Biden’s ‘Families Cabinet’ mounts full-court press on reconciliation package

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Days after walking back a puzzling statement from President Joe Biden on the infrastructure state of play, the White House is pressuring Congress to send both a bipartisan proposal and a sweeping reconciliation package, in tandem, to the Oval Office.

As a bipartisan group of 20 senators began splitting the targeted infrastructure package across a number of varied working groups, the White House has continued pressing forward with urging legislators to sign off on the remaining spending items proposed within the president's American Jobs and Families plans.

WHITE HOUSE DOESN'T RULE OUT MEDICARE EXPANSION VIA RECONCILIATION BILL

A White House memo, obtained by the Washington Examiner, outlined how the “Families Cabinet,” a group of Cabinet members and senior White House staff, is actively working to convince legislators to include what they're calling a “transnational, once-in-a-generation” investment that “will strengthen the middle class and ensure the economic well-being of families across America” in the secondary reconciliation package.

The memo specifically outlines the work that Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen, Health and Human Services Secretary Xavier Becerra, Education Secretary Miguel Cardona, Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack, and Chairwoman of the Council of Economic Advisers Cecilia Rouse have done over the past few weeks and even includes some future engagements.

That group of Cabinet-level secretaries and White House aides have “traveled across the country to highlight the need for the Families Plan, and communicated to the public through national, local, and coalitions media interviews about how these historic investments will benefit their families and communities,” according to the memo.

“As the President presses for the Bipartisan Infrastructure Framework, his commitment to championing the full breadth and scope of the American Families Plan remains unwavering,” the memo reads. “The American Families Plan provides a once-in-a-generation investment in the foundations of middle class prosperity: education, health care, and child care. From making education more affordable and expanding key provisions like the Child Tax Credit to providing economic security through programs like paid leave to families, the President will continue advancing his entire economic agenda to build back better. The Families Cabinet has been on the road underscoring the need for these investments, and they will continue to do so as the President sees this plan through.”

Below is a summary of engagements undertaken by the “Families Cabinet” and other members of the Biden administrations and includes numerous commitments that will occur in the near future, according to the document.

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Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona

Travel and Engagements

  • Meeting with House Tri-Caucus on AFP (April 29)
  • Tour of Bergenfield High School in Bergenfield, New Jersey and discussion with students, Gov. Phil Murphy, and Rep. Josh Gottheimer (June 2) 
  • Community college visits in Dearborn and Warren, Michigan, highlighting the COVID-19 College Challenge and the American Families Plan with Rep. Andy Levin (June 8)
  • Virtual remarks at the National Hispanic Caucus of State Legislators Spring Forum (June 11)
  • Mercy College-Bronx Campus visit with Rep. Jamaal Bowman (June 14)
  • Harvey Milk High School visit (June 14)
  • Anacostia High School visit of vaccination site and roundtable discussion focusing on the benefits of AFP for early childhood programs with HHS Secretary Xavier Becerra (June 16)
  • Meetings with Federacion de Maestros de Puerto Rico (Federation of Teachers of Puerto Rico) and visit the University of Puerto Rico-Rio Piedras Campus (June 27)
  • Meetings with Puerto Rico Gov. Pedro Pierluisi and Acting Puerto Rico Secretary of Education Eliezer Ramos (Monday)

Key Media Interviews

  • Coalitions media interviews highlighting AFP with Univision, Working Mom, and BNC (May 3)
  • Interview with Linea Abierta for Radio Bilingue to discuss the Federal Communications Commission's broadband discount for students and families and AFP Pell grants (May 26)
  • MSNBC's All In with Chris Hayes to highlight school reopening and AFP (June 12)
  • CNN’s New Day to discuss school reopening and the AFP (June 14) 
  • Local TV interviews on AFP impacts in Dallas; Tampa, Florida; Atlanta; Houston; Miami; El Paso, Texas; and Washington, D.C.

Council of Economic Advisers Chair Cecilia Rouse

Travel and Engagements

  • Briefing with the House Ways & Means Committee on the state of the economy, including AFP and AJP (May 25)
  • Virtual roundtable event with small business owners on the AFP’s child care and paid leave proposals (June 10)
  • Meeting with the House Democratic Women’s Caucus to discuss the AFP’s child care and paid leave proposals (June 21)
  • Virtual lecture at the London School of Economics on the U.S. economic recovery, the AJP, and the AFP (June 23)
  • Meeting with Sens. Warren, Gillibrand, and Duckworth to discuss the AFP’s child care and paid leave proposals (June 24)
  • Site visit and roundtable with Rep. Katherine Clark at a child care center in Cambridge, Massachusetts (Wednesday)

Key Media

  • New York Times’s Jim Tankersley to discuss the state of the economy, the AFP and the AJP (May 11)
  • White House daily press briefing to discuss the AFP (May 14)
  • MSNBC’s Morning Joe to discuss the state of the economy and the AFP (May 24)
  • MSNBC’s All In with Chris Hayes to discuss the president’s budget and the AFP (May 28)
  • NPR with Scott Horsley to highlight the May jobs report and the AFP (June 4)
  • Financial Times’s James Politi on the U.S. economic recovery, the AJP, and the AFP (June 16)
  • Washington Post Live on AFP, unemployment, and the racial wealth gap (June 17)

Secretary of Health & Human Services Xavier Becerra

Travel and Engagements

  • Meeting with Congressional Hispanic Caucus on AFP (May 20)
  • Anacostia High School visit of vaccination site and roundtable discussion focusing on benefits of AFP for early childhood programs with Education Secretary Miguel Cardona (June 16)
  • Visit to the Office of Refugee Resettlement, the Donna Facility, and a licensed bed shelter in Donna, Texas (June 17)
  • Visit to Little School House Learning Center to amplify AFP (June 17)
  • Visit to Martha’s Table to highlight AFP (June 30)
  • Illinois visit to highlight AFP (Tuesday)

Key Media

  • MSNBC Katy Tur interview highlighting AFP (May 5)
  • CBS Radio hit highlighting AFP (May 5)
  • CNN New Day interview highlighting AFP and the Affordable Care Act (May 10)
  • Facebook Live event with AARP CEO Jo Ann Jenkins highlighting ARP and AFP (June 7)

Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack

Travel and Engagements

  • Visit to Hawkins Homestead Farm with Rep. Elissa Slotkin in Mason, Michigan (June 10)
  • Roundtable at Michigan State University in Lansing, Michigan, with Sen. Debbie Stabenow and Rep. Elissa Slotkin on climate smart agriculture (June 10)
  • Roundtable with farmers on AFP in Amelia County, Virginia, with Rep. Abigail Spanberger (June 17)
  • Event on AFP and nutrition in Albuquerque, New Mexico (Tuesday)

Key Media

  • Coalitions media interviews highlighting AFP with American Ag Network, Agritalk, and USDA Radio (April 30)
  • Press availabilities in Michigan during a visit highlighting AFP (June 10)
  • CNN interview with Isabel Rosales on AFP and child nutrition (June 17)
  • Meeting with Association of Health Care Journalists at Rural Health Journalism Workshop (June 21)
  • Local TV interviews on AFP’s in Grand Rapids, Michigan; Cheyenne, Wyoming; Casper, Wyoming; Sioux City, Iowa; Des Moines, Iowa; Rochester, Minnesota; Raleigh, Georgia; Kearney, Nebraska; Omaha, Nebraska; Lincoln, Nebraska; Wichita, Kansas; and Billings, Montana

Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen

Travel and Engagements

  • Briefing with the House Women’s Caucus on AFP and economic recovery (May 10)
  • Briefing with the New Democrats Coalition on AFP and economic recovery (May 12)
  • Roundtable with black leaders on AFP and economic racial equity with Deputy Secretary Wally Adeyemo (Wednesday)
  • Met with Brian Deese and Speaker Pelosi, Chairman Neal, and Chairman Wyden on the revenue aspects of the American Jobs and Families Plan. Speaker Pelosi also attended.

Key Media

  • Wall Street Journal fireside chat with Gerald Seib on the administration’s economic priorities, including AFP (May 4)
  • Atlantic magazine’s Future Economy Summit interview with Ron Brownstein to discuss the economic recovery and AFP (May 4)
  • White House digital video on how the child tax credit helps families (June 20)

ADDITIONAL CABINET MEMBERS

In addition to the Families Cabinet, additional Cabinet members have been holding events focused on the American Families Plan and amplifying it during media interviews.

Secretary of Labor Marty Walsh

Travel and Engagements

  • Press conference with Sen. Patty Murray on Childcare for Working Families Act and AFP (May 20)
  • Meeting with Congressional Hispanic Caucus on AFP (May 27)
  • Meeting with Democratic Women’s Caucus on priorities to build a stronger care infrastructure and increase women’s employment and economic outcomes through AFP and AJP (June 7)
  • Roundtable with Leader Hoyer highlighting AFP priorities (June 8)
  • Travel with Rep. Colin Allred in Dallas to promote the AFP, including paid leave, at a VA Medical Center, YMCA, and Dallas Chamber on paid leave (June 10)
  • Community college tour and University of Iowa research lab tour (June 17)
  • Events in Des Moines, Iowa, promoting AFP and AJP with Rep. Cindy Axne and Mayor Frank Cownie (June 18)
  • Travel with Vice President Harris to Pittsburgh to hold a roundtable on the child tax credit with labor leaders (June 21)
  • Tour of their Culinary Academy and a meet and greet with Culinary 226 workers in Las Vegas (June 21)

Secretary of Commerce Gina Raimondo

Key Media

  • The 19th interview with Erinn Haines, Sec. Granholm, and Sec. Fudge on the impact of focusing policy on women, including AFP (May 19)
  • ABC News's This Week with George Stephanopoulos underscoring care economy investments and AFP (June 6)
  • Punchbowl News interview addressing care economy provisions and AFP (June 24)
  • Local TV interviews highlighting AFP in Charlotte, North Carolina; Houston; San Francisco; and Los Angeles





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