President Biden visits New Jersey to push infrastructure bill, education agenda

President Joe Biden continued to push his Infrastructure Deal and Build Back Better Agenda with stops in New Jersey on Monday.

The Commander-in-Chief attended the groundbreaking for the Portal North Bridge, which will replace the Portal Bridge over the Hackensack River between Newark and Penn Station. The current bridge, which opened in 1910, often gets stuck in its open position after allowing vessels to pass underneath. Biden said the bridge was called "state of the art" when it was built.

"Now, it's been called something different: a choke point, a bottleneck, an Achilles heel of the entire Northeast corridor," the president said.

The plan to replace the bridge is part of the larger Gateway project to build a new rail tunnel under the Hudson River and improve related infrastructure in the New York-New Jersey area.

Biden's visit to the Garden State also included stops at an elementary school in North Plainfield and the NJ Transit Meadowlands maintenance complex in Kearny.

The $1 trillion bipartisan infrastructure bill would bring valuable money to the Tri-State Region's transportation network.

Progressive Democrats want to pass both bills in tandem through a process called reconciliation. The final price tag would be less than the $3.5 trillion that was originally announced.

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Democrats and Republicans hope to reach an agreement before Biden leaves for Scotland later this week.

Biden has noted that the country has fallen behind comparable countries when it comes to providing safe infrastructure, early childhood education and other measures that support a strong economy. 

Part of the bills would include Americans getting two years of free preschool plus two years of free community college. Millions of families would be eligible for expanded child care subsidies. And more federal financial aid would be available for low-income college students.

It also includes tax cuts for families with children, increasing workforce training and creating clean energy jobs. 

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Senate Democrats are expected to announce Monday how they plan to pay for the bill which could include a wealth tax.

Biden was last in New Jersey in September when he surveyed the damage in Manville caused by catastrophic flash flooding from the remnants of Hurricane Ida.