Biden holds 1st Cabinet meeting the day after proposing sweeping infrastructure plan

MOLLY NAGLE
·2 min read

President Joe Biden was holding his first Cabinet meeting Thursday afternoon at the White House, one day after announcing his massive infrastructure plan, which was expected to be a major topic of conversation for the first in-person session.

PHOTO: President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris meet with cabinet members and immigration advisors in the State Dining Room, March 24, 2021, in Washington, DC. (Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)
PHOTO: President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris meet with cabinet members and immigration advisors in the State Dining Room, March 24, 2021, in Washington, DC. (Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

The 25 people in the meeting included the 15 confirmed head of departments, plus Shalanda Young, the acting director of the Office of Management and Budget, since Biden’s initial choice for the role, Neera Tanden, withdrew her nomination due to opposition in the Senate.

MORE: President Joe Biden's top-level appointees and Cabinet picks

Vice President Kamala Harris and White House chief of staff Ron Klain, both members of the Cabinet, were also in attendance, along with some other senior White House staff, according to the White House.

MORE: Votes on Neera Tanden nomination to OMB postponed amid bipartisan opposition

The meeting looked different than previous ones due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Instead of taking place in the Cabinet Room, the traditional venue, the group gathered in the East Room to abide by public health guidelines and allow for social distancing, a White House official said.

PHOTO: Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg speaks at a news conference to announce the expansion of commuter rail in Virginia at the Amtrak and Virginia Railway Express (VRE) Alexandria Station, March 30, 2021, in Alexandria, Va. (Andrew Harnik/AP)
PHOTO: Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg speaks at a news conference to announce the expansion of commuter rail in Virginia at the Amtrak and Virginia Railway Express (VRE) Alexandria Station, March 30, 2021, in Alexandria, Va. (Andrew Harnik/AP)

The gathering was timed to follow Biden’s launch of the first portion of his new infrastructure plan, a multi-trillion-dollar proposal aimed at traditional infrastructure projects to repair roads, rails and bridges, but which also includes billions to expand broadband internet access, community-based care for elderly Americans and investments in clean energy.

MORE: Biden Cabinet picks feature record number of women and women of color

"It's not a plan that tinkers around the edges," Biden said in a speech in Pittsburgh Wednesday. "It's a once-in-a-generation investment in America, unlike anything we've seen or done since we built the interstate highway system and the space race decades ago. In fact, it's the largest American jobs investment since World War II."

MORE: Key Democrat Duckworth withdraws threat to oppose non-diverse Biden nominees

The meeting was expected to focus on not only infrastructure but the continued implementation and communication on Biden’s $1.9 trillion COVID relief bill, as well as to outline the role many Cabinet members will play on infrastructure, according to a White House official.

Biden holds 1st Cabinet meeting the day after proposing sweeping infrastructure plan originally appeared on abcnews.go.com