DURHAM, United States - President Joe Biden launched a new drive on Tuesday to promote a major theme of his expected re-election campaign, touting what he said was a resurgence of US manufacturing – and warning Republicans could tank the economy.
“I’ve been determined to make things in this country again, to build American manufacturing capacity,” Mr Biden said, at Wolfspeed, a semiconductor manufacturing plant in Durham, North Carolina, that recently announced a US$5 billion (S$6.6 billion) expansion.
Ramping up US capacity in a global race to produce the tiny, high-tech components at the heart of most modern technology has been a priority for Mr Biden since he took office in 2021.
His trip to the factory kicked off what the White House is calling a three-week “Investing in America” tour where top officials will visit some 20 states to tout newly created manufacturing jobs in the semiconductor industry and in a variety of other sectors boosted by massive government incentives.
According to the White House, more than US$435 billion in new investments has been announced under Mr Biden, about half of that in clean energy and electric vehicle companies, and the other half in semiconductors.
“If we invest in America, we can change the country’s future,” said Mr Biden, who has not yet announced a bid for a second term in 2024, but has made clear he intends to run.
Mr Biden’s boast about the economy contrasted with Republican accusations that he is responsible for stubbornly high inflation.
“Biden is out of touch with reality,” Republican National Committee chairwoman Ronna McDaniel said in a statement titled “Biden’s Bankrupting America Tour.”
Mr Biden lashed out in his North Carolina speech at Republican refusal to quickly extend the nation’s debt limit, usually a relatively standard accounting procedure by Congress.
Numerous high-profile Republicans in Congress have instead suggested