Jul 7, 2021
Joe Biden Infrastructure Speech Transcript Crystal Lake, Illinois July 7
President Joe Biden spoke about his infrastructure plan in Crystal Lake, Illinois on July 7, 2021. Read the transcript of his speech remarks on the economy here.
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Edith Sanchez: (00:16)
Welcome Mr. President and special guests. I am very honored to be here. My name is Edith Sanchez. I was raised in Harvard, Illinois, and I am a first generation Latina with the origins of [inaudible 00:00:31] Mexico, the State of Mexico. I am currently student trustee and president of Latinos Unidos and eager to be someone in life. As a Latina female, I have seen the firsthand struggle on my parents to provide a better life for myself and my four siblings. I am the middle child in a family of seven and would be the first in my family to graduate from college and begin a professional career.
Edith Sanchez: (01:08)
My immigrant parents are two hard working people who have no formal education and who sacrifice everything to have food on our table and provide us all with the bare necessities. My mother is a factory worker and works as a welder and my father started his own small business. With no formal education, they both struggle with the language of English and literacy skills. They rely on me and my sisters to translate and help with paperwork for my father’s small business. This has become a family effort, but this is not what I see myself doing for the rest of my life. I want to make my parents proud, be an example for my younger siblings. Through my pursuit of education, I also inspired my two older sisters to return to school after having children at a young age.
Edith Sanchez: (02:03)
As a genuine, helpful and caring individual, I am dedicated to pursuing a career in education. The advisers at MCC inspired me to become a college advisor. They are devoted to helping students fulfill their potential. In my future career, I want to encourage students to pursue a higher education and provide the resources and support they need. I value the power of education. I believe everyone is entitled to go to college no matter their social or immigration status. I want to inspire and motivate students by guiding them with my personal experience. As a second year student, MCC has transformed my life. I thought my dream of college would be impossible. Now with the financial support, I can pursue my education and focus on the importance of learning.
Edith Sanchez: (03:06)
I am very fortunate to be a recipient of various local and college scholarships, including federal student aid. The reality is that there are still many students with the same obstacles who walk in my shoes. My generation, along with the others are the ones who are going to lead the future. With the American Family plan, our students and families will benefit. We need to be educated, we need to be an educated nation and improve each generation. We will do this with all the support given to our children, teachers, and working families in the rural areas. I appreciate President Biden for his passion, dedication, and commitment to our future generations. I have the greatest honor to introduce the president of the United States. Ladies and gentlemen, President Joe Biden.
Pres. Joe Biden: (04:15)
Thank you, Edith. Thank you, thank you, thank you. Please, please be seated. Mr. President, but he hadn’t told you today that he had to delay his vacation to be here today. He heard Biden’s coming, he goes, “Oh my God, when’s he coming?” So he could show me around McHenry County College. I’m glad to be here with great Illinois leaders. I want you all to… America’s back, America’s back. And in no small part because of the men and women that I serve with. Governor Pritzker, stand up, man. He’s a good man.
Pres. Joe Biden: (05:09)
If you really want someone in the foxhole with you when you’re in trouble, you want Senator Tammy Duckworth. Tammy. And the guy I rely on more than anyone else in the United States Senate and I’ve served with him for years. We have a lot in common in terms of losses, as well as gains is a Dick Durbin. Dick. And Congresswoman Underwood who got me a passport [inaudible 00:05:48] Her mom and dad are mildly proud [inaudible 00:05:59] mom looks like her sister.
Pres. Joe Biden: (06:03)
Last week, I was up in Wisconsin to talk about a bipartisan agreement to modernize American infrastructure and in the process, create millions of good paying jobs. That’s not my estimate, that’s Wall Street estimates, that’s everybody’s estimate. Millions of good paying jobs. Not $7, not $8, not $10, not even $15 an hour, good prevailing wage jobs. And here’s what it means for Illinois. You’ve got like many states, all states, you’ve got 2,374 bridges and over 6,200 miles of highway that are in disrepair. As a result, every driver in this state pays a hidden tax about $600 per year in wasted time and wasted fuel because of the nature of the roads and bridges. And by the way, you’re better than a lot of states, not to mention the challenge of getting to work or getting to a daycare center on time to avoid that late fee when you pick up your child.
Pres. Joe Biden: (07:04)
Your governor has an ambitious infrastructure plan and under a bipartisan infrastructure agreement, we’re going to make the biggest investment in roads and bridges since the construction of the interstate highway system, literally creating millions of good paying jobs. And God willing, we’re not going to have 40 weeks of, this is infrastructure week. Remember those. I think what it will mean to McHenry’s entrepreneurial agricultural program is you can get products more easy to Chicago or think about how much easier life will be when it’s quicker to drive on Randall Road. Look, this agreement also allows us to replace every lead pipe and service line in America, benefiting 10 million homes. It’s going to address lead exposure in 400,000 of our schools and daycare facilities where children drink that water.
Pres. Joe Biden: (08:12)
This would be the largest investment in clean drinking water in American history, on passing. And one in every 10 people Illinois lacks access to high-speed internet. The bipartisan agreement that Dick and others have made sure we’re getting, the agreement allows us to connect every American to reliable high-speed affordable internet, every single American, rural and urban. And by the way, those of you who are parents who had kids at home, tell me what internet means this last year, if they’re school aged. Well, from 2010 to 2020 Illinois experienced 49 extreme weather events. Although I heard today from the Senator north of here, the Republican Senator, there is no global warming. Just so you know. There’s no such thing. But those weather events cost this state roughly $50 billion in damages. And we’re going to upgrade the electric grid to make it more resilient to extreme weather and other threats.
Pres. Joe Biden: (09:12)
But there’s a lot more the agreement’s going to do to encourage the physical and ensures the physical infrastructure lays the foundation for a strong and durable, sustainable competitive economy. But what I want to talk to you about today is a human infrastructure. It’s essential to that foundation as well. Truly we’re in the 21st century. And once again, lead the world to truly build an economy from the bottom up and the middle out. To truly deal everybody in this time, we need to invest in our people, we need to invest in our people. That’s why in addition to the bipartisan infrastructure agreement that I believe we’re going to get done, I’m here to make a case for the second critical part of my domestic agenda. It’s a combination of parts of my American Jobs plan that were essential and not included in the bipartisan infrastructure plan, as well as my American-
Pres. Joe Biden: (10:03)
Including the bi-partisan infrastructure plan, as well as my American family’s plan. In Washington, they call it a reconciliation bill. That’s a fancy way of saying with a filibuster that our friends in the other side use constantly more than ever been used in history. It means you got to get 60 votes to get anything done. We’re a 50/50 Senate with a vice president who happens to be a Democrat. And back in the campaign I said we’re going to build back and we’re going to build back better. We can’t just build back, we’ve got to build back better. And today I want to outline some of the key pieces of this build back better agenda and what it’s going to do for the people of Illinois and the people in United States. It’s about a country once again that inspires and leads the world, the opportunities we provide, the curious rediscovery, the technology we discover, the technologies we pioneer and industries we create. And the nation that leads to the world in combating the existential threat of climate change.
Pres. Joe Biden: (10:59)
The build back better plan agenda starts with education. One of the reasons why we are a leading country in the world for so long and still on the edges is because we’re the first industrial nation in the world to allow 12 years of free education back at the turn of the 20th century, but everybody’s caught up. At the time they were debating what should be education in America? The argument was there should be 12 years of free education. And that’s what got us ahead. That’s what had us leap ahead of the rest of the world. But today everybody’s caught up. Does anybody think in the 21st century with changes taking place in technology and across the board that 12 years of education is enough to be able to live a middle-class life? I don’t think so.
Pres. Joe Biden: (11:49)
And so the fact of the matter is I’ve decided we should have a minimum of 14 years of education. 14 years of education which I’ll explain in a second. As the first lady I’m Jill Biden’s husband, but as Jill would say, she’s a full-time community college professor while being the first lady. She often says any nation that out-educates us is going to out-compete us. Any nation that out-educates us is going to out-compete us. That’s why I want to guarantee the additional four years of public education for every person in America. Starting with providing two years of universal high quality preschool for three and four year olds. Building on what the governor has been doing here in Illinois.
Pres. Joe Biden: (12:39)
For the last ten years studies out of the great universities, study of a high quality program here in Chicago found that low income children participating in preschool were 47% more likely to earn an associate’s degree or higher and get through school without any difficulty. We have to build on that foundation for future success. And then I want to add two years of free community college for everyone. And we can afford it, I’ll tell you how.
Pres. Joe Biden: (13:10)
That can boost earnings of high school graduates with low wage jobs by nearly $6,000 a year on average. The average annual cost of a two-year degree in Illinois is $4,200. Under my proposal that cost would be zero, but it’s not just tuition that’s expensive. As was pointed out, living expenses, housing, meals, transportation. And that’s why I proposed to increase the maximum Pell grant, which if you’re below a certain income you qualify for a Pell grant from right about 6,500 a year to $8,000 a year.
Pres. Joe Biden: (13:46)
And that will fill it out. I know that here at McHenry you have a dual enrollment program. So students from places like Woodstock High School and other high schools, you get credit for taking college classes here. Well, my plan will provide resources to expand programs like the one you have here. My plan will also do more to invest in high quality job training and apprenticeships and fast-growing sectors like public health, childcare, manufacturing, information technology, clean energy. So that all Americans can get the skills that employers want that lead to good middle-class. And I make no apology, union jobs.
Pres. Joe Biden: (14:39)
We also make strategic investments in teachers and the teacher pipeline. Because even before the pandemic our school system was 100,000 teachers short here in America, particularly in high demand areas. Our children are the kite strings that lift our national ambitions aloft and our teachers are the ones that help them believe they can do anything. I bet every one of you’s success can name the teacher that helped change your life. I bet everyone, everyone of us. Somebody came along and made us believe in ourselves. That’s the really secret of teachers.
Pres. Joe Biden: (15:15)
My plan will reduce student debt for future teachers, double the size of annual federal scholarships for future teachers. Will also support a hundred billion dollar in school infrastructure improvements, including community college to make sure that they’re safe and healthy places for learning and that all students with labs and technology they need to be able to compete in the 21st century. Of course an ability to take these jobs often depends on the availability of childcare. As a single father and when I first got to the Senate, I had two young boys who had just lost their mom and their sister in an automobile accident. If I hadn’t had the family I have my sister, my younger sister, my best friend and my brother and my mom help out. I couldn’t have done it. But not everybody has that kind of support.
Pres. Joe Biden: (16:05)
I just toured your children’s learning center. It’s an amazing resource. Students and faculty can have their children cared for. Students can earn their associate degrees in early childhood education as well. High quality childcare options should be the rule, not the exception. So on my way here I met with Mike Sayre who wrote me a letter about his struggle to find affordable childcare. And he wanted to know what my plans were. Well Mike, I hope you know now, here we are. My plans provide access to quality affordable childcare with more childcare centers and community college campuses with new and upgraded childcare facilities all across the country.
Pres. Joe Biden: (16:47)
Businesses we’ve got a full tax credit to build on-site facilities. And the reason they want to do that is not just to be nice, business because studies show when there is an onsite childcare center businesses have less employee turnover, less absenteeism and higher productivity. It’s overwhelmingly in their interest to do it. Middle-class families will pay no more than 7% of their income for high quality childcare for children up to age five. The most hard-pressed working families won’t have to pay a dime. My plan will also invest in childcare workforce with better wages, benefits and training opportunities.
Pres. Joe Biden: (17:29)
Look, we’re also going to give parents the option to take up to an $8,000 tax credit to cover childcare expenses if that’s the preferred route. That’s good for families and is good for the economy and it will create more jobs. My plan will also provide up to 12 weeks of paid family leave for medical care. Up to 12 weeks of paid family leave. Look, we’re one of the few major economies in the world that doesn’t cover paid family medical leave. And the most difficult moments some will ever face no one should have to choose between the job and a paycheck and taking care of someone you love. A parent, a spouse, a child. Look, we’ll tackle the maternal mortality crisis as well that impacts on black and native American mothers disproportionally. And I want to thank Congressman Underwood for her leadership in this area.
Pres. Joe Biden: (18:36)
Because I’ve said again and again, people who really need a tax break in this country are America’s working families. It’s time they get a tax break. So my build back better agenda would extend expanded childcare tax credit we passed under my American rescue plan. Those of you who have children under the of seven, you’re going to get three and depending on your income and your income taxes, you’re going to get a cash payment back up to now. And guess what? You get $2,000 is declared a dependent. If you have two children you get $4,000 off a $10,000 tax bill, it’s important. But if you don’t make enough money to be able to owe that kind of tax you don’t get a tax credit, you don’t get anything. While under this proposal guess what? You’re in a situation where if you have a child under the age of seven, you get back $3600 in cash.
Pres. Joe Biden: (19:33)
In addition to that those of you are in that situation are going to start to see that coming in by the end of this month on a monthly basis. It can change the lives of people. Starting next week families will begin to receive one of the largest ever single year tax cuts aimed at families and children. And every child under the age of six is $3,600. Every child between six and 17 is 3000. And not as a credit against your taxes, but as a direct payment. You’ll get cash. Cash that’s what we’ll get. For example middle-class family with two children-
Pres. Joe Biden: (20:03)
… cash, that’s what you’ll get. For example, a middle-class family with two children can expect to receive $7,200. You get the first half, the $3,600 paid out at $600 a month between July and December. And you get the rest between January and tax day.
Pres. Joe Biden: (20:16)
With this one tax cut, every study shows that childcare is cutting poverty by 40%. Families with children who qualify for this cuts poverty by 40%. So let’s extend the tax cut at least through 2025. Let’s expand free meals for millions more children in school with the assistance during the summer months when they don’t have access to those school meals.
Pres. Joe Biden: (20:56)
We support families with children. We also need to provide greater dignity for our nation’s senior citizens who care for them. Look, there are hundreds of thousands of older adults and people with disabilities who need home and community-based care services. They qualify for it under Medicaid, but there’s a backlog of thousands of people.
Pres. Joe Biden: (21:19)
But one study showed that $3,000 spent helping a senior stay in their home saves the country more than $20, 000 a year in medical costs. At the same time, more the 1.5 million Americans work in home care, they’re disproportionately women, women of color and immigrants, and those jobs are among the lowest paid in the economy. One in six home care workers lives in poverty. We need to do better on both sides of the equation.
Pres. Joe Biden: (21:51)
My plan expands home care for the older and disabled Americans while improving jobs and pay for home care workers who care for them. And here’s the deal, you save a lot of money if you don’t have to go to a home. Keeping people in their own home, mentally and every other way, is a benefit. A significant benefit for the community as well as cost.
Pres. Joe Biden: (22:16)
We also need to continue to make healthcare more affordable. When we lowered premiums and expanded coverage in my American Rescue Plan, more than 1.5 million people signed up for what used to be called Obamacare. I want to make these premium reductions permanent so we can get even more people covered.
Pres. Joe Biden: (22:35)
We need to deal with a shortage of affordable housing in America. Over 10 million renters in this country pay more than half their income for the rent on their apartment. The lack affordable housing prevents people from moving to communities where there are more opportunities. So we’re going to make a historic investment in affordable housing, increasing and improving the housing supply by building and rehabilitating more than 2 million homes, especially in places that need more housing.
Pres. Joe Biden: (23:04)
And we need to invest not just in the physical and human infrastructure of today, we need to invest in jobs and in the industries of tomorrow. Three decades ago, and this always disturbs me even just repeating it, three decades ago the United States was number one in the world for a share of their GDP being invested in research and development. We were number one in the world. We’re now number eight in the world. China was number nine in the world, now they’re number two in the world.
Pres. Joe Biden: (23:40)
Folks, Democrat and Republicans agree, we can’t afford to lose this race. They came together in the Senate and in the Innovation and Competition Act that Dick was very much a part of, to help us grow the industries that win the jobs of the future. We need to lay the foundation for the next generation of American jobs and American leadership in manufacturing and technology.
Pres. Joe Biden: (24:03)
We’re going to invest in historic black colleges and universities under minority serving institutions. Because, while these schools may not have the endowments or the labs needed to generate these jobs, these students are just as capable of learning about all the things that are going to provide the jobs of the future.
Pres. Joe Biden: (24:20)
And of course no challenges is as urgent as climate change. Last week, I met with eight governors for a better part of an hour, all from the Western states, Republicans and Democrats. They’re facing extreme heat, record drought and a fire season the threatens to be much longer, more dangerous and more destructive than ever.
Pres. Joe Biden: (24:42)
Last year, for example, more than 10 million acres burned in the west. 10 million acres, not counting the lives lost and homes lost. More land that exists in my home state of Delaware and my neighboring state of Maryland combined, so if a fire swept through and took out every single thing in the state of Delaware and Maryland.
Pres. Joe Biden: (25:04)
The drought conditions this year are twice as bad. You’ve seen the pictures. Reservoirs that are 40 feet down, 50 feet down. The extreme weather isn’t just in the west. In Illinois, farmers downstate are dealing with more frequent droughts and two weeks ago, just south of here, you just had a nearly unprecedented tornado.
Pres. Joe Biden: (25:26)
We can’t wait any longer to deal with climate crisis. We see with our own eyes that it’s time to act. The bipartisan agreement we reached make some major strides. It’s going to allow the transition of thousands of all, for example, diesel school buses and city buses. We’re going to change them to electric buses.
Pres. Joe Biden: (25:44)
There are roughly half a million of these iconic yellow school buses on the road today, 95% of them run on diesel, for example. Diesel pollutes the air, is linked to asthma and other health problems, and hurts our communities and causes our students to miss school. I’ll put Americans to work capping tens of thousands of abandoned oil and gas wells that are leaking methane. It’s devastating. And the wages to cap these wells are the same wages that it took to dig the wells, making people be able to earn a prevailing wage to do it. There’s thousands of them.
Pres. Joe Biden: (26:23)
But we need to go further. I want to provide tax cuts for businesses and consumers who invest in clean energy technologies like renewables, battery storage, next generation aviation fuels, electric vehicles. I want to set the clean electric standard that moves us to a fully clean and reliable grid.
Pres. Joe Biden: (26:42)
These steps are going to create good paying union jobs and spur demand for domestic manufacturing, accelerating clean energy and clean cars, growing our capacity to build those technologies on factory floors with union workers here in the United States. And we create a new generation of jobs and clean energy manufacturing.
Pres. Joe Biden: (27:00)
I also want to enlist a new generation of climate conservation and resilience workers like FDR did with the American work plan for preserving our landscape with the Civilian Conservation Corps, it’s a similar thing. We can put Americans to work strengthening public lands and waters and making our communities, rural and urban, more resilient against extreme weather.
Pres. Joe Biden: (27:26)
We can take on the long overdue work in advancing environmental justice by addressing pollution. My plan is also going to give grants to spur innovative policies and local projects like installing community solar and storage in disadvantaged communities. Replacing the streetlights that are made in America with LED bulbs that cost a whole lot less and last a whole lot longer. Making upgrades in homes and school and community centers to boost energy efficiency and cut electric bills.
Pres. Joe Biden: (27:58)
Folks, I’ve laid a lot of plans here, but that’s because it’s time and we have to think bigger, we have that bolder and we have to build back better. When we passed the American Rescue Plan the naysayers and the doubters said it wouldn’t work. Well, we created over 3 million jobs since I took office. More jobs in the first months of a Presidential administration at any time in American history.
Pres. Joe Biden: (28:22)
And last week, the Congressional Budget Office doubled their projections of the 2021 economic growth from 3. 2% to 7.4% and the OECD thinks it could be higher. That puts the America Rescue Plan, and our work is going to move forward to do a lot of things, including, we’re close to defeating the virus.
Pres. Joe Biden: (28:45)
The last time the economy grew at this rate was in 1984 and Ronald Reagan was telling us it was an “American morning.” Well, this is going to be an American century.
Pres. Joe Biden: (28:59)
With my American Families Plan and the other elements of the Build Back Better agenda experts in Wall Street, analysts have said that we will create millions of good paying jobs for years and decades to come, not just in the near term. So I’m going to be making the case to the American people until the job is done, until you bring this bipartisan deal home, until we meet the needs of families today and the economy of tomorrow.
Pres. Joe Biden: (29:32)
And we can pay for it. Let me give you a rough example… By the way, the plan for infrastructure is paid for, it’s paid for. And this plan that I’m talking about, which is really expensive if you add it all up… Well, guess what? The fact is that it’s paid for as well.
Pres. Joe Biden: (29:54)
Let me tell you how we’re going to pay for it. Some of the ways to pay for the rest of it is, for the last couple of years for example, 55 of the Fortune 500 companies-
Pres. Joe Biden: (30:02)
55 of the Fortune 500 companies making billions of dollars did not pay a single penny in taxes. Not one single cent. Well, I don’t want to punish anybody, but everybody, and I hope someday my grandchildren grow up to be billionaires, that’d be wonderful, especially for a guy for 36 years was listed as the poorest man in the United States Congress, but having said that, all kidding aside, everybody has to pay their fair share. I’m not trying to gouge anybody. Everybody has to get in the game. If we put in place a minimum 15% tax on the profits of corporations, the ones that didn’t pay any tax that would raise a quarter of a trillion dollars, $214 billion.
Pres. Joe Biden: (30:52)
There’s a loophole in the system called stepped-up basis. That loophole goes, if I made a capital gains and I was a wealthy person and I was going to cash in my stock and I was going to have to pay a tax, I was going to make $400,000 and I was going to pay X amount in taxes, if on the way to cash it in, I get hit by a truck, God forbid and died, and it was left to my daughter, there’d be no tax paid. It’s not an inheritance tax. It was a tax due 10 seconds earlier. We close that loophole, that saves us $400 billion a year. Not a year, $400 billion over this period, which is enough to pay for the Child Care Tax Credit. If we end tax breaks for fossil fuels and make polluters pay to clean up the messes they’ve made, that would raise $90 billion. I’m not ask them to do anything that that is unfair, just not going to subsidize them anymore. They’re doing well, thank you.
Pres. Joe Biden: (31:54)
And the messes they made, they should clean up. Well, if we asked the top 1%, and I hope many of you are in the top 1%, maybe, that tax cut that was passed in 2017, all raised the deficit by over $2 trillion, not a penny paid for, and it didn’t come back with anything, that in fact, that entire $2 trillion, the vast majority went to the top 1/10th of 1% of the American people. 1%, if we just, the folks in the top 1%, if they just paid their personal income and state tax the same as it was under President George Bush, George W. Bush, that would generate $13 billion a year. It would raise the tax from what it is now, 35%, to 39%. I mean, it’s not like there’s this idea when you listen to the guy who used to have this job that somehow we’re gouging people. The fact of the matter is a lot of you, if you’re a plumber and a teacher, you’re probably paying at 25%, 26%. Some of you’d be paying higher.
Pres. Joe Biden: (33:14)
But here, look, that one change is enough to provide for two years free community college for every student in America. People say that one of the purposes of taxes is to also generate growth along with making sure that we can pay for our basic needs. Let me ask you, what is more likely to grow the economy and enhance us, continuing the tax cut at 37% or having to pay 39.5%, generating economic growth, because now you have a tax system that will allow millions of students to go to community college? When I was with Barack as Vice President, he asked me to do a study and I spent, your sister, Penny Pritzker, was part of my effort taking care of it, and the effort was simple. We came along and we said, “Okay.” We reviewed 300, and I think 47, I don’t remember the exact number, of the CEOs of the Fortune 500 companies, and said, “What do you need most?” You know what they said almost to a person? “I need a better educated workforce.”
Pres. Joe Biden: (34:42)
They’re not prepared to pay for it. Imagine if we present the world and the nation with a better educated workforce. It helps everybody. The point is, we pay for our entire plan and make the tax system fair for all Americans. It’s about time. There’s a lot of work ahead of us to finish the job but we’re going to get it done. We’re going to reimagine what our economy and our future could be and show the world, just as importantly, we’ll show ourselves that democracy can deliver for the people of Illinois and the people of America and the world can lead again. Thank you, ladies and gentlemen, I know that’s a boring speech, but it’s an important speech. God bless you all, and may God protect our troops. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. Appreciate it. And excuse my back. I apologize. I apologize. Thank you.