President Joe Biden checked out the big rigs at a Pennsylvania truck factory on Wednesday and promised workers that his policies would reshape the U.S economy for the working class – a message clearly aimed at a group of voters who have drifted to Republicans.
Biden welcomed news that Senate Republicans on Tuesday reached a deal with Democrats over major outstanding issues in a $1 trillion infrastructure bill.
“Looks like we’ve reached a bipartisan agreement on infrastructure,” Biden told the audience at Mack Truck’s Lehigh Valley manufacturing facility.
Senate Republicans say they are ready to vote to take up the bill, and an evening test vote is possible.
In his speech, Biden highlighted new “buy American” rules from his administration that he said would put a new muscle behind an initiative that he argued had become a hollow promise in recent years.
The administration is proposing that any products bought by the government must have 60% of the value of their component parts manufactured in the United States. The proposal would gradually increase that figure to 75% by 2029, significantly higher than the 55% threshold under current law.
“They got a new sheriff in town,” Biden said. He said the effort would help create jobs, a central thrust of his administration’s “build back better” program.
Administration officials, who have made manufacturing jobs a priority, believe Democrats’ political prospects next year might hinge on whether Biden succeeds in reinvigorating a sector that has steadily lost jobs for more than four decades.
The administration is championing a $973 billion infrastructure package, $52 billion for computer chip production, sweeping investments in clean energy and the use of government procurement contracts to create factory jobs.
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