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Next stop for Biden's agenda: The campaign trail

Bridget Bowman, CQ-Roll Call on

Published in Political News

After touring a medical campus in Cleveland on Monday, Ohio Democratic Rep. Tim Ryan stressed the importance of getting one of President Joe Biden’s signature policy achievements across the finish line.

“There’s a variety of things in here that are going to be very, very helpful,” Ryan, who is running for Senate, said at a press conference.

Ryan was referring to the nearly $2 trillion package known as the Build Back Better bill, which passed the House on Friday and includes a litany of Democratic priorities, such as restored or extended tax cuts and expansions to the social safety net. All but one House Democrat supported the bill, which now heads to the Senate.

Democratic Rep. Angie Craig of Minnesota, a GOP target in 2022, touted the spending package as “support for working families across Minnesota” in an interview over the weekend with a local CBS affiliate.

The push to tout the sweeping social spending bill, along with a bipartisan infrastructure package that Biden signed earlier this month, marks a departure from the last time voters weighed in on the agenda of a first-term Democratic president whose party controlled both chambers in Congress.

Back in 2010, the focus was on President Barack Obama’s overhaul of health insurance, and an economic stimulus package he signed shortly after he was inaugurated. Each law came under attack, and many candidates struggled to convince voters how they stood to benefit. That year, Democrats lost 63 seats and control of the House. The party also lost six Senate seats, but held on to control.

 

This cycle, Democrats say they plan to run on their major policy accomplishments, not run away from them.

Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee Chairman Sean Patrick Maloney of New York said actively touting these packages is a lesson learned from the 2010 elections.

“The lesson is: People don’t know if you don’t tell them. And no matter how popular your policies, people have to know you did it and they have to understand in most cases, every Republican voted against it,” Maloney said in a brief interview off the House floor last week.

“You’re either on offense or defense, and I want to be on offense,” Maloney later added. “We’re doing great things. We have a great story to tell, but that message has not reached enough people yet. We need to tell them.”

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