Obama throws lifeline to Biden's imperiled agenda, calls $3 trillion plans a 'giant leap forward'


President Biden’s frantic bid to pass his “Build Back Better” agenda got a boost from his old boss, Barack Obama, who hailed the sweeping package Thursday as a “giant leap forward” that builds on initiatives he championed during his two terms.

The former president leaped into the fray as Mr. Biden implored House Democrats to rally around two of his top domestic priorities, a $1.2 trillion bipartisan infrastructure deal and a broader $1.75 trillion social welfare and climate bill, even if it doesn’t contain everything liberals wanted.

“In a country as large and diverse as ours, progress can often feel frustrating and slow, with small victories accompanied by frequent setbacks. But once in a while, it’s still possible to take a giant leap forward,” Mr. Obama said. “That’s what the Build Back Better framework represents.”

Mr. Obama highlighted goodies in the bill, including childcare, universal pre-school and clean energy programs, as well as an expansion of the Affordable Care Act that he pushed through Congress with Mr. Biden as vice president in 2010.

Like Mr. Biden, the ex-president said the bills fall short of everything Democrats and the White House desired.

“But that’s the nature of progress in a democracy,” Mr. Obama said. “The good news is that it represents the best chance we’ve had in years to build on the progress we made during my administration and address some of the most urgent challenges of our time.”

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