President Joe Biden took his economic message to the Colorado congressional district of Rep. Lauren Boebert on Wednesday, highlighting clean-energy manufacturing investments in the hardline Republican's backyard that she voted against.
The visit was part of a White House strategy to contrast Biden's economic vision with that of "MAGA Republicans" − like Boebert − as Americans continue to give his administration poor marks on the economy amid lingering anxiety over inflation.
"She along with every single Republican colleagues voted against the law that made these investments in jobs possible," Biden said in Pueblo, Colo. "That's not hyperbole, it's a fact. And then she voted to repeal key parts of this law."
Biden spoke from a factory operated by CS Wind − the world's largest wind tower manufacturer − that is undertaking a $200 million expansion as a result of incentives from Biden's Inflation Reduction Act that Congress, then controlled by Democrats, approved in 2022. All Republican members of Congress, including Boebert, voted against the legislative package.
CS Wind has already hired more than 500 employees so far since the Pueblo expansion began, with the project expected to create 850 new jobs overall.
"She called this law a 'massive failure.' You all know you're part of a massive failure?" Biden said to workers gathered in the factory. "Tell that to the 850 Coloradoans who get new jobs in Pueblo and see us win thanks to this law. Tell that to a local economy that’s going to benefit from these investments. Tell that to anyone who wants to listen.”
Yet, less than a year before the 2024 presidential election, voters' concerns about Biden's handling of the economy remain one of his biggest vulnerabilities. Biden has touted a manufacturing resurgence under his presidency and embraced the slogan "Bidenomics," but a Gallup poll this week found 59% of Americans disapprove of his handling of the economy.
More Americans trust former President Donald Trump, the 2024 Republican primary front-runner, than Biden to improve the economy by a 47%-36% margin, according to a USA TODAY poll in September.
Boebert, in a statement on X, formerly known as Twitter, said, "Joe Biden is taking a break from his lavish vacations to come to Pueblo to talk about what he calls 'clean energy.'"
"He should be coming here to apologize for his all out war on on fossil fuels and his Green New Deal agenda which have cost the great people of Colorado’s 3rd District dearly," she said.
Boebert, who won her 2022 reelection by less than 1 percentage point, faces another tough election in 2024. Democratic challenger Adam Frisch, who fell just short in his bid last year, is seeking the Democratic nomination again for a rematch.
Americans' economic concerns have not eased despite strong metrics. The U.S. economy grew at a stronger pace in the third quarter than expected, according to new data released Wednesday by the Commerce Department that showed the gross domestic product increased by 5.2%, better than the 5% projection.
"That's more growth than accrued under my predecessor than in any quarter outside the pandemic," Biden said.
Nationwide, the Inflation Reduction Act has led to $310 billion in new clean-energy investments since its passage, creating 210,000 new jobs across 44 states, according to an analysis from Climate Power, which advocates for clean energy.
Biden pointed to a new Treasury Department report released Wednesday that found 81% of clean-energy funds from the Inflation Reduction Act have gone to projects in counties where the median income is below the national average.
"When I took office, I vowed to be president for all Americans," Biden said. "And we're delivering on that promise."
Companies have announced $7 billion in new manufacturing and clean-energy projects in Colorado during Biden's presidency, according to the White House, that are expected to account for 3,500 new jobs. That includes a $400 million project by Primergy Solar to build a 1,900-acre solar field in Pueblo that could power up to 56,000 homes and create 250 jobs.
Biden noted that Boebert also voted against the infrastructure law he pushed, which is delivering $17 million for street projects in Pueblo and $13.2 million to revitalize Main Street in Delta, Colo.
"Folks, none of that sounds like a massive failure to me. How about you?" Biden said, directing his comments to the factory workers. "You're changing America. But it all sounds like a massive failure in thinking for the congresswoman and her colleagues."
Reach Joey Garrison on X, formerly known as Twitter, @joeygarrison.
This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: President Biden touts economic agenda in Lauren Boebert's backyard