Sep 9, 2020
Joe Biden Speech Transcript Warren, Michigan September 9
Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden spoke in Warren, Michigan on September 9. He addressed the auto industry and discussed protecting American jobs. Read the transcript of his speech here.
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Joe Biden: (00:00)
It’s great to be here in Michigan and with the United auto workers. As they say, in parts of my state, I got brung up on General Motors. My father ran a General Motors agency. He didn’t own it, but he ran it and cars or cars or cars. By the way, I still have my ’67 Corvette that’s new. It was new. I still keep that, but I got to tell you, I’m waiting for that electric one you just made that goes 210 miles an hour, but that’s a different story.
Joe Biden: (00:36)
Look, earlier this week and the reason we’re a little bit late here, we found as I was getting off the plane, the press asked me a legitimate question that I did not have the background on because it occurred on the plane. Earlier this week, we celebrated Labor Day. And here in the heart of the American automobile industry, we never forget everything that we owe the unions. And unions, as you’ve heard me say many times, built this country. Unions built the economy. The economic engine has driven American manufacturing dynamism. And literally in the case of the auto workers, you’re the ones that did it.
Joe Biden: (01:15)
So I want to thank you again, UAW region one, for hosting me today. And it’s great to see Senator Stabenow. My good friend, Debbie Stabenow. Got a chance to spend a little time with the governor, but Senator Stabenow and I worked together on an awful lot of matters over the years in the United States Senate. She was a great partner to me when I was vice president and we worked in lockstep to get the people in Michigan back on their feet. We’re joined by one of the best and brightest and hardest working governors around, my friend, Gretchen Whitmer.
Joe Biden: (01:50)
And if you’re wondering what responsible strong executive leadership looks like in COVID-19, just look at this executive right here. Governor, you’ve done an incredible job steering the people of Michigan through a turbulent time. Much of it is brought on by Donald Trump’s lack of leadership. You’ve been rock solid, governor. You’ve listened to the experts and you’ve led with science and you put the needs of the people, who are hurting first, helping them get through this crisis.
Joe Biden: (02:23)
Meanwhile, on the day that we hit 190,000 dead in the United States, because of COVID-19, we just learned from the Washington Post columnist Bob Woodward that the president of the United States has admitted on tape in February he knew about COVID-19 that had passed through the air. He knew how deadly it was. It was much more deadly than the flu. He knew and purposely played it down. Worse, he lied to the American people.
Joe Biden: (02:54)
He knowingly and willingly lied about the threaded pose to the country for months. He had the information. He knew how dangerous it was. Now, while this deadly disease ripped through our nation, he failed to do his job on purpose. It was a life and death betrayal of the American people. Experts say that if he had acted just one week sooner, 36,000 people would have been saved. If he acted two weeks sooner, back in March, 54,000 lives would have been spared in March and April alone. His failure has not only costs lives. He sent our economy in a tailspin. It costs millions more in American livelihoods. This is a recession created by Donald Trump’s negligence. And he is unfit for this job as a consequence of it. How many schools aren’t open right now? How many kids are starting a new school year the same way they ended the last one at home?
Joe Biden: (03:57)
How many parents feel abandoned and overwhelmed? How many frontline workers are exhausted and pushed to the limits? And how many families are missing loved ones at their dinner table tonight because of his failures? It’s beyond despicable. It’s a dereliction of duty. It’s a disgrace. We’re going to hear a lot more about this. I’m sure, not just from me, but from the news media and a lot of others, but I want to ask you one simple question. What’s the value of a promise? What’s it worth? What’s the worth of a woman or man’s word, of a president’s word, if it’s not matched with action?
Joe Biden: (04:46)
In 2016, then candidate Trump came here to Warren just a few days before the election. Here’s what he said. He said, “If I’m elected, you won’t lose one plant. You have plants coming into this country. You’re going to have jobs again. You won’t lose one plant. I promise you. I promise you.” That’s what he said. Donald Trump makes a lot of promises. He promised that he alone could stop the off shoring of jobs. He promised he bring back jobs, stop companies from leaving. He could do what, “Nobody else could do it, but him.” Nut he promised it has administration would enforce every last buying American provision on behalf of the American people. And what makes his wild claims and hopes, he now hopes we don’t notice what he said or won’t remember. And when he does follow through or doesn’t do with follow through the exact opposite, he’s hoping we just have poor memories.
Joe Biden: (05:57)
He doesn’t give us much credit, but the American people are smart, honest, decent, and they’re hard working. And we expect our president to be straight with us, to do what he or she says they’re going to do. So let’s look at the reality of Donald Trump’s economy and what exactly his promise to the American people and workers are worth. He’s on track to be the first president since Herbert Hoover in the Great Depression to see the number of jobs in our economy go down, not up while being president. Our economy’s down 4.7 million jobs since he took office, 4.7.
Joe Biden: (06:42)
Even before President Trump’s failed response to COVID-19 crashed through our economy, his reckless and chaotic trade policy had thrown American manufacturing into recession. It was already contracting in 2019, even when COVID-19 hit, before it hit. Trump was creating an average of 500,000 jobs fewer per year than the last three years when President Obama and I were an office. When the GM transmission plant here in Warren close last year, I bet the workers around weren’t all that comforted by Trump’s empty promises.
Joe Biden: (07:26)
Under Donald Trump, Michigan lost auto jobs, even before COVID did. And what about off shoring? Has Trump delivered on stopping companies from shipping jobs overseas, American jobs? You already know the answer. Of course not. The rate of offshoring by federal contractors, there are people that get federal dollars from the federal government to do things. The off shoring, big companies being paid by US Taxpayers has doubled, doubled under Trump. Those federal contracts with your tax dollars. They’ve doubled the number that had been off shored.
Joe Biden: (08:11)
He invited companies to the White House to make what he called the pledge to American workers. He couldn’t even keep those firms from outsourcing. Many were given lucrative federal contracts, but then some of them turned around and shipped 7,000 jobs overseas. Under President Trump, US trade deficit has grown. It’s hit an all time high. Let me say that again. US trade deficit is at an all time high under Trump in the last three years.
Joe Biden: (08:45)
President Trump’s answered all this as the same as he’s answered everything. Corporate tax giveaways that actually ward off shoring. You heard me right. Giveaways that reward offshoring. If you offshore, you get more tax breaks. His 2017 tax bill slashed taxes on companies that sent production and jobs overseas. Those corporations then make huge profits by shipping these foreign made products back to the United States to sell to American consumers. And no industry has taken a greater advantage of Trump’s offshoring tax loopholes than the pharmaceutical industry.
Joe Biden: (09:27)
Big pharma lobbied Trump for a handout. That’s exactly what they got from him. US pharma is building factories overseas instead of the United States, skipping out on having to pay US taxes and then sending those same foreign made drugs back to American consumers, all while raising their prices on prescription drugs that union families and working people have to rely on. And in the process by the way, he’s trying to do away with all healthcare in America.
Joe Biden: (10:06)
During a pandemic, we’re seeing not only the inequity of this policy, but the enormous vulnerability that this creates for our own health security. And our security requires us to have supply chains of the necessary drugs based here, not overseas. Not overseas in times of crisis.
Joe Biden: (10:29)
And what about Trump’s commitment to buy American? Like the rest of President Trump’s promise it has nothing to do with reality. It’s all a bunch of hot air. In fact, contracts awarded by US governments to foreign companies using American tax dollars went up 30% since he’s been president. So to recap, one, Trump hasn’t stopped companies from closing plants and sending jobs overseas. Two, he’s rewarded companies that have cut jobs and failed to invest here at home with billions of dollars in tax breaks. And three, he’s awarding more and more federal contracts to foreign companies. President Trump has broken just about every promise he’s ever made to the American worker. And he’s failed. He’s failed our economy and our country.
Joe Biden: (11:23)
But look, would you really expect anything different from this guy? From someone who called those of you and those who are serving in uniform, who have given their lives to the country losers and suckers? Let me tell you something. My son Beau is an assistant US attorney. He volunteered to go to Kosovo to help them set up a government in the middle of the war. I know I’m being proud here, but he’s the only foreigner has a monument that they raised and built in service to him, thanking him for what he did. My son also then as attorney general volunteered to go to Iraq for one year. He wasn’t a loser or a sucker. No one who served this nation has been a loser or a sucker. They’re all heroes. Or would you expect anything different than someone who could stand next to a father of a fallen soldier and say at a cemetery and say, “I don’t get it. What was in it for them?” What was in it for them?
Joe Biden: (12:37)
Donald Trump does understand what it means to serve something bigger than yourself. He doesn’t understand duty, honor, country. He lives by a different code. Lies, selfishness, greed. Yes, Donald Trump and I have a pretty different philosophy when it comes to giving our word. Mine means something. When I tell the American people I’m going to do something, I follow through. Here in Michigan, you know that’s true.
Joe Biden: (13:11)
When Barack and I took office back in 2009, the economy was crashing. We inherited an economy in free fall. And millions of Americans, including so many right here in Michigan, lost their jobs, their homes, and their savings. With the help of Debbie breaking her neck here, President Obama and I worked hard. He put me in charge of the Recovery Act. I spent a lot of time here in Michigan and Detroit, working with you and Senator Stabenow, and thinking every single day about the folks on the factory line, busting their necks, just trying to put food on the table.
Joe Biden: (13:48)
A lot of folks were all ready to count Detroit out as well as the auto American industry to count it out. But I knew what Debbie knew. I’ve known always. It’s never a good bet to bet against the American worker. So when we promise to stand with the American auto industry, we delivered. We didn’t do it to help wealthy investors or pad bonus checks for CEOs, we did it to save an iconic American industry, a testament to the skills and ingenuity of American manufacturing. And the jobs of hundreds of thousands of American workers and the lifeblood of communities all across the Midwest, and used to be in my state of Delaware as well. When Detroit declared bankruptcy, I was right here working alongside the city leaders to get the lights turned back on to revitalize the future of Detroit.
Joe Biden: (14:50)
Well, nearly 20,000 auto manufacturing jobs have been lost in Michigan under Trump. Nearly 80,000 were created during the Obama Biden administration. I’ve got long history. I’m not just talking about what I’m going to do, but delivering results for Michiganders. And now, we need to do it again. We need to do the hard work, not only to recover, but to build the economy back for the future once more. That’s why my build back better agenda, that’s what it’s all about. Starts right here with you in the union halls, all across America. Back in July, I made the first plank in my agenda a plan to modernize American manufacturing and technology to ensure that the future is made in America, by all of you. And today, I’m announcing some additional steps to make this plank even stronger.
Joe Biden: (15:49)
First, we’re going to impose a tax penalty on companies that avoid paying US taxes by off shoring jobs and manufacturing, only to sell those goods back to the American consumer. If your big corporate strategy is to boost your shareholders profits, your CEOs’ bonuses by moving jobs out, well, we’re going to make sure you not only pay full US taxes on those profits, but we’re going to guarantee. We’re going to add a 10% off shoring penalty surge tax to your bill. No more deductions for writing off expenses for the cost of sending jobs overseas, which is a big deal that could be done here at home by qualified American workers. I’m not looking to punish American business, but there’s a better way. Make it in Michigan, make it in America, invest in our communities and the workers in places like Warren. That’s what this is about.
Joe Biden: (17:00)
UAW workers, steel workers, IBW workers. You’re the best craftsmen and women in the world. And you’re right here. If you’re ready to make it in America, then just like there are consequences for off showing, there will be rewards and incentives for creating good paying jobs here at home. Today, I’m announcing my new Made in America tax credit, a 10% advanceable tax credit for companies that invest in the United States and American workers, to help accelerate the recovery under our build back better agenda.
Joe Biden: (17:39)
So if your company revitalizes a closing facility here in the United States, like the transmission plant that got closed last year, we’ll take care of 10% of the investment that company makes to reopen it. If you retool a manufacturing facility to make it more competitive, for example, by shifting to help build a new fleet of clean American vehicles made by UAW members, we’ll make sure that’s more than affordable for you. We’re going to make sure you’ll get a tax credit. If you reshore jobs that have previously been sent overseas, expand your operations in the United States or increase wages for manufacturing jobs will make an even smarter strategic decision for your company because we will make sure you get a tax credit.
Joe Biden: (18:33)
These two steps on top of my plans to close each and every one of the Trump loopholes that he created in 2017 with his tax cut to reward companies with big tax breaks for off shoring. That’s going to end. If you’re going to want to build things here in the United States, because under our administration, the Biden Harris Administration, is going to deliver on the promise to buy American. It’s been a law for almost a century, but we’ve never lived up to it. The idea is simple.
Joe Biden: (19:05)
Today, the US government spends about $600 billion of taxpayer’s money on federal contracts annually. And that money should go to support American jobs and American businesses. But President Trump has only ever treated it like it was a weak suggestion. Agencies of the federal government can waive the requirements, explanations that Trump doesn’t bother even kick back on. We’re going to change that when I’m president.
Joe Biden: (19:40)
In my first week, I’ll sign a series of executive actions to make sure we enforce by America and direct the full purchasing power of the federal government to fulfill his promise, starting by closing those waiver loopholes immediately. And I promise you, I’ll use the full power of the Defense Production Act to enforce buy American and tighten the rules for public infrastructure projects, roads, bridges, canals, airports. And I’m going to crack down on companies that label products as made in America, even if they’re coming from China or elsewhere. We found out that on Trump’s watch a company selling deployment bags to active duty troops being deployed falsely claimed this product was made in America. When in fact, it was really made mostly in China. Trump didn’t do anything to respond. I’m not going to let that happen on my watch. We’re going to have an office at the White House dedicated to making sure everyone is playing by the same made in America rules.
Joe Biden: (20:53)
And one more thing, when I say we’re going to use the purchasing power of the federal government to reinvigorate domestic manufacturing, I mean. We’re going to do that with the American automobile industry as well. United States government owns and maintains an enormous fleet of vehicles. We’re going to convert those government vehicles into electric vehicles, made in America, sourced right here in the United States of America. With the government providing the demand and support to retool factories that are suggesting they’re struggling to compete, the United States automobile industry will set up expanding the capacity in the United States, not China, to lead the world in clean energy vehicles. I can’t wait to get, I said, behind that all electric Corvette that goes 210 miles an hour. Y’all think I’m kidding. I mean it. Last year, that converted Corvette set a speed record of 210.2 miles per hour, electric vehicle. So don’t tell me we don’t still make the best cars right here in the United States of America, and trucks. We’re going to make it easy for American consumers to switch to electric vehicles.
Joe Biden: (22:11)
We’re going to build on all the new infrastructure we’re going to build on highways. We’re going to build a network of 500,000 charging stations across America, providing prevailing wage jobs for the IBW and other craftsmen all across the country. And by offering rebates and incentives to swap older fuel efficient vehicles for new clean American made models, saving hundreds of millions of barrels of oil. And together, this will mean, listen to me now, 1 million new jobs in the American automobile industry, 1 million. With supply chain, as well as the associated infrastructure, we can do this. We can do this. We can revitalize our industrial base as the heart of the American middle class.
Joe Biden: (23:03)
Think about the worker in Warren who when the transmission plant closed, he told a reporter and I’m quoting him, “Getting a good GM job 23 years ago for me was like winning the lottery,” he said. “I was trying to start a family. I was able to buy a house. I went to Disney world, all that.” Think about that. A job that felt like winning a lottery because it opened the door to a life that you wanted for yourself, because it gave you dignity, allowed you to provide for your family. Getting a good job in 2020, right here in America, shouldn’t be a lottery. It should be an absolute expectation for everyone.
Joe Biden: (23:52)
I don’t accept the defeatist view that the forces of automation and globalization mean we can’t keep good paying union jobs here in America and create more of them. I don’t buy for one second that the vitality of American manufacturing is a thing of the past. We have the most qualified workers in the world. American manufacturing, is the old expression you heard your grandpop say or your grandmother, was the arsenal of democracy in World War II. Well, guess what? It’s going to be part of the engine of American prosperity now in 2021, and we’re going to make it happen with American grit, American determination, and American union workers.
Joe Biden: (24:42)
Look, folks. That’s my promise to you. And keep in mind, back in the 30s, they set up the law relating to unions. It said that not you could have a union, it said the government should encourage unions to increase [inaudible 00:25:10]. You’re going to have the best, most friendly union president in history of the United States of America, when I’m in the White House.
Joe Biden: (25:19)
I want to thank you all, for all you do. Don’t give up hope. Don’t give up hope. We can come back. We can come back stronger than we were before. I want to thank you all. I carry with me… I don’t have it. I gave it to my staff. I carry with me in my pocket… Do I have that around, anyone? Where’s my staff? I gave it away. Anyway, I carry a schedule in my pocket that lists every single day the number of troops lost in Afghanistan and Iraq. The number wounded. This is my schedule. The back of the schedule is always a black box. You can’t really see it. The press may be able to. It says daily US updates. Troops died in Iraq and Afghanistan, 6,922, not over 6,000, 6,922, is every one of those women and men left behind. An entire group of people relied on them.
Joe Biden: (26:34)
US troops wounded in Iraq and Afghanistan, 53,188. Not over 53,000. US COVID infected in America, 6,344,700. US COVID deaths, 189,506. Military COVID infected, 118,984. Military COVID deaths, 6,114. Folks, every one of these lives matter. Every one of these lives left somebody behind grieving. We can’t ever forget them, ever, ever forget them. Thank you all. God bless you. And may God protect our troops. Thank you.