Biden to laud Democrats’ high-tech gains in visit to California’s Viasat

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U.S. President Biden travels to San Diego to campaign for U.S. Rep. Mike Levin

CARLSBAD, Calif. (Reuters) – U.S. President Joe Biden will visit communications firm Viasat Inc on Friday, days before critical midterm elections, to tout his party’s push to boost domestic production and reduce reliance on overseas semiconductors, the White House said.

Biden’s visit, the latest in a series of trips to advanced manufacturing sites across the United States, is aimed at bolstering support for Democrats, who face a real risk of losing their razor-thin majorities in the U.S. Congress.

Biden will laud “the resurgence of American manufacturing” enabled by passage of three key pieces of his signature legislation – the Chips and Science Act, the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, and the Inflation Reduction Act, the White House said in a preview of his visit.

The Democratic president will seek to contrast the trillions of dollars of investment unleashed by those laws with Republican campaign rhetoric focused on “ripping away the progress we’ve made, raising costs for working people, and putting Medicare and Social Security on the chopping block,” it said.

Polls show Republicans are poised to take control of the U.S. House of Representatives and perhaps the Senate as well, which would give them the power to block Biden’s legislative agenda for the next two years.

Biden will also lend support to U.S. Representative Mike Levin, a Democrat who in 2018 won a seat that had been held by Republicans for decades. Holding onto the swing seat could help Democrats hang onto their slim lead in the House. Levin faces a challenge from Republican Brian Maryott in the Nov. 8 election.

Democrats’ electoral hopes have been hammered by voter concerns about high inflation, and Biden’s public approval rating has remained below 50% for more than a year, coming in at 40% in a recent Reuters/Ipsos poll.

Biden embarked Thursday on a final four-day push to showcase gains made by his Democrats before Tuesday’s election, while warning of the dangers that Republicans backed by former President Donald Trump pose to U.S. democracy.

Biden appealed to young voters in New Mexico on Thursday as part of his final campaign swing, highlighting his cancellation of billions of dollars in student debt and criticizing record oil company profits.

On Friday, at Viasat’s headquarters in Carlsbad, near San Diego, he will laud the company’s hiring of more than 700 veterans – about 10% of its workforce – across the country, the White House said.

The Chips and Science Act signed into law by Biden in August, and backed by some Republicans, is aimed at jumpstarting the domestic production of semiconductors in response to supply-chain disruptions that have slowed the production of automobiles and high-tech products like those built by Viasat.

Viasat is a Carlsbad-headquartered communications company that provides satellite and fixed and mobile broadband internet.

(Reporting by Andrea Shalal; Additional reporting by Daniel Trotta; Editing by Kim Coghill)

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