Apr 24, 2022
President Biden Delivers Remarks on Lowering Costs for American Families 4/22/22 Transcript
President Biden Delivers Remarks on his Recent Actions to Lower Costs and Give Families More Breathing Room, and will Call on Congress to Pass his Plan to Lower Health Care and Energy Costs 4/22/22. Read the transcript here.
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Hello. My name is Elisa Graceffo, I am a mom of three kids from Sammamish, Washington, it’s about 30 miles north of here. On Christmas Eve, in 2008, my oldest daughter, Juliana, who is standing here, she was four. She became pale and lethargic. She was feeling so bad that she skipped our Christmas Eve dinner. We thought it was the flu. She continued to feel worse and worse throughout that evening, and by the middle of the night, she started having difficulty breathing. We called 911, and an ambulance came and took us to Seattle Children’s Hospital. When we arrived, the ER doctor asked if anyone had checked Juliana’s blood sugar. No one had, and when they checked, it was over 700. A normal blood sugar ranges between 90 and 100. The ER doctor told me immediately that Juliana had Type one diabetes, which is an autoimmune disease in which the body attacks the insulin producing cells of the pancreas. This restricts her ability to get energy from food. Type one diabetes lasts a lifetime, and people with Type one must take insulin to live. Juliana spent the next 36 hours in a coma-like state called diabetic ketoacidosis, in the pediatric ICU, before they were able to stabilize her. We spent the next days in the hospital learning how to take care of a young child with this disease. It’s a 24/7 process of checking blood sugars, counting the carbohydrates of everything your child eats so you can calculate the right amount of insulin to give, and giving insulin shots. Blood sugars going too high or too low can have devastating short-term and long-term consequences. Living with Type one diabetes is a family affair. One of my philosophies in life, which I try to impart to my children, is that when life gives you lemons, you should make lemonade. Our family has been involved in raising awareness and funds for Type one diabetes research, to help prevent, treat, and cure Type one since shortly after Juliana was diagnosed. We are proud that through our Team Juliana efforts, we have raised nearly half a million dollars for diabetes research.
It’s hard to make lemonade when the cost of some of the ingredients can be so high, and steadily increase. No one should suffer or die in America because they cannot afford insulin. That is unacceptable. Fortunately for us, today Juliana is in high school and thriving. But, as a parent, the worry never ceases. For the millions of other families across America, there is no time to lose. We need to act. Thank you for this opportunity. I’d like to invite my daughter, Juliana, to share a few words now.
Thank you mom. It is an honor for my family and me to be here today to talk about the importance of insulin affordability. My name is Juliana Graceffo, and I am a senior at East Lake High School in Sammamish, Washington. As my mom just recounted, I have been living with Type one diabetes since I was four years old. Here, in fact, is the insulin pump that delivers the essential insulin hormone which I need to survive to my body, through this tube, and into my skin. Once my family got over the initial shock of this diagnosis, and gained some confidence in how to manage it day to day, we turned our attention to advocacy. As a high school freshman, I represented Washington state with a group that went to Washington, DC, to lobby Congress to pass the Special Diabetes Program, which provides $150 million in research funding over three year cycles to this cause. We were successful in getting that passed. Thank you to Senators Murray and Cantwell, and Representative Schrier for their support on that.
The federal government has such a huge role to play in advancing basic research on diabetes and so many other areas, and we have seen real results, too. When I was four, Type one diabetes treatment consisted of 10 or more finger poke blood tests a day, and 10 to 15 insulin injections a day, with regular syringes. Today, I wear a continuous glucose monitor my skin, which tests my blood sugar level every five minutes. This data is wirelessly transferred to my insulin pump, which uses advanced software algorithms to calculate insulin dosages on my behalf, then delivers the necessary insulin through a tube, into the site on my skin.
None of this progress would’ve been possible without the support of the federal government and private organizations. But, the common element in these improved treatments is insulin. We have better ways to dose and deliver the required insulin, but we still need the insulin itself. Here, during my 14 years and counting as a diabetic, we have seen nothing but increase after increase in the cost of insulin, a human hormone whose DNA sequence exists in the public domain. In fact, this cost has tripled over the past decade, while the insulin itself is largely unchanged. We need something to change. I am honored to introduce someone who is working to deliver that change. A president who understands the hopes and dreams of families like mine across this country. Please welcome President Biden.
President Biden: (05:52)
Juliana, my colleagues. I’m taking her back to Washington. We’re going to get the rest of my bill passed. We’re going to get it done. By the way, I hope don’t don’t embarrass her, she’s off the Notre Dame next year. I’ve done the commencement there a couple times. I told her, if she sees me on campus, I don’t want her to say, “Joe who,” when I come up to see her. Promise?
President Biden: (06:29)
God love you. Thank you very, very much.
Thank you so much.
President Biden: (06:30)
Thank you Mom.
President Biden: (06:35)
Elisa and Juliana, thank you for that introduction. As my mother would say, God love you. You’re saving lives. You’re saving lives by pointing out what needs to be done. I want to start off, though, by pointing out a couple of things. Number one, as was mentioned earlier, my wife Jill is a community college professor. I believe she’s the only First Lady ever to work full time, and she’s still working full time, as a community college professor. That’s why she’s not with me today. One of the things we’re also working on, parenthetically, and this is a great college. It really is.
President Biden: (07:23)
Thanks, in part, to the leadership of the governor, you’re one of the best systems in the country. I want you to know though, that we know, and I know firsthand…my wife’s an English professor, and teaches writing as well. The number of students to come back to schools like this, and the community college where Jill teaches, Northern Virginia Community College, are coming back having not been in school for a long time, many times. Coming back because they want to better their lives, breaking their necks to get here. The average age of my wife’s students is 28 years of age. That’s the average age of people coming back, coming through difficult circumstances they find themselves in. Back east, a number of immigrant families coming through, and the cost is still, no matter how the states try to control it, still matters.
President Biden: (08:18)
One of the things, it didn’t do all I wanted to do, but was I able to sign a new budget bill that increases the Pell Grants by $400 a year, the largest increase in 10 years. We have to do more. Look, I want to say a special thank you to Governor Inslee, for his welcome and his partnership across a broad range of issues, including strengthening your economy, and the fighting the pandemic. I refer to him, and he knows this to be true, because of when I was seeking the nomination, he is the environmental governor of the nation. This guy is leading the whole country.
President Biden: (09:10)
You have one heck of a congressional delegation, starting with my friend, Patty Murray. When we passed the Recovery Act, the first bill we passed, I went to Patty, and I said, “I want to deal with the Child Tax Credit,” which was something that had to be done. Patty’s been fighting for it for years and years and years. I got it passed, we got it passed. It reduced child poverty in America by 40%. But because of a couple folks, we lack one Democrat and 50 Republicans from keeping it from passing this time around. It fundamentally changed the lives of millions of people, Patty, you know it better than I do. It reduced child poverty by 40%.
President Biden: (10:11)
She talked earlier about the cost of child care. I was a single dad for five years. My wife and daughter were killed in an automobile accident. I commuted every day, 250 miles, 270 miles a day from Wilmington, Delaware, to Washington, DC, on Amtrak. Everybody thought I did it because I wanted to be home. That’s true, but I did it because I couldn’t possibly afford childcare. I was a United States Senator. I had the dubious distinction for 36 years of being listed as the poorest man in the Senate. I was making a lot of money as a Senator, from my perspective. I didn’t think I should be making any money other than my salary as a Senator. I could not possibly afford, even back in 1972 and ’73, I could not afford childcare.
President Biden: (11:03)
… 1972 and three, I could not afford childcare. That’s why I went home every single night, over 200,000 miles worth of my career. And folks, there’s easy answers, there’s easy answers. We can do all that Patty and I, and others have been talking about and not one person in America making less than $400,000, you will see a single solitary increase in their taxes, not one, not a single increase. And folks, I sometimes been called by some of my interesting Republican friends, we’re all the Democrats, we’re are all socialists, and I’m a capitalist. And I think if you can make a billion dollars, or a million dollars, or 100 million, you should be able to do it. But pay your fair share, pay your fair share.
President Biden: (12:00)
I come from the corporate state of the world, Delaware. More corporations are incorporated in Delaware than every other state in the Union combined. And I got elected six times a Senator, notwithstanding that. Here’s the point, on the Fortune 500 companies, 40 of them last year, they made $40 billion and didn’t pay a single solitary penny in taxes. It’s not right. It’s just not fair. All they got to do is just pay a fair share. And we can do all of this and so much more, but that’s not what [inaudible 00:12:40] being here tonight, or today, I should say. And Senator Cantwell, she’s been a champion in this state to keep playing the bipartisan infrastructure law and delivering high speed internet all across the state of Washington. And because we’re going to out compete the rest of the world.
President Biden: (12:56)
She understands how we do. We got to have you have access, access to that information. Think about it. During the pandemic, how many of your parents had to drive your kids into a McDonald’s parking lot to get on the internet to be able to do your homework? Not a joke. This is the United States of America for God’s sake, the United States of America. Because of this lady and others, we are going to see to it, every single place in this country, rural, urban, suburban, has access to high speed internet.
President Biden: (13:28)
The Congresswoman Schrier, who represents a district, a doctor, an MD, who knows what folks go through in our healthcare system and knows how to make it better. This includes how to fill the nursing shortage to help colleges like this one train and prepare the next generation of nurses and healthcare workers. My wife went to Delaware Community College, and now in Northern Virginia, teaches an awful lot of nurses, an awful lot of nurses. And by the way, docs are okay. I’ve been a significant consumer of healthcare in my career. Unfortunately, I was hospitalized for the better part of seven months with two cranial aneurysms and embolism. And my son Beau came back as a decorated war hero from the state from Iraq after a year and stage four glioblastoma, and spent 15 months at the end, just hanging on. And doctors let you live. Nurses, male and female, I’m not seeing any of you in nursing programs, they make you want to live. Not a joke, not a joke.
President Biden: (14:53)
I think it’s a single most underrated profession in the United States of America, I really mean it. When I was at Walter Reed, all those months, I’d lay there in that ICU and look at the monitors. And if any of those lines go flat, you’re in trouble. But seriously, after a while, and you’ve seen the doc, you just get tired. I wasn’t in pain, just get tired, just want to stop. And my nurses, I remember to this day their names, they’d come in and they’d change the pillow, they’d rub my head, they’d do something, they’d keep you moving, talk to you, talk to you. That’s why, what I did was they ensured everybody who comes out of an intensive care unit, the joke is in hospitals is, they either get taken out in a… The nurses never see them again, they either get taken out in a bag and or they never want to come back. I used to go back once a month and have dinner with the nurses every night on the night shift to thank them.
President Biden: (15:51)
So anybody in here, well, I’m not sure how many are part of the college, but any of you study nursing keep up.
Speaker 1: (15:57)
There are over here.
President Biden: (15:58)
Well, God loves you. No I really mean it. Never want to disappoint you, because the male nurses are the consequences of the female nurses. Okay. Not a joke. And so, anyway, I just wanted to mention that and I want to thank Congresswoman Kilmer and for the nearby district, the sixth district, I guess, he’s leading the charge in the economy to make sure that we leave no community behind. And we’re also joined today by Larson, and I know. You’re going to [crosstalk 00:16:43]. No, I got it. DelBene, who’s a real champion for working families, and while she couldn’t be here today, Congresswoman Jayapal was doing an incredible job in a state. She’s visiting, she’s been a great partner of mine and worked really close with me. And she’s visiting her family now, and she’ll be back shortly.
President Biden: (17:06)
But folks, we’re all laser focused on lowering the cost for you and your families across the board. And a big way to do that is lower the cost of healthcare, healthcare especially in the area of prescription drugs. The governor in this state has already gotten insulin down to 35 bucks for, I guess, it’s a year you’ve done it so far, is that right? Well, either early this month, president Obama came back to the White House. He’s a good friend, he came back to the white house for the first time and a long time to celebrate the 12th anniversary of the Affordable Care Act. And we talked about how hard it was to get it done in the first place and why we were so determined to get it done. It was through the people who desperately needed and had no alternatives, and deserved to be treated with, as my dad the word he used most, is everyone just is entitled to be treated with dignity, everyone. And there’s loss of your dignity not being able to take care of a child who’s sick, or a wife, or a spouse, or husband.
President Biden: (18:04)
And countless Americans lie in bed at night staring up at the ceiling, wondering what happens, what happens if I get sick? What happens if I get prostate cancer and my wife gets breast cancer, what do we do? How do we take care of the family? Who’s going to pay for it? What’s going to happen? Thousands and thousands of Americans stare at that ceiling. So we did it with the idea that an American healthcare should be a right, not a privilege. And well with the help of the leaders here at a Federalist state level, we began to make some good on the proposition of fighting, and defending, and improving the Affordable Care Act after it got passed. If you can hold for a second here, remember, my colleagues will remember, I was out of office one year as vice president, the end of the term in the 2018 in elections. And remember the other team wanted to do away with Obamacare. They had scores of court cases, scores of votes to try to eliminate it.
President Biden: (19:09)
But what happened was a lot of people didn’t know, Barack is kind of a humble guy. And I used to say to him, after we won that Affordable Care fight, I said, “We have to take a victory lap, let people know what happened.” He said, “We don’t have time. We don’t have time.” Oh, guess what? I went into 58 races that year to campaign where there was an incumbent Republican and a Democrat running. [inaudible 00:19:32] Republicans who wanted to eliminate the Affordable Care Act. And what I pointed out was if in fact that Republican won that year, it took back to Congress, what was going to happen? Anyone with a preexisting condition could not get coverage again, not just an Affordable Care Act, but couldn’t get coverage in your personal insurance you paid for. And all of a sudden people went, “Whoa, we won 44 of those races.” And the one thing knowing that they’re going to eliminate the idea that if you have a preexisting condition, you couldn’t get coverage. Now you can under the Affordable Care Act.
President Biden: (20:11)
Within the first months of my administration, we passed Landmark American Rescue Plan law that not only helped us get COVID 19 under control and our economy back on track, but had millions of people, more people insured, millions of people more insured under the Affordable Care Act. We made it easier for people to sign up for coverage in the middle of the pandemic. We opened a special enrollment period and gave millions of Americans more time to enroll in the Affordable Care Act. We quadrupled the number of navigators out in the communities, just helping folks know how to sign up to get the coverage. And here in Washington state, about 240,000 folks signed up for ACA coverage this last year, an additional 240,000. And we’re continuing to expand Medicare in states. There were a total of 36 states who said we’re going to cover, even though the federal government say we’re going to cover for free in the beginning, and they have to eventually sign on to help pay for it.
President Biden: (21:12)
Well, we added two more states. That’s millions of people who have now Medicaid coverage. Over 31 million Americans now have health insurance through the Affordable Care Act. And that includes nearly 900, 000 people across the state of Washington. Four out of five Americans can and find quality coverage for under $10 a month in the Affordable Care Act. We made it cheaper to purchase the premium plans on the Affordable Care Act. The average family today, since we passed that law in our administration, are saving $2,400 in annual premiums and getting better coverage. That’s $200 savings every month, allowing them to have more money available for other needs in their lives with inflation…
President Biden: (22:03)
… have more money available for other needs in their lives, with inflation, with Putin’s gas tax, with the groceries because of the loss of access to the wheat fields in Russia and in Ukraine. Prescription drugs and other necessities, that $200 can make a difference in a month. The bottom of is this, the Affordable Care Act is stronger now than it’s ever been and we’re strengthening it even further. Earlier this month, I signed an executive order directing the federal agency to continue doing everything they can in their power to expand, to expand the quality of the affordable healthcare coverage. This work builds on what we’ve done to end the surprise charges you often see on medical bills, particularly at hospitals.
President Biden: (22:48)
Any of you have been hospitalized, I hope they haven’t had to, but if you’ve been lately and you found out your coverage doesn’t cover a certain particular doctor, but you then get a surprise bill for a couple thousand bucks because, without your knowledge, they had another doctor looking at what you needed to do. No surprise bills anymore. They can’t do that. They can’t do that. No more surprise medical billing.
President Biden: (23:13)
And separately we’re fixing what was referred to as the family glitch. But that is a common issue facing 5 million Americans who can’t get financial help or get coverage under the Affordable Care Act. Here’s the problem. Under the current rules, a working mom is told that as long as she can afford an employer-based coverage herself, she can’t qualify for premium subsidies in the Affordable Care Act, to afford coverage for the rest of her family. And so we changed that. We propose starting next year working families will get the help they need to afford family coverage under the Affordable Care Act. And as a result, these families will save hundreds of dollars a month. With this change, it’s estimated the 200,000 presently uninsured Americans will gain coverage. Nearly 1 million Americans will see their coverage become more affordable. This is considered one of the best things and biggest things my administration can do, is lower costs and expand coverage.
President Biden: (24:26)
You talked about … I talked about and it was mentioned by several who spoke before me about just a little breathing room. I was raised in a town in Delaware, and it was a nice neighborhood, it was a three-bedroom split-level home when they were developing suburban areas and housing developments, that with four kids, a mom and a dad, and a grandpa living with us. And the walls were thin and you could hear. I remember one day, this true story, one night I could hear my dad was really restless getting up and down. And I asked my mom the next morning before I went to school what was wrong with Dad. She said, “They told him, Honey, that they’re not going to cover insurance anymore at his job.” Health insurance.
President Biden: (25:14)
Well, like I said, it’s about dignity. It’s about worrying about your family. So we need to keep this fight up. And Republicans and I, as you know, I get criticized by the press because I’m not partisan enough. Okay. Well, this is not your father’s Republican Party as I said. They continue to attack the Affordable Care Act and want to eliminate it. They’re unrelenting, multiple court challenges, the sabotage from previous administration, over 70 attempts to repeal the law by Republicans in Congress, 70 times. In fact, just last month, Republican Senator John, excuse me, Ron Johnson of Wisconsin said if the Republicans are back in power, we’re going to take back the House in the Senate, they should repeal the Affordable Care Act again. Twelve years later, Republicans still haven’t stopped their attacks on this lifesaving law.
President Biden: (26:10)
So pay close attention. If they have their way, it means a hundred million Americans with preexisting condition will once again be denied health coverage, not hyperbole, this is fact, will be denied healthcare coverage by their insurance companies. That’s what the law was before Obamacare. In addition, tens of millions of Americans could lose their coverage, including young people who will no longer be able to be covered by their parents’ plans up to age 26. Premiums are going to go through the roof. So there’s a lot at stake. Well, I’ve got a better idea. Instead of destroying the Affordable Care Act, let’s keep building on it. Extend the American Rescue Plan subsidies that we’ve already passed, allowing lower premiums and expanded coverage, close the Medicaid coverage gap that locks nearly 4 million Americans out of coverage just because they’re in states that refuse to expand Medicaid, and let’s do something that will bring down prices, lower the cost of prescription drugs.
President Biden: (27:12)
Let me note parenthetically, the only thing that Medicare cannot negotiate with healthcare providers on are drugs. They can tell you that they’re only going to pay X amount of money for doctor visits, Y amount of money for a particular operation, et cetera. But the only thing they can’t negotiate are prescription drugs, except for one area. We insisted a long time ago that the department that relates to the military, you have a great guy running the Veterans Affairs now, Veterans Affairs can say, “We’re not going to pay you any more than X or Y for this particular drug.” But you can’t do that for anything else. Medicare can’t do that anywhere else.
President Biden: (28:01)
In America, we pay the highest prescription drug cost of any developed nation in the world. That’s a fact. It’s about two and a half to three times higher than paid for the same exact drug, the same manufacturer in other countries. For example, the anti-cancer drug to treat leukemia and lymphoma cost $1,400 a month in the United States. Some of you may know that. The same exact drug, the same exact company, same distribution costs $6,000, not $14,000 in France, the same company, American company, same exact amount. It’s unconscionable.
President Biden: (28:51)
Today, one in four Americans who need prescription drugs struggle to afford them. Nearly 30% of people needing essential drug doses that they’re supposed to take, 30% skip their doses because they want to extend the life of the drug that they need. Many people use over-the-counter drugs instead or cut pills in half because they can’t afford them. There’s others who simply not fill their prescriptions at all. As I said, for God’s sake, this is the United States of America. What are we doing? It’s simply wrong, especially since it doesn’t cost the drug companies nearly as much to make the drug or the research that went into it.
President Biden: (29:35)
There’s a system they have in Germany and other countries, that the drug company can charge … the price is set when they, in fact, try to bring the drug on market. It’s like, in our case, the FDA approve it. And the way it works is they go, “How much did you invest to come up with the drug? How much did you put in?” And they allow healthy profit it of 10, 20, 30, 40%. And say, “That’s what you can sell it for in our country unless you invest more to improve the drug and show you put more into it. Otherwise, you can’t go above the cost of inflation.”
President Biden: (30:16)
Look, the incident we’re talking about, do you know how much it costs to make that vial insulin? $10. T-E-N. $10 to treat diabetes. $10. A condition that affects millions of Americans, including a Congresswoman. But some families have to pay hundreds of dollars a month. Some, even over a thousand dollars. The average cost is $863 a month, or excuse me, $683 a month for a lifesaving insulin. You just heard Allise and Julia talk about trying to afford insulin and treat the type one diabetes. Imagine what it’s like if you don’t have insurance and you don’t have the cash to look at your child knowing what they need and knowing there’s not a damn thing going to do about it. Not only is your child put in jeopardy, you’re deprived of your dignity. How do you look at your child and deal with it? And there’s no excuse. None. We’re not asking drug companies to do anything that they can’t afford. If you think it doesn’t affect you, it does. Everyone has less money in their pocket today because of the high cost of healthcare. Over the past decade, healthcare costs have gone up 50%. And a major reason for that increase is the cost of the drugs in healthcare. Folks, we may not agree on everything. I think it’s safe to say that all of us, whatever our background, our age, where we live, agree that prescription drugs are out outrageously expensive. So here’s what I’m proposing. I met with the 12 largest drug manufacturers when I did the initiative, the president … last president, Obama when I was vice president, allowed me to do to deal with the cost of this. And I met with them and I said … they said … I said what if you find the cure for a particular drug, what should you be able to charge for a major cancer facility? They said whatever the market will bear. I said, no. I said, here’s the deal. Here’s what I think you should do. If you have to spend millions of dollars, you should be able to recoup everything you put into it. But if it’s way beyond the cost of the average American, the federal government should step up and compensate you for it, so that the, in fact, the American-
President Biden: (33:03)
… and compensate you for it so that, in fact, the American people can still have life-saving drugs. So here’s what I’m proposing, with the help of the members of Congress. First, let’s cap the cost of insulin at $35 a month. That still means it costs them $10, three-and-a-half times as much as it costs them. Second, let’s end the days when companies could increase prices with no oversight and no accountability. If drug companies increase their prices faster than the rate of inflation, they should have to face a steep tax. We’re saying… By the way, we wouldn’t let the utility companies do it. Utilities can’t all of a sudden raise their cost of the utilities you’re paying. We’re saying, “Drug companies, you’re finally going to be held accountable when you raise prices for the American people. You should be able to make a significant profit, but not gouge.”
President Biden: (34:05)
Third, let’s cap the amount that seniors on Medicare have to spend for prescription drugs each year. If you’re on Medicare, you won’t have to spend more than $2,000 out-of-pocket, which is a lot of money, and that’s no more than 170 bucks a month, no matter how many prescriptions you’re taking, because the Medicare will take up the rest. Drug companies, insurance companies, Medicare would pick up the rest of the cost. Finally, let’s give Medicare the power to negotiate prescription drug prices, for every other type of healthcare, uses it to leverage lower prices for American seniors. But for prescription drugs, the only prescription drug Medicare is prohibited by law from negotiating to get the best deals for seniors. By the way, it didn’t put the drug company… We’re just saying, Medicare’s not going to buy it. They’re not going to buy it beyond a certain price. It doesn’t mean you can’t continue to manufacture and ask the billion dollars for it, but the federal government’s not going to pay for it. It’s long past time we get rid of these absurd limitations.
President Biden: (35:24)
Let Medicare negotiate fair prices. Reflect the cost of the research, the development, the need for a significant profit, but also affordable for seniors. Let me close with this. I grew up in a family where prices went up for things for daily requirements like the gallon and gasoline. It became a discussion at the kitchen table. It mattered. It was always on the margins. We felt it. That’s why I’m so focused on doing everything I can to lower the cost of gas and energy and accelerate our transition to clean energy. I also know there are other basic needs that affect the standard of living for most families. I was a single dad, as I said, for five years. I couldn’t afford childcare, no way I could, but I had a sister and a brother. We have an expression in my family, for real, not a joke. “If you have to ask, it’s too late.” Think about it. So when my wife and daughter were killed and the boys came home from the hospital, I found out my sister and her husband already moved into my house.
President Biden: (36:31)
I’d purchased an old farmhouse, a colonial farmhouse in Northern Delaware. It had a little barn on it as well. It was only a couple acres. My brother came in and spent money changing the barn, the upstairs of the barn, into an apartment. My brother and sister moved in. I’d drop my kids off every morning when I’d go to the train station with my mom. But look, as I said, I had a good job. How do people make it? But I know childcare is hard. It costs a lot of money. That’s why with your members of Congress led by Patty, who’s an absolute leader on this, I want to cap the cost of childcare for families making under $125,000 to 7% of your income. We can do these things without raising taxes a penny in anyone, as I said, making under 400,000 bucks. The bottom line is this. When I was running for the president, you heard me say a 1,000, you probably got tired of it now, that we’re going to build this economy around you, the American middle class. Because when the middle class does well, the poor have a way up, and the wealthy do very well. They never hurt when the middle class is doing well, and we’re going to deal in people and the place that has been left out and left behind. We’re making progress. Over the course of my presidency so far, 14 months, we’ve created 7.9 million good-paying jobs, more jobs created in 14 months than any presidency in a year ever. The unemployment rate is 3.6%, down from 6.4% when I took office. The fastest decline in unemployment the start of any presidency ever recorded. Washington State, you’ve added 218,000 jobs, an unemployment drop from 6.3 to 4.2%. Last year in 2021, we cut… And all this was going on, we cut the deficit. All my friends talk about how they care about the deficit. We cut it $350 billion last year.
President Biden: (38:56)
This year in 2022, we’re on track to cut the deficit by more than I want… Mark it down because you remind me of this, by $1.3 trillion, 1.3. That stays on course with the largest one-year reduction of a deficit in history. This is particularly important now, as we work to reduce pressure on inflation. From Washington State, to all across America, we’ve gone from on the mend to on the move. We’re coming at our challenges from position of strength. I’m more optimistic. I’m more optimistic about America today than I’ve been in my whole life, my whole career, because I see a future that’s within our grasp. We’re the only nation on earth… Think about this. Now, we’re the only nation on earth that has always come out of every crisis we’ve ever met stronger than we went in it. No other nation in the world can say that. It’s because you, because of the ingenuity and the determination of the American people. We’ve just looked at opportunity and seized it. That’s exactly what we’re doing today.
President Biden: (40:10)
So as my grandfather figured, he used to say, “With the grace of God, the goodwill of the neighbors, and the creek not rising, we’re going to do [inaudible 00:40:18].” It’s going to be hard for a while getting through the cost of gasoline and energy because of Putin and the war, but we’re going to do it. With your help, and I say to all the folks who are students here, I wish you well. We need you badly. The reason I’m so optimistic, think about it, you are the least prejudice, the most involved, the most concerned generation in American history. You really are. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. God bless you all. Appreciate it. Thanks.