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WASHINGTON (AP) — Seeking to boost his standing with frustrated blue-collar voters, President Joe Biden on Wednesday will use the backdrop of a union training center in Cleveland to tell workers his policies will shore up troubled pension funding for millions now on the job or retired.

Hurt politically by inflation at a 40-year high and damages wrought by the pandemic, the president is anchoring his message to workers in the former election bellwether of Ohio.

The Buckeye State has been trending strongly Republican with Donald Trump easily carrying it twice, and this is Biden’s fourth visit as president as he labors to personally reverse that electoral tide.

Biden’s speech at the Iron Workers Local 17 Training Center is timed to the announcement of a final administrative rule that is tied to his $1.9 trillion coronavirus relief package from last year. The rule allows troubled multi-company pensions to be made financially whole, ensuring full benefits for 2 million to 3 million workers and retirees.

The roughly 200 pension plans receiving assistance faced possible insolvency without government aid. Without the full benefits, workers and retirees could struggle to pay for housing, food and other essentials. The financial support should help keep the pension funds solvent for roughly 30 years until 2051.

Details about Biden’s remarks were shared by two administration officials who insisted on anonymity to preview his speech.

Multiemployer plans are created through agreements between companies and a union, and are insured by the federal Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation (PBGC). In 2014, Congress passed the Multiemployer Pension Reform Act that allowed plans, for the first time, to cut workers and retirees’ benefits in order to ensure that pensions projected to run out of money remained solvent.

The American Rescue Plan passed in March 2021 included a special finance assistance program that allows struggling multiemployer pension plans to apply to the PBGC for assistance. The final rule being unveiled by the Biden administration is designed to make it easier for the pensions’ investments to receive a higher rate of return.

The effort to highlight a program to bolster union workers comes as Democrats hope to pick up a U.S. Senate seat in Ohio, where a strong showing with working class voters could play pivotal role.

Republican Rob Portman is leaving the Senate after two terms. Vying to replace him are Democratic Rep. Tim Ryan and Republican J.D. Vance, the author of the memoir “Hillbilly Elegy” who secured an endorsement during the primary from Trump. Ohio voters backed Trump in 2016 and 2020, with his margin of victory each time at roughly eight percentage points.

While Biden boasts of steady job growth — unemployment sits at 3.6% — Americans have largely been discontented with the Democratic president’s handling of the economy as inflation continues to rise, interest rates increase and the stock market wobbles. Just 28 percent approve of Biden’s stewardship of the economy, down from 51% a year ago, according to an AP-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research poll published last week.

Biden has made extensive commitments to boost Ohio’s economy. But his efforts suffered a recent setback as Intel postponed the July 22 groundbreaking for a computer chip plant near the state capital of Columbus. The decision came after a planned investment of more than $50 billion in the semiconductor industry stalled in Congress.

Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell said on Twitter last week that he would block the computer chip bill if congressional Democrats pursue passage of their budget and domestic agenda as planned in the face of Republican opposition.

Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo said she is working with lawmakers in both parties to get a final semiconductor bill passed, saying it is key to U.S. economic competitiveness and national security.

“As is common in legislating, there will be bumps in the road, but no one benefits more than China from delays in getting the Bipartisan Innovation Act to the president’s desk,” she said in a statement.

Biden has highlighted the planned computer chip plant as a commitment to U.S. manufacturing, part of the message he hopes to stress by aiding pensions for plant workers.

His efforts to fund the distressed pensions would extend the solvency of the government’s PBGC multiemployer insurance program from 2026 to 2055.Full benefits would be restored to 80,000 workers and retirees who already have had their benefits cut.

Biden has often emphasized his administration’s efforts supporting trade union members, who are a major part of his political identity. The president likes to proclaim that the middle class built America and that “unions built the middle class.” In an April speech to union workers in Washington, he offered support for Amazon employees in Staten Island, New York, who had voted to form a union by declaring, “By the way, Amazon, here we come. Watch.”

In May, during an International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Conference, Biden derided Trump, as “the great MAGA king,” poking fun at the former president’s “Make America Great” campaign slogan that has resonated with many blue-collar voters in the industrial Midwest.

He is hitting repeatedly in an economic political attack against Republicans heading into November’s midterm elections — that the GOP for all its criticism of him has few tangible solutions to major policy problems facing the country, including spiking inflation.

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I thought Prince Andrew was going to prison & Fergie didn’t have a penny – they owed me MILLIONS, says socialite

A FRENCH socialite has settled a £7million lawsuit with Prince Andrew and Fergie because they "didn't have a penny" to pay back the millions owed to her, she claims.

Former pal Isabelle de Rouvre, 74, said the decision by Andrew's ex to buy a £5million property in Mayfair was "incredible and unbelievable" as she thought Fergie "didn't have a penny" to her name.

5Isabelle de Rouvre, 74, said it was 'unbelievable' the Yorks bought a new home despite owing her millions 5De Rouvre sold her Swiss Alps chalet to the Yorks in 2014 for £18mCredit: EPA 5Fergie and Prince Andrew settled their case with de RouvreCredit: Getty - Contributor

Andrew and Sarah Ferguson bought de Rouvre's chalet in Verbier in 2014 for roughly £18million and promised to pay £5million in cash instalments, with interest.

When the Yorks failed to pay up, the 74-year-old socialite took them to court.

De Rouvre said the couple owed her a total of about £6.8million but an agreement was struck where she received £3.4million instead because she was told the Yorks were short of money, according to The Sunday Times.

She claims the reason she didn't vehemently pursue the Royals for the full payment is because of Prince Andrew's legal battle with Jeffrey Epstein survivor Virginia Guiffre.

READ MORE ON PRINCE ANDREWGRAND TASTES Mystery of Andrew's millionaire lifestyle - despite earning only £270k

She thought the couple didn't have money and that Andrew "would be going to prison in America so I thought it best to get what I could", de Rouvre said.

"I am outraged that I am now told she has spent millions on another property.

"It is just incredible and the whole story unbelievable. It is a dirty story as far as I am concerned."

Giuffre, a victim of sex trafficking at the hands of paedophile financier Jeffrey Epstein, claimed Andrew raped and abused her when she was 17.

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Andrew has vehemently denied the claims against him and settle a civil suit brought forward by Giuffre. Andrew never faced any prospect of jail time.

Fergie purchased her Mayfair mews home from Grosvenor Estates for £5million earlier this year and is thought to be an investment property for her daughters Princess Beatrice and Princess Eugenie.

Details about the new ownership are yet to be published by the Land Registry.

In 2010, Fergie said she was "continually on the verge of financial bankruptcy".

There were reports she had £4.2million in debt during her 10-year marriage with Prince Andrew.

"I thought she didn’t have a penny," de Rouvre said as she referenced the settlement she reached with the Yorks in November following a protracted and costly legal battle.

The agreement meant the Royals could sell the chalet and use the proceeds to pay off some of the £10million believed to have been paid to Guiffre in their out-of-court settlement.

The chalet was frozen by authorities because a Swiss couple said they were owed a "business debt" of £1.6million, according to local paper Le Temps.

Andrew is said to be disputing the amount he owes the couple but doesn't deny the unpaid debt.

De Rouvre told The Sun she had "run out of patience" over the unpaid loan on the Verbier estate, which is nestled in a well-to-do area of the Swiss Alps.

Swiss sources say Isabelle rented her £22,000-a-week seven-bed Alpine chalet to royals including Prince Harry in the early 2010s.

She became pals with Andrew and ex-wife Sarah Ferguson, who stayed at the luxury bolthole in the Verbier ski resort in 2013.

They bought it the next year for around £18million, with Isabelle lending them £5million for the deposit.

However, Andrew and Fergie were unable to meet a deadline for repayment and are now being sued for £6.7million including interest.

A friend of Isabelle’s told The Sun: “She has run out of patience.

“She thought these people would be able to pay their debts.

“She became a family friend because she would let Andrew and Sarah stay in her chalet before she sold it to them.

"But they are hardly close friends any more.”

Paris-born Isabelle, a mum of four and nan of seven, is the ex-wife of F1 and sugar tycoon Cyril de Rouvre.

She is now dating French art dealer Michael Kennedy — former lover of Donald Trump’s ex-wife Ivana.

Now back living in Verbier after several years on the Italian Riviera, she told The Sun: “The case is really very difficult. They have a lawyer and I have mine too.”

Andrew and Fergie are believed to have tried to sell the chalet to pay off the debt by December 31 last year but could find no buyer.

It is understood Swiss prosecutors can serve a summons if funds are not paid within 20 days.

The property could then be seized and auctioned.

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It is the latest crisis for the 60-year-old Duke of York.

He stepped down as a senior royal after his car crash Epstein interview on Newsnight last November.

5Andrew, Sarah and their two daughtersCredit: Getty 5Fergie is understood to have bought a £5m property in MayfairCredit: Louis Wood - The Sun

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