Pittsburgh's East End, crumbling a portion of Forbes Avenue

Biden’s trip comes just hours after a bridge collapsed in Pittsburgh’s East End, crumbling a portion of Forbes Avenue 

A Port Authority bus was crossing the bridge at the time of the collapse. Rescuers rappeled nearly 150 feet while others forme a human chain to rescue multiple people from the dangling bus

A Port Authority bus was crossing the bridge at the time of the collapse. Rescuers rappeled nearly 150 feet while others forme a human chain to rescue multiple people from the dangling bus

A Port Authority bus was crossing the bridge at the time of the collapse. Rescuers rappeled nearly 150 feet while others forme a human chain to rescue multiple people from the dangling bus 

Two high-profile Democratic candidates in Pennsylvania planned to skip Biden’s visit, in the latest sign that his dire poll numbers could be disastrous in November’s midterm elections. 

Lt. Gov. John Fetterman, a leading Senate candidate, and state Attorney General Josh Shapiro, who is likely to win the party nomination for governor, had planned to be absent due to scheduling conflicts.   

However, because of the bridge collapse, Fetterman will now be in Pittsburgh, NBC News reported, with an aide telling the network the lieutenant governor will see Biden if the president stops by the scene. 

Fetterman was the former mayor of nearby Braddock, Pennsylvania.  

Rep. Conor Lamb, who is running against Fetterman in the Senate Democratic primary, is expected to be at the Biden event.  

Biden’s visit was announced at the start of the week. 

It represents a new strategy to get the president out of Washington, to trumpet victories – such as the bipartisan infrastructure bill – after seeing other legislation killed off by Republican opposition and Democratic infighting.   

‘He’ll be talking about how far we’ve come in getting our economy moving again, making more right here in America, and ensuring all workers benefit,’ White House Press Secretary said on Thursday. 

‘He’ll highlight the 367,000 manufacturing jobs that our economy has created since he took office, and he’ll underscore the vital role the federal government can play in bringing workers and businesses together,’ Psaki added. 

Pennsylvania Lieutenant Governor and U.S. Senate candidate John Fetterman

Pennsylvania Lieutenant Governor and U.S. Senate candidate John Fetterman

Attorney General and gubernatorial candidate Josh Shapiro

Attorney General and gubernatorial candidate Josh Shapiro

Pennsylvania Lieutenant Governor and U.S. Senate candidate John Fetterman (left) and Attorney General and gubernatorial candidate Josh Shapiro (right) said they planned to skip Biden’s event, but now Fetterman will be in Pittsburgh due to the bridge collapse

The president is visiting Mill 19, a converted steel mill that houses Carnegie Mellon University's Manufacturing Futures Institute

The president is visiting Mill 19, a converted steel mill that houses Carnegie Mellon University's Manufacturing Futures Institute

The president is visiting Mill 19, a converted steel mill that houses Carnegie Mellon University’s Manufacturing Futures Institute

Mill 19 was built circa 1943 by Jones & Laughlin to house munitions production during World War II

Mill 19 was built circa 1943 by Jones & Laughlin to house munitions production during World War II

Mill 19 was built circa 1943 by Jones & Laughlin to house munitions production during World War II

The first building of the new Hazelwood Green development, Mill 19, once served as the location of the Pittsburgh region's most productive steel mills

The first building of the new Hazelwood Green development, Mill 19, once served as the location of the Pittsburgh region's most productive steel mills

The first building of the new Hazelwood Green development, Mill 19, once served as the location of the Pittsburgh region’s most productive steel mills

BREAK DOWN OF THE $1.2T BIPARTISAN INFRASTRUCTURE BILL

$110 billion for roads and bridges

$39 billion for public transit

$66 billion for railways

$65 billion for expanding broadband internet 

$25 billion to repair major airports

$7.5 billion for the first-ever network of charging stations for electric vehicles

$21 billion to respond to environmental concerns like pollution

$73 billion to modernize America’s energy grid 

FUNDING

$650 billion in funding for the bill comes from existing, planned investments in the country’s roads, highways and bridges

The remaining $550 billion over the next five years requires new spending 

Democrats wanted to fund the rest through tax revenues like a new gas tax

Republicans wanted to raise money through fees issues on those who use the new infrastructure

The bipartisan compromise, sure to raise heated debate, proposed using $205 billion in untapped COVID-19 relief aid and unemployment assistance that was turned away by some states

 

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Overall, Pennsylvania is receiving a $16 billion infusion for roads, bridges and other infrastructure as part of the new law, with $11 million going toward the Pittsburgh International Airport. 

Biden is flying into the smaller Allegheny County Airport for this Friday trip. That airport is receiving $763,000 from the law.   

Shapiro and Fetterman’s initial snubs is another hint that Biden is seen as a liability by candidates who would otherwise soak up the exposure and fundraising opportunities that accompany a presidential visit. 

And it comes in territory Biden once thought of as his own. He played up his ‘Scranton Joe’ roots to win over blue collar voters. 

But this week, two major polls showed how far the president’s support has cratered.

Both Monmouth University and Harvard CAPS/Harris found that only 39 percent of voters approved of Biden’s performance in office, crashing from figures of 54 and 61 percent respectively after he was sworn in.

The numbers have Republicans licking their lips in anticipation of sweeping gains in Novembers midterm elections – and Democrats apparently avoiding their party’s biggest name.

Earlier this month, Georgia Democrat Stacey Abrams, a leading candidate for governor in another swing state, also claimed a scheduling conflict when Biden came to town to deliver a voting rights speech.

Her office has yet to explain the nature of the conflict. 

‘Josh Shapiro is running to be the governor of Pennsylvania and he’s focused on the issues that matter to Pennsylvania families,’ said his spokesman Will Simons.

Shapiro appeared with Biden three times last summer – when Biden’s numbers were above water.

But Simons offered no further details on the scheduling conflict.  

‘Like every American should, Josh wants our president to be successful and we’ll continue welcoming President Biden to his home state of Pennsylvania,’ he said.

Biden made much of his early life in Scranton, Pennsylvania, during the 2020 campaign.

But analysts say his tone deaf approach to rising prices during the past year has undermined his appeal to blue-collar voters.

‘Biden’s go-to image during the campaign was ‘Joe from Scranton,” said Patrick Murray, director of the independent Monmouth University Polling Institute when it unveiled its latest poll this week.

‘The public view now is he’s lost the connection to those working-class roots.’

Last week, Beto O’Rourke, who carries party hopes of turning Texas blue with his campaign for governor, put distance between himself and the White House. 

‘I’m not interested in any national politician – anyone outside of Texas — coming into this state to help decide the outcome of this,’ he said, according to The Dallas Morning News

‘I think we all want to make sure that we’re working with, listening to and voting with one another here in Texas.’

The party’s congressional leadership is getting the message.

In an interview with Politico, Steny Hoyer, the third most senior Democrat in the House, would not be drawn on whether candidates should run as ‘Biden Democrats. 

‘I want every Democrat to run as ‘Democrats who deliver,” he said. ‘Point to the record. Point to what was done.’ 

Republicans are preparing to strike in down-ballot races. 

A poll commissioned by the Republican State Leadership Committee gave GOP candidates a six-point advantage because of Biden’s unpopularity, among other factors.   

‘If state Republicans continue to run on being the last line of defense against President Biden’s failed leadership and promote policies that stimulate the economy and ease the cost of living, make their communities safer, and empower parents to have more control of their children’s educations, they will have a major advantage on the issues in 2022 in battleground states,’ an accompanying memo said.   

Source: Daily Mail

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