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Biden brings economic message to Wisconsin on first trip after State of the Union

Biden delivers fiery State of the Union address
Biden delivers fiery State of the Union address 02:30

Washington — President Biden on Wednesday traveled to Wisconsin, a battleground state he won by the slimmest of margins in 2020, to press his economic message and other themes from his State of the Union address in the window before his next big speech: announcing a possible reelection bid.

Mr. Biden promoted his economic plan at a training center run by the Laborers' International Union of North America in Deforest, Wisconsin, near Madison. 

He touted the economic progress he's made in terms of growing jobs, particularly in the manufacturing sector, and spent time talking about aspects of his economic agenda, including tackling "junk fees." Echoing a line he delivered Tuesday, he said his economic plan "is about investing in places that have been forgotten."

The president continued to press Republicans to renounce proposals to weaken Medicare and Social Security. His suggestion that Republicans want to enact cuts to the entitlement programs elicited howls from GOP lawmakers on Tuesday, and the president again pointed to their reaction in an attempt to blunt momentum for any reduction in benefits.

"I found it interesting that when i called them out on it last night, it sounded like they agreed to take these cuts off the table," he said in Wisconsin. "I'll believe it when i see it, and their budget's laid down with the cuts they're proposing. But it looks like we negotiated a deal last night on the floor of the House of Representatives."

Addressing the nation Tuesday night, Mr. Biden said his plan had helped create 800,000 good-paying manufacturing jobs across the country since 2021, when he took office.

"Where is it written that America can't lead the world in manufacturing again?" he said.

At the union center, the Democratic president met with workers and apprentices who are learning how to do the jobs that are being created as a result of several pieces of major legislation, some of them passed with Republican support, that Mr. Biden signed into law.

The measures include trillions of dollars of spending on pandemic relief, rebuilding roads, bridges and other infrastructure, jump-starting the semiconductor chip industry in the United States, and on climate change and health care initiatives.

Mr. Biden's trip, one of two stops he has planned this week, is part of a traditional post-State of the Union blitz to at least 20 states by the president, Vice President Kamala Harris and members of the Cabinet to promote his policies and themes from the speech.

The president was scheduled to visit Tampa, Florida, on Thursday, to discuss proposals to safeguard Social Security and Medicare, and lower the cost of health care.

In the 2020 election, Mr. Biden edged Republican incumbent Donald Trump in Wisconsin by a margin of less than 1 percentage point.

The president has said he intends to run for a second term in 2024. A formal announcement is expected in the coming months.

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