Princeton, New Jersey
THE VICE PRESIDENT: Good morning, everyone.
AUDIENCE: Good morning.
THE VICE PRESIDENT: I am so happy to be here. And as Deepak said, he and Neera and the family have been supporting me for so many years. And that support is more that I can express. Truly, the support has been, in every way, encouraging. It has been uplifting. It has been so meaningful in terms of the impact. And so, in front of all of the friends, I want to say to you and to your family, thank you so very much for all of that. (Applause.)
And I have to say something about it because, also, just really — just always — just doing so much work that is about also just understanding how we have to bring people in and build on the traditions and the strength of those who have come before us, and to bring along everyone. So, thank you all. Thank you, everyone.
My brother, Cory Booker — I also just have to say, in front of all of the friends, he really has been a brother to me. And I thank you, the people of New Jersey, for sending him to the United States Senate, because he and I worked together very closely when I was in the Senate — before and after as well.
And Cory is one of those very special people who really is a conscience in so many ways — reminding people, especially when they most need reminding, of the importance of doing good, the importance of being true to our ideals and principles. And — and he — he has this beautiful way of being that and also being an extraordinary fighter when there is a need for a fight — a fight for what is good and what is important. And so, I love you, Cory Booker.
SENATOR BOOKER: I love you (inaudible).
THE VICE PRESIDENT: And I’m so happy you’re here. Thank
So, okay, we are 29 days away from the midterms. Twenty-nine days. Twenty-nine long and 29 short days away from the midterms. And in thinking about these next 29 days, I’d ask first that we take the time always to reflect on what the people here did in 2020, because it’s really important to remember the result of that extraordinary work that everyone here did that led to the outcome of the election in 2020.
People stood in lines — it was during the height of a pandemic — encouraging people to get out there; encouraging people, in the midst of a moment where people were literally isolated, to ask them to be engaged and involved, to express their voice when people were feeling quite despondent about it all. And the people here did that. You did that.
And as a result of what you did, yes — and thank you — Joe Biden and I were elected. But most importantly, because of all of that, we achieved some incredible progress for our country. Think about it. Yes. (Applause.)
Because what we did then was we said, “Okay, we want to make sure that we are bringing relief to the American people. We need people who stand for the idea that when others are suffering, we must figure out how to uplift their condition.”
So we passed — right? — the Relief Act, which, among many things — and I will say to the young leaders here, our children — extended the Child Tax Credit, which had the effect of lifting almost half of America’s children out of poverty in the first year. We passed a tax cut for parents and people who parent children to give them up to $8,000 more in their pocket to pay for food, medicine, and school supplies for their children.
Think about what we did in 2020, what you did that resulted in the first meaningful upgrade to America’s infrastructure in generations and will result in — I believe it is $3.1 billion to New Jersey alone to upgrade roads and bridges, public transportation, which is all — all about working people being able to get to work, take their children to school, not drive over potholes, which means replacing tires, which insurance does not cover. Really important details about improving the condition of life for working people.
And then, most recently, the Inflation Reduction Act — because of what you all did in 2020. Think about that. So, on the issue of healthcare, we knew it from the time that many of you were supporting — we’ve — some of us have reflected on 2008. And we remembered — in 2008 — that a big part of that was, “We need to reform America’s healthcare system,” because we are motivated by believing that the — it’s a right to have healthcare and should not just be a privilege of those who can afford it.
And so in 2020, you all did the work, saying, “Let’s continue with that approach.” And the most recent thing we did with the Inflation Reduction Act now will bring the cost of insulin down to a cap of $35 a month.
South Asians are twice as likely to be diagnosed with diabetes. I have members of my own family who have diabetes. The cost of insulin being capped at $35 a month — especially for working people, especially for seniors who often, in our country, can’t afford it — it’s going to be a lifesaving change.
We — as a result of your work in 2020 with that last bill, the Infli- — Inflation Reduction Act, we’re going to put $370 billion into finally making an investment, which is historic, into dealing with the climate crisis, because our children deserve to have leaders at this moment take their future seriously.
All of this is because of what you did in 2020. Think about that — the impact — impact (inaudible) — the impact that will be generational because of the hard work that was put into understanding elections matter. Elections matter.
And so here we are, in 2022, thirty — 29 days from a midterm that, without question, will decide the trajectory of our country for years, if not generations. Because here’s what’s at stake most immediately: We are in a situation where, just about three months ago, the United States Supreme Court, the highest court in our land, just took a constitutional right from the people of America — from the women of America.
And I’ll say and share with this group what I talk about everywhere: The meaning of that is global in its significance. Here’s why we all know that, but I will share with you: As Vice President of the United States, I have now, 20 months in, met with and directly talked, by phone or in person, with 100 world leaders — presidents, prime ministers, chancellors, kings.
And the thing about the role of the United States when we walk into those rooms is we have always been able to walk into those rooms chin up, shoulders back, talking about what it means to invest in the strength of a democracy, imperfect though it may be. But it gives us, then, the credibility in those rooms to talk about the importance of things like rule of law, human rights, civil rights. And with that privilege comes a responsibility that all of us as role models know comes with being a role model, which is that people watch what you do to see if it matches what you say.
So, now consider authoritarian leaders around the globe who can say to the women of their country, “You want to talk about a democracy and the importance of these rights? Look what America just did.” And, therefore, look at the potential impact of this issue, not only in the women of America but women around the world.
So bringing that back to 29 days from now, understand this: The President of the United States — our President, Joe Biden, has been clear he will not let the filibuster stand in the way of signing into law the Women’s Health Protection Act in the United States Senate — (applause) — something the senator of New Jersey, Cory Booker, has been fighting for, because he is one of the greatest feminists in the United States (inaudible) — (laughter) — by the way.
Well, in order to allow the President to put into law the protections that Roe v. Wade provided, we need two more Senate seats. We need to hold on to the Senate, and we need two more Senate seats.
So you guys got, as New — people from New Jersey, some first cousins in the neighborhood that need to be elected. And — and I should say, despite the fact that one of them actually should* be running, I guess, thinks — you know, he’s from New Jersey. (Laughter.) But, you know, if — if the people from New Jersey have anything to say about it, about that New Jerseyan, then — (laughter) — then get involved in your first cousins and — and support what we need to do in the neighborhood around these Senate races.
Twenty-nine days to go. Not to mention, in that issue — on that issue of what the President is prepared to sign, two more senators and he’ll sign into law, again, another law that Cory Booker was a leader on — the John Lewis Voting Rights Act — (applause) — restoring what had been basically taken out by the Supreme Court in 2013, restoring the meaning of the Voting Rights Act to protect the rights of voting people in our country. Two more Senate seats. And then, of course, we need to hold on to the House.
But there is so much at stake right now, not to mention what we still have yet to do: fighting for affordable childcare for working families, doing what we need to do to — to pass an assault weapons ban. So much work — (applause) — that we have left to do, but we need the votes.
And so then, again, 29 days is where we are. And the theme of the moment is: It’s a lot of time, and it’s very little time. And everything we do in these next 29 days matters, and momentum is on our side.
Take a look at what happened in Kansas. It was extraordinary. And that was organic. The people of Kansas basically said, “Uh-uh, not on our watch.” And they organized. The people said, regardless of party affiliation, “We don’t agree with this approach because we believe in the principles upon which our nation was founded, including the principles of freedom.”
Take a look at what happened in Alaska. A Native Alaskan is now going to serve in the United States Congress. (Applause.) Momentum is on our side.
Upstate New York — remember, in that seat, in that race, the pundits were clear. Even the night before, “There’s no way.” Then the Democrat won. Momentum is on our side, and everything is on the line. And we have 29 days.
So I thank you all for so much of what you did in 2020 and every day since. And so, let’s see this through. It is within our grasp to rededicate ourselves to all that we stand for, which is about working folks. It is about the integrity of our nation in terms of our adherence and respect for so many of the principles on which we were founded. It is about our democracy, Deepak. All of that is at stake. And I know we can do it.
So, I thank you all so very much for all you have done and continue to do. Thank you. (Applause.)