Mayor Lori Lightfoot greeted President Joe Biden upon his arrival in Chicago on Wednesday, holding a quick conversation with him on tarmac that was expected to be on gun violence.
The Chicago mayor told local reporters ahead of the president’s trip she planned to ask him to send in more federal aid to Chicago to combat ongoing gun violence.
The July 4th weekend saw the deadliest and most violent weekend this year in Chicago, more than 100 people were shot and 19 of them killed. Among the wounded were at least 13 children and two Chicago police supervisors.
Through July 4, the Chicago Sun-Times reported, 2,019 people have been shot in Chicago this year, an increase of almost 13 percent compared to the year before.
On Wednesday morning, ahead of Biden’s visit, a Chicago police officer and two federal agents working undercover were shot and wounded while driving onto an expressway on their way to an undisclosed assignment.
Two of the officers are agents from the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF), and one is a Chicago officer, Chicago Police Superintendent David Brown said. Their injuries were not considered life-threatening.
Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot greets President Joe Biden upon his arrival to her city
Mayor Lori Lightfoot told local reporters ahead of President Biden’s trip she was going to press him for federal funds to combat gun violence
Officers work the scene where a young girl was shot in the leg on July 4; the holiday weekend saw more than 100 people shot and 19 killed in Chicago
The two ATF agents and Chicago cop were shot on an onramp to Interstate 57 as they worked undercover in the early hours of Wednesday morning
Biden’s focus on his daylong trip is on his plan for free childcare and the education component of his ‘human’ infrastructure package that he will push to pass Congress without Republican votes.
The president visited McHenry County College in Crystal Lake, a community college with a workforce development program and a child care center similar to the programs he wants to pass as part of his American Families Plan.
The sales pitch is part of the president’s larger economic agenda that includes around $4 trillion in traditional infrastructure spending along with his investments in social programs such as free community college, green projects and expanded paid family medical leave.
The administration is negotiating a nearly $1 trillion bipartisan infrastructure bill – which focuses on traditional infrastructure projects – with senators that would need Republican support to pass.
Biden is looking to pass a second bill – focused on social programs – through the Senate via a process called reconciliation, which would allow Democrats to get it approved without a single Republican vote and bypass the 60-vote threshold needed to advance legislation.
Liberals, however, are stacking that measure with more than $6 trillion in spending to expand social programs that benefit working Americans and the poor. Moderate Democrats like Senator Joe Manchin of West Virginia have expressed their concern at the ballooning costs.
Republicans oppose the measure, which is financed by tax increases on the wealthy.
Biden has made clear he would like both measures to pass but he said one is not dependent upon another.
In his remarks during the trip, Biden will discuss his plans for child care and workforce development programs, two years of free community college, universal prekindergarten and paid family and medical leave.
‘As the president presses for the bipartisan infrastructure framework, he’s also pressing ahead on a dual track for the full breadth and scope of the Build Back Better agenda, which includes his critical climate priorities and the American Families Plan,’ White House press secretary Jen Psaki said Tuesday when previewing his trip.
Congressional Democrats are hoping to move on both bills in the halls of Capitol Hill this month but the legislative language on the two measures is still being worked out.
President Joe Biden speaks to a child as he tours a children’s learning center at McHenry County College; he was in Illinois to push his ‘human’ infrastructure plan
President Biden speaks to a little girl during his tour
Biden’s trip took place in a district held by Democratic Rep. Lauren Underwood.
The district is a key swing district that will help determine which party controls the House of Representatives after next year’s midterm election.
Biden won Illinois in the 2020 presidential election but Donald Trump carried McHenry county, where Biden will visit on Wednesday.
But Psaki argued it was not a political trip, saying President Biden ‘ran as someone who would represent, not just Democrats, not just Republicans, not just independents, but all people so I would see this as less of a political trip, more of as an opportunity to speak to all Americans.’