Dec 1, 2021

Joe Biden Supply Chain Update Speech Transcript December 1

Joe Biden Supply Chain Update Speech Transcript December 1
RevBlogTranscriptsBiden Supply Chain Update SpeechJoe Biden Supply Chain Update Speech Transcript December 1

President Joe Biden gave remarks on his administration’s plan to strengthen the supply chain on December 1, 2021. Read the transcript of his speech briefing here.

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President Joe Biden: (00:00)
Sorry to keep you waiting. Good afternoon. It’s wonderful to see the holiday decorations here in the White House. Tomorrow, I’m going to light the national Christmas tree to help kick off the holiday season. Whatever you celebrate, we are looking ahead to a brighter and happier December with an economy markedly stronger than it was last year. It’s been a tough couple years, but we’ve made incredible progress. And today, I’d like to speak about some of the steps we’re taking to address challenges in the economy and how those actions are already starting to pay off for American families.

President Joe Biden: (00:54)
First however, I want to quickly reiterate what I spoke about on Monday concerning Omicron, the variant, and the steps we’re taking to combat it. As I said, this new variant is a cause for concern, but not a cause for panic. We have the best vaccines in the world, the best medicines, the best scientists. We’re learning more every single day. And we’ll fight this variant with science and speed, not chaos and confusion. So let me repeat what the doctors and scientists have affirmed. The best protection against Omicron is getting a booster shot.

President Joe Biden: (01:33)
Right now about 135 million Americans are eligible for a booster, but only about 40 million have gotten one thus far. If you’re over 18 years of age, you got vaccinated before January, excuse me, June 1, go get your booster shot today. And if you’re not vaccinated, now is the time to get vaccinated and take your children to get vaccinated. Every child over the age of five can get a safe, effective vaccination. Tomorrow I’ll be putting forward the next steps we’ll be taking to fight COVID this winter, not with shutdowns or lockdowns, but with more widespread vaccinations, boosters, testing and more.

President Joe Biden: (02:12)
Now onto the economy. If you watched the news recently, you might think the shelves in all our stores are empty across the country, that parents won’t be able to get presents for their children on holidays this holiday season, but here’s the deal. For the vast majority of the country that’s not what’s happening. Because of the actions the administration has taken in partnership with business and labor, retailers and grocery stores, freight movers and railroads, those shelves are going to be stocked. Many have heard that the CEO of Walmart, who I met with this week, speaking about the steps we’ve taken, he said, and I quote, “The combination of private enterprise and government working together has been really successful all the way through the supply chain. There’s been a lot of innovation,” end of quote.

President Joe Biden: (03:01)
Here’s what the progress has looked like. The first thing we had to do was speed up the operations at our ports. Americans are buying more goods than ever, and a lot of those goods come through our ports. 40% of the goods that come into the country on the west coast come two ports, Los Angeles and Long Beach. To help relieve congestion, I brought together labor and management and asked them to step up and cooperate more, to move forward in operating those ports not five days a week, 40 hours a week, but 24 hours a day, seven days a week, by adding more shifts at night and on the weekends. Then we had to make sure that people could transport those goods from the ports to stores and homes across the country. We’ve broken up log jams there as well. Private sector port terminal operators at the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach, for example, have announced that they’re going to eliminate fees when truck drivers come into the port to pick up the containers if they do it at night or on the weekends, when roads are less congested.

President Joe Biden: (04:07)
Working with my administration, a major ocean carrier, the fourth largest in the world, announced on Monday a new $100 discount when containers are picked up quickly, with larger discounts for nighttime and weekend pickups. And we announced this week that we’re extending through February extra flexibility that allows truckers to drive more hours when they’re transporting critical goods like gas, food and medical supplies. Paired with these important safety measures, all of them are going to help move goods more quickly and get products that people want onto the shelves all across the country.

President Joe Biden: (04:47)
Over the last month, the number of containers left sitting on docks, blocking movement to those stores, was for over eight days. Now, it’s down by 40%, which means they’re heading to shelves and stores more quickly. That’s an incredible success story. The ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach have moved 16% more containers so far this year than last year. By working with business and labor, my administration’s been able to handle the huge surge in goods moving through some of our biggest ports. And that’s translated into shelves across our country being well stocked.

President Joe Biden: (05:26)
You don’t have to take my word for it. On Monday, I convened a group of CEOs from some of the largest retailers and grocery stores in the nation, as well as companies who work with small businesses across America, including the CEO of Walmart, as I mentioned, along with Best Buy, CVS, Samsung, Mattel, Etsy, and QVC. My administration has been working with many of the CEOs and others to keep these goods moving through our supply chain to ensure the shelves are stocked heading into the holiday season. The CEOs that I met with this week reported that their inventories are up, shelves are well stocked, and they’re ready to meet the consumer demand for the holidays. The CEO of Etsy represents over five million small businesses and entrepreneurs. He told me, and I quote, “Our survey data says they are less concerned about supply chain challenges this year than they were last year,” end of quote.

President Joe Biden: (06:25)
I’ve also spoken with the CEOs of UPS and FedEx, which are on track to deliver more packages than ever. Now, I can’t promise that every person will get every gift they want on time. Only Santa Claus can keep that promise, but there are items every year that sell out that are hard to find. Some of you moms and dads may remember Cabbage Patch Kids back in the ’80s or Beanie Babies in the ’90s or other toys that have run out at Christmas time in past years when there was no supply chain problem. But we’re heading into a holiday season in very strong shape. It’s not because of luck. We averted potential crisis by figuring out what needed to get fixed, and then we brought the people together to do the hard work of fixing it.

President Joe Biden: (07:12)
That’s exactly what we’re doing with the second concern I want to talk about today. Prices. Here are a few things you should know. Just about every country in the world is grappling with higher prices right now as they recover from the pandemic. In the United Kingdom, price increases have hit a 10 year high. In Germany, a 28 year high. In Canada, price increases are the highest they’ve been since the ’90s. This is a worldwide challenge, a natural byproduct of a world economy shut down by the pandemic as it comes back to life. Prices are still out of, excuse me. Prices are still out of sync as the world comes back. But as we continue to overcome these obstacles, the more price pressures will ease. But I have not been content to sit back and wait. I’ve used every tool available to address the price increases, and it’s working.

President Joe Biden: (08:07)
Take gas prices. Last week, I announced the largest ever release from the United States Strategic Petroleum Reserve to increase the supply of oil and help bring down prices. I brought together other nations to continue and contribute to this solution. India, Japan, the Republic of Korea, the United Kingdom all joined us. They all agreed to release additional oil from the reserves, and China may be doing so as well. This worldwide effort we’re leading will not solve the problem of high gas prices overnight, but it has been making the difference. Over the last month, likely due in part to the anticipation of this action, we’ve seen the price of oil and gasoline on the wholesale markets come down significantly.

President Joe Biden: (08:50)
In fact, since the end of October, the average weekly price of gasoline in the wholesale market has fallen by about 10%. That’s a drop of 25 cents per gallon. Those savings should reach the American people very soon, and it can’t happen fast enough. And I’ve asked the Federal Trade Commission to consider whether potentially illegal and anti-competitive behavior in the oil and gas is causing higher prices to be maintained for consumers when the overall cost of oil is down. We can also ensure that American people are paying a fair price for gas.

President Joe Biden: (09:26)
So let’s take a step back and take stock of where our economy is. Wages are up. Thanks to the American Rescue Plan, we’ve delivered significant tax cuts for families raising kids. Tax cuts and rising wages for middle class families mean that Americans on average have about $100 more in their pockets every month than they did last year, about $350 more each month than they did before the pandemic, even after accounting for inflation. Let me repeat that. Even after accounting for rising prices, the typical American family has more money in their pockets than they did last year or the year before that. In fact, we’re the only leading economy in the world where household income and the economy as a whole are stronger than they were before the pandemic.

President Joe Biden: (10:17)
There are other signs of strength, too. The number of small businesses is up by 30% compared to before the pandemic. Thanks to the American Rescue Plan, we’ve cut child poverty in America by more than 40%. Think about that. Millions of children who spent last Christmas in poverty will not bear that burden this holiday season. And the Treasury Secretary, Janet Yellen, described it yesterday that it is quote, “A profound economic and moral victory for our country,” end of quote.

President Joe Biden: (10:47)
Since I took office, we have had record job creation, 5.6 million new jobs since January 20th of this year. The unemployment rate has fallen to 4.6%. We’re seeing more new small businesses, higher wages and more disposable income, fewer children in poverty, fewer people getting unemployment checks. None of this was inevitable. It was because of the American Rescue Plan, which virtually every Democrat in Congress voted for and every Republican voted against. It was because of the hard work my administration has done to try to solve the challenges in our economy instead of just pointing fingers and complaining.

President Joe Biden: (11:29)
Now, it’s time to build on our success and cut costs further for families. That’s what my Build Back Better plan does. It will lower out of pocket costs for childcare, elder care, housing, college, healthcare, and prescription drugs. These are the biggest costs that most families face. In fact, a new independent analysis released today showed that my Build Back Better plan would mean $7,400 in tax cuts and savings for the typical family with four kids, excuse me, the typical family of four with two kids. 17 Nobel Laureate, Nobel economic winners, have written a letter affirming that this bill will reduce inflationary pressure in the economy. Two of the leading rating agencies on Wall Street confirmed this month that my plan will not, will not add to inflationary pressures. In fact, they will quote, “Take the edge off of inflation.”

President Joe Biden: (12:34)
Now my Republican friends are talking a lot about prices, but they’re lined up against my Build Back Better plan, which would go right at the problem for rising costs for families. Why is that? I don’t want to speculate on anyone’s motive, but it’s always easier to complain about a problem than to try to fix it. One Senator even said that rising prices were, “A gold mine,” end of quote, for Republicans politically. Imagine rooting for a higher cost for American families just to score a few political points. The fact is the Build Back Better plan is fiscally responsible. It’s the first major piece of legislation in more than a decade that is not only fully paid for, but will generate more than 100 billion in deficit reduction. It fully covers the cost of its investments by making the largest corporations and the richest Americans pay a little more in taxes. Think about that. That’s a trade-off worth making, in my view. Having those who have done very well pay their fair share in order to provide a little breathing room for millions of American families.

President Joe Biden: (13:42)
But my critics don’t seem to agree. They have a lot of speeches about high prices, supply chain and other challenges we’re facing, but they don’t offer any answers. So they’re just doing the no vote. That’s their plan, vote no. But what does that mean? What does a no vote mean on this bill? Not on cable news, not on Fox, not in the real world, in your life, around your kitchen table. Well, here’s what it’s going to mean. It means from millions of American families, this bill, the bills you’re paying right now for daycare could be substantially lowered, capped at 7% of your income. But Republicans said, “No, pay more.” It means the bills you’re paying right now to take care of your elderly parent could have been lower, a lot lower, but Republicans said, “No, don’t vote for this bill. Pay more.”

President Joe Biden: (14:36)
It means the cost of your prescription drugs could have been lower, a lot lower. Republicans think that those 200,000 children, for example, who need regular doses of insulin should continue to pay as much as $1000 a month instead of $35 a month. Think of that. Not only affects the health of a child and the family, but imagine you’re being a parent and not being able to afford $1000 a month. It not only risks the health of your child, but it robs you of your dignity. The list goes on, but the point’s the same. What I proposed is a way to lower some of the most difficult costs families have to pay every month by asking big corporations. 40 of the Fortune 500 companies paid zero in taxes, making $40 billion in the process, and the wealthiest Americans pay their fair share in taxes.

President Joe Biden: (15:34)
Look, remember, we’re in a situation, as far as Republicans are concerned, they’d rather the bills at your kitchen table will be higher so the tax bills of corporate conference rooms and big mansions can be lower. In this case, let me tell you something, nothing will be more expensive for American families than a no vote on the Build Back Better plan. I believe we simply can’t afford to do nothing and wait and see what happens. And the moments we face today, that just isn’t a responsible course. We live in uncertain times. Families are anxious about COVID, the economy, the cost of living, and the way to relieve that anxiety is with consistent, determined, focused action. I started my presidency with the American Rescue Plan. Now that law is carrying our nation forward on vaccinations, boosters, keeping our schools open, and so much more. I designed it as a year long plan because I knew we’d have a lot of obstacles to overcome.

President Joe Biden: (16:39)
Next, we passed the bipartisan infrastructure law because a lot of our infrastructure is crumbling. We have to prepare ourselves to compete and win in the 21st century global economy. For most of the 20th century, we led the world by a significant margin because we invested in ourselves, not only in our roads and highways and bridges, but in our people and our families. We built the interstate highway system. We invested to win the space race. We were among the first to provide access to free education beginning back in the late 1800s. These decisions to invest in our country and our families were a major reason why we were able to lead the world for much of the last century. But somewhere along the way, we stopped investing in ourselves.

President Joe Biden: (17:24)
America’s still the largest economy in the world. We still are the most productive workers and the most innovative minds in the world, but we risk losing our edge as a nation. Our infrastructure used to be the best in the world. Today, according to the World Economic Forum, we rank 13th. And we have to invest in our greatest asset as well, our people. For example, we used to lead the world in educational achievement. Now the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development ranks America 35 out of 37 major countries when it comes to investing in early child education and care. We can’t be competitive in the 21st century global economy if we continue to slide.

President Joe Biden: (18:04)
One of the reasons I believe so firmly in this is because I know what this country can be. We’ve always been a nation of possibilities. We didn’t become this nation we know by dreaming small. Throughout our history, we’ve emerged from crisis by investing in ourselves. During and after the Civil War, we built the transcontinental railroad, uniting America. During the Cold War, we built the interstate highway system, transforming the way Americans are able to live their lives. And now we’ll build the economy for the 21st century. I truly believe that 50 years from now, when historians look back on this moment, they’re going to say this was the beginning of the moment when America won the competition for the 21st century. I think that’s what we’re going to see happen, God willing. God bless you all and may God protect our troops. Thank you very much.

Speaker 2: (18:58)
Mr. President, what’s the level of concern that the new variant will end up exacerbating the very issues on supply chains your team has been working on the last several months?

President Joe Biden: (19:07)
Well, look, you know me. I’m an optimist. What we have seen so far does not guarantee that’s the outcome. As a matter of fact, we’re going to know in the next several weeks that just not only how transmissible disease is, but how extensive it is, how dangerous it is, and what damage it does. And most importantly, whether the vaccines we have are capable of dealing with this virus, particularly if the boosters we’re trying to get everybody yet. So I think the jury’s still out. I think it’s a little early to make that judgment, but am I concerned? Of course I am, until we get the final answers, I’ll take a couple more questions. Yes.

Speaker 3: (19:51)
Mr. President, what is your reaction, the Supreme Court heard the abortion debate today and the justices signaled that they’re on the verge of major changes to abortion law in the United States. Do you have any plans to codify the law? What is your reaction to that?

President Joe Biden: (20:05)
Well first of all, I didn’t see any of the debate today. There’s just the presentation today. I support Roe V. Wade. I think it’s a rational position to take, and I continue to support it.

Speaker 4: (20:19)
Mr. President, thank you so much. There are a number of presidents from Jimmy Carter to Richard Nixon who really tried to impact inflation and supply chain, and weren’t able to largely do that. How confident are you that you have the tools and the power to do something about supply chains and help Americans find some relief?

President Joe Biden: (20:37)
Because what I’ve seen so far based on what we’ve done. This is the first time I’ve seen where labor and businesses so ready to cooperate because they didn’t go through a period of a year, over two years almost, of the impacts of a terrible virus that has caused real damage to the world economy. So I think people are in a different state of mind than they may have been during the Carter years, as well as the Nixon years. It’s just a different world.

Speaker 5: (21:06)
Mr. President, Mark Meadows has written a book revealing that President Trump tested positive for COVID three days before your first debate. Do you think the former president put you at risk?

President Joe Biden: (21:19)
I don’t think about the former president. Thank you.

Speaker 6: (21:21)
Mr. President, whatever happened to your promise to shut down the virus?

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