Biden: $700B+ Buy American Campaign 07/09 06:15

Biden: $700B+ Buy American Campaign    07/09 06:15

   Launching an economic pitch expected to anchor his fall presidential 
campaign, Democratic candidate Joe Biden is proposing sweeping new uses of the 
federal government's regulatory and spending power to bolster U.S. 
manufacturing and technology firms.

   (AP) -- Launching an economic pitch expected to anchor his fall presidential 
campaign, Democratic candidate Joe Biden is proposing sweeping new uses of the 
federal government's regulatory and spending power to bolster U.S. 
manufacturing and technology firms.

   Biden calls 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 concerns. Among other policies expected to be 
announced Thursday, he proposes tightening current "Buy American" laws that are 
intended to benefit U.S. firms but can be easily circumvented by government 
agencies.

   An outline released by Biden's campaign also touts his long-standing 
promises to strengthen workers' collective bargaining rights and repeal 
Republican-backed tax breaks for U.S. corporations that move jobs overseas.

   "This will be the largest mobilization of public investments in procurement, 
infrastructure and (research and development) since World War II," senior 
adviser Jake Sullivan told The Associated Press, with the campaign promising 
additionally that Biden would require that effort in domestic markets before 
negotiating any new international trade deals.

   The former vice president will discuss the proposals Thursday at a metal 
works concern in Dunmore, Pennsylvania. It's the first of a series of addresses 
Biden plans as he shifts his line of attack against President Donald Trump to 
the economy. It's political turf the Republican incumbent once considered a 
clear advantage before the coronavirus pandemic curbed consumer activity and 
drove unemployment to near-Depression levels.

   An opening emphasis on manufacturing and labor policy is no coincidence: 
Biden wants to capitalize on his union ties and deliver on oft-made claims he 
can win back working-class voters who fueled Trump's upset win four years ago.

   Biden will continue in coming weeks with an energy plan to combat the 
climate crisis and a third package on what the campaign has dubbed the "caring 
economy," with a focus on making child care and elder care more affordable and 
less of an impediment to working-age Americans. Campaign aides told reporters 
that all of Biden's policies would target immediate recovery from the pandemic 
recession and address systemic inequalities Biden says are "laid bare" by the 
nation's ongoing reckoning with racism.

   "What's going on here, we need to build back, not just to where we were but 
build back better than we've ever been," Biden told the International 
Brotherhood of Electrical Workers on Wednesday. "We're going to take a 
monumental step forward for the prosperity, power, safety and dignity of all 
American workers."

   The Democrat'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 with other nations 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 U.S.-based corporations during Trump's presidency.

   Republicans nonetheless have made clear they will attack Biden on trade and 
the economy, framing the Democratic establishment figure 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 similar line of attack Biden withstood from the 
Democratic primary runner-up, Sen. Bernie Sanders, and one that Trump used 
effectively against Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton in 2016.

   Biden voted for the North American Free Trade Agreement in the Senate in 
1994, an anchor of Trump's criticism and Sanders' attacks before that. 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, including 
during two presidential campaigns, Biden has advocated tighter controls in 
future trade deals, and he's promised to have organized labor and the 
environmental movement at the table.

   The campaign's outline ahead of Thursday emphasizes that Biden wants a 
resurgence in U.S. markets before engaging in new trade deals abroad. That 
includes joining the Trans-Pacific Partnership that Biden advocated when he 
served as President Barack Obama's vice president. Trump opposed TPP as a 2016 
candidate. China is not a TPP member.

   Trump and Biden have called out China for unfair trade practices, but Biden 
accuses Trump of instigating a trade war with a commensurate economic power 
that the president "has no plan" to win.

   Biden's team insisted his approach falls within World Trade Organization 
rules, but aides also acknowledged that a Biden administration would try to 
modify an existing WTO deal, the Government Procurement Agreement, which 
effectively creates a shared open international market for participating 
governments to secure goods and services.

   For now, Biden has not identified how he'd pay for the proposed new 
spending. Aides said he has identified revenue sources for all ongoing spending 
proposals but not for the one-time or short-term investments like the $700 
billion in procurement and research. That raises the possibility that Biden 
could declare that spending to be deliberate deficit spending to stimulate the 
struggling economy.

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