11:43 A.M. EDT
THE PRESIDENT: I’ll be talking a lot about —
Q Mr. President, how —
THE PRESIDENT: Let me say something. We’ll be talking about — a lot about infrastructure today. And it’s kind of interesting that when the Republicans put forward an infrastructure plan, they thought everything from broadband to dealing with other things would (inaudible) paying for infrastructure. Now they’re saying that there’s — only a small portion of what I’m talking about is infrastructure.
The fact of the matter is that when you’re in a situation where you can’t turn on the water fountain in school, and worry you’re going to drink polluted water that affects your health, replacing all those pipes is infrastructure. When I’m talking about making sure that you take that asbestos out of schools, that’s infrastructure. When I’m talking about building high-speed rail, that’s infrastructure. When I’m talking about making sure you’re in a situation where we can redo some of the federal buildings that are just absolutely leaking energy every single day, that’s infrastructure. And it gets to the roads and bridges and highways and broadband.
So I — it’s interesting how their definition of infrastructure has changed. But they know it’s — they know we need it.
Q Are you worried that a higher tax will drive corporations to —
THE PRESIDENT: Not at all.
Q — other countries, though?
THE PRESIDENT: Not at all. Look, the tax —
Q Why not?
THE PRESIDENT: Because there’s no evidence of that. The tax was 36 percent. It’s now down to 21 percent. And the idea that — that’s bizarre. We were talking about a 28 percent tax that everybody thought was just fair enough for everybody. The idea — you have — here you have 51 or 52 corporations of the Fortune 500 haven’t paid a single penny in taxes for three years. Come on, man. Let’s get real.
So I’ll have a lot to talk about.
Q Other than — other than how to pay for the plan, where is the room for negotiation with Republicans? What parts of your plan are you willing to do away with, given the definition of infrastructure here is so different?
THE PRESIDENT: Well, I’m not going to negotiate with you on that. (Laughs.)
Q Well, no, but what would you —
THE PRESIDENT: No, but I mean, why would I say that?
Q What would you tell the American people about where you —
THE PRESIDENT: Well, I’d tell the American people —
Q — you’re willing to compromise?
THE PRESIDENT: — I’m going to push as hard as I can to change the circumstances so we can compete with the rest of the world — compete with the rest of the world. Everybody around the world is investing billions and billions of dollars in infrastructure, and we’re going to do it here.
11:45 A.M. EDT