Nov 17, 2021
Joe Biden Infrastructure Speech Transcript GM Factory Detroit November 17
President Joe Biden gave a speech on his infrastructure agenda on November 17, 2021 at a General Motors factory in Detroit. Read the transcript of the speech remarks here.
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President Biden: (00:00)
… You are. There you are. You did, Mary. You electrified the entire automobile industry. I’m serious. You led and it matters and drastically improving the climate by reducing hundreds of millions of barrels of oil that will not be used when we’re all electric. Up until now, China’s been leading in this race, but that’s about to change. Because of this law, next year, for the first time in 20 years, which American infrastructure investment will be far greater than China’s. The first time in 20 years. We’re going to would IBW members and other union members to work installing the national network of charging stations, along our roads and highways in our communities over 500,000. Governor Whitmer has already announced a proposal to expand electric charging stations along key travel routes across the state. A few weeks ago, GM announced it’s going to install 40,000 public charging stations, as we’re going to unleash a lot more than that.
President Biden: (01:08)
Look, we’re going to make sure that the jobs of the future end up here in Michigan, not halfway around the world. That means that here in Detroit, you’re going to set a new pace for electric vehicles. This is not hyperbole, this is a fact. With this infrastructure law, along with my Build Back Better plan, we’re going to kickstart new batteries, materials and parts production, and recycling. Boosting the manufacturing of clean vehicles with new loans and new tax credits, creating new purchase incentives for consumers to buy American-made, union-made, clean vehicles like the electric Hummer. Folks, or the Silverado or any other the 20 or more vehicles that GM’s going to come out with in the near term that are electric.
President Biden: (01:57)
Spurring demand by covering federal government’s enormous fleet of vehicles is what I’m going to do. I pledge when I ran, we have hundreds, we have thousands and thousands of vehicles in the federal fleet. They’re going to all go electric, all of them, down the road. Supporting electric transit systems, electric school buses. Of course, that’s not all the law will achieve. This law’s going to start to replace 100% of the nation’s lead pipes and service lines. As I stated earlier, every child in Michigan and across America can turn on the faucet and drink clean water. Ten million homes have those lead pipes going in, and 400,000 schools. Tens of thousands of plumbers and pipe fitters are going to get to work and good paying jobs and help make the nations healthier.
President Biden: (02:46)
Folks, and there’s an additional $10 billion nationwide to eliminate the dangerous forever chemical PFAS, which is an incredibly dangerous chemical. Look, this law is going to make high speed internet affordable and available everywhere in America, create jobs laying down that broadband line. Today, 14% of Michigan households don’t have an internet subscription, nearly 400,000 people in the state. A lot of places, there’s no broadband infrastructure at all. This law is going to make high speed internet affordable available everywhere in Michigan. Urban, suburban, rural, going to create jobs laying down broadband lines. The 21st century in America, no parent should have to do what a lot of you did, and they did in my state and all over America, should ever have to sit in a parking lot of a fast food restaurant again, just so their child can use the internet coming from that fast food restaurant. This is the United States of America for God’s sake.
President Biden: (03:49)
This law makes the most significant investment in roads and bridges in 70 years. Fixing so many of those 1,200 bridges, 7,300 miles of roads here in Michigan that are in poor condition. When a family drives the car you built right here, they’ll be a whole lot safer and they’ll get there a hell of a lot faster. The law, includes the most significant investment in passenger rail in the past 50 years. Again, in public transit ever. I remember Mayor Duggan is not here, he’s on a honeymoon, he’s a good guy, love Duggan. He helped pull this city out of a real tough spot. He used to talk about we … I found out, I didn’t know it beforehand, that we didn’t have most of the jobs were outside the city, significant 60% of the people had jobs out the city.
President Biden: (04:41)
Didn’t have vehicles to get out. Didn’t have cars to get outside the city. We provided buses, transit, and guess what? Things began to change. Well, now we’re going to change that again, here in Michigan. That means we placing nearly one fifth of the transit vehicles that are past their useful life. It means jobs for folks making the upgrades, good paying union jobs. Jobs you can raise a family on. Jobs you can’t outsource. Folks, this law will modernize our airports, freight rail, our ports along the Great Lakes, making it easy for companies to get goods to market, reducing supply chain bottlenecks and lowering costs for families. This law also builds up our resilience against extreme weather events. Here in Michigan, you know the cost of extreme weather. You remember the flooding this summer that shut down parts of I-75 and I-95, the power outages and tornado warnings.
President Biden: (05:35)
They are costing this state billions of dollars. Nationally, last year, listen to this. Nationally, last year, the extreme weather cost the United States of America $99 billion, $99 billion from hurricanes in Louisiana, to 20 inches of rain in the Northeast, to fires in the west that literally consume more land than the entire state of New Jersey from Cape May to New York. That’s how much has burned to the ground. This law builds back our bridges, our water systems, our power lines, our electric grid better and stronger. So few Americans would be flooded out of their homes or lose power for days and weeks at a time when a storm hits. This bill also rewards companies for paying a decent wage, for buying American, sourcing their products right here in America, not abroad. This will help the United States export clean energy technology, including electric vehicles made here in Michigan to the entire world.
President Biden: (06:39)
There’s so much more in this law, but most of all, this law does something truly historic. This law is going to help rebuild the backbone of this nation. When I ran for office, I said there were three reasons I [inaudible 00:06:52]. One, to restore the soul of this country, decency. Two, to restore the backbone of this country. Working class and middle class folks, they’d be the ones that build America. Three, to unite the country. To rebuild the economy from the bottom up in the middle out is the way I look at the world. The blue collar, this is a blue collar blueprint to rebuild America and leaves no one behind. The same goes from my Build Back Better plan. It’s for our people. If you’re paying, for example, 14 or $15,000 a year for childcare so you can work, a lot of families in America are doing that.
President Biden: (07:26)
My Build Back Better plans are going to make it a gigantic difference in your life because childcare cost will be limited to 7% of your income, 7%. Look, my Build Back Better plan’s going to provide access to better education. One of the reasons we went ahead to the rest of the world at the turn of the 20th century is we were the first nation in the world that had universal education for 12 years. Not based on any background or income. That pushed us ahead, the rest of the world’s caught up and in many cases, past us. We were sitting down for the first time today and saying, we want a universal education in America. Would anybody say we’d only make it 12 years to compete in the 21st century? I don’t think so. What we’re doing, we’re going to make sure that every three and four-year old in America has access to quality preschool school, school, school, school.
President Biden: (08:17)
By the way, all the data shows that’ll increase by 56%, the possibility of going through all the way through 12 years of school and onto after school, after high school. Young people graduating high school will have access to education beyond high school. We’re increasing Pell Grants for providing apprenticeship programs. We’re going to make a huge difference for those 2 million women in America who can’t get back into the workforce right now because they can’t afford childcare. Look, my Build Back Better plans are going to help solve that. If you’re one of the millions of Americans, who’s paying around $1,000 a month for your insulin, for example, my Build Back Better plan will make sure that we change that too, because it means that no one will pay more than $35 a month for their insulin.
President Biden: (09:12)
Under my plan, we’re going to lower cost for prescription drugs across the board, allowing them to negotiate prices, lowering the cost of daycare, elder care, housing, healthcare, prescription drugs. That’s what the plan does. My plan meets the moment of climate change as well. One more thing it’s fully paid for. Fully, fully. It does not increase the deficit one single cent. As a matter of fact, it reduced the deficit, according to the experts. Again, no one in America earning less than $400,000 will pay a single penny more in federal taxes. No one. You’re going to say, “Well, how you doing that, Joe?” Well, I’ll tell you what, real simple. I come from the corporate capital of the world. More corporations incorporated in my state of Delaware than all states combined. Guess what? They ain’t paying enough. Sorry, Mary.
President Biden: (10:22)
Here’s the deal. Look, I’m a capitalist. If you want, if you’re able to make a million or billion dollars, have at it, that’s good for everybody. Except pay your fair share. We have 55 corporation, 55 of the largest corporations in America. The most successful paid not a single penny in federal taxes the last several years. Guess what? They made $40 billion. I want them to make money. That’s good, but pay a little, pay a little. That’s how we pay for it. For real, it doesn’t cost a cent. We all talked to the programs $1.75 billion. Guess what? It’s paid for. Paid for and folks, from now on, they’re going to have to pay their fair share, not an exorbitant number, just a fair share.
President Biden: (11:21)
Let me close with this. Throughout our history, we’ve emerged from previous crises stronger than we were before the crisis. One of the few nations in the world have done that. Every major crisis has occurred in American history. Every one, we’ve come out strong after it than before it happened, because we invested in ourselves. During and after the Civil War, we built the Transcontinental Railroad uniting us east and west, creating jobs and opening up America in a way it had never occurred before. During the Cold War, we built the interstate highway system, transforming how Americans live their lives, allowing us to spread out across the nation. Now, as we work to put the COVID-19 pandemic behind us, we will build an economy of the 21st century. It matters. On Monday, I held a virtual meeting for three and a half hours almost with President Xi Jinping of China. Years ago, when I was Vice President, I was in China with him. We were near the Tibetan plateau and we had over 25 hours of private meetings, me and an interpreter and he an interpreter.
President Biden: (12:42)
We got to know one another. Well, guess what? He turned to me one day, this is God’s truth, my word as a Biden and said, “Can you define America for me?” I said, “Absolutely. In one word, possibilities. Possibilities.” We’re the only nation in the world that police everything within our [inaudible 00:13:09]. There’s nothing impossible, once we set our mind to it. It’s never been a good bet, as more world leaders had to hear me say, it’s never been a good bet to bet against America. Never. There’s no limit to what the American people can do. No limit to what our nation can do, because folks, and this is just not a political speech. I believe this a fact of history, no limit. Given half a chance, just half a chance, the American people have never, ever, ever, ever let the nation down. Never, because of this, this Michigan delegation.
President Biden: (13:52)
This new law gives our people a chance, more than half a chance. We’re at an inflection point in world history. Things are changing, not just here, across the world. The question is, how do we respond to it? What do we do? I truly believe, and I’ve given my word as a Biden, I truly believe that 50 years from now, historians are going to look back at this moment, the last two years, and the next four or five years, and they’re going to determine whether or not that moment did America win the competition for the 21st century, or did we lose it? Because that’s where we are. All the pieces on the globe are changing, but we got to get back in the game, folks. We don’t have to hurt any other nation. We got to get back in the game now, because by the way, if we don’t get back in the game and able to do it, who else is going to deal with the crises in the Middle East?
President Biden: (14:53)
Who else is going to deal with the Israeli/Palestinian issue? Who else is going to deal with all those issues that affects? Who else is going to be the nation that decides, that decides that we have to have a plan to deal with the next pandemic and lead the world, so we’re not where we are now? Because there will be others. Folks, I’m betting on America. I’m betting on American people. We got to focus on what made the nation great. I have no problem with people, the Wall Street bankers and others, fine, but they didn’t build America. The middle class built America and unions built the middle class. God bless you all, and may God protect our troops. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you.