President Joe Biden launched a new drive Tuesday to promote a major theme of his expected reelection campaign, touting what he said was a resurgence of U.S. manufacturing -- and warning Republicans could tank the economy.
"I've been determined to make things in this country again, to build American manufacturing capacity," Biden said at Wolfspeed, a semiconductor manufacturing plant in Durham, North Carolina, that recently announced a $5 billion expansion.
Ramping up U.S. capacity in a global race to produce the tiny, high-tech components at the heart of most modern technology has been a Biden priority since he took office in 2021.
His trip to the factory kicked off what the White House is calling a three-week "Investing in America" tour where top officials will visit some 20 states to tout newly created manufacturing jobs in the semiconductor industry and in a variety of other sectors boosted by massive government incentives.
According to the White House, more than $435 billion in new investments has been announced under Biden, about half of that in clean energy and electric vehicle companies, and the other half in semiconductors.
"If we invest in America, we can change the country's future," said Biden, who has not yet announced a bid for a second term in 2024, but has made clear he intends to run.
Biden's boast about the economy contrasted with Republican accusations that he is responsible for stubbornly high inflation.
"Biden is out of touch with reality," Republican National Committee chairwoman Ronna McDaniel said in a statement titled "Biden's Bankrupting America Tour."
Biden lashed out in his North Carolina speech at Republican refusal to quickly extend the nation's debt limit, usually a relatively standard accounting procedure by Congress.
Numerous high-profile Republicans in Congress have instead suggested refusing to lift the debt ceiling as a way to strongarm Biden into steep budget cuts. According to economists, a US debt default would likely plunge the world economy into severe turmoil.
"They're putting our economy in jeopardy by threatening to refuse to pay America's bills," Biden said.
On Tuesday Republican Kevin McCarthy, speaker of the US House of Representatives, wrote to Biden accusing him of "refusing to negotiate any meaningful changes to out-of-control government spending."
White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre responded, saying Republicans must "stop playing games, pass a clean debt ceiling bill, and quit threatening our economic recovery."