U.S. President Joe Biden departed for North Carolina on Tuesday where he will visit a manufacturing plant in the first stop of a tour to promote the administration's efforts on infrastructure. Photo by Ken Cedeno/UPI | License Photo
March 28 (UPI) -- President Joe Biden was in North Carolina Tuesday to kick off a national tour touting the ongoing effect of his legislative agenda that has led to massive infrastructure projects and an electric vehicle manufacturing boom across the country.
The "Investing in America" tour -- which will feature appearances by first lady Jill Biden, Vice President Kamala Harris, second gentleman Douglas Emhoff, and other senior White House officials and Cabinet members -- will stop in more than 20 states over three weeks as part of an effort to highlight growth and improvements that have emerged as a result of the president's Inflation Reduction Act, CHIPS and Science Act, Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, and American Rescue Plan.
"All these investments mean now you grow up in North Carolina, you go to school in North Carolina, you can stay in North Carolina, and with a good job you can raise a family," Biden said. It's not just happening in North Carolina. It's all about my agenda to invest in America."
The president remarked that the CHIPS and Science Act has resulted in the "largest investment in manufacturing in the history of North Carolina," referring to the incoming Wolfspeed silicon carbide semiconductor manufacturing plant.
In Durham, the president spoke from Wolfspeed, which recently announced a plan to invest $5 billion in North Carolina with a facility that would create 1,800 new jobs.
Biden said the investment in manufacturing semiconductors and research and development will help avert supply chain hangups that crippled the economy throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. He noted that the United States had become reliant on semiconductors manufactured around the world which became unavailable when many factories ceased operations during the pandemic. This led to a lack of supply and higher prices in the United States.
"My economic plan brings the supply chain home," Biden said.
The president also said that the United States once invested 2% of its gross domestic product in research and development, but has decreased the investment to 0.7% for the past 35 years, leading to the country falling behind on developing new technology.
"America is coming back. We're determined to lead the world in manufacturing semiconductors," he said. "We invented semiconductors in America. Put it all together and it's a plan to invest in America."
Biden's initiatives have helped to "rebuild our infrastructure and bring back supply chains, lowering costs for hardworking families, and creating jobs that don't require a four-year degree," the White House said in a statement emphasizing the president's commitment to carry out the full weight of his agenda.
North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper attended Biden's speech after a tour of Wolfspeed's facilities.
To date, Biden's policies have invested $300 billion into the private sector for infrastructure improvements, and to boost manufacturing and supply chains, including $52 billion in federal funding provided through the CHIPS Act to produce semiconductors in the United States.
Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo is also planning to travel to North Carolina this week to visit a fiber optic cable manufacturing facility to highlight the administration's investment in making high-speed Internet more available across the country, and using American-made fiber optic cable in North Carolina to get it done, the White House said.
Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Michael Regan will be in North Carolina to tout administrative investments in clean water initiatives.
The tour continues later this week in Nashville, Tenn., where Senior Advisor and Infrastructure Coordinator Mitch Landrieu will speak on how the Investing in America agenda is creating safer, smarter transportation and expanding electric vehicle charging manufacturing, the White House said.
Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg will also travel to Arkansas, Texas, and Oklahoma this week to visit airports and air traffic control facilities that are making critical safety and infrastructure improvements with investments from the Biden administration, the White House said.
Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm will visit Puerto Rico to hold discussions on modernizing the island's power grid following recent severe weather events.
The tour will make stops in California, Colorado, Delaware, Georgia, Kansas, Maine, Michigan, Minnesota, Nevada, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, Ohio, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Vermont, Wisconsin, and more.
Earlier this week, the White House held an Investing in America cabinet meeting, where administration officials discussed how to work more cohesively to implement the president's agenda, with the goal of expanding the initiative to formulate infrastructure strategies in all 50 states.