WASHINGTON (AP) — The White House launched a new effort Thursday to show local governments what they can do for their communities, inviting North Carolina officials to highlight funding opportunities and hear firsthand how they’re doing. to coronavirus relief, infrastructure dollars and other policies at the local level.
“We’re entering a phase of our administration where we can do more in terms of convening at the White House,” said Julie Rodriguez, director of the White House Office of Intergovernmental Affairs. “It is incredibly inspiring for us to get closer to the impact we are having on the daily lives of Americans.”
One of the key messages from the visit by North Carolina officials is the recovery of manufacturing. Steady hiring since the middle of last year brought total US manufacturing jobs to 12.85 million, the most since late 2008 when the financial crisis led to more than 2 million layoffs in the sector.
The North Carolina officials and group discussed Wolfspeed’s plans to invest $5 billion in building a silicon chip factory that is projected to create about 1,800 jobs in the state.
That discussion followed the first group visit by Ohio officials recently. President Joe Biden spoke earlier this month at the groundbreaking for a new Intel plant near Columbus. Both Ohio and North Carolina have open Senate seats this year.
Thursday’s noon included Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Michael Regan, who is from North Carolina. Rodriguez and Keisha Lance Bottoms, a former Atlanta mayor who is now a White House senior adviser, are also expected to speak to the group.
More than 50 North Carolina officials attended, including U.S. Representative Kathy Manning, state legislators, the mayors of Charlotte, Wilmington, Fayetteville, Greensboro, Winston-Salem, Chapel Hill, Raleigh, Concord, Kinston and Durham, as well as leaders from Wake and Guilford counties.
Just as administration officials want to hear local stories, they also want to emphasize the potential opportunities local governments could have because of the bipartisan infrastructure law, incentives to develop computer chips and scientific research, and the recent package to encourage climate friendly energy. sources and limit the prices of prescription drugs.
As part of the day’s events, the White House connected those officials with regional media outlets in a sign that they are trying to get the message out to the general public. That will be crucial in terms of political messages. Republicans seeking control of the House and Senate have blamed high inflation on Biden’s $1.9 trillion coronavirus aid package, while the administration says prices are a byproduct of global events like the pandemic and the coronavirus crisis. Russian invasion of Ukraine in February.
The White House says its efforts have helped workers by quickly reducing unemployment rates to a low of 3.7%, but the Republican view is that consumer prices are up 8.3% from a year ago and the main concern of voters. Gasoline prices have fallen since peaking in June, but the Federal Reserve estimated on Wednesday that unemployment is likely to rise to reduce inflation.
“The inflation rate stabilizing above 8% doesn’t mean families are taking a breather, it means the exact opposite,” Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell said in a speech to the Senate on Monday. “It means that families continue to see prices go up and up all the time.”