Jan 8, 2021
Joe Biden Introduces Economics & Labor Nominees Speech Transcript
Joe Biden and Kamala Harris announced nominees for key economic and labor cabinet positions on January 8. Read the transcript of the press conference announcement here.
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Joe Biden: (03:39)
Good afternoon. Before I begin, let me just say two things. One when this is all over, I’ll take questions. When we finish today’s announcements, but let me begin by expressing my deep sympathy for the family of a Capitol Officer Sicknick, who has died in the line of duty, our sympathies and our concerns go out for his family and the people responsible should be held accountable and they will be.
Joe Biden: (04:18)
But today, I’m pleased to announce the latest members of our economic team. With their announcement, I’m proud to announce we have finished naming our cabinet. I’m saving the best for last here. 24 outstanding women and men who will get our country moving again, and who are going to restore trust in our government again, and all of whom are ready on day one to do their job.
Joe Biden: (04:49)
This is a cabinet that I promised you and I’ve fulfilled that promise, that looks like America. It taps into the full range of talent we have in our nation. And we have immense talent. It’s an historic cabinet. This’ll be the first cabinet ever that is evenly composed of as many women as men in the cabinet. This will be the first cabinet ever with a majority of people of color occupying this cabinet. And it has more than a dozen history-making appointments, including the first woman secretary of treasury, first African-American defense secretary, the first openly gay cabinet member and the first Native American cabinet secretary. We’re also on track, we named a record 50 high-level appointments that are subject to president confirmation. More than any president ever elected has done.
Joe Biden: (05:46)
We’ve done our job. We’ve begun my job of naming these people. And it’s my expectation and hope that the Senate will now move to confirm these nominees promptly and fairly. It’s especially the case for the nominees of secretary of state, defense, treasury, Homeland security. I nominated them back in November. Given what our country has been through the last four years, the last few days, given the threats and the risks in this world, they should be confirmed as close to January 20th as possible. They should be no vacancies at state, defense and treasury, and Homeland security. And we will remain in this dark winter of pandemic and with the economic crisis that’s deepening. And we have no time to lose with regard to the entire team.
Joe Biden: (06:34)
Consider the December jobs report released today. The anxiety and fear of the women and men out there reminds me of when President Obama and I were sworn in during the Great Recession of 2009. This December jobs report shows millions of Americans are still hurting through no fault of their own. We lost another 140,000 jobs. The first negative jobs report since the height of the pandemic in the spring. More people have just lost a job while many have been out of work for a long time. And the ongoing gap between Black and Latino unemployment remains much too large, that gap.
Joe Biden: (07:27)
And in many ways, the jobs report is a pandemic report. With the pandemic raging, people are losing work and losing hope. The hospital industry, restaurants and bars lost more than 372,000 jobs. State and local governments are slashing jobs. 20,000 local educators lost their jobs just last month. In the midst of this pandemic, there are millions of people out of work, unable to pay the rent or their mortgage. They’re waiting in line for hours to get food from a food bank. Think of this. The United States of America, people are lined up for miles in their automobiles waiting to get a meal to put on the table to feed their family. And they’re left staring at the ceiling, so many. Unable to sleep. Worried, will they have their health insurance? Wondering if they’ll be okay? The bottom line is the job report shows we need to provide more immediate relief for working families and businesses now. Now. Not just to help them get the other side of this painful crisis, but a larger purpose to avoid a broader economic cost that exists out there, that will happen due to long-term unemployment, hunger, homelessness, and business failings.
Joe Biden: (08:56)
But by acting, the vast majority of leading economists suggest that’s what we need to do to revive the economy. In fact, economic research confirms that with conditions like the crisis today, especially with such low interest rates, taking immediate action, even with deficit finance, is going to help the economy long term and short term reduce scarring in the workforce, increase growth and reduce our national debt burden. [Farragut 00:09:25] act will have the opposite effect.
Joe Biden: (09:28)
I’ve said before, the bi-partisan COVID relief package passed in December was a very important step, but just a down payment. Next week, I’ll be here with you all laying out the groundwork for the next COVID economic relief package that meets the critical moment of our economy and our country that we face at the moment. For example, vaccines give us hope, but the rollout has been a travesty. This would be the greatest operational challenge. The greatest operational challenge we will ever face as a nation. We’re going to need billions of dollars to get the vaccines from a vial into someone’s arm in the vaccination for millions of Americans. We’re also going to need tens of millions of dollars to help reopen our schools and reopen them safely. State, local, tribal communities need tens of billions of dollars to keep educators, police officers, firefighters, and other first responders and public health workers on the job. We need more direct relief flowing to families, small businesses, including finishing the job of getting people that $2,000 in relief direct payment. 600 are simply not enough when you have to choose between paying rent, putting food on the table, keeping the lights on.
Joe Biden: (10:53)
I also hope that democratic control of the house and Senate will raise the odds of prompt action on increasing the minimum wage. I’ve long said that we need to reward work, not just wealth in this country. People in both parties now recognize it’s time to raise the minimum wage so hardworking people are in at least $15 an hour minimum. No one should work, as millions are doing today, 40 hours a week at a job and still live below the poverty line. They’re entitled to at least the $15 minimum wage per hour.
Joe Biden: (11:34)
Folks, a big focus has also being small businesses and how to correct the current administration’s failures to get relief to main street, small businesses that are most in need. Mom and pop stores are the backbone of the economy. And they’re also, as you all know, they’re the glue that holds communities together. It holds them together. But today, more than one in four small businesses are not open. At least 400,000 are closed for good. As the month goes by, a third of Black-owned businesses and more than a fifth of Latino-owned businesses and more than a quarter of Native American-owned businesses, have less than one month of reserves to cover expenses. Previous rounds of economic relief last year helped millions of small businesses stay afloat and keep employees in the payroll. But there were clear problems. Black and Brown owned, small businesses had less access to that relief. Mom and pop shops were often the last in line, while big well-connected businesses jumped in front of the line and got more relief and got it faster.
Joe Biden: (12:48)
And at every turn this administration, the Trump administration, has undermined accountability for every tax dollar spent. Weakening oversight, firing inspector generals. So it’s no surprise an independent watchdog found that tens of thousands of ineligible companies receive relief they should not have, including from fraud and abuse, siphoning off support for very small businesses that need it so badly. But the good news is that the relief package passed last month provides additional aid to small businesses and workers.
Joe Biden: (13:28)
But as I said from the beginning, the need to make sure that relief and future relief reaches everyone who needs it, we need to do more. These relief dollars will start to flow quickly potentially while the current administration is still in office and they may send out money that they won’t have any control over, but for what we have to control… need control over, I want to be very clear what my priorities are. For distributing this emergency aid swiftly and equitably. Our focus will be on small businesses on main street that aren’t wealthy and well-connected, that are facing real economic hardships through no fault of their own. Our priority will be Black, Latino, Asian, and Native American owned small businesses, women owned businesses, and finally having equal access to resources needed to reopen and rebuild.
Joe Biden: (14:23)
But we’re going to make a concerted effort to help small businesses in low income communities. In big cities, small towns, rural communities that have faced systemic barriers to relief. Think of the mom and pop owner with a couple of employees, who can’t pick up the phone and call a banker, who doesn’t have a lawyer, an accountant, to help them through this complicated process to know if they’re even qualified or who simply didn’t know where this relief is available in the first place. We went through this, Don, when we were trying to bring… When we brought Detroit back off it’s knees.
Joe Biden: (15:02)
As we saw in this morning’s job report, restaurants, bars, and hospitality industry have been slammed by this virus. We’re going to direct relief to those businesses and others that have been so badly hit. Hit the hardest. We owe them that support to help them get through the other side of this crisis. And I promise you, we will investigate and prosecute waste and fraud in these programs. So the money goes to the companies that deserve it and will use it to help their employees and their communities. When my president, President Obama, asked me to handle implement the recovery act, along with Don who helped me a great deal, we invested more than $800 billion in our economy to help recover, rebuild and less than two thirds of 1% waste, fraud or abuse occurred. We know how to do this. We know how important predictability and clarity are to small businesses. From day one, this administration worked to ensure that small businesses and financial institutions in every community understand the rules for these programs, the resources available to them, where they can turn for technical assistance if they need it. We will have navigators who help guide them through each step of this process until the money they need is in their bank account.
Joe Biden: (16:29)
And to the lenders participating in these programs, you should move quickly without delay to begin extending relief. But I urge you not to disperse these funds in the same inequitable way you have in the past. Here’s my commitment. In return, we’ll make our expectations of you crystal clear, the banks, so that you can quickly and equitably deliver relief to the communities that you serve, unlike what’s been happening in many places.
Joe Biden: (17:08)
The bottom line is, we’re in the midst of the most unequal economic and jobs crisis in modern history. Congress needs to act as quickly as possible on all the issues I just laid out. That’s how we can contain the pandemic, build back better, with an economy that works for all Americans. And this is a team that’s going to help get that done.
Joe Biden: (17:34)
For secretary of commerce, I nominate Governor Gina Raimondo of Rhode Island. The daughter of a working class family who knows what it’s like when her parent’s factory job was shipped overseas. She never took her parents’ sacrifices for granted. She always remembers where she came from. She became a successful entrepreneur who created jobs on main street and brought businesses back from the edge. She became a state treasurer who investing in local communities and took on financial predators. And today she’s one of the most effective forward-thinking governors in the United States of America, the first woman ever to lead the Ocean State.
Joe Biden: (18:16)
She created an innovative loan program that helped minority-owned and women-owned businesses access the capital they need, but wasn’t always available to them. She’s worked with employers to design skill training programs so the local workers would be equipped to take the good paying jobs in their own communities. She’s put Rhode Island on the path to achieving 100% renewable energy, and she’ll be a key player in helping position the United States as a global leader in the 21st century in clean energy economy. And she knows what her fellow governors, Democrats and Republicans alike, are dealing with on the front lines of the pandemic and economic crisis they’re facing and how we can all partner together as one nation to contain COVID-19 to build back better. I’m honored Governor that you’re willing to join the administration. And we’re really looking forward to working with you.
Joe Biden: (19:11)
For secretary of labor, I nominated a good friend and a standup guy, Marty Walsh of Boston, son of Irish immigrants from… His only downside, they’re not from Mayo, they’re from Galway. From Galway, moved to Boston. Marty was born and raised in Dorchester. I know him. Tough as nails. Diagnosed with cancer at age seven, beat it at age 11, joined the Laborers Union to 23. At age 21, elected to the state legislature, became union president and graduated from college at age 42. He’s now in his second term as a successful mayor of the iconic American city of Boston, who always puts working people first. Fighting for a $15 minimum wage.
Joe Biden: (20:03)
First, fighting for $15 minimum wage, paid family leave, providing frontline workers with emergency childcare, and protective equipment they need. Marty understands like I do, the middle-class built this country and unions built the middle class. He sees how union workers have been holding this country together during this crisis, health care workers keeping our hospitals safe, clean and effective, and efficient, I might add.
Joe Biden: (20:29)
Public service workers, fighting against budget shortfalls to keep communities afloat. Port workers, car haulers, warehouse workers, folks keeping our air and rail systems running. They’re literally what’s keeping us going. And they deserve a secretary of labor who knows how to build our power as workers. Who knows that when I say our future will be made in America, it will be a future built by American workers. A future with historic investments in infrastructure, clean energy manufacturing, and so much more that’s going to create millions of good paying jobs.
Joe Biden: (21:11)
Marty knows worker power means not just protecting the right to unionize, but encouraging unionization, and collective bargaining. The Fair Labor Standards Act way back didn’t just say you can have union, it said the government should encourage the formation of unions. It also means protecting pensions, ensuring worker safety, increasing the minimum wage, ensuring workers are paid for the overtime they’ve earned, like we fought for in the Obama-Biden administration, that this administration has weakened.
Joe Biden: (21:46)
Making sure that we have a trade policy, where for every decision we make, unions are at the table, focused on winning good jobs for American workers. This is one of the most important departments to me. I Trust Mayor Walsh and I’m honored he accepted. But I also want to say, I did give serious consideration of nominating my friend, Bernie Sanders to this position before. I’m confident he could have done a fantastic job.
Joe Biden: (22:17)
I can think of no more passionate, devoted ally to working people in this country. But after two of these results in Georgia, give me a democratic control of the United States Senate, and a tie vote, Bernie and I agreed, matter of fact Bernie says, “We can’t put control of the Senate at risk, on the outcome of a special election Vermont.”
Joe Biden: (22:38)
And he agreed we couldn’t take that chance. We also discussed how we’d work together, travel the country together, helping Marty meeting with working men and women who feel forgotten and left behind in this economy. We agreed that we’ll work closely on our shared agenda of increasing worker power and to protect the dignity of work for all working people.
Joe Biden: (23:03)
I want to thank Bernie for his continued friendship and leadership. I look forward to us working together along with Marty, and he thinks I made a good choice.
Joe Biden: (23:13)
For administrative of the small business administration I nominate, Isabel Guzman. Isabel grew up in California, working alongside her dad in a small veterinary business that he built. She devoted an early understanding and developed an early understanding of what small business means to their employees and to the neighborhood they support, and to the families who dreams they represent. She dedicated her career to creating jobs, to supporting entrepreneurs as a senior official on the Obama-Biden small business administration.
Joe Biden: (23:49)
As director of California’s office of small business and a small business advocate, she worked tirelessly to ensure that everyone with an entrepreneurial spark had a fair and equal shot at getting off the ground and succeeding.
Joe Biden: (24:03)
The Biden-Harris administration will be locked in on helping small businesses recover, rebuild, and remain the engines of our economic strength. And as head of the SBA, Isabel will be leading the critical mission, not only to rescue small businesses in crisis, but to provide the capital to entrepreneurs across the country, so they can innovate, create jobs and help lead us into recovery. I’m grateful that she accepted the call to serve in Washington.
Joe Biden: (24:34)
For deputy commerce secretary I nominate, and I have to admit to you good loyal great friend, Don graves. Don is a long time and trusted advisor. He was there at the treasury department during the depths of the great recession, helping small businesses weather the storm and stay afloat.
Joe Biden: (24:54)
When President Obama asked me to lead the effort to get Detroit out of bankruptcy, and off its back and on its feet again, he said, I can take anyone in the administration on my team to do it full time. So I went to the treasury department.
Joe Biden: (25:09)
I tasked Don to come over and work for me and work on full-time. It was the best decision I ever made in that effort. I’m not sure how he thinks about that, but I think it was the best decision I’ve ever made. And did a great job working with the city officials, state officials on its road to recovery.
Joe Biden: (25:28)
And by the way, it’s the little things, it’s getting to know what’s happening on the ground. Remember how we went through the issue about the number of buses and lights, street lights and light. It gets down to the nitty gritty of what has to be done. We found out that Detroit had a lot of qualified people, but during the great recession, almost everyone who knew how to program anything left. And when we finally got it back on it’s feet again, we found out there wasn’t anybody left to know how to turn on the street lights.
Joe Biden: (25:59)
Literally, run the sewer department. So we went out and we got an outfit to come in and we said, find us some high-tech people. They came back, what was it, 53, 55 people, they all happened to be women. Most were minority, none had more than a high school degree, and a quarter of them only had a GED. And I remember even our very liberal friends we told them we were doing this. They said, “You’re not going to do this.”
Joe Biden: (26:27)
Well, guess what? In a 14 week, was it 14 week, program, they were taught how to program. They were taught how to do it all. They ended up putting the city back on its feet. Every one of them left after that time, because we went to the graduation, with the lowest starting salary if my recollection is correct, was $49,000, the highest $104,000. Point is, give people a chance, Americans can do anything, given a shot.
Joe Biden: (26:57)
It also helped me lead our national strategy to equip workers with the skills they need for good paying jobs in the 21st century and healthcare, IT, clean energy, advanced manufacturing and so much more. He was there to help me launch the National Cancer Moonshot, and marshall a full resource of the federal government to help end cancer as we know it.
Joe Biden: (27:18)
A cancer survivor himself, diagnosed and treated while he was working on this for me. Don knows about hope and he knows about resilience. I’m grateful to him. And it was a wonderful family. For once again, answering the call to serve.
Joe Biden: (27:34)
I want to thank you all. Thank your families. And I don’t want to embarrass them. There’s one guy up in the gallery here, Tommy, who’s my buddy, who is the son of the governor. Thanks Tommy for supporting mom doing this. And to American people, I know these times are tough, but I want you to know that we’re going to get through this. Help is on the way. These people know what they’re about, they know what it’s like.
Joe Biden: (28:03)
May God bless you all, and may God protect our troops. Now what I’d like to do is turn this over to the team, starting with our next secretary of labor, Marty Walsh, and after all said and done, what I’ll do is I’ll come back and answer some questions. Thank you. Marty, the platform is yours pal.
Governor Roimondo: (28:55)
Thank you. Good afternoon? Good afternoon. Mr. President elect, Madam vice president elect, thank you for this chance to work for the American people. I begin by thanking my amazing family, my wonderful husband, Andy, my daughter Ceci, my son Tommy who’s here in the balcony, thank you for your endless love and support. We’ll do this as a family.
Governor Roimondo: (29:29)
The mission of the commerce department is a very simple one. To help spur good paying jobs, to empower entrepreneurs to innovate and grow, to come together with working families and American businesses to create new opportunities for all of us. It’s a simple but vital mission.
Governor Roimondo: (29:55)
It’s the same mission that’s driven my own life and the path of my family across generations. My grandfather was 14 years old when he came to this country. He got on a boat by himself at 14 years old from Italy. He came to America in search of new possibilities. He taught himself English late at night in the Providence Public Library, the library was open late at night. He started a family, and the first chapter of our family’s new American story.
Governor Roimondo: (30:43)
My father was the son of another Italian immigrant, a butcher. A butcher who helped found the Meat Cutters Union in Rhode Island, which is now the UFCW local in Rhode Island. And after serving in the Navy and going to college and the GI bill, my father went to work in manufacturing, spending most of his career at the Bulova Watch factory in Providence.
Governor Roimondo: (31:17)
Now, I was the youngest of three kids, and there were six of us, including my grandfather, all in a small house, sharing one bathroom. Now we didn’t have a lot, but we had everything that we needed, until one day my dad came home and he said the factory was going to close, and the jobs were going overseas.
Governor Roimondo: (31:47)
And so after 28 years of dedicated work, he was pushed unceremoniously into early retirement in his mid 50s. I have to tell you, it was a very difficult time for my family. And like so many American families across this country today, we had to cut back, cut back to make it through. But my mom kept our family together and we did get through.
Governor Roimondo: (32:26)
And I went on to college, and I started to chase my own dreams, starting business, and creating jobs for hardworking people. Because I knew exactly what those jobs would mean. What those jobs would mean for families who had fallen on hard times, for communities where the factory had shut down, and for a state that needed a shot in the arm to get back on its feet. When I announced my run for governor, Rhode Island was in the midst of an eight month streak as the state with the highest unemployment rate in the nation. But over the last six years, we’ve worked hard, we fought back and we’ve grown our way back, achieving a record number of jobs and the lowest unemployment rate in over 30 years.
Governor Roimondo: (33:37)
Now, we did that by bringing together our workers and businesses, working together, coming together in common cause. We invested in our people, in their skills, their opportunities and their dreams. We helped new businesses launch, and we sparked others to hire and grow responsibly. That’s the same vision, the same faith in American workers in American entrepreneurs that I see in the Build Back Better agenda.
Governor Roimondo: (34:23)
It’s a vision for an inclusive recovery, that lifts up those who’ve been left behind. It’s a vision for a national effort that provides skills, training and wraparound supports to get Americans back to work.
Governor Roimondo: (34:48)
It’s a vision for rebuilding American manufacturing and bringing back jobs to America from overseas. And that’s why I am ready to get to work. I am excited to get to work on a national scale to help realize the vision of the president elect and vice president elect to help more hardworking families in every community write the next chapter of their own American stories. So thank you for this opportunity to serve the American people.
Marty Walsh: (35:21)
Thank you, governor Raimondo and I look forward to working with you in my role as well. Mr. President elect, Madam vice president elect, I want to thank you for the opportunity to serve the American people.
Marty Walsh: (35:58)
The word labor means everything to me. As you mentioned earlier, Mr. President elect, my mother and father came to this country as immigrants from Gallway, which is an Island, but from a part of Galway called Kanamara.
Marty Walsh: (36:12)
They brought with them, their willing hands, their honest hearts and hopes to the American dream. But all they needed because my father joined the Labor’s Union in Boston, was that opportunity. And that’s why my parents were able to raise my brother, John and myself, with dignity and security, and in multi-ethnic, multi-racial working class neighborhood of Dorchester in the city of Austin.
Marty Walsh: (36:37)
I followed my father into that union. I learned what it took to turn an honest day’s work into an honest day’s pay. I saw it fighting for good jobs, good benefits, a safe workplace does for the lives of hardworking men and women and their families. And I fought for working people every single day of my life since then.
Marty Walsh: (36:58)
Today we’re at a crossroads in America. It’s a time of great hardship. Working people are holding the country together right now. I’ve seen it up close as mayor of the city that I love Boston. Health care workers, first responders, grocery store workers, delivery drivers, postal workers, sanitation workers, custodians, coming through for us, under impossible conditions. But this isn’t just because of the COVID crisis or the economic crisis that threatens their wellbeing.
Marty Walsh: (37:32)
Working people have been struggling for a long time under the erosion of their rights in the deep inequalities of race, gender, and class. For the last four years, they’ve been under assaults, attacks on their rights, their livelihoods, and the unions that built the middle class.
Marty Walsh: (37:50)
We are facing hard times, but nobody’s tougher than the American worker. And now, we have the opportunity to put power back in the hands of working people all across this country. And that is a good thing for our economy and for our country.
Marty Walsh: (38:08)
We can defend workers rights. We can strengthen collective bargaining. We can grow union membership. We can create millions of good paying jobs with investments in infrastructure, clean energy, and in high-tech manufacturing, along with the workforce training to help get those people into those good jobs.
Marty Walsh: (38:28)
This team, the Biden-Harris team has the plans to make this happen. Mr. President elect, we spent many memorable days together in my hometown, at a rally to support grocery store workers fighting for their rights, and my inauguration as mayor. And on a day that I will never forget, at the Boston Marathon Memorial, where you lifted out our whole city spirits. So I know that from Dorchester to Scranton, Wilmington to West Virginia and all across this great nation, your home in your heart are with the working people.
Marty Walsh: (39:04)
I look forward to working with you to deliver good jobs with dignity, security, prosperity, and purpose to all American families. And I look forward to working with this entire administration shoulder to shoulder, with American workers to build back our country better. Thank you once again for this incredible honor, may God bless the American worker and may God bless the United States of America.
Speaker 1: (39:52)
Good afternoon. Mr. President elect, Madam vice president elect, I am honored and truly thankful for this opportunity to serve America’s small businesses. Together with you …
Speaker 2: (40:03)
… serve America’s small businesses. Together with you and the exceptional and diverse team you’re assembling, I am eager to build our economy back better in every community. The small business experience is personal to me. I grew up in an entrepreneurial family. My father started his first veterinary hospital when I was one years old. And I recall early childhood memories of tagging along with him to the hospitals, to check on the animals under his care. As I grew older, I worked alongside my dad at the family business, and witnessed his dedication to his clients, his employees, and the community. I saw him spending endless hours wearing multiple hats, tirelessly working to learn more and grow the business. Those memories have defined my career, and really inspired my work still today. Along my own path, I have partnered to start businesses, and have helped entrepreneurs launch and grow their firms.
Speaker 2: (41:02)
I have advised a startup minority owned bank, and I have co-founded a consulting firm for small business contractors. At the US Small Business Administration, I was honored to help make a difference on a national scale. I formed a deep passion for the SBA’s work, providing loans, investments, contracts, and counseling, to help entrepreneurs start and grow and spur job creation. Today as California’s small business advocate, I support the small businesses and innovative startups, of this fifth largest economy in the world, focusing on ensuring the economy works for everyone, as that’s how we thrive together. Now I’m honored to return to the SBA at a crossroads moment for small businesses, the dreams they embody, the people they lift up, and the communities they serve. So many small businesses across the country have been devastated by the pandemic and economic crisis. A disproportionate impact has fallen as it often does, on our businesses owned by people of color.
Speaker 2: (42:10)
Small businesses have had to adapt quickly to survive, and chase down relief while facing closures, drops in revenues, shrinking cashflow, and increasing debt. I know you believe wholeheartedly Mr. President-elect and Madam Vice President-elect, that all of our small businesses are critical to our collective success as a nation. Their American dreams fuel our economy, bring new ideas to transform our lives for the better, and enliven every main street in America. And now more than ever, our small businesses need us. I share your commitment to help strengthen these many small business owners, who have seen their dreams and their livelihoods impacted by COVID-19. And to create opportunities and instill greater equity in all of the new startups that will lead us to recovery. I am excited to get to work with the incredible mission driven civil servants at the SBA, to help America’s small business owners build better future.
Speaker 3: (43:16)
… to ensure that economic opportunity is inclusive and broad based. And as it is for all of us in our own ways, it’s personal. I come from a long line of small business owners, including one who owned and operated the only African-American owned hotel, in the mid to late 1800s, just four short blocks from where the Commerce Department sits today. But for too many people in this country, the chance to start and grow a business, to take their idea into market and sell all over the world, remains elusive all these years later. But we also know that government, its resources, and its experienced and capable civil servants, can help level the playing field and empower people, communities, and our economy to reach their full potential. Mr. President-elect, I saw it firsthand when you and President Obama prevented another great depression, and helped us recover, rebuild, and put us on the way to resurgence.
Speaker 3: (44:13)
I saw it in Detroit, where we were able to provide the partnership to help residents, businesses, and leaders get their city back on the feet again. And as we traveled the country meeting with local leaders, labor unions, business leaders, and educators, I saw how you brought people together to ensure American workers were equipped.and matched with the skills for jobs in their own communities. That also strengthened the economic competitiveness of our nation. Above all, you showed me how to do it the right way. To understand that service isn’t about those who serve, but the people we serve.
Speaker 3: (44:51)
Just spend the extra time to really understand what they’re going through, and to know they aren’t looking for us to solve everything, but to understand and help make their lives better. I felt that most through the Cancer Moonshot you launched, deeply personal to both our families. And that gave the American people a renewed sense of hope, in what we can do as a nation. With Governor Raimondo, Mayor Walsh, Isabel, and the entire economic team, we will govern by that high standard that you and the Vice President-elect, continue to serve, to show. To revive the economy through the pandemic and build it back better. To advance racial equity across the board, and to meet the existential threat of climate change with American jobs and ingenuity. With your leadership, I know this administration will provide the American people the support they need to thrive, and the opportunity to turn their hopes into lives of dignity, and the respect they deserve. Thank you again for the opportunity to serve.
Joe Biden: (45:53)
Thank you [inaudible 00:45:53].
Governor Roimondo: (46:17)
[inaudible 00:45:55]. One of the fundamental values that the president-elect and I share, is a belief in the dignity of work. We both understand that a job is so much more than just a paycheck. It’s about dignity and respect. Joe learned that lesson from his father, and I learned it from my mother. My mother taught me in her words and in her actions, that no matter how you earn a living, whether you’re a caregiver or a truck driver, a grocery store clerk, or a small business owner, every job has inherent value and worth. And every worker everywhere has a right to earn a living wage, work in safe and healthy conditions, and pursue a better life for themselves and their family. We also know that right now the dignity of an honest day’s work, and the financial stability of a steady income, are out of reach for millions of Americans.
Governor Roimondo: (47:25)
The December jobs report makes that very clear. Food banks as the president-elect has said, are being strained, trying to feed people who’ve had to worry for the first time in their lives, about where they can find their next meal. Essential workers like the nurses Joe and I called over the holidays, continue to risk their own health and the health of their families for all of us. Small business owners from restaurants to barbershops to dry cleaners, they’re hurting. And let’s be clear, those who run America’s small businesses, they’re not just business leaders, they are civic leaders, they are community leaders. They’re the ones who sponsored the little league team, and scholarships for local kids and all kinds of local causes and activities. They’re the ones who are role models in their communities. And we’ve got to do right by them. So first and foremost, as the president-elect has said, we will provide more immediate relief, we must, for working families and businesses now.
Governor Roimondo: (48:40)
And even as we address our immediate crises, even as we work to contain this pandemic and open our economy responsibly, we must also do what President-elect Biden and I have pledged to do. We must build our economy back better. So that lift ups everyone. No matter what you do for living or where you live, whether it’s in a small town, a big city or anywhere in between. And that means providing access to capital for small business owners, the economic engines of our neighborhoods. So that they can create the jobs that are in our communities and help our communities thrive. It means making sure we’re equipping workers with the skills they need, for the jobs of the future, and making sure our entrepreneurs and businesses, continue to out innovate and out-compete the rest of the world. And it means protecting and expanding workers’ rights, by fighting for a higher minimum wage and paid leave, safe and healthy workplaces, and stronger unions.
Governor Roimondo: (49:49)
From working with unions, the San Francisco’s district attorney to helping author the Domestic Workers Bill of Rights in the United States Senate, I can tell you from personal experience that whether it’s the apprenticeships of the building trades, or the caregiving skills of home healthcare workers, this is some of the most important work being done in our country. The president-elect and I know that, and so does this team we are announcing today. These are leaders and I’ve worked with many of them. Who together with the rest of our economic team, will help create millions of good paying union jobs, and build an economy that is stronger and fairer for working people.
Governor Roimondo: (50:34)
They are seasoned public servants with track records of not only standing up for workers in unions, but creating and spurring innovation and creating opportunities for small business owners. And like President-elect Biden and I, they will fight to honor the dignity of work. The president-elect and I share a vision of America where opportunity is within reach for all the people. Where everyone can see a better and a brighter future for themselves, and for their children. With the leadership of these public servants and our entire economic team, we will get to work building that America, less than two weeks from today. Thank you so very much Mr. President-elect. Thank you.
Joe Biden: (51:28)
Okay guys. Well folks, let me take some of your questions. Will have chances again this week to do it. But [inaudible 00:52:08] can you tell me who was talking.
Speaker 4: (52:24)
Mr. President-elect, while we have been here as you’ve been announcing your economic team, we’ve learned that House Democrats are currently planning to introduce articles of impeachment against President Trump, as soon as Monday. At that point it’ll be just a little over a week before the president leaves office. Do you believe this is a good idea?
Joe Biden: (52:49)
Look, I’ve thought for a long, long time, that President Trump wasn’t fit to hold the job. That’s why I ran. And my job now in 12 days, God willing I’ll be president of United States of America. And I’m focused on the urgency of three immediate concerns. One, the virus. Getting it under control. Getting the vaccine from a vial into people’s arms. I think the way it’s being done now has been very, very sad. Number two, we’ve had 4,000 deaths yesterday. And things continue to rise to escalate. That’s my number one concern, to get the virus under control.
Joe Biden: (53:40)
We lost over 125,000 jobs this last month, and people are really, really, really in desperate shape. And so I’m focused on the virus, the vaccine, and economic growth. What the Congress decides to do, is for them to decide. But I’m going to have to, and they’re going to have to be ready, to hit the ground running, because when Kamala and I are sworn in, we’re going to be introducing immediately, significant piece of legislation to deal with the virus, deal with the economy, and deal with economic growth. So we’re going to do our job and the Congress can decide how to proceed with theirs.
Speaker 4: (54:26)
But if a Democratic member of Congress were to call and ask for your advice about whether they should proceed with this, what would you tell them?
Joe Biden: (54:34)
I’ll tell them that’s a decision for the Congress to make. I’m focused on my job.
Speaker 4: (54:39)
And did you speak with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi before this decision was made, or is that conversation that’s still going to happen?
Joe Biden: (54:47)
I’ll be speaking with Nancy and the Democratic leadership this afternoon as a matter of fact, about my agenda, as well as whatever they want to talk to me about.
Speaker 4: (54:56)
Speaker 5: (54:59)
Thanks Mr. President-elect.
Joe Biden: (55:09)
Thank you Ken.
I wanted to ask you about your agenda in light of the jobs report that came out today. You’re going to be laying out the principles of your plan. Do you think that the need in the COVID relief bill is greater than you anticipated? And what is the price tag that you’re looking at? I’ve been told it could be in the two to three trillion dollar range. And then as it relates to the direct cash payments, you’ve talked about the need for $2,000 checks. Do you want to see that in a Senate standalone bill as a way to speed up the process, or do you think those direct cash payments should be part of the package that you’re going to be proposing?
Joe Biden: (55:50)
We’re going to be proposing an entire package. And parts of that package are of equal consequence to people. Unemployment insurance, being able to continue with rent forbearance, a whole range of issues. And so that’s number one. We think that they all have to be dealt with. The price tag will be high. But as I said, made scant reference to in my opening comments. The overwhelming consensus among the leading economists left, right and center, is that in order to keep the economy from collapsing this year and getting much, much worse, we should be investing significant amounts of money right now to grow the economy. And that’s a pretty wide consensus. And as you know, Moody’s had done an analysis of what I originally had been talking about, and said that it was necessary to keep the economy from going down. We’d rise. We’d create 18.6 million jobs, create two trillion dollars more in economic growth than the other administration would, this outgoing administration.
Joe Biden: (57:03)
So it is necessary to spend the money now. The answer is yes. It will be in the trillions of dollars, the entire package. I’ll be here next Thursday laying out in detail, how that package is going to go. But the basic story is simple, that if we don’t act now things are going to get much worse and harder to get out of the hole later. So we have to invest now. Secondly, we’re going to have to meet the emergency needs of the American people. I mean literally, I know you know this Ken. That people are having trouble just putting food on the table. Just having to stay, keep the payment of their car, being able to turn the lights on. There’s a dire, dire need to act now, purely out of what is a humanitarian need here at home.
Joe Biden: (57:51)
In the third stage of this the whole story is, we’re going to have to invest as I suggested throughout the campaign, in infrastructure and healthcare and a whole range of things, that are going to generate good paying jobs, that will allow us to grow the economy. So that’s a long answer to your short question. Which is that, the idea of with interest rates as low as they are, with the fed having had its power sort of taken away in terms of what they could do to help this administration like last, it’s important across the board, every major economist thinks we should be investing in deficit spending in order to generate economic growth.
And I wanted to ask you about what took place at the Capitol this week. You served in the Senate for 36 years, and importantly you were there in 1983 when there was an explosion in the Senate quarter, you were there in 1998 when two Capitol police officers were shot. You were there during the anthrax attacks in 2001, what kind of an investigation needs to take place, and what steps need to take place to improve the security of the Capitol. And then secondly, how do you think the people who were involved in the storming of the Capitol, how should they be treated by your justice department? Should they be treated as domestic terrorists?
Joe Biden: (59:13)
Yes. They should be treated as they’re a bunch of thugs, insurrectionist, white supremacists, anti-Semites, [Six N 00:19:20] is not enough. I mean, come on. These shirts they’re wearing, these are a bunch of thugs, thugs, and they’re terrorists, domestic terrorists. And that’ll be a judgment for the Justice Department to make as to what the charges should be. But the fact is they should be prosecuted. They should be prosecuted. The difference here is, this had the active encouragement of a sitting president of the United States. And the way in which the breakdown in security occurred, needs to be thoroughly investigated. I’m not going to prejudge what it was, but the idea that these people were able to just march up the…
Joe Biden: (01:00:03)
… idea. The idea that these people were able to just march up the stairs, march in, and do it in the way … There’s a great debate, I don’t know the answer, a great debate now. Was the governor of Maryland correct when he said that, “I was ready to send in the National Guard. I couldn’t get authorization.” What happened? It deserves a full-blown investigation, people being held accountable, and steps taken that something like this could never happen again. And the difference this time is, every nation has dealt, every democracy has dealt with individual terrorist attacks by groups that are very targeted.
Joe Biden: (01:00:44)
The largest target was 911 and the buildings. Well, right down to a bomb going off in the Capitol when I was there and two policemen. But the idea that thousands of people, thousands of people, could be marching up the steps of the United States Capitol, breaking windows, breaking doors, forcing their way in, stepping aside, and the photographs of … Well, I don’t know what the circumstance is. The photograph of, it looked like you had some of the Capitol Police taking selfies with these people. That has to be thoroughly investigated.
Joe Biden: (01:01:19)
The authorities responsible have to be held accountable for the failures that occurred, and we have to make sure that this can never ever happen again. The damage done to our reputation around the world by a president of the United States encouraging a mob, a mob, this reminded me more of states I’ve visited of the hundred countries I’ve gone to in tinhorn dictatorships. It just cannot be sustained, has to be immediately, immediately investigated in depth, and people have to be held accountable.
Speaker 6: (01:01:55)
Lastly, do you think you need to change any of the planning for your inauguration as a result of this?
Joe Biden: (01:02:02)
Totally different entity is in charge of the inauguration that was in charge of protecting the Capitol, the Secret Service. I have great confidence in the Secret Service. I have great confidence in their ability to make sure that the inauguration goes off, goes off safely, and goes off without a hitch, so I have confidence in the planning that’s been underway before this and continues with the Secret Service as the lead agency.
Speaker 6: (01:02:33)
Joe Biden: (01:02:33)
Speaker 7: (01:02:34)
Speaker 8: (01:02:40)
President-elect Biden, Vice President-elect Harris, good to see you both. I want to pick up on something that you just said about President Trump actively encouraging the insurrection at the Capitol. Given that, given the perceived threat that he poses, my question to you is not so much about the role that Congress should play in impeachment, but rather should President Trump in your estimation remain in office?
Joe Biden: (01:03:04)
Look, I’ve been saying for now well over a year, he is not fit to serve. He is not fit to serve. He’s one of the most incompetent presidents in the history of the United States of America, and so the idea that I think he shouldn’t be out of office yesterday is not the issue. The question is, what happens with 14 days left to go, or 13 days left to go? And I think that what 81 million people stood up and said, it’s time for him to go, and the United States Senate voted 93 to 6 to confirm that we should be sworn in, we were duly elected.
Joe Biden: (01:03:54)
So I think it’s important we get on with the business of getting him out of office. The quickest way that that will happen is us being sworn in on the 20th. What action happens before or after that is a judgment for the Congress to make. But that’s what I am looking forward to, him leaving office. I was told on the way up here, the way over here, that he indicated he wasn’t going to show up at the inauguration. One of the few things he and I have ever agreed on. It’s a good thing him not showing up.
Speaker 8: (01:04:29)
Earlier you’d said that you’d hope that he would show up only in the sense that it was valuable to send a signal to the world about the transfer of power. You’ve clearly changed your perspective on that.
Joe Biden: (01:04:39)
Because he has clearly demonstrated, he’s exceeded even my worst notions about him. He’s been an embarrassment to the country, embarrassed us around the world, not worthy, not worthy to hold that office. If we were six months out, we should be moving everything to get him out of office, impeaching him again, trying to invoke the 25th Amendment, whatever it took to get him out of office. But I am focused now on us taking control as president and vice-president on the 20th, and to get our agenda moving as quickly as we can. Thank you.
Speaker 8: (01:05:20)
Another question about holding public officials to account, and this is about an issue that’s no longer a headline but is no less significant and serious. It’s about the more than 600 children who were orphaned under the Trump Administration as a result of the family separation policy along the border. During the campaign you said that practice was criminal. Can you commit, will you commit, to making sure that the Trump Administration officials responsible for that policy will be held to account?
Joe Biden: (01:05:46)
I’ll commit that our Justice Department and our investigative arms will make judgements about who is responsible, how they’re responsible, and whether or not the conduct is criminal, across the board. But as I said yesterday, I am not going to tell the Justice Department who they should prosecute and who they should not. That’s a judgment that will be made by the Attorney General of the United States of America, not influenced by me. But there will be a thorough, thorough investigation of who’s responsible and whether or not the responsibility is criminal. And if that is concluded, the attorney general will make that judgment. I will not intervene to tell him who he should or shouldn’t indict, or if he should indict.
Speaker 8: (01:06:30)
Lastly, beyond the COVID plan which you’ve detailed, what are your legislative priorities? You’ve talked about infrastructure. You’ve talked about introducing an immigration bill. After January 20th you’ll control, Democrats rather will control the House and the Senate. What do you do first?
Joe Biden: (01:06:47)
Three different issues there in that same question. One, the commitments I made that what I would introduce, not necessarily we would move to but introduce in the United States Congress first, I will do. I will introduce an immigration bill immediately and have it sent to the appropriate committees to begin movement. I will in fact, countermand executive orders that the president has in fact initiated that are contrary to what I think is either his authority, and/or, even if it’s his authority, contrary to the interests of the United States on environmental issues and a whole range of other things.
Joe Biden: (01:07:26)
Thirdly, I will immediately move though to the most urgent need of asking the Congress to give me the financial wherewithal to deal with the virus, to deal with the virus, to be able to move so that we have Operation Warp Speed really working. Warp Speed, got the vaccine to places that were delivered, but did not get them from those vials into people’s arms, and so it is a gigantic logistical concern of how we do that. I’m committed to get 100 million shots in people’s arms in the first 100 days. I’m committed to insisting that at all federal jurisdictions, any place I have control as president, everyone will be mandated to wear a mask, in interstate transportation as well as federal facilities.
Joe Biden: (01:08:23)
Thirdly, I’m committed to moving as rapidly as possible to get the vaccine to teachers and the material to children that can provide for the safe opening of our schools beginning at the end of that hundred days. They’re the most urgent things we have to do now, now, immediately upon getting into office. There’s going to be multiple things, as you well know, because you’re a seasoned veteran of how we work. And that is that there will be other committees will be holding hearings on a whole range of issues from my positions on infrastructure, what we should be doing to generate a green economy, and so on. But in terms of the immediate need to get done, not just introduced, but to get done, voted on and get the money and resources to do it, it turns out that the most urgent need is dealing with the virus, number one, and economic relief to Americans who through no fault of their own are really getting battered. Thank you.
Speaker 8: (01:09:38)
Thank you both.
Speaker 7: (01:09:38)
Speaker 9: (01:09:38)
Thank you, Mr. President-elect and Madam Vice President-elect. I want to follow up with respect to what you just said about the inauguration and that it’s a good thing that the president is not coming. But what about the Vice President, Mike Pence?
Joe Biden: (01:09:53)
He’s welcome. I think it’s important that as much as we can stick to what have been the historical precedents of how and the circumstances under which an administration changes should be maintained. And so the Vice President is welcome to come, we’d be honored to have him there, and to move forward in the transition.
Speaker 9: (01:10:18)
Have you spoken to him at all?
Joe Biden: (01:10:20)
No, I haven’t.
Speaker 9: (01:10:22)
You have called for unity and healing in this country, but after the events of Wednesday, does that make your job easier or harder?
Joe Biden: (01:10:34)
I think it makes my job easier, quite frankly. I’ve had a number of my Republican colleagues, former colleagues, I used to serve in the Senate for a long time, call me. Many of them are as outraged, and disappointed, and embarrassed, and mortified, by the president’s conduct as I am and Democrats are. And I have said from the beginning, and I have not changed my view, my overarching objective is to unify this country. We must unify the country, and I think that … You’ve heard me say this before, and I apologize for repeating myself, but understandably the questions are repetitive, and good. I mean I’m not being critical of the question, and that is that there’s two ways people are inspired. By inspirational leaders and by terrible leaders, by terrible leaders.
Joe Biden: (01:11:28)
What this president has done is ripped the bandaid all the way off to let the country know who he is, and what he’s about, and how thoroughly unfit for office he is. And you see already a number of Republicans … I was so proud. I know we’re on opposite sides. I’ll get criticized from some of the people in my party for saying this, but I’ve worked very hard with and against the soon to be former Majority Leader, Mitch McConnell. I thought what he said on the floor of the United States Senate was in fact the right thing to do. He stood up. He’s ashamed. I spoke with a guy I have enormous respect for, enormous respect for, and I ran against him, Mitt Romney. I spoke to Mitt this morning again. This is a man of enormous integrity, enormous integrity, who lives his faith.
Joe Biden: (01:12:27)
There are so many more, but there’s others who should be ashamed of themselves. But they make up a minority of the Republican Party. This isn’t about Republican-Democrat anymore. This is about people who understand what this country’s about and the things we have to agree on and move together on. I just think that if you look at it, speaking to some of my Republican colleagues, and I’ve spoken to a number of them over the last month since we’ve been elected, through recently as the day in which this God-awful debacle was taking place up on The Hill. I think they understand that we need a Republican Party. We need an opposition that’s principled and strong. I think you’re going to see them going through this idea of what constitutes the Republican Party. And to hear some of my Republican colleagues talk about how shameful it is of the way Ted Cruz and others are dealing with this, how they’re responsible as well for what happened. I-
Speaker 9: (01:13:39)
Do you think some of them should resign? Should Senator Cruz or Senator Hawley resign?
Joe Biden: (01:13:44)
Well, I think they should be just flat beaten the next time they run. I think the American public has a real good clear look at who they are. They’re part of the Big Lie, the Big lie. I was being reminded by a friend of mine. Maybe you were with me, I can’t recall, when we were told that, Goebbels and the great lie. You keep repeating the lie, repeating the lie. Well, there was a print that when Dresden was bombed, firebombed, there were 250 people that were killed. Or was it 2,500 people were killed? And Goebbels said, no, 25,000 or 250,000 were killed, and our papers printed that. Our papers printed it. It’s the Big lie. People will know this. One thing for one man, one woman, to repeat the lie over, and over, and over again.
Joe Biden: (01:14:42)
By the way, Trump said that before he ran, “If you say it enough, I’m going to convince you. I’ll say it enough.” The press is bad. The press is bad. The press is bad. The press is bad. If he’s the only one saying it, that’s one thing, but the acolytes that follow him like Cruz and others, they are as responsible as he is. And so it’s not about whether or not they get impeached, it’s about whether or not they can continue to hold power because of the disgust the American people have for their actions. There are decent people out there who actually believe these lies because they’ve heard it again and again. I was with a friend of mine who’s a medical doctor, telling me that his neighbor said to him, he lives in another state. His neighbor’s a good person and said, “But you know, doc, this is true. There’s a lot of, there’s a lot of, a lot of chicanery that went on in this election.” He said, “Tell me what.” “Well, I just know there was. They say it is. They say it is.” This is the human condition. You say it, and say it, and say it, and say it. The degree to which it becomes corrosive is in direct proportion of the number of people who say it. And so it’s interesting to me, and I was pleased to hear some of the more prominent Republicans say to me that the Ted Cruzes of the world are as responsible in terms of people believing the lies, not as responsible but similarly responsible, like Trump. But they didn’t say, “Go to the Capitol. I’ll be with you, follow.” That’s a different story. Thank you.
Speaker 9: (01:16:24)
Joe Biden: (01:16:25)
Thank you all very, very much. I appreciate it. Thank you.
Mr. President-elect, one more about the [inaudible 01:16:30] vaccine. [inaudible 01:16:28]. Mr. President-elect, just quickly, if you release all the available doses, can you guarantee that everybody can get their second shot on time?
Joe Biden: (01:16:44)
The answer is, I’ll be talking about that on Friday.
Joe Biden: (01:16:44)
On Thursday, Thursday.