President Biden visits Wisconsin in first stop after State of the Union

Hints at vetoing Medicare cuts
President Biden in Madison
Published: Feb. 7, 2023 at 9:52 PM CST|Updated: Feb. 8, 2023 at 2:52 PM CST
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

DEFOREST, Wis. (WBAY) - President Joe Biden is in Wisconsin for his first stop after the State of the Union Address.

The president spoke at the Laborers Union Training Center in DeForest, near Madison on the heels of last night’s State of the Union address. He also talked about issues pertaining to the economy and the job market in Green Bay.

The president put the focus on the economic recovery since Covid-19 and pointed out record job growth and low unemployment. He also encouraged the passage of the PRO Act to make it easier for workers to organize and form unions.

“Fighting for the sake of fighting gets us nowhere,” the president said. “We’re getting things done.”

“My economic plan is about investing in people and places that feel forgotten.”

Article continues below the video

The president's first trip after his State of the Union speech was to Wisconsin, to tout economic successes and plans for the next 2 years

Republican U.S. Senator Ron Johnson (WI) was critical of the president following his visit.

President Biden underscored some successes and spoke specifically about the Port of Green Bay, where an old water plant is turned into a port terminal - which, in his words, “is a big deal”. He said the project will lead to the creation of thousands of jobs over time, adding: “We built more in the last two years since I’ve taken office than you can imagine. We’ve created 12 million new jobs, half a million jobs last month. We’ve created more jobs in two years than any president has created in a single four-year term.”

He went on: ““Inflation has fallen 6 months straight. Inflation is coming down. Take home pay for workers is going up slightly. Manufacturing is rebounding at the fastest rate in almost 40 years. The economy is growing at a sold clip. Folks I hate to disappoint them but the Biden economic plan is working.”

It’s the second year in a row Wisconsin is the first stop for the president after giving his State of the Union address. You might remember last year he went to the University of Wisconsin-Superior, attempting to hype support for the infrastructure bill, pointing to the nearby Blatnik Memorial Bridge linking Minnesota to Wisconsin.

President Biden took on a few other topics, including a moment where he doubled down on what he said the evening before - that some Republicans would like to see Social Security and Medicare fade away, which led to a lot of booing by Republicans. He vigorously held against that: ““They sure don’t like our calling them out on it. Look a lot of Republicans their dream is to cut social security Medicare. Well let me just say this. It’s your dream but with my veto pen I’m going to make it a nightmare.”

They say independent voters aren’t buying the president’s message - and they maintain that inflation and the rising cost of items like eggs in grocery stores remain huge problems.

“One thing you see consistently in the polling with the president is that people get it. He’s trying to talk them into something that’s not there, but they have felt it on gas prices, on natural gas prices, at the grocery store. Try to go buy a dozen eggs these days,” Wisconsin GOP State Chair Brian Schimming said, adding: “So now when the president comes in with all his polling numbers upside down, there’s not a good story to tell there. He’s asking people not to believe what they see at the convenience store, at the grocery store, in their day to day bills. And people aren’t buying it. I mean just the everyday staples of people’s lives, all the prices are up. The people know it. Joe Biden either doesn’t know it or he’s willing to mislead people about it. So I’m happy to have him come here and as far as I’m concerned, the more the president talks the better it is for us.”

State Democrats point the finger right back at Republicans and the policies of former President Donald Trump.

“If you look at what was happening in the U.S. economy when Joe Biden became president, it was in freefall. There were so many people out of work with the COVID pandemic, and under President Biden most folks got their vaccinations and then we’ve got these tremendous investments in public support in supporting the creation of opportunities,” Democratic Party of Wisconsin Chair Ben Wikler said.

Unlike the previous two years, President Biden is now dealing with a the House on Capitol Hill being controlled by the opposing party and pushing his agenda is more of a challenge. Whether compromise is possible remains to be seen, but the president is determined to try, as he laid out: ““Last night I said if we couldn’t work together last Congress, there’s no reason we can’t get things done this Congress. You know people sent us a clear message. Fighting for the sake of fighting gets us nowhere. We’re getting things done.”

Brian Schimming countered: ““Look this guy ran as somebody who was going to be a moderate. He said he was going to reach across the aisle and work with Republicans. He’s done none of that on issue after issue after issue. This president has been a failure because he hasn’t reached out and tried to be the moderate he said he was going to be.”

Governor Evers and Congressman Mark Pocan (D-Madison) spoke before the president. Joe Biden is off to Florida tomorrow, which is also expected to be a battleground state in the 2024 election.