May 17, 2021
Joe Biden Speech Transcript: Child Tax Credit, Sharing Vaccine Supply
President Joe Biden gave a speech on May 17, 2021 to discuss sharing U.S. COVID-19 vaccines with other countries and the 2021 child tax credit. Read the transcript of his briefing remarks here.
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President Joe Biden: (00:47)
Good afternoon. There are three things I want to speak briefly today with you all about. The new milestone in our progress against COVID-19 here at home, steps we’re taking to fight COVID internationally and an important tax cut for families with children under the age of 18. And that’s where I’m going to start. Today is tax day when everyone’s taxes are due. No one likes to pay taxes, I know. My dad used to say it’s a small price to live in this country. But I want to tell everyone with children as they’re filing their taxes a day, they should know that a new tax cut will be coming their way for working class and middle class folks, and very soon.
President Joe Biden: (01:39)
As everyone knows, I firmly believe, we firmly believe the need to make our tax system work for the middle class. That’s why I think we should ask corporations and the top 1% to start paying their fair share and why we should crack down on millionaires and billionaires who escape taxes by cheating. But I also think we need to give ordinary families a break, a tax break to help them with the cost of raising their kids. Most people don’t know it, but for families with children, we put that tax cut into the American Rescue Plan, which was signed not long ago.
President Joe Biden: (02:16)
And I signed the tax cut into law in March. 90% of the families, all middle-class and working class families will get this tax cut. It’s a one-year cut that reduces your taxes by $3,000 a year for each child you have under the age of 18. Two kids, it’s a $6,000 tax cut. And of those kids are under the age of six, they’ll actually get $3,600 per child. So as you file your taxes today, know that your tax cut is coming. But this here’s the great news. You won’t have to wait until your next year’s tax return to get that break.
President Joe Biden: (02:59)
I’m announcing today that on July 15th, and the 15th of every month thereafter throughout the year, you will get deposited in your bank account, half of your tax cut at least, $250 per child each month. A direct deposit into your account. So if you’re working family with two kids, you’re going to get $500 a month into your bank account on the 15th of every month starting July. And we are getting you a tax cut this year now when you need it and not have to wait. And if you get your tax cut refund deposited in your bank account automatically, this tax cut will be put into your account automatically.
President Joe Biden: (03:42)
If not, it will be mailed to you. In addition to helping Americans hard pressed and working families, experts have told us this will cut child poverty in America in half. This tax cut sends a clear and powerful message to American working families with children, help is here. Now let me talk to another milestone on a long battle with COVID. Today, for the first time since the pandemic began, cases, pandemic cases are down in all 50 states. First time. That’s right. Thanks a lot to the hard work of so many people, COVID cases are down in all 50 states.
President Joe Biden: (04:28)
Now I can’t promise that we’ll continue that this way. We know there will be advances and setbacks, and we know that there are many flare ups that could occur. But if the unvaccinated get vaccinated, they will protect themselves and other unvaccinated people around them. If they do not, states with low vaccination rates may see those rates go up, may see this progress reversed. Ultimately, those who are not vaccinated will end up paying the price. The vaccinated will continue to be protected against severe illnesses, but others may not be if you’re not vaccinated.
President Joe Biden: (05:06)
But given that the vaccination is convinced and free, it’ll be a tragedy and a needless one to see COVID cases among those who do not get vaccinated go up. We’re not done fighting this virus. We still have tens of millions left to vaccinate, but we are making significant progress. In fact, when tomorrow’s vaccination numbers come out, they’ll show that 60%, 60% of Americans have received at least one shot. Every day, the light at the end of that tunnel has grown brighter. This vaccination effort has been a historic logistical achievement for our nation.
President Joe Biden: (05:47)
And I want to thank the scientists and the researchers, the companies manufacturing the vaccines, the national guard, the US military, FEMA, the nation’s governors, doctors, nurses, pharmacists, and I want to thank the American people who have stepped up and done their patriotic duty and gotten vaccinated. In less than four months, we’ve gone from less than 6% to 60% of adults in America with at least one shot. We see the results in people’s lives and in their livelihoods. Deaths are down from COVID by 81% and also at their lowest levels since April of 2020.
President Joe Biden: (06:33)
As a result of our prompt action to roll out the vaccine and boost the economy, we’ve gone from stagnation to an economy that is growing faster than it has in nearly 40 years. We’ve gone from an anemic job creation to a record of creation for a new administration, none has ever created this many jobs in this timeframe. The progress is undeniable, but we’re not done yet. And some of the hardest work is ahead. We’re still losing too many Americans and we still have too many unvaccinated people in America. Last week, the CDC announced that if you’re fully vaccinated, you no longer have to wear a mask.
President Joe Biden: (07:13)
It reported the science now shows that your vaccination protects you as well as being masked or better than being masked. So you can protect yourself from serious illness from COVID by getting vaccinated or wearing a mask until you’re fully vaccinated. Either way you’re protected. As I said last week, some people may want to continue to wear a mask. Even if they are fully vaccinated, that’s a decision they can make. Some businesses may want to continue to require wearing masks. Let’s all be kind and respectful with one another as we come out of this pandemic and respect those who want to continue to wear a mask, even if they’ve been vaccinated.
President Joe Biden: (07:55)
Above all, let’s work together, though, to meet the target I’ve set of 70% of adults, all adults with at least one shot by July 4th. Seven states have already done this. Getting vaccinated has never been easier. We are 80,000 locations where you can get a shot. 90% of you live within five miles of one of those locations. You can now find a vaccine site near you by texting your zip code to 438829. 438829. Your zip code and that number. You’ll get all the places near you. Many places don’t require an appointment, just walk in and get the shot.
President Joe Biden: (08:42)
It’s free, and everyone 12 years and above is eligible. If you need help getting to or from your vaccination site, Lyft and Uber are offering free rides to take you to the vaccination site and bring you back home between May 24th and July 4th to anyone who wants to get vaccinated. And I’ve called on employers to do their part as well, offering their employees paid time off to get vaccinated. And we’ve set up a program nationally to reimburse those businesses for the cost of giving employees the time off. Now, it’s time to get your shot.
President Joe Biden: (09:29)
We have the vaccine. We’ve secured enough supply to vaccinate all adults and children above the age of 12. I repeat. Now is the time to get your vaccine shot. Now over the past 118 days, our vaccinations program has led the world and today we’re taking an additional step to help the world. We know America will never be fully safe until the pandemic that’s raising globally is under control. No ocean’s wide enough, no wall’s high enough to keep us safe. Rampant disease and death in other countries can destabilize them, those countries, and pose a risk to us as well.
President Joe Biden: (10:15)
New variants could arise overseas that could put us at greater risk and we need to help fight the disease around the world to keep us safe here at home, and to do the right thing of helping other people. It’s the right thing to do. It’s the smart thing to do. It’s the strong thing to do. In March, we shared over four million doses of our AstraZeneca vaccine with Canada and Mexico. At the end of April, we announced that we would provide another 60 million doses of our AstraZeneca vaccine overseas. Remember, this is the vaccine that’s not authorized for use in the United States yet, so we’re going to be sending it to folks once the FDA has reviewed this and said it’s safe.
President Joe Biden: (11:00)
This is all the AstraZeneca vaccine produced in the United States. All of it will be sent to other countries. And today, I’m announcing that we’ll also share US authorized vaccine doses of Pfizer and Moderna and Johnson and Johnson as they become available with the rest of the world as well. These are vaccinations and vaccines that are authorized to be put in arms of Americans. And by the end of June, when we will have taken delivery of enough of such vaccines to protect everyone in the United States, the United States will share at least 20 million of those doses, that extra supply with other countries.
President Joe Biden: (11:41)
This means over the next six weeks, the United States of America will send 80 million doses overseas. That represents 13% of the vaccines produced by United States by the end of June. This will be more vaccines than any country has actually shared to date, five times more than any other country, more than Russia, China, which have donated 15 million doses. There’s a lot of talk about Russia and China influencing in the world with vaccines. We want to lead the world with our values, with this demonstration of our innovation and ingenuity and the fundamental decency of the American people.
President Joe Biden: (12:24)
Just as in World War II, America was the arsenal of democracy, in the battle against COVID-19 pandemic, our nation is going to be the arsenal of vaccines for the rest of the world. We’ll share these vaccines in the service of ending the pandemic everywhere and we will not use our vaccines to secure favors from other countries. We’ll work with Kovacs, the international organization setup, and other partners to ensure that the vaccines are delivered in a way that is equitable and that follows the science and the public health data. Today’s announcement to share 80 million doses is our next step as we ramp up the efforts to respond to COVID-19 around the world.
President Joe Biden: (13:06)
In the weeks ahead, working with the world’s democracies, we’ll coordinate a multilateral effort to end this pandemic. I expect to announce progress in this area at the G7 Summit in the United Kingdom in June, which I plan on attending. This is a unique moment in history and it requires American leadership. But I want to be clear, beating this pandemic globally is beyond the capacity of any one nation, even the United States. But we’ll continue, the United States will continue to donate our excess supply as that supply is delivered to us, but that won’t be nearly enough.
Joe Biden: (00:40)
What we need to do is lead an entirely new effort. An effort that involves working with the pharmaceutical companies and others, and partner nations, to vastly increase supply, most of it here in the United States, the kind of capacity that can beat this pandemic worldwide. In a way that creates jobs here at home and saves lives abroad.
Joe Biden: (01:05)
This’ll take longer than our immediate work to donate from the existing supplies, and we’re going to be asking other nations to help shoulder the economic cost of this effort, but the consequences will be more lasting and more dramatic. Doing this will help us beat the pandemic and leave us with a manufacturing capacity here to prepare for the next crisis, the next vaccine needed.
Joe Biden: (01:30)
I’m putting Jeff Zients, who’s leading our COVID team in the COVID efforts to beat the virus here in the United States, in charge of this effort. Jeff will be working with our National Security Council and a talented, dedicated team that has been stood up all across our government. It’ll include Gayle Smith at the State Department leading in diplomacy, and experts from our Agency of International Development and the Department of Health and Human Services, as well. We’re going to bring the same whole of government response to the global effort that made us so successful here at home.
Joe Biden: (02:05)
Again, we the United States has secured enough supply for all eligible Americans, all Americans 12 years old and older. We still have work to do though, hard work. But because we have done so much here, because of the power of American companies’ research and manufacturing, we can continue to do more to help the rest of the world.
Joe Biden: (02:33)
This is a rapidly changing world, and it’s a mistake to bet against democracies. Just as democracies led the world in the darkness of World War II, democracy will lead the world out of this pandemic. American will lead those democracies, as they work to bring greater health and hope to the world in the months to come.
Joe Biden: (02:55)
Folks, think back. Four months ago it was an audacious goal that we had to put a million shots in the arms in my first 100 days as president, 100 million I should say. We did over 220 million shots in that timeframe. Back then, most adults weren’t eligible to get the shot. Now everyone 12 years and older is eligible. And by tomorrow, 60% of all American adults will have received at least one shot.
Joe Biden: (03:31)
Look what we’ve done. Look what we’ve done, America. Look at what you’ve done, America. There’s not a single thing beyond our capacity to do in this country when we decide to do it and we do it together. We can do whatever we set our minds to do, if we do it together. And that’s exactly what we’re going to do. Solve the problem here in the United States, which we’re well on our way of doing, and help solve the problem for the world by organizing the rest of the democracies of the world. I want to thank you all. God bless you and may God protect our troops. Thank you.
Speaker 2: (04:02)
Mr. President. Will you now insist on a ceasefire in Israel? [crosstalk 00:04:08] Mr. President, will you insist on a ceasefire given the escalation of violence?
Speaker 3: (04:12)
Speaker 2: (04:12)
Mr. President, will you now insist upon a ceasefire, given the escalation and violence we’ve seen over the weekend?
Joe Biden: (04:18)
I’ll be speaking with the Prime Minister in an hour and I’ll be able to talk to you after that.
Speaker 2: (04:23)
You’ve defended Israel’s right to defend itself? Do you still-