‘With Mike’s help’: Biden makes case for Calif. congressman


President Joe Biden on Friday is set to tour a southern California communications company that is expected to benefit from his legislative push to bolster American semiconductor manufacturing — and he’s taking a vulnerable Democratic congressman with him.

CARLSBAD, CALIF. (AP) — President Joe Biden said Friday that his top legislative achievements were due in part to the work of a Southern California congressman locked in a tight reelection race, as the president toured a communications company that was expected to benefit from his push to bolster American semiconductor manufacturing.

Biden was joined by Rep. Mike Levin for the visit to Viasat, as he highlighted his CHIPS and Science Act, a $280 billion legislative package, and the work his administration has done for U.S. veterans. The bill is one of the Biden administration’s most significant legislative achievements, and his work for veterans is deeply personal after his son, Beau, died from brain cancer after returning from a tour in Iraq.

“Mike’s a champion for his constituents, especially veterans who live here,” Biden said, noting throughout his remarks that he got signature bills passed “with Mike’s help.”

Levin, a two-term congressman representing a San Diego-area district that was once a Republican stronghold, is locked in a tight race with former San Juan Capistrano Mayor Brian Maryott. Biden headlined a rally Thursday night in Oceanside, California, for Levin.

“I feel really good about our chances,” he told reporters as he boarded Air Force One for Illinois. “I think we’re going to keep the Senate and pick up a seat, and I think we have a chance of winning the House. So, I feel optimistic.”

The stop in California and events to come in Illinois, Pennsylvania and New York are part of Biden’s down-to-the-minute efforts to shore up shaky ground ahead of the midterm elections Tuesday that had once been reliably predicted to go for Democrats, in an effort to blunt the impact of projected losses in congressional seats and in governors races across the country.

Coronavirus pandemic-era supply disruptions and a dearth of domestic chip manufacturing hampered Viasat, which relies on such components for services it provides to industrial customers and the U.S. military. The company also makes a point of hiring returning veterans. Biden on Friday spoke of how the CHIPS act will help Viasat and other companies reduce their reliance on overseas chip manufacturers.

“It’s a game-changer,” he said of the ability to have chips readily available in the U.S.. “Thanks to this law, this company hopes to significantly grow its global business and hire more workers in the next five years.”

Later Friday, Biden will participate in a political reception in Chicago for House members Lauren Underwood and Sean Casten. There are signs in the Democratic stronghold that some lawmakers representing suburban Chicago districts may be facing more competitive reelection battles than expected.

Saturday morning he’s to deliver remarks in nearby Joliet, Illinois, on Social Security and Medicare, before heading to Philadelphia to join former President Barack Obama to stump for Senate candidate John Fetterman.

From there, Biden will travel to Westchester County, just north of New York City, to campaign for Gov. Kathy Hochul, who’s in a tough race with Republican Lee Zeldin.

The Congressional Leadership Fund, a super political action committee, or super PAC, aligned with the GOP House leadership, this week announced a $1.8 million ad buy against Democratic Rep. Sean Casten, who represents an Illinois district that Biden won by about 11 percentage points in 2020. Rep. Kevin McCarthy of California, the House minority leader, was due to campaign with GOP challenger Keith Pekau in the district Friday.


Long reported from Washington.


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