WASHINGTON (AP) — Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen pressed the case for Democratic economic policies during a visit Thursday to Ford’s Rouge electric vehicle assembly plant in Michigan, a battleground state in the November midterm elections.
After a production-line tour, Yellen promoted recent legislative successes for the Biden administration, saying: “After the progress we have made over the past few months, I am more optimistic about the course of our economy than I have been for quite a while and I know we are headed in the right direction.”
Yellen’s visit to Detroit was part of a monthlong tour as well as a larger White House campaign to highlight new laws intended to repair the economy, boost computer chip manufacturing, lower prescription drug prices, expand clean energy and revamp the country’s infrastructure.
“By any traditional metric, we have experienced one of the quickest recoveries in our modern history,” she said, referencing the financial damage and stagnation caused by the coronavirus pandemic that shuttered economic systems around the world. “Our plans worked” she added.
The Treasury Department is responsible for managing a new $7,500 electric vehicle tax credit for qualifying, but the auto industry is warning that the vast majority of EV purchases won’t qualify for that much.
The European Union and other nations have threatened to file complaints at the World Trade Organization over the tax credit, claiming it would discriminate against foreign producers and break WTO rules.
Yellen has more stops planned and will give a speech next month at the 157th anniversary of the Freedman’s Bank Forum to talk about how President Joe Biden’s economic agenda “advances equity and makes our economy stronger as a result.”
Biden is set to visit Ohio on Friday for the groundbreaking of an Intel semiconductor manufacturing facility and go to the Detroit auto show Wednesday to talk about manufacturing electric vehicles.
At the Ford electric vehicle assembly plant in Dearborn, Yellen pointed to U.S. vulnerability to global supply shocks caused by climate change and other factors, and the need to embrace green technology. Addressing those challenges, she said, offers the prospects of new jobs.
“This includes the U.S. clean vehicle sector, where we can expect greater investment — and more good jobs, like the ones here at Ford — as we develop the supply chain here at home,” she said.