Aug 5, 2021
Joe Biden Fuel Economy, EV Sales Targets Speech Transcript August 5
President Joe Biden spoke about the fuel economy and EV sales targets on August 5, 2021. Read the transcript of the speech here.
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Bernie Ricke: (00:22)
Good afternoon. My name is Bernie Ricke, and I am President of UAW Local 600 in Dearborn, Michigan home of the historic Rouge Complex and the Ford Lightning. Mr. President it’s my honor to be here with you today. We know that the UAW and Joe Biden have worked together from your earliest days in Delaware, where we supported you in your first run for office. We were there at the beginning and we are so proud to be here now with our brother in the White House here today.
Bernie Ricke: (00:56)
UAW members are excited about the future. The UAW is ready to build these electric cars, trucks, and the batteries that go in them. We know the president Biden has our back. We know he understands that we can grow our industry and preserve and create more good paying union jobs through his Build Back Better Plan. We know that this president understands as we move towards this bright future none of us will be left behind. That we are the true engine and making this technology work, grow and power America’s middle class. That is why I’m proud to introduce President Biden today as a UAW member and a proud American. Mr. President, you have our back and we have yours. Thank you, President Biden.
President Biden: (01:47)
Please. Everybody sit down, please, please, please. Good afternoon. [crosstalk 00:01:56] before I begin, let me start with something, I apologize more somber. I learned a couple of hours ago when my staff came in that a close friend of mine, and I think of many of you as well, Rich Trumka died today from a heart attack. The reason I was a few minutes late coming out and I apologize for that, I was talking to his wife and to his son who called. He wasn’t just a great labor leader, he was a friend, he was friend of yours to Debbie, I think. And he’s someone I could confide in and you knew whatever he said he’d do, he would do. He was simple Tommy, you knew him well as well. He was always there. He was an American worker, always fighting for working people, protecting their wages, their safety, their pensions, and their ability to build a middle-class life.
President Biden: (02:58)
I’ve also believed that the middle class build America, but I know who built the middle-class, unions. Unions built the middle class. There was no doubt that Rich Trumka helped build unions all across this country. My heart goes out to Barbara and Rich Junior and the grandkids. And I might point out that, I used to always kid him, he was from soft coal country. I was from hard coal country. We used to have this thing about, he used to be President of the United Mine Workers, and that’s how he got started.
President Biden: (03:34)
Folks, let me now turn to today’s event. I want to thank Bernie for the introduction and for being part of the best auto workers in the world. Thank you. Ray Curry, President of UAW. You’re here Ray, I was in, good to see you pal. And I also want to thank the leaders of the big three companies for being here today. Mary Barra, General Motors. I want to tell you, I think she’s one of the reasons we’re here today. We had a long discussion on a Zoom call with a bunch of labor leaders and other major business leaders and she made a commitment and she’s keeping it. Thank you very much. Madam Chair.
President Biden: (04:19)
Jim Farley of Ford. By the way, my dad is an automobile business he sold Fords for awhile, but mostly General Motors products. But you see that sucker over there, 0 to 60 in 4.1 seconds, it’s all electric. I tell you what, and I want to say publicly, I have a commitment from Mary when they make the first electric Corvette, I get to drive it. Right, Mary? You think I’m kidding, I’m not kidding. And my entire secret service detail went, oh my God, let’s go.
President Biden: (04:57)
And Mark Steward of Solenis. Mark, we used to have one of your big plants in my state. The man about to recognize, a special thanks to all the members of Congress are here, but I want to pay particular recognition my chairman, my buddy, we served together for years, Tommy Carper. Tom. And I know that I, I kid my Michigan friends but I just want you to know, say to Senators Heinrich and Markey and White House, Padilla and you know, Duckworth, I’m leaving some folks out I’m sure. Representative Kathy Castor. The Michigan delegation that’s here today, Debbie Stabenow, Senator Gary Peters, Congresswoman Debbie Dingell, who is automobiles. And Dan Kildee.
President Biden: (06:00)
But I want you all to know, I remind the Michigan delegation of this, it used to be when I was first got elected and I used to tell your husband this as well. We had a higher percentage of auto workers in Delaware than any state in the union including Michigan. Now, the fact we had a very small population and we had almost a 100,000 auto workers in our states counting the auto light and others had something to do with it. But I just wanted to be very straightforward. UAW brung me to the dance, as they say.
President Biden: (06:39)
And I also know we’re missing someone truly special and dear friend of all of us, Senator Carl Levin, who passed away last week. Carl and I served together for 30 years in the United States Senate together. He was one of the most, I think all my colleagues would attest to this, one of most honorable people, most decent people I’m not only served with but I’ve ever known. He was a tireless champion of American worker and the iconic American automobile industry. And so he embodied everything that his beloved Michigan and our country represents respect, dignity, pride, pride in the nation and pride in what we built. And so today labor and industry, state, and local leaders, we’re all working together to write the next chapter of the American story.
President Biden: (07:31)
As I’ve said before, we’re in competition with China and many other nations for the 21st century. To win we’re going to have to make sure the future will be made in America. Back in May I toured the Ford plant, as I mentioned, a state-of-the-art facility in Dearborn where the UAW workers like Bernie are building the first ever all electric Ford 150. And as I said, the best part is I got to drive it. It’s incredible. Just like the other vehicles that are behind me today. There a vision of the future that is now beginning to happen. A future of the automobile industry that is electric. Battery electric, plug-in, hybrid electric, fuel cell electric, it’s electric and there’s no turning back. The question is whether we’ll lead or fall behind in the race for the future. It’s whether we’ll build these vehicles and the batteries that got them to where they are in the United States here in the United States or we’re going to have to rely on other countries for those batteries. Whether or not the job to build these vehicles and batteries are good paying union jobs, jobs with benefits, jobs that’s going to sustain continued growth of the middle class. They have to be, they have to be made here in America. Right now China’s leading the race. One of the largest and fastest growing electric vehicle markets in the world.
President Biden: (08:52)
And a key part electric vehicle to state obvious is the battery. Right now, 80% of the manufacturing capacity for these batteries is done in China. And here’s the deal, it’s not China’s battery technology that’s much more than anyone else’s. Remember our national labs in America, our universities, our automakers, led in the development of this technology. We lead in developing this technology, and there’s no reason why we can’t reclaim that leadership and lead again. But we just have to move, we have to move fast. When Barack and I were in office, President Obama and I were in office, that’s what we were doing. In 2009 the automobile industry was flat on his back. We were told that we’d never be able to sell American made cars at the same rate as we did before, but we didn’t listen to the naysayers. We even had some in both parties who didn’t think we should quote bail out the industry, if you remember. Well, we bet on the American worker and we extended a lifeline and they stepped up, made sacrifices to do it and we saved more than a million jobs in the process.
President Biden: (10:03)
Working with the auto industry, we set fuel efficiency standards and provided incentives for folks to buy fuel efficient vehicles. Through the Recovery Act, we made the largest investment in clean energy and battery technology ever made. And then the previous administration came along into office and they rolled back the standards we set. Despite bipartisan support for consumer incentives, they also let the federal tax credit expire penalizing auto workers who were at the time selling most electric vehicles in the United States. When they announced infrastructure week, they did it for every week for four years and not once gotten anything done, not once. Folks, the rest of the world is moving ahead. We’ve just got to step up. Government, labor and industry working together, which you’re seeing here today. We have a playbook and it’s going to work.
President Biden: (10:58)
Today, I’m announcing the steps we’re taking set a new pace for electric vehicles. First, I’m following through on the campaign commitment to reverse the previous administrations short-sighted rollback of vehicle emissions and efficiency standards. Doing so and with the support of the auto industry, the automobile industry. Today, the Environmental Protection Agency and the Department of Transportation are unveiling proposals to do just that. These agencies are beginning to work on the next round of standards for a broad class of vehicles, for cars, SUV’s pickup trucks, medium and heavy duty vehicles.
President Biden: (11:37)
Importantly, we have announcements today from automakers representing nearly the entire auto industry market who have positioned around the ambition of 40 to 50% of all vehicles sold by 2030 in America being electric. It’s a big deal. But to unlock the full potential, we have to keep investing in our workers and our manufacturing capacity. And that’s what our Build Back Better Plan is all about. It’s about leveraging once in a generation investments and a whole of government effort to lift up American auto workers and strengthen the American leadership in the world. In the clean car, technology trucks, not just cars but trucks as well and buses. That’s why today I’m signing an executive order, setting out a target of 50% of all passenger vehicles so;d by 2030 will be electric and set into motion an all out effort.
President Biden: (12:32)
That’s why along with the members of Congress here today, we’re working around the clock on the Build Back Better Plan, which does three critical things. One, it transforms our infrastructure. We’re going to put Americans to work modernizing our roads, our highways, our ports, our airports, rail, and train the systems. That include a pudding, IBW members and other union workers to work installing a national network of 500,000 charging stations on our roads in highways and at our homes and our apartments.
President Biden: (13:05)
Two, we’re going to boost our manufacturing capacity. The Build Back Better Plan invests in new and retooled facilities and employed workers with good paint wages, good jobs, and grants, the grants to kickstart new battery and parts production. Loans and tax credits to boost manufacturing of these clean vehicles. And our Build Back Better Plan makes the largest investment of research and development in generations. This’ll help innovate, manufacture and build the supply chains for batteries, semiconductors and those small computer chips in electric trucks and cars are going to be even more relying upon as we move forward.
President Biden: (13:52)
Never again, should we be in a situation we face today with a semiconductor shortage. And we know these kinds of federal investments, we know that they work. It was the defense department and NASA had got the modern semiconductor industry on its feet decades ago. Our own department of energy pioneered and transformed the battery industry where Barack and I, when we were in office. And with the help of the Recovery Act grants and loans, battery prices dropped 85% because we were forward-looking. We need that same mindset today.
President Biden: (14:29)
Thirdly, support of consumers and fleets. That means purchases incentives for consumers to buy clean vehicles union made right here in America, like the ones championed by Debbie Stabenow and Ron Wyden in the Senate. Which provide $7,500 basic credit, $2,005 credit for vehicles made in America and additional 2,500 credit for union made vehicles. That means spurring demand by converting the federal government’s enormous fleet of vehicles, we have over 600,000, we have a lot of vehicles, 60,000 of them I should say, into an all American made clean vehicles. So that’s what we’re going to do, as we roll out and get rid of the existing fleet, we’re going to support the electric transit system as well, and the electric school buses.
President Biden: (15:23)
Look, and there’s one other thing we have in our playbook that will help us out-compete other nations, the American worker. American worker. I really believe this and I know you guys do too. American worker’s our ace in the deck. Now I know many of you watching at home are like the folks I grew up in Scranton and Claymont Delaware. They feel left out, left behind in an economy and an industry that’s rapidly changing. I get it. I understand it, but we’re going to leave no one behind. Nearly 90% of the jobs created in our infrastructure plan do not require a bachelor’s degree. And when we invest in our infrastructure, we’re going to buy American products, American materials and services from American businesses made in America by American workers. And we’re going to do everything in our power to encourage and protect the right of workers to unionize and collectively bargain. T.
President Biden: (16:21)
he bottom line is we are proposing a blue collar blueprint to rebuild America. That’s what’s going to be. And we need automakers and other companies to keep investing in America. We need them not to take the benefits of our public investments and expand electric vehicles and battery manufacturing production abroad. We need you to deepen your partnership with UAW, continue to pay good wages, support local communities across the country. That’s why I’m so proud of the UAW is standing here today as well. It’s why I’m proud that the three largest employers are sitting here and their sights are set not only on electric vehicles, but on expansion. Expanding union jobs, expanding the middle class. It matters.
President Biden: (17:07)
In the spring, I kept my commitment to convene leaders of all the major economies in the world, not in person but we did it on a Zoom call with a whole bunch of folks, including the heads of state of China, India, Japan, European Union for a meeting hosted in the White House on the most consequential issues facing the world. And the agreement was, it’s the climate crisis. And I made clear, I made clear, what I’ve long believed and I think of when I think of the climate crisis. Beyond the devastation of the lives and livelihoods and the health of our very planet, when I hear climate, I think jobs, good paying union jobs. I wanted the world to see there was a consensus that we’re at an inflection point in world history. If we act to save the planet, we can also come out of a better, we can create millions of good paying jobs that generate significant economic growth and opportunity. Raise the standard of living of the people not only here but around the world. But I also wanted to put the world on notice, America is back. America is back. In the competition for the 21st century. The future that will be built right here in America.
President Biden: (18:28)
Let me close with this. Our economy is recovering. In six months we’re seeing the fastest job growth on record at this point in any administration in history. The fastest economic growth in nearly 40 years, and we’ve shown each other and the world that there’s no quit in America, none, none, none. And it’s never, ever, ever been a good bet to bet against America. We are the United States of America. There’s not a single solitary thing, nothing, beyond our capacity to get done when we do it together. We have to act, and that’s what we’re doing today. And again, I want to thank the CEOs of the automobile companies and I also want to thank all the auto workers. Thank you all for being here today. And I’m going to sign the executive order, but I like to invite my congressional colleagues to come up if they’re willing to stand behind me here, when we do this and others who know they’re supposed to come on up. Thank you all very much.
Speaker 3: (19:29)
President Biden: (19:35)
Good to see. [inaudible 00:19:35].
Speaker 4: (19:35)
President Biden: (19:35)
Good to see you.
Speaker 5: (19:36)
President Biden: (19:40)
[inaudible 00:19:40] I hope I didn’t you in trouble by saying that.
Speaker 5: (19:47)
Oh, no, no you didn’t. You didn’t. You didn’t. [crosstalk 00:19:47].
President Biden: (19:47)
How are you man? It’s exciting. Come on, let’s let the CEOs come through too.
Speaker 5: (19:55)
Yes. Yes. Yes. [crosstalk 00:19:55]
President Biden: (20:01)
It’s so bright. When I signed this executive order, usually I’m able to give a pen to all the folks who were part of it. I’ve got one pen, but I’m going to make sure [crosstalk 00:20:16]. You each are going to get a pen, I promise you. This is an executive order strengthen America’s leadership in clean cars and trucks. And again, let me start off by thanking the CEOs as well as the UAW, you all, all you elected are the reason why it’s happening. Thank you. [crosstalk 00:20:35].