Without spending, U.S. risks losing its edge -Biden

BIDEN: "We risk losing our edge as a nation. To support these investments is to create a rising America. To oppose these investments is to be complicit in America's decline."

U.S. President Joe Biden on Tuesday made a pitch in Michigan, rallying support for his social spending package as Democratic lawmakers in Washington wrangled over the price tag.

Biden told workers at an International Union of Operating Engineers training facility that his plan would help modernize America and benefit the middle class.

"These bills are about competitiveness, versus complacency. They're about opportunity versus decay. They're about leading the world or continuing to let the world pass us by, which is literally happening."

Squabbling Democratic moderates and progressives dealt Biden a major setback last week when they failed to move ahead with his proposed $1 trillion infrastructure bill or the planned $3.5 trillion social spending bill, which is now facing cuts.

Rebuilding infrastructure was one of Biden's key election promises, while the larger "Build Back Better" bill includes childcare, healthcare benefits, free community college tuition and clean energy subsidies - all paid for by increased taxes on the wealthy and corporations.

But at $3.5 trillion dollars, some moderate Democrats say the plan is too big and should be scaled back.

Progressives say they won’t vote for the smaller infrastructure bill until a deal is struck on the bigger, more ambitious bill.

Biden argued the investments were urgent. "Our competitors aren't hanging around waiting to see what we're going to do," he said.

Before leaving Washington, Biden met virtually with moderate Democratic members of the House of Representatives about the infrastructure bill and his Build Back Better agenda - a meeting the White House described as "productive."

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