By SCOTT BAUER
MADISON, Wis. (AP) — Vice President Kamala Harris toured clean-energy laboratories on the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee campus Tuesday and touted President Joe Biden’s $2.3 trillion infrastructure plan during her first visit to Wisconsin since taking office.
Wisconsin Republicans said Harris’ time would have been better spent at the U.S. border dealing with the increase of migrants trying to cross from Mexico.
Harris also participated in a roundtable discussion about the investments in research and development proposed in Biden’s infrastructure jobs plan, which would rebuild roads and bridges, boost broadband access and make other improvements. Harris was joined by Democratic U.S. Sen. Tammy Baldwin, U.S. Rep. Gwen Moore, university and business leaders, researchers, teachers and others on the visit.
Harris has been touting Biden’s plan, released in March, at stops throughout the country. In Milwaukee, she emphasized the $180 billion the plan would put into research and development. Speaking at the roundtable, Harris said that would be the largest amount spent on research and development, other than in the military, in the history of the United States.
Harris said the U.S. has fallen behind in recent years and that it must be able to compete to pursue innovation that will improve the lives of American families.
The labs Harris toured conduct wind-tunnel and wind-turbine research and research on microgrids and batteries. Harris was told about one research project at UW-Milwaukee mweant to reduce the time to recharge an electric vehicle battery to just 15 minutes.
Gov. Tony Evers and Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett greeted Harris in Milwaukee. U.S. Rep. Mark Pocan, Lt. Gov. Mandela Barnes and Attorney General Josh Kaul, all Democrats, watched the roundtable discussion.
Republicans used the Harris trip to renew their criticism of Biden’s infrastructure plan as too costly.
Republican U.S. Sen. Ron Johnson, in a statement Tuesday, called Biden’s plan a “boondoggle” and said he was interested to see how Harris justifies the spending.
“Instead of creating more opportunities, it will kill people’s jobs, increase their taxes, and further implement radical leftists’ agenda,” Johnson said. “Happy to have her visit Milwaukee, but she really ought to inspect the crisis President Biden created at the border.”