Aug 10, 2021
Joe Biden Speech After Bipartisan Infrastructure Bill Passed Transcript August 10
President Joe Biden spoke about the bipartisan infrastructure bill after it passed in the Senate on August 10, 2021. He also said Andrew Cuomo has done a “hell of a job” as governor. Read the transcript of the speech briefing here.
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Kamala Harris: (00:01)
The president has been clear that every day, in every way, our administration will work on behalf of the American people. And this has been true as we delivered historic relief, through the American rescue plan, to families and small businesses. As we continue the fight to pass legislation to protect and strengthen the sacred right to vote. And as we continue the work to strengthen our nation’s care economy. And this is true today. Because today we move one step closer to making a once in a generation investment in our nation’s infrastructure. Today, Democrats, Independents and Republicans, in the United States Senate, passed the Infrastructure, Investment and Jobs act. So let me describe just a little bit about why this Bill is so important.
Kamala Harris: (01:04)
It is an investment in the roads and bridges we drive on every day to get our kids to school. It is an investment in the public transit we rely on to get to work. It will mean people in our nation won’t have to drink water from lead pipes, or go to a fast food parking lot to get high speed internet. This Bill will also establish a national network of electric vehicle chargers that the president has been fighting for for a long time and build toward a national fleet of electric school buses.
Kamala Harris: (01:43)
And the way I see it, an investment in infrastructure, it provides people with what they need. To get where they need to go. This bill that passed the Senate today gives people what they need to get where they need to go. And it will do that while also creating millions of good union jobs for our nation’s workers. It will do that while also helping our nation’s businesses compete worldwide. And so just so we are clear, we are not going to raise middle class taxes to pay for it. Because that’s what the president promised. And that is what we must deliver.
Kamala Harris: (02:34)
This afternoon I was proud to preside over the Senate vote, and I want to thank the senators who worked together to pass this bill. I also thank the members of the house who will now work to get this bill to the president’s desk. And first and foremost, we would not be here today were it not for the leadership of our president, Joe Biden. Mr. President, from the very start, you welcomed ideas, you welcomed debate, you welcomed Democrats and Independents and Republicans to meet with us in the Oval Office. In those meetings, I watched as you listened. In those meetings, you deliberated. You were determined to bring all sides together and to deliver real results for the people of our nation. And I know that even after this vote, our work will not stop. Even when you sign the Bill into law, our work will not stop. We will never stop working on behalf of the American people.
Kamala Harris: (03:55)
So thank you, Mr. President. Thank you. Thank you. And now it is my great honor to introduce the president of the United States, Joe Biden.
Joe Biden: (04:05)
Well thank you, madam vice-president. First of all, I want to thank a group of senators, Democrats, and Republicans, for doing what they told me they would do. The death of this legislation was mildly premature, as reported. They said they’re willing to work in a bipartisan manner and I want to thank them for keeping their word. That’s just what they did. After years and years of infrastructure week, we’re on the cusp of an infrastructure decade that I truly believe will transform America. As you all know, just is a short while ago, the United States Senate passed the Infrastructure, Investment and Jobs act. The very legislation I ran on when I announced my candidacy for the nomination for president. A historic investment in the nation’s roads and highways, bridges, and transit. And our drinking water systems and broadband, clean energy. Environmental cleanup, and making infrastructure more resilient. And the climate crisis much more in our minds is how do we deal with it?
Joe Biden: (05:28)
You know, we’re poised, once again, and I mean this in a literal sense, to make the same kind of historic investments that have so often made it possible for America to build the future and allow us to out-compete the rest of the world. From building the Erie Canal in the early 1800s, a bipartisan effort, the transcontinental railroad. To construction that was constructed during the Civil War. To Dwight Eisenhower’s interstate highway system in 1950s. The investments that literally connected our entire nation and fundamentally changed the pattern of life in America. To the public investments that took us to the moon, and the discovery of lifesaving medicines and vaccines, and gave us the internet.
Joe Biden: (06:19)
America’s often had the greatest prosperity and made the most progress when we invest in America itself. And that’s what this infrastructure bill does. With overwhelming support from the United States Senate, 69 votes in the Senate, a vote margin bigger than when interstate highway system passed the Senate in 1956. Makes key investments that will one, create millions of good union jobs all across the country. In cities, small towns, rural and tribal communities, America, America. This is how we truly build back better. This Bill’s going to put people to work. Modernizing our roads and our highways and our bridges. So commuters and truckers don’t lose time and traffic, saving billions of dollars nationally.
Joe Biden: (07:14)
Today, up to 10 million homes in America, and more than 400,000 schools and childcare centers have pipes with lead in them, including for drinking water. This is a clear and present danger to the health of America, particularly to our children’s health. This Bill’s going to put plumbers and pipe fitters to work. Replacing all the nations lead pipes so every child, every American, can turn on a faucet at home or in school and know they’re drinking clean water. During remote learning and during the pandemic last year, we saw too many families forced to sit, literally sit, in their vehicles in a fast food parking lot. So their children could get on the internet. They couldn’t afford and didn’t have access to at home. This bill will deliver affordable high speed internet to every American, a necessity for the 21st century.
Joe Biden: (08:15)
We’ll also see in the last… We’ve seen in the last couple of years, the damage done in Texas and other places when transmission lines carrying power are taken down by extreme and unanticipated weather, leaving millions of folks without electricity for weeks and weeks. Costing our economy billions and billions of dollars. This bill provides upgrades to our power grid so that more secure and resilient and cleaner energy can be transferred across those wires. Down in New Orleans, I met with the incredible women and men who are in charge of the water system. Some of it running on technology that is literally 100 years old, this Bill’s going to provide opportunities to upgrade their system.
Joe Biden: (09:02)
This bill’s going to provide opportunities to upgrade their system. It also allows American workers to strengthen our natural infrastructure, like our levees. These are at risk of catastrophic collapse in the face of extreme weather like superstorms, wildfires, droughts, hurricanes, and heat waves.
Joe Biden: (09:21)
Last week, I stood, and many of you are with me, on the south lawn of the White House with the United Auto Workers and the leaders from the big three automobile companies in America, surrounded by iconic American vehicles that will all be electric and made right here in America in the not too distant future.
Joe Biden: (09:44)
This bill’s also going to put IBW workers, electrical workers to work installing a truly national network of electric vehicle charging stations and will transform the way we travel and move commerce. By the way, around those charging stations, you’ll see just like around when we put in gas stations in interstate highways, you’ll see other industries build up. We have the benefit of significantly reducing pollution from vehicles on our roads. Look, this bill, I believe, will make the most important investment in public transit in American history.
Joe Biden: (10:20)
When I went to Philadelphia, not too long ago, for Amtrak’s 50th anniversary, I was proud to be able to say that this bill was in the works and that it’ll be the most important investment in rail since the creation of Amtrak itself. This bill will upgrade railroad tracks so people can get to work and their destinations faster, and it will build new lines to get people to more places faster. Reducing, I might add, pollution as well.
Joe Biden: (10:51)
Here’s another critical part of the bill. 90% of the jobs created don’t require a college degree. You’re tired of hearing me say it. I know. But this is a blue-collar blueprint to rebuild America.
Joe Biden: (11:06)
We’re going to do all of this by keeping my commitment: we will not raise taxes by one cent on people making less than $400,000 a year. Everyone from union to business leaders to economists, left right and center, believe the public investment contained in this bill will generate more jobs, higher productivity, higher growth for our economy over the long term. Forecasters on Wall Street project that over the next 10 years, our economy will expand by trillions of dollars and it will create an additional two million jobs a year beyond what was already projected. Good paying jobs all around the country.
Joe Biden: (11:54)
Experts believe the majority of the bills benefits will flow to working families. Faster commutes, cleaner water, less expense, available and affordable internet. These are the things that working families needs, that they need.
Joe Biden: (12:12)
As last week’s job report shows, our economy’s recovering at a record rate. 934,000 new jobs created in July. It’s going to go up and down, but four million jobs created since I took office. This bill’s going to help make a historic recovery, a long-term boom.
Joe Biden: (12:33)
Folks, above all, this historic investment in infrastructure is what I believe you the American people want. What you’ve been asking for for a long, long time. This bill shows that we can work together.
Joe Biden: (12:49)
I know a lot of people, some sitting in the audience here, didn’t think this could happen. This bill’s been declared dead more often than, anyway. That bipartisanship was a thing of the past. From the time I announced my candidacy, about bringing the country together and doing things in a bipartisan way, it was characterized as a relic of an earlier age. As you may well remember, I never believed that, and I still don’t.
Joe Biden: (13:20)
I want to thank those senators who worked so hard to bring this agreement together. I know it wasn’t easy. For the Republicans who supported this bill, you showed a lot of courage. I want to personally thank you for that. I’ve called most of you on the phone to do just that. You have, and no doubt you will, disagree with me on many issues. But where we can agree, we should. Here on this bill we proved that we can still come together to do big things, important things for the American people. For the Democrats who supported this bill, we can be proud of this unprecedented investments that are going to transform the nation and change millions of lives for the better.
Joe Biden: (14:06)
Think about what’s going to happen in a practical sense. Clogged arteries at the heart of our economy, they’re going to be opened up. That will reduce transportation costs, reduce commuting costs. And as a result, reduce cost overall for families and businesses. And the safety provision are big. As I said not long ago, everyone can tell you what the most dangerous intersections in their communities are. There’s money in there to deal with those specific needs. Thousands of bridges will be safer and more accessible. By the way, as you’ve heard me say before, some bridges are so weak that they couldn’t have a firetruck go across it, requiring a fire department to go 10, 12 miles out of the way to get just literally a mile away to put out a fire.
Joe Biden: (14:59)
Millions of lead pipes carrying drinking water to our homes and schools and daycare centers, they’re finally going to replace be replaced. Never again can we allow what happened in Flint, Michigan and Jackson, Mississippi. Can never let it happen again.
Joe Biden: (15:16)
High-speed internet, going to be available and affordable everywhere to everyone, so farmers nationwide can get the best prices for the products at home and abroad by knowing when to sell. And children in Chicago or Philadelphia, never have to again sit in a McDonald’s parking lot to do their homework. This is transformational.
Joe Biden: (15:39)
I know compromise is hard for both sides, but it’s important. It’s important. It’s necessary for democracy to be able to function. I want to thank everyone on both sides of the aisle for supporting this bill. Today, we proved that democracy can still work. A lot more work to do, but I want to thank Senate Republican leader, Mitch McConnell, for supporting it, this bill. And I want to give special thanks to the Senate majority leader, Chuck Schumer. Your leadership, Chuck, in the Senate was masterful.
Joe Biden: (16:17)
But look, let’s be clear, work is far from done. The bill now has to go to the House of Representatives where I look forward to winning its approval. We have to get to work on the next critical piece of my agenda, my Build Back Better plan, making housing more affordable. It’s so unaffordable to so many Americans. Providing clean energy tax cuts, including homeowners to make energy-efficient improvements in their homes. Bringing down the cost of prescription drugs, making elder care more affordable and continue to give middle-class families with children a tax break, a tax cut. The one they’re receiving now. Well-deserved childcare and healthcare that gives them just a little bit of breathing room.
Joe Biden: (17:10)
This is a plan that invests in the American people and their future and their success. And it will be paid for by having the largest corporations, including 55 of them who didn’t pay a single penny in federal income tax, and the super wealthy to begin to pay their fair share. I want you to be able to be millionaires and corporations to do incredibly well, but this isn’t going to change anything for you. You’ll still have your three homes, you’ll still have whatever you need, and corporations will continue to do well.
Joe Biden: (17:43)
I have more say about this later as the Senate continues work. But today, I’m happy to mark this significant milestone on the road toward making what we all know are long overdue, much needed investments in the basic, hard infrastructure of this nation. I truly believe that this-
Joe Biden: (18:03)
To this nation. I truly believe that this bill proves the voice of the people will be heard. And we can all come together to make a difference in people’s lives. As you heard me say it before, and I apologize for repeating it, but there are no Republican bridges or Democratic roads. This is a moment that lives beyond the headlines, beyond partisan soundbites, beyond the culture of instant outrage, disinformation and conflict as entertainment. This is about us doing the real hard work of governing. It’s about democracy delivering for the people. This is about winning the future. It’s about doing our job. This is about building an economy from the bottom up and the middle out, giving everyone a decent chance at a decent life.
Joe Biden: (18:52)
And by the way, when the bottom middle do well, the wealthy do very, very well. Nobody, nobody, nobody gets hurt. This is what I call governing and government doing its job, ensuring everybody’s better off. As I’ve said many times and I’ll say it again today, we are the United States of America. There’s nothing, nothing we can’t do if we do it together. So thank you, God bless you all. And may God protect our troops.
Speaker 1: (19:30)
Mr. President, your reaction to the…
Joe Biden: (19:32)
Darlene of AP. Darlene, AP.
Speaker 2: (19:36)
Yes. Thank you. What is your reaction to Governor Cuomo’s, his announcement that he’s stepping down? You called on him to resign. Did you think he would?
Joe Biden: (19:45)
I respect the governor’s decision and I respect the decision he made.
Speaker 3: (19:54)
Mr. President, how concerned are you right now about children in schools given the 94% of children, many of them unable to get vaccinated because they’re too young, have now tested positive. What are your concerns and how concerned are you that schools will not be able to stay open as you’ve asked for?
Joe Biden: (20:08)
My concerns are deep, and I’m very concerned, and we all know why. Look, I understand that there are millions of people decided, adults who decided not to get vaccinated. And I understand that to badger those folks is not likely to get them to move and get vaccinated. But I also understand that the reason children are becoming infected is because in most cases, they live in low vaccination rate states and communities, and they’re getting it from unvaccinated adults. That’s what’s happening. And so my plea is that for those who are not vaccinated, think about it. God willing the FDA is going to be coming out in a reasonable timeframe to say this vaccine is totally safe.
Joe Biden: (21:20)
We’ve seen millions of doses around the world, a billion doses already, and we know how it’s transmitted. And one of the things that I find a little disingenuous when I suggest that people in zones where there is a high risk, wear the mask like you all are doing, I’m told the government should get out of the way and not do that. They don’t have the authority to do that. And I find it interesting that some of the very people who are saying that who hold government positions are people who are threatening that if a school teacher asks the student, if they’ve been vaccinated, or if a principal says that everyone in my school should wear a mask or the school board goes for it, that governor will nullify that, that governor has the authority to say, you can’t do that. I find that totally counterintuitive. And quite frankly, disingenuous.
Speaker 3: (22:30)
Do you have presidential powers to intervene in states like Texas and Florida, where they were banning mask mandates?
Joe Biden: (22:36)
I don’t believe that I do thus far. We’re checking that, but there are, on federal workforce I can. And I think that people just don’t understand seeing little kids, I mean four or five, six years old in hospitals on ventilators. And some of them passing, not many, but some of them passing, it’s almost, I mean, it’s just, well, I should not characterize beyond that.
Speaker 3: (23:09)
On Andrew Cuomo, his resignation. What impact, as the head of the party, what impact does his resignation have on the Democratic party?
Joe Biden: (23:16)
I think the impact is all on Andrew Cuomo and his decision to make that judgment. And I respect his decision.
Speaker 4: (23:23)
In just the last few days, multiple cities in Afghanistan have fallen to the Taliban. There’s irrefutable evidence that a vast majority of those Afghan forces cannot hold ground there. Has your current plan to withdraw US troops changed at all?
Joe Biden: (23:40)
No. Look, we spent over a trillion dollars. over 20 years. We trained and equipped with modern equipment over 300,000 Afghan forces, and Afghan leaders have to come together. We lost thousands, death and injury, thousands of American personnel. They’ve got to fight for themselves, fight for their nation. The United States, I’ll insist we continue to keep the commitments we made, providing close air support, making sure that their air force functions and is operable resupplying their forces with food and equipment and paying all their salaries. But they’ve got to want to fight. They have outnumbered the Taliban, and I’m getting daily briefings. I think there is still a possibility. You have a significant new secretary of defense, our equivalent of secretary of defense in Afghanistan, Bismillah Khan. He’s a serious fighter. I think they’re beginning to realize they’ve got to come together politically at the top, but we’re going to continue to keep our commitment. But I do not regret my decision. This side. Yes, ma’am.
Speaker 5: (25:12)
Mr. President, on the issue of the infrastructure bill and the work that you have ahead of you now, are you concerned that you… are you confident that you have the support of all the Democrats on board to get this $3.5 trillion package through? I keep asking this.
Joe Biden: (25:28)
[inaudible 00:25:28] But, I was going to say, God love you dear. Look, I have as I said, and I’m not referring to you in particular, just overall. I was going over some of the quotes from the moment that I got elected, how my plan was dead, this exact same plan I ran on. We’ll see. I continue to be an optimist. I told you I was once referred to by a doc as a congenital optimist. I think that we can get a significant portion, if not all of the reconciliation bill, the budget, they’re having the vote on now. I think over the next month, which is the way it’s going to work, they vote on all these amendments and then they get to the business of seeing how they can make it work and then come back.
Joe Biden: (26:19)
I know you understand this well, but the public wonders what we’re talking about some time, and decide exactly what’s in that reconciliation bill and how much is going to be spent. I think we will get enough Democrats to vote for it. And I think that the House will eventually put two bills on my desk, one on infrastructure and one on reconciliation. Thank you.
Speaker 6: (26:48)
Thank you so much, Mr. President. I just want to turn to the Delta…
Joe Biden: (26:52)
[inaudible 00:26:52] Sorry, go ahead.
Speaker 6: (26:56)
Turning to the Delta variant a moment. I want to see if the directors got, do you think your administration got enough mitigation…
Speaker 6: (27:01)
… do you think your administration put enough mitigation measures in place early enough and whether you should have, perhaps heeded some of the lessons from other countries that had data as early as May and June, about how the variants spread?
Joe Biden: (27:17)
No. We knew how the variants spread and we know the vaccines prevent the spread. So a lot of countries didn’t have the vaccines we were able to put together to make sure every single American. We had over 600 million doses of vaccine for Americans. And when we’ve exported over half a billion, we will over half a billion. So we knew. What is disappointing is that more people were not willing to take the vaccine. We’ve done everything in our power … Well, I shouldn’t say that. We will do more, but we continue to try to make the case to the American people who haven’t taken the vaccine that is in your interest, can save your life and can fundamentally impact on the lives of your children or people you love. Now, one of the things that’s happening as bad as things have gotten, the death rate is one 50th, or don’t hold me to the number, but significantly lower than when I inherited the Coronavirus pandemic when I first got elected.
Joe Biden: (28:36)
So I continue to hope that people will overcome their fears, because they’re fears. Some are just as a political statement, but very few. I think most people are worried, and that’s why I’m hoping that the FDA will say that we permanently approve of these vaccines, because we have enough for everyone. And I’m hoping that as people realize, and it is picking up, vaccines are picking up, but not at the rate they were before. I remember I was setting up sports stadiums, and we’re doing to thousands of vaccines a day. And I wish I could have thought of something beyond what we’ve thought of. They make everybody want to get the vaccine, but that hasn’t been the case.
Joe Biden: (29:41)
Now at a federal level, what I’m going to be doing is making sure that they understand that I do have authority to say, if you’re going to come in to this building, into a federal building, that you have to have been vaccinated or be wearing a mask. And I anticipate that it’s probable that the Defense Department will, as they’ve put in place, all the mechanisms needed to be able to in fact, impose or initiate a mandate for all the regular forces and reserves to get vaccinated. But I continue to be hopeful. You see, I had a talk with Agent Hutchison who said he made a mistake and he is working really hard going around, he told me that he’s doing a lot of town meetings, not all of which are being embraced. But he’s making the case. We’re going to continue to make the case.
Speaker 6: (30:42)
Speaker 7: (30:42)
Mr president, if I may? Ironically, one of the Democrats through the years that you spoke with about infrastructure the most was Andrew Cuomo, who announced he’s resigning today. You had traveled New York with him when you were vice president to the launch of the reconstruction of LaGuardia. He was someone who supported your campaign early on, though you called on him to resign, though you condemn to the alleged behavior. But you’re someone who spends a lot of time with mayors and governors. How would you assess his 10 and a half years as governor of the state?
Joe Biden: (31:18)
In terms of his personal behavior or what he’s done as a governor?
Speaker 7: (31:22)
What he’s done as a governor.
Joe Biden: (31:22)
Well, he’s done a hell of a job, he’s done a hell of a job. And I mean both on everything from access to voting, to infrastructure, to a whole range of things. That’s why it’s so sad. Last question right here.
Speaker 3: (31:38)
Mr. President, I have a question about the significance of the bipartisan nature of the infrastructure agreement. Are there lessons learned from that agreement that can be applied to boarding reform, police reform or LGBTQ civil rights?
Joe Biden: (31:52)
By you guys or by me?
Speaker 3: (31:53)
Joe Biden: (31:54)
I’m sorry. I shouldn’t kid, because I was just reading about 50 statements from very serious press people about how my whole plan was dead from the beginning. Look, the lesson learned is being willing to talk and listen, listen. Call people in-
Speaker 3: (32:16)
Joe Biden: (32:16)
No, no. Let me finish. And I think the lesson learned is exposing people to other views. And so that’s why from the beginning on all the subject you raised, I’ve sat with people and listen to their positions, some in agreement where I am and some in disagreement. And so I think it’s a matter of listening, it’s part of democracy. Thank you.
Speaker 3: (32:38)
Sir. [crosstalk 00:32:40] why have you not named an FDA commissioner, sir?
Speaker 8: (32:44)
[inaudible 00:32:44] Andrew Cuomo to resign immediately? He’s leaving in 14 days.
Joe Biden: (32:46)
I’m not going to comment any more on Andrew Cuomo.
Speaker 3: (32:50)
Why have you not names an FD commissioner, sir?
Joe Biden: (32:53)
Speaker 3: (32:54)
You haven’t named FDA commissioner yet. I was wondering why you found or named a permanent FDA commissioner yet?
Joe Biden: (32:59)
We’re working on that very hard to make sure we can get it passed. Yes?
Speaker 9: (33:02)
[crosstalk 00:33:02] can I quickly follow up on your comment on Governor Cuomo? Can you really say that he has done a, “Hell of a job.” If he’s accused of sexually harassing women on the job?
Joe Biden: (33:14)
You asked me two questions. You asked the substantive, should he remain as governor is one question. And women should be believed when they make accusations that are able to, on the face of them, make sense, and investigate it, they’re investigated. And the judgment was made that what they said was correct. That’s one thing. The question is, did he do a good job on infrastructure? That was the question. He did.
Speaker 9: (33:35)
Well, the question was how did he do as a governor?
Joe Biden: (33:38)
No, the question was, correct me if I’m wrong.
Speaker 7: (33:41)
About how was he as a governor, generally? Outside of his personal behavior.
Joe Biden: (33:48)
Outside his personal behavior. Okay.
Speaker 9: (33:52)
Can you separate the two? Since [crosstalk 00:33:52].
Joe Biden: (33:52)
No, I was asked a specific question. I’m trying to answer specific. What do you want to ask me specifically?
Speaker 9: (33:57)
Well, I’d like to ask you about infrastructure as well. Given that you have said this is such an urgent bill that needs to be passed, why not have the House take it up immediately for a vote?
Joe Biden: (34:09)
We’ll get it done. I’ll get both. Thank you.
Speaker 10: (34:12)
[crosstalk 00:34:12] Mr President, would you like to see the FDA speed up approval of the coronavirus vaccine?