By MOLLY NAGLE and JOHN VERHOVEK, ABC News
(WASHINGTON) — Former Vice President Joe Biden will outline one portion of his new economic policy to help the country rebound and grow the economy following the impacts of COVID-19 in a speech in Dunmore, Pennsylvania on Thursday.
His remarks will focus on a domestic manufacturing and innovation strategy that the campaign says will create five million new jobs, in addition to the jobs lost due to the coronavirus pandemic.
“The Biden plan to ensure the future is ‘made in all of America’ by all of America’s workers” will look to counter steps taken by President Donald Trump in office, including the Trump tax cuts, which the campaign argues has led to an increase in foreign investments over domestic investments, and Trump’s highly touted trade agreement with China.
“This is no time to just build back to the way things were before, with the economy’s same old structural weaknesses and inequality still in place. This, [Biden] believes, is the moment to imagine and build a new American economy for our families and next generation,” a senior campaign official said of the policy launch, which will take place near Biden’s hometown of Scranton, Pennsylvania.
The campaign says a “Buy American” aspect of the new plan is based on the premise that “when we spend taxpayer money, we should buy American products and support American jobs,” and is meant to be a comprehensive “manufacturing and innovation strategy [that] will marshall the resources of the federal government in ways that we have not seen since World War II.”
The plan, the campaign says, is not just a response to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, which has decimated parts of the American economy, but is also a broader roadmap to a more equitable economy.
The manufacturing aspect of the plan includes a $400 billion “procurement investment” that, together with the former vice president’s clean energy and infrastructure plan, will “power new demand for American products, materials and services and ensure that they are shipped on U.S.-flagged cargo carriers,” according to the Biden campaign.
The procurement portion of Biden’s policy is designed to support small businesses, particularly those owned by people of color and women, according to the policy release, and will also require businesses receiving funds from the investment to commit to a $15 minimum wage, paid leave and the guaranteed option to join a union.
Biden will also seek to work with allies to “modernize international trade rules and associated domestic regulations regarding government procurement,” according to the policy proposal.
Biden is also proposing an additional $300 billion in research and development spending on “breakthrough technologies,” like electric vehicles, lightweight materials, 5G and artificial intelligence. A portion of the proposed investment will also go directly to federal funding for research through entities like the National Institute of Health.
The campaign did not give specific guidance on how the $700 Billion policy will be paid for, but said that recurring costs of the plan over 10 years would be paid in full, with a payment plan that will be rolled out with other portions of the larger policy. However, it left open the possibility of additional one-time stimulus investments that may not be covered in the proposed plan.
The campaign argues that the current economic situation calls for a “robust jobs agenda,” that will off-set the precipitous decrease in demand and growth caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Today’s elevated unemployment will mean lower demand, which will mean lower growth for our economy (which relies on consumption). A robust jobs agenda will increase demand,” the campaign argued, saying broad investments now are necessary to improve both the long and short-term health of the economy.
Biden’s pivot to the economy, which has entered a recession spurred by the coronavirus crisis, comes as recent polling still shows Trump with a slight advantage over his Democratic rival when it comes to voters’ attitudes on the topic. In a Quinnipiac University poll conducted in mid-June, Trump retained a five-point advantage over Biden when voters were asked who would do a better job handling the economy.
Biden’s remarks in Pennsylvania on Thursday will mark his fifth trip to the critical swing state since the COVID-19 pandemic largely brought in-person campaigning to a halt, and will mark Biden’s first trip near his hometown of Scranton since October 2019.
In addition to the specific pillar Biden will lay out, the campaign also previewed the other three pillars that together make up the “Build Back Better” plan, which includes mobilization plans across a number of different policy areas, including infrastructure, technological innovation, a “caregiving and education workforce” and racial equality that will be announced in the coming weeks.
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