| 24 July 2024, Wednesday |

Biden traveling to voting rights hot spot Georgia to promote plans to rebuild economy

President Joe Biden marks his 100th day in office with a trip to Georgia on Thursday, visiting former President Jimmy Carter and pitching his plans to spend trillions of dollars to rebuild the U.S. economy.

After limited time on the road due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Biden is stepping up his travel schedule after his first address to a joint session of Congress on Wednesday. He will have a drive-in rally near Atlanta on Thursday and additional campaign-style stops are planned in Pennsylvania and Virginia in coming days.

During his speech to Congress, Biden appealed to Americans to support his “blue-collar blueprint” for change, saying his administration would invest a combined $4 trillion in families and infrastructure to rebuild the middle class.

Biden said his plans would add millions of well-paying jobs and trillions of dollars to economic output in coming years, while helping to reverse decades of systemic racism.

Former President Donald Trump, whom Biden succeeded in January, expressed concern about the tax increases on corporations that Biden wants to pay for his plans. He predicted it would prompt some companies to relocate abroad.

“They’re going to leave here so quickly,” Trump said in a phone interview with Fox Business Network’s “Mornings with Maria.”

Georgia’s Democratic Party said Biden would appear at a “Getting America Back on Track” rally in Duluth, about 30 miles (48 km) north of Atlanta.

The Democratic president also plans to meet with Carter, a close friend who at 96 is the longest-living U.S. president.

Carter and former first lady Rosalynn Carter, 93, were unable to attend Biden’s inauguration in January because of the pandemic, but the two men spoke the evening before.

First lady Jill Biden will accompany Biden to visit the Carters in Plains, Georgia, about 150 miles (240 km) south of Atlanta. Both couples are now vaccinated.

Biden was the first U.S. senator to endorse Carter’s run for the presidency in 1976, and the two men have been close for decades.

Carter, president from 1977 to 1981 and a Nobel Peace Prize winner, has experienced a string of health problems in recent years, including falls and a form of skin cancer.

Biden is also expected to meet with Georgia’s two Democratic U.S. senators, Raphael Warnock and Jon Ossoff, whose elections in the Republican-leaning state secured Democrats control of the Senate, and Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms.

Biden carried Georgia in November’s presidential election, the first Democrat to do so in 28 years.

His visit comes a day after the U.S. Justice Department charged three white men with federal hate crimes and the attempted kidnapping of Ahmaud Arbery, a Black man who died last year after he was gunned down while jogging through a suburban neighborhood in southern Georgia.

Georgia has become a hot spot in a nationwide battle over voting rights.

Over 100 U.S. corporations as well as civil rights activists and sports leagues have spoken out against voting rights curbs passed by Georgia’s Republican state legislature.

Biden has forcefully opposed the restrictions passed in Georgia, calling them “sick” and “un-American.”

Similar measures are under consideration in other Republican-controlled states, where backers have used former President Donald Trump’s false claims of voter fraud in last year’s election to push for changes they say are needed to improve election integrity.

  • Reuters