Democrat Biden to unveil plan to boost manufacturing, innovation

Democratic U.S. presidential candidate and former Vice President Joe Biden speaks about the Trump administration's handling of the coronavirus pandemic during a campaign event in Wilmington, Delaware, U.S

Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden on Thursday will propose boosting manufacturing and innovation by spending $700 billion in his first four-year term to procure more American-made goods for the U.S. government and invest in research and development.

Biden will outline the plan, which the campaign said would create 5 million new jobs, in a speech in northeastern Pennsylvania, near his childhood hometown of Scranton.

At the same time, Vice President Mike Pence will attend a business roundtable focused on reopening the economy in Malvern, a suburb of Philadelphia, before speaking to the Philadelphia police union later in the day.

The opposing visits underscore Pennsylvania’s status as a key battleground state in November’s presidential election. President Donald Trump carried the state in 2016 by a slim margin, the first Republican to do so since 1988.

Biden’s announcement is the first prong of a broader economic plan titled “Build Back Better” to revive the U.S. economy after the devastating coronavirus pandemic.

The plan includes proposals to build a clean energy economy; support caregivers, including those providing child and elder care; and advance racial equity.

Biden will offer more details about those areas in the coming weeks, senior campaign officials said.

Biden proposed trillions of dollars in new federal efforts on climate change, healthcare and infrastructure even before the pandemic, and he has since called for more stimulus spending. It remains to be seen whether he could convince Congress to support such ambitious proposals.

Both Biden and Pence are visiting areas that have grown less politically hospitable for their party in the Trump era.

Biden will spend the day in Lackawanna County, a longtime Democratic stronghold that like many parts of Pennsylvania with large concentrations of union blue-collar workers has swung hard toward Trump.

Meanwhile, Chester County, where Pence will travel, is one of several counties near Philadelphia that have seen Democratic gains since 2016, reflecting a broader trend in suburbs around the country.

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