WASHINGTON (AP) — President Joe Biden plans to sign an executive order while visiting Maine on Friday to encourage companies to manufacture new inventions in the United States.
Biden is going to Maine for the first time of his presidency, packaging his signing of the executive order with a speech at a textile factory and a fundraiser later in the town of Freeport.
The Democrat won three out of the state's four electoral votes in 2020 and is seeking to shore up his support in the state. Maine allocates its electoral votes by congressional district, and Biden lost the vote in the state's 2nd District, which provided the only electoral vote in New England for then-President Donald Trump, a Republican. By going to that district on Friday, Biden is seeking to show its blue-collar voters that he's committed to them as a single electoral vote could be critical in a narrow 2024 presidential election.
"We're talking about bringing manufacturing back to the country and creating jobs — good-paying jobs," White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said Thursday as she previewed the trip.
Democrats can compete in Maine's 2nd District as Rep. Jared Golden has been its congressman since 2019. But Golden has also been one of the Democratic lawmakers who has openly criticized Biden over his handling of debt limit talks this year and the administration's forgiveness of student debt that has since been overturned by the Supreme Court.
Republicans have said that Biden's policies have led to higher inflation. Consumer prices climbed to a four-decade high last summer, but inflation has eased over the past 12 months to a rate of 3% annually.
"Bidenomics is hurting working people in my district," said Maine state Rep. Joshua Morris, a Republican. "The cost of groceries, heating oil, gas, health care and electricity have gone up as a result of Joe Biden's policies. He should be apologizing to us while he's here, not bragging."
The White House outlined the executive order being signed by Biden, which would improve the transparency of federal research and development programs to meet the administration's goals for domestic manufacturing. The order asks agencies to weigh U.S. national security and economic interests when determining if domestic manufacturing requirements should be broadened.
The order also encourages federal agencies to consider domestic production when investing in research and development and to use their own legal authorities to encourage that new technologies are made in the U.S. But when goods cannot be made in the U.S., the order instructs the Commerce Department to create a clearer and timelier process for receiving a waiver.
Biden will be going to Auburn Manufacturing Inc., a maker of heat- and fire-resistant fabrics for industries that include shipbuilding, oil refining and electricity generation. The company challenged China for its unfair trade practices regarding amorphous silica fabric, or ASF, which is a heat-resistant material.