President Joe Biden speaks on the South Lawn of the White House in Washington, D.C., on Monday. Photo by Al Drago/UPI | License Photo
Oct. 20 (UPI) -- President Joe Biden returned to his hometown of Scranton, Pa., on Wednesday, where he said he hoped to bring the city's values to the national scale as he stressed the need for his infrastructure bill.
Biden was born in Scranton on Nov. 20, 1942, and his family lived there for about the first decade of his life before they relocated to Delaware.
"Scranton isn't my home because of the memories it gave me, it's my home because of the values it gave me," he said.
"So when I ran for president I came back to Scranton. I started here in Scranton. I resolved to bring Scranton values to bear. To make a fundamental shift in how our economy works for working people to build the economy from the ground up and the middle out not from the top down."
Biden's visit comes as officials recently changed signs in Scranton on Interstate 81 from the Central Scranton Expressway to the President Joe Biden Expressway. New signs also reflect a name change for Scranton's Spruce Street, which is now Biden Street.
The president made the trip to Scranton to grow public support for a $1 trillion bipartisan infrastructure bill, which has passed the Senate but remains under consideration in the House.
The bill unveiled in August contains $550 billion in new spending, which the White House said will create, on average, about 2 million jobs per year over the next decade, and represents the largest federal investment in public transportation in U.S. history.
During his speech, Biden cited statistics showing that the United States has fallen from its previous status among the best in the world in infrastructure and education, warning that the bill is needed to ensure the nation does not fall farther behind.
"We can't be competitive in a 21st-century economy if we continue to slide the way that we have," he said.
Biden touted that the plan includes tax credits for people and businesses who commit to clean energy practices.
"I won't be around to see it, but I promise you your kids are going to see a time when they are not in fact generating any energy from the homes here in Scranton other than renewable energy," he said.
Biden addressed clashes in Congress that have held up both the infrastructure bill and his $3.5 trillion social spending bill, acknowledging that people believe there is "no possibility of my getting this done" and have declared the bills "dead on arrival."
Biden said, however, he believes people are "beginning to figure out what's at stake" if the bills are not passed.
"These bills are not about left versus right or moderate versus progressive, or anything that pits one American against another. These bills are about competitiveness versus complacency, they're about expanding opportunity, not having opportunity denied. They're about leading the world or letting it pass us by," he said.