President Joe Biden is planning to visit Delaware County on Tuesday in his first visit to Pennsylvania as president, the White House said.
The stop, in a state where Biden was born and which was crucial in clinching his election last year, will come just days after he’s expected to sign his first major piece of legislation, a $1.9 trillion coronavirus relief package that he hopes will pull the country through the end of the pandemic and lift up low- and middle-income Americans.
“This legislation is about giving the backbone of this nation — the essential workers, the working people who built this country, the people who keep this country going — a fighting chance,” Biden said in a statement Wednesday after the bill passed the House and headed to his desk. He plans to sign it Friday.
Biden’s visit is part of what’s expected to be a more visible and active stretch for the president as he tries to hammer home the benefits of the massive stimulus package and build momentum for his next legislative effort — likely a sweeping infrastructure program meant to provide repairs, upgrades, and jobs.
Biden, a Scranton native, effectively sealed the presidency when Pennsylvania was called in his favor in 2020. The state remains in the national political spotlight with competitive contests next year for governor and U.S. Senate.
Many Democrats believe that Biden’s former boss, Barack Obama, failed to sell his big early initiatives to voters when they faced an economic calamity in 2009, and hope to avoid a repeat. The stimulus package, passed with only Democratic votes, offers $1,400 checks to most Americans, a massive expansion of child tax credits expected to lift millions out of poverty, and an array of spending meant to bolster schools, state, and local governments, and people who have lost jobs or income during the pandemic.
Republicans have blasted the bill as an expensive, partisan giveaway larded with a grab bag of liberal policy ideas and billions they say are unrelated to the pandemic. They say that the economy is already on the upswing and that the bill is just an attempt to curry favor with voters by spending big under the guise of a public health emergency.