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October 07, 2022

In Hagerstown, Biden touts economic policies, scolds GOP

Credit: Capital News Service, Cumberland Times-News, Hunter Savery and Grace Yarrow

President Joe Biden told autoworkers here Friday that his policies and legislation he has gotten through the Congress are aimed at creating a “bottom-up” economy.

Biden’s speech at the Volvo Group Powertrainplant was part of the White House’s “Made In America” campaign, highlighting what the president sees as the need to rebuild the economy “from the bottom up and middle out.”

“This is the backbone of America, the people who get up every single morning and go to work, break their necks and make a living,” Biden said in remarks on the factory floor. “The working class and the middle class, that’s who built this country. And, by the way, the middle class built America and unions built the middle class.”

Since Biden’s inauguration, 10 million jobs have been created in the United States,the fastest job growth in history, according to the White House. Nationally, 236,000 jobs were created in September, according to the Department of Labor.

The monthly number was a decline from the 315,000 jobs created in August.

Despite inflation, Biden and the Democrats – facing a tough battle with Republicans over control of the Congress in the midterm election that is a month away – are touting job growth and the administration’s investment in the U.S. infrastructure as major achievements.

The president has little to worry about in Maryland, which is predominantly Democratic.

Hagerstown has a “rich history” of manufacturing, said Mayor Emily Keller, who introduced Biden. The Volvo factory employs 1,700 people — of that, 1,300 are members of the United Auto Workers union.

“President Biden’s focus on bringing back manufacturing jobs to America will only help us move forward,” Keller said.

Rep. David Trone, D-Maryland, told the workers that the Biden administration’s initiatives will create infrastructure necessary to future economic success.

“So by demonstrating compassion, civility and competence, President Biden is always putting people over politics,” Trone said, speaking before Biden.

To continue his agenda of strengthening the domestic economy, the president underscored the importance of political cooperation, acknowledging that some of the plant workers may be Republicans.

“We’ll stop this bitterness that exists between the parties and have people working together,” he said.

Biden pointed to the Inflation Reduction Act as a key achievement, saying that it would lower healthcare and energy costs for average Americans. He also said the new law would make large corporations pay their fair share in taxes and chastised Republicans who want to repeal the measure.

The president accused Republicans of hypocrisy for calling his infrastructure spending bill socialist and then asking for money after it passed and he signed it into law.

Biden drew laughs with the quip: “I didn’t know there were that many socialist Republicans.”

At the end of his speech, the president took a forceful tone, saying that the United States is asserting itself as the dominant global economic power.

“I’ve never been more optimistic. Just remember who the hell we are. We’re the United States of America,” Biden said. “Folks, nothing’s beyond the capacity if we work together.”