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‘Buy American’: Biden challenges Trump with his plan to revive the US economy

On the same day, Vice President Mike Pence embarked on a Trump campaign bus tour across Pennsylvania, a sign of the state’s significance in the Electoral College calculations of both campaigns.

Biden’s campaign is riding high in the polls, but his advisers, as well as Republican strategists, still see the economy as perhaps the area of greatest vulnerability against Trump. The president’s campaign — and the president himself when on message — has tried to argue that he oversaw a booming economy until the coronavirus pandemic brought about an “artificial” slowdown.

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House Republican leaders recently briefed their members on polling showing Trump’s enduring advantage on the economy, and a recent New York Times/Siena College poll showed the economy as perhaps a lone bright spot for the president, even as he trailed by 14 percentage points overall.

Biden has long cast himself as a champion of the American worker, particularly as vice president, when he led the Obama administration’s Middle Class Task Force and oversaw implementation of the 2009 economic stimulus bill. But he has faced criticism from Trump and from former liberal rivals like Senator Bernie Sanders over his support for the North American Free Trade Agreement in the 1990s and other trade deals that followed.

On Thursday, the Trump campaign announced a new television ad attacking Biden’s record as “dangerous and foolish,” highlighting Biden’s vote for NAFTA in 1993 and his past support for trade relations with China and for the Trans-Pacific Partnership as vice president.

The Pennsylvania speech is the first of several steps Biden is taking in the coming weeks to detail an expanded economic agenda beyond what he proposed in the primaries. On Thursday, Biden specifically proposed a $US300 billion ($431 billion) increase in government spending on research and development of technologies like electric vehicles and 5G cellular networks as well as an additional $US400 billion in federal procurement spending on products that are manufactured in the United States.

Biden’s campaign is rallying top surrogates in key battleground states to amplify and showcase his economic message Friday: Senator Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota will hold a roundtable discussion aimed at Arizona voters, Senators Tammy Duckworth and Tammy Baldwin will do one for Wisconsin, Governor Gretchen Whitmer of Michigan will headline one for her state, and Senator Sherrod Brown of Ohio will hold one for his state.

As Trump has increasingly focused his campaign on stoking white resentment and fears, Biden and his campaign have emphasised their efforts to increase opportunities for minorities and other workers in cities, suburbs and rural areas. “An economy for every American,” Biden said.

“Donald Trump may believe that pitting Americans against Americans may benefit him. I don’t,” he said.

Aides also said that Biden, the former vice president, would propose additional deficit spending next year to help the economy recover from the recession caused by the pandemic, building on the more than $US3 trillion in new borrowing that Congress and Trump have already approved amid the crisis.

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Biden has thus far proposed to offset the entirety of his spending plans with nearly $US4 trillion in tax increases, largely by reversing some of Trump’s signature tax cuts for high earners and otherwise raising taxes on the wealthy and corporations. Aides said he would do the same to fund his procurement and research plans.

The New York Times

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