Pete Buttigieg, Doug Emhoff visit Raleigh to promote Biden's American Jobs Plan

RALEIGH, N.C. (WTVD) -- Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg and second gentleman Doug Emhoff visited North Carolina on Friday as part of the Biden administration's travel blitz, which is designed to rally support for the president's infrastructure plan.

President Joe Biden has said his proposal for an aggressive series of infrastructure investments would require $2.3 trillion in spending over eight years. It would rebuild roads and bridges, bolster public education, and create more than a million new jobs and would be funded by higher corporate taxes.

"We need a plan with the boldness and scale to match the size of America's size and opportunities," Buttigieg said.

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Buttigieg and Emhoff started Friday morning at 10:30 a.m. by speaking to Raleigh union members about the American Jobs Plan. They then traveled to a nearby manufacturing laboratory to speak with workers there.

WATCH: Pete Buttigieg's full remarks at Union Station
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Raw video: Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg delivers remarks at Raleigh's Union Station



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"Consider the smartphone in your pocket, whether made by Apple or someone else," Buttigieg said. "That phone could never have been made by a government. No one would want that. But the government created the internet without which the smartphone wouldn't be smart. The point is you've got to have both. Economies thrive, and specifically, American companies thrive, when we have good public investment."

Later, Buttigieg and Emhoff visited North Carolina State University's campus. They were joined by Democratic Rep. David Price of NC's 4th congressional district, which covers other parts of the Raleigh metropolitan area, including Durham and Chapel Hill.

They went to the Additive Manufacturing Lab where NC State staffers showed them objects produced with 3D printing technology. They also visited the Pavement and Asphalt Testing Lab, where staff and students showed them the mixing process of a new pavement formulation that extends the lifetime of paved surfaces.

WATCH: Doug Emhoff's full remarks at Union Station
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Full remarks from second gentleman Doug Emhoff, who spoke at Raleigh's Union Station on Friday afternoon.



Finally, Emhoff and Buttigieg toured the Construction Facilities Lab where the development of construction materials and systems are researched to enhance infrastructure sustainability.

"You heard the president the other night talking about the future, didn't you?" Emhoff said. "We need to invest in our future. Seeing what I saw in the materials, and the 3-D printing and asphalt and the concrete test. That's what we need to see all around the country."



The final stop on the tour of the Tar Heel State was the speech at Union Train Station in Raleigh, where they were joined by Gov. Roy Cooper, Congressmembers Deborah Ross and David Price, among others.

North Carolina's two senators, Republicans Thom Tillis and Richard Burr were invited to the ceremony Friday but did not attend, citing scheduling conflicts.

WATCH: Gov. Roy Cooper's full remarks at Union Station
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Full speech: Gov. Roy Cooper delivers remarks at Raleigh's Union Station on Friday afternoon.



Biden used his first address to Congress on Wednesday to tout his American Jobs Plan.

Republican lawmakers have deep-seated doubts about the scope of the proposed package, its tax hikes and Biden's premise that this is an inflection point for the U.S. as a world power.

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Two Biden administration officials are visiting Raleigh on Friday to promote the president's infrustructure plan



One of the core disputes is over what counts as infrastructure in his $2.3 trillion proposal. And a fundamental disagreement has emerged about whether the United States is losing its status atop the global economy because of its deteriorating infrastructure.

Rep. Madison Cawthorn, R-NC, was one of those critical of the Democratic proposals.

"I'm so upset the Biden administration is politicizing one of the very few areas that Democrats and Republicans can still agree on," Cawthorn said. "I believe it is within the enumerated powers of the Federal Government to provide infrastructure to our citizens, but I define infrastructure as pretty much the basic definition - airports, seaports, roads, bridges and now broadband. The Democrats are trying to politicize this again and trying to spend a lot of money that we do not have on things that we don't really need."

Cawthorn said he worried about the nation's spiraling debt.

"We continually borrow money from other countries and, primarily, a lot of the money comes from bonds that we sell to American citizens, and then we use that money, and we try and go spend try to offset and do deficit spending what is very nearly $30 trillion of debt," Cawthorn said. "One day, this is going to be a national security that we have to either decide between funding our national security and our defensive projects or trying to pay off our debt."

The North Carolina Republican Party.said Biden's "tax hike agenda is the wrong track for America."

"No photo op can cover up the Biden administration's 100 days of failure and the visit to North Carolina demonstrates that they are focused on looking good instead of doing good," NCGOP Communications Director Tim Wigginton said in response to Buttigieg's visit. "If they really cared about infrastructure, Secretary Buttigieg would be working with Republicans who have already proposed a significant infrastructure package."

The Biden administration hopes for a vote on the jobs plan later this summer.

Ben Sessoms of the Raleigh News & Observer and The Associated Press contributed to this report.
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