Jul 19, 2021
Joe Biden Speech on Economy & Infrastructure Plan Transcript July 19
President Joe Biden gave a speech on July 19 to discuss economic recovery and the bipartisan infrastructure deal. Read the transcript of his briefing remarks here.
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President Joe Biden: (02:37)
Good morning. Sorry, to keep you waiting. I apologize. Well, good morning. Tomorrow, March, exactly six months since my administration began. I think it’s a fitting moment to take a look at our economy where we were six months ago, what we’ve achieved since then and what I believe we’ve … I believe where headed. Before I took office there was a lot of folks out there making some pretty bold predictions about how things would turn out. You might remember some of the predictions that if I became president, we “See a depression, the likes of which we’ve never seen.” Well, it’s true that the economy was buttering before I got here, adding only 60,000 jobs per month where for three months before I was sworn in. But now six months later we’ve changed that. We’ve gone from 60,000 jobs per month to 60,000 jobs every three days. More than 600,000 jobs per month since I took office. More than 3 million new jobs all total. That’s the fast as growth I’m told at this point in any administration’s history.
President Joe Biden: (03:52)
Another prediction, that is my favorite one I must add, is that if I got elected, I’d bring the end to capitalism. I never understood that one, but we’ve heard an awful lot. Well, in six months into my administration, the US economy has experienced the highest economic growth rate in nearly 40 years. And now we knew that we needed to launch a war time effort to get the American vaccinated and pass a powerful American rescue plan. We did both those things. And now the forecasters have doubled their projections for growth in this year in the economy to 7% or higher. In fact, the US is the only developed country in the world where growth projections today are stronger than they were before the pandemic hit. At the same time companies across the country are giving workers a raise, unusual thing.
President Joe Biden: (04:50)
And the number of new unemployment claims has been cut by more than half since I took office. And by the way, two weeks ago, I issued a major executive order promoting fair and open competition, which is the cornerstone of American capitalism. Banning non-compete clauses that suppressed workers’ wages, lowering the price of things like hearing aids, prescription drugs, internet service, along with dozens of other actions. Folks, it turns out capitalism is alive and very well. We’re making serious progress to ensure that it works the way it’s supposed to work for the good of the American people. So, for all those predictions of doom and gloom six months in, here’s where we stand, record growth, record job creation, workers getting harder earned breaks. Look, we brought this economy back from the brink and we’ve designed our strategy to not only provide for a temporary boost, but to lay the foundation for a long-term boom that brings everyone along.
President Joe Biden: (06:01)
That’s why we designed the American rescue plan to help not just everyone at once, but over the course of the full year and beyond. So, we can help families with small businesses weather, the ups and downs as the economy recovers from a historic pandemic, and there are going to be ups and downs. We saw a great example of that just last week. For the first time, monthly payments began going out to nearly every working family raising a child in the United States of America. Thanks to the expanded child tax credit in the American Rescue Plan, $300 a month going out for each child under the age of six and $250 for every child, six through 17. Every month for the next six months with more coming in the spring. That money is a game changer, for some it’s a lifesaver. Think of the single mom, struggling to put food on the table each month.
President Joe Biden: (07:02)
The parent has to tell their kid, I’m sorry, honey, but we can’t afford the dance classes or the sports team you want to play in this fall. We can’t do it. They can’t wait for the credit against their taxes to become in next year as a tax credit. They need cash in their pockets today. For families with the least, this money will do the most dramatically reducing child poverty in America. And for millions of middle-class families, it’ll give them a little bit of breathing every month. Just one example of how we’re building an economy from the bottom up in the middle out. But despite that progress, we cannot afford to be complacent. We know that our economic recovery hinges on getting the pandemic under control. And by fully vaccinated, 160 million Americans or 80% of our seniors we fundamentally changed the course of the pandemic for one that threatens all Americans to a disease that has the most severe impacts only on the unvaccinated people in your country. We can’t let up, especially since and because of the Delta variant, which is more transmissible and more dangerous.
President Joe Biden: (08:24)
Unfortunately cases are now rising, particularly in communities with very low vaccination rates. Just four states account for nearly 40%. Four states, 40% of all cases last week. Virtually all hospitalizations and deaths are occurring among unvaccinated Americans. These tragedies are avoidable. The data couldn’t be clearer. If you’re fully vaccinated, you have a high degree of protection against severe illness, hospitalization, and death. If you’re unvaccinated, you are not protected. So, please, please get vaccinated, get vaccinated now. It works. It’s safe. It’s free. It’s convenient. This virus doesn’t have to hold you back any longer. It doesn’t have to hold our economy back any longer, but the only way we’ve put it behind us is if more Americans get vaccinated. We also know that as our economy has come roaring back, you see some price increases. Some folks have raised worries that this could be a sign of persistent inflation, but that’s not our view. Our experts believe, and the data shows, that most of the price increases we’ve seen were expected and expected to be temporary.
President Joe Biden: (09:48)
Reality is you can’t flip the global economics light back on and not expect this to happen. As demand returns there’s going to be global supply chain challenges. We’ve seen that in semiconductors, which are used in automobiles. That global shortage has slowed vehicle production, creating a temporary spiking car prices. That’s a real challenge. My administration is doing everything we can to address it. But again, these disruptions are temporary. Lumber prices are another example. They spiked early in our recovery, but in recent weeks, they began to fall, they’ve fallen by more than 50%. In the hospitality industry prices are returning to where they used to be. Economists call all these things transitory effects and they account for about 60% of the price increase you’ve seen over the last few months. I want to be clear. My administration understands that if we were to ever experience unchecked inflation over the long-term, that would pose a real challenge to our economy.
President Joe Biden: (10:56)
So, while we’re confident, that is what we’re seeing today, we’re going to remain vigilant about any response that is needed. As I made clear to Chairman Paul of a Federal Reserve, when we met recently, the fed is independent to take whatever steps it deems necessary to support a strong, durable economic recovery. But whatever different views some might have on current price increases, we should be united one thing, passage of the bipartisan infrastructure framework, which we shook hands on, we shook hands. And my Build Back Better Plan will be a force for achieving lower prices for Americans looking ahead. It’s another reason why the investments are so important. If we make prudent multi-year investments in better roads, bridges, transit systems, and high-speed internet in a modern resilient electric grid, here’s what will happen. It breaks up the bottlenecks in our economy. Goods get to consumers more rapidly and less expensively, small business create and innovate much more seamlessly.
President Joe Biden: (12:09)
If we increase the availability of quality, affordable childcare, elder care, paid leave more people will enter the workforce. These steps will enhance our productivity, raising wages without raising prices. That won’t increase inflation. It will take the pressure off of inflation, give a boost to our workforce, which leads to lower prices in the years ahead. So, if your primary concern right now is inflation, you should be even more enthusiastic about this plan. And as we promote fair competition in our economy through the executive order I mentioned, it’ll drive down prices even further. New businesses will get in the game, competing against those giant corporations who have been free to ramp up prices because they haven’t had any real competition. Look, the bottom line is this, what the best companies do, and what we as a country should do is make smart, sustainable investments with appropriate financing to make this nation more productive, to advance America’s leadership and clean energy to win the jobs in the future, or immediately the threat of climate change and ensure that all working Americans benefit from the growth they’re helping produce.
President Joe Biden: (13:31)
The independent experts who have analyzed my plans have found that they would do just that, expand output and enabled millions Americans enter the labor workforce. Now, just this year, not just for the next, but not just this year, but for decades in the future. It’s not temporary. This is the best strategy to create millions of jobs and lift up the middle-class families and grow wages to keep prices of food for the longterm. What we can’t do is go back to the same old trickle-down theories that gave us nearly $2 trillion in deficit finance Corporate Tax giveaways. It did nothing to make our economy more productive or resilient. The same people who cheered on that approach are now telling us it isn’t a problem, big companies have actually to compete for workers and offer them a fair wage with some dignity. I could not disagree more. We can’t go back to the old fail thinking. We need to grow the economy from the bottom up and the middle out, as I said before.
President Joe Biden: (14:41)
The investments I’m proposing are investments the American people want and investments that our country needs. And if we get this done, a wide range of independent forecasters project that will have an incredibly significant impact on GDP and jobs, good paying jobs with prevailing wages. And a majority of these jobs will go to people without a college degree. I’ve said it before, and it’s true. This is a Blue Collar Blueprint for building an American economy back. Simply put, we can’t afford not to make these investments. And we’re going to pay for them responsibly as well by ensuring that our largest corporations and the very wealthiest among us pay their fair share. We’re reforming our international tax system of the minimum global tax, which we’ve led the world to agree to. Let me close with this, when I arrived in office, it’s been a long time since the government had worked for the people, things have been great for big corporations and folks at the top, those 55 major corporations that paid zero in income tax, while making billions of profits, they had no complaints.
President Joe Biden: (16:00)
When I took office, I made a commitment. A commitment to the American people that we’re going to change that paradigm so working families could have a fighting chance again. To get a good education. To get a good job and a raise. To take care of the elderly parent or a child with the disability and still be able to go out and earn a good living. To stop losing hours of their life stuck in traffic, because the streets are crumbling or waiting for slow spotty internet to connect them to the world. That’s what the economy we’re building is all about. That’s why we pass the American Rescue Plan. And that’s why we need the investment in the bipartisan infrastructure framework and my Build Back Better Plan. Our economy has come a long way over the last six months. It can’t slow down now.
President Joe Biden: (16:56)
We can make this boom we’re experiencing today one that will ensure that all Americans have an opportunity to share in it for years to come. And we can show the world that American democracy can deliver for the people. I look forward to continuing to build this economy. I’m incredibly optimistic about what we’re going to be able to build together in the next six months and the years to come. Thank you all for listening. And may God bless you. And I’ll take a few questions.
Speaker 2: (17:24)
[crosstalk 00:17:24] Mr. President, you said last week, that companies and platforms like Facebook are killing people by letting [crosstalk 00:17:30]-
President Joe Biden: (17:30)
I meant precisely what I said. I’m glad you asked me that question. One, I had just read that on the Facebook, it was pointed out that Facebook of all the misinformation, 60% of the misinformation came from 12 individuals. That’s what the article said. So, I was asked that question about what do I think has happened? Facebook isn’t killing people. These 12 people who are out there giving misinformation. Anyone listening to it is getting hurt by it. It’s killing people. It’s bad information. My hope is that Facebook, instead of taking it personally, somehow I’m saying Facebook is killing me people, that they would do something about the misinformation. The outrageous misinformation about the vaccine. That’s what I meant.
Speaker 2: (18:21)
Have they done enough in you opinion to stop the spread of misinformation?
President Joe Biden: (18:24)
To be completely honest with you. I don’t know if they did anything today, up to over the weekend I don’t think they have. But I don’t know. I don’t know the answer to that question.
Speaker 2: (18:32)
Will you hold them accountable if they don’t do more to stop the spread?
President Joe Biden: (18:36)
When you say hold accountable, I just want to … I’m not trying to hold people accountable. I’m trying to make people look at themselves. Look in the mirror. Think about that misinformation, going to your son, your daughter, your relative, someone you love. That’s what I’m asking. All the way in the back.
Speaker 3: (18:53)
Thank you Mr. President. At what point would you consider inflation unchecked to a point at which you either consider taking action or we would want to see the fed take action? And secondly, why do you believe that the budget bill is appropriate legislation for a pathway to citizenship?
President Joe Biden: (19:10)
Well, first of all, I think we need to find pathways to citizenship. The budget bill is an appropriate way to get around the filibuster, to be able to make a judgment as to whether or not they should have a pathway. That’s for the parliamentarian to decide. Not for Joe Biden to decide. Your first part of the question was?
Speaker 3: (19:31)
It was on inflation, you mentioned unchecked inflation.
President Joe Biden: (19:33)
There’s nobody suggesting there’s unchecked inflation on the way. No serious economist. That’s totally different. I mean, look, the stock market is higher than it has been in all of history. Even went down this month, even down this month. Now I don’t look at the stock market as a means by which to judge the economy like my predecessor did. But he’d be very, he’d be talking every day for the last five months about how the stock market’s so high. Higher than any time in history. It’s still higher than any time in history. So, that’s not how I judge whether or not we have economic growth.
Speaker 4: (20:10)
[crosstalk 00:20:10] Mr. President on China and cyber hacking.
President Joe Biden: (20:12)
She jumps up before you do.
Speaker 4: (20:15)
Effectively your administration is naming and shaming China, but no sanctions. Why and is that effective enough?
President Joe Biden: (20:20)
They are still determining exactly what happened. The investigation is not finished. Thank you all very much. [crosstalk 00:20:26].
Speaker 5: (20:25)
On China really quick. On China really quick. What is your understanding of the biggest difference between what they’ve done versus what Russia has done, in terms of cyber hacking?
President Joe Biden: (20:40)
That take a longer explanation.
Speaker 5: (20:42)
We have all the time in the world.
President Joe Biden: (20:43)
No, we don’t. I have to go see the king Jordan. [crosstalk 00:20:47]. To the best of my knowledge, and I’m getting a report tomorrow morning on this, a detailed report. My understanding is that the Chinese government not unlike the Russian government is not doing this themselves, but are protecting those who are doing and maybe even accommodating them being able to do it. That may be the difference. Thank you. [crosstalk 00:21:11].
Speaker 3: (21:10)
Do the Olympics go forward Mr. President?
President Joe Biden: (21:16)