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Biden tells unions he will 'finish the job' in first speech since 2024 announcement

Chants of “Four more years” punctuated Biden's first speech after he made his re-election bid official.
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WASHINGTON — Hours after announcing his 2024 bid, President Joe Biden promised in a union hall speech on Tuesday to deliver for American workers if re-elected, pitching his economic vision for the country and swiping at Republicans.

Biden's remarks to the North America’s Building Trades Unions at the Washington Hilton were punctuated by chants of “Four more years.”

“We’re on the cusp of major change,” Biden said, addressing the labor federation. “We’re creating jobs again. Manufacturing has come alive again. People can afford decent health care. Towns that have been forgotten and left behind are coming to life again because of you all — what we’re doing.”

He continued: “Now we’ve just got to keep going. Finish the job.”

The speech, which reflects the Biden campaign's view of organized labor as a key constituency, was the president’s first public event after making his 2024 re-election bid official in a video message Tuesday.

The rollout mirrored Biden’s 2020 campaign, when he held his first event at a Pittsburgh union hall following a video campaign launch.

Biden said Tuesday that unions were responsible for the growth in jobs and the economy since he entered the White House, and urged workers to stick by his side.

“Folks, trickle-down economics doesn’t work,” the president said. “We’ve got a very different plan for the economy. We, you and I together, we’re turning things around, and we’re doing it in a big way.”

Biden touted a trade spat with foreign leaders over his plans to bolster American clean energy manufacturing, under the Inflation Reduction Act, as he swiped at decades of trade policies that have shipped American jobs overseas.

Biden’s focus on the issue echoes his 2020 campaign, in which he won some key swing states that helped former President Donald Trump secure his own win in 2016 with a focus on trade.

The president fired at the “MAGA” Republicans, whom he said threatened “to take us to a place we’ve never been” with a potential default on the nation's debt amid a standoff over negotiations. “Tax giveaways” for wealthy Americans and “huge cuts” to the social programs millions of Americans rely on are also on the GOP agenda, he said.

Instead, Biden offered Americans an alternative: a “blue-collar blueprint” for the nation aimed at increasing American manufacturing and improving infrastructure, with projects already underway.

“Under my predecessor, infrastructure week became a punch line,” Biden said. “On my watch, infrastructure has become a ... headline.”