The federal government would spend $400 billion on manufacturing during the next four years and $300 billion on research and development during the same period under an economic plan former Vice President Joe Biden unveiled Thursday.
His goal is to create 5 million jobs beyond the restoration of millions lost this year during the COVID-19 pandemic.
But Biden, the presumptive Democratic nominee to challenge President Donald Trump in November, hasn’t said how much of the spending would represent continuous costs or how he would pay for them.
The manufacturing plan is part of a broader economic agenda called “Build Back Better,” which Biden will continue to explain in the coming weeks and deals with infrastructure and clean energy, care-giving and the workforce, and racial equity.
“Everyone will be cut in on the deal this time, as we rebuild the middle class,” Biden said after touring McGregor Industries, which fabricates and installs metal components for buildings, in Dunmore, Pennsylvania. “When the federal government spends taxpayers’ money, we should use it to buy American products and support American jobs.”
Vice President Mike Pence was also campaigned in the battleground state of Pennsylvania on Thursday, holding a roundtable about reopening the country at Rajant Corp., a wireless technology manufacturer, in Malvern.
“Biden clearly aims to rise to the enormity of this crisis under Donald Trump,” Green said. “He’s pushing his own limits on what’s possible, going bigger and bigger, and it’s smart that he consults people like Elizabeth Warren when developing big solutions in this crisis moment.”
Biden argues Trump has surrendered on curbing coronavirus and failed in negotiations with China. But Trump’s campaign contends he’s dealt sternly with China through tariffs and spurred growth with a major tax cut. Trump has argued that Biden would lose stock market gains and raise taxes.
Trump’s campaign launched an ad Thursday blasting Biden’s record of supporting “disastrous trade deals” such as the North American Free Trade Agreement, which the ad says killed 850,000 jobs, and preferable trade terms with China.
“Joe Biden has admitted himself that he’s no expert on international trade and his support for catastrophic trade deals proves it,” said Tim Murtaugh, a campaign spokesman. “Over 47 years in Washington, he has shown repeatedly how dangerous and foolish he is, destroying millions of American jobs.”
Biden said the Trump administration doubled the rate of offshore federal contracting during its first 18 months. As an example, he cited the Defense Department spending $3 billion on foreign construction contracts during 2018 at the expense of American steel companies and nearly $300 million on foreign engines and vehicles rather than buying them from domestic companies.
“It’s time to reverse the priorities in this country,” Biden said.
His manufacturing and innovation proposal aims to marshal U.S. resources in what the campaign called the largest domestic investment in procurement and research and development since World War II. The plan rests on six pillars:
Democratic officials and activists praised the plan as a blueprint for the country.
The head of the Congressional Black Caucus, Rep. Karen Bass, D-Calif., said Biden demonstrated leadership the country and world need in uncertain times.
“He understands that as millions go without jobs, we cannot afford to resurrect an economy that wasn’t working for many of our communities in the first place,” Bass said.
Hilda Solis, a former secretary of Labor, said Biden’s support for union jobs would help workers find good-paying jobs.
“As president, Biden will continue to make clear who the economy is built for – not corporations, not the lobbyists, but the American worker,” Solis said.