By Nandita Bose
BELEN, New Mexico (Reuters) -U.S. President Joe Biden took his economic pitch to New Mexico on Wednesday to boast how his signature legislation helped turn a previously shuttered facility into a wind tower manufacturing facility.
Biden, a Democrat who is running for reelection, said the Arcosa plant is the latest piece of evidence that the country is on the cusp of a clean energy manufacturing boom spurred in part by billions of dollars in tax credits included in his Inflation Reduction Act (IRA), which was passed in Congress without Republican votes last year.
Biden is in the middle of a three-state swing through the American West to invigorate his reelection bid by touting the economy and new infrastructure projects to an American public still unhappy about the direction of the country.
Biden said previous administrations promised to invest in U.S. manufacturing, only to see jobs and capital move abroad. He said the historic investments from the IRA law, combined with stringent requirements to force companies to build supply chains domestically, have reversed that trend.
“I decided we are going to invest in America.” Biden said.
Antonio Carrillo, CEO of Arcosa, said his company and the wind power industry were struggling before the infusion of new funds from Washington. After the IRA passed, he said he received its biggest order for wind towers.
The White House and the Biden campaign are eager to win over skeptical Americans about the effectiveness of his policies to boost the economy and fight global warming.
Recent polls show a steep learning curve, even though the U.S. economy has outrun recession warnings with record-low unemployment, strong wage gains and better-than-expected GDP growth.
Some Americans who voted for Biden in 2020 say they believe the economy has fared poorly under his stewardship and they might not vote for him in the 2024 election, according to a Reuters/Ipsos poll released last week.
About half of the respondents who voted for Biden in 2020 said they have heard little or nothing of his major policy initiatives to reduce inflation or boost spending on infrastructure.
(Reporting by Nandita Bose, Jeff Mason and Jarrett Renshaw; Editing by Simon Cameron-Moore and Jonathan Oatis)