CLEVELAND — President Joe Biden on Thursday argued for increased spending on infrastructure, research and education to lift the U.S. economy as the country recovers from the coronavirus pandemic.
Standing before a row of milling machines at a Cuyahoga Community College manufacturing center, the president said the United States needs a strong economy to be a global leader.
“Now’s the time to build on the foundation that we’ve laid, to make bold investments in our families and our communities and our nation,” Biden said. “We know from history that these kinds of investments raise both the floor and the ceiling of the economy for everybody.”
Biden pledged action to deal with supply bottlenecks and rising materials prices that could impede that recovery. He also mentioned the service-sector employers who have been offering higher pay and benefits as they try to fill open positions.
“We’re already seeing what happens when employers have to compete for workers,” he said. “Companies like McDonald’s, Home Depot, Bank of America and others, what do they have to do? They have to raise wages to attract workers. That’s the way it’s supposed to be.”
At one point in his speech, Biden held up a card listing Congressional Republicans he said had publicly hailed the federal aid coming to their districts despite voting against it.
“Some people have no shame,” the president said, laughing. “But I’m happy. I’m happy they know that it benefited their constituents. That’s okay with me. But if you’re going to try to take credit for what you’ve done, don’t get in the way of what we still need to do.”
The president is visiting Cleveland just as Senate Republicans back in Washington roll out a $928 billion counteroffer to the White House’s $1.7 trillion infrastructure proposal.
In an interview with WKSU Thursday, Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-OH) said the plan needs to address a wide swath of infrastructure needs.
In Cleveland, President Joe Biden Promotes Stimulus Plans for US Economy
“With childcare, with broadband, with the Brent Spence Bridge in Cincinnati with making sure that local governments can make decisions on what they need in infrastructure, that Washington doesn't tell them what to do.”
Thursday marked Biden’s second visit to Ohio as president. In March, he visited the James Cancer Hospital and Solove Research Institute at The Ohio State University in Columbus.
Ohio’s unemployment rate fell to 4.7 percent in April, down from a high of 16.4 percent during the height of pandemic business shutdowns one year earlier. But there are still 300,000 fewer workers in Ohio’s nonfarm workforce now than in February 2020.
The president spoke to an audience of about 40 people, plus local and national press, in a machine shop at Tri-C’s Manufacturing Technology Center. In attendance were several Ohio Democratic leaders, including Cleveland Mayor Frank Jackson, Rep. Marcy Kaptur, Rep. Tim Ryan and Dayton Mayor Nan Whaley.
In an op-ed in Cleveland.com ahead of Biden’s visit, Ohio Republican Party Chairman Robert Paduchik criticized the president for canceling the Keystone XL pipeline, an oil pipeline project supported by the Trump administration.
A handful of protesters waved Trump flags across the street from Tri-C’s campus, blasting pro-Trump rap songs from a loudspeaker at a line of cars waiting to enter the event.
President Joe Biden stops at Honey Hut for ice cream during Cleveland visit
President Joe Biden made a quick trip to Honey Hut during his visit to Cleveland on Thursday.
Dating back to his days as Vice President, ice cream has become every bit as synonymous with Joe Biden as his signature aviator sunglasses.
So perhaps it shouldn't come as a surprise that the President made a quick trip to Honey Hut on State Road before leaving his visit in Cleveland on Thursday afternoon.
"It's a good day for ice cream @ Honey Hut," White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki wrote on Twitter, where she posted a picture of Biden placing his order.
According to a White House pool report, the United States' 46th President ordered chocolate, chocolate chip and butter pecan and told the employees to keep the change on his order, which included 50 units of ice cream for the staff. Additional social media posts and photos also showed Biden taking pictures with employees.
.@POTUS poses for a selfie as he stops to get ice cream from the Honey Hut Ice Cream store in Cleveland, Ohio. pic.twitter.com/0XfDW5mQE3
— Doug Mills (@dougmillsnyt) May 27, 2021
It’s a good day for ice cream @ Honey Hut
— Jen Psaki (@PressSec) May 27, 2021
Biden's trip to Honey Hut came after a speech on the campus of Cuyahoga Community College, where he toured the school's Manufacturing Technology Center and discussed the state of the economy during a speech, as well as his $1.7 trillion dollar infrastructure bill. You can follow a live blog of Biden's visit to Northeast Ohio here.
Cleveland Mayor Frank Jackson announces end of city's COVID-19 civil emergency
City employees will return to in-person work on June 14, while City Hall will be open to the public starting on July 6.
Cleveland Mayor Frank Jackson has announced that the city is lifting its Proclamation of Civil Emergency, which had mandated citywide health and safety protocols amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
The proclamation had been set to expire on May 31.
The announcement by Jackson's administration follows the Centers for Disease Control’s newest public health recommendations on masks and Governor Mike DeWine’s recent announcement that most health orders will rescind on June 2.
According to a release, all city employees will be required to be onsite for work no later than Monday, June 14. City Hall will be open to the public on Tuesday, July 6 with new enhanced security requirements.
“Despite the ongoing decline in new COVID-19 cases, the City will continue to closely monitor COVID-19 data,” said Jackson in a statement. “If new cases, hospitalizations and/or deaths begin to rise, we will revisit the decision to reopen. We must continue to be vigilant and use the measures we know have been effective – get your vaccine, wash your hands and social distance. The pandemic is not over.”
According to the city's release, the number of new COVID-19 cases in Cleveland decreased in the past four reporting weeks but still remains at a high level. In the past two weeks, the Cleveland Department of Public Health reported 795 new COVID-19 cases or 198.5 new cases per 100,000 in the City of Cleveland; and although vaccine availability has increased, the city has seen a sharp decrease in the number of individuals getting vaccinated.
Visitors to City Hall and other city buildings beginning Tuesday, July 6 will experience new or expanded health and safety protocols. All visitors will be badged upon entry, which includes providing information on their destination within the building. Facial coverings are mandatory and all visitors may be subject to temperature screening or self-assessments. Visitors will also see signage throughout the building with health information. Social distancing will be required.
Additional health and safety protocols will include:
All visitors must have specific business or an appointment to enter City Hall
All visitors will be screened for the purpose of their visit and provide identification badges (i.e., citizen name, photo, destination department, and be color coded)
Security will monitor City Hall/Department/Vital Statistics population/occupancy
Security will track capacity and roam City Hall and make random security calls and visits
Bags will be checked for contraband and weapons prior to entering City Hall
All visitors found roaming City Hall will be directed to the correct department or asked to leave
All visitors will be required to wear masks while in all areas of City Hall
All city employees must return to their original core-hours, work schedule and physical worksite no later than Monday, June 14. To ensure safe work environments, the city of Cleveland says it will continue following these protocols for all employees:
Facial coverings required for all employees
Temperature screenings required for all employees prior to beginning their shift or requiring employees to conduct daily health assessments (self-evaluation prior to beginning their shift)
Employees required to maintain good health protocols at all times – hand washing, sanitizing, and social distancing
Work locations sanitized throughout workday, at the close of business or between shifts
Employees provided cleaning products to ensure their personal workspace is clean
Ensuring plexiglass barriers are in place where necessary and applicable
In addition, employees will continue to pass through metal detectors and security will conduct random employee ID checks.
Cleveland State University's Wolstein Center COVID-19 mass vaccination site to close on June 7
The site will offer the Pfizer vaccine during its final week of operation.
Cleveland State University's Wolstein Center COVID-19 mass vaccination site will soon be closing its doors.
On Thursday, Gov. Mike DeWine announced that the site's final day of operation will be on Monday, June 7. The clinic will offer the Pfizer vaccine during the clinic's twelfth and final week.
"Pfizer is the only vaccine approved for those ages 12 and up, so if you are a parent who has been thinking about bringing your child to the Wolstein Center for their vaccination, now is the time," said DeWine. "This clinic has been tremendously successful, and the process to get in and out the door here has been fast and efficient for both youth and adults."
The clinic opened in mid-March with the intention of staying open for eight weeks. DeWine, the Ohio Department of Health, and the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) later decided to extend the clinic to a total of 12 weeks.
In its first 10 weeks of operations, nearly 255,000 doses of COVID-19 vaccine have been administered at the clinic.
Those who receive their first dose of the Pfizer vaccine at the Wolstein Center before the clinic closes will be scheduled to receive their second dose at an area Discount Drug Mart location. Free transportation in Cuyahoga County is available by calling 2-1-1. Youth ages 12-17 must have consent from and be accompanied by a parent or legal guardian to be vaccinated at the Wolstein Center. Parking is free.
Ohio's Mass Vaccination Clinic at the Wolstein Center is open 7 days a week. Walk-ins are welcome from 8:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. or vaccination appointments can be reserved at gettheshot.coronavirus.ohio.gov or by calling 833-4-ASK-ODH. There are also more than 1,200 other local area providers offering vaccines across the state.
Ohioans who have received at least one dose of vaccine at the Wolstein Center or any other vaccination clinic are eligible to enter the Ohio Vax-a-Million drawing for a chance to win $1 million or a four-year Ohio state college or university scholarship. There are still four more opportunities to win following Wednesday's first drawing.
As President Biden prepares for Cleveland visit, White House notices Ohio’s Vax-A-Million lottery
‘Of course, we’ve heard about it,’ White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki says when talking about president’s Thursday visit to Cleveland.
President Joe Biden will be in Cleveland Thursday to continue to promote his COVID-19 stimulus plan, known as the American Rescue Plan.
Press Secretary Jen Pskaki told 3News on Wednesdsay that the president will be talking about the plan, which was pushed through Congress by fellow Democrats, and the administration’s proposed $1.7 trillion infrastructure bill that Republicans argue is too costly.
“He’ll talk about the fact that his economic plan is working and the fact that he thinks now is exactly the time we should invest more in our workforce, rebuild roads, rails and bridges, do more to help families with childcare and paid leave,” she said.
Ohio’s U.S. Sen. Rob Portman is among the Republicans working on a counter proposal. He recently complained the president’s plans are driving inflation.
“What’s happened, particularly with the stimulus money and the 1.9 trillion Covid package has overheated the economy and you can see it in the higher inflation numbers,” he said.
Psaki responded to that argument.
“We came down $550 billion in the proposal the president put forward just last Friday and we're looking forward to tomorrow getting a counterproposal back from the Republican negotiators,” she said. “The good news here is that we feel like everybody is operating in good faith.”
In Ohio, the state’s first Vax-A-Million lottery drawing is today and dominating news across the state. The Ohio Lottery will announce the $1 million winner picked from a pool of vaccinated adults. It will also pick one vaccinated resident between the ages of 12 and 17, who will win a four-year college scholarship to a state school.
Asked if the White House has noticed, Psaki said yes.
“Of course, we've heard about it,” she said. “And I also have family members in Cincinnati. I'm very much tracking. But I will tell you that there's no playbook for trying to get more people to get vaccinated during a pandemic. There's no history that we can look at and say these are the approaches that work. Every governor and leaders are going to take their own approaches.”
President Joe Biden visits Cleveland, tours Cuyahoga Community College
Before departing for Cleveland on Air Force One, Biden tweeted the following: "In March of 2020, I went to Cleveland for a campaign event — but our rally was cancelled due to growing concerns about COVID-19. A long dark year lay ahead. Today, America is on the move again and I’m headed back to talk about our progress. See you soon, Ohio!"
"His economic plan is working," White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki told 3News Wednesday. "He thinks now is exactly the time we should more in our workforce, invested in roads and bridges, do more to help families with child care and paid leave."
Biden will likely discuss his $1.7 trillion dollar infrastructure bill, which Psaki says will be a huge boon for Ohioans.
"We know that there are a lot of outdated road rails and bridges back in Ohio, and a lot of people that could be put back to work or long-term work by investing in those projects," she said.
But Republicans are pushing back, countering the bill’s budget.
"[We need to] get a bill to something that is actually be more reasonable," Republican National Committee spokesperson Paris Dennard said. "Somewhere in the neighborhood of $500-$600 billion is where the Republicans are."
As a labor shortage continues to slow the reopening of the cities like Cleveland across the country, the Biden Administration says the pandemic is still to blame.
"There [are] a number of bigger factors that have contributed to the workforce not going back quiet yet," Psaki said. "One them is that we are still at war with the pandemic."
The GOP, meanwhile, wants to hold the administration accountable for a slow-recovering economy.
"What the nation could do is have the economy get back to normal by eliminating a lot of these rules and regulations and mandates that have not been helpful to a lot of the states," Dennard said.
The stop in Cleveland will be Biden's first since taking the Oath of Office in January, but his second visit to Ohio since then. He swung through Columbus in March as he was touting his $1.9 trillion COVID-19 rescue package.
The last time Biden was in Cleveland was last September, when as the Democratic Party's nominee he took on then-President Donald Trump in the first presidential debate of the 2020 general election campaign. Following a debate that was rife with interruptions and personal attacks, Biden later stopped in Cleveland and Alliance the next day as part of an Amtrak "whistle stop" tour, and even sat down for an interview with 3News' Russ Mitchell before his train left.
Despite winning the election, Biden lost Ohio to Trump by a relatively wide margin of 53%-45% last November, becoming the first victorious president to not carry the Buckeye State since John F. Kennedy in 1960. The result led many to wonder if Ohio's days as a pivotal swing state are over, something Biden and the Democrats will hope to change by 2024.
Biden currently boasts a solid approval rating of 53% according to FiveThirtyEight (higher than Trump had at any point during his own presidency), and won support from voters across the political spectrum with his $1.9 trillion American Rescue Plan that passed Congress in March. However, some worry the economic recovery from COVID-19 may be starting to slow down, especially after an underwhelming jobs report that saw just 266,000 jobs created nationwide in the month of April. The U.S. unemployment rate currently stands at 6.1%.