President Joe Biden will travel to the Kansas City area on Wednesday, according to White House officials, in a visit that comes as he continues to promote his new infrastructure law and build support for a federal social spending proposal. The White House did not immediately announce the exact location of the visit — Biden’s first to the metro area as president.
He was last in Kansas City in March 2020 as he campaigned for the Democratic presidential nomination. Kansas City — a Democratic-leaning metro area sandwiched between two conservative states — is represented in Congress by Emanuel Cleaver on the Missouri side and Sharice Davids on the Kansas side. Both Democrats have been vocal supporters of the infrastructure law, along with Kansas City Mayor Quinton Lucas, who attended the White House bill signing ceremony last month.
President Joe Biden to visit Kansas City next week as he promotes infrastructure law
Biden’s trip, which will tout the infrastructure law, may provide a political boost to all three officials. Kansas is expected to receive $3.2 billion in federal funding for broadband internet, clean water and roadway repairs. Missouri is expected to receive $7.9 billion from the law.
“We are excited to welcome President Biden to Kansas City this week, as we share how the President’s infrastructure program will help rebuild our roads, bridges, and sewers, expand our transit system, enhance our environment, and will create more good-paying jobs for Missourians,”
Davids likely faces a competitive re-election fight next year against Republican businesswoman Amanda Adkins, a rematch of the 2020 race. Davids was the only member of Kansas’s congressional delegation to vote for the infrastructure package and she has held multiple events and issued several statements touting the bipartisan law.
As recently as Friday, Davids was drawing attention to an announcement by the Environmental Protection Agency that Kansas would receive more than $79 million under the bill to improve water and wastewater systems.
Cleaver has a strong grip on his district, but some Missouri Republicans have discussed whether the General Assembly could redraw the boundaries of his congressional district to make it more competitive.
Biden’s infrastructure law hands Democrats in tough races a policy victory to campaign on in next year’s midterm elections. Biden’s party currently holds a slim majority of seats in the House and the Senate and any losses threaten Democratic control.
Incumbent legislators in competitive congressional contests across the country often perform poorly in midterm elections when they are from the same political party as the president. Biden is hoping to turn the trend around, against historical odds and political headwinds, including the continued spread of COVID-19 and frustration over inflation.
The trip marks the first presidential visit to Kansas City since former President Donald Trump spoke at a law enforcement conference in December 2018. Barack Obama visited the Kansas City area several times during his presidency.
Biden’s wife, Jill, has already been to the Kansas City area twice as first lady, visiting a college vaccination clinic in May in Kansas City and an early childhood education center in Kansas City, Kansas, in October.
The world is becoming more dangerous under Joe Biden
Russia poses the most immediate threat: It has mobilized nearly 100,000 troops at the Ukrainian-Russian border and appears poised to invade Ukraine. Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov claimed NATO’s “military infrastructure is being irresponsibly brought closer to Russia’s border,” and new weapons in Europe might trigger a “nightmare scenario of a military confrontation.”
Secretary of State Antony Blinken charged that Moscow’s plans “include efforts to destabilize” the country “from within, as well as large-scale military operations.” Such an attack could have ramifications well beyond that region.
China, meanwhile, has stepped up its harassment of Taiwan, repeatedly sending military aircraft into its airspace and hinting that it might soon look to reclaim the island territory by force. It just tested a hypersonic missile that surprised even the Pentagon. And it’s sending satellites into space at twice the rate of the United States.
On that last front, both China and Russia have been routinely striking US satellites with lasers, radio-frequency jammers and cyberattacks — maneuvers that could be interpreted as “acts of war,” Space Force General David Thompson says.
There’s potential trouble elsewhere, too: Iran seems unlikely to agree to any deal that doesn’t improve on the Obama-era pact, which paved the way for Tehran to acquire nuclear weapons and paid it billions to boot. Meanwhile, it’s moving steadily toward nuclear capability, a prospect that undoubtedly raises the chances for war in the region.
What’s prompting such international boldness? Well, it might be no coincidence that it comes after Biden’s botched bugout from Afghanistan was broadly seen as a sign of gross incompetence and weakness. And his handling of other matters, too, domestically and internationally, has backfired (think: inflation, the southern border) so spectacularly that our enemies may see him as vulnerable.
Nor has Team Biden responded with convincing force to any of the numerous provocations and belligerent acts by China and Russia. Just the opposite: Even as Russia preps for a possible invasion of Ukraine, for instance, the White House is trying to derail congressional legislation that could halt work on the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline from Russia to Germany, an invaluable asset for Moscow. It’s also trying to water down legislation to restrict Chinese imports made with Uighur slave labor.
Biden & Co. may think tough responses will escalate into conflict. He may be rudely awakened to learn that weak ones can lead to the same thing.