Biden courts American workers with push for green energy, infrastructure

Democratic presidential candidate, former Vice President Joe Biden. (Patrick Semansky/AP photo via Courthouse News)

(CN) — Presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden continued to make overtures to American workers Tuesday, promising to pass a large infrastructure bill that not only refurbishes the nation’s ailing infrastructure but also makes investments in clean energy technologies.

“We can create thousands of high-paying union jobs by building a modern infrastructure while creating a clean energy future,” Biden said during a speech delivered in Wilmington, Delaware.

In a tacit acknowledgment he is gunning for blue-collar voters in Midwestern states that voted for Barack Obama in 2012 but then switched to Donald Trump in the last election cycle, Biden said he will deliver what Trump has promised but failed to furnish — a large infrastructure package.

“It seems like every few weeks when Donald Trump needs a distraction to drive away attention from the corruption of his staff, he promises an infrastructure package,” Biden said. “Well, he has failed to get it done. He has failed to even try.”

The former vice president under Obama said he will add millions of jobs to the American automotive industry by incentivizing the building of electric vehicles and charging stations across America’s highways.

Biden also touted a plan to build 1.5 million new energy-efficient houses as a means of putting people to work, alleviating the affordable housing crisis and attacking the racial wealth gap that some economists say persists because of a lack of homeownership in minority communities.

Meanwhile, the Trump campaign attacked Biden’s plans on Tuesday, saying they are a cover for a more radical socialist agenda as represented by Democratic politicians on the left flank of the party like U.S. Rep. Alexandra Ocasio-Cortez of New york

“Joe Biden is embracing the Green New Deal and other socialist priorities that would devastate American families and businesses,” the Trump camp said. “A Joe Biden presidency would be a disaster for American workers, and it is vital that voters re-elect President Trump to continue to renew, restore, and rebuild our economy.”

On Tuesday morning, Trump held a short press briefing with two Republican lawmakers, Minority Whip Steve Scalise of Louisiana and Rep. Mike Kelly of Pennsylvania, who made similar points about Biden’s proposal.

“We know what that kind of radical energy policy looks like, and the studies show clearly it would be devastating to jobs in America, but more importantly it would potentially double or triple the household electricity cost for hardworking families in America,” Scalise said.

But Biden lashed out at Trump and the Republicans accusing them of being fixated on economic ideas and technology from the past rather than faced toward the future.

“Trump and Republicans offer a backward-looking policy,” he said. “It’s a mindset.”

Biden said government investment in clean energy technology will not only create a more environmentally sustainable economy but will create millions of blue-collar jobs needed to create windmills, build electric vehicles, repair the nation’s bridges and refurbish ports and other aspects of American infrastructure.

“These aren’t pie-in-the-sky dreams,” Biden said. “These are actionable policies and we are going to get to work on them right away.”

Biden also used his speech to hit Trump for what he characterized as a total failure to address the coronavirus pandemic and the ensuing economic recession.

“Opening everything now is not a strategy for success,” Biden said, accusing the president of presenting Americans with a “false choice” between their health and the economic prosperity of the country.

Instead, Biden said the president should be focused on getting the virus under control, which will in turn allow large parts of the economy to begin working again.  But Biden said the bright side of the current crisis is that it will allow America to pause, take stock and rebuild a country that is more inclusive, focused on the middle class and with an energy sector more compatible with environmental health.