MILWAUKEE — President Biden on Tuesday traveled to a manufacturing warehouse in Wisconsin to tout one of his signature legislative achievements, a reflection of how the White House is betting Americans will favor their focus on kitchen table issues as the front-runner for the GOP presidential nomination is once again mired in legal troubles.
Biden delivered remarks on the Inflation Reduction Act, a law he signed one year ago that contained numerous Democratic priorities to address climate change and lower the cost of healthcare and prescription drugs. He chose to come to Wisconsin, which is sure to be a hotly contested swing state in 2024, to promote the law and its impact on the area’s economy.
“The Financial Times and The Wall Street Journal started calling my plan — not initially as a compliment — Bidenomics,” Biden told a crowd of local officials and workers. “But guess what folks, they’re talking about it differently now. It’s working. I’m serious. Because we’re investing in America.”
Biden’s visit came as all eyes were on Georgia, where former President Trump and more than a dozen others were charged over their attempts to overturn the state’s election results in 2020.
It was the latest example of how Biden has sought to keep his focus on the work of governing and promoting his agenda, even as chaos engulfs his 2020 rival and potential 2024 opponent.
Monday night marked the fourth time this year Trump has been indicted, following New York charges in Manhattan, and federal charges in Florida and Washington, D.C. In each instance, the White House has been careful not to weigh in, seeking to maintain a sense of independence between the West Wing and the Justice Department.
For Biden and his team, Tuesday was business as usual.
The president toured Ingeteam, a company that produces onshore wind turbine generators that is seeing its business grow because of the Inflation Reduction Act, which passed with only Democratic votes. As part of the president’s trip, Siemens announced that it will manufacture solar inverters in Kenosha County because of incentives included in the law.
“Folks, instead of exporting American jobs we’re creating American jobs and exporting American products,” Biden said in remarks at Ingeteam, highlighting billions of dollars’ worth of investments in infrastructure and manufacturing during his administration.
But it was not clear that Biden’s focus on domestic issues would cut through the noise created by another Trump indictment.
Televisions on Air Force One en route to Milwaukee played CNN, which almost exclusively covered the latest charges against the former president.
Asked if Americans would pay attention to Biden’s economic speech amid the chaos involving his predecessor, deputy principal press secretary Olivia Dalton said the president would remain focused on his agenda.
“You all will make your editorial decisions, but this president will stay focused on delivering for the American people. That is his job and that is his priority,” she told reporters aboard Air Force One. “And, you know, I think we’ve seen this movie before actually.”
The Inflation Reduction Act has been embraced by Democrats as a signature policy achievement that addresses key campaign promises to lower health care costs and address the climate crisis.
The law allowed Medicare to negotiate prices for some drugs and shore up health insurance subsidies, incentivized climate-friendly practices like the use of solar panels and electric vehicles, and allocated billions of dollars to crack down on wealthy individuals and companies evading tax laws.
The president’s visit was part of a broader administration-wide effort to highlight the anniversary of the president signing the Inflation Reduction Act into law. The White House will host a celebration with Democratic lawmakers on Wednesday to mark the official signing anniversary, and Cabinet officials are fanning out across the country this week to tout the benefits of the law.
But whether that resonates with voters on the ground continues to be a struggle for the administration. A Washington Post-University of Maryland poll, for example, conducted in mid-July found 71 percent of Americans said they know little or nothing about the law.
The poll showed that respondents were supportive of specific provisions contained in the law, such as expanded tax credits to install solar panels, but when asked how they felt about the Inflation Reduction Act, 39 percent said they supported it while 39 percent said they weren’t sure.
Biden himself got candid with donors in Utah last week when he told them at a campaign reception that he wished the Inflation Reduction Act was named differently, “because it has less to do with reducing inflation than it does to do with dealing with providing for alternatives that generate economic growth.”