May 10, 2021
Joe Biden Speech on Economy, American Jobs Plan Transcript May 10
President Joe Biden gave remarks on the economy and the American Jobs Plan on May 10, 2021. Read the transcript of his speech here.
Transcribe Your Own Content
Try Rev and save time transcribing, captioning, and subtitling.
President Biden: (00:02)
Good afternoon. Excuse me.
President Biden: (00:06)
I’d like to start by saying a few words about the ransomware cyber attack currently impacting Colonial Pipeline. This is something that my administration, our administration, has been tracking extremely carefully. And I have been personally briefed every day. The Department of Energy is working directly with Colonial to get the pipelines back online and operated at full capacity as quickly and safely as possible. The FBI also has engaged to assess and address this attack. The agencies across the government have acted quickly, quickly to mitigate any impact on our fuel supply. And over the weekend at my direction, the Department of Transportation issued an emergency order to loosen restrictions on truck drivers in order to allow more fuel to be transported by a tanker. We’re prepared to take additional steps depending on how quickly the company is able to bring this pipeline back to full operational capacity.
President Biden: (01:13)
The Federal Bureau of Investigation has determined Colonial’s network was infected by ransomware and it’s a criminal act obviously. The FBI released details of the attack, so others can take steps to prevent being infected. My administration takes this very seriously. We have efforts underway with the FBI and DOJ, Department of Justice to disrupt them and prosecute ransomware criminals. And my administration will be pursuing a global effort of ransomware attacks by transnational criminals who often use global money laundry networks to carry them out. My administration is also committed to safeguarding our critical infrastructure, much of which is privately owned and managed like Colonial. Private entities are making their own determination on cyber security. So to jumpstart greater private sector investment in cyber security, we launched a new public private initiative in April and began with a hundred days sprint to improve cyber security in the electric sector.
President Biden: (02:26)
And we’ll follow that with similar initiatives in natural gas pipelines, water, and other sectors. In addition to companies stepping up, we need to invest to safeguard our critical infrastructure. That’s one of the many things my American Jobs Plan is designed to do. I also want to update the people on the progress that we’ve made in our recovery and the next steps that we’re going to be taking. As we learned Friday, the economy created 266,000 jobs in April. In fact, altogether, since the time we took office, we’ve created more than 1.5 million jobs in the country. It’s the most jobs created in the first 100 days of any president on record, more than three times the solid job creation President Carter saw in his first 100 days. And more than six times what President Reagan saw. And the three months before I got here, our country was creating roughly 60,000 jobs a month.
President Biden: (03:27)
In three months, since we’ve gotten here, we’ve been creating 500, on average 500,000 jobs per month. In the first quarter, our economy grew at 6.4% rate outpacing the growth we’re seeing from our friends in the Eurozone. Because of the America Rescue Plan, forecasters are projecting we’ll see the fastest economic growth in nearly 40 years in the months to come. We’re moving in the right direction. So let’s be clear. Our economic plan is working. I never said, and no serious analyst ever suggested, that climbing out of the deep, deep hole our economy was in would be simple, easy, immediate, or perfectly studied. Remember, 22 million Americans lost their jobs in this pandemic. So some months will exceed expectations. Others will fall short. The question is, what is the trend line? Are we headed in the right direction? Are we taking the right steps to keep it going?
President Biden: (04:34)
And the answer clearly is yes. I also want to offer a bit more detail on the month’s jobs numbers in particular. These monthly reports are a snapshot, as you all know. They take one week, a moment in time. Since this snapshot was taken around the week of April the 12th, since then, COVID-19 counts are down by more than 40% since then. And vaccination rates among working age Americans has roughly doubled since then. This survey was taken before every adult was eligible to be vaccinated. So back then 18% of working age adults were fully vaccinated. Today if it were taken, 34% are fully vaccinated. No wonder things in America feel better today than it did back when the survey was taken.
President Biden: (05:37)
With that context, here are the steps we’re going to be taking to maintain our progress. First, today we’re opening a portal for state and local governments to apply for the first funds from the American Rescue Plan. Because states and local governments have to balance their budgets, a lot of them had to lay off state employees and local employees, when the economy slowed and tax revenues fell. We’re talking about 1.3 million state and local employees out of work. But now money we’re distributing, going to be distributed now is going to make it possible for an awful lot of educators, first responders, sanitation workers to go back, back to work.
President Biden: (06:29)
Second, this is a year long program. Second, we’re delivering assistance to tens of thousands of restaurants and bars across the country. Today, we’re sending out the first relief checks to 16,000 hard hit restaurants with help for many more to follow. A lot more people are going to be employed. Third, the employers bring back laid off workers to help them do that. We’re going to remind them that there is some programs they can take advantage of. For example, employers can hire back their laid off workers part-time without those workers having to give up all their unemployment benefits.
President Biden: (07:10)
Here’s another example. In the American Rescue Plan, we expanded a tax incentive called employee retention tax credit. This can provide a recovering small or medium sized business a direct credit for each worker they keep on or a job that they rehire. Fourth, we’re going to provide real help for people struggling with the challenge of childcare, which is making it hard for many parents who need to work, especially women to get back to work. During this crisis, thousands of childcare providers and centers were forced to close because they couldn’t make ends meet with fewer students and higher cost to keep them safe. As a result, parents lost the support system they depended on for childcare and tens of thousands of childcare workers lost their jobs. In fact, there are 150,000 fewer childcare jobs now than there were pre-pandemic. The American Rescue Plan has already allocated funds to states to address the immediate change challenge to our economy and of too few childcare operations.
President Biden: (08:33)
This is a largest investment in childcare since World War II. Today, my administration is releasing guidance to states to help get the funds they need out the door as quickly as possible to allow dramatic expansion and availability of childcare in this country. With these funds, states help hundreds of thousands of providers reopen and stay open and provide safe and healthy learning environments for more than 5 million children. These funds will also allow states to provide over 800,000 families subsidies to pay for childcare. Simply put, it’s going to help working parents get back to work. This one time investment is a real answer to a real problem where our economy is facing right now.
President Biden: (09:28)
Look, fifth thing we’re going to do. We’re going to make it clear that anyone collecting unemployment, who was offered a suitable job, must take the job or lose their unemployment benefits. There are few COVID-19 related exceptions, so the people aren’t forced to choose between their basic safety and a paycheck, but otherwise that’s the law. I know there’s been a lot of discussions since Friday’s report that people are being paid to stay home rather than go to work. Well, we don’t see much evidence of that. That is a major factor. We don’t see that… Look, it’s easy to say the line has been because of the generous unemployment benefits. That is a major factor during labor shortages. Americans want to work. Americans want to work. As my dad used to say, a job’s about a lot more than a paycheck. It’s about your dignity, your place in the community. Being able to look your kid in the eye and say, everything’s going to be okay.
President Biden: (10:37)
I think the people who claim Americans won’t work, even if they find a good and fair opportunity underestimate the American people. So we’ll insist that the law is followed with respect to benefits. But we’re not going to turn our backs on our fellow Americans. 22 million people lost their job in this pandemic through no fault of their own. They lost their jobs to a virus and to a government that bungled its response to the crisis and failed to protect them. We still have 8 million fewer jobs than we did when the pandemic started. And for many of those folks, unemployment benefits are a lifeline. No one should be allowed to game the system and we’ll assist the laws followed, but let’s not take our eye off the ball.
President Biden: (11:29)
Families, families who are just trying to put food on the table, keep a roof over their head. They aren’t the problem. We need to stay focused on the real problems in front of us, beating this pandemic and creating jobs. Again, the law is clear. If you’re receiving unemployment benefits and you’re offered a suitable job, you can’t refuse that job and just keep getting unemployment benefits. We’re also working to overcome all the barriers that may be making it harder for people to get back to work. Childcare, getting vaccinated, getting schools open. We’re making progress in all of these things, and we need others to step up and play a role as well. For example, we need employers to step up in a couple of ways. First, we needed them to get help to their people and get them vaccinated. Two weeks ago, I announced that we will provide a tax credit to employers if they give workers paid time off to get a shot and recover from the side effects if there are any.
President Biden: (12:39)
Our economy can’t achieve its full potential until we get more people vaccinated. Employers can help that. We also need to recognize that people will come back to work if they’re paid a decent wage. The last Congress before I became president gave businesses over $1.4 trillion in COVID relief. Congress may have approved that money, but let’s be clear. The money came from the American people and it went from the American people to American businesses. Many of them big businesses to help them get through this pandemic and keep their doors open. I’m not questioning. It was the right thing to do. But my expectation is that as our economy comes back, these companies will provide fair wages and safe work environments. And if they do, they’ll find plenty of workers and we’re all going to come out of this together better than before.
President Biden: (13:39)
So we need to stay focused on creating jobs and beating this pandemic today and building back better for tomorrow. American Rescue Plan is just that, a rescue plan. It’s to get us out of the crisis and back on track, but it’s not nearly enough. That’s why we need the American Jobs Plan, which is an eight year investment, an eight year investment strategy to make sure working people of this country get to share in the benefits of a rising economy and to put us in a position to win the competition with China and the rest of the world for the 21st century. That’s the next stage. That’s what we’re doing right now. We’re working to get that passed. I want to thank you all. And may God protect our troops. Thank you.
Speaker 2: (14:30)
Mr. President, if you can’t protect critical infrastructure from a criminal actor, how can you possibly protect it from a state actor?
President Biden: (14:40)
We can do both and we will.
Speaker 3: (14:42)
Do you think Russia is involved at all explicitly with that attack?
President Biden: (14:48)
I’m going to be meeting with President Putin. And so far, there is no evidence-based on from our intelligence people that Russia is involved. Although, there’s evidence that the actor’s ransomware is in Russia. They have some responsibility to deal with this. Thank you.
Speaker 4: (15:03)
Have you decided who will get the AstraZeneca doses, Mr. President?