Via Teleconference

2:40 P.M. EDT

THE VICE PRESIDENT:  Well, hello, everyone.  Hello.  Thank you, Chair Jaime Harrison, for all the incredible work you’ve been doing.  It’s so wonderful to be with you this afternoon.

And to all of our leaders — and this is a call and a gathering of leaders — I want to just first start by saying thank you on behalf of President, me, and our country.  Thank you — because you all have done the hard work of being on the ground, of being tireless, and being fueled by optimism about what we know is possible when we focus on the best of who we can be and the best that we can do for our people.  

You know, there’s so much about the Democratic Party that really is captured in that phrase “For the People.”  We work for the people.  We work knowing that the power is with the people.  And we work knowing that we must then hear the people, organize the people, lift the people up for the benefit of our entire nation.  That’s who we are as Democrats.  

And as Jaime said, you know, since January, because of all your hard work, we’ve made so much progress.  The President and I and you — each one of you — we told folks what we intended to do, and we have the benefit of being able to say we’ve been following through.

You think about what we did with the American Rescue Plan.  We came in during the height of the pandemic.  When we came in, there were 3 million people in our country who were fully vaccinated.  As of today, there are 191 million people who are fully vaccinated.  

We said when we came in we were going to take on that issue, we were going to have a plan, and we were going to implement that plan.  And we have seen great success.  And again, it’s because of all the hard work you did to allow this to happen.  

And I’m going to get to the point in a minute, but I want to raise it now, just briefly.  The work you all did was not just about an election in 2020; it’s about the success of our vaccination efforts, because you all have not stopped talking and organizing and lifting up folks to remind them of their rights and to remind them of what is available to help them.  

Think about what we have done with the American Rescue Plan, in terms of the $1,400 checks — getting it to so many folks who just needed to be able to get through this moment and not fall through the cracks.  

A large part of what we were able to accomplish is because of your advocacy.  And, again, the way we got the relief to folks who need it is because you helped us remind folks of what was available to help them.  

We did the work of lifting up what we believe will be half of America’s children out of poverty because of the Child Tax Credit and our policies — through the American Rescue Plan and then through what we expect to pass with the Build Back Better Agenda that will be about policies that recognize if we focus on the children of our nation, we will indeed see success and strength.  You all have helped make that happen.

And now we have in front of us a historic opportunity in this very moment — in large part, perhaps, born out of crisis that helped people see what was wrong in a very magnified way.  We now have an opportunity with the Bipartisan Infrastructure deal to say, “Hey, get those roads and bridges fixed.”  “Let’s get high-speed Internet to all of those babies — all those kids who had to try and figure out how they were going to do online learning if they didn’t have access or it was not affordable.”  

These kinds of things we are addressing with the Bipartisan Infrastructure deal.  You all are helping to push it to where it is right now, and you’re going to help us push it over the line.

The Build Back Better Agenda — again, it’s about childcare.  It’s about dealing with folks in what we call the “sandwich generation” — so many who are raising young children and also supporting and taking care of elderly relatives.  

This is the work that we are doing right now.  And so, I wanted to thank you for all you did to get us to this point.  But, you know, we’re Democrats, so we thank you and then we say, “But we got a little bit more.”  (Laughs.)  “We got to push a little harder.”  

And so part of what I want to ask everybody is: In the spirit of all that you have done that has been so extraordinary, let’s keep getting the word out to our neighbors; to those perfect strangers we might meet, but in their faces we see a neighbor; let’s continue to get the work out — the word about what we can do as a nation to build back better, to be better, to not be incremental, but to — to really meet this moment, understanding the opportunity that is within our grasp if we see it for what it is, on behalf of the people. 

So, thank you all for what you have done.  You know, we have some big elections coming up on Tuesday.  And, in fact, I was with Governor Murphy in New Jersey recently — you know, the second gentleman is from New Jersey, so I feel a special connection to New Jersey.  But I was there with Phil Murphy — we’ve got to make he’s reelected.  

And then, I’ve been in Virginia, hanging out with Terry McAuliffe.  In fact, I’m going to Norfolk tonight to be with him and Pharrell.  

And — and we got to do what we can to make sure those two governors and Democrats up and down the ballot this Tuesday that they get elected.  Because we really are — together, all of us — carrying such an important responsibility, which is the voice of the people and their right — rightful expectation that they will be seen and they will be heard and they will be treated with opportunity and with dignity.  And that’s what we are about as Democrats. 

So, I thank you all.  And let’s just keep doing what we do.  But again, I know you do it at great personal sacrifice, but with an incredible personal commitment to our country.  And for all that, I thank you.  Take care.

                          END                 2:46 P.M. EDT

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