A range of Democratic committees and organizations are gearing up to defend President Joe Biden’s agenda with what they hope will be a cohesive message during Congress’ August recess, a sign of how critical Biden’s popularity is to the party’s success in 2022 and beyond.
The pro-Biden outside group, Building Back Together, is leading the way with a $2 million ad campaign touting the infrastructure bill that recently passed the Senate, organization aides tell CNN. The campaign is part of a broader, $10 million summer buy aimed at boosting the Biden agenda.
The ads will run in four states with Democratic incumbent senators up for reelection in 2022 – Georgia, Arizona, Nevada and New Hampshire – and two states Biden won in 2020 that are expected to have competitive Senate races in 2022: Pennsylvania and Wisconsin.
The ads – which will run in large media markets like Atlanta, Phoenix, Las Vegas, Milwaukee and Philadelphia – herald the infrastructure plan as a “bipartisan breakthrough” and tout the way that Democratic senators worked with Republicans to get the legislation passed.
“Making progress in Washington isn’t easy, but President Biden and Senators Warnock and Ossoff got it done for Georgia,” a narrator says in the Georgia version of the ad. The ads in Arizona, New Hampshire and Nevada all mention both the state’s Democratic senators, too.
The ads in Pennsylvania, where there is an open Senate seat in 2022, and Wisconsin – where it is unclear whether Republican Sen. Ron Johnson will run for reelection – are broader and primarily tout Biden.
“Right now, the American people want to see their leaders in Washington work together and take action to create jobs and rebuild what’s broken in their communities – from roads and bridges to water lines,” said Danielle Melfi, executive director of Building Back Together. “That’s what President Biden and a group of bipartisan Senators have delivered with the Bipartisan Infrastructure Deal.”
After months of intense bipartisan talks, the Senate passed a $1.2 trillion infrastructure package on Tuesday with a wide 69-30 bipartisan majority. The bill features $550 billion in new federal spending over five years and invests $110 billion in roads, bridges and major projects; $66 billion in passenger and freight rail; $65 billion to rebuild the electric grid; $65 billion to expand broadband internet access; $39 billion to modernize and expand transit systems; and $7.5 billion to build a national network of charging infrastructure for electric vehicles.
The package also makes good on Biden’s promise to work across the aisle, a campaign pledge the former vice president made throughout his 2020 run. Democrats are hopeful that bipartisanship, and the idea of lowering the partisan heat in Washington, could be a winning message in the critical 2022 midterms.
Melfi and Building Back Together are hoping to protect the popularity of the Biden agenda by helping coordinate a range of Democratic organizations during the August recess. The group said the collection of organizations plan to spend $100 million in advertising and host over 1,000 events while members of Congress are home.
These events include a Paid Leave for All bus tour, an ice cream truck event in Arizona touting the Child Tax Credit and a concert hosted by a range of progressive groups in Philadelphia.
Official Democratic committees, like the Democratic National Committee, have also launched efforts to tout the Biden agenda.
The Democratic committee is launching a “Build Back Better” bus tour, with the first event kicking off on Thursday with an event in Virginia with former Democratic Gov. Terry McAuliffe, who is running for governor again. The bus, which will be wrapped in pro-Biden messaging, will then head across the country.
All of this is an attempt to arm Democrats with coherent, pro-Biden messaging as they head home to face voters for the first prolonged recess since Biden took office in January. The concerted effort is a lesson learned from Democrats’ attempts to sell Obamacare during the same recess in 2009, a push that did not work out for Democrats, as Republicans used anti-Obamacare sentiment to sweep into a House majority in 2010.
“This August, Democrats across the country will make sure that voters know that the ‘D’ in Democrat stands for ‘deliver’ by highlighting the contrast between the parties on three central areas — all of which are helping Americans get back to work and back on their feet after the pandemic,” the three major Democratic committees – the Democratic National Committee, Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee and Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee – said in a messaging memo ahead of the recess.