Biden Praises Local Leaders, Touts Record at NLC Gathering

President Highlights Infrastructure Projects, Climate Change Priorities
Joe Biden
President Joe Biden speaks at the National League of Cities at the Marriott Marquis on Monday in Washington. (Andrew Harnik/AP)

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WASHINGTON — President Joe Biden was a late addition to the March 11 agenda of an event hosted by the National League of Cities, but he made sure to praise local officials for advancing important projects for their communities while simultaneously touting the infrastructure investments one of his signature bills brought to communities nationwide.

“I learned early on that if you want to get something done locally, send it directly to the local officials,” Biden said of his early political days during a keynote address at the 2024 Congressional City Conference. “You do what matters.”

Biden stressed that he made a point of including former local officials to top posts in his administration, such as Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg, who was the 32nd mayor of South Bend, Ind., and Tom Perez, the president’s senior adviser on intergovernmental affairs, who once served on the Montgomery County Council in Maryland.

The National League of Cities is celebrating its 100th anniversary, which Biden recognized. Remarking about the NLC’s founding in Kansas in 1924, Biden joked, in reference to his age: “I’ve been a strong supporter but I wasn’t at the first meeting.”

The conference attracted more than 3,100 attendees from the nation’s cities, towns and villages. Members of the Washington, D.C.-based NLC represent some 200 million people. Some attendees were unable to get into the room to hear Biden’s address due to heightened security protocols.

Biden repeatedly mentioned his accomplishments in the White House while reinforcing that more work remains as his re-election campaign continues. In particular, Biden mentioned the bipartisan infrastructure law as a hallmark of his time in office. The legislation provides up to $108 billion to support federal public transportation programs.

“I proposed and signed the most significant investment in our nation’s infrastructure in generations — 47,000 new projects announced so far across communities modernizing American roads, bridges, ports, airports, public transport and more, creating jobs now and jobs for the next decade,” Biden said. “I stood with mayors out where you’re rebuilding, the Blatnik Bridge in Wisconsin and Minnesota, a billion-dollar operation, [and] the Brent Spence Bridge in Kentucky and Ohio, [that is] not only changing the economy but generating good jobs, bringing communities back together.”

He also pointed to his environmental directives. “We’re also taking the most significant action to fight climate change ever. I feel pretty passionate about it. I visited many of your towns as we work together to respond, rebuild and increase reliance and resilience. Resilience is the important part. We can’t go back to what it was, we have to build back better,” Biden said.

He also emphasized the need to use American products and workers for federal projects. “We build American, we buy American and we are American,” he added.

Biden in March 2022 addressed the NLC’s Congressional City Conference in Washington.

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