Joe Biden has turned his campaign against US President Donald Trump toward the economy, introducing a New Deal-like economic agenda while drawing a sharp contrast with a billionaire incumbent he said has abandoned working-class Americans amid cascading crises.
The former vice president presented details of a comprehensive agenda he touted as the most aggressive government investment in the US economy since World War II.
The Democrat also accused Mr Trump of ignoring the pandemic and climate crisis while encouraging division amid a national reckoning with systemic racism.
"His failures come with a terrible human cost and a deep economic toll," Mr Biden said at a metal works firm near his childhood hometown of Scranton, Pennsylvania.
"Time and again, working families are paying the price for this administration's incompetence."
His shift to the economy meets Mr Trump on turf the Republican president had seen as his strength before the pandemic severely curtailed consumer activity and drove unemployment to near-Great Depression levels. Mr Biden and his aides believe the issue is an all-encompassing opening that gives Democrats avenues to attack his rival on multiple fronts while explaining their own vision for the country.
Mr Biden's proposals are intended to reinvigorate the US manufacturing and technology sectors.
He called for a $400bn (€353bn), four-year increase in government purchasing of US-based goods and services, plus $300bn in new research and development in US technology firms. He proposed tightening "Buy American" laws benefiting US firms but that government agencies can circumvent.
The procurement overhaul is based on ideas Mr Biden has discussed with his former presidential rival Senator Elizabeth Warren, who offered similar proposals during the Democratic primary. Those moves would create five million new jobs, Mr Biden said. He also emphasised previous pledges to establish a $15-per-hour minimum wage, strengthen workers' collective bargaining rights and repeal Republican-backed tax breaks for US corporations that move jobs overseas.