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Joe Biden proposes a $700 billion-plus ‘Buy American’ campaign

Launching an economic pitch expected to anchor his fall presidential campaign, Democratic candidate Joe Biden is proposing sweeping new uses of the federal government’s regulatory and spending power to bolster U.S. manufacturing and technology firms.

Biden calls for a $400 billion, four-year increase in government purchasing of U.S.-based goods and services plus $300 billion in new research and development in U.S. technology concerns. Among other policies expected to be announced Thursday, he proposes tightening current “Buy American” laws that are intended to benefit U.S. firms but can be easily circumvented by government agencies.

An outline released by Biden’s campaign also touts his long-standing promises to strengthen workers’ collective bargaining rights and repeal Republican-backed tax breaks for U.S. corporations that move jobs overseas.

An opening emphasis on manufacturing and labor policy is no coincidence: Biden wants to capitalize on his union ties and deliver on oft-made claims he can win back working-class voters who fueled Trump’s upset win four years ago.

Biden will continue in coming weeks with an energy plan to combat the climate crisis and a third package on what the campaign has dubbed the “caring economy,” with a focus on making child care and elder care more affordable and less of an impediment to working-age Americans. Campaign aides told reporters that all of Biden’s policies would target immediate recovery from the pandemic recession and address systemic inequalities Biden says are “laid bare” by the nation’s ongoing reckoning with racism.

Biden’s team insisted his approach falls within World Trade Organization rules, but aides also acknowledged that a Biden administration would try to modify an existing WTO deal, the Government Procurement Agreement, which effectively creates a shared open international market for participating governments to secure goods and services.

For now, Biden has not identified how he’d pay for the proposed new spending. Aides said he has identified revenue sources for all ongoing spending proposals but not for the one-time or short-term investments like the $700 billion in procurement and research. That raises the possibility that Biden could declare that spending to be deliberate deficit spending to stimulate the struggling economy.

Joe Biden proposes a $700 billion-plus ‘Buy American’ campaign, CNBC, Jul 9

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