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Covid US: Joe Biden to promote $1.9tn relief plan at CNN town hall

Joe Biden goes on the road to make his case for $1.9 trillion COVID relief bill for the first time with flight to Milwaukee for CNN town hall

  • President Joe Biden makes his first official trip outside of Washington D.C.
  • He heads to Milwaukee, Wisconsin, for a CNN town hall to promote his $1.9 trillion COVID relief plan 
  • The last round of stimulus passed by Congress is set to expire on March 14 
  • Biden’s focus is on the Midwest this week – he also goes to Michigan Thursday 
  • Town hall begins at 9 p.m. ET and is scheduled to run an hour 
  • It will be first time Biden hears from voters since becoming president 

President Joe Biden makes his first official trip outside of Washington D.C. on Tuesday when he heads to Milwaukee for a CNN town hall to tout his domestic agenda.

His focus will be on promoting his $1.9 trillion COVID relief plan, which is making its way through Congress. Republicans oppose its high cost while Democrats argue the massive amount of aid is necessary to combat the economic price of the pandemic.  

Biden’s focus is on the Midwest this week, to states that make up the critical ‘blue wall’ of blue-collar voters who handed Biden the White House.

In addition to Wisconsin on Tuesday, he’ll visit Michigan on Thursday, where he’ll tour a Pfizer manufacturing facility producing the COVID-19 vaccine.

Donald Trump carried both states in 2016 but Biden won them back for Democrats in 2020 – albeit by small margins. He’ll need both states again in 2024.

President Joe Biden makes his first official trip outside of Washington D.C. on Tuesday when he heads to Milwaukee for a CNN town hall to tout his $1.9 trillion COVID relief plan

Biden is pushing for expanded relief for Americans - above people visit a food bank in Los Angeles

Biden is pushing for expanded relief for Americans – above people visit a food bank in Los Angeles

Milwaukee also has additional symbolism for Biden. It was to be the host city for the Democratic National Convention, where Biden would be crowned the party’s presidential nominee, until COVID-19 caused it to be canceled in exchange for a smaller event in Wilmington. 

Tuesday’s town hall, moderated by CNN’s Anderson Cooper, will be socially distanced. Biden will take questions from a small, invitation-only audience of Democrats, Republicans and independents.

It begins at 9 p.m. ET at the Pabst Theater and is scheduled to run an hour.  

It will be the first time Biden hears from voters since he took the oath of office. 

Due to the COVID pandemic he has confined himself to the White House. He’s traveled to his home in Wilmington and to Camp David but Tuesday marks his first major trip as president.

The last round of stimulus passed by Congress is set to expire on March 14 - above volunteers distribute meals at a Food bank in New York City

The last round of stimulus passed by Congress is set to expire on March 14 – above volunteers distribute meals at a Food bank in New York City

Mark Preston, CNN’s vice president of political special event programming, told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel that CNN approached the Biden team after the election to see if the president would want to discuss his agenda. 

Preston said the White House was interested in doing an event in the Midwest and mentioned several cities, including Milwaukee. 

Biden is pushing his plan outside of Washington against a ticking clock. The last round of stimulus passed by Congress is set to expire on March 14. 

The president is working to wrangle bipartisan support. On Friday, he held a meeting with Republican and Democratic mayors and governors in the Oval Office.

Democratic Senator Chris Coons, a close Biden ally, said Sunday that Democrats in Congress could pass the legislation without Republican help if necessary.

‘If a month from now as unemployment checks are on the verge of stopping for ten million Americans, we can proceed with a Democrat-only bill. President Biden is uniting the American people, he’s moving forward with relief that has the support of three-quarters of the American people,’ Coons said on ABC’s ‘This Week.’

But Cedric Richmond, a White House senior adviser, said the administration is working to get Republican support for its plan.

‘We are still working every day to see if we can get Republican support for the plan. What we won’t do is slow down and not meet the needs of the American people by waiting,’ he told CNN on Monday. 

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