Feb 8, 2022 - Politics & Policy

First look: Biden to sell BBB in Spanberger's swing district

Rep. Abigail Spanberger is seen walking through the U.S. Capitol.
Rep. Abigail Spanberger. Photo: Mark Wilson/Getty Images

President Biden will take his Build Back Better roadshow to Rep. Abigail Spanberger's swing district on Thursday, Axios has learned.

Why it matters: The Virginia Democrat was one of the most pointed critics of Biden's sweeping social agenda after their party was thumped in statewide elections in November. By highlighting his proposal to reduce prescription drug prices, the president will focus on one of his solutions to address soaring costs.

  • Democrats in swing states and vulnerable districts have been distancing themselves from him on social media as his poll numbers have hit their lowest point, Axios has reported previously.
  • The president's trip to Virginia will be his second jaunt out of Washington to tout his nearly $2 trillion plan since he said during a news conference last month he had to go out and sell his proposals more aggressively.

What to expect: Throughout this week, the president is trying to keep attention focused on his efforts to address soaring prices.

  • On Tuesday, the White House plans to stage an event with Tritium, a company that's building a new plant in Tennessee to manufacture electric vehicle chargers.
  • On Wednesday, Biden will host energy CEOs at the White House.
  • They'll discuss ways to lower energy costs.

The big picture: On Thursday, the Bureau of Labor Statistics will release the Consumer Price Index for January.

It's expected to come in at 7.3% — the highest reading since 1982.

  • Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) has cited surging inflation as one of the main reasons he declared the negotiations over Biden's spending bill dead back in December.
  • The White House is now strategizing how to get "chunks" of the legislation passed through the Senate.
  • It insists the president will use his time to speak directly to voters in public, eschewing trying to persuade Manchin in private.
  • First lady Jill Biden acknowledged on Monday that free community college won't be part of any final package Democrats attempt to pass — a clear sign of how the White House is paring down its initial proposal.

Between the lines: Spanberger criticized the administration's initial effort to pass a sweeping social spending bill after trillions more coronavirus relief.

  • "Nobody elected him to be F.D.R.; they elected him to be normal and stop the chaos," Spanberger told the New York Times.
  • Since that comment, the lines of her congressional districts have been redrawn.
  • They've taken her from a seat favoring Republicans by five points to one where Democrats have a two-point advantage, according to the polling and analytics site FiveThirtyEight.

Be smart: The White House knows the president doesn't control the one lever that can most easily ratchet down inflation: the Federal Reserve.

  • The five Fed nominations he's made, including having Chair Jerome Powell serve a second term, still need Senate confirmation.
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