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Biden Counters Trump’s ‘America First’ With ‘Build Back Better’ Economic Plan

Presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden, seen here at a campaign event in June, is scheduled to give a speech in Dunmore, Pa., Thursday to outline his economic policy.
Presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden, seen here at a campaign event in June, is scheduled to give a speech in Dunmore, Pa., Thursday to outline his economic policy.
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Former Vice President Joe Biden, the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee, plans to lay out a key plank of his economic vision for the country — dubbed “Build Back Better” — in a Thursday speech, offering a competing version of economic nationalism that President Trump has trumpeted in recent years.

Biden’s campaign says his vision begins with “further immediate relief” to families, small businesses and communities struggling amid the coronavirus pandemic.

Beyond that, the proposal Biden will detail Thursday in Dunmore, Pa., centers around remaking “American manufacturing and innovation so that the future is made in America by all of America’s workers,” according to a fact sheet from the campaign.

The “Buy American” agenda includes an injection of $400 billion in procurement investment to “power new demand for American products, materials, and services” and $300 billion in research and development, including for electrical vehicle technologies and artificial intelligence, to boost “high-value manufacturing” jobs in the country. The campaign calls the plan the “largest mobilization of public investments in procurement, infrastructure and R&D since WWII.”

In addition to bringing back the millions of jobs lost this year as a result of the pandemic, Biden’s campaign posits the new plan will help create 5 million new jobs.

Senior campaign officials previewed Biden’s economic proposals in a call to reporters Wednesday, saying the “aggressive” plan is not just a response to Trump’s “mismanagement” of the coronavirus crisis.

“Even before COVID-19, the Trump administration was pursuing economic policies that rewarded wealth over work, and corporations over working families,” a senior Biden official said.

Earlier this week, Biden spoke about the need to onshore more American goods — especially vital medical equipment and pharmaceuticals — for the U.S. to deal with future crises without relying on goods from China or elsewhere.

That’s an issue Trump has also stressed, with his “America First” economic and trade policies.

Trump’s reelection campaign on Thursday launched a new television ad blasting what the campaign called “Biden’s dangerous and foolish record of supporting disastrous trade deals, resulting in the destruction of millions of American jobs.”

The Biden campaign says his plan will also tackle structural economic inequalities.

“Vice President Biden truly believes that this is no time to just build back to the way things were before, with the economy’s same old structural weaknesses and inequalities still in place,” a senior Biden official said. “This, he believes, is the moment to imagine and build a new American economy for our families and next generation, an economy where every American enjoys a fair return for their work and an equal chance to get ahead.”

Thursday’s speech is the first in a series of planned rollouts in the lead-up to the Democratic National Convention in August. Biden subsequently will address other planks of his economic plan, including infrastructure, child care and racial inequality.

On Wednesday, Biden’s “unity task forces” with Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont released a 110-page policy wish list of recommendations for the former vice president. The document was the result of six joint task forces appointed by Biden and Sanders in May.

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