President Biden on Tuesday seemed to appropriate a line from the musical “Annie” as he faces bleak prospects for his $3.5 trillion bill to raise taxes and create new social programs.
“The sun’s gonna come out tomorrow,” Biden said when asked on the White House lawn — on his way to visit storm-flooded New York City and New Jersey — how he would get fellow Democrats to agree to the bill.
The 1977 Broadway hit featured the showstopper “Tomorrow” with the title character Little Orphan Annie reflecting optimistically about her life despite Great Depression conditions in New York City.
Biden gave the sunny assessment as he departed for a trip to parts of New Jersey and Queens to tour flooding damage from Tropical Storm Ida, which drowned dozens.
The president is flying to JFK airport. He will then visit Manville, NJ, in the early afternoon before finishing his trip with a walking tour and remarks around 4 p.m. in Queens.
The sprawling $3.5 trillion bill faces difficult prospects in DC as Congress returns from a summer break.
House Democrats still need to pass a more narrow $1.2 trillion bipartisan infrastructure bill that already passed the Senate. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and more left-wing House members have sought to use that bill as leverage to force centrists into backing the larger bill, which can pass without any Republican support using special budget reconciliation rules.
Centrists including Sens. Joe Manchin (D-WVa.) and Kyrsten Sinema (D-Ariz.) have voiced skepticism about the $3.5 trillion bill that would finance new social safety net programs such as free preschool and subsidized child care and home health care.
Biden can’t afford to lose a single Democratic vote in the Senate for the reconciliation bill and only a handful of House defectors could kill the infrastructure bill.