DURHAM, North Carolina (AP) — President Joe Biden visited an expanding North Carolina semiconductor manufacturer on Tuesday as he launches an effort to spotlight the impact legislation passed earlier in his administration is having on the U.S. economy and contrast his vision with that of Republicans on budget priorities.
Biden’s trip to Wolfspeed follows the Durham-based company announcing plans last September to build a $5 billion manufacturing facility in Chatham County that is expected to create 1,800 new jobs. Biden had won passage last July of a $280 billion legislative package known as the CHIPS Act, which was intended to boost the U.S. semiconductor industry and scientific research.
It’s nothing new for the Biden administration to highlight the CHIPS Act, the $1.9 trillion COVID relief bill, the $1 trillion infrastructure legislation and a roughly $375 billion climate bill — major legislation that the Democratic administration steered into law before Democrats lost control of the House.
But now, just weeks after Biden unveiled his own budget — it includes $2.6 trillion in new spending — his administration is looking for chances to lean into its battle with Republicans over spending priorities and who has better ideas to steward the U.S. economy in the years to come. Republicans have rejected Biden’s budget but have yet to unveil their own counteroffer to the Democrats’ blueprint, which is built around tax increases on the wealthy and a vision statement of sorts for Biden’s yet-to-be-declared campaign for reelection in 2024.
The White House says Biden while in North Carolina will highlight that his legislative efforts have spurred $435 billion in private-sector manufacturing commitments since he took office. That includes more than $200 billion in clean energy, electric vehicle and battery investments, more than $200 billion in semiconductors and about $15 billion in biomanufacturing investments, according to the White House.
White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said that Biden wants to demonstrate “what’s at stake if MAGA Republicans in Congress get their way and repeal the Inflation Reduction Act, hike taxes on hardworking families and slash funding for manufacturing innovation and research.”
Besides Biden’s visit to Wolfspeed, Vice President Kamala Harris, first lady Jill Biden and other senior administration officials will fan out to 20 states over the next three weeks to highlight the impact of Biden’s economic agenda, according to the White House.
Biden has said he intends to run for a second term but has yet to formally launch his reelection campaign.
His effort to highlight legislative victories could also give him an opportunity to present voters with images of an administration focused on governing as the Republican 2024 frontrunner, former President Donald Trump, braces for a possible indictment.
Trump is being investigated over payments during his 2016 campaign to two women who alleged affairs or sexual encounters with him. The ex-president denies being involved with either of the women — porn actor Stormy Daniels and model Karen McDougal.
Trump narrowly won North Carolina in 2020. Among the other states that Biden and administration officials will be visiting in the weeks ahead are Georgia, Michigan, Pennsylvania, Nevada and Wisconsin — crucial battlegrounds that Biden won in 2020 and states expected to be competitive again in 2024.