WASHINGTON — With his domestic agenda in danger, President Joe Biden canceled his Wednesday Chicago visit to remain in the White House to negotiate with Democratic lawmakers who have disagreements within their own ranks.
In Chicago, Biden was going to highlight his mandate for all companies with more than 100 workers to get the COVID-19 vaccine. According to Politico’s West Wing Playbook, Biden was going to visit Clayco, a construction company owned by a major Democratic fundraiser, Bob Clark. Clark is close to former President Barack Obama and fundraised for Biden’s 2020 campaign.
Biden was also going to salute United Airlines, also headquartered in Chicago, for its mandatory vaccine program.
A White House official said Biden’s event would have been at a construction site in northwest suburban Elk Grove Village.
Biden’s cancellation came late afternoon Tuesday, just a few hours after White House officials were still planning for the Chicago visit.
A White House official said, “In meetings and calls over the weekend and through today, President Biden has been engaging with members of Congress on the path forward for the Build Back Better Act and the Bipartisan Infrastructure Deal. He will now remain at the White House tomorrow to continue working on advancing these two pieces of legislation to create jobs, grow the economy, and make investments in families, rather than failed giveaways to the rich and big corporations.
“There will be more to come on his engagement over the next couple of days, and the trip to Chicago to discuss the ongoing importance of getting people vaccinated will be rescheduled.”
Shortly before the decision to cancel, White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki said at the briefing, Biden “is going to Chicago because he wants to lift up and communicate not to just people of Chicago, but the people of the country about the effectiveness of vaccine mandates — how they can work for businesses, how they can make workplaces safer, and how they can be constructive to our economy.
“This is a place where we’ve identified some options to do exactly that, so that’s why he’s headed to Chicago tomorrow.”
Democrats are in disagreement over the size of a $3.5 trillion package stuffed with almost every Biden domestic policy initiative — holding hostage, in a sense a $1 trillion infrastructure package for which there is broad agreement.