Viasat Corporate Headquarters
12:20 P.M. PDT
THE PRESIDENT: Taryn, thank you very much for that introduction. And are the bad guys on the other side of the hedge? I mean, what’s the story? (Laughter.)
I see the persons who own this operation or set it up. You guys are allowed to come on this side, you know? Anyway. (Laughs.)
Anyway, thank you all very much. Thanks for that introduction and for your service and the service of your husband. I mean that sincerely.
You know, the — I spent a fair amount of time — I guess I was in about 34, 35 times in Afghanistan and Iraq. And you were at Camp Victory where — my son was at Ca- — his hooch was only about a couple hundred yards from that burn pit. And he came home with Stage 4 — he went as the healthiest guy in his division — not division, his regiment. And came home with Stage 4 glioblastoma.
So, we — we owe — we owe a lot of folks.
You know, a lot of you here are veterans of — of Iraq and Afghanistan. As I said, I visited both warzones as a senator and Vice President a lot. And some Godforsaken areas that you were assigned.
And I watched you. I observed your incredible courage firsthand. Not a joke. That’s why you reinforced my belief that veterans are literally the spine, the very sinew of what America is. Not a joke. One percent of you — 1 percent of you serve and protect the other 99 percent. We all owe you.
You know, I just met a few folks who work with Jill, my wife, the First Lady. She started an outfit called Joining Forces when she was the
First [Second] Lady to make sure that we took care of the military families while the people were deployed.
What people don’t realize is there’s a whole lot of folks who were deployed in those two wars who were, in fact, not career military. National Guard. We had a significant number of National Guard; almost at one point, 50 percent of the fighters were National Guard.
And — and, you know, there are a lot of empty dinner tables at night. At least when you’re on a base, you’re with other people who know what you’re going through. But most people had no idea that the National Guard — a captain or a corporal — was, in fact, deployed.
And she started this outfit, too, in the state of Delaware — my wife — to say — convince people that they should reach out, because, you know, the kid — the only kid in school who — whose dad doesn’t show up is the kid whose dad is deployed, and no one knows it.
And so we started — or she started a process where she got all the schools — and not only in Delaware, but across the country — to begin to say — point out the fact that their mom or dad was deployed. It makes a difference. They’re not looking for it, but it makes a difference just knowing people know. Knowing people know.
To all the veterans here and your families, as I said, we owe you. I’ve said many times before, we have many obligations as a country, but we only have one truly sacred obligation, and it’s a sacred obligation: It’s to prepare those we send to war and care for their families and them when they come home. That’s a sacred — we have a lot of obligations, but that’s a truly sacred obligation that crosses party lines, crosses ideology, and crosses everything.
And, you know, and that’s what today is about.
It’s good to be here in San Diego County with Mayor Gloria and the County Chair Fletcher.
And Congressman Scott Peters is a good friend and a great partner for my administration, espel- — especially helping to reduce the cost of drugs as well as taking care of vets. Scott, your district is lucky to have you.
And I want to thank Congressman Mike Levin. (Applause.) Stand up, Scott. Stand up.
Boy, this guy is the real deal. (Laughs.) He’s the real deal.
And I want to ask Congressman Mike Levin — thank him for welcoming me to his district today. Mike, where are you? There you go. Mike — (applause) — Mike and I have a lot in common. We both married way above our station. (Laughter.)
Mike’s a — Mike’s a hell of a guy, a champion for his constituents, especially veterans who live here. You’re not far from Pendleton — across the street, figuratively speaking.
You know, and that’s why, in my State of the Union Address, I said that — I laid out what I called a Unity Agenda, an agenda that everybody could agree on, on four big things. I laid a lot more, but four big things.
One, dealing with the opioid crisis.
Two, with the mental health crisis as a consequence of — how COVID has inflicted on an awful lot of folks around the country.
Deal with cancer, because we can beat cancer. We’re now going to invest in billions to deal with that.
And supporting our veterans.
And with the help of Mike, we also — he’s also Vice Chair of the House Veterans Affairs Committee. We signed 25 bipartisan bills that improve life for our — care for our veterans and honor the service of those who sacrificed so much.
One of those bills is a bill that renames the VA medical center in San Diego. And it renames it Captain Jennifer Moreno, an Army nurse who died while rendering aid under fire for an injured Army Ranger in Afghanistan.
A lot of you have been to Afghanistan. I’ve been to every part of it. It’s a godforsaken place. It’s a godforsaken place.
When we — my helicopter went down, I was with the — the — the commander as well as a couple snipers and — and a guy named Hagel, who was — later became the Secretary of Defense and a guy named Kerry, the Secretary of — of State.
And he wanted to see — they wanted to see where bin Laden had escaped through the mountains up in the upper Kunar Valley. So the upper Kunar Valley is nothing but rock — straight rocks. There’s no vegetation at all. Some of you have been there.
And well, our helicopter went down in a snowstorm. And we found a place to land that was an old path. And it was lucky that we had such great pilots. And it wasn’t more than 10 feet beyond the width of the blades of the helicopter we were in. And there’s a picture of us standing in front of the helicop- — in back of the helicopter, the — the wash of the helicopter to stay warm. You could hear F-15s fly over for proof of life.
And then we got a photograph later with our group — Delta Force chasing the Taliban 2,000 feet above us. They were carrying 60-pound packs. And I’m thinking to myself, God Almighty, what these guys do.
And then when they couldn’t get down, they said we’re going to have to get down across — just go up about a — the height of the building at a grade about, I guess, I don’t know, 30 percent. And we’re hu- — we’re struggling like hell to get up this shale just to get over top. But all of us, we thought we were in pretty good shape, and I’m thinking to myself, “Those guys are a couple thousand feet above us.”
Anyway, I just think that we have the — I don’t “think,” I know we have the finest military in the history of the world. Not a joke. In the history of the world. (Applause.)
Both my fellows got me — helped me pass a thing called the bipartisan PACT Act, the most significant law in decades to help millions of veterans who were exposed during their military service to toxic substances, like from burn pits the size of football fields — 8, 10 feet deep. Just incredible the place where they incinerated wa- — waste of war: tires, poisonous chemicals, jet fuel, and so much more.
And we found out, just like — after those folks — those firemen after 9/11 fighting that blaze, that toxic smoke caused a lot of deaths, caused a lot of cancer, caused a lot of problems.
So when they came home, many of the fittest and best-trained warriors were not the same. They came home with headaches, numbness, dizziness, cancer.
The PACT Act empowers the Department of Veterans Affairs to determine more quickly if an ill — a veteran’s illness is related to toxic exposure. And for the families of the veterans who died of toxic exposure, it means monthly stipends, life insurance, tuition payments for the kids to get to school. It’s the least we can do for them. It’s the least we can do for them.
And folks — (applause) — and I know some of you are even seeing whether or not you would qualify or whatever you have — anyway, I won’t go into it. But it’s tough stuff, but we have an obligation.
And the way the American Rescue Plan that I signed, with Mike’s help, invested $17 billion in the VA — Veterans Affairs — mental healthcare and suicide prevention. As a lot of the veterans here know, more vets are dying on a daily bas- — monthly basis from suicide than in war. More are dying from
PSD [PTSD] than at war. It was averaging 21 a month.
And guess what? Even though — some of you who are vets know you have a family member call and say, “He’s got to come in. He needs help. He needs help.” And they say, “We can’t do it right away. You have to — can you come in three days?” That ends. That ends. They’ve got to be seen immediately. Because it’s literally a matter of life and death for an awful lot of folks.
Folks, the reason we’re here today is because of another law that I signed with Mike’s help. And it matters for our economy and national security of our veterans. It’s called the CHIPS and Science Act. It’s a groundbreaking law that’s going to build the future here in America. Here in America.
I’m here at Viasat today because when I — when it comes to supporting veterans and winning the economic competition of the 21st century, this is the outfit you want to be with. You’ve been wonderful on both counts. (Applause.) Wonderful on both counts.
It was started in 1986 by three friends — Mark, Steve, and another Mark — in a garage. You all do a hell of a lot in garages out here. (Laughter.) You know what I mean? That’s amazing. I don’t know. Everything starts in a garage. That’s why I wanted to move to San Diego and buy a garage. (Laughter.)
But literally, they started — and now it’s a multi-billion-dollar company with thousands of employees, and over 700 of those employees are veterans.
This company has been really reorganized nationally by — recognized by the Department of Labor as a leading workforce place for veterans.
And, look, they’re building satellites, communications networks, powering everything from high-speed Internet for homes and businesses to in-flight movies on commercial airlines and airplanes, to systems that tracks cargo in real time — trucks, at sea, and ports. And you also equip the plane I fly on, Air Force One — (laughter and applause) — and other Air Force aircraft.
I often say — they say, “What’s the best part of being President?” I say, “The plane doesn’t leave until you get there.” (Laughter.) That’s the best one. But you’re in real trouble if you’re not on time.
What you do here at this company really matters. So much of it depends on semiconductors — those tiny computer chips the size of a fingertip — that power our everyday lives and power more and more of what we need: smartphones, automobiles, washing machines, hospital equipment, you name it.
America invented these chips when we went to the Moon. America invented the computer chip. And then, for — and we led the industry for decades. But then something happened: America stopped investing in America. We stopped investing in America. American companies went overseas for cheaper labor. American manufacturing got hollowed out.
And today — today we’re down to producing 30 percent of the world’s chips — from 30 percent to only 10 percent, despite leading the world in research and design of new chip technology.
But we knew we had to do something to change that. I knew we couldn’t rely on the supply chain, because — whether it was the pandemic or other — or political decisions made in China, Taiwan, and other places that were not going to sell us the chips.
It was having a profound impact on a lot of companies, including this one, and our ability to make the chips.
That’s why we worked so darn hard to write and pass the CHIPS and Science Act to turn things around. And it has had a — you know, and it has, in a big way, turned things around.
We learned — what I did, I contacted a number of the leading companies in the world — in the United States, and said, “Are you more inclined to invest in something you need if the federal government is making a significant investment?” It’s not — it’s not state planning. “Are you inclined to do that?” And to — and to a company, they said, “Yes.”
We learned that companies will follow if the federal government will invest in industries that we know we need and we’re — we’re prepared to help in. That’s the message I got from a large number of CEOs of the Fortune 500 companies.
So, the CHIPS and Science Act invests $52 billion to supercharge our efforts to make semiconductors here in America.
It’s — it’s stimulated an enormous response, unlocking private sector investments across the country more than ever before in such a short time. Hundreds of billions of dollars.
I was just in Syracuse, New York, where I went to law school. And the company called Micron is investing $100 billion to manufacture chips, the biggest investment of its kind ever in America, in American history — $100 billion.
Before that, I was in — down in — a little further down in the middle of New York, in an outfit called IBM. They’re investing in these chips for — for serious — anyway, I won’t go through them all.
But, you know, 10,000 jobs at that facility in Syracuse, including construction. And it generates 50,000 jobs across the community. Because all these people working at this place, they go to places to eat, they get their haircut, they buy cars, they do all the things they need to do.
Intel Corporation. Intel — we decided to invest, and I spent time with the CEO down there outside of Columbus, Ohio, making a $20 billion investment to start a semiconductor facility on a thousand acres, on what I refer to as “a field of dreams” just outside of Columbus. It’s going to create thousands of jobs. Construction jobs to start with.
How many union guys here? Guess what? Everything I do is all union and prevailing wage. (Applause.) Because it generates — it generates a lot of activity as well. You can go down the line: IBM, SK Corporation, and other companies — even foreign companies — are investing tens of billions of dollars making us once again the hub of advanced manufacturing.
And where — where is it written that America can’t be the leading — leading — leading country in the world for manufacturing? What the hell happened to us? But we’ll now.
Just since I’ve been President, we’ve created 700,000 new manufacturing jobs thanks to those two congressmen. Not a joke. (Applause.) The fastest rate — the fastest rate in 40 years.
And here’s the big difference: Instead of us sending — sending jobs overseas because the labor is cheaper, and buying the product at home from there, we’re sending American products overseas, and they’re buying them. That’s why our trade deficit is so en- — we’re making enormous progress. We are once again supplying the world the things they need. That’s why the economy is changing.
The focus on each of these investments is what Mike is really focused on, and training workers, hiring veterans, jobs pays a prevailing wage, union job, good-paying jobs that don’t require a college degree.
Intel says their average pay for their — running their factories — and they’re employing thou- — millio- — thousands of people — the average salary where you don’t need a college degree for is $124,000. $124,000.
And, look, and we saw it during the pandemic. If factories that make these chips shut down, the global economy comes to a halt, driving up the cost for everyone and families. As a matter of fact, one third of the core inflation due to last year — in the last year — one third of it was because of the price of automobiles. Why? They couldn’t get computer chips. They had to shut down their lines. Fewer cars being made. Prices went up because they’re in short supply, because of computer chips. That was the reason. Well, that’s all changed now.
I know I’m — it’s like — standing here this great corporation is like speaking — preaching to the choir. Folks here know this more than anybody else: We need these chips to build most everything that it makes right here.
Instead of relying on chips made overseas — it could be delayed because of a pandemic or some global disruption — now they’re going to be able to have those chips available on the spot. It’s a game changer.
But thanks to this law, this company hopes to significantly grow its global business and hire more workers in the next five years.
And here’s another thing: This is also a national security issue. A national security issue.
Earlier this year, I went down to a Lockheed factory in Alabama, where they make Javelin missiles. Guess what? We were having trouble — we were having trouble supplying the Javelin missiles to Ukraine because they didn’t have the chips. They didn’t have the computer chips. To help defend themselves against Putin’s brutal and unprovoked war, we were sending these guys these Javelins.
We need semiconductors not only for those Javelins, but also for other weapons systems that exist today as well as in the future.
One of the reasons why Russia is having a hard time — I’m not going to go into it; it’ll take too much time — having a hard time supplying their military is we’ve been not ineffective in making sure they have difficulty getting what they need to build theirs.
The United States has to lead the world in the production of these advanced chips. This law is exactly that. And the law is about science as well.
You know, decades ago, in the United States of America, we used to invest in ourselves. America invested 2 percent of its GDP — 2 percent of its GDP in pure research and science.
Well, over the years, we’ve walked away from that. We invest less than 0.7 percent of our GDP in sci- — in research and development. Those 2 percent was pure investment in research and development.
We used to rank number one in the world in research and development. Now we rank number nine. Number nine when I came to office.
And China, a decade ago, was number eight. Now they’re number two in the world. Number two in the world.
Does anybody here think that the future doesn’t rest in major breakthroughs in technology and science?
And other countries are closing in fast. Well, the CHIPS and Science Act sets us on a path to move up again to boost research and development, and funding back up closer to 1 percent quickly — the fastest rate in any single year in 70 years.
But there’s another law that we got that really matters, because of these — both these guys helped me get done.
We finally decided we’re going to move up from being ranked number 13 in the world in infrastructure — the United States, 13 in the world — to back to number one.
Ask any business leader — and there are many of you in this audience — what’s the one most important factor in considering where you’re going to decide to invest and locate your factory? Well, it’s whether you have a means to transport products around the world quickly, safely, and well. It’s whether the employees have safe and thriving living — places to live.
With Mike’s help, I signed into law the Bipartisan Infrastructure Bill, the most significant investment in our nation’s infrastructure since Eisenhower’s Interstate Highway System, literally. It’s a lot of money. (Applause.) A trillion 200 billion dollars is a lot of money.
I also want to thank Scott. He was a prime mover as well.
For example, I know a thing or two about rail corridors. I know about the Northeast Corridor. I have a fi- — I have — the joke is — and in the Senate — when I was in the Senate, they’d call me “Mr. Amtrak.” I commuted 250 miles a day for — -58 miles a day for 36 years because my wife and daughter were killed when I first got elected, and I started going home because I had the family to help take care of my kids, and never stopped.
So I know a lot about corridors. I know a lot about their impact on things — and the Northeast Corridor.
Because of the billions for rail in this new law, because of Mike and Scott’s leadership, we’re going to make sure the second busiest rail corridor in America, connecting San Diego and Los Angeles, is going to be open and running for a long time and quicker. (Applause.)
We have the money to get it done. We have the knowledge to get it done.
Look, folks, I came here because it’s an example of the bri- — one of the bright spots we’re seeing across the country, where America is reasserting itself. As simple as that.
Ten million new jobs in 20 months. This morning I learned that we added another 261,000 jobs this month. (Applause.)
There were — and, by the way, the New York Times media reports is called — they call the report the “Goldilocks” report. I have a — I have my shotgun waiting for the wolf. (Laughter.)
Look, unemployment now three — it went up two tenths of percent. It’s at 3.7 percent, among the lowest in 50 years.
Unemployment among veterans is at historically low.
Putin’s invasion of Ukraine sent gas prices soaring around the world. Because of actions we’ve taken dealing with the Petroleum Reserve and other things, prices are coming down here at home. They’re now down $1.22 since their peak this summer.
Folks, our economy continues to grow and add jobs, even as gas prices continue to come down. But we got a lot more to do.
But we also know folks are still struggling with inflation. It’s our number-one priority. That’s why, with Mike’s help and Scott’s help, I signed the Inflation Reduction Act — (applause) — to bring down the cost of everyday things that we talk about around the kitchen table.
My dad used to say, “Everybody needs a little — just little breathing room.” I come from a family like many of you do, a mi- — a good family, a middle-class family. We weren’t poor. My dad — we lived in a three-bedroom, split-level home in a development with four kids and a grandpop and thin walls for my grandparents and my parents. But all kidding aside — (laughter) — everything — everything that happened, you know, was at the kitchen table.
When the price of gas went up, we talked about it. It was a problem. It was a decision.
But it’s all — what are the bills people have to pay every month — a lot of people? Well, guess what? Every month, a lot of people have prescription bills they have to pay on a regular basis. Every month, they have healthcare premiums, energy costs — the cost of heating their homes. And how much — how much of that is critical to working- and middle-class families? What can you do about it?
Well, I’m working like hell to deal with the energy prices. I’m going to have a little, as they say, come-to-the-Lord talk with the oil companies pretty soon.
But here’s the deal. Take prescription drugs: We pay the highest price for prescription drugs of anywhere in the world — the same exact drug made by the same exact company. That drug sold in San Diego and that drug sold in Paris, it’s considerably cheaper buying it in Paris. Same company, same drug, same everything.
We decided — I’ve been trying to do it for a long time when I was a senator and Vice President — to take on Big Pharma. Been trying to do for a long time. But this time, we beat them. (Applause.) The law gives Medicare the power now to negotiate lower prescription drug costs, just like it’s given VA. The only outfit that couldn’t negotiate prices was Medicare.
VA medi- — does that. VA negotiates what they’ll pay for a certain drug.
We’re also capping seniors’ out-of-pocket costs for prescription drugs, beginning January 1st, at a maximum of $2,000 a year. Even if they’re paying $10-, $12,000 for a cancer drug, they will not have to pay more than $2,000 a year, period, for their drugs. It’s a lifechanging event for many seniors. (Applause.)
And, by the way, the other thing is: If Big Pharma continues to raise the price of their products above the cost of inflation without making a significant change in their product, guess what? They’re now going to write a check to Medicare to cover the difference between what they charge and the price of inflation.
Folks, you know — and, by the way, last year, they raised the price of 1,200 everyday drugs you all take — 1,200 particular drugs — faster than any — faster than the rate of inflation, and faster than any time in history. Beginning in January, that stops.
We’re capping the cost of insulin. Many of you know people who are dealing with insulin for diabetes. They pay somewhere between $400 and $700 a month. You know how much it costs to make it? The guy — I spoke to the guy who invented it — the insulin. He said he didn’t patent it because he wanted it available for everybody. It costs $10. T-E-N. Ten. Counting packaging, 15 bucks. So guess what? We capped the price at $35 instead of $400, because people are going to be able to take those drugs. (Applause.)
And I’ll bet you know somebody — I was in Virginia doing a townhall. A woman stood up and she started — almost started to cry. She said, “I have two children. Both have Type 1 diabetes. We have to split the insulin. I can’t afford it. I can’t afford the insulin.” We’re capping the cost of insulin, as I said, for seniors on Medicare at 35 bucks a month to deal with their diabetes instead of that $400 like so many of them are now paying.
In addition, we’re making the biggest investment ever to deal with the climate crisis. I know you all know there’s no climate problem. (Laughter.) I know you know that. That’s why I spent a lot of time in Arizona, New Mexico, and California, all through — flew up and down this state with your governor and those wildfires. I know they just happen.
Come on. We finally got to the point where no one is denying that we have a climate problem.
But I was able to get not all I needed but $369 billion put in that bill. (Applause.)
And we had — I think the guys who were with me — the congressmen were with me when I had — I invited the CEOs of the auto companies to the White House lawn, in the back — you know, behind the White House.
And I talked about automobiles, and they talked about electric vehicles.
At the time,
Amy Barrett [Mary Barra] was — Barra — Chairman Barra of General Motors was suing the state of California because you had a higher standard for emissions than the rest of the country, and they said they couldn’t do that. Well, she left that meeting and she dropped the suit. Called me up and said they’re going to go all electric by 3035 . Every other company has signed up to do the same thing.
So we’re working with the auto industry to transition to an electric vehicle future, providing tax credits to buy electric vehicles, as well as — any IBEW guys here? Well, guess what? You guys are going to install 50- — excuse me, 500,000 charging stations around the country. So it’s going to be — that’s like 500,000 gas stations. Not a joke. Five hundred thousand. Because people are going to say, “I’m not buying a vehicle because it can only take me X number of miles.”
And, by the way, we’re investing billions of dollars and many of you are investing billions of dollars in battery technology. We’re now changing the nature of the life of a battery.
Folks, it’s also now cheaper to generate electricity from wind and solar than it is from coal and oil. Literally cheaper. Not a joke.
I was just — and so we can accommodate that transition. I was in Massachusetts about a month ago on the site of the largest old coal plant in America. Guess what? It cost them too much money. They can’t count. No one is building new coal plants because they can’t rely on it, even if they have all the coal guaranteed for the rest of their existence of the plant. So it’s going to become a wind generation.
And all they’re doing is — it’s going to save them a hell of a lot of money, and they’re using the same transmission line that transmitted the coal-fired electric on. We’re going to be shutting these plants down all across America and having wind and solar.
We’re also providing tax credits to help families buy energy-efficient appliances, whether it’s your refrigerator or your coffee maker. We’re going to put solar panels on your homes, weatherize your home — things that will save an average, the experts say, a minimum of $500 a year for the average family.
Look, we’re doing all of this while we reduce the federal deficit. I hear it from my friends on the other team that those “big spendin’ Democrats.” Well, I inherited a gigantic deficit.
This year alone, under our leadership, with the help of my colleagues in the Congress, guess what? We cut the federal deficit — cut the federal deficit this one year by 1 trillion 400 billion dollars — more than any time in American history. Any time. (Applause.)
We cut the federal deficit in half — in half — while doing all this.
And last year, we cut it by $350 billion.
And we’re going to cut — reduce it further over the next decade by another $250 billion. Because, I hate to say this, but if you’re one of those corporations paying zero tax, that’s over, man. You’re paying 15 percent now.
And look, a big part of that is because we’re making sure the biggest corporations — and, by the way, I’m — I’m a pro-corporate guy. I come from the corporate capital of the world. For all I know, you all are incorporated in Delaware. I don’t know. Are you? (Laughter.)
More corporations are incorporated in Delaware than every other state in the union combined. And I got elected seven times, so I’m not anti-corporation, but I am “everybody pay their fair share.” (Applause.)
Look, the biggest corporations are going to have to pay a minimum 15 percent.
Look, the bottom line is we’ve made a lot of progress over the last 20 months to build the economy from the bottom up and the middle out instead of the trickle-down economics that failed us the last 40 years.
And I — we just have to keep going, in my view — to bring down inflation while we keep the market strong; to help investing in ourselves.
As President, I will not accept the argument that says that our problem is that too many Americans are finding good jobs. My father will come down from Heaven to strangle me. (Laughter.) Or that too many working people finally have dignity in their working place. Or that our largest, most profitable corporations shouldn’t have to pay their fair share in taxes.
I’m going to continue to work for an economy built from the bottom up and the middle out.
Let me close with this. I know it’s been a rough four or five years for an awful lot of people in the country. So many small businesses went out of business. So much has happened. And many folks are still struggling.
But like I said, there are bright spots where America is reasserting itself. Look around at all of you and our nation’s veterans. I’ve never been more optimistic about our future. The young people in this country, from 18 to 30, they’re the best educated, least prejudiced, the most engaged generation in the history of America.
Look, our best days are ahead of us. They’re not behind us. We just have to remember who in the hell we are. We’re the United States of America. (Applause.) There’s nothing — I mean it — there’s nothing beyond our capacity — nothing beyond our capacity if we work together.
We’re the only nation in the world that’s come out of every crisis stronger than when we went in. And we’re going to do it again.
So, God bless you all. And may God protect our troops. Thank you, thank you, thank you. (Applause.)
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