By CHRISTOPHER RUGABER, HOPE YEN and CALVIN WOODWARD – Associated Press
WASHINGTON (AP) — President Joe Biden recounted a flawed Democratic talking point on guns in his first State of the Union address, made his electric vehicle plan sound more progressive than it is and inflated the momentum of his infrastructure package. On several fronts he presented ambition as achievement.
A look at some of his claims Tuesday night and a look at the Republican response:
BIDEN: “Severe cases have dropped to levels not seen since July of last year.”
THE FACTS: Biden overestimated the improvement and left out a statistic that remains a worrying sign of the toll of COVID-19.
While hospitalizations have indeed declined compared to last summer, deaths remain high. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s COVID tracker shows 289 deaths as of July 1, 2021. Last Monday, the CDC tracker reported 1,985 deaths.
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BIDEN, who is urging Congress to pass measures he said would reduce gun violence: “Remove liability protection that makes gun manufacturers the only industry in America that can’t be sued, the only one.”
THE FACTS: This is wrong. Although gun manufacturers have legal protections from being held liable for injuries caused by the criminal misuse of their guns, thanks to the Protection of Lawful Trade in Arms Act 2005, they are not exempt or immune from a lawsuit.
The law provides exceptions where manufacturers or dealers can be held liable for damage their guns cause, such as: B. Defects or defects in the design of the firearm, negligence or breach of contract or warranty in the purchase of a firearm.
Families of victims of the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting in Newtown, Connecticut, are suing gun manufacturer Remington for “unlawful marketing” of firearms and last month agreed to a $73 million settlement.
BIDEN, promoting his $1 trillion infrastructure bill: “We’re tired of talking about infrastructure weeks. We are now talking about an infrastructure decade. … We will set up a national network of 500,000 charging stations for electric vehicles.”
The bipartisan legislation approved by Congress ended up providing only half of the $15 billion Biden had earmarked to fulfill a campaign pledge of 500,000 charging stations by 2030.
Biden’s Build Back Better proposal aimed to bridge the gap by paying back billions to pay for charging stations. But Senator Joe Manchin, DW.Va., in December declared that bill dead in its current form over cost concerns.
Administration officials now say the Infrastructure Act will help “pave the way” for up to 500,000 charging ports by 2030. This is unlike charging stations, which might have multiple ports. They say private investment could help close the gap. There are currently over 100,000 electric vehicle retail outlets in the United States
The Department of Transportation’s plan calls for states to roll out a nationwide network of electric vehicle charging stations that would place new or upgraded ones every 50 miles along highways. The $5 billion in federal funding over five years depends on working with large rural communities across the United States that are less likely to own electric vehicles because of their typically higher price.
The federal states are expected to start construction in the fall.
BIDEN on Intel’s plans for new factories in central Ohio: “Up to eight state-of-the-art factories in one place, 10,000 new jobs.”
THE FACTS: His testimony is premature. That many factories are not imminent and may or may never be built.
Earlier this year, Intel announced it would open two factories that are expected to employ 3,000 people. The other 7,000 jobs that the project is expected to create are temporary construction jobs. It is also planning a chip foundry that will make chips designed by other companies. Construction is due to start later this year.
Intel has raised the possibility of building up to six more factories over the next decade, bringing the total number of factory workers to 10,000. But that’s just a prospect, years away.
BIDEN: “The pandemic has also disrupted the global supply chain… Look at the cars over the last year. A third of all inflation was due to car sales. There weren’t enough semiconductors to make all the cars people wanted to buy. And guess what? Car prices have risen sharply… And so we have a choice. One way to fight inflation is to lower wages and make Americans poorer. I think I have a better idea to fight inflation. Lower your costs, not your wages. Guys, that means making more cars and semiconductors in America. More infrastructure and innovation in America. More goods move faster and cheaper in America… Instead of relying on foreign supply chains, let’s do it in America.”
THE FACTS: It’s arguable that more domestic production means less inflation.
Products made abroad, especially in countries like China or Mexico where wages are lower, are generally cheaper than goods made in the United States.
Biden is also overemphasizing overseas supply chain disruptions as a factor in the worst inflation in four decades. Although these problems were indeed a major factor behind rising costs, inflation is increasingly showing up in other areas, such as rents and restaurant food, which reflect the rapid growth in the economy and wages over the past year rather than a global supply shortage. These trends are likely to keep prices higher even as supply chains recover.
BIDEN on infrastructure bill: “The largest single investment in history was a bipartisan effort.”
THE FACTS: No, it wasn’t that historical.
Biden’s infrastructure bill was big, adding $550 billion in new spending over five years on roads, bridges and broadband internet. But measured as a share of the US economy, it’s slightly below the 1.36% of the nation’s gross domestic product that was spent on infrastructure on average in the first four years of the New Deal, according to a Brookings Institution analysis. It is even further below the approximately 2% spent on infrastructure in the late 1970s and early 1980s.
IOWA GOV. Criticizing the Biden administration’s handling of immigration, KIM REYNOLDS boasted about the Republican governors’ attention to the issue: “We actually pushed the limit — something our president and his vice president have yet to do since he took office.”
THE FACTS: Not true. Vice President Kamala Harris visited the border last year. Biden hasn’t left yet.
Harris visited a Customs and Border Protection center in El Paso, Texas, and met migrant children there. She also visited a reception center on the border and interviewed local community organizations.
The half-day trip in June came after months of criticism from Republicans and some in her own party about her and Biden’s absence from the border at a time when immigration officials were recording record numbers of encounters with migrants attempting to enter the United States
Associated Press writers Ricardo Alonso-Zaldivar and Amanda Seitz in Washington, David Klepper in Providence, Rhode Island, John Seewer in Toledo, Ohio, and Karena Phan in New York contributed to this report.
EDITOR’S NOTE – A look at the veracity of politicians’ claims.
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