Share

Vice President Kamala Harris lavished praise on President Joe Biden on Monday, thanking him for the work he did to secure a trillion dollar infrastructure bill, amid reports that their relationship had soured.

They walked out on to the South Lawn together in a show of unity before hugging in front of about 800 guests. 

Hours earlier, a string of insiders told CNN Biden was distancing himself from Harris because of her sliding poll numbers while the VP felt isolated.

Officials tried to shrug off the claims during the day, and Harris offered her boss the thanks of a grateful nation.

‘From the very start you welcomed Democrats, independents and Republicans to meet with us in the Oval Office. You welcomed ideas. You welcomed debate, all in the service of getting this bill done,’ said Harris before Biden signed the bill into law.

‘And here is what I know to be true, Mr. President, you are equal parts believer and builder.

‘And because you are, we are all better off. On behalf of our nation, thank you Mr. President.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, Democratic Senator Kyrsten Sinema and  Republican Senator Rob Portman were on the stage as they signed the infrastructure bill to invest in broadband, bridges, roads and ports. 

President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris arrived together on the South Lawn of the White House on Monday afternoon amid reports that their relationship was breaking down

President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris arrived together on the South Lawn of the White House on Monday afternoon amid reports that their relationship was breaking down

President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris arrived together on the South Lawn of the White House on Monday afternoon amid reports that their relationship was breaking down

They offered a very public display of unity with broad smiles and a hug, despite claims that Harris felt isolated and that Biden  was distancing himself from an unpopular vice president

They offered a very public display of unity with broad smiles and a hug, despite claims that Harris felt isolated and that Biden  was distancing himself from an unpopular vice president

They offered a very public display of unity with broad smiles and a hug, despite claims that Harris felt isolated and that Biden  was distancing himself from an unpopular vice president

They appeared together for the signing of the trillion dollar infrastructure bill. 'And here is what I know to be true, Mr. President, you are equal parts believer and builder,' said Harris before thanking the president for his work

They appeared together for the signing of the trillion dollar infrastructure bill. 'And here is what I know to be true, Mr. President, you are equal parts believer and builder,' said Harris before thanking the president for his work

They appeared together for the signing of the trillion dollar infrastructure bill. ‘And here is what I know to be true, Mr. President, you are equal parts believer and builder,’ said Harris before thanking the president for his work

Biden thanked 'everyone who helped make this happen,' and listed Vice President Harris first

Biden thanked 'everyone who helped make this happen,' and listed Vice President Harris first

Biden thanked ‘everyone who helped make this happen,’ and listed Vice President Harris first

Harris is back in the U.S. after a diplomatic trip to Paris

Harris is back in the U.S. after a diplomatic trip to Paris

Harris is back in the U.S. after a diplomatic trip to Paris

They each delivered remarks before an invited audience of members of Congress, governors, mayors, state and local elected officials, labor leaders, and business leaders were among the guests on the South Lawn. 

It was the biggest event yet for the Biden White House, with hundreds of guests and an array of all 50 state flags meant to show the reach of the program. The audience also featured multiple former Democratic legislators like former Sen. Doug Jones of Alabama – at a time when Republicans have their eyes on 2022 as an opportunity to pick up seats. 

Biden used the event to champion the infrastructure law – and call for action on his Build Back Better plan. 

I know you’re tired of the bickering in Washington, frustrated by the negativity,’ he told the crowd on a blustery day. ‘And you just want us to use and focus on your needs, your concerns, and the conversations taking place at your kitchen table,’ he said. ‘My fellow Americans, today I want you to know, we hear you and we see you. The bill I”m about to sign into law is proof that despite the cynics, Democrats and Republicans can come together and deliver results.’

Biden talked up Republican Sen. Rob Portman as a ‘hell of a good guy.’ And he praised Sen. Krysten Sinema (D-Ariz.) as ‘the most determined woman I know.’

But the subplot was the state of the relationship between Harris and Biden. 

Senior Biden aides spent the day trying to pour cold water on the CNN article published Sunday night with background from nearly three dozen sources suggesting that Biden had ‘given up’ on Harris after a poll showed her approval at 28 percent. 

Privately, Harris aides complain that she has been set up to fail, and handed a portfolio that is not commensurate with her historic status as the first woman, and first woman of color, to hold the vice president’s office. 

‘They’re consistently sending her out there on losing issues in the wrong situations for her skill set,’ said a former high-level Harris aide.

Her aides also complain that on the issues that she has been given control over – such as the border crisis – she doesn’t have White House backing to follow through. 

In contrast, they say the president has been more vigorous in defending Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg. 

At the same time, Biden’s staff are privately disappointed with Harris over self-inflicted controversies, like her ‘awkward’ laughter when asked about visiting the border by NBC’s Lester Holt.

(From left to right) House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, Democratic Senator Kyrsten Sinema,  and Republican Senator Rob Portman were on the stage as they signed the infrastructure bill to invest in broadband, bridges, roads and ports

(From left to right) House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, Democratic Senator Kyrsten Sinema,  and Republican Senator Rob Portman were on the stage as they signed the infrastructure bill to invest in broadband, bridges, roads and ports

(From left to right) House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, Democratic Senator Kyrsten Sinema,  and Republican Senator Rob Portman were on the stage as they signed the infrastructure bill to invest in broadband, bridges, roads and ports

First Lady Jill Biden and Second Gentleman Doug Emhoff were all smiles as they walked onto the South Lawn for the signing

First Lady Jill Biden and Second Gentleman Doug Emhoff were all smiles as they walked onto the South Lawn for the signing

First Lady Jill Biden and Second Gentleman Doug Emhoff were all smiles as they walked onto the South Lawn for the signing 

Democratic Senator Joe Manchin, the key vote in passing Biden's $1.8trillion Build Back Better bill, also attended the ceremony

Democratic Senator Joe Manchin, the key vote in passing Biden's $1.8trillion Build Back Better bill, also attended the ceremony

Democratic Senator Joe Manchin, the key vote in passing Biden’s $1.8trillion Build Back Better bill, also attended the ceremony

Democratic Senator Patrick Leahy, 81, poses with fellow lawmakers just hours after announcing his retirement after serving eight terms from 1972

Democratic Senator Patrick Leahy, 81, poses with fellow lawmakers just hours after announcing his retirement after serving eight terms from 1972

Democratic Senator Patrick Leahy, 81, poses with fellow lawmakers just hours after announcing his retirement after serving eight terms from 1972 

The crowd gathers on the South Lawn of the White House before the bill signing ceremony

The crowd gathers on the South Lawn of the White House before the bill signing ceremony

The crowd gathers on the South Lawn of the White House before the bill signing ceremony 

Publicly, the White House insists the relationship between Biden and Harris remains harmonious and productive.

‘It is unfortunate that after a productive trip to France in which we reaffirmed our relationship with America’s oldest ally and demonstrated U.S. leadership on the world stage, and following passage of a historic, bipartisan infrastructure bill that will create jobs and strengthen our communities, some in the media are focused on gossip – not on the results that the President and the Vice President have delivered,’ the vice president’s spokesperson Symone Sanders told CNN.

White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki also appeared to respond to the reports with a tweet in defense of the vice president.

‘For anyone who needs to hear it,’ she began in her Sunday evening tweet. ‘@VP is not only a vital partner to @POTUS but a bold leader who has taken on key, important challenges facing the country—from voting rights to addressing root causes of migration to expanding broadband.’ 

Before signing the infrastructure bill into law, Biden made a plea for more bipartisanship.  

‘Too often in Washington – the reason we don’t get things done is because we insist on getting everything we want,’ he said. 

‘With this law, we focused on getting things done. I ran for president because the only way to move our country forward is through compromise and consensus.’

The speakers on Monday all praised Biden – and, in one case, even his predecessor – for pushing through the infrastructure package.

Sinema, a moderate Democrat and key swing vote in the Senate, said the plan will create millions of jobs, will not cost taxpayers any money and said it will help her home state of Arizona improve water supplies. 

‘Our plan will create millions of jobs and make our country stronger, safer and more globally competitive without raising taxes on everyday Americans,’ she said. 

What’s included in the new infrastructure bill and how much it will cost

Here’s a breakdown of the bill that Biden is expected to soon sign into law:

PORTS: $17 billion

The upgrades include $4 billion of construction on coastal ports, inland waterways and other corps-eligible facilities, as well as $3.4 billion worth of improvements on obsolete inspection facilities to smooth international trade at the northern and southern borders. Upgrades will also include streamlining data sharing among shipping lines, terminal operators, railroads, truckers, warehouses, and cargo owners, across agencies to smooth supply chains.

ROADS AND BRIDGES: $110 billion

The bill would provide $110 billion to repair the nation’s aging highways, bridges and roads. According to the White House, 173,000 total miles of America’s highways and major roads and 45,000 bridges are in poor condition. And the almost $40 billion for bridges is the single largest dedicated bridge investment since the construction of the interstate highway system, according to President Joe Biden’s administration.

PASSENGER AND FREIGHT RAIL: $66 billion

To reduce Amtrak’s maintenance backlog, which has worsened since Superstorm Sandy nine years ago, the bill would provide $66 billion to improve the rail service’s 457-mile-long Northeast Corridor as well as other routes. It´s less than the $80 billion Biden – who famously rode Amtrak from Delaware to D.C. during his time in the Senate – originally asked for, but it would be the largest federal investment in passenger rail service since Amtrak was founded 50 years ago.

INTERNET ACCESS: $65 billion

The legislation’s $65 billion for broadband access would aim to improve internet services for rural areas, low-income families and tribal communities. Most of the money would be made available through grants to states.

MODERNIZING THE ELECTRIC GRID: $65 billion

To protect against the widespread power outages that have become more frequent in recent years, the bill would spend $65 billion to improve the reliability and resiliency of the nation’s power grid. It would also boost carbon capture technologies and more environmentally-friendly electricity sources like clean hydrogen.

WATER AND SEWERS: $55 billion

To improve the safety of the nation’s drinking water, the legislation would spend $55 billion on water and wastewater infrastructure. The bill would include $15 billion to replace lead pipes and $10 billion to address water contamination from polyfluoroalkyl substances, or PFAS – chemicals that were used in the production of Teflon and have also been used in firefighting foam, water-repellent clothing and many other items. 

PUBLIC TRANSIT: $39 billion

The $39 billion for public transit in the legislation would expand transportation systems, improve accessibility for people with disabilities and provide dollars to state and local governments to buy zero-emission and low-emission buses. The Department of Transportation estimates that the current repair backlog is more than 24,000 buses, 5,000 rail cars, 200 stations and thousands of miles of track and power systems.

AIRPORTS: $25 billion

The bill would spend $25 billion to improve runways, gates and taxiways at airports and to improve terminals. It would also improve aging infrastructure at air traffic control towers.

ELECTRIC VEHICLES: $12.5 billion

The bill would spend $7.5 billion for electric vehicle charging stations, which the administration says are critical to accelerating the use of electric vehicles to curb climate change. It would also provide $5 billion for the purchase of electric school buses and hybrids, reducing reliance on school buses that run on diesel fuel.

PAYING FOR IT

The five-year spending package would be paid for by tapping $210 billion in unspent COVID-19 relief aid and $53 billion in unemployment insurance aid some states have halted, along with an array of other smaller pots of money, like petroleum reserve sales and spectrum auctions for 5G services. 

<!—->

Advertisement

Biden’s approval rating sinks to new low of 41%

Joe Biden‘s favorability has reached an all time low of his administration as just over four in 10 Americans say they feel the president is doing a good job in a new poll released Sunday.

The ABC News/Washington Post poll shows Biden at 53 per cent disapproval and 41 per cent approval – down 11 points from the same poll in April.

The swift slide comes amidst a series of failures mostly related to the economy, including a 31-year high inflation rate, continued high unemployment numbers and a supply chain crisis just in time for the holiday season.

Since October 2020, wages rose by 4.9 per cent, but inflation rose by 6.2 per cent. 

Of the 1,001 adults surveyed between November 7-10, seven in 10 say the economy is in ‘bad shape’, which is up from 58 per cent who said the same in the poll taken in the spring.

While 48 per cent of respondents say they blame Biden directly for inflation, Biden has 55 per cent disapproval and only 39 per cent approval for his handling of the economy overall – a six point drop since early September and a massive 13 point drop from April.

Biden’s disapproval rating on the economy is six points higher than former President Donald Trump’s highest disapproval rating in that area in September 2017, according to the ABC News/Washington Post poll.

The president’s overall approval rating is very similar to his ratings related to the economy.

When Trump hit a low economic approval, Republicans lost a whopping 40 seats in the House in the 2018 midterm elections – an eerie premonition as Democrats try to hold on to their slim majorities in Congress going into the 2022 midterms. 

<!—->

Advertisement

Portman offered praise for the bipartisan process that gave rise to the bill and even credited former President Trump, whose inability to turn ‘infrastructure week’ into anything real became a running joke.

‘By making infrastructure a real priority in his administration, President Trump furthered the discussion,’ he said, ‘and helped Republicans like me think differently about the positive impact of investment and core infrastructure. 

It came after White House officials spent 24 hours trying to play down the reports of a falling out. 

Harris’ Deputy Press Secretary Sabrina Singh reposted Psaki’s tweet and posted her own on Sunday that read: ‘Honored to work for @VP every day. She’s focused on the #BuildBackBetter agenda and delivering results for the American people.’

Harris and her top aides, White House insiders told CNN, are frustrated with Biden for handing her ‘no-win’ issues like the border crisis.

They also claim that the president defended ‘white man’ Pete Buttigieg, the transportation secretary, more vigorously than her.

Two liberal commentators for CNN are not happy with their outlet publishing the story.

Bakari Sellers, who backed Harris’ ill-fated presidential bid, complained on ‘New Day’ on Monday about the way media treat the first female vice president.

‘I have a larger issue with the tone and tenor by which Kamala Harris is covered, and I think we saw that in this article,’ he said. 

‘I had to push back heavily on this article and throw a little cold water on it. I spent a little time with the vice president’s office and no one’s frantic, but more importantly she just got back from a flawless overseas trip to France dealing with a very prickly issue where we had some freezing of our diplomatic relations with France, and she by all means performed extremely well.’

CNN legal and national security analyst Carrie Cordero quoted the article’s headline ‘Inside the frustrating and dysfunctional start to Kamala Harris’ vice presidency’ and tweeted to show she was unhappy with the piece: ‘Alternatively, ‘Accomplished, Brave & History-Changing @VP Doesn’t Conform to Mythical Expectations of a Pandemic-Era, Post-Insurrection Vice Presidency.’

White House Chief of Staff Ron Klain tweeted: ‘Think about how many speeches, from how many officials, you’ve heard about how we are falling behind China on growth / investment / etc….Thanks to the Infrastructure Bill, next year will be the first time in 20 years where the US invests MORE than China on infrastructure.’

He also retweeted a gif showing Biden saying: ‘America is back!’ 

Harris’ approval rating has plunged even further than Biden’s in recent months, with rumors swirling that the president is considering appointing her to the Supreme Court as a backdoor method of selecting a new VP.

At the same time, Biden’s staff are privately disappointed with Harris over self-inflicted controversies, like her ‘awkward’ laughter when asked about visiting the border by NBC’s Lester Holt.

Publicly, the White House insists the relationship between Biden and Harris remains harmonious and productive.

But privately, according to these reports, they blame her failure on the border crisis for sliding poll numbers.

Source: Daily Mail UK

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *