Biden promotes $4 trillion plans in visit to Virginia schools

U.S. President Joe Biden and First Lady Jill Biden leave Marine One helicopter to board Air Force One for travel to Virginia from Joint Base Andrews, Maryland, U.S. May 3, 2021. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst

By Jeff Mason

YORKTOWN, VA. (Reuters) -President Joe Biden traveled to coastal Virginia on Monday to promote how his proposals to spend $4 trillion for infrastructure and families will help the U.S. education system.

Biden, joined by his wife, Jill Biden, a community college professor, bantered with a class of 5th-grade students at an elementary school in Yorktown. The students had shields in front of their desks as a guard against the virus.

The president asked them what they wanted to do when they grow up and was given an array of examples, including a fashion designer, a chef and a hairstylist.

“You’re very impressive,” Biden told them.

Later, he was to deliver remarks at Tidewater Community College in Norfolk, Virginia.

The travel is part of Biden’s “Getting America Back on Track” tour to promote his $2 trillion infrastructure plan and his $1.8 trillion “American Families Plan.”

Biden’s plan includes $1 trillion in spending on education and childcare over 10 years and $800 billion in tax credits aimed at middle- and low-income families.

It also includes $200 billion for free, universal preschool and $109 billion for free community college regardless of income for two years, the White House said.

Biden will travel to Lake Charles and New Orleans, Louisiana, on Thursday. Vice President Kamala Harris heads to Milwaukee on Tuesday.

Biden has vowed to work with both Democratic and Republican lawmakers in a search for a bipartisan agreement. However, whether he will be able to persuade the opposition party to join in a plan that will raise taxes on the wealthy is far from clear.

He is to meet with top Democratic and Republican lawmakers at the White House on May 12 to try to find common ground.

Congress is polarized and Democrats hold only narrow majorities in the U.S. House of Representatives and the Senate.

Biden had promised throughout the 2020 presidential campaign to work with Republicans, but his major legislative achievement, a $1.9 trillion pandemic relief plan, passed without a Republican vote.

Republicans in Congress already have their eyes on making gains in the midterm congressional elections in 2022, and are aligning a divided party around opposing Biden.

(Reporting By Jeff Mason; writing by Steve Holland; editing by Chizu Nomiyama and Jonathan Oatis)

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