In Ohio, Biden pushes bipartisan bill as way to curb inflation

President calls retiring GOP Sen. Rob Portman 'one of the good guys'

President Joe Biden meets with manufacturing leaders during a visit to United Performance Metals, a specialty metals solutions center, in Hamilton, Ohio. Walking behind him, Republican Sen. Rob Portman can be seen on the left and Democratic Sen. Sherrod Brown on the right.  (Olivier Douliery/AFP/Getty Images)
President Joe Biden meets with manufacturing leaders during a visit to United Performance Metals, a specialty metals solutions center, in Hamilton, Ohio. Walking behind him, Republican Sen. Rob Portman can be seen on the left and Democratic Sen. Sherrod Brown on the right. (Olivier Douliery/AFP/Getty Images)
Posted May 6, 2022 at 5:57pm

President Joe Biden touted bipartisan efforts to move an innovation bill on Capitol Hill during a stop Friday in Ohio, a state with competitive House races and a pivotal, multimillion-dollar Senate race this fall.

Flanked by the state’s two senators, Democrat Sherrod Brown and Republican Rob Portman, Biden told local officials and business leaders that measures such as the innovation bill would address inflation and supply-chain problems by encouraging more U.S. manufacturing.  

The pandemic and Russia’s invasion of Ukraine have shown “the vulnerability when we become too reliant on things made overseas,” Biden said after touring a United Performance Metals plant where parts were manufactured using 3D printing.  “We learned the hard way that we can’t fight inflation if supply chains buckle and send prices through the roof.”

Biden’s visit to the Cincinnati suburb of Hamilton was to highlight the launch of AM Forward, a new voluntary effort to enhance additive manufacturing capabilities like industrial-level 3D printing. It's the latest in a series of stops by the president to tout various parts of his agenda, with the emphasis Friday on pushing Congress to finish a bipartisan package designed to bolster American competitiveness, especially in the production of technologies like semiconductors.

The president gave shoutouts to major companies including GE, Honeywell, Raytheon, Lockheed Martin and others.

Though the Buckeye State will host high-profile Senate and House races this fall and with matchups set after primaries on Tuesday, Biden took a decidedly bipartisan approach in his remarks. The race to replace Portman, who is retiring, has already grabbed attention with Republican J.D. Vance, who had the endorsement of former President Donald Trump, running against Ohio Democratic Rep. Tim Ryan.

“Sen. Portman, since he’s not running again I can say all the nice things about him that I want, and it won't get him in any trouble because he’s leaving,” Biden said during the event. “Rob, I’m sorry you’re leaving because you’re one the good guys. I mean because the way you treat other senators, the way you treat everybody.”

Ryan did not attend the event. White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki told reporters that he had scheduling conflicts Friday that included a funeral.

Democrat Greg Landsman, a Cincinnati city council member who is challenging incumbent GOP Rep. Steve Chabot in the 1st District, took part in a photo line with the president, according to the White House. Republicans offered a glimpse into some of their midterm messaging against Landsman.

“Greg Landsman is happy to appear with Joe Biden because he supports Biden and [Speaker Nancy] Pelosi's failed agenda that will defund the police and increase inflation,” said Camille Gallo, a spokesperson for the National Republican Congressional Committee, in a statement.

Also on the photo line, according to the White House, was Aftab Pureval, the current Cincinnati mayor who came within 3 percentage points of ousting Chabot in 2018. The district as it was then configured backed Trump over Biden by 3 points in 2020. But under the lines that were used in Tuesday's primary — which are still being challenged in court — Biden would have won the district by 8.5 points, according to Dave's Redistricting. 

Inside Elections with Nathan L. Gonzales rates Ohio's 1st District race as a Toss-up.

Republican National Committee Chairwoman Ronna McDaniel said in a statement that “the burden of Biden haunts their candidates up and down the ballot. Ohioans will vote for Republicans because they know Biden and Democrats are responsible for skyrocketing prices, rising crime, and a historic border crisis.” 

Brown told reporters at the event that he expects the innovation bill to pass by summer.  He said that his advice for Ryan in the Senate race was for the Democrat to make a contrast with Republicans, and added that the administration can do more to address inflation.