Biden signs executive order and talks jobs in swing through North Carolina

Tribune Content Agency

RALEIGH, N.C. — President Joe Biden isn’t letting the Republican Party have all the fun in North Carolina this week.

As the state GOP convention brings politicians like former President Donald Trump, former Vice President Mike Pence and Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis to Greensboro, Biden and first lady Jill Biden are spending their Friday touring Eastern North Carolina.

The Bidens stopped in Rocky Mount and Fort Liberty, discussing two initiatives to help service members and young adults looking for good-paying jobs.

In Rocky Mount, Biden highlighted career-connected learning and workforce training for students. Since 2021, businesses such as Wolfspeed, VinFast, Toyota and Siemens pledged a collective $16 billion in spending on jobs in North Carolina that don’t require four-year degrees.

At Fort Liberty, Biden met with members of the armed forces and signed an executive order aimed at enhancing employment opportunities for military families.

The Bidens visited Nash Community College in Rocky Mount, where they met with students, toured the school’s training facilities and discussed the president’s agenda, which he calls Investing in America.

“My wife has taught community college now for some years,” Biden said. “…She has an expression, she says that ‘Community college is the best-kept secret in America.’”

Gov. Roy Cooper, a Nash County native; U.S. Rep. Don Davis, who represents Rocky Mount; and state Democratic Party Chair Anderson Clayton all attended the event.

North Carolina’s historically Black college and universities and community colleges, including Nash, received $23.7 million from the Biden-championed American Rescue Plan last summer. The money was earmarked to train North Carolinians, including those in rural and majority-Black communities, for clean-energy careers.

The Bidens spoke to students who are preparing for these jobs, which do not require a four-year degree.

“We all want hardworking students to be successful, even if a four-year degree isn’t the right path for them,” Jill Biden said.

In his speech, Biden touted his administration’s economic investments in the country, from the American Rescue Plan, which aimed to revive businesses after the COVID-19 pandemic, to the Inflation Reduction Act, which promoted clean energy and health care access.

The White House also says North Carolina is benefiting from $5 billion in federal funding for infrastructure projects that include roads, bridges, clean water and high-speed internet.

Biden lauded Nash Community College for its advanced manufacturing programs, which teach machine robotics, electric systems and more.

“Where is it written that America can’t lead the world again in manufacturing?” Biden asked the crowd.

He mentioned his administration’s investments in clean energy jobs, including a job training program with community colleges that he said would provide at least 3,000 jobs to build solar panels and other clean energy technology.

“You’re not only getting a good paying job, you’re gonna be doing something to save the country,” he said.

At Fort Liberty, formerly known as Fort Bragg, the Bidens discussed the first lady’s efforts to support military families through the Joining Forces program. Joining Forces focuses on helping find and retain employment for military spouses, including entrepreneurship; education for children in military families; and health care and other kinds of care for those families, who are often uprooted because of their loved ones’ work serving the country.

“People like to joke, ‘When the president calls 911, the phone rings at Fort Liberty,’” Biden said as he began his speech. “Well, that’s not too far from the truth.”

“When you answer, you answer freedom’s call every time,” he continued. “It’s you who take on so many of the nation’s toughest missions. You deploy quickly and quietly and risk your safety and protect the safety of Americans.”

Biden signed an executive order at Fort Liberty that aims to enhance career stability and expand employment resources and support for military and veteran spouses, caregivers and survivors.

“We can’t ask our service members to choose between their love of country and their love of family,” Jill Biden told reporters on a call before the trip. “That’s why supporting families, and the executive order that Joe will sign, are matters of national security.”

The White House says the order will, among other actions:

—Develop a plan for the hiring and retention of military and veteran spouses, caregivers and survivors.

—Make improvements to the Domestic Employee Teleworking Overseas program, which enables certain federal employees to work remotely.

—Expand child care access for military families by directing the implementation of Dependent Care Flexible Saving Accounts for service members.

—Direct the Small Business Administration to develop resources for military and veteran spouse entrepreneurs.

“The only way to keep this force strong for the next 50 years, and the 50 after that, and the 50 after that, is if we keep our promises,” Biden said. “We uphold the sacred obligation we bear to our military members, our veterans, our spouses, our caregivers, our survivors, and today I’m here as commander in chief to sign this executive order because it matters.

Biden’s visit comes the day after his predecessor and potential opponent in 2024, Trump, announced he was being indicted on federal charges in connection to his handling of classified documents. This makes Trump the first president in the country’s history to face criminal charges on the federal level.

Biden did not address Trump’s charges during his visit.

The trip also coincides with the largest GOP event of the year, where the 2024 presidential candidates plan to make their pitch to Republicans for why they should be given the party’s nomination. Despite the news of his indictment, Trump is still expected to address the convention on Saturday.

“Families in North Carolina and across the country are struggling to keep up with skyrocketing inflation and falling real wages caused by Biden’s radical tax-and-spend agenda,” Ronna McDaniel, chair of the Republican National Committee, said in a statement. “Biden has created crisis after crisis, leaving American families to suffer the consequences, but he doesn’t care.”

Biden’s campaign already announced it plans to fully invest in North Carolina as he looks toward his own reelection.

The Democratic National Committee announced a new billboard in Charlotte and one in Rocky Mount as part of a broader six-figure Biden for President campaign. The billboards highlight Biden’s economic accomplishments.