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In Cleveland, President Joe Biden Promotes Stimulus Plans for US Economy

a photo of President Joe Biden
Nick Castele
President Joe Biden hit the highlights of his plans for the post-pandemic U.S. economic recovery in an afternoon speech at Cuyahoga Community College in Cleveland.

In Cleveland, President Joe Biden on Thursday argued for increased spending on infrastructure, research and education to lift the U.S. economy as the country recovers from the coronavirus pandemic.

Standing before a row of milling machines at a Cuyahoga Community College manufacturing center, the president said the United States needs a strong economy to be a global leader. 

“Now’s the time to build on the foundation that we’ve laid, to make bold investments in our families and our communities and our nation,” Biden said. “We know from history that these kinds of investments raise both the floor and the ceiling of the economy for everybody.”

Biden pledged action to deal with supply bottlenecks and rising materials prices that could impede that recovery. He also mentioned the service-sector employers who have been offering higher pay and benefits as they try to fill open positions.

“We’re already seeing what happens when employers have to compete for workers,” he said. “Companies like McDonald’s, Home Depot, Bank of America and others, what do they have to do? They have to raise wages to attract workers. That’s the way it’s supposed to be.” 

At one point in his speech, Biden held up a card listing Congressional Republicans he said had publicly hailed the federal aid coming to their districts despite voting against it.

“Some people have no shame,” the president said, laughing. “But I’m happy. I’m happy they know that it benefited their constituents. That’s okay with me. But if you’re going to try to take credit for what you’ve done, don’t get in the way of what we still need to do.”

The president is visiting Cleveland just as Senate Republicans back in Washington roll out a $928 billion counteroffer to the White House’s $1.7 trillion infrastructure proposal.
In an interview with WKSU Thursday, Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-OH) said the plan needs to address a wide swath of infrastructure needs.

Sen. Sherrod Brown on infrastructure plan
Picture of Sen. Sherrod Brown

“With childcare, with broadband, with the Brent Spence Bridge in Cincinnati with making sure that local governments can make decisions on what they need in infrastructure, that Washington doesn't tell them what to do.”

Thursday marked Biden’s second visit to Ohio as president. In March, he visited the James Cancer Hospital and Solove Research Institute at The Ohio State University in Columbus.

Ohio’s unemployment rate fell to 4.7 percent in April, down from a high of 16.4 percent during the height of pandemic business shutdowns one year earlier. But there are still 300,000 fewer workers in Ohio’s nonfarm workforce now than in February 2020.  

The president spoke to an audience of about 40 people, plus local and national press, in a machine shop at Tri-C’s Manufacturing Technology Center. In attendance were several Ohio Democratic leaders, including Cleveland Mayor Frank Jackson, Rep. Marcy Kaptur, Rep. Tim Ryan and Dayton Mayor Nan Whaley.

In an op-ed in Cleveland.com ahead of Biden’s visit, Ohio Republican Party Chairman Robert Paduchik criticized the president for canceling the Keystone XL pipeline, an oil pipeline project supported by the Trump administration.

A handful of protesters waved Trump flags across the street from Tri-C’s campus, blasting pro-Trump rap songs from a loudspeaker at a line of cars waiting to enter the event.

Copyright 2021 90.3 WCPN ideastream. To see more, visit 90.3 WCPN ideastream.

Nick Castele is a senior reporter covering politics and government for Ideastream Public Media.