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Politics

In Cleveland, President Joe Biden Promotes Stimulus Plans For US Economy

Updated: 5:40 p.m., Thursday, May 27, 2021

In Cleveland, President Joe Biden on Thursday argued for increased spending on infrastructure, research and education to lift the U.S. economy as the country recovers from the coronavirus pandemic.

Standing before a row of milling machines at a Cuyahoga Community College manufacturing center, the president said the United States needs a strong economy to be a global leader. 

“Now’s the time to build on the foundation that we’ve laid, to make bold investments in our families and our communities and our nation,” Biden said. “We know from history that these kinds of investments raise both the floor and the ceiling of the economy for everybody.”

Biden pledged action to deal with supply bottlenecks and rising materials prices that could impede that recovery. He also mentioned the service-sector employers who have been offering higher pay and benefits as they try to fill open positions.

“We’re already seeing what happens when employers have to compete for workers,” he said. “Companies like McDonald’s, Home Depot, Bank of America and others, what do they have to do? They have to raise wages to attract workers. That’s the way it’s supposed to be.” 

At one point in his speech, Biden held up a card listing Congressional Republicans he said had publicly hailed the federal aid coming their districts despite voting against it.

“Some people have no shame,” the president said, laughing. “But I’m happy. I’m happy they know that it benefited their constituents. That’s okay 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.”

The president is visiting Cleveland just as Senate Republicans back in Washington roll out a $928 billion counteroffer to the White House’s $1.7 trillion infrastructure proposal. The Biden administration is also promoting the American Families Plan, a $1.8 trillion education and childcare package.

In his speech at Tri-C Thursday, Biden argued for higher taxes on corporations and high earners to pay for his agenda.

“I'm not looking to punish anyone and say businesses shouldn't be able to make a significant profit,” he said. “I understand the risk and challenges business owners face and they should be rewarded for their success and the risks they take. I just think after decades of workers getting a raw deal, it's time they be given a fair shake.”

Before the Air Force One flight back to Washington, D.C., Biden’s motorcade took a detour through the Old Brooklyn neighborhood for a Cleveland staple: Honey Hut ice cream.

Ahead of the speech, a handful of protesters waved Trump flags across the street from Tri-C’s campus, blasting pro-Trump rap songs from a loudspeaker at a line of cars waiting to enter the event.

Thursday marked Biden’s second visit to Ohio as president. In March, he visited the James Cancer Hospital and Solove Research Institute at The Ohio State University in Columbus.

The state has been recovering economically from more than a year of COVID-19 travails, but jobs numbers still lag pre-pandemic levels. Ohio’s unemployment rate fell to 4.7 percent in April, down from a high of 16.4 percent during the height of pandemic business shutdowns one year earlier. But there are still 300,000 fewer workers in Ohio’s nonfarm workforce now than in February 2020.  

The president spoke to an audience of about 40 people, plus local and national press, in a machine shop at Tri-C’s Manufacturing Technology Center. In attendance were several Ohio Democratic leaders, including Cleveland Mayor Frank Jackson, Rep. Marcy Kaptur, Rep. Tim Ryan and Dayton Mayor Nan Whaley.

In an op-ed in Cleveland.com ahead of Biden’s visit, Ohio Republican Party Chairman Robert Paduchik criticized the president for canceling the Keystone XL pipeline, an oil pipeline project supported by the Trump administration.

“This act of fealty to the far-left element of the Democratic Party will destroy the financial well-being of many more working families,” Paduchik wrote.

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