Biden kicks off climate policy road trip in battleground Arizona amid record heat

US President Joe Biden waves as he departs from Delaware Air National Guard Base in New Castle, Delaware, on August 7, 2023, enroute to Joint Base Andrews.

Brendan Smialowski | AFP | Getty Images

WASHINGTON — Buoyed by an economy that is doing far better than the White House expected and a political opponent mired in dozens of indictments, President Joe Biden will hit the road Monday for a rare trip to a state that played a critical role in the 2020 election.

His first stop Tuesday will be in the battleground state of Arizona, underscoring the importance of voters who helped him edge out former President Donald Trump in 2020 by over 10,000 votes for all of the state’s 11 electoral ballots.

“What I’m most excited about is people are starting to feel a sense of optimism as they see the impact of the achievements in their own lives,” Biden said when he last visited Arizona in December. It’s going to accelerate in the months ahead and it’s part of a broad story about the economy we’re building that works for everyone.

Tuesday’s visit is aimed at telling this story and comes on the tail of the hottest month ever recorded, with temperatures in Phoenix reaching 110 degrees for 31 days straight.

The president is expected to discuss climate provisions in the Inflation Reduction Act, the largest response by the federal government to address rising temperatures and increase clean energy projects.

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On Wednesday, Biden visits New Mexico before heading north to Utah on Thursday for the anniversary of the PACT Act, which expanded veterans’ benefits a year ago.

To date, Arizona has received $5 billion in public infrastructure investments since Biden took office; New Mexico has received $3.6 billion and Utah has received $2.5 billion, according to White House data.

The messaging opportunity for Biden comes on the tail of positive economic signals. Last week’s cooling jobs report indicated a soft landing may be on the horizon with Acting Labor Secretary Julie Su telling CNBC, “This is an example of what slow and steady growth looks like.”

Second quarter GDP grew at a 2.4% annualized rate, beating expectations. All three states have unemployment levels at or below the national average of 3.5%.

Biden’s trip is part of a bigger White House push, with senior officials and cabinet members making similar stops across the country.

Vice President Kamala Harris, Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm, EPA Administrator Michael Regan, VA Secretary Denis McDonough and Education Secretary Miguel Cardona will all be on the road from Wyoming to Pennsylvania.

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