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Biden previews his winter COVID plan: saying no shutdowns or lockdowns

President Joe Biden on Tuesday said he’ll reveal later this week his strategy to fight off COVID and its new variant Omicron this winter but indicated it won’t be ‘shutdowns and lockdowns.’

‘On Thursday, I’ll put forward a detailed strategy outline and how we’re gonna fight this COVID this winter, not with shutdowns and lockdowns – with more widespread vaccination, boosters, testing and much more,’ he said during a stop in Minnesota to tout his congressional agenda.

Biden didn’t expand on what the ‘much more’ is but he said on Monday he didn’t believe additional mitigation measures were needed to combat Omicron, which the World Health Organization said is highly transmissible and a ‘variant of concern.’

On Thursday Biden is scheduled to visit the National Institute of Health in Bethesda, Md.   

He has pushed for people to get fully vaccinated and to get their booster shot to be protected against Omicron and suggested people were masks while indoors in crowded conditions. 

President Joe Biden said he’ll reveal later Thursday his strategy to fight off COVID and its new variant Omicron this winter

President Biden visited the Dakota County Technical College in Rosemount, Minn., to tout his infrastructure law and push his Build Back Better plan

President Biden visited the Dakota County Technical College in Rosemount, Minn., to tout his infrastructure law and push his Build Back Better plan

Scientists say it will take two weeks to truly work out how effective jabs are against Omicron, which has twice as many mutations on its spike protein as Delta. 

The strain is expected to make current vaccines significantly weaker at preventing infections, but it’s less clear how it will impact hospitalizations and deaths.  

Biden was in Minnesota to tout his infrastructure law and push the Senate to pass his Build Back Better plan. 

His trip came while uncertainty over the Omicron strain of COVID grows. 

Biden visited the Dakota County Technical College to highlight how his $1 trillion infrastructure law will create jobs and help train workers. 

He spoke to students learning technical skills and told them: ‘I used to drive a tractor-trailer.’

It’s the start of a nationwide tour by his administration to promote his bipartisan victory. Biden, Vice President Kamala Harris, Cabinet members and senior administration officials will travel across the country to tout how the infrastructure plan will benefit Americans. Harris and Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg will be in North Carolina on Thursday.

‘Over the next several weeks, I’m going to be traveling all over the country. And so will Vice President Harris and my Cabinet and folks throughout this administration, to show how these investments are going to change your lives,’ Biden said during a speech. 

The president said the investments are necessary to improve the nation’s aging infrastructure and to compete with China abroad.

‘No more talking. Time for action,’ he said to applause.

The trip comes as inflation is on the rise and the stock market tanked on concerns about the Omicron variant, which scientists are still studying. The Dow was down 656 points and the Nasdaq composite was down 1.8%.

The president also pushed for passage of a his $1.75-trillion Build Back Better plan, which needs approval from the Senate after passing the House before Thanksgiving.   

Biden had pushed to include two years of free community college in the massive package of social safety net programs, but that funding was cut in a compromise with moderate Democrats concerned about the overall price tag. 

Democrats want pass Biden’s social spending package before Christmas. 

‘Before we hit Christmas Day, it is my goal to have the Senate take action to debate and pass President Biden’s Build Back Better legislation,’ Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer said on the Senate floor Tuesday.

President Biden talks to students and instructors at Dakota County Technical College

President Biden talks to students and instructors at Dakota County Technical College

Biden's visit is the start of a nation-wide tour for administration officials on infrastructure

Biden’s visit is the start of a nation-wide tour for administration officials on infrastructure

Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz greets President Joe Biden as he arrives at Minneapolis-Saint Paul International Airport

Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz greets President Joe Biden as he arrives at Minneapolis-Saint Paul International Airport

Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey, left, and Sen. Amy Klobuchar were among those greeting Biden

Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey, left, and Sen. Amy Klobuchar were among those greeting Biden

President Biden on Tuesday left for Minnesota to tout his infrastructure law and push for the Senate to pass his Build Back Better bill

President Biden on Tuesday left for Minnesota to tout his infrastructure law and push for the Senate to pass his Build Back Better bill

The $1.7 trillion spending package can only pass with Democratic votes in the Senate but moderate Sen. Joe Manchin continues to raise concerns about its cost.

‘I heard an awful lot over the Thanksgiving break that prices were high and people were very much upset about that and concerned about: Is inflation going to get worse?’ Manchin said on Monday.

Biden’s Build Back Better bill still includes $5 billion for community colleges to expand workforce training programs in partnership with employers, unions, public systems and community bodies, with $5 billion for large-scale training for jobs in high-demand sectors such as clean energy, manufacturing, education and caregiving.

Under the infrastructure law, Minnesota will receive $4.5 billion in federal aid to rebuild highways, about $302 million for bridges, and $818 million to improve public infrastructure, the White House said.

The state will also see $100 million to expand access to high speed internet, according to the White House, and $68 million to expand electric vehicle charging stations. 

Biden won Minnesota in last year’s presidential election with 52.6% of the vote. He’s visiting the state’s second congressional district, a vulnerable seat held by Democrats heading into next year’s midterm election. 

Ahead of his travel, Biden signed four bills that support veterans. The president, surrounded by groups of Republican and Democratic lawmakers, signed four bipartisan bills into law that are aimed at helping veterans and military families by addressing disparities in benefits, creating recruiting programs, reducing education costs for surviving families and addressing mental health.

‘We only have one truly sacred obligation in my view and that is to care for those we sent into harm’s way, care for their families when they’re gone, and care for them and their families when they’re home,’ Biden said.

‘That’s a lifetime commitment, a lifetime commitment the nation owes to every one of our veterans,’ he added. 

President Joe Biden on Tuesday signed four bills into law that support veterans

President Joe Biden on Tuesday signed four bills into law that support veterans


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