5:57 P.M. EST
THE PRESIDENT: Well, Eddie, thank you. I tell you what: You have me as your President. You know, I — I notice Scranton acted first; they have an exit — the Joe Biden Parkway. (Laughs.)
So, I tell you what — and, Ed, I know you’ll believe this, but when I — I’m going to get in trouble with my folks in Delaware — but on Election Night, I wanted to get one election result: how I did in Scranton. And I won every precinct, Eddie. So, my mom is looking down; she’s smiling.
But look, thanks for your friendship more than anything else. And — and, Ken, thank you as well. It’s been wonderful to see so many friends. And I want to thank you all for your incredible support.
You know, because of you guys — and you started it all — I never thought I could even remotely raise enough money to be competitive with the Trump Organization, and we raised an incredible amount of money for me. And it put me in the game.
And Kamala and I were sent here by the American people to deliver, and that’s what we’re trying to do. You know, after — as I said jokingly, when I announced it — after years of “Infrastructure Week,” we finally followed through and just passed a monumental piece of legislation.
It’s going to create millions of jobs — and that’s not just me; that’s coming from Wall Street as well as think tanks — and to grow our economy to make us more competitive and take a giant step forward on dealing with the climate crisis — over half a billion dollars — more than that — in terms of dealing with the climate crisis: electric vehicles, charging stations, a whole range of things.
It’s the most significant investment in passenger rail in the past 50 years, the most significant investment in bridges and roads in our states in the last 70 years, and the most significant investment in public transit ever.
We’re going to modernize our ports, our airports, freight rail, and to make it easy for companies to get their goods to market, reduce supply chain bottlenecks, and lower the cost to working families.
We’re going to replace lead pipes in every — so every American can drink clean water. And that’ll take — going to cost several billion dollars.
And every American is going to have access to high-speed Internet, because a lot of them don’t right now.
We’re going to see new fleets of electric vehicles and school buses, a national network of charging stations, so — so — so you can charge up and drive all the way across the country with your kids and not worry about whether you’re having — not going to be able to charge again.
And there’s so much more. But the bottom line is the legislation is going to change the lives of the American people.
And they expected us to deliver when they elected us, and we did. And now we need to do it again with the Build Back Better Initiative for struggling families with childcare, eldercare. And it’s going to be a life-changer.
There’s 2 million women who can’t get back to work because they have to deal with childcare — or eldercare, for that matter — the sandwich generation getting caught between both. And it’s going to be good for them and their families and for the economy.
There’s universal pre-K — three and four years old, as you mentioned, Ed — it’s going to increase academic achievement. It’s estimated by some of the great universities in the country studying this the last 10 years that it’s going to increase the prospect of a kid coming from a — from a home where they don’t have books or they haven’t heard that many words — they’re going to put them in a position to compete with every other child in America, increasing by 56 percent the chance they’ll get all the way through 12 years of school and go on to beyond high school.
And we’re going to lower the prescription drug costs, cut taxes for working people and middle class — by the way, this bill doesn’t cost a cent. We’re going to — you know, and together with the infrastructure bill, we’re going to make significant investments on the most significant — significant investment ever in dealing with the climate crisis and turn it into an opportunity in a jobs bill.
And all this is paid for by making sure that big corporations start to pay their fair share. There are 52 who — 55 didn’t pay a cent and made $40 billion.
You know, it’s not just them, but you guys both know, you all know I’m a capitalist; I’m not a socialist. But it’s about time everybody just pay a little bit, pay their fair share.
It’s fair, it’s fiscally responsible, and it’s paid for — plus one more thing: It extends the refundable Child Care Tax Credit I put in the American Rescue Plan that passed months ago, which has helped some 60 million children — 60 million children. It helped cut child poverty in America by more than 40 percent this year. It’s one of the things I’m most proud of. And we have — and we’ve had some — some big news in the last few days.
And a COVID vaccine for children ages 5 to 12 has been approved. And it’s going to give millions of American parents peace of mind. And it means we now have the tools to combat COVID-19. We have vaccine, booster shots, and, soon, an antiviral pill that’s going to prevent severe illness or death once you — if someone hadn’t been va- — you guys still got to get vaccinated, but if you hadn’t been vaccinated and you get sick, this is going to keep you from being hospitalized or dying. And that’s critical not only for public health but for our economy as well.
You know, just last week, we reported 500,000 jobs were created last month. And they upped the jobs number created in July and August by 250,000 or thereabouts. The job creation for the previous two months, it was adjusted upwards, and several hundre- — 200-and-some-thousand jobs.
And it means, over the course of my presidency, we will have created 5 million jobs — new jobs — so far. It’s the largest number of jobs any President has ever created up to this point in their presidency.
Now, I know a lot of folks are — don’t feel that progress out there, that we’re making in the economy. I get it. I know the cost of gasoline and groceries and rent seems to be harder and harder to handle that. But that’s all the more reason why we have to pass the Build Back Better plan.
Seventeen Nobel laureates in the economy have — have spontaneously contacted us and told us and put out a national statement that my plan, they said, will ease inflationary pressures, not create them. And for those Americans who are focused on the cost of living, it’s even more important to pass this legislation.
And there’s so much more to do: voting rights, immigration, the courts, building on the Affordable Care Act, protecting women’s right to choose, and so much more.
My message is this: We need to remember what got us to the White House in the first place. We won in 2020 because of you all but also because we had at that time, at the end of the day, a unified party — more unified than ever.
Now, as we look to 2022, we have to stay united. We need to remember that the American people sent us here to deliver, to make their lives better, and when we do, to explain it to them.
I’m going to close with this: Not only Americans — are the American people watching, the world is watching. I met with the vast majority of the world leaders so far — in person mostly, but also on Zoom. I just returned from the G20 and COP26 in Europe.
And the question the world is asking: Is America really back? They see the polarization. They see the attacks of January the 6th. And they’re asking if American democracy can deliver.
My answer is: Not only can we deliver, we have to deliver.
This is truly an inflection point in our nation. Both Putin and Xi Jinping have indicated to me that they don’t think democracies can work in the 21st century because it takes too long to arrive at a consensus; that’s why autocracies are going to win the day.
But, look, we’re meeting some of the most important challenges head on we’ve ever faced. We’re pulling out of a pandemic that has taken 750,000 lives and pulling our economy off its — you know, and we’re pulling our economy back off its back. We’re rebuilding the backbone of this nation, giving working people a fighting chance.
We can — confronting the existential threat of climate change. And we’re defending and protecting the very democracy. And it’s up to us — our country, our planet, our democracy. They’re all in our hands. They’re all in our hands.
If you continue to support me and the Democratic Party, I think we can do this, but it’s not going to be easy. But I’m talking too long. I’m taking too much of your time. I want to hear what you got on your mind.
But I want to thank you, and I really mean it — God bless you all for your help. It really matters.
6:05 P.M. EST