Biden’s Illinois visit brings mixed reactions

In his first visit to Illinois since being inaugurated, President Joe Biden pitched a national infrastructure plan that goes beyond roads and bridges.

A downstate Republican congresswoman said the president focused on the wrong issue.

Biden’s speech in Crystal Lake, northwest of Chicago and located in the only suburban county to carry Donald Trump in the 2020 election, focused on his agenda for increased spending on what he called “human infrastructure.”

Some of the policies he laid out in his American Families Plan and American Jobs Plan include increasing taxes on businesses, increasing revenue from inheritance taxes, providing tax credits for businesses to pay for child care settings and other policies he said will pay for expanded child care, more years of taxpayer-funded education and investments in green infrastructure.

He didn’t discuss the increased violence seen in Chicago this past year, including more than 100 people shot and 17 killed over the Independence Day holiday weekend.

Before Biden’s speech aboard Air Force One, White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki said the administration is sending billions of dollars to Illinois, and the city is working with other jurisdictions on “evidence-based, community-based” strategies, including a gun-trafficking strike force “to help interpret gun-trafficking corridors that send crime into Chicago from across the city and state lines.”

U.S. Rep. Mary Miller, R-Oakland, said that misses the mark.

“They want to go after gun owners, how ridiculous, gun owners downstate instead of laying responsibility on the feet of the people that have implemented policies that empower criminals,” Miller said.

Biden’s visit is the third in a week to a congressional district that had a competitive election last year.

U.S. Rep. Lauren Underwood, D-Naperville, said Biden’s visit to her district brought her joy.

“I felt joy,” Underwood said in a statement. “I felt so proud of our community. We are back together, and we are coming back stronger than ever before.”

She said she’s ready to pass Biden’s agenda.

“We have important work ahead: we need the American Jobs Plan and the American Families Plan to create a brighter economic future for all Americans,” she said.

Miller said Illinois is a bellwether for the rest of the country.

“Illinois has everything to be successful and it is Democrat policies that are taking us down the tube,” Miller said. “We’re number one in all of the categories, whether it’s crime, our debt, the credit rating, those are all the result of the Democrats’ progressive policies.”

Miller also warned Illinois’ policies providing various benefits regardless of immigration status will attract the growing number of people crossing the border illegally under the Biden administration.

“People in Illinois, because we’re a sanctuary state, should be especially concerned,” Miller said. “The criminals will want to make their way up to Illinois because they’ll be favored if they commit crimes. They can get driver’s licenses and belly up to taxpayers paying for everything.”

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