President Joe Biden on Thursday urged Congress to pass legislation aimed at countering China’s growing economic influence by investing in US manufacturing, technology, research and development.
“Congress needs to get this bill to my desk as quickly as possible. Our economic strength is on the line and national security, as well, is on the line. Companies are ready to invest in America – in American communities, American workers. But they need to see that their government is capable of investing in our future. Other countries are racing ahead. We can’t afford to wait,” Biden said during a stop at North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University, a historically Black university in Greensboro.
Biden told the audience of students, staff and elected officials that “more is going to change in the next 10 years then it’s changed in the last 50 years. Science and technology is moving so incredibly rapidly.”
And he said more American companies are ready to invest in domestic manufacturing if Congress can reach an agreement on the bill, saying that a “major fundamental shift is taking place, and America’s finally deciding to catch up and lead it instead of being outpaced by China and other countries.”
The Senate and House of Representatives have passed their own versions of a bill aimed at countering China’s influence with manufacturing and research investment. Both bills are aimed at addressing pressing economic issues facing the Biden administration, including supply chain disruptions and a global shortage of semiconductor chips. Lawmakers must now reconcile the differences between the two versions of the bill, and both chambers will have to vote again before the bill reaches Biden’s desk.
The President used his speech in Greensboro discuss his administration’s efforts to fund HBCUs and rebuild the economy following disruptions during the coronavirus pandemic. And he also sought to highlight his administration’s victories since taking office, including a drop in unemployment numbers and the passage of the bipartisan infrastructure law.
According to the White House, North Carolina A&T State University has received $188 million in funding from the Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund, including $93 million from the American Rescue Plan.
The trip to the battleground state comes days after a new report showed consumer price inflation hit a new 40-year high in March. The White House is grappling to contain sky-high gas and food costs as Russia’s invasion of Ukraine upends global commodity markets and as supply chain woes persist amid the pandemic.
Earlier this week, the President traveled to Iowa to announce new steps his administration is taking to address rising gasoline prices across the country.
He said the Environmental Protection Agency plans to issue a national emergency waiver to allow E15 gasoline, which uses a 15% ethanol blend, to be sold this summer. This type of fuel is typically banned from sale in the summer because of concerns it contributes to smog. But the White House says on average this will save American families 10 cents per gallon of gas.
His trip to Iowa came hours after a new report from the Bureau of Labor Statistics showed prices rose in March by 8.5% relative to last year.
CNN’s Sam Fossum contributed to this report.