Oct 20, 2021
Joe Biden Scranton PA Speech Transcript: Build Back Better
President Joe Biden spoke about his Build Back Better agenda in Scranton, PA on October 20, 2021. Read the transcript of his speech here.
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President Joe Biden: (08:21)
Good job, man. [inaudible 00:08:22]. Hello. Hello. Hello. It’s good to be home. Thank you all. Please be seated.
President Joe Biden: (08:33)
I just want you to know we have a tradition in the Biden Finnegan family, when you see a relative, you go see them first. These are my relatives in the front row here, I want you to know.
President Joe Biden: (08:48)
It’s been an awful lot of time across from St. Paul’s church at my uncle Jack Finnegan’s house, his daughters are here, and he taught up at the U, and I just want you to know that Amtrak is here. They can tell you that you should name half the line after me. I am the most railroad guy you’re ever going to meet. 2,100,000 miles on Amtrak. Hear me now? Not a joke.
President Joe Biden: (09:21)
What happened was when you are a president or vice president, they keep meticulous mileage of when you fly an Air Force Aircraft, and so about, I guess it was seven years in to my tenure as Vice President, and I used to always like to take Amtrak home on Friday. I tried to go home and see my mom who was living with us at the time after my dad passed and I tried to get home. And the Secret Service are wonderful. They’re the best in the world. They never liked me taking Amtrak because it stops too often and too many people get on and you don’t know, but it turned out I was about number three in seniority on the road at the time, if you… Now, well, I mean terms of actual time on the road, and a lot of the folks in Amtrak became my family. Not a joke. I’d ride every day. I commuted every single day for 36 years as Vice President of the United States after my wife and daughter were killed, I went home to see my family. Never stopped doing that.
President Joe Biden: (10:34)
And so Angelo Negri was from… You remember Ang? Ang came up to me one day when they just had announced that I had flown one million some X number of miles on Air Force Aircraft, and Ang comes up and I’m getting in the car and he goes, “Joey, baby, what do you…” And I thought the Secret Service were going to shoot him, I said, “No, no, no, no, he’s good. He’s good.” It’s a true story. And he said, “I just read, big deal. Big deal,” whatever it was, “a million, 200,000 miles Air Force. You know how many miles you did Amtrak?” And I said, “No, Ang, I don’t have any idea, pal.” He said, “Let me tell you, we were at the retirement dinner,” and he said, “we added it up. You averaged a hundred…” I think he says “21 days a year, 121 days a year, 36 years, plus as Vice President, boom, boom. You have traveled over two million miles, Joe. I don’t want to hear anymore about the Air Force.” But in the Build Back Better plan, I got more money for passenger rail than the entire Amtrak system cost to begin with. We’re going to change the nation in a big way.
President Joe Biden: (11:44)
Shane, I want to thank you for the introduction. I really do. And Madam Mayor Paige, you’ve done a great job. A great, great job. No, I really mean it. I’m a big fan. When I got elected, it’s the God’s truth, after I checked on what the margin was in the state of Delaware, I called up here. She had won that year too. And I found out that I won every precinct in Scranton and I looked up and said, “Mom, I did it. I did it.” And it’s great to be here. It’s great to be here in Pennsylvania with a very close friend, become a close friend and a great governor, Governor Wolf. It’s good to see you. And Matt, thank you for the passport to let me back into the district.
President Joe Biden: (12:38)
It’s interesting, I grew up not very far from Bobby, excuse me, the Senator, where he grew up. It was about a total of… If you added up, I think it was about five blocks, six blocks, and his dad and I were about 18 years apart and we’re 17 years apart, so it’s like a continuum going down here. But I just want you to know, we went to the same schools, the same parish, just a few years apart. Give a few, take a few years. And Scranton is where I played shortstop at the Green Ridge Little League in the first year that it was put up. My dad helped build the field down there and spent a lot of time at [Semi’s 00:13:24] buying penny candy and Hanks Hoagies on Woodlawn Street, watching movies of the [Roosie 00:13:29] on the weekend and trying to reenact all they did. And when you watch those movies, I think I was told, I know there’s true, I was the only kid in my era that I was able to walk across [inaudible 00:13:42] on that pipe that was just above that thing. If you found the lackey, you weren’t lucky. You were in trouble.
President Joe Biden: (13:48)
But anyway… That’s right. Look, no matter how long you live here in Scranton, it’s a place that climbs into your heart and it never really leaves you, and that’s the God’s truth. It’s like that old saying goes, you can take the boy out of Scranton but you can’t take Scranton out of the boy. There’s something special about it. And I believe that home is where your character is etched, and I really mean that. Some of you have heard me say this before. It’s where your view of the world begins and where you begin and where it takes shape, and that happened to me in 2446 North Washington Avenue.
President Joe Biden: (14:27)
We used to come back after 10:30 mass at St. Paul’s, St. Claire’s wasn’t built till I had moved, at St. Paul’s, and my grandfather would hold court. And back in those days, all the men had breakfast in the kitchen. My mother was one of five children, four brothers, one was lost in World War II. And a guy who was the chief political reporter at the newspaper, Tommy Phillips, who lived the street behind us, and was a good friend of my grandfather’s, and all the women would go in the dining room and on the lace table cloth and have tea and-
President Joe Biden: (15:03)
In the dining room, on the lace tablecloth, and have tea. And the men would in fact have a big breakfast. And if you’re a kid, if you’re a young boy, you could sort of wander around the table, you could never sit at the table. And so I used every once in a while, walk in and just sort of wander around. I’d stand by my grandpa, and I put my hand on his shoulder and they talk, and they talked about everything from sports and politics. And that’s where I learned an awful lot at that kitchen table. I learned from my grandpa that money done and determine your worth. I learned, he told me, and that’s not a joke, those of you know me know it to be true, and you guys know it, is that, “Mo one in the world is more worthy than you, Joey, but everyone’s your equal. Everybody’s your equal.”
President Joe Biden: (15:55)
My mom would remind me, she’d say, “Joey,” this is a God’s truth, “Remember, you’re defined by you’re your courage and you’re redeemed by your loyalty.” “You’re defined by your courage and you’re redeemed by your loyalty.” And my dad, when things got tough in Scranton after the war, when there weren’t any work, my dad did not work in a coal mines, my great-grandfather was a mining engineer, but my dad was in sales, and he worked for the [inaudible 00:16:22] Trucking Company and things got slow in Scranton. So we moved, I remember the day he came, I think the longest walk a parent can make is up a short flight of stairs to tell their kid, “You can’t live here anymore.” You can’t because dad doesn’t have a job, or mom doesn’t have a job. And my dad had moved from Wilmington, Delaware to Scranton when he was a junior in high school, then was called St. Thomas, not The Prep, but it was called St. Thomas, in those days.
President Joe Biden: (16:49)
And I remember him walking up into the bedroom and saying, “Honey, dad’s going to have to move. But it’s going to probably take about a year, I’ll come home every single weekend, it’s only 155 miles.” I thought that would was 600 miles away. “I’ll come home every weekend, and when we get enough money, I’m going to bring you, and mom, and everyone down to Wilmington, you’re going to like it.” And I thought that was like an awful lot of parents who left Scranton back in those days, who moved away, had to move away. And I gained so much respect for my father as I got older, because I thought about how much it must have hurt him, and the pride it took it from to walk into my grandfather’s pantry and say, “Ambrose, can I leave Jean and the kids with you? I promise I’ll make it up to you, I’ll be back every weekend, but I promise I’ll make it up.” That’s a hard thing for a proud man or woman to do, but so many had to do it.
President Joe Biden: (17:54)
And I remember when we moved down to Delaware, my dad would say, “Joey,” and all my friends know this, literally this phrase, you’ve heard him say it I don’t know how many times, “Joey a job’s about a lot more than a paycheck. It’s about your dignity. It’s about respect. It’s about being able to look your kid in the eye and say, “Honey, it’s going to be okay.” And think about it, think about what it is. It means a lot more than just whether you get a paycheck. It defines who you are,” in his mind. And I learned that at the kitchen table in Scranton; the place where you take care of one another. And as I said, I used to stutter badly when I was a kid. If Tommy Bell, and Charlie [inaudible 00:18:35], and all of my old friends were here at St. Pauls, my nickname was Blackbird. It was, “B-b-b-bye bye blackbird.” It wasn’t meant as a compliment. And I wasn’t very big. You could beat me, but I’d hurt you. You think I’m kidding? I’m not. But it’s one of those things that I was for because the people I was surrounded by, our neighbors in Scranton as well, that people stuck up for you. Stuck up for one another.
President Joe Biden: (19:08)
And my mother used to say, and I never quite understood, “Remember, Joey, look at me, look at me, Joey, you’re a Biden,” Like I’m a DuPont or something, you know what I mean? I swear to God, “You’re a Biden. Nobody is better than you, and everybody’s equal to you. Nobody.” The point I’m making is, the truth is Scranton isn’t my home because of the memories it gave me; it’s my home because of the values it gave me. So when I ran for president and I came back to Scranton, I came back to Scranton. I started here in Scranton, and I resolved to bring Scranton values to bear. To make a fundamental shift in how our economy works for working people, to build the economy from the ground up, and the middle out, not from the top down. I’ve never known a time in the middle class has done well, the wealthy haven’t done very, very well. I’ve never known such a time.
President Joe Biden: (20:01)
So I’m here today to talk about what’s fundamentally at stake right now for the families and for our country. For most of the 20th century, we led the world by a significant margin, because we invested in our people. We invested in ourselves, not only in our roads, and our highways, and our bridges, but in our people and our families. We didn’t just build interstate eight highway system, we built a highway to the sky, to outer space. Also, we invested to win the space race, and we won. We’re also among the first to provide access to free education, beginning back in the late 1800s, early 1900s, we invested in our children. Does anybody think today if we were making that decision for the first time, we’d say 12 years is enough in the 21st century? 12 years is enough? It’ not. But back then they did, and it’s a reason why we leap ahead of the rest of the world. Not a joke. We became among the best educated countries in the world.
President Joe Biden: (20:57)
But somewhere along the way we stopped investing in ourselves. America is still the largest economy in the world. We still have the most productive workers in the world, and most innovative minds, but we risk losing our edges in nation. Our infrastructure used to be the best in the world. Not a joke; the best in the world. Today, according to the World Economic Forum, we ranked 13th in the world in terms of infrastructure, our roads, bridges, highways, internet, the whole works. 13th in the world. We used to lead the world in educational achievement. Today, the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development in Europe ranks America 35 out of 37 major companies when it comes to investing in early childhood education, and talk about an equalizer. The greatest equalizer in the world. The great universities has done studies the last 15 years. You give a kid, no matter what the kid’s background; from a broken home, from a home where mom or dad, didn’t go to school, whatever, and you put them in school in third grade, school, not daycare, you increase by 56% the chance that they’ll complete 12 years of school, and build confidence.
President Joe Biden: (22:08)
What’s education all about? It’s about building confidence in a child. It’s about giving the tools to do something. We can’t be competitive in the 21st century economy, if we continue to slide the way we have. That’s why I resolve that we have to, once again, build America from the bottom up and the middle out. Again, not the top-down. And by the way, I’m a capitalist; I think if you can be a millionaire, a billionaire, fine, just do your fair share. Just do your fair share. Trickle down economics has always failed, it hadn’t built this country. You know who built this country, like the young man who just introduced me; union people, people who in fact can make a decent, hard wage, build the country.
President Joe Biden: (22:54)
It’s not hyperbole. I mean it from the bottom of my heart, that’s why I proposed two critical pieces of legislation that are being debated back in Washington. Now, there’s some really smart national press with me today, and they have understandably believed that there’s no possibility of my getting this done. This has been declared dead on arrival from the moment I introduced it, but I think we’re going to surprise them, because I think people are began in to figure out what’s at stake. You know, when I use the phrase, “Build Back Better,” it’s being used internationally. Now I got the G7, the largest countries in the world to agree that we’re going to have a Build Back Better world, and we’re going to invest, and we’re going to build around the world, the democracies and ability so the rest of the countries don’t fall prey to those like the Belt and Road initiative out of China and other initiatives where there’s, “I’ll do something for you, if you give me.” “If you give me.”
President Joe Biden: (23:51)
Folks, look, these bills are not about left versus right, or about moderate versus progressive, or anything that pits one American against another. These bills are about competitiveness versus complacency. They’re about expanding opportunity, not having opportunity denied. They’re about leading the world, and continue to let world, or let it pass us by. And by the way, they will not increase one single penny of the deficit; they are fully paid for, and all Wall Street points out, they will grow employment by tens of thousands of people. Tens of thousands of people. 17 Nobel laureates in the economy sent me a letter three weeks ago saying it will also reduce, not increase inflation.
President Joe Biden: (24:46)
And here’s what these initiatives are all about. First, the infrastructure bill. When I say, “Infrastructure” back home, people look like, “Infrastructure, what hell you talking about Joe?” They know infrastructure generically, but it’s about rebuilding the arteries of our economy. That’s what it’s about. Across this country right now, there are 45,000 bridges, according to Society of Engineers, 45,000, a significant portion of their ready to fall. Fall. Fall, and to the water or into the gap that they cover. There are 173 miles of roads in poor conditions that have to be built up, including more than 3,300 bridges, and over 7,500 miles of highways here in the state of Pennsylvania, that need to be repaired and built. Increase timing in commerce.
President Joe Biden: (25:40)
We’re going to put hard working Americans on the job to bring our infrastructure up to speed. Good union jobs, not $7 an hour or $15 an hour, but prevailing wage. A wage you can raise your family on, you can look at your family with pride. Jobs that can’t be outsourced. Jobs replacing lead water pipes, like you have here in the Scranton area. Kids getting brain damage because of the ingestion of lead. Clean water, all across America. We’re going to replace every single lead pipe in the nation, again, creating jobs, but doing more than that; increasing the health and wellbeing of our children. 44,000 schools are in a position where they’ve lead pipes. You send your kid to the water fountain, you got to wonder about it. Jobs laying thousands of miles of transmission lines and building a modern energy grid. Folks, we’re in a situation now where you see what’s happening. I’ve flown all over this country since becoming in, you realize more of our land has been burned to the ground, burned to the ground in the West, and the Northwest than the entire state of New Jersey, every single square mile in New Jersey, more has been burned down this year, this year, in the West because of climate change, and because of electric utilities failing, wires falling. We know if we can put these wires underground, we increase exponentially the service, but it costs a lot of money. We have to do it.
President Joe Biden: (27:21)
We know that we, in fact, allow people to be able to store, we have this incredible energy. I’ve visited one of the largest solar fields in America. It’s in the Southwest. Guess what? You can transmit all that energy enough to really light up half of the state of Nevada, but guess what? How do you transmit it? What lines do you put it over? Do we have the capacity to do that? We have the engineering capacity, but do we have the will to do it? And imagine what that does. Do you realize we had $ 90 billion and lost this calendar year because of natural disasters. $90 billion. Jobs, making sure there’s a high speed internet, affordable and available anywhere. Everywhere in America, including for nearly one in six families who go without internet.
President Joe Biden: (28:25)
You saw what’s happened when we’ve had this COVID. Try teaching from home. How many people do you see out in McDonald’s parking lots with their kids in their cars, because they get access to the internet, to be able to help the kid in school? What are we doing? This is the United States of America, damn it. What are we doing? And both these bills are going to help us meet the moment on the climate crisis in a way that creates good jobs makes us more economically competitive. $66 billion in passenger rail and freight rail. Why do I always talk about passenger rail and particularly high speed rail? Do you realize, that Chinese are now building another high speed rail line that will go up to 300 miles per hour. And you say, “What difference does that make, Biden?” Well, guess what? If you can get in the train, and go from here to Washington much faster than go on an automobile; you take a train. You take the train.
President Joe Biden: (29:23)
We will take literally millions of automobiles off the road. Off the road. Saving tens of millions of barrels of oil, dealing with cleaning up the air. This is not hyperbole, this is a fact. These are facts. Right now, when I went out to Silicon Valley, they showed we’re in a situation where, if you put solar panels on your roof, guess what? When the sun’s not shining, you’re in trouble, except they have now battery technology; you can have batteries in your basement about the size of the width of this-
President Joe Biden: (30:03)
So you can have batteries in your basement about the size of the width of this podium and about that thick that keep you going for seven days. So what do we have in this legislation? We have $39 billion to modernize American transit. I remember riding the trolley. I lived at the end of the line, as they say, in Green Ridge, three blocks at the end of the line. Beyond the end of the line we dumped, but Maloney Field was on the right. And the little league baseball field I played in was down the bottom of the hill. But the point is it made to work.
President Joe Biden: (30:37)
Most people live in cities. You know, the vast majority of people now, working people live in cities. Their jobs are out of town, no longer in town. No longer in town, but 65% do not own an automobile. They live in a black or Hispanic neighborhood or a poor neighborhood and all the time they waste trying to get to work. Look, more than $7 billion to build out the national network of electric vehicle charging stations. The way my grandpop got up here, my grandpop Biden, who died at Mercy Hospital of an aneurysm when he was 46-years-old, two months before I was born in Mercy Hospital, he was with the American Oil Company. He was up here opening up gas stations. That’s how he got here. This was 1942, late ’42. Well guess what? The same thing happens. We build these charging stations. What happens? Communities build up around them. You get everything from the figurative McDonald’s or the Dunkin Donuts to the drugstore and $21 billion for environmental cleanup and remediation. Look, it means putting people to work in a good job for prevailing wages, capping hundreds of thousands of abandoned wells in Southeastern Pennsylvania and in Ohio. Get the same salary that you paid the mine worker to dig the well. They’ve got to be kept. We have thousands of them need to be kept. In addition to that, we have methane leaks that are all over and you all understand in Pennsylvania about that. But guess what? Increases the health of the community and provides good paying jobs. My plan also makes historic investment in clean energy, including a tax credit for people that do things like winterize their homes, install solar panels, develop clean energy products, help businesses produce more clean energy. It’s real. I promise you.
President Joe Biden: (32:38)
I won’t be around to see it, but I promise you, your kids are going to see a time when they’re not in fact generating any energy from the homes here in Scranton other than renewable energy. Not a joke. And by the way, one of the things that the president put me in charge of … I want to be clear here. President Obama put me in charge of when I was vice president. I was able to invest in that legislation that we put together, I put together. We brought down the price of solar and wind cheaper than coal and cheaper than oil on a BTU basis. It’s cheaper.
President Joe Biden: (33:22)
Coal built this town in this part of the country, but we’ve got to provide other avenues for people to make the same kind of living they used to be able to make. Look, all told, I just said, this project is going to save literally hundreds of millions of barrels of oil annually, but folks here in Pennsylvania know the cost of inaction when it comes to climate change. Extreme weather has cost this state $10 billion over the last decade. And nationally, as I said, extreme other conditions cost $99 billion last year. And I flew over all of his territory in a helicopter in Marine One. Not a joke.
President Joe Biden: (34:02)
See it. See reservoirs that are down 60, 80 feet. Concerned about the Colorado River, whether or not we’re going to be able to keep things moving. Not a joke. It’s real. This is serious stuff. And so it’s not going to ease up on its own. We have to invest in our resilience. Building roads higher. When I say Build Back Better, we’re the only country in the world historically that’s gone through a crisis and has come out at the other end better than before the crisis hit. That’s who we are as Americans. Not a joke. Think about it. From those of you who teach history. Think about it.
President Joe Biden: (34:39)
We come out better than it was before because we don’t give up. We invest. We trust our instincts. So that’s what I’m talking about. You know, we need more stronger levees, stronger power grids, more durable, able to withstand ever-increasing ferocity and intensity of extreme weather. Any road, it used to be, you have a catastrophe and the road gets washed out, you build it back to what it was before. You can’t build it back to the same standard. You’ve got to build the road back literally higher. Not a joke. Because the weather has already changed. And if we don’t do something before we reach 1.5 degrees Celsius, we’re in trouble.
President Joe Biden: (35:29)
Look, we haven’t passed a major infrastructure bill for decades in this country. In the last four years, you hear every month is infrastructure month. Didn’t do a single damn thing. Nothing. I mean, nothing for four years. We can’t afford to sit while other countries pass us by. We’re going to breathe new life into the economy and our workforce. And here’s the deal. These jobs that we are going to create for people who are too often left out and left behind.
President Joe Biden: (36:03)
The vast majority of the jobs in my infrastructure bill don’t require a four-year degree. 98% don’t require a four-year degree. Guess what though? It’s the ultimate blue collar-blue collar middle-class renewal, real serious work that needs to get done. Folks, it isn’t enough just to invest in our physical infrastructure. We also have to invest in our people, which we always did. We invested in our people. That’s why the second bill is the so-called Build Back Better Plan and here’s what it does. It takes education.
President Joe Biden: (36:41)
As I said, when American made 12 years of public education standard a century go, it gave us the best educated, best prepared workforce in the world and you saw what happened. Think about what happened after World War I and how America moved because we were the best educated overall country in the world. And we led in the 20th century. But as I said earlier, we know that 12 years is not enough any longer to compete in the 21st century. Study after study shows that earlier our children began to learn, the better for themselves, their families, and for the nation.
President Joe Biden: (37:17)
You know you all know the statistics and some of your teachers and your husband used to talk to me about this. And it was really basic, that if you come from a home where the mom or dad have books on the shelf and on the coffee table and read, and you come from a home where mom or dad can’t read, or has a 6th grade education, or has a little difficulty, the child coming from a middle-class home is going to have heard a million more words spoken. Not different words, spoken, spoken than the child coming from a middle-class home.
President Joe Biden: (37:54)
And that’s because, look, what do you all do? You all know with your children and grandchildren. You start talking to them when they’re in the cradle. You engage them. They’re the people who sit at the dinner table and still talk, they’re engaged. So many homes, mothers or fathers don’t have the capacity or inclination to do that. But right now, what are we doing? We’re lagging behind. Today only about half of the three and four-year-olds in America are enrolled in early education at all. Germany, France, the UK, Latvia, their numbers over 90% of the children. It’s not just early education.
President Joe Biden: (38:31)
According to one study, we ranked 12th among advanced economies when it comes to percentage of our young people who have attained any sort of post-high school degree. Ranked 12th in the world. The Build Back Better plan gets us back on track. We’ll make two years of high-quality preschool available to every child in America, every child. We make investments in education beyond high school that includes increasing Pell grants, which nearly 200,000 students in Pennsylvania from low-income families rely on to attend college. We’re going to increase it by $500 up to so it becomes $1,900.
President Joe Biden: (39:16)
The bill invests in our workforce providing much needed breathing room for families. I remember we moved to Wilmington. We finally were able after four years, dad could buy a house and we lived in “a development.” It was a lovely area in a suburban area, but it was a three bedroom split level home. And we had four kids and my grandpop who lived with us or another relative for all those years we lived there. I didn’t have a headboard, but my bed was up against the wall. My dad and mom’s bed was up against the wall.
President Joe Biden: (39:53)
I look back, it was great for us having grandpop’s and relatives there. I don’t know how my parents quite did it, but I remember one night, I’m serious, I was in high school and I could see, I could feel my dad was restless. He would move and I could hear it in bed. And I asked the next morning and asked my mom. It’s a true story. I said, “What’s the matter with dad, ma?” “He said he got bad news, honey. His company just said they’re no longer going to pay for health insurance.” Well, guess what? My dad just said, “Everybody’s entitled. All we’re looking for is just a little breathing room. Just a little bit of extra room. A little breathing room.”
President Joe Biden: (40:32)
How can we compete in the world of millions of American parents, especially moms who can’t join the workforce because they can’t afford the cost of childcare or elder care, or they have to stay home? I heard my colleagues speaking before I did. Here in Pennsylvania, the average annual cost of childcare for your toddler is $11,400. It’s higher in other places. So the average two-parent family with two young kids spends 22% of their income for childcare every year. I was a single dad for five years. I got elected to the Senate, I got a phone call before I got sworn in when I was hiring staff saying my wife and daughter had just been killed, and my two boys were seriously injured. They were hospitalized for a long time.
President Joe Biden: (41:19)
So that’s why I eventually started commuting, but I continued to commute because I could no more afford and I was making a lot of money then. Now, granted, I was listed for 36 years the poorest man in Congress, but I was making $42,000 a year. I didn’t think my job was to make money when I was in Congress, but this is not a joke. I could no more for childcare than fly, but fortunately I had a hell of a family, those values I talked about.
President Joe Biden: (41:51)
My sister and her husband after a little bit, they gave up their home, I came home one night and they moved into my home, helped me raise my kids. Five years later, no man deserves one great love, let alone two. Five years later when I met and married Jill, I came home after the wedding they had moved out. My brother, Jimmy, my best friend, my mother, they all helped me take care of my kids. I couldn’t have done it so I understand. How in God’s name do people make it? If you look at the world of advanced economics those with advanced economies, in each of those countries, they invest an average of $14,000 per year in state-sponsored child toddler care. American invests $500, 28 times less than our competitors.
President Joe Biden: (42:47)
Here’s what it does to our economy. You all know it. 30 years ago, we ranked 7th in the world among advanced economies and the share of women in the workforce. Today in America, we ranked 23rd and women are becoming, not a joke, better educated than men. If you look at and I do about five college commencements a year. For those five, the valedictorian out of those classes for the last 10 years has been a woman. If you read the data now, we’re worried about the number of men attending college.
President Joe Biden: (43:26)
Once again, our competitors investing, we’re standing still. My Build Back Better Plan is designed to get us moving again. Look, it’s going to cut the cost of childcare for most Pennsylvania families in half. No middle income family will pay more than 7% of their income on childcare under my proposal, 7%. It’s going to help more people get back to work in the workforce and make ends meet. It’s also going to extend the historic middle-class tax cut for parents. Everybody talks about … And by the way, I’m going to say something self- serving, but I got on pretty well in the Senate for all those years. A lot of Republican friends as well as democratic friends for real. Kind of like Bobby. I mean, they’re friends. We used to travel together a lot.
President Joe Biden: (44:13)
And here’s the deal though. You know what I was able to do when we passed the American Rescue Plan in the first month of my administration, which has allowed us to have all the funding for COVID. And when I started off, there were two million people in America that had gotten a vaccine. Well, guess what? We’re up to 190 million. That’s how we got paid for, but here’s the deal. What it meant was, what it meant was that right now there’s a whole new attitude that’s out there. How do we not invest? So in that act that we passed, we provided for a child tax credit and you heard my introducer speak to it. Because we were in such dire straits-
President Joe Biden: (45:03)
Speak to it because we’re in such dire straits. We are able to put in a position a tax cut for middle class people. That’s what it is. No one has a tax cut. We want to cut the capital gains tax for the wealthy or anybody. No one has a problem when we deal with that. We have over 55 corporations America, the Fortune 500 don’t pay a single solitary penny in taxes, not one cent, not one cent and make $40 billion a year. But when you talk about a tax cut for middle class people, and that’s exactly what it is, by what we did increasing or making a refundable tax cut, the way it works now, if you’re made enough money to owe more than $4,000 in taxes, and you had two kids, you got to deduct it and here’s the deal. The fact of the matter is that if you didn’t make that kind of money, you didn’t get the benefit at all. It wasn’t refundable. You didn’t get the benefit at all of the tax cut because if you didn’t have more than $4,000 in taxes, you still paid and it wasn’t refundable. You didn’t get it back.
President Joe Biden: (46:14)
Well, here’s the way we work it. We said, all right, for temporarily, we’re going to do is make sure there’s a childcare tax credit. If you had one kid under seven, you get $3,600 a year, and if you have one over seven to 17, you get $3000 a year. We upped from 2, 000. Well, guess what? It’s cut child poverty in Pennsylvania by 55%, in the nation by 50%. it’s a flat out tax cut for ordinary people. That’s what it does. I make no apologies for it.
President Joe Biden: (46:51)
But look, folks, there’s so many things that we can do to change the way in which we work all of this and I’m realizing I’m going on here, but the fact is there’s so much at stake. So much at stake. Look, the fact is that most of all, what it does is we have a sandwich generation that exists and many of you are part of that generation. You have a mom or dad needs some help that you get older and you have a child that needs some help if you’re going to be able to be in the workforce and it’s hard to hell, hard as hell to make it work. You got to give these folks a little bit of breathing room. The single greatest champion for elder care in the United States of America is this guy right here, Bobby Casey, not a joke, not a joke.
President Joe Biden: (47:42)
The way it works right now, if you qualify for Medicaid, you have to have a lower income to qualify for Medicaid, not Medicare, Medicaid. There are 820, 000 seniors, people with disabilities who are on Medicaid on a waiting list to get home care, which they’re entitled to. How many families are living this story? Your parents get older. They need some help getting around the house, making the meals for themselves. Don’t want to put them in nursing homes, not only because of the cost, but because of a matter of dignity. They do better. They live longer if they can stay in their own home, but you also don’t have the time or the money to take care of them at home to do it. So you’re just looking for an answer so your parents can keep living independently.
President Joe Biden: (48:39)
Hold here a second. One of the things that is important, think about this. In order to get into that nursing home, you got to sell everything you have. You can’t have any private property. You have to empty your bank account. You have to do it all to move in a nursing home. I’m not saying nursing homes aren’t valuable. They are. They’re extremely valuable, but that’s not where I remember my uncle was moved in with his wife into a assisted living center and the folks who had built the facility, it was a lovely facility in Delaware, asked if I’d come and speak on the opening of it. We’re walking out and I said, mom, isn’t this beautiful. She looked at me, she was then 76 years old, she said, this is for old people, Joey. Not for me, but think about it. For millions of families, this is the most important issue they’re facing. It’s personal, it’s personal and Bob Casey gets it. When Bobby fights for something, he never gives up in case you haven’t noticed.
President Joe Biden: (49:48)
So here’s what we’re going to do. We’re going to expand services for seniors so families can get help with well trained, well paid professionals, to help them take care of their parents at home, to cook a meal for them, to get them their groceries when they need to get groceries, to help them get around, to just put in railings on their home. When my mom lived with me, she moved in with me, we finally talked her into doing it. And guess what? My sister takes her up. You remember this. Gene remembers this talking about this too. She takes her up to get her prescriptions, drives her back, gets out of the house. It was this little home off of our home. She wouldn’t move in, physically move into the house, even though we had done the whole thing over for her, and she’s just standing there and moves and breaks her hip. She didn’t trip or anything, broke her hip. Well guess what? Just having a railing, just having a place where she could walk from one room to the other and to help them in their own home with the dignity they deserve.
President Joe Biden: (50:54)
Quite frankly, what we found is that this is more popular than anything else I’m proposing. When you do this individual polling data, this is extremely popular because we all feel that obligation to our parents and we want them to live with dignity, but because American people understand the need. It’s a matter of dignity. It’s a matter of pride. Look, that’s what both these initiatives are all about. Frankly, they’re about more than giving working families a break. They’re about position in our country to compete in the long haul.
President Joe Biden: (51:27)
Economists, left, right and center agree, early this year, the Wall Street outfit Moody’s projected that the investments I’m talking about will create for the next 20 years on average two million additional jobs per year, good paying jobs. It’s transformative, and we can make these transformation investments and be fiscally responsible. Take the infrastructure bill, all those investments, road, bridges, high speed rail, internet, the whole deal, they represent less than one half of 1% of our economic growth each year, less than one half of 1%. the cost of the billback better bill in terms of adding to the deficit is 0, 0, 0, because we’re going to pay for it all. In addition to that, half of it is a tax cut. It’s not spending money. It’s a tax cut for working class people.
President Joe Biden: (52:22)
It’s about time, as I said, and I come from the corporate state of the world, not a joke. More corporations are in register in my state than every other state in the United States combined, and I represented the state of DuPont as used to call it for 36 years. I’m not anti-business, but I’m about just begin pay your fair share. Look, folks, under this proposal and under this proposal, these proposals I’m talking about, I guarantee you that no one making under $400,000 a year will see one single penny in tax go up. Not one. In fact, the plan cuts taxes from working people.
President Joe Biden: (53:11)
By the way, if you notice the way you usually pay for infrastructure is by gasoline taxes. I wouldn’t allow that because that would tax people making under 400,000. I’m a man of my word. Not one single penny when you pay, if you make less than $400,000. If there’s no reason, there’s no reason why someone making $400 million a year. By the way, during all the crisis we’ve had with COVID, there’s a absolute finite number of billionaires they can count up in the tax code. You know how much money the billionaires made last year collectively? They’re not bad guy. I’m saying that. They made $1 trillion, increased their collective income, $1 trillion, just paying fair share.
President Joe Biden: (54:09)
If you are a multi-millionaire or billionaire, you have a lower tax rate than a family that has a teacher and a firefighter as a percent of taxes, you pay lower. So I said, 55, our largest corporations paid zero in income tax, $40 billion. This needs to change. Working folks understand that that’s why that despite the tax and misinformation about my plans are still overwhelmingly supported by the American people. They understand that when families have a little breathing room, America’s in a better spot and they know this is about dignity and respect about building an economy from the bottom up and the middle out, not from the top down. As I said, name a time in American history when the middle class is done well, the wealthy haven’t done very well. Name me a time.
President Joe Biden: (54:59)
So let me close with this. For too long working people of this nation, the middle class of this country, the backbone of the country have been dealt out. It’s time to deal them back in. I ran for President. I ran for President saying it’s time to rebuild the backbone of the nation, and by that I was very precise. The middle class has been the backbone of this nation. I couldn’t have been any clearer. That’s why I wrote both these bills in the first place and took them to the people. I campaigned on them. The American people spoke. They have no doubt about what I ran on.
President Joe Biden: (55:41)
Both these bills were all what I talked about, but guess what? 81 million people voted for me. More people voted than any time in American history and their voices deserve to be heard, not you denied or worse, be ignored because here’s what I know. If we make the investments, there’s going to be no stopping America the remainder of the 21st century. I’ve long said, and I mean this to every world leader I’ve known, and I’ve now spoken to over 60 of them, and I’ve known many of them before that. I tell them it’s never, ever, ever been a good bet to bet against America. No, never, never, never, which means it’s always a good bet to bet on America. That’s what these initiatives do. They bet on America. It’s about leaving in American people, about believing, about believing.
President Joe Biden: (56:41)
Just look at the history of the journey of this nation. What becomes clear is this, given half a chance, half a chance the American people have never, ever, ever, ever, ever, ever let the country down, just a fighting chance. No guarantees, just a chance and that’s what this is all about, and it does not increase the debt. When you talk about the number, we shouldn’t even talk about the numbers because it’s all paid for, written in the same piece of legislation. So you’re pass the spending, you’re also passing the tax cuts and you’re passing the taxes are going to be increased. Scranton, thanks for always treating me so nicely. I really mean it. God bless you all and may God protect our troops. Thank you.