Presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden is proposing spending $700 billion on American products and research in the hopes of bringing back millions of jobs lost by an economy flattened by the coronavirus pandemic.
The former vice president will formally unveil his plan Thursday during a speech at a metal works factory in Dunmore, Penn. The plan, which also seeks to create 5 million new jobs, is the first of four economic proposals Biden’s expected to roll out over the coming weeks.
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Promoting his proposals on Thursday, Biden tweeted that the nation’s “in the middle of an economic crisis. But it's not enough to just turn things around — we have to build back better. We have to revitalize American manufacturing and make sure the future is made in America — by all of America.”
The American-centric proposals spotlighted by Biden will compete in this year’s White House race with the “America first” agenda long pushed by President Trump, who has emphasized protecting American workers and re-energizing domestic industries in decline while moving away from free trade and a global economy.
The former vice president’s campaign touted that “Biden’s comprehensive manufacturing and innovation strategy will marshal the resources of the federal government in ways that we have not seen since World War II.”
The proposal – which is called the “Build Back Better” plan – was described as an “aggressive” framework by a senior campaign aide who highlighted that “the vice president believes it’s not the time to just build it back the way things were before ... it’s time to imagine and build a new American economy for the next generation.”
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The first part of the proposal is a $400 billion investment by the federal government to purchase such American products as cement, concrete, steel, and other materials to rebuild the nation’s crumbling infrastructure.
The second part is a $300 billion investment in research for new technologies, such as electric vehicles, artificial intelligence, and 5G.
Biden’s plan also calls for new tax breaks and credits for small manufacturers – including those run by minorities and women – and would levy penalties on companies who take federal money and then move their investments overseas. The campaign says that Biden will also push federal investments toward overlooked parts of the country that have not received government help.
The former vice president is also expected to take a firm tone towards China, with what a senior campaign officials said would be “aggressive trade enforcement actions.”
Biden’s proposals appear to be an acknowledgment of the success Trump has pushed with his “America First” agenda. His success in winning the 2016 presidential election was in part due to his promises of bringing back American jobs and re-inflating flagging industries, and as president, Trump’s waged a trade war with China and slapped tariffs on other nations, including longtime allies.
Trump re-election campaign manager Brad Parscale – taking aim at Biden’s past support for free trade deals – tweeted that “Biden voted for [North American Free Trade Agreement], then spent decades defending it while 850,000 Americans lost their jobs.”