President Joe Biden flew to Kansas City to highlight the bipartisan credentials of the new $1.2 trillion infrastructure law – lavishing praise on Republicans and vowing to create an ‘infrastructure decade.’
‘Guess what, it’s going to be an infrastructure decade,’ he said, mocking former President Donald Trump’s repeat ‘infrastructure weeks’ – which often coincided with a scandal.
‘No more talking, action,’ the president added.
He began his speech at Kansas City Area Transit Authority by honoring the late son of Russell Kansas, Bob Dole, a Republican who spent 37 years in the Senate – a year longer than Biden.
He praised Dole’s ‘both physical and moral courage’ and called him ‘among the greatest of the great generation,’ calling the former Senate leader, who died Tuesday, a ‘cherished friend to me and my wife, Jill.’
Dole was just one of the Republicans Biden tipped his hat to.
Throughout the day, he made a point of name-checking Republicans, touting a bipartisan accomplishment as he tries to push another measure through the Senate on a party-line vote.
He greeted the state’s GOP governor, Mike Parson, and spent about seven minutes on the airport tarmack with Parson and his wife, first lady Teresa Parson.
President Joe Biden gave an address on infrastructure on Wednesday, making a trip to a bus facility in Kansas City, Missouri
President Joe Biden (left) talks with Will Howard, the president of the Amalgamated Transit Union Local 1287 during a tour of the bus repair garage at the Kansas City Area Transit Authority
Rep. Sharice Davids (left) takes a photo with Kansas City, Missouri Mayor Quinton Lucas (second from left), along with Rep. Emanuel Cleaver (right)
President Joe Biden (right) arrives with Robbie Makinen, president and CEO of the Kansas City Area Transportation Authority (center) and Mayor Quinton Lucas (left) to the Kansas City Area Transit Authority,
Signs reading ‘Better Infrastructure Ahead’ and ‘Building a Better America’ adorned the room where President Joe Biden gave his infrastructure speech
President Joe Biden (right) talks with Missouri’s Republican Gov. Mike Parson (left) as he arrives at Kansas City International Airport on Wednesday
During remarks he mentioned Sen. Roy Blunt of Missouri, who voted for the plan but who Biden said ‘couldn’t be here.’ Back in D.C., the Senate is still in session.
He flew up with two Democratic House members, Reps. Emmanuel Cleaver and Sharice Davids.
He also gushed about another local hero, baseball great Buck O’Neil of the Negro Leagues’ Kansas City Monarchs.
Biden called him ‘a great ball player, the first black coach in the majors … One of the game’s greatest ambassadors and finally, finally a Hall of Famer’ – in reference to O’Neil being voted into the Hall Sunday.
‘Now if the sun shines a little brighter on Kansas City this week it’s because Bob and Buck are up there sharing a laugh with one another,’ he said of O’Neil and Dole.
Biden flew to the heartland, visiting a Democratic stronghold inside a Republican state – to tout the new bipartisan infrastructure law and its gusher of funds for roads and bridges.
Kansas City was also picked for its free bus and street car service.
One thing Biden didn’t do was make a pit stop at one of the city’s famous barbecue joints.
Mayor Quinton Lucas said during his own remarks that Biden ‘has an appointment’ with some Kansas City Barbecue – although it didn’t exactly happen that way.
Instead, aides were seen carrying bags of Gates barbecue to Air Force One as the president departed at the end of the day.
The White House confirmed to DailyMail.com that the mayor supplied the food to the president’s team.
Although he spoke in a bus facility, Biden couldn’t help but talk about trains and cars.
‘The fact is, you’re looking at Mr. Amtrak here,’ Biden said, before heading down the track of an oft-told story about his miles riding the rails.
‘If my dad were here he’d call it a misspent adulthood,’ he said about all the time he spent on trains.
Before delivering his speech, Biden toured the body shop at the Kansas City Area Transportation Authority. There were a pair of shiny electric buses on display.
He raised the alarm about Chinese manufacturers getting an edge on battery technology.
‘Right now, the Chinese are ahead of us,’ he said.
Biden pitched a new plan to spend billions upgrading the federal government fleet, with the goal of carbon-free emissions by 2030.
Biden took his black mask off a couple times when trying to make a point and be heard while meeting with local officials.
He was most emotive when talking about battery technology and cars.
‘We got a whole lot of money for electric batteries … battery capacity’ in the bill, Biden said.
The conversation naturally turned to electric cars, and Biden referenced his recent test drives.
‘And by the way – quick,’ he said, turning to car talk.
Biden’s speech came in a bus facility decked out with metal street-style signs that said ‘Building a Better America’ – his new slogan.
Biden’s speech came in a bus facility decked out with metal street-style signs that said ‘Building a Better America’ – his new slogan. Others, like the one behind him, said ’46,’ as he’s the 46th U.S. president
Biden pulled down his mask at points during the tour Wednesday of the Kansas City Area Transportation Authority
During the tour, President Joe Biden warned that China was moving ahead of the U.S. on battery technology for electric cars
Some said ’46’ in a route sign style.
An official told DailyMail.com local officials at the Public Works Department were able to make them last night, and that Biden signed a few of them on his trip.
Biden was introduced by both Davids and Cleaver.
Davids stopped her introductory remarks to announce, ‘OK, there’s a spider on the podium. This happened at the last infrastructure [event], I’m not kidding.’
Cleaver stepped in for an assist.
‘Cleaver has saved my life once again,’ Davids said to laughs.
Cleaver called the infrastructure law a ‘big working deal,’ a riff off of then Vice President Biden’s profane utterance to President Barack Obama after he signed the healthcare law.
‘I tell you what, I don’t know where that phrase “it’s a big deal” comes from,’ Biden said when he took over the podium.
He quickly told the audience the origin story, explaining he purposely whispered it to Obama in a way he thought the media’s mics wouldn’t hear it.
‘How in God’s name anybody heard it, I have no idea,’ Biden said.
The president recalled getting in the Beast afterward with Obama, after Biden’s ‘big f**king deal’ comment had gone viral.
‘He was laughing like the devil, it’s almost hysterical,’ the president recalled.
‘You’re just lucky my mother’s not alive,’ he told Obama. ‘I’d be a dead man.’
The White House launched a new website to promote the infrastucture law
Promotional campaign includes new slogan: Building a Better America
The White House invites people to share their stories
Biden has been on a promotional tour to draw attention to his $1 trillion program to invest in infrastructure. He’s also made stops in New Hampshire, Michigan and Minnesota.
White House spokesperson Jen Psaki said the Kansas City trip will demonstrate ‘how the president is following through on his promise to forge bipartisan consensus and prove our democracy can deliver big wins for the American people.’
The White House is eager to promote the infrastructure law as part of the series of the president’s accomplishments they are highlighting ahead of the 2022 midterm election.
Democrats are trying to fend off Republican attempts to take control of the House and Senate next year.
The White House also launched a new website, Build.gov, to describe the law and a new branding phrase, ‘Building a Better America,’ to promote it.
The site features an eye-catching new logo and invites people to share their story ‘about how the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law will impact you and your community.’
Additionally, Biden is trying to get the Senate to pass his ‘Build Back Better’ social spending and climate change bill.
It’s unclear if he has the votes to do so.
He brought up that bill in Kansas City too – primarily selling it on its promise to reduce the cost of childcare.
‘I could no more afford full-time childcare than fly,’ he said of his own experience – linking it back to his choice to use Amtrak to commute between D.C. and Delaware.
Biden again whispered into the microphone asking the rich to ‘pay your fair share,’ which is how the $1.75 trillion bill will be financed.
‘I’m a capitalist. I always have been. I’m a good friend of Bernie’s but we disagree. I’m not a socialist I’m a capitalist,’ Biden also said.
Before departing for Kansas City, Biden attended mass in Georgetown for the Feast of the Immaculate Conception, a holy day of obligation for Catholics.
Biden arrived at Holy Trinity Catholic Church in Georgetown shortly after 8am, waving to a large group of children and adults outside.
There is a school attached to the church. He stayed nearly an hour for the service.
President Biden attended mass ahead of his trip to Kansas City, Mo, to promote his infrastructure law
The president, a devout Catholic, regularly attends Mass in Washington or near his home in Wilmington, Delaware
President Joe Biden waves to school kids as he arrives at Holy Trinity Church in Georgetown
Biden is attending mass for the Feast of the Immaculate Conception
The president, a devout Catholic, rarely misses a religious holiday. When he was in Rome for All Saints Day, he attended private mass at the Embassy, where he was staying.
He also regularly attends mass in Washington or near his home in Wilmington, Delaware. He carries rosary beads that belonged to his deceased son Beau and he keeps a photo of himself and the Pope behind his desk in the Oval Office in the first row of pictures next to ones with his family.
Biden, who supports abortion rights, met with Pope Francis at Vatican City in late October, when he was in Rome for the G20 conference.
The president said the pope told him he’s a ‘good Catholic’ and that the two men did not discuss the controverial issue of abortion during their 75-minute sit down behind the closed doors of the Vatican.
He also said the pope told him to keep receiving communion.
‘We just talked about the fact he was happy that I was a good Catholic and I should keep receiving communion,’ Biden said after the meeting.
Biden met with the pontiff amid pressure from conservative Catholics in the United States about his abortion stance.
The U.S. Conference of Bishops was weighing whether to admonish Catholic politicians like Biden and Speaker Nancy Pelosi, who support a woman’s right to an abortion – which Catholics consider a sin – yet also take Holy Communion at mass.
President Biden and Pope Francis with their translators at their private meeting at the Vatican in October
Ultimately the bishops adopted a document that does not mention the president or any politicians by name.
Instead the new guidance emphasizes the obligation of Catholic public figures to demonstrate moral consistency between their personal faith and their public actions.
‘Lay people who exercise some form of public authority’ have a duty to ‘serve the human family by upholding human life and dignity,’ the document states.