Sep 27, 2021 - Economy

First look: Yellen, Raimondo lobby business for Biden

Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen and Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo are seen side-by-side.

Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen (left) and Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo. Photos: Dursun Aydemir/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images (left) and Oliver Contreras-Pool/Getty Images

Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen and Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo are delivering a pair of speeches Tuesday lobbying the business community to back the entirety of President Biden’s Build Back Better agenda, Axios has learned.

Why it matters: While business groups have endorsed the $1.2 trillion bipartisan infrastructure package, they're opposed to the concurrent $3.5 trillion budget reconciliation package — which would raise taxes on corporations.

  • In choreographing speeches from Yellen and Raimondo, the administration is going on the offensive to convince the public their overall agenda will lead to productivity gains and help grow the economy for all Americans.
  • The $1.2 trillion bill would invest in "hard" infrastructure like roads and bridges. The $3.5 trillion package would spend on so-called “human” infrastructure, including day care, universal preschool and caregivers.
  • “The bipartisan infrastructure bill and Build Back Better are two parts of one economic vision that finally addresses the challenges that have held back families — and, in turn, our economy — for decades," Kate Bedingfield, White House communications director, told Axios.

Driving the news: Raimondo will speak at 11:30am ET at the Economic Club of Washington.

  • Yellen will address the annual meeting of the National Association for Business Economics at 2:30pm ET.

The other side: The Chamber of Commerce, which overwhelmingly supported the bipartisan bill, is running ads in districts represented by moderate House Democrats, urging them to oppose the $3.5 trillion bill, which Democrats plan to pass alone through the reconciliation package.

  • The Business Roundtable also is opposed to the new social spending, and, in particular, the tax increases that Biden has proposed to pay for it.
  • CEO and President Joshua Bolten said it “would put millions of American jobs at risk."

Go deeper: During her remarks, Raimondo will focus on how the package will improve supply chains and make investments in workforce development, an administration official told Axios.

  • The daughter of a factory worker who lost his job when his company relocated to China, the former Rhode Island governor also will tie her personal story to Biden's overall economic agenda.

Between the lines: Yellen will start her morning before the Senate Banking Committee, testifying alongside Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell.

  • They'll discuss the effects of the roughly $4 trillion in COVID-19 relief spending signed into law by former President Trump.
  • Then, in the afternoon, Yellen will target her Biden remarks on climate change and infrastructure.
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