Former Vice President Joe Biden issued President Donald Trump a scathing rebuke Thursday on the incumbent’s key focus, the economy, and cast him as a divisive and incompetent leader while announcing the first mayor step of his economic recovery plan.
Biden accused Trump of abandoning working-class Americans as he presented details of a comprehensive agenda in which he proposed spending $700 billion on American products and research in the hopes of bringing back the millions of jobs lost to the coronavirus pandemic.
The democratic nominee unveiled the populist plan during a speech at a metal works factory in Dunmore, Pennsylvania, just minutes from his childhood home of Scranton.
Biden touted the New Deal-like economic agenda, called the ‘Build Back Better’ plan, as the most aggressive government investment in the economy since World War II.
‘Let’s use this opportunity to take bold investments in American industry and innovation, so the future is made in America, all in America,’ Biden said. ‘When the federal government spends taxpayers’ money, we should use it to buy American products and support American jobs.’
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Former Vice President Joe Biden issued President Donald Trump a scathing rebuke Thursday on the incumbent’s key focus, the economy, and cast him as a divisive and incompetent leader while announcing the first major step of his economic recovery plan
Biden accused Trump of abandoning working-class Americans as he presented details of a comprehensive agenda in which he proposed spending $700 billion on American products and research in the hopes of bringing back the millions of jobs lost to the coronavirus pandemic
In his homecoming speech, Biden also accused Trump of blatantly ignoring the severity of the coronavirus pandemic, and ongoing climate crises, while encouraging division amid a national reckoning with systemic racism.
‘His failures come with a terrible human cost and a deep economic toll,’ Biden said during his 30-minute address. ‘Time and again, working families are paying the price for this administration’s incompetence.
‘Donald Trump may believe that pitting Americans against Americans will benefit him. I don’t,’ Biden continued, added that Trump has demonstrated a serious inability to manage the mounting crises that have engulfed his presidency in the buildup to November’s election.
‘We have a health crisis, an economic crisis, a racial justice crisis, a climate crisis. We need to come together to solve these crises, to solve them as Americans. This is our moment to imagine and to build a new American economy for our families and for our communities,’ he said.
Biden’s shift to the economy meets Trump on turf the Republican president had seen as his strength before the pandemic severely curtailed consumer activity and drove unemployment to near-Great Depression levels.
Now, Biden and his aides believe the issue is an all-encompassing opening that gives Democrats avenues to attack Trump on multiple fronts while explaining their own governing vision for the country.
The former vice president began Thursday with proposals intended to reinvigorate the US manufacturing and technology sectors.
Biden called for a $400 billion, four-year increase in government purchasing of U.S.-based goods and services, plus $300 billion in new research and development in U.S. technology firms. He proposed tightening current ‘Buy American’ laws that are intended to benefit US firms but that government agencies can circumvent.
Biden called for a $400 billion, four-year increase in government purchasing of U.S.-based goods and services, plus $300 billion in new research and development in U.S. technology firms
Biden touted the New Deal-like economic agenda, called the ‘Build Back Better’ plan, as the most aggressive government investment in the economy since World War II
The procurement overhaul is based on ideas Biden has discussed with his former presidential rival, Sen. Elizabeth Warren, who offered similar proposals during the Democratic primary. Those moves would create 5 million new jobs, Biden said.
He also emphasized previous pledges to establish a $15-per-hour minimum wage, strengthen workers’ collective bargaining rights and repeal Republican-backed tax breaks for U.S. corporations that move jobs overseas. And his campaign pledged that those investments in domestic markets would come before Biden entered negotiations for any new international trade agreements.
His opening emphasis on manufacturing and labor policy is no coincidence: Biden wants to capitalize on his union ties and win back working-class white voters who fueled Trump’s upset win four years ago. He noted his middle-class upbringing and alluded to Trump’s childhood as the son of a multimillionaire real estate developer.
‘If I am fortunate enough to be elected president, I’ll be laser-focused on working families, the middle-class families I came from here in Scranton, not the wealthy investor class. They don’t need me. But working families do,’ Biden said. ‘We must reward work as much as we rewarded wealth, but now we just reward excessive wealth.’
‘I do not buy for one second that the vitality of American manufacturing is a thing of the past. I had an uncle who said, “Joey, you’re labor from belt buckle to shoe sole.” Well I’ve taken pride in that,’ Biden said.
Biden will continue presenting his energy and infrastructure plan to combat the climate crisis, as well as a third package focused on making child care and elder care more affordable and less of an impediment to working-age Americans.
The energy and infrastructure proposals, some of which Biden has detailed already, are likely to carry the largest price tag as the former vice president attempts to use the federal purse to spur economic growth.
‘It’s not sufficient to build back. We have to build back better,’ Biden said, promising he’d ‘ensure all Americans are in on the deal.’
Democratic presidential candidate and former Vice President Joe Biden takes a knee outside his boyhood home while on the campaign trail in the Green Ridge section of Scranton, PA
Biden’s shift to the economy meets Trump on turf the Republican president had seen as his strength before the pandemic severely curtailed consumer activity and drove unemployment to near-Great Depression levels
Vice President Mike Pence on Thursday was also in Pennsylvania, where he cast Biden as a threat to the economy. Pence touted job gains before the pandemic and said Trump is now leading a ‘great American comeback’ He said the company where Biden spoke received federal pandemic aid that Trump signed into law.
President Trump himself accused Biden of being ‘brainwashed’ by the ‘radical left’ in an interview with FOX News.
‘Joe is just, look let’s face it, he’s been taken over by the radical left. He has no clue what they’re doing,’ Trump said. ‘They brainwashed him, he doesn’t know where he is, he doesn’t know what he’s doing and our country will suffer. Our stock markets will crash, bad things will happen.’
However, Biden’s agenda carries at least some rhetorical echoes of Trump’s ‘America First’ philosophy, but the former vice president’s aides describe his approach as more coherent. They cast Trump’s imposition of tariffs and uneven trade negotiations as a slapdash isolationism compromised further by tax policies that enrich multinational corporations.
The Biden campaign also pointed to an uptick in foreign procurement and continued outsourcing of jobs by US-based corporations during Trump’s presidency, before taking aim at promises the incumbent made on the 2016 trail.
‘Donald Trump loves to talk and talk and talk, but after three and a half years of big promises, what do the American people have to show for all the talk?’ Biden asked.
‘He promised to bring back jobs and manufacturing. It was in recession even before COVID-19. He promised to buy American, then he let federal contractors double the rate of offshoring jobs in his first 18 months. I’m going to change that,’ he continued.
Biden blasted what he described as the Trump administration’s ‘incompetence’ in dealing with the coronavirus pandemic, arguing that Trump has ‘simply given up’ the fight against stopping it, and is instead solely focused on the fortunes of the stock market because of the emphasis it had on his re-election chances.
‘When it comes to COVID-19, after months of doing nothing, other than predicting the virus would disappear or maybe, if you drank bleach, you may be okay, Trump has simply given up,’ Biden said.
‘The truth is throughout this crisis, Donald Trump has been almost singularly focused on the stock market, the Dow and NASDAQ. Not you. Not your families,’ he added.
Biden’s agenda carries at least some rhetorical echoes of Trump’s ‘America First’ philosophy, but the former vice president’s aides describe his approach as more coherent. They cast Trump’s imposition of tariffs and uneven trade negotiations as a slapdash isolationism compromised further by tax policies that enrich multinational corporations
Still, as with Pence’s remarks Thursday, Republicans have made clear they’ll attack Biden on trade and the economy, framing him as a tool of the far left on taxes and a willing participant in decades of trade policy that gutted American workers. Trump also has lampooned Biden as ‘weak on China.’
On trade, at least, it’s a line of attack Biden withstood from the Democratic primary runner-up, Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders. But it’s one Trump used effectively against Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton in 2016.
As a senator, Biden voted for the North American Free Trade Agreement in 1994. One of Trump’s signature achievements is an overhaul of NAFTA, which he accomplished with backing from many Democrats on Capitol Hill.
Since the 1990s, Biden has advocated tighter controls in trade deals, and he’s promised to involve organized labor and environmental activists.
The campaign’s policy outline emphasizes that Biden wants a resurgence in US markets before engaging in new trade agreements abroad. That includes the Trans-Pacific Partnership that Biden advocated when he was President Barack Obama’s vice president.
Trump opposed the TPP as a 2016 candidate. Neither China nor the United States is a TPP member.
Trump and Biden have called out China for unfair trade practices, but Biden accuses Trump of instigating a trade war with Beijing that he cannot win.
For now, Biden has not said how he’d pay for the proposed new spending for manufacturing and technology. Revenue from repealing GOP tax cuts on corporations and the wealthiest Americans, Biden says, would cover his proposed annual spending, including expanded health insurance access.
But his aides have indicated that he’s willing to use deficit spending for one-time or short-term investments he sees as stimulus to combat the pandemic recession.