Biden sharpens economic message in trip to Syracuse

SYRACUSE, N.Y. — President Biden on Thursday pointed to a major investment in upstate New York to sharpen the contrast between his economic record and proposals by Republicans, who he said appeared to be hoping for a recession.

Biden, in remarks at Onondaga Community College in Syracuse, N.Y., touted a $100 billion investment from Micron over the next two decades to build semiconductor manufacturing facility in the region. He framed it as a game-changer for the local economy and a sign that his policies were effective in boosting domestic manufacturing.

More broadly, he sought to contrast the Democratic economic agenda with Republican policy proposals as part of a closing midterm message that has focused in on voter concerns about the economy.

“Republicans used to always have platforms, say this is what they’re for. Well, they can’t tell you what they’re for, but they’ll make sure they tell you what they’re against,” Biden said.

Biden covered a handful of Republican policy issues — including extending the tax cuts made under former President Trump, reversing his student loan forgiveness program and repealing the Inflation Reduction Act — that he asserted would add to the deficit and make inflation worse.

He also warned that Republicans would look to put Social Security and Medicare on the chopping block and hold the debt ceiling hostage in exchange for spending cuts.

“My Republican friends in Congress seem to be hoping for a recession — present company excluded,” Biden said, a nod to retiring Rep. John Katko (R-N.Y.), who represents Syracuse and has crossed the aisle for multiple pieces of legislation.

The president also took multiple swipes at his predecessor, dinging Trump for sharp job losses under his watch after the onset of the coronavirus pandemic and mocking Trump for repeatedly pursuing an infrastructure deal that never materialized.

“The previous president left a string of broken promises in places like Wisconsin, Indiana and Ohio, where promised investments in jobs and manufacturing never materialized,” Biden said.

Syracuse has faced economic difficulty over the past several years, with major companies like Carrier taking jobs out of the city. The Micron investment is seen as a major boost for the region, as it will provide thousands of jobs and economic incentives over the next two decades if the company follows through on its commitments.

“Where in the hell is it written that the United States of America can’t be the manufacturing capital of the world?” Biden said emphatically.

The speech came hours after federal data showed the U.S. economy grew by 2.6 percent during the third quarter of the year. It was welcome news at the White House, where officials have been pushing back on fears of an impending recession as voters consistently point to the economy as a top concern for when casting ballots for the Nov. 8 election.

Polls have consistently shown Biden is underwater with voters on his handling of the economy, citing concerns about gas prices, the cost of groceries and other goods, and rising mortgage rates.

“It’s been a rough few years for a lot of people I grew up with, hardworking Americans. For a lot of families, things are still tough,” Biden said. “But there are bright spots out there where America is reasserting itself.”

Biden, who graduated from Syracuse University’s law school, was joined Thursday by Senate Majority Leader Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.), Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.), and New York Gov. Kathy Hochul (D), who is in a tough reelection race against Republican challenger Rep. Lee Zeldin.

The only televised New York gubernatorial debate was on Tuesday, where issues like crime, abortion and the Jan. 6, 2021, riots dominated the conversation. Cook Political Report, though, rates the seat as “Solid Democrat.”

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