The White House has made a new effort to show local governments what it can do for their communities, hosting North Carolina officials to highlight funding opportunities and get first-hand insight into coronavirus relief, infrastructure funding and other policies on the ground how is the performance.
Thursday’s event reflected the expanded use of the White House campus as pandemic restrictions eased. It’s also part of a larger push to host city, county and state officials from all 50 states on a weekly basis, coinciding with the White House’s campaign to galvanize Democratic voters in the November midterm elections.
“We’re entering a phase of government where we can do more in terms of having meetings at the White House,” said Julie Rodriguez, director of the White House Office of Intergovernmental Affairs. impact, which is very inspiring for us.”
One of the key messages that North Carolina officials visited was a recovery in manufacturing. Steady hiring since the middle of last year brought the total number of U.S. manufacturing jobs to 12.85 million, the highest level since late 2008, as the financial crisis triggered more than 2 million layoffs in the industry.
Officials are expected to discuss Wolfspeed’s plans for a $5 billion silicon chip factory with the group from North Carolina, which is expected to create about 1,800 jobs in the state.
The discussion will follow the first group visit by Ohio officials recently. Earlier this month, President Joe Biden spoke at a groundbreaking ceremony for Intel’s new factory near Columbus. Ohio and North Carolina both have open Senate seats this year.
Thursday’s half-day event will include EPA Administrator Michael Reagan from North Carolina. Rodriguez and former Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bartons, who is now a senior White House adviser, will also speak with the group.
Confirmed attendance were 23 North Carolina officials, including U.S. Rep. Casey Manning, state legislators, Charlotte, Wilmington, Fayetteville, Greensboro, Winston-Salem, The mayors of Chapel Hill, Raleigh, Concord, Kingston and Durham, as well as from Wake and Guildford counties.
Just as government officials want to hear local stories, they also want to highlight the opportunities local governments may have because of bipartisan infrastructure laws, incentives to develop computer chips and scientific research, and a recent package to encourage climate-friendly energy sources and Limit prescription drug prices.
As part of the day’s events, the White House plans to connect the officials with regional media to show they are trying to get the message across to the wider public. As far as political messages go, this will be crucial. Republicans seeking to rein in both chambers have blamed Biden’s $1.9 trillion coronavirus relief package for high inflation, which the administration says is a byproduct of global events such as the global pandemic and Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in February.
The White House said its efforts to help workers quickly bring the unemployment rate down to a low 3.7%, but Republican touts that consumer prices are up 8.3% from a year ago are the main reason voters are concerned. Gasoline prices have eased since peaking in June, but the Federal Reserve estimated on Wednesday that unemployment could rise to reduce inflation.
“Stabilizing inflation above 8 percent doesn’t mean households are resting — quite the opposite,” Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell said in a Senate speech on Monday. “That means households continue to see prices rising all the time.”