© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: U.S. President Joe Biden speaks as he holds a meeting with CEOs of companies in a variety of sectors to discuss the holiday shopping season, at the White House in Washington, U.S., November 29, 2021. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque
By Andrea Shalal ROSEMOUNT, Minn. (Reuters) – U.S. President Joe Biden, racing to stay ahead of a new COVID-19 variant and rising inflation, traveled to Minnesota on Tuesday to highlight the benefits of his $1-trillion infrastructure law and push for passage of a separate $1.75-trillion spending measure. Since signing the bipartisan infrastructure bill on Nov. 15, Biden has made visits to Michigan, Pennsylvania and New Hampshire to tout its benefits and help turn around slumping poll numbers for himself and the Democratic Party. On Tuesday, Biden visited Dakota County Technical College in Rosemount, a suburb near Minneapolis and St. Paul, which has programs to train workers to build, operate, and maintain infrastructure supported by the infrastructure law. He is expected to focus on how the law will “deliver concrete results for communities, create good-paying union jobs, and position America to compete and win the 21st century,” press secretary Jen Psaki told reporters on Monday. She said Dakota County Tech, which serves 2,900 credit students and 10,000 non-credit students, offered an example of institutions nationwide that will train the next generation of workers and rebuild America’s infrastructure. The infrastructure law, coupled with $24 billion in investments in the $1.75-trillion “Build Back Better” spending measure, will prepare millions of workers for high-quality jobs in growing economic sectors, the White House said. The Build Back Better bill was passed by the House but faces cuts and delays from moderate Democrats led by U.S. Senator Joe Manchin, of West Virginia. U.S. Senator Amy Klobuchar, who traveled to Minnesota with Biden, said she was confident the Senate would take up the Build Back Better legislation this month. “We only have a few ‘little’ things to work out,” she said. Biden had pushed to include two years of free community college in the massive spending package, but that funding was cut in a compromise with moderate Democrats concerned about the bill’s steep price tag.
It still includes $5 billion for community colleges to expand workforce training programs in partnership with employers, unions, public systems and community bodies, with $5 billion for large-scale training for jobs in high-demand sectors such as clean energy, manufacturing, education and caregiving. Under the infrastructure law, Minnesota will receive $4.5 billion in federal aid to rebuild highways, about $302 million for bridges, and $818 million to improve public infrastructure, the White House said.
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