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Joe Biden looks down on critical presidential moment as he travels to Ohio for CNN mayor
A significant set of issues unfold as he makes his third visit to the state. Covid cases are on the rise, testifying to a vaccination effort that has stalled amid waves of misinformation and skepticism. The pent-up demand caused prices to rise, raising concerns about inflation. And Biden’s much-vaunted bipartisan infrastructure deal remains in limbo as Republicans and Democrats rush to finalize the plan.
The president was due to leave Washington for Cincinnati around the same time the Senate blocked a vote to start debate on the infrastructure plan, a setback to Biden’s attempts to foster cooperation across the aisles. Negotiators say they will continue speaking in hopes of reaching a deal, but now Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer has to schedule another vote for next week.

Biden’s aides worked behind the scenes to bring the deal to fruition. In theory, it would spend $ 600 billion to repair roads and bridges and strengthen broadband networks, among other physical infrastructure priorities. A separate $ 3.5 trillion framework put forward only by Democrats includes the rest of Biden’s family and employment program, including education, housing and child care.

At the same time, Biden is facing a worrying increase in Covid cases which has now spread to all states across the country. Driven by the highly contagious Delta variant, nearly all new hospitalizations and deaths are in unvaccinated people. But the new wave has already forced some localities to reapply mask warrants.

The set of challenges is familiar territory for first-year presidents, who often face unforeseen crises just as they hope to quickly implement the plans they ran on. Besides Covid and the economy, Biden faces foreign hot spots in Afghanistan, Haiti and Cuba. And border crossings have increased again, a problem the administration has struggled to contain.

Speaking at a cabinet meeting on Tuesday, Biden trumpeted his team’s accomplishments six months after taking office.

“At the end of the day, we keep our promises,” Biden said. “We have to keep all the promises we made, because I think we are in a situation where the vast majority of the public agrees with the essence of what we are trying to do.”

Biden and his team recognize the narrow window he has to move his agenda forward before the midterm election season begins to consume Washington’s political oxygen. They worked urgently to sell elements of his plans to the American people, including through events and speeches at town hall.

His visit to Ohio, a state that voted for former President Donald Trump in last year’s election, is part of a trend to visit red-trending areas to promote popular proposals , such as a child tax credit or a free community college. He has visited Ohio three times since taking office, making Michigan and Pennsylvania his most visited states (with the exception of Delaware, where he spends most weekends).

In Cincinnati, Biden plans to visit a union training center for electrical workers before answering questions at CNN’s town hall. The judgment aims to highlight the well-paying union jobs it says his economic plan will help create.

Health and economic concerns were on the minds of Ohio voters ahead of Biden’s municipal event at Mount St. Joseph University.

On the day marking his sixth month in office, on the eve of the president’s arrival in Cincinnati, several voters said in lunchtime interviews that Biden was a breath of fresh air and they were impatient to give him a chance to overcome the pandemic and to focus on his agenda.

“I feel like he has more strategic direction and less hip shots,” said Allen Fleury, a Democrat who has backed Biden. “It’s a return to more traditional leadership. A president works with others and consults with others.”

Bill Stearns, a lawyer from Cincinnati, said the early months of the Biden administration exceeded his expectations, given the myriad of challenges facing the White House.

“It’s such a relief to be able to wake up in the morning, to know that the nation is in good hands,” Stearns said in an interview this week, referring to the past six months. “I think it’s even better than I thought, doing what he’s trying to do with the economy and trying to get out of the pandemic.”

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