Jan 12, 2023

Biden Discusses December Inflation Report, Addresses Documents Found in Delaware Garage Transcript

Biden Discusses December Inflation Report, Addresses Documents Found in Delaware Garage Transcript
RevBlogTranscriptsBiden Discusses December InflationBiden Discusses December Inflation Report, Addresses Documents Found in Delaware Garage Transcript

President Biden delivered remarks on the U.S. economy. He also addressed the second group of classified documents dating from his time as vice president that was found in his home. Read the transcript here.

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Speaker 1 (00:00):

… to the White House as promised where Joe Biden is giving remarks on the latest inflation numbers.

Joe Biden (00:05):

Inflation has come down. Measured over the last 12 months, it has fallen 6.5%. That’s down from 7.1% the month before. It’s down from 9.1% this summer. Inflation is now at its lowest level since October of 2021. When we look at just the last three months, we see that inflation fell to 1.8% on an annualized basis. It’s down from more than 11% in the first three months of last year. So the data’s clear, even though inflation is high and major economies around the world, it’s coming down in America month after month, giving families some real breathing room. And the big reason is falling gas prices. My administration took action to get oil onto the market and bring down prices. Now gas is down more than a $1.70 from its peak. That adds up to a typical family with two vehicles to a savings of $180 a month, every single month, that stays in their pockets instead of being spent at the pump.

Food inflation is slowing as well. Last month, we saw the smallest increase in food prices in almost two years, and much of that increase was due to the avian flu outbreak, which has driven up the egg prices in the United States. It’s not just gas and food prices though. When we look at what economists call core inflation, which takes out energy and food, we see welcome news as well. Core inflation is down to the lowest level in a year. Over the past three months, core inflation has come down to 3% on an annualized basis, that’s down from more than 6% at the beginning of 2022. The cost of goods is actually falling as prices from everything from computers to used cars are coming down as well. And inflation in the core services is moderating as well. And as inflation is coming down, take home pay for workers is going up. Workers’ wages are higher now than they were seven months ago adjusted for inflation. Wages for lower income and middle income workers have gone up even more.

It all adds up to a real break for consumers, real breathing room for families, and more proof that my economic plan is working. When I came to office almost two years ago, the economy was flat on its back as you’ll all remember. Millions of people had lost their job through no fault of their own. Millions who kept their jobs saw the hours and paychecks cut. Hundreds of thousands of small businesses permanently closed their doors. People were hurting badly. That’s what we inherited. The pandemic was raging and the economy was reeling. We acted decisively to put in place a new strategy that would rescue the economy from the pandemic downturn. At the same time, we laid the foundation for a stronger, more resilient economy for decades to come, an economy that grows from the bottom up and the middle out. Now two years in, it is clearer than ever that my economic plan is actually working.

Here’s what we’ve learned just last week. Unemployment is the lowest it’s been in 50 years. I’ll say that again. The lowest unemployment rate in a half a century. My first two years in office were the two strongest years for job growth on record. We created nearly 11 million jobs, including 750,000 manufacturing jobs, and they were two of the strongest years ever for small business creation as well. And today, unemployment rate is near record lows for Blacks and Hispanics. Black and Hispanic workers near record lows and it’s the lowest ever on record for people with disabilities. We’re seeing American families breathing a little easier. More Americans have health insurance than they did ever in our history. Fewer families are facing foreclosures today than before the pandemic, and we still have more work to do though, but we’re clearly moving in the right direction.

And there’s more breathing room in store for American workers and families. Starting last week, as of January 1st, a month’s supply of insulin is now capped at $35 for seniors on Medicare. Some were paying hundreds of dollars every month for their insulin, but not anymore. Starting last week, if big pharma raises prices faster than inflation, they’re going to face big penalties. Starting last week, Americans can get tax credits when they install energy efficient appliances in their homes like heat pumps or solar panels or when they buy electric vehicles. These were all pieces of that big law that we passed last year. Now they’re kicking in and Americans are starting to feel the benefits in their everyday lives. But that’s not all. We’re seeing historic investments in American manufacturing turn into new factories and new jobs from Arizona, Ohio, Georgia, New York. Companies have announced nearly $300 billion in manufacturing investments here in the United States since I became President.

Instead of exporting jobs like we did for decades, we’re now creating jobs and exporting product. Creating jobs and exporting product, that’s the idea. Now the House has elected a new Speaker. I called and congratulated him and I’m ready to work with him or any Republican in Congress to make progress for the American people. But like many Americans, I was disappointed that the very first bill the Republicans in the House of Representatives passed would help wealthy people and big corporations cheat on their taxes at the expense of ordinary middle class taxpayers and it would add $114 billion to the deficit. Their very first bill, House Republicans campaigned on inflation. They didn’t say if elected their plan was to make inflation worse. Plus, House Republicans have introduced another bill blocking action that would help lower gas prices and help consumers. And on top of that, House Republicans are preparing to vote on a national sales tax bill.

National sales tax, that’s a great idea. It would raise taxes on the middle class by taxing thousands of everyday items from groceries to gas while cutting taxes for the wealthiest Americans. And if I’m not mistaken, what they’ve introduced also would totally eliminate the IRS. It feels good except it’s all going to be sales tax. Go home and tell your moms. They’re going to be really excited about that. Come on. Is this how the House Republicans are starting a new term, cutting taxes for billionaires, raising taxes for working families, making inflation worse? Well, let me be very clear, if any of these bills make it to my desk, I will veto them. I will flat veto them. I’m ready to work with Republicans. Not this kind of stuff. They tried to cut Social security and Medicare, which Americas have been paying into every paycheck since they’ve ever got their first paycheck. I’ll use my veto pen to stop that as well.

But if Republicans want to work together on real solutions, lower inflation, create more jobs, building an economy that works for everyone, I’m ready. Let me close with this. Today’s inflation numbers are good news, good news about our economy. We have more work to do, but we’re on the right track. We’re seeing bright spots across the country where great things are happening. Roads and bridges are being built. Factories are coming online. People back to work again. Families breathing a little bit easier. That’s why I can honestly say, you’ve heard me say this before and I mean from the bottom of my heart, I’ve never been more optimistic about America’s future than I am today. We just have to remember who in God’s name we are. You’ve heard me say it many times, this is the United States of America. There’s nothing, nothing beyond our capacity if we work together. So God bless you all and may God protect our troops. [inaudible 00:08:19].

Speaker 3 (08:24):

Classified material next to your Corvette. What were you thinking?

Joe Biden (08:32):

I’m going to get a chance to speak on all this God willing soon. But as I said earlier this week, and by the way, my Corvette’s in a locked garage, so it’s not like you’re sitting out in the street. But anyway.

Speaker 3 (08:42):

[inaudible 00:08:42] was in a locked garage?

Joe Biden (08:44):

Yes, as well as my Corvette. But as I said earlier this week, people know I take classified documents and classified materials seriously. I also said we’re cooperating fully and completely with the Justice Department’s review. As part of that process, my lawyers reviewed other places where documents from my time as Vice President were stored and they finished the review last night. They discovered a small number of documents of classified markings in storage areas and file cabinets in my home and my personal library. This was done in the case of the Biden Penn Center. The Department of Justice was immediately notified and the lawyers arranged for the Department of Justice to take possession of the documents. We’re going to see all this unfold, I’m confident. [inaudible 00:09:46]. Thank you very much. Good to see you.

Speaker 4 (09:48):

How’s the first lady, sir? How’s the first lady?

Joe Biden (09:57):

She’s doing really well. She was under a long time, for five hours, because what they were doing is they’d take out, would do the moles, meaning remove what they thought might be cancerous, and they’d have to then go back and test it and see what it was. But she’s doing really well. She’s up. We had breakfast this morning. She’s recovering and she’s going to be sore for a while because of the work they did on her eyes. That’s where one of these were. But she is a zero to 1% chance of the return of any cancer. And so thank God she’s doing really well. Thank you for asking. [inaudible 00:10:38].

Vladimir Duthiers (10:47):

All right. The President there making a statement primarily about the strong economic report that came out this morning, but, of course, we heard him take a question with regards to the documents that have been discovered in some of the offices that the President used either in his time after his Vice Presidency leading up into his running for the President of the United States. We do know that the Attorney General is going to be making a statement later today at 1:00 p.m. Not sure what it’s regarding, but obviously we’ll bring that to you when it happens at one o’clock. The President’s saying he’s cooperating with the authorities, people who are investigating this. So we’ll see what happens.

Anne Marie Green (11:25):

So we have Weijia standing by for us at the White House, our CBS News Senior White House correspondent Weijia Jiang, to talk a little bit more about this. So Weijia, it seemed like the President wanted us to know that he takes very good care of his Corvette, it’s in a locked garage, but that is also where some of these new documents were found.

Weijia Jiang (11:47):

Right, Anne Marie and Vlad. And the President wants the American public to know because he keeps saying this, that he takes classified materials, classified information really seriously. And that is why he says that his team, his lawyers, alerted the Department of Justice right away. It also begs the question of why those materials ended up in his garage in the first place. He seemed to indicate right there that they were in fact in his Corvette, which he says is locked in his locked garage, implying that it’s a secure space. But when you’re talking about classified material, there is no secure space unless it is here or on the grounds of the White House or turned into the National Archives. So he has a lot of explaining to do.

Clearly, he was prepared to make this statement. He read from a paper statement. Some behind the scenes details, guys, the President’s remarks were supposed to start around 10 o’clock and then shortly after 10 o’clock, the White House Council, you can see right here, released this statement to the public and the press. And during that time, the President’s appearance continued to be delayed more and more. It was about 45 minutes late. And I believe that it’s because he was prepping to deliver the statement that he did because he knew the questions were coming. Now, he didn’t answer any of the questions, he just read from this statement, but, again, he reiterated that he takes this very seriously and that his team is working with the Justice Department, which as you mentioned, Vlad, is having a press conference later this afternoon.

Vladimir Duthiers (13:36):

And, Weijia, obviously, the President, the main reason why he was there in front of the cameras this morning was to talk about the latest economic data that’s come out. What else did the President have to say about that?

Weijia Jiang (13:49):

Well, this was an opportunity for the President to emphasize all of his economic policies that have been put into place. He’s saying that this is great news for the economy, but, again, urging people to be patient because he said there is more work to do. He also indicated that he knows Republicans want to try to repeal some of those policies, that they want to cut Social Security and Medicare as one example. And he promised to veto any bills that landed on his desk that tried to do just that. And so today the President had an opportunity to say that the policies in place are working, that the costs are coming down, especially with regard to gas, and he vowed to keep working to bring them down even more.

But one thing that he doesn’t really have control of, guys, is the debt ceiling. And that is what we are watching very closely, a potential showdown on Capitol Hill about the debt ceiling, because Republicans have made really, really clear that they do not want to in their characterization of this raise the debt level or let the administration max out their credit card. So that’s going to be a real headache for President Biden because this White House has already indicated that they do not plan to use executive action to do that. So that is definitely something we’ll be watching closely.

Anne Marie Green (15:23):

And as we know, Weijia, Kevin McCarthy made a lot of concessions to get that Speakership.

Vladimir Duthiers (15:28):

That’s right.

Anne Marie Green (15:29):

And they were with some more right-leaning Republicans who do not like it when the government spends money and they don’t want to see the debt ceiling be raised.

Vladimir Duthiers (15:37):

That’s right.

Weijia Jiang (15:37):

That’s right. They want to see a lot of spending cuts on all those policies that cost billions and billions of dollars that are legacy proposals and policies that the President put into play. So we are going to see a really, really ugly fight I think coming up over this.

Anne Marie Green (15:53):

Weijia Jiang at the White House. Thank you very much, Weijia.

Weijia Jiang (15:56):

You’re welcome.

Anne Marie Green (15:56):

And, of course, we’re going to be taking a quick break. We will be talking with Javier David about what the latest inflation numbers mean in the U.S. economy. You’re streaming CBS News.

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