WASHINGTON — President Joe Biden celebrated his 100th day in office Thursday at a drive-in car rally in Georgia, kicking off the White House’s “Getting America Back on Track” tour to build support for his roughly $4 trillion of investments in the economy and social safety net programs.
In his first address to Congress on Wednesday night, Biden announced his American Families Plan, a roughly $1.8 trillion package that includes universal preschool, two years of free community college and expanded access to child care. It is the second phase of Biden’s two-part push to boost the economy, following the $2 trillion American Jobs Plan, which he announced last month.
Biden’s visit to Georgia also underscored the electoral importance of the state, which narrowly swung for him in the presidential race and elected two Democratic senators in January, Raphael Warnock and Jon Ossoff, giving Democrats narrow control of the Senate. Without their votes in the Senate, Biden noted, his $1.9 trillion American Rescue Plan would not have passed.
“You know how precious and precarious the right to vote is,” Biden said, nodding to the efforts by President Donald Trump to overturn the election results in Georgia and the more recent efforts by Republican legislators to restrict voting access.
“Your vote changed the world,” he said. “But instead of celebrating that, it’s being attacked.”
Biden’s trip marked the start of what the administration is calling the Getting America Back on Track tour, which White House press secretary Jen Psaki said was designed to “take the case directly to the American people about the vital need for action on the Jobs Plan and the Families Plan.”
Biden will travel to Philadelphia on Friday and Yorktown, Virginia, on Monday. Vice President Kamala Harris was in Baltimore on Thursday, with plans to visit Cincinnati on Friday and Milwaukee on Tuesday. Her husband, Doug Emhoff, will go to Raleigh, North Carolina, on Friday, and members of Biden’s Cabinet are also expected to travel in the coming days.
In Georgia, Biden highlighted his economic proposals to invest in historically Black colleges and universities, child care and his plans to reduce child poverty while making the case for raising taxes on the richest Americans to fund his agenda.
“It’s about time the very wealthy and corporations start paying their fair share,” he said.
Biden’s remarks were briefly interrupted by protesters chanting “end detention now” and “abolish ICE,” appearing to refer to border facilities where unaccompanied migrant children seeking asylum are being housed. “Our families are dying,” a protester shouted.
Biden responded to one of the shouted comments: “I agree with you. I’m working on it.”
Biden had planned to host a drive-in rally in Georgia last month to promote his coronavirus relief package, but he canceled the event after a gunman killed eight people — six of whom were women of Asian descent — in a series of spa shootings in the Atlanta area. Biden visited Atlanta as scheduled, but he shifted the focus to gun violence and the rise in violence against Asian Americans.
Biden applauded the Senate for passing legislation last week targeting anti-Asian hate crimes after a rise in incidents during the Covid-19 pandemic. “Don’t tell me we can’t make progress,” he said.
Biden and first lady Jill Biden also met privately with former President Jimmy Carter, 96, and his wife, Rosalynn, 93, while in Georgia. The Carters were unable to attend Biden’s inauguration in January because of the pandemic.
“It was great,” Biden said later about spending time with the former president. “We sat and talked about the old days.”