The stakes for the intra-party negotiations are enormous, as the White House seeks to maintain a delicate balance between a bipartisan push on infrastructure that includes key moderate lawmakers and the second, more expansive effort on education, child-care and paid leave, viewed as essential by progressive Democrats.
“As the President presses for the Bipartisan Infrastructure Framework, his commitment to championing the full breadth and scope of the American Families Plan remains unwavering,” Evan Ryan, the White House Cabinet secretary, wrote In a memo to White House senior advisor Anita Dunn obtained by CNN.
Over the course of the next week, Health and Human Services Secretary Xavier Becerra, Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack and Council of Economic Advisers Chair Cecilia Rouse, all members of Biden’s “Families Cabinet” will headline events on the proposal.
Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen and Education Secretary Miguel Cardona have played key roles over the last several weeks in both publicly highlighting key priorities in the plan, but also working behind closed doors to brief key Democratic lawmakers.
In all, the group has held dozens of public events, media appearances and closed-door briefings as the White House sought to lay the groundwork for the negotiations to come, according to the memo. When lawmakers return to Washington after the July 4 recess, those negotiations will kick into high gear — and the Cabinet officials are expected to pick up their pace.
“The Families Cabinet has been on the road underscoring the need for these investments, and they will continue to do so as the President sees this plan through,” Ryan wrote.
Biden split his Cabinet officials into two groups to push for the two pieces of his overall agenda, and some, like Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg and Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo, served as key behind the scenes players to clinch the agreement on the bipartisan infrastructure framework reached last month.