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President Joe Biden visits Milwaukee ahead of Inflation Reduction Act anniversary

Biden spoke about the sweeping measure following a factory tour

A large banner that says "Bidenomics" can be seen behind President Biden as he speaks from a stage.
President Joe Biden waves as he gives a speech Tuesday, Aug. 15, 2023, at Ingeteam Inc. in Milwaukee, Wis. Angela Major/WPR

One day before the one-year anniversary of the signing of the Inflation Reduction Act, President Joe Biden traveled to Milwaukee to tour a company directly impacted by the sweeping measure.

Biden toured Ingeteam Inc., a clean energy manufacturing company that produces wind turbine generators. After the tour, he spoke at length about the act, which is aimed in part at helping industry leaders and consumers transition away from fossil fuels to cleaner energy sources. A March analysis of the law found it could bring 24,000 clean energy jobs to Wisconsin over the next decade.

“Instead of exporting American jobs, we’re creating American jobs, and we’re exporting American products,” Biden said. “They’re being built right here in Wisconsin and places where factories have been shut down.”

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Biden said due to the passing of the act, Ingeteam expects orders of wind turbine generators to double next year. In May, the company also announced plans to begin manufacturing electric vehicle charging stations in Milwaukee, which could create 100 new jobs.

President Biden gestures as he speaks from behind a podium.
President Joe Biden speaks Tuesday, Aug. 15, 2023, at Ingeteam Inc. in Milwaukee, Wis. Angela Major/WPR

Jesus Rodriguez, executive vice president of Ingeteam EC Chargers USA, said the company now plans to produce up to 13,000 electric vehicle chargers per year.

“We are proud to support this administration’s goals to combat the climate crisis by expanding our role in the American supply chain and supporting Wisconsin’s transition to a clean economy,” Rodriguez said in a statement.

In conjunction with the visit, industrial manufacturer Siemens also announced plans Tuesday to start manufacturing solar energy equipment at its Kenosha County factory. The company plans to make solar string inverters, or devices that convert solar energy into alternating current electricity, according to the Office of Energy Efficiency & Renewable Energy.

“They’re going to build them just outside of Kenosha,” Biden said. “Don’t tell me American’s can’t innovate. Don’t tell me that.”

A statement from the Clean Economy Coalition of Wisconsin said the act has already spurred $445 million in investments for Wisconsin’s businesses, workers and residents.

“This is happening across the state. It’s a direct result of those clean energy investments I signed into law a year ago,” Biden said. “Folks, as I’ve said for a long time, for a long time, when I think climate, I think jobs.”

Sen. Tammy Baldwin is seen on stage behind a podium.
Sen. Tammy Baldwin speaks before President Joe Biden on Tuesday, Aug. 15, 2023, at Ingeteam Inc. in Milwaukee, Wis. Angela Major/WPR

The president’s visit was part of an effort to promote what the White House is calling “Bidenomics” as the 2024 presidential race is shaping up to be a replay of the 2020 contest between Biden and former President Donald Trump. The president wants to highlight his economic accomplishments as his approval ratings in Wisconsin are stuck at 42 percent. Trump’s favorability ratings in the state are lower still, at 35 percent in the most recent Marquette Law School poll.

“It’s (Bidenomics) about growing the economy by strengthening the middle class and making things in American again,” Biden said. “It’s time to build American products, in America.”

Brian Schimming, chair of the Wisconsin GOP, painted a different picture.

“Bidenomics, which is now what they’re calling it, is kind of the latest rendition of economic failure for this White House,” Schimming said.

He said he believes households in Wisconsin are paying more for essentials since Biden has become president.

“Wisconsin households know they cannot afford four more years of this president — that’s the message that we’re hearing clear across this state,” he added.

A man holds a phone while he takes a photo of President Biden, who can be seen on his screen.
An attendee takes a photo of President Joe Biden during his speech Tuesday, Aug. 15, 2023, at Ingeteam Inc. in Milwaukee, Wis. Angela Major/WPR

Biden’s visit comes one week before the first Republican presidential primary debate is set to take place in Milwaukee. Milwaukee will also play host to the 2024 Republican National Convention, a move by Republicans to try and take back Wisconsin after Biden narrowly defeated Republican Donald Trump in the 2020 presidential election.

Wisconsin has been a crucial swing state in recent national races. Biden flipped Wisconsin blue in 2020 after Trump won the 2016 presidential election.

Democrats have historically performed very well in Milwaukee County. In 2020, Biden won nearly 70 percent of the popular vote in the county. But Republicans have been increasingly dominant in smaller and more rural communities across the state.

It’s Biden’s sixth visit to Wisconsin as president, and his most recent since February when he spoke at a labor training facility outside of Madison. Vice President Kamala Harris was also in Wisconsin two weeks ago, as she praised new plans from Nokia to manufacture broadband network electronics in Kenosha County.