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Biden Releases Economic Plan that Includes Focus on Buying American Products

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Biden Releases Economic Plan that Includes Focus on Buying American Products

2020-07-10 14:01:41

By Laura Tucker, Staff writer; Image: Joe Biden (Image source: Screenshot)

Suffice it to say former Vice President Joe Biden beat Donald Trump to the punch. While the president has struggled to put together an economic plan to bring the devastated economy back, the presumptive Democratic nominee's campaign has swooped in and announced an economic plan to "Buy American" that, in essence, Trump's MAGA followers may have a hard time discounting.

On Thursday, Biden announced his "Buy American" economic plan to spend $700 billion on American products, along with research. This directly competes with Trump's America First" theme of this and his last campaign, leaving the incumbent not much room to fight.

Biden's plan has the federal government spending $400 billion throughout the four-year presidential term on goods and services from the United States and another $300 billion on U.S.-based research and development, a plan that includes electric cars, artificial intelligence, and other technology.

Additionally, his 2020 economic plan calls for a 100-day "Supply chain review" that would require federal agencies to only purchase medical supplies and other products that are manufactured in the United States. He's looking to eliminate the loopholes used by procurement officers and federal contractors to scoot around existing "Buy American" clauses.

"We spend taxpayers' money — when the federal government spends taxpayers' money — we should use it to buy American products and support American jobs," said Biden in his speech delivered at a metal works plant in Dunmore, Pennsylvania, where he has roots.

Trump has been saying since the economy first started to flounder during the pandemic that it would regain momentum when lockdowns are ended. Yet, he hasn't offered his new plan to bring it back yet, leaving some Trump allies frustrated that Biden got to it first, with a similar proposal.

"They are essentially trying to steal the Trump program of 2016 and steal that playbook," said Steve Bannon, Trump's former chief strategist, on his radio show. "For some reason, the White House and the campaign have been caught flat-footed. Biden has very smart people around him, particularly on the economic side."

Biden's plan shows what both parties will surely be focusing on, buying American-made products to boost the economy instead of the focus on globalization and free trade. Biden said his plan would restore jobs that were lost because of the pandemic and create 5 million new ones.

He pointed to a need to protect American workers and Main Street rather than the "wealthy investor class" and "bankers and CEOs." He added that "enough is enough" and said it's"time to reverse the priorities in this country. It's time to help small businesses, middle-class folks, manage their way through the pandemic."

Trump's 2016 campaign was focused on bringing back American jobs but also blaming immigrants, especially those from Mexico and Central America, for taking jobs from American workers. He also embarked on a trade war with China and threw out the prior free trade agreement to build a new one with Mexico and Canada.

Mike Pence was in Pennsylvania as well on Thursday. He was pushing Trump's hold on the economy when talking to business leaders in Malvern near Philadelphia. He said the country has already regained 7 million of the 22 million jobs that were lost.

We see "this country coming back because of the solid foundation that was put in place" by the Trump administration, said Pence. This includes lower taxes, less regulation, more U.S.-produced energy, and better trade agreements. He referred to it as "the great American comeback."

Yet, it's still no rosy picture out there, it wasn't as great before the pandemic as the Trump campaign may be touting. The Washington Post pointed out there were fewer manufacturing workers in Wisconsin this past January than there were at any time under the Bush administration.

While Biden at one time supported NAFTA and the Trans-Pacific Partnership, he's now focusing on American industries, the same as Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) and Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) were doing in their primary campaigns earlier this year. Two people with knowledge of the situation have said Warren's team consulted on this new plan.

Biden hit back at Trump further than the economy, with criticism for his defense of Confederate symbols. He noted the incumbent is "determined to drive us apart to keep his base in place." He also said he plans to unveil more proposals next week on infrastructure and clean energy.

Trump aides are still touting him as the person needed to bring the economy back, as he has done it before. "President Trump's policies of lower taxes, deregulation, reciprocal trade, and energy independence built a booming economy once, and they will do so again under his leadership," said White House spokesman Judd Deere.

White House officials, under Trump adviser Peter Navarro's leadership, have drafted an executive order that will require federal agencies to buy medical supplies and pharmaceuticals produced in the U.S., just as in Biden's plan. 

There were objections by other senior advisers, including Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin and Jared Kushner. They warned it could bring China to limit the supply of PPE it sends to the U.S. The disagreements caused the executive order to be held up.

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