During the presidential campaign, Mr. Biden spoke about “rebuilding the nation’s backbone,” a phrase that sometimes contained the promise to provide significant help to the people at the end of the economic ladder.
“Ending poverty is not just a goal, but a way to build a new economy,” he said in 2019 when campaigning for the democratic nomination. In the Oval Office, Mr. Biden hung a picture of President Franklin D. Roosevelt and cited the Depression-era president in his private conversations with lawmakers.
The plight of the middle class has enlivened Mr. Biden for a long time. He lamented their fate when he ran for president in 1988 during the Reagan era, and was often a lone voice for the same constituency when he was vice president when he was de facto President Barack Obama’s organized labor liaison.
To that end, Mr Biden has also highlighted the parts of the relief package that are designed to make life easier for the middle class workers and voters he has always courted.
“A typical middle-class family of four – husband and wife who make $ 100,000 a year with two kids – is paying $ 5,600 and it will be on its way soon,” Biden told reporters on Saturday.
But right now his way forward is clear. Although Mr Biden listened politely last month when a group of Senate Republicans visited the Oval Office and asked him to come to a smaller compromise deal on the aid package, he stuck to the ambitious proposal by the Democrats. In his first major tenure as president, Mr Biden used the pandemic to accomplish some of the left’s longstanding goals.
California representative Pete Aguilar, member of the Democratic leadership, announced at a press conference Tuesday that the relief bill “is the boldest action taken on behalf of the American people since the Great Depression.” And New York Representative Hakeem Jeffries, the fourth-tier House Democrat, praised the president.
“Joe Biden knew we had to make it big at a moment like this,” he said.