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Biden pushes economic agenda while honoring labor unions at White House

President Joe Biden held a belated Labor Day celebration at the White House on Wednesday as he made the case for his large-scale economic agenda and how it would benefit working and middle-class families at an event honoring labor unions.

"We're the only country in the world that goes into a crisis and when we come out of it we're stronger than we were before we went in it. That's by building back better," Biden said, referencing the slogan for his economic agenda and twin infrastructure proposals currently making their way through Congress.

He continued: "We're going to build back better. We have to, we must, we will. Because that's who we are. That's what America is."

"On Labor Day, we honor the dignity of the American worker and every day we remember that America wasn't built by Wall Street -- they're not all bad folks on Wall Street, I'm not suggesting that, but they didn't build America. It was built by the middle class, and unions built the middle class," Biden said.

The President spent the Labor Day holiday on vacation at his home in Wilmington, Delaware, and visited a local union hall at one point during the day. On Tuesday, he traveled to flood-ravaged parts of New York and New Jersey, where he also pitched his infrastructure proposals.

Democrats in Congress are pushing forward with a sweeping $3.5 trillion, 10-year spending plan to expand education, health care and childcare support; tackle the climate crisis; and further invest in the nation's infrastructure. The package, along with a separate $1.2 trillion bipartisan infrastructure package, make up the bulk of Biden's domestic agenda and are designed to help the nation recover from the coronavirus pandemic.

Biden said his agenda would make housing more affordable, provide paid family leave, bring down the cost of prescription drugs, make elder and child care more affordable, provide two years of free community college and universal pre-kindergarten and provide tax cuts for working families with children.

Biden spoke of his own deep connection to labor unions and repeated a sentiment he has expressed before -- that he intends to be the "most pro-union president leading the most pro-union administration in American history."

"This is your house. It's not hyperbole. It's a fact. This is your house. I wouldn't be here without you. That's again not hyperbole. In my White House, you will always be welcome," Biden said.

Earlier this year, Biden proposed strengthening the federal government's Buy American rules in an attempt to boost US manufacturing. The new proposal would require that goods purchased with taxpayer money contain 75% of US-made content, up from the current 55%.

"Over the years, the Buy America Act became a hollow promise. It's been there for a long time. I'm going to make it a reality," Biden said.

The President also touted the executive order he signed earlier this year to promote competition in the US economy. The wide-ranging order aims to lower prescription drug prices, ban or limit non-compete agreements that the White House says impede economic mobility and cracks down on Big Tech and internet service providers, among several other provisions.

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