President Joe Biden visited Cleveland Thursday to lay out his vision for the U.S. economy, saying his administration and members of Congress need to prioritize the middle class and ensure America stays competitive on a global scale.
Joe Biden in Ohio – President Praises Vax-a-Million, Touts Latest Stimulus
Speaking at Cuyahoga Community College, Biden argued the country is beginning to rebound from the coronavirus pandemic that squeezed businesses and forced hundreds of thousands of people out of jobs. Now, he said he wants to use policies like free community college and corporate tax increases to help boost working people.
“This time we’re going to deal everyone in — everyone who’s been left out — and breathe new life into the middle class and new hope into those struggling to break into the middle class,” he said.
Biden toured Tri-C’s Manufacturing Technology Center before his speech and stopped at Honey Hut Ice Cream on the way back to the airport.
The college was symbolic for the president, as he was scheduled to hold a rally there in March 2020 before Ohio’s first coronavirus cases forced the campaign to cancel.
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“Life in America had changed, and a long, dark year was about to descend upon all of us,” Biden said. “Fourteen months later, we finally made it to campus. From a year of darkness, we’re now emerging into the light.”
About three dozen people listened to Biden as he spoke at the technology center, surrounded by Bridgeport machines sporting American flag stickers.
“I appreciate what he said, especially about raising our pay,” said Adam Suntken, a digital media production technician at Tri-C. “I just hope Congress joins in. I’ve been hearing it for a while, so it would be nice to see it actually happen.”
The president’s visit coincided with a new chapter in the pandemic as people get vaccinated against COVID-19 and leaders brainstorm ways to persuade hold-outs to get the shot.
In Ohio, health officials have attributed the Vax-a-Million program to a 40% increase in first doses among residents age 16 and older.
Biden applauded the program and called on more Ohioans to get the vaccine so the state can reach herd immunity.
“I hear that as of last night’s vaccine lottery, Ohio has a new millionaire,” Biden said, referring to Wednesday’s announcement of the first drawing. “Who would’ve to thunk it? A million bucks for getting a vaccine. But it’s working.”
The trip also came as Republicans and Democrats in Congress clash over infrastructure and a commission that would examine the Jan. 6 attack at the U.S. Capitol. A group of GOP senators on Thursday announced a nearly $1 trillion plan to counter Biden’s proposal, which Republicans have blasted as costly and riddled with spending not related to roads, bridges, and transit.
Republican Sen. Rob Portman called on Biden earlier this week to dial back federal spending and stop the $300 federal unemployment supplement, contending it dissuades people from going back to work. DeWine announced earlier this month that Ohio will stop participating in the program on June 26.
“The economy’s growing, and here we are just dumping so much more federal money into the system,” Portman said. “We need to pay for it by tax increases that will make us less competitive in the global economy, so I’m concerned about that.”
Biden briefly took aim at Republicans during his speech Thursday and held up a list of members of Congress who he said had touted the benefits of the American Rescue Plan after voting against it. He did not name names, but the list labeled Ohio Reps. Troy Balderson of Zanesville and Anthony Gonzalez of Rocky River as proponents of the restaurant revitalization fund.
“Some people have no shame,” Biden said. “But I’m happy. I’m happy they know that it benefited their constituents. That’s OK with me. But if you’re going to try to take credit for what you’ve done, don’t get in the way of what we still need to do.”
Thursday’s trip was the president’s second to the Buckeye State this year, just months after he spoke at the Ohio State University.
Biden lost Ohio to former President Donald Trump by eight points in 2020 — the first time in decades that voters here did not choose the victor in a presidential election. At the same time, he won key suburbs that were critical for Democrats in a traditional swing state that went red for Trump in 2016.
Outside the Cleveland event, a dozen Trump supporters gathered across the street to protest Biden’s visit and displayed several flags and banners, including a Thin Blue Line flag.
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Article Source: NewsEdge