Democrats seek business investment from Intel, AT&T – News

Democrats seek business investment from Intel, AT&T – News
Democrats seek business investment from Intel, AT&T – News

Democratic U.S. Senate candidate Mark Kelly speaks at an election observation party in Tucson, Arizona, U.S., on November 3, 2020.

Cheney or Reuters

Democrats are flaunting new partnerships with corporate America in an effort to convince voters they can deliver jobs and protect the economy ahead of the midterm elections.

Many of the investments the party has touted are in key battleground states. In Arizona, Democratic Sen. Mark Kelly — whose re-election bid will help determine control of the Senate — joined AT&T CEO John Stankey and Corning CEO Wendell Weeks last week to announce a new fiber optic plant outside Phoenix that will create hundreds of jobs.

Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen visited Ford’s electric car plant in Michigan on Thursday and discussed the benefits of clean energy. Later this month, he will travel to North Carolina, where Toyota is spending $2.5 billion to develop EV batteries. North Carolina will also host a critical Senate race in November.

U.S. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen holds a news conference in the cash room of the U.S. Treasury Department on July 28, 2022 in Washington.

Jonathan Ernst Reuters

Perhaps most notably, President Joe Biden will attend a groundbreaking ceremony for Intel’s new semiconductor facility in the swing state of Ohio on Friday – the start of an investment that could be worth up to $100 billion. Both company executives and lawmakers claim the project was made possible by legislation led by Democrats.

“When you pass good legislation, you get good results,” Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., said this week as he ticked off a laundry list of business investments. “The American people feel that Washington is capable of doing big things to tackle big challenges.”

That tone represents a shift from the Democrats’ supportive rhetoric a year ago. Then, they focused on raising revenue from corporations and the wealthy to pay for a sweeping social spending proposal known as Build Back Better: raising corporate tax rates, creating a global minimum tax on multinationals, and new taxes on millionaires and billionaires. to tax , among others.

And when inflation hit a 40-year high, some Democrats blamed corporate profiteering.

But those proposals were blocked by party moderates. Most of the attention though is on West Virginia Sens. While Joe Manchin and Arizona’s Kirsten were focused on the movie, House centrists such as Reps. Stephanie Murphy of Florida and Kurt Schrader of Oregon also expressed dismay.

And as Democrats pushed back on their proposal, their message became more muted.

“It sometimes feels like a split screen,” said Jim Kessler, executive vice president of policy at the moderate think tank Third Way. “But here’s a real opening for Democrats on the economy and the relationship with business.”

Now, Democrats are building on recent investment announcements as evidence of their success on three other bills: the bipartisan Infrastructure and Chips and Science Act – both of which need Republican support – and the De-Inflation Act, which Democrats themselves passed.

Handshakes with business leaders could help counter Biden’s low poll numbers. Most voters disapprove of his handling of the economy, including 57 percent of independents, according to an August NBC News poll.

Inflation has given Republicans a strong line of attack as business investment is sought. The National Republican Senatorial Committee released a Gallup poll this week that showed 74% of low-income Americans are experiencing financial hardship due to rising prices, up from 66% in January.

“The Democrats’ recent policies … have hurt middle-class families across the country and created a recession whether they want to admit it or not,” an NRSC spokesperson said. “Democrats seem unconcerned about solving inflation, hurting our economy and needing to vote in November.”

Democrats haven’t dropped their talk of making corporations pay their fair share of taxes or holding big business accountable. The Inflation Reduction Act imposed a new tax on stock buybacks and set a domestic minimum tax of 15 percent, though manufacturers won a key carveout from that provision. It would give Medicare the power to negotiate prescription drug prices, despite fierce opposition from the pharmaceutical industry.

But for now, Democrats are highlighting their alliances with businesses rather than their arguments. Even the party’s left is acknowledging that working with the business community can have political and economic benefits.

“I think there’s an understanding among progressive thinkers in economics that we can’t just focus on redistribution. We can’t just focus on taxes and transfers,” said Lindsay Owens, executive director of the Groundwork Collaborative. “We also need to focus on pre-distribution. We have to create a market for what we want.”

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