Patrick Semansky/PA

Joe Biden proposes 'Buy American' campaign to bolster US firms

The former vice-president has called for $700 million to be spent on supporting manufacturing and technology firms.

DEMOCRATIC PARTY PRESIDENTIAL candidate Joe Biden has proposed sweeping new uses of the state’s regulatory and spending power to bolster US manufacturing and technology firms.

The former vice-president has called for a €400 billion  (€353 billion), four-year increase in government purchasing of US-based goods and services plus $300 billion (€265 billion) in new research and development in American technology concerns.

Among other policies expected to be announced in an economic pitch today, he proposes tightening current “Buy American” laws that are intended to benefit US 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 US corporations that move jobs overseas.

The former vice-president will discuss the proposals today at a factory in Pennsylvania. It is the first of a series of addresses Biden plans as he shifts his line of attack against incumbent president Donald Trump to the economy.

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 childcare and elder care more affordable and less of an impediment to working-age Americans.

Campaign aides told reporters all of his policies will target immediate recovery from the pandemic recession and address systemic inequalities Biden says are “laid bare” by the nation’s ongoing challenges with racism.

“What’s going on here, we need to build back, not just to where we were but build back better than we’ve ever been,” Biden told the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers yesterday.

We’re going to take a monumental step forward for the prosperity, power, safety and dignity of all American workers.

The Democrat’s agenda carries at least some rhetorical echoes of Trump’s “America First” philosophy but the former vice-president’s aides describe his approach as more coherent.

They cast Trump’s imposition of tariffs and uneven trade negotiations with other nations as a slapdash isolationism compromised further by tax policies that enrich multinational corporations.

Biden’s campaign also pointed to a rise in foreign procurement and continued outsourcing of jobs by US-based corporations during Trump’s presidency.

Republicans nonetheless have made clear they will attack Biden on trade and the economy, framing the Democratic establishment figure as a tool of the far left on taxes and a willing participant in decades of trade policy that gutted American workers. Trump has also lampooned Biden as “weak on China”.

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