Biden isn’t president yet, but the soon-to-be commander-in-chief is emphasizing the need to invest in American-made clean energy and infrastructure.
There’s still about two months to go before Joe Biden is sworn in as the new president, but the former V.P. and longtime Senator isn’t wasting any time advocating for his “Build Back Better” plan to rebuild the nation’s struggling economy.
And boosting the American industry, including by buying American-made products, remains at the center of it.
“We can make sure our future is made here in America,” Biden said in a speech given in his home state of Delaware on Monday. “And that’s good for business, and that’s good for American workers.”
Biden outlined his multi-pronged approach to rebuilding the economy over the long-term, which includes significant investments in clean energy (like building 550,000 new electric vehicle charging stations) and infrastructure (from roads, bridges and ports to schools, high-speed broadband, digital infrastructure, and even affordable housing).
Investments will also specifically target communities of color, Biden added, which often do not see as many gains during boom times, are hit the first and hardest during economic downturns, and take the longest to recover.
“These are the kinds of investments that are going to strengthen our economy and competitiveness and create millions of jobs, union jobs, and in doing so, respect the dignity of work and empower the voice of workers,” Biden said.
Biden’s remarks came after he met with a group of business and labor leaders on a virtual call, including General Motors CEO Mary Barra and Target chairman and chief executive Brian Cornell, along with leaders of unions like the AFL-CIO, UFCW, and SEIU.
Although the group represented an eclectic mix of organizations, Biden noted that there was agreement about the need to work together to rebuild the economy. He noted that he told the business leaders that he is “a union guy” and is committed to supporting organized labor.
They responded positively, Biden said – adding that they also appeared on board with efforts to increase manufacturing in the United States.
“From autos to our stockpiles, we are going to buy America,” Biden said. “No government contract will be given to companies that don’t make their products in America.”
Moody’s estimated that Biden’s overall economic plan, which includes health care investments, could create up to 18.7 million new jobs. A recent Economic Policy Institute report found that a similar plan that includes both clean energy and infrastructure investments, coupled with rebalancing trade, could create up to 12.9 million new jobs.
But even the most optimistic experts admit that none of this can happen until COVID-19 is mitigated.
There is some good news on that front, given the recent announcements that tests of vaccines from Pfizer and Moderna produced effective results. But any vaccine is likely to take several months to deploy, and the ongoing spread of COVID-19 means the country is likely to face a deadly winter.
And when it comes to the economy, tens of millions of Americans are still out of work and countless businesses have closed or are in danger of closing.
Americans need help now, Biden said. He urged Congress – and President Trump – to pass a COVID relief package to provide immediate relief, specifically pointing to the Heroes Act, which was passed by the Democratic-controlled House in May.
Biden specifically took aim at President Trump, saying that “the idea that the president is still playing golf and not doing anything about it is beyond my comprehension.”
He also called on Senate Republicans to get to work on a deal to provide relief.
“There ought to be at least a dozen of them that have the courage to stand up and save lives and jobs, now,” Biden said. “We should be doing it now.”