Former Vice President Joe Biden paid a visit to Los Angeles Trade-Technical College Thursday ahead of a pair of Southland fundraisers, but his speech was overshadowed by a school shooting in Santa Clarita that left two students dead.
Biden opened his speech by addressing the deadly shooting and vowing to take on the gun lobby if elected to the White House.
He said the failure of federal leaders to address gun violence has been "intolerable for a long time."
"And the fact that our Republican friends, led by this president, is so desperately afraid of the (National Rifle Association), afraid of the gun manufacturers, and yields in a way that is quite frankly sickening."
He added, "I'm so tired of people talking about your prayers. Dammit, we have to protect these kids. We have to do it now."
Biden was also scheduled to attend a 5 p.m. reception at The Riveter event space in West Los Angeles, with tickets priced at $100, $250, $500 and $1,000, and a later reception at the Pacific Palisades home of Rick Lynch, the owner of the entertainment marketing firm BLT Communications, and music video producer Lanette Phillips. Tickets for the second reception are priced at $500 and $2,800, the maximum individual contribution during the primary campaign.
Biden was last in the Southland in mid-October, when he attended a trio of fundraisers and spoke at a "Power of Our Pride" forum focusing on issues affecting the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and questioning communities.
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Biden will not be among the eight participants in a candidate forum Saturday at the California Democratic Party Convention in Long Beach.
Earlier Thursday, the Biden campaign released what it dubbed a plan "to invest in middle class competitiveness."
The 10-year, $1.3 billion plan would:
- repair highways, roads and bridges;
- speed the transition to electric vehicles;
- increase funding for high-speed rail, including for the California High Speed Rail project;
- double funding for airports through the Federal Aviation Administration's Airport Improvement Program;
- invest in freight infrastructure, including inland waterways, freight corridors, freight rail, transfer facilities, and ports;
- invest in energy infrastructure for a 100% clean energy economy;
- double federal spending in clean drinking water and water infrastructure, and focus new funding on low-income rural suburban, and urban areas that are struggling to replace pipes and treatment facilities;
- spend $20 billion in rural broadband infrastructure and triple funding to expand broadband access in rural areas;
- spend $100 billion in improving public school buildings;
- expand the New Markets Tax Credit, make the program permanent and double Community Development Financial Institutions funding;
- double funding for the Economic Development Administration to help underserved communities tap existing federal resources;
- create a new $10 billion Cities Revitalization Fund focused on creative revitalization projects in distressed cities like redeveloping post- industrial waterfronts, energizing main street business districts and building new green public spaces;
- create a new fund to support the establishment and revitalization of "anchor institutions" -- including hospitals, colleges and universities, and government administrative offices -- in distressed areas;
- quadruple funding for the Manufacturing Extension Partnership which provides small manufacturers with the technical expertise needed to compete in a global economy;
- enact a national strategy to develop a low-carbon manufacturing sector in every state;
- establish a Manufacturing Communities Tax Credit to aid communities that experienced mass layoffs or the closure of a major government institution;
- double federal funding to $3 billion for the State Small Business Credit Initiative to bolster private sector investments to small businesses, especially those owned by women and people of color; and
- establish a competitive grant program for new business startups outside of the nation's biggest cities.
The plan will be financed by revenue by repealing the Trump administration's tax cuts for corporations and "ensuring corporations pay their fair share"; reducing incentives for tax havens, evasion and outsourcing; closing "other loopholes in our tax code that reward wealth, not work"; and ending subsidies for fossil fuels, according to the campaign.