Remarks by Vice President Harris in Press Gaggle
2:02 P.M. EDT
THE VICE PRESIDENT: Thank you, Governor Whitmer. I — we really have a — a champion in Governor Whitmer, in terms of making real the promise of all that we have achieved so far when I think about it in the context of the work that we have done through the Bipartisan Infrastructure Act, the work that we are doing because of the CHIPS and Science Act, and, as the governor mentioned, also the Inflation Reduction Act.
This work, which will culminate in over $10 billion coming to the state of Michigan, will only be real, it will only hit the streets and — and directly uplift and impact the people when we have partners like Governor Whitmer who are so committed to the people of Michigan and to seeing it through, to working through the details of what is necessary to promote and support the kind of work like what is happening here.
And so, Governor, I want to thank you on behalf of the President and myself because, truly, we intend these — these initiatives to help the people of Michigan, but it because of your leadership that it actually will.
When I think about what’s happening here, I’m very excited. And I want to thank you all for the work you are doing, because this truly is a model. It’s a partnership between union work and — and apprenticeship training. It is a partnership that is about understanding the extraordinary potential of an investment in technology and innovation. And in particular, it is a perfect model of the success we will achieve as an entire nation when we invest in the God-given capacity of the American people to develop their skills, to meet the challenges of the moment.
And I’m so inspired by the stories of the folks that we’ve talked with this afternoon who have been a part of this initiative to build skills that require training and an appreciation and grasp of — of math and science and engineering, people who are engaged in the jobs of the 21st century and doing this work in a way that will benefit all of us.
When we think about the CHIPS and Science Act, part of the impetus for that was what all Americans experienced during the height of the pandemic, which is what we call the supply chain issues, but essentially what that meant was that we were relying, as the American people, on products that were manufactured outside of the United States. And when the transportation of those products, the manufacturing of those products slowed down, the consumers, the families, the people of our country — Americans — experienced an incredible amount of pain.
And so, what we are doing as an administration and what is happening here on the ground is saying, “Hey, let’s invest in American manufacturing. Let’s reinvest in what Michigan is a model of, which is home-based, homegrown manufacturing in a way that is not only about the creation of very important jobs that benefit families but benefit the entire economy.”
And so I want to thank everyone here. Under the governor’s leadership, Michigan has created 25,000 new automotive jobs already. Under the governor’s leadership, Michigan has provided 170,000 people with training to develop the kinds of skills that are being developed right here.
And so the work that we have done through the CHIPS and Science Act has been an investment nationally of $53 billion — and, again, with a purpose of creating jobs, such as in semiconductor manufacturing. It is about lowering the cost for consumers, because, remember, those semiconductors are part of the internal mechanisms that make cars run, that help appliances do their work, and even when we think about cellphones. So much of the technology that we use every day requires semiconductors to actually help make those work.
And, ultimately, the CHIPS and Science Act is about making manufacturing in the United States more competitive and stronger.
So, with all of that, I will say that Michigan is a very special place, Governor. Michigan has always been a model for our country of what — what we do when we recognize the value and importance of workers, when we understand how workers have built our economy, our middle class, and that we must continue to invest in them if we want to invest in the strength of our nation.
So, with that, I thank all of you who are here for this important work.
And I do believe that, as we think about an investment in the future, it is about investing in the talent and the young people of our nation. And I do believe we have a student reporter here, Dakota — is that you? What do you got?
Q (Inaudible), I was wondering what message you have for young people to (inaudible)?
THE VICE PRESIDENT: Oh, your vote is so important. When I think about our young leaders and young voters, you have so much at stake in these elections.
I think about the climate crisis that we are experiencing — extreme weather around the country as a result of this crisis, what we need to do to build up our nation’s resilience, which is going to be about, again, an investment in American jobs, being trained for so many of them by union apprentice programs.
And our young leaders, young Americans have everything at stake on that issue, both in terms of what is happening that is damaging this Earth upon which we live, but also so much at stake in terms of taking on the jobs that are about what we can do to invest in manufacturing and the jobs of the 21st century.
I think about it in the context of — of what you have at stake when we did the work that we did to say that we were going to deal with student loan debt. And our administration heard young voters in 2020 who said that they are burdened by debt — student loan debt — to the point that they’re delaying starting families, buying a home, even paying rent, because of the weight of that debt.
And as a result of what young voters demanded in the last election, we were able to say that we’re going to relieve student loan debt of up to $20,000, which is going to have a huge impact.
I think about where young leaders have been and what you have at stake in terms of spurring what we were able to do that was the first time in decades to get bipartisan legislation around smart gun safety laws.
You know, we see every day the stories about what this means for the young people of America and the fear that they experience, whether they’re in the classroom or — or walking through their neighborhood, and what we need to do to address that.
Young voters have so much at stake and such a powerful voice. And so I encourage that, as you use that voice in so many ways, you use it through your vote.
Thank you. (Applause.)
END 2:08 P.M. EDT