Remarks by President Biden at a Democratic National Committee Reception
Las Vegas, Nevada
7:31 P.M. PDT
THE PRESIDENT: Thank you, Jess. Well, thanks. Thank you very much for tonight. I’m only here because of your birthday. (Laughter.) That’s the reason I came.
You know, I want to thank two great friends: Dina Titus, who’s one of — I’ve — we’ve been working together since — (applause) — for well over 25 years. She started when she was five. So it’s a — (laughter) — so thank you, Dina, for everything you’ve done.
And, you know, you have a — I predict a guy you’re going to see being a leading role in Democratic politics nationally, and he’s already off to a good start: Steven Horsford is a great guy. (Applause.) No, you really are.
He won in spite of the fact that I supported him. (Laughter.)
And thank you all for being here. I know that Susie Lee and Catherine Mast- — Cortez Masto, and Jacky Rosen wanted to be here, but they have some votes coming up in the United States Senate. And — and tomorrow is an important vote on one of our ambassadors.
And I’m here for a simple reason: to say “thank you.” And I mean it sincerely. Thank you for all your help.
We made some historic progress in the last two years. We’ve created 12 million new jobs. We st- — remember where we started here. We started with an enormous deficit, an enormous — we were in a hole, and we weren’t — everybody was wondering how in God’s name we’re going to get out of it. But we ended up creating 12 million brand-new jobs, more than any President has created in four years (inaudible). (Applause.)
And it’s because — because of the help. No, I’m not joking. It’s because of your delegation and because of the people — the Democrats stood together.
And, you know, inflation is still a problem, but it’s down 30 percent since the summer. I think we’re going to lick it.
And, you know, everything from NATO and Ukraine has been a real push. It’s cost a lot of money. And it’s also — but it’s the right thing to do. There are — you know, we — I don’t think we have a choice. Never do we have 185,000 people invade another country in Europe since World War Two. And it’s — lots at stake.
And, by the way, during this period of time, we passed a lot of legislation that’s helped an awful lot of states and the community. We’ve created 800,000 new manufacturing jobs. Where in the hell is it written that says that we no longer — we can no longer lead the world in manufacturing? I don’t buy it. I don’t buy it.
And, folks, look, you know, we passed an awful lot of legislation. Now, I was told that we wouldn’t be able to get any bipartisan help. Well, on some of the big things, we didn’t get any help. We had — needed all Democrats to get it done. But we did get bipartisan help on the infrastructure bill.
The infrastructure — well, how in God’s name can you lead the world as the most ec- — the most powerful economic force in the world and have a second-rate infrastructure? Not a joke. How do you do that? We used to be number one in the world; now we rank number eight in the world. And why — what’s that all about?
A lot of you are successful business women and men. Where are you going to build a factory? Where are you going to make your business — unless you have access to rail, ports, airports, et cetera? It’s a big deal. And so we’re going to make a lot of headway.
If we did nothing but just, over the next two years, implement what we’ve done — we’re talking about a bill that’s passed that’s 1 trillion 200 billion dollars. It’s going to transform America in a significant way. No, for — no kidding. It’s a fact.
And so there’s a lot else we’ve done. For example, we passed the Inflation Reduction Act. Well, that had a couple of important provisions in that act, not least of which was we — for the first time, we put the money in to deal with a thing called global warming.
Of course, I was told by our friends there is no global warming. (Laughter.) Well, guess what? We better damn well get it straight or you’re not getting any water to drink out of the Colorado River. Not a joke.
AUDIENCE MEMBER: No joke.
THE PRESIDENT: No, not a joke. This is serious stuff. It’s the single most dire consequence. If we don’t keep it below 1.5 degrees Celsius over the — be — not go above that — we’re going to damn our children to a circumstance that is going to be the only truly existential threat under nu- — other than nuclear war.
I’ve traveled out here, out in the West, with — since I’ve been President, with every governor who’s been in trouble. And I’ve flown in a helicopter over more area that has been burned to the ground than the entire state of Maryland — than the entire state of Maryland.
And they tell me there’s no global warming? Well, I don’t know where everybody has been, but people are waking up to it.
Well, we passed the $368 billion global warming bill, the single most consequential environmental law ever, ever passed. And guess what? Our friends — (applause) —
And, by the way, I should have said this at the outset: This is not your father’s Republican Party. It’s a different deal. And, by the way, there a lot of good Republicans from this state that I worked with over the years and from every other state. But this is not the same deal. These are a different breed of cat, as my mom would say.
And the fact of the matter is that they want to undo even the bipartisan things we got done. They want to undo them now. They want to cut the entire discretionary budget by 20 percent across the board.
They want to — they’re — and the threat I’m being told you’ve — read in the paper, they’re telling me that unless I vote the way they want and I go along with their budget, they’re not going to, in fact, pay our debts. We’re going to, for the first time in American history, renege on the federal debt.
The federal debt is accumulated over 200 years. That’s the debt we’re talking about. And it’s large; it’s $3 trillion — or $300 trillion — $31 trillion, excuse me.
And guess what, though? We’ve never failed to pay it. And the interest is accumulated, and we’ve continued to pay it. If we ever are going to renege on it, we’re going to see an absolute economic crisis not only here, but worldwide.
And it’s one thing if they want to negotiate — but at any rate, I shouldn’t get going on this. (Laughter.)
But, look, one — my dad used to have an expression. He’d — someone would say, “Let me tell you what I value, Joe.” And his name was Joe. “Let me tell you what I value.” And I would — he would turn and say, “Don’t. Show me your budget. Don’t tell me what your value. Show me your budget. I’ll tell you what you value.” I’m serious. Think about it. “I’ll tell you what you value.”
Well, you know, I can tell you what we value as Democrats: that we want to grow the economy, not trickle-down economics. It hadn’t worked very well for middle class folks. I want to build it from the middle out, the bottom up. When that occurs, the wealthy do very well, the poor have a chance, and the middle class make it. And so — what we — where the middle class is doing well now, and we’re beginning to make some real progress.
But, you know, one of the things that — for example, we passed the bill — I’ve been fighting for this for a long time — back in the Harry Reid days, he was fighting for it too. And that is to — the only outfit — we pay the highest drug prices of any advanced nation in the world. The highest in the world. I’m not joking. You can buy whatever drug you need that’s consequential. You can go to Spain, France. You can get — Canada — get it a hell of a lot cheaper.
And so one of the things we wanted to do is we wanted to change that so that we’re — and so we — I introduced the inflection — the inflection — the — excuse me — the Reduction Act that has worked for a while that took on Big Pharma. This time we won.
And, for example, for the first time, Medicare can negotiate drug prices. Negotiate drug prices. (Applause.)
Not only is it going to save billions of dollars in prescription drug bills for people, but it’s going to reduce the federal deficit by $180 billion this year, because that’s $180 billion less that Medicare has to pay out to people on — to people on Medicare.
And so we’re in a situation where — for example, I was in Northern Virginia about this time — no, it was — I guess it was late spring last year. And a woman stood up. I was doing a town meeting. And she said, “I have two daughters who have Type 2 diabetes, and I need insulin. It’s costing me about…” — I think she said at the time — it varies in price — but she said for the two of them it cost about $1,400 a month. She said, “I don’t have any insurance; I can’t do it. I don’t have any private insurance and nothing covers it, so we have to split the — we have to split the insulin.”
Ladies and gentlemen, talk about a parent being deprived of their dignity. Look at your child and know they need a drug that’s available, they can’t afford it, and look them in the eye knowing that they’re — literally, their very life depends on access to it.
Well, we passed the Inflation Reduction Act. We are now negotiating. And guess what? It costs $10 to manufacture the insulin for diabetes. Ten dollars. (Applause.) Counting everything — packaging it, it can cost as much as $13. Well, guess what? You know what the most they can pay for it — they can charge for it now? Thirty-five dollars. (Applause.) We’re making significant progress.
And, you know — and if you notice, you had an awful lot of folks all of a sudden, like Eli Lilly, deciding they’re only going to charge $35. And all the major drug companies are coming along. For example, Novartis has now reduced prices 75 percent. And, by the way, you can buy that insulin in France for about $35, $40.
And so, you know, the American Rescue Plan, not one Republican voted for it. I signed it as soon as I got into office. That provided for — the Affordable Care Act — for a lot of poor folks who are on Medicaid, and they got an $800 break. So they get better medicine now, and it makes a big difference in their physical wellbeing and their lives, and better coverage, better prices. And the budget I’ve proposed this year makes that permanent.
And so, look, you know, these MAGA Republicans, they’ve tried 50 times to repeal that. Fifty — fifty times over the last — since this passed under Obama. Fifty times to repeal the Affordable Care Act.
And along — you know, folks, look, as I said, no one can deny there’s climate change, but they want to get rid of the legislation. They’ve — they’ve announced they want to get rid of the legislation in the House of Representatives.
And, you know — and, by the way, every Republican — MAGA Republican voted against it. When I say “MAGA Republican,” I mean the extreme Republicans who make up about 40 percent of the House Republican Caucus and party.
I’ve had — and I — I’ve committed I would not I say this to Mr. Greenspan. I’m not going to ever tell you the names, but the — there are eight senior Republicans, who are still in the United States Senate, who have come to me over the last 10 months to tell me they agree with me but they’re afraid to vote with me.
If they vote with me, what will happen is they will lose their primary. There’ll be out of office. Not a lot of political courage, but it also is a reflection that they don’t agree with what’s going on.
And so, folks, look, for decades, not only have we led the world economically, we’ve been the best educated nation in the world. We’ve had — great universities in other countries that are even better than our universities during the 20 — the 20th century. But we’re the first nation in the world to say we’re going to provide for 12 years of free education for everybody. It was the formula that moved us in a position to begin to have the strongest economy in the world, beginning in 1906 and ‘07, and working our way through.
Now, does anybody think if we were deciding to catch up, and a lot — everybody has caught up with us, basically, around the world. If we were going to say, “Well, what — what’s the minimum education you think Americans need to compete in the 21st century — the second quarter of 21st century?” Do you think they’d say 12 years is enough?
AUDIENCE: Noo —
THE PRESIDENT: No, I mean, really not. It’s a fact, it’s not. Things have changed.
And so, we all have — massive studies have been done by four of the great universities over the last seven years. If you have a kid going to school at age three, four, and five — not daycare, school — school — it increases the prospect by 56 percent they’ll go all the way through 12 years of school without difficulty and at least be — acquire an apprenticeship or two years at community college.
And what’s — you know, a lot of you are very successful businessmen. I met with — when I was Vice President, and with the Secretary of Commerce, we had — at Barack’s request, we wanted to meet — we met with the Fortune 500 CEOs — met with 320 — 343 of them. And I asked them what do they need most. One at a time. I spent — it was a four-hour meeting. One at a time. And they said, “A better educated workforce.” I said, “I agree.”
But I come from the state of corporate America, Delaware. More corporations are incorporated in the state of Delaware than the entire rest of the nation combined. And I got elected. I’m not anti-corporation, but I got elected seven times senator in that state, which was a red state when I began.
The point being that the DuPont Company used to be the eighth largest corporation in the world. Now it’s much smaller compared — in the world. But when it bought a new enterprise, it educated his workers to how to — from the technical side. No — corporations aren’t doing that anymore. They expect the public to provide that.
Well — and I said, “So, why — if you guys agree you need a better-educated public, why — workforce — why are you arguing against what I’m trying to get done in terms of increasing it?” Many of you are — have — have taught, are teachers, or you have children who are teachers. You know the statistics. Any child who comes from a broken home, or mom or dad is a drug addict, or having real difficulty — by the time they reach kindergarten or first grade, they will have heard 1 million fewer words spoken — spoken — the same word, but, I mean, they don’t sit at the dinner table and have conversations. They don’t have access.
And guess what? It shows that if you put a kid — their brains are developing rapidly at this point — if you put them in a circumstance where they’re exposed, they can do well. They can do well.
So, but what are these guys want to do? They want to cut access to education — the new group. They want to cut Pell Grants for poor — you have to be making less than 60 grand to have a Pell Grant to get to college and a community college. They want to cut it. They want to cut it. They don’t want to do anything about Trump’s tax cut that was $2 trillion. It did not do very much except created a gigantic deficit.
More deficit was created under Donald Trump in four years. It increased the overall national debt by 22 percent. The overall on the 100- — 200-year national debt.
And so, folks, there was a big choice coming up here. A big choice. What are we going to do? I doubt whether any of you believe that this present leadership in the Republican Party is one that reflects basic conservative, Republican values. I — I — and if there is, I haven’t seen it, for real.
And so what this is all about — and I guess, going back to my dad — you know, don’t tell me what you value, show me your budget. Well, they want to cut their discretionary budget by 20 percent across the board. That’s everything. That’s everything.
I mean — and I don’t know if any of you watched the State of the Union, but it was a fascinating exercise. I — I always feel comfortable speaking before the Congress; I’ve done it my whole life. Not a — I’ve only done it three times as President, as a — but here’s what happened. I said, you know, the Republican — the leading Republicans ran on supporting candidates who agreed to cut Social Security and cut Medicare. And the distinguished lady from North Ca- — from Georgia, who’s from the mountains — (laughter) — started yelling, “Liar! Liar! Liar!” And about a half a dozen start yelling, “Liar.” And I said — and then, that group said, “We don’t want to cut.” I said, “All Republicans in this chamber who don’t want to cut Social Security or Medicare…” — fix it, but not cut it — “…raise your hand.” And they all stood in a big group — about all of them. And I said, “You’re not going to cut it?” They said, “No.” I said, “You’re all on camera.” (Laughter.) You’re all on camera. (Applause.)
But, folks, you know, we — we’re — you know, what happened to those manufacturing jobs? Well, we went from
incorporating — bringing in labor and jobs and exporting product, to exporting jobs and bringing in product. Why? Because all of a sudden, beginning about 23 years ago, major corporations in America said, “I can go to Cambodia and get it done cheaper. I can go to — I can go overseas and get it done cheaper with cheap labor.”
Like, for example, they’re still in — in parts of Xinjiang Province in China, they have slave labor. For real. The Uyghurs. They — they get it done a hell of a lot cheaper.
Well, guess what? We changed that dynamic. We said we’re going to import jobs and export product. And why I’ve went around the world — literally around the world, not figuratively — literally around the world and met with a group of the nations about wanting to invest in America.
And we used to — we used to control, for example, that — we invented the computer chip. We invented that little thing that you need for your automobiles, for cell phones. We made it, and we made it work. Well, guess what? We don’t make it anymore. You remember when car prices went up so much in 2021? It’s because they didn’t have access to chips.
So, we put together a CHIPS and Science Act. We used to develop — we used to — we used to invest 2 percent of our GDP — our gross domestic product — in research and development. We now invest 0.7 percent. Well, guess what? I said we got to get more people manufacturing here, and we have to have chip manufacturing. Well, now we have a commitment of $300 billion of investment from — in America and around the world in the United States.
We’re going to own it again, because I refuse to be the end of the supply chain. Most of you had never heard of a supp- –never talked about a supply chain three years ago until, all of a sudden, you found out. “The supply chain? What the hell is that?” It means the basic product we need to build larger products coming from abroad. Well, now it’s coming from the United States.
For example, out in — Intel — out just west of Columbus, Ohio — they’re going to invest a total of — I think the number is $13 billion. No, excuse me, $20 billion in their first effort. And they’re going to need to need — and it’s called — I call it the “field of dreams.” There’s two — there’s a thousand acres out there that’s being developed. They’re going to build two of what they call fabs. They call the factories “fabs.” It’s going to take 7,000 construction people to build these fabs, and they’re going to make union wages to do it.
And in addition to that, there’s 5,000 jobs running the factories making the chips. You know what the average salary in those factories is going to be? A hundred and thirty thousand dollars. And you don’t need a college degree for all of them; you need the training.
So — and there’s $300 billion being invested over the next 10 years: Syracuse; Poughkeepsie, New York. Arizona. All around the world.
And think what’s happened. It’s happened here in parts of Nevada, but it’s happened primarily in the Midwest. People have lost their sense of their self-worth. When you have a factory with — employing 2,000 people in a relatively small town in the Midwest, and all of a sudden it closes and goes overseas, you lose the ri- — so many people you know from the Midwest. How many of you heard them say, “I — my son, daughter got a good education but came to me and said, ‘I can’t say here, Mom. Can’t stay here, Dad. There’s no work. There’s no work.’” We hollowed out the area.
We’re going to rebuild it. We’re going to rebuild it in a massive way, and it’s going to — may be good for business, and the wealthy are going to do very well, making a lot of money; the middle class are going to have a shot; and, most importantly, the people who never had a shot are going to have a way up.
I’m talking too long, and I apologize for doing that. Because I — particularly for some of you standing. My staff is over there going, “Grrr.” (Laughter.)
But, folks, look — we have a real choice in this election — unrelated to me — unrelated to me — between the Democrats and Republicans and what they stand for and what they’re about, in terms of what they want to get done and what they want to do, the — this new Republican Party, the new leadership in the —
And, by the way, you know, I met with the Speaker of the House. He’s not a bad guy; he’s a decent guy. And he sat with me and he — he said, “Well, what are we going to do?” I said, “I’ll tell you what. I’ll su- — submit my — submit my budget in detail on the 9th of March. You submit yours, and I’ll negotiate. We’ll sit down, and we’ll see what we can do.” Because I’m cu- — and my — this present budget I introduced is going to reduce the debt another $3 trillion.
What they’ve introduced so far is going to increase the debt three-point- — increase it $3.7 trillion. So it’s about a little bit of transparency in what we’re doing.
And I haven’t even talked about foreign policy; time won’t permit. But the bottom line is: These guys are talking about not funding so many pieces of our foreign policy. So many pieces.
One of the things I’m proud to say: I’m — and I can say it because other world leaders have said it about me. And I — I’ve been able to hold NATO together. NATO was about to split (inaudible). (Applause.)
A couple of you said you met with the — you heard I was with the Prime Minister of Australia. We just put together a thing called AUKUS, meaning we’re going to allow Australia to have nuclear power. No nuclear weapons, but nuclear-powered submarines. And it’s going to change the entire Indian Ocean and the South China Sea. It’s going to do —
So there’s so much we can do. I am — have never been so — more optimistic about the chances for America to take back the standard we had where the rest of the world looks to us and we look to them, because we are — we are — we are, as Madeleine Albright said, the essential nation.
I’ll conclude with a quick story. I went to the first what they call G7 meetings, the largest democracies in the world. And it was in London — excuse me, it was in England. And it was down on the south side of England, on the water. And we sat down for the first meeting. And I looked and I said, “America is back.” And Macron looked at me and said, “For how long?” “For how long?” And then the Chancellor of Germany looked at me and said, “We trust you. But how long can you get — can we keep what you’re doing?” And I said, “Yes.” And then the Prime — the Chancellor of Germany said, “What would you think, Mr. President, if you went to bed tonight here in Great Britain, you woke up the next morning and found out that a thousand people have stormed the Parliament, broken down the doors of the House of Commons, killed several police officers, threatened the rest of the Parliament to overturn a parliamentary decision or an election?”
Think about it. What would we think if we read that tomorrow, if we read that the same thing happened in Paris or the same thing happened in other capitals of the world?
Well, the world looked and saw that happen here. Our democracy is literally at stake. When I made that speech early on and I said, in 2022, we were going to — we were going to come close to winning, no one ever has kept that many seats in an off-year. Okay? And everybody thought I was nuts.
It’s — because I’d gone around the country. And I made a speech at — in Philadelphia. And I said democracy is at risk and then laid out why. Sixty-two percent of the American people thought it was at risk. Sixty-two percent.
And now you turn on the television today — as I got here on Air Force One, I’m watching — and you got western Oregon deciding they’re going to secede and become part of Idaho. What in the hell is going on? (Laughter.) Idaho is a beautiful state. But, no, I’m serious. There’s actually — they’ve actually moved hard. They’ve passed resolutions in the state to do that.
So, there’s so much at stake, but there’s so much opportunity. We have to remember one thing: We’re the United States of America. There’s nothing — I mean this — nothing beyond our capacity if we do it together. Nothing. Nothing.
Am I — asked me what I wanted to do to change the attitude of the American people, I said, “Cure cancer.” And they looked at me — “Why?” Because Americans began to lose faith that we can do big things. Well, guess what? I got $5 billion, and we’re about to cure some cancers. (Applause.) No, I mean it.
So, anyway — I know. I know. He’s looking — the boss is looking for a microphone. Go ahead. Shut it down, man. (Laughter.) Thank you, thank you, thank you, thank you. Appreciate it. (Applause.)
7:59 P.M. PDT