NATIONAL NEWS

Biden in PA to talk infrastructure as bridge collapses

Jan 28, 2022, 9:11 AM | Updated: Jun 13, 2022, 3:41 pm
(Pittsburgh Public Safety)...
(Pittsburgh Public Safety)
(Pittsburgh Public Safety)

PITTSBURGH, Pa. (AP) — President Joe Biden arrived in Pennsylvania on Friday to promote the benefits of his infrastructure package with an event just two miles from the site of an early-morning bridge collapse that underscored his frequent calls to do more for the nation’s crumbling roads and bridges.

White House principal deputy press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre told reporters en route to Pittsburgh that the president spoke with Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf and Pittsburgh Mayor Ed Gainey before taking off for Pennsylvania and offered federal support for the cleanup efforts.

“Our team remains in touch with state and local officials on the ground on updates and any additional assistance we can provide,” she said.

Human chain formed to help after Pittsburgh bridge collapse

The dramatic event — which produced no fatalities, but prompted rescuers to form a human chain to help retrieve multiple people from a dangling bus — offers Biden a striking example of what he often says is the urgent need for investments in the country’s infrastructure. The steel span was built in 1970, and a 2019 inspection of the bridge revealed the deck and superstructure to be in poor condition, according to the U.S. Department of Transportation’s National Bridge Inventory.

The infrastructure law has earmarked about $1.6 billion for Pennsylvania bridge maintenance, with tens of billions more for public transit, highway maintenance and broadband internet expansion in the state.

Friday’s trip is an opening step in a broader campaign to promote White House achievements in key states before the midterm elections, and brings Biden, a Pennsylvania native, home to one of the top-targeted states this cycle. The battle to replace Republican Sen. Pat Toomey, who is not seeking reelection, is expected to be one of the most competitive Senate races this year.

But two of the three leading Democrats on Pennsylvania’s statewide ballot this spring who were invited to appear with Biden will not attend, their campaigns confirmed on the eve of the president’s visit.

Lt. Gov. John Fetterman, a leading Senate candidate, and state Attorney General Josh Shapiro, the likely Democratic nominee in the race for governor, will be absent because of scheduling conflicts, according to their spokespeople. Another top Senate candidate, Rep. Conor Lamb, a longtime Biden supporter based in Pittsburgh, will attend, his office confirmed. All three had been invited to participate in a photo line with the president.

The high-profile absences come as Democrats in other states have begun taking modest steps to distance themselves from the first-term president, whose approval ratings have fallen sharply in recent months. And while Fetterman and Shapiro indicated that politics had no bearing on their schedules, their decisions to avoid Biden, particularly in his home state, could fuel further questions among anxious Democratic candidates elsewhere as they decide whether to embrace the struggling president.

Shapiro made three appearances with Biden last summer and fall when the president’s numbers were better. But the gubernatorial hopeful has a scheduling conflict this time, Simons said, without detailing the conflict.

“Like every American should, Josh wants our president to be successful and we’ll continue welcoming President Biden to his home state of Pennsylvania,” Simons said.

Fetterman, the outspoken lieutenant governor whose campaign headquarters is based in Pittsburgh, said he’ll miss Biden’s visit in that city to attend the Democratic state committee, which begins Friday evening 200 miles to the east in Harrisburg.

Leading Pennsylvania Democrats who are not on the ballot this year did not have the same scheduling conflicts. Those who will appear with Biden on Friday include Gov. Tom Wolf, who is term-limited, and Sen. Bob Casey, whose current term runs through 2024.

It’s been a different calculation for vulnerable Democrats who will face voters in 2022.

Earlier in the month, Georgia Democrat Stacey Abrams, a leading candidate for governor in another swing state, skipped a chance to appear with the president in the state, citing an unspecified scheduling conflict. And in the weeks since, several other notable Democrats have seemed to distance themselves from Biden as well.

Last week, Texas Democrat Beto O’Rourke said he didn’t need the Democratic president’s assistance in his campaign for governor.

And this week, Rep. Steny Hoyer, the No. 3 House Democrat, refused to say whether vulnerable Democrats on the ballot this fall should embrace the label “Biden Democrat.”

“I want every Democrat to run as Democrats who deliver,” Hoyer told Politico when asked directly about “Biden Democrats.”

The White House announced Biden’s trip on Monday after the president said last week he would look to get out of Washington more in the second year of his presidency.

Biden, who has seen his poll numbers sink in the midst of an unrelenting pandemic and high inflation, said it was important that he “go out and talk to the public” about what he’s accomplished and about why Congress needs to get behind the rest of his domestic agenda.

While in Pittsburgh, Biden will focus on the economy, according to White House press secretary Jen Psaki.

“He’ll be talking about how far we’ve come in getting our economy moving again, making more right here in America, and ensuring all workers benefit,” Psaki told reporters at the White House on Thursday.

___

Peoples reported from New York. Associated Press writers Aamer Madhani and Alexandra Jaffe in Washington contributed to this report.

KSL 5 TV Live

Top Stories

National News

Traders work on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) in New York City, U.S., September 2...
Paul R. La Monica, CNN Business

Dow plunges and is back in a bear market

The third quarter is about to end and investors are wishing the past nine months good riddance. Stocks fell Thursday, giving up Wednesday's big gains. The Dow was down almost 650 points, or 2.1%, in midday trading.
15 hours ago
Brenda Brennan sits next to a boat that pushed against her apartment when Hurricane Ian passed thro...
ADRIANA GOMEZ-LICON, Associated Press

Many trapped in Florida as Ian heads toward South Carolina

Rescue crews are wading through water and using boats to rescue Florida residents stranded in the wake of Hurricane Ian.
15 hours ago
U.S. President Joe Biden delivers remarks during a celebration of the 1990 passage of the Americans...
ZEKE MILLER and DARLENE SUPERVILLE, Associated Press

Biden to visit Florida when ‘conditions allow’ after storm

President Joe Biden says the entire United States "hurts" along with the people of Florida after Hurricane Ian flooded communities across the state.
15 hours ago
Ukrainian troops ride upon a repaired Russian tank in a wooded area outside the city on September 2...
LOLITA C. BALDOR and MATTHEW LEE, Associated Press

US announces $1.1 billion more in military aid for Ukraine

The U.S. will provide an additional $1.1 billion in aid to Ukraine, with funding for about 18 more advanced rocket systems and other weapons to counter drones that Russia has been using against Ukrainian troops.
15 hours ago
A wife and husband from Maryland have been charged with conspiring to provide the Russian governmen...
Holmes Lybrand

US Army doctor, anesthesiologist charged with conspiracy to provide medical records to Russia

A wife and husband from Maryland have been charged with conspiring to provide the Russian government with personal medical records from the U.S. government and military, according to a newly unsealed federal indictment.
15 hours ago
Porfirio Duarte-Herrera (Nevada)...
Associated Press

Police arrest convicted Vegas bombmaker who escaped prison

Police say they have arrested a convicted bombmaker who escaped from a Nevada prison where he was serving a life sentence for a deadly 2007 explosion outside a Las Vegas Strip.
15 hours ago

Sponsored Articles

Happy diverse college or university students are having fun on their graduation day...
BYU MBA at the Marriott School of Business

How to choose what MBA program is right for you: Ask these questions before you apply!

Wondering what MBA program is right for you? Take this quiz before you apply to see if it will help you meet your goals.
Cloud storage technology with 3d rendering drawer with files in cloud...
PC Laptops

How backing up your computer can help you relieve stress

Don't wait for something bad to happen before backing up your computer. Learn how to protect your data before disaster strikes.
young woman with stickers on laptop computer...
Les Olson

7 ways print marketing materials can boost your business

Custom print marketing materials are a great way to leave an impression on clients or customers. Read for a few ideas to spread the word about your product or company.
young woman throwing clothes to organize a walk in closet...
Lighting Design

How to organize your walk-in closet | 7 easy tips to streamline your storage today

Read our tips to learn how to organize your walk-in closet for more storage space. These seven easy tips can help you get the most out of your space.
Types of Computer Malware and Examples...
PC Laptops

5 Nasty Types of Computer Malware and Examples | Everything You Need to Know to Keep Your Computer and Family Safe

Here are the different types of computer malware and examples that could potentially infect your computer.
tips how to quit smoking...

7 Tips How to Quit Smoking | Quitting Smoking Might be One of the Hardest Things You Ever Do but Here’s Where You Can Start

Quitting smoking cigarettes can be incredibly difficult. Here are 7 tips how to quit smoking to help you on your quitting journey.
Biden in PA to talk infrastructure as bridge collapses