White House Touts Social Spending Bill In Moderate Dem Districts

MANDEL NGAN/AFP via Getty Images

Michael Ginsberg Congressional Correspondent
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Biden administration officials are visiting some of the most vulnerable swing districts in the country to promote the Build Back Better social spending package.

Vice President Kamala Harris will travel Friday to Montclair, New Jersey, her office announced, while Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona will visit the Rio Grande Valley in Texas on Wednesday and Thursday, his office announced. Housing and Urban Development Secretary Marcia Fudge visited Detroit on Monday and Chicago on Tuesday.

The trips are part the White House’s attempt to whip moderate House Democrats into supporting the Build Back Better Act, which is now expected to cost between $1.9 and $2.2 trillion. Mikie Sherrill, whose district includes Montclair, and Vicente Gonzalez, whose district includes San Juan and McAllen, Texas, have expressed concern about the size of the reconciliation package, and both represent districts that are designated targets by the National Republican Congressional Committee for the 2022 midterms.

Sherrill has pledged to oppose the reconciliation package unless it includes a full repeal of the state and local tax (SALT) deduction cap, a position that is a non-starter with the bill’s more left-wing proponents.

Gonzalez was part of a group of eleven vulnerable House Democrats who spoke Tuesday with Biden via Zoom to discuss legislative strategy. He was also one of nine House Democrats to demand a vote on the bipartisan Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act before he would consider voting for the Build Back Better package in an August letter to Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi. (RELATED: White House Disses Squad, Doesn’t Invite Them To Zoom Meeting On Agenda)

Cardona will also appear with Joaquin Castro, a left-wing member of the House Democratic Caucus, at three events in downtown San Antonio.

Democratic leaders, including Pelosi, have pointed to polling that shows that the Build Back Better Act enjoys widespread support nationally, but recent data from the American Action Network (AAN) suggests that the legislation is less popular in some of the swing districts that will decide control of the House of Representatives in the 2022 midterms.

AAN polling conducted in late September found the legislation holds more than 50% disapproval in Iowa’s 3rd District, Virginia’s 2nd District, and New Jersey’s 7th District. Sherrill’s district, New Jersey’s 11th, shares a border with the 7th, which is represented by fellow Democrat Tom Malinowski.