A long roster of governors who have swarmed Washington this week for their annual winter meeting are set to gather at the White House on Friday, giving President Joe Biden a chance to get the temperature on how he’s being perceived around the country ahead of a potential 2024 bid.
Biden’s gatherings with the bipartisan group of governors follows his recent State of the Union address, where he delivered an optimistic perception of the nation despite vocal opposition from some Republicans in the room. His speech – which focused heavily on core domestic issues and took sharp aim at GOP proposals – has been widely viewed as a test run for his potential reelection announcement.
Since Tuesday’s prime-time remarks in the House chamber, Biden has taken his policies on the road – most recently traveling to Tampa, Florida, to contrast his approach to social safety net policies with GOP efforts to cut Medicare and Social Security.
The White House has said Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris will use Friday’s East Room meeting with the governors to hear directly “about the impact of the Biden-Harris Administration’s economic agenda on states across the country.” States have received massive amounts of federal funding to follow through with some of the major Biden policies enacted since the president took office.
“They will discuss opportunities for states to continue to invest in infrastructure, manufacturing, workforce development, and lowering costs for working families, among other key priorities,” according to the White House.
On Saturday, Biden, Harris and their spouses will also attend a black tie dinner at the White House with the governors.
A White House official told News84Media that “all 55 governors from every state and territory were invited to the National Governors Association’s Winter Meeting, to the business meeting at the White House, and to the dinner for governors at the White House on Saturday.”
“We are expecting attendance from bipartisan governors, from Alaska to Wyoming and from Utah to Guam,” the official added.
Ahead of in-person meetings, the White House highlighted a recent statement from the National Governors Association that called on Congress “to increase or suspend the debt limit as soon as possible.” Hardline Republicans have argued that lifting the borrowing cap be tied to spending reductions, and the NGA’s statement is in line with Biden’s repeated call on Congress to come to consensus on the matter.
“Failure on the part of the Treasury Department to meet its federal obligations would create significant uncertainty and risk to American citizens, government services, and global financial markets,” the statement from the NGA, which represents all 55 of the nation’s governors, continued.
The US hit the debt ceiling in January, forcing the federal government to take extraordinary measures to keep the government paying its bills. The federal government faces the possibility of a catastrophic default later this summer if Congress cannot come to an agreement to raise the debt ceiling.
Last year, a bipartisan group of governors used their time in Washington to bend Biden’s ear on easing Covid-19 restrictions.
And this year, amid poll numbers suggesting Americans want a new Democrat to be the 2024 presidential nominee, nearly a dozen Democratic governors are using their platform in Washington to express their support for a second Biden term.
New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy told reporters on Thursday that Biden’s State of the Union address and Republicans’ reactions – from repeated heckling in the chamber to Arkansas Gov. Sarah Huckabee Sanders’ response – showed a clear contrast between the parties.
“Between the crazy behavior from that right-wing group of folks who heckled him, (and) his statesman-like, substantive … remarks, and then the reply, which was all about culture wars? This guy is running and he’s got to get reelected and we’re all behind him,” Murphy, who leads the Democratic Governors Association, said alongside 10 other Democratic governors.
Their vocal support for Biden follows a recent Washington Post-ABC News poll that found 6 in 10 Democratic and Democratic leaning independents say they’d like the party to nominate someone other than Biden.
Biden recently reiterated in a PBS NewsHour interview this week that he intends to run for reelection, but has not made that decision yet.