Joe Biden made a little slip in his Pittsburgh address when it came to Pennsylvania politics:
Congressman Conor Lamb and John Fetterman, lieutenant governor of Pennsylvania, are among the Democratic frontrunners in the senate race.
Even though his Pittsburgh trip began with a disaster of a bridge collapse, this address in the home state of Joe Biden was overall always going to be positive: there have been 367,000 manufacturing jobs created since Biden took office, something sure to go over well in a manufacturing town like Pittsburgh.
And with the bridge collapse, Biden could hammer home the importance of the $1tn bipartisan infrastructure law, which has been one of the biggest achievements of his legislative agenda yet.
“Right here in Pittsburgh, the future is being built on this city’s storied past,” Biden said. “We know what happens when we stop investing in places like Pittsburgh.”
It’s a bit of a homecoming for Joe Biden in Pittsburgh, who grew up not far away in Scranton, Pennsylvania. The lack of fatalities and life-threatening injuries from the earlier bridge collapse has given him the opportunity to have some fun, and he’s taken on a jovial tone, joking with the crowd about the renamed “Joe Biden Way” expressway.
“I’m coming home,” Biden said. “I’m coming home.”
Biden: It’s ‘about time’ we upgrade and maintain our bridges
Joe Biden began his remarks in Pittsburgh by addressing the bridge collapse that took place earlier that day, noting that it had been rated in poor condition for more than 10 years. He pointed out that in Pennsylvania alone, there are “3,300 bridges here in Pennsylvania – some of which are just as old and in just as decrepit condition as that bridge was, including in Pittsburgh, the city of bridges.”
“Across the country there are 45,000 bridges in poor condition,” Biden said. “That is simply just unacceptable. That is why your governor, your members of Congress and your mayor has been saying for years.
He continued: “I’ve talked about it every time I’ve come to Pittsburgh, and we finally got it done: a bipartisan infrastructure law, including the largest investment in our nation’s bridges since Eisenhower put together the interstate highway system.”
Joe Biden was originally scheduled to begin delivering his remarks on the economy and the $1tn bipartisan infrastructure law at Carnegie Mellon University about an hour ago, but his Pittsburgh trip has been upended after bridge collapsed just hours before his arrival.
He made a trip to visit the collapsed bridge, which officials said had been in need of repair for some time. Under the new infrastructure law, Pennsylvania has $1.63bn of federal funds specifically earmarked for bridge improvements.
The Guardian’s Jonathan Freedland and Julian Borger discuss Joe Biden’s strategy when it comes to potential war with Russia over Ukraine, as well as some potentially good news at home for the president as he gets the chance to nominate a liberal pick to the supreme court:
Biden visits scene of Pittsburgh bridge collapse
Joe Biden visited the site of the collapsed bridge in Pittsburgh on Friday, hours after the structure fell while cars and a bus were traveling along it.
Biden is on a pre-planned trip to Pittsburgh to promote his $1tn infrastructure initiative, which he signed into law in November after it passed through Congress with exceptionally rare bipartisan support.
The president met with first responders and surveyed the empty space where the Forbes Avenue bridge once stood. There were no fatalities.
“If this would have occurred an hour later, this is a road that gets probably about 15,000 cars on it a day, and if it was rush hour, we would be looking at a couple hundred cars down in that valley,” Corey O’Connor, a Pittsburgh city council member, said earlier in the day.
“We got very, very lucky today, and hopefully those individuals at the hospital recover quickly and they’re home safe in the next couple days.”
The $1tn infrastructure bill is designed to inject vastly needed resources into the repair of the country’s roads, railways, drinking water and bridges. Under the scheme, Pennsylvania is earmarked for $1.63bn of federal funds specifically for bridge improvements.
Biden arrives in Pittsburgh to speak on infrastructure hours after bridge collapse
Joe Biden has touched down on the tarmac at an airport on the outskirts of Pittsburgh, as he prepares to promote his infrastructure package hours after an early-morning bridge collapse just a few miles from where he is scheduled to speak.
The president told reporters “we’re going to see the bridge,” after descending the steps from Air Force One.
White House deputy press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre told reporters that the president spoke with Pennsylvania governor Tom Wolf and Pittsburgh Mayor Ed Gainey before taking off and offered federal support.
“Our team remains in touch with state and local officials on the ground on updates and any additional assistance we can provide,” she said.
Congressman Pat Fallon, a Republican from Texas, has introduced a joint resolution to implement term limits for Congress.
Biden administration meeting with banks to discuss possible Russia sanctions
Bloomberg is reporting that the Biden administration has been meeting with the the country’s largest banks on possible sanctions against Russia.
As tensions continue to rise at the Ukraine border, members of the national security council and other senior administration officials spoke with executives from banks including Citigroup, Bank of America, JPMorgan Chase & Co and Goldman Sachs Group.
One focus of the discussions has been on a package that would include targeting Moscow’s ability to convert currency. Officials have also been voicing concerns about triggering a possible repeat of 2018, when sanctions against Russia disrupted the global supply chain for aluminum and sent prices for the metal soaring 30%.