1:02 P.M. CDT
THE PRESIDENT: Hello, Milwaukee! Please have a seat if you have one. (Applause.)
Please have a seat if you — if you have one. (Laughs.) I said that once earlier in my presidency, and there were no chairs. I couldn’t see anyth- — the press wrote, “Biden doesn’t even know whether people can stand or sit.” (Laughter.)
Anyway, it’s great to be here.
Thank you, Valentino, for that introduction. And — and what you said about the union — you know, I’ve said it many times: The middle class built America, but unions built the middle class. And that’s a fact. (Applause.)
Governor Evers, Mayor Johnson, County Executive Crowley, thank you all for your warm welcome.
And, Tammy Baldwin, you’re the best, kid. You’re the absolute best. (Laughter.) If I had another 10 of you, we could rule the world. You’d really — thank you for all you do, Tammy. Appreciate it very much. And, you know, no one does a — no one does more to create good jobs in this state and make sure tomorrow’s products are made in America.
Now a very quiet, laidback congresswoman — (laughter) — who, thank God, is on my side — (laughter) — thank God — Gwen Moore. She never stopped fighting for the people of Wisconsin. (Applause.) I love you, Gwen. You’re the best.
And you got two — you got a mayor and a county executive. I used to work for the county. I was — used to be a county councilman when I was 26 years old. And I tell you what, I ran for the Senate because it’s too damn hard being on the county council. (Laughter.) Everybody comes up to you and goes, “Yeah, county — county council. Yeah. Um, uh…” “You wonder what we do, huh?” Well, the truth of the matter is: They do a hell of a lot. And your mayor is doing a hell of a job as well. (Applause.)
Look, folks, I apologize, because I try very hard to keep my speeches between 15 and 18 minutes, but I got to talk a little bit about Hawaii.
I’ve often been on the phone with the governor — coming up here — and the senators. And — and let me say — address that devasting wildfires, some of which are still burning, in Hawaii.
They’ve claimed the lives of 99 people so far, and they haven’t cleaned things up yet. The deadliest wildfire in more than 100 years. A whole city destroyed. Generations of Native Hawaiian history turned into ruin.
I’ve spoken with Governor Josh Green multiple times and reassured him the state will have everything it needs from the federal government.
I immediately approved the governor’s request for an expedited major disaster declaration. That’s a fancy word of saying, “Whatever you need, you’re going to get.” And that will get aid into the hands of people who desperately need it — who have lost their loved ones; who have lost their homes, their livelihoods; who have been damaged and destroyed.
And think about this: All that area they got to plow up, they can’t do it now because they don’t know how many bodies are there. They don’t know what’s left.
Imagine being a mom or dad, wondering where your child is. Imagine being a husband or wife or mother or father. It’s really tough stuff.
Almost 500 federal personnel have been deployed to Maui to help communities and survivors get back on their feet.
FEMA search and rescue teams are sifting through the ashes in that five-mile area that you’ve seen on television that’s been burned. It’s painstaking work. It takes time. It’s nerve racking. Most of the debris can’t be removed until it’s done.
My wife, Jill, and I are going to travel to Hawaii as soon as we can. That’s what I’ve been talking with the governor about. I don’t want to get in the way — I’ve been to too many disaster areas — but I want to go and make sure we got everything they need. I want to be sure we don’t disrupt the ongoing recovery efforts.
Griswell [Criswell] — who’s the best we ever had, I think — was on the ground this weekend. I just talked to her. She’s back in the States. I have directed her to streamline the process as quickly as possible to help register survivors for immediate federal assistance without delay.
To date, FEMA has
approved [provided] five tho- — 50,000 meals; seventy-five liters — thousand liters of water; 500 [5,000] beds; 10,000 blankets; and — as well as other shelter supplies for survivors displaced in — from their homes.
FEMA also authorized one-time payments of $700 per household to folks who have been displaced so they can do the immediate things of just taking care of medications and prescriptions that they so badly need.
We’re working with the state to make sure survivors that have lost their homes have a place to call home until we can rebuild.
We’re also surging federal personnel to the state to help the brave firefighters and first responders, many of whom lost their own homes, their properties while they’re out busting their neck to save other people. How many have so — been so impacted themselves? But they’re still working around the clock to put the fires out, evacuate survivors to safety, and find the missing.
I have ordered all available federal assets on the island to assist local crews, including the U.S. Coast Guard, the Navy Third Fleet, and the U.S. Army.
In the immediate aftermath, the Coast Guard and Navy supported maritime searches and rescue operations. The Army helicopters helped fire suppression and efforts on the Big Island — because there’s still some burning on the Big Island, not the one that is — not the one where you — you see on television all the time. FEMA has deployed more than 140 Urban Search and Rescue personnel as well.
And there are so many organizations to thank, like the American Red Cross, helping survivors missing loved ones. Cellphone providers are making sure first responders can make and respond to emergency calls. Commercial airlines that have evacuated tens of thousands of people from the island.
The list goes on.
And the Small Business Administration has dozens of staff on the island and has begun making low-interest federal disaster loans available to Hawaii — Hawaii businesses, homeowners and renters, and non-profits to help them begin to rebuild — just to get by for the immediate near term.
And we’re going to coordinate and continue to coordinate relentlessly with the people on the ground to make sure the critical work continues.
In the meantime — you always hear this phrase; and I’ve been to so many disasters in my career, it’s almost hollow — our prayers — our thoughts and prayers are with the people of Hawaii. But not just our prayers. Every asset — every asset they need will be there for them. And we be — we’ll be there in Maui as long as it takes. As long as it takes. And I meant that sincerely.
We’re going to have more to report on this.
But today, I come to Milwaukee to talk about what we’re doing to bring manufacturing back home. It’s about our progress building an economy from the middle out and the bottom up, not the top down. You know, when we — it’s that trickle-down economics. Not a hell of a lot landed on my dad’s kitchen table. But when the middle works and the bottom has a shot up, the wealthy do very well.
I’m a capitalist. If you can make a billion dollars, go make it. I mean it. Just pay a little more taxes than you’re paying right not. Eight percent doesn’t quite get it. (Applause.)
But, look, I came to office determined to move away from the trickle-down economics and to focus on the middle class. Because I said when the middle class does well, everybody does well — everybody does well.
The Financial Times and the Wall Street Journal started calling my plan — not initially as a compliment — “Bidenomics.”
But guess what, folks? They’re talking about it differently now. It’s working. It’s working — (applause) —
I’m serious — because we’re investing in America.
According to Morgan Stanley and Goldman Sachs, my plan is leading to a boom — they called it a boom — in manufacturing and manufacturing investment, as you’ve seen right here in this factory: over 13.4 million new jobs, 150,000 new jobs in the state of Wisconsin. (Applause.) Nearly 800,000 new manufacturing jobs nationwide. More than 20,000 manufacturing jobs in Wisconsin, from Green Bay to Verona to Pleasant Prairie. (Applause.)
We’ve added more jobs in two years than any president has in American history in a four-year term. More in two than any has done in four. (Applause.)
And unemployment has been below 4 percent for the longest stretch in over 50 years — 50 years.
Wisconsin’s unemployment rate is just 2.5 percent. That’s lower than it was every single month the prior administration. (Applause.)
We’ve recovered all the jobs lost during the pandemic, and we’ve added millions more. People are coming off the sidelines and getting back into the workplace.
Remember, a while there, they were saying, “Well, Biden is just allowing people not to work and get paid.” Guess what? A higher percentage of American workers are working today than ever before. (Applause.)
And while unemployment is down, in case you haven’t noticed, inflation is down, too, and it’s going lower. (Applause.)
Rememeber — remember what the experts said? To get inflation under control, you needed lower wages and higher unemployment. Not a joke. Those of you who are economists know that’s the economic mantra: To get inflation under control, fewer jobs, more unemployment. That’s number one. And making sure that you don’t have to deal with — that’s what they say caused the inflation.
But I never thought the problem was too many people working or working people making too much money. And one reason we’ve seen inflation fall by two thirds without losing jobs is that we’re seeing corporate profits come back to — down to earth.
You know, we’ve done more — we’ve done — we have more to do with inflation, though. It’s just about 3 percent now, and it’s predicted to go lower than that. We’re near the lowest point in over 2 years.
And at the same time, the pay for low-wage workers has grown at the fastest rate in two decades. Wages are growing faster than inflation.
Folks, that’s Bidenomics. It’s about growing an economy by strengthening the middle class — (applause) — and making things in America again.
You know, it’s in stark contrast to the conservative Republican view — the so-called MAGA view — which is focused on corporate profits. They say we should find that — the rationale up to now has been: Let’s find the cheapest place in the world to make our product. Let’s shut down the corpo- — the — the operation in America and send it overseas, and then send the refined product back to America and sell it here.
That’s their philosophy. But you know who believes that? Your significant senator, Ron Johnson.
He believes outsourcing manufacturing jobs is a great thing. He’s on record as saying he doesn’t agree with American work- — this is what he said: American workers should manufacture — he doesn’t think they should manufacture products that require a lot of labor. Here’s what he said, quote, “Let the billions of people around the world do that.” End of quote.
You wonder why the hell we got ourselves in trouble. (Laughter.)
Well, we’ve been letting them do that for too damn long. It’s time to build American products in America. (Applause.)
You can see how Ron Johnson’s rationale and the MAGA rationale worked out. Between the year 2000 and January 2021, Wisconsin alone lost more than 136,000 manufacturing jobs alone.
I’d like to see Senator Johnson talk about those — to talk to those 136,000 people and tell them it doesn’t matter whether you manufacture things at home or overseas.
It sure as hell does, man. (Applause.) Not only for those 136,000 people who lost their jobs, but for their families and the communities and the economic growth it generated here at home.
Let’s take a look at how the Johnson philosophy played out — the real time in Wisconsin, like in Kenosha, about 40 miles from here. There used to be a lot of people assembling automobiles there, making a
direct [decent] living for their families, generating economic growth for Kenosha, until the American Motors plant closed in ‘88.
Or take a look at Milwaukee, known as the manufacturing powerhouse for so long. That’s — when I got to the Senate, I — I’ve been around about 200 years. (Laughter.) When I got to the Senate in 1973, Milwaukee was a manufacturing powerhouse. That’s how it was referred to. Not a joke. Not a joke.
I don’t have to tell anyone in this audience how hard people here work and all of you — all you — all you’ve done to keep this city strong.
Still, by early 2000, Milwaukee had lost around two out of three factory jobs. Eighty thousand jobs were gone. Eighty thousand. And when those jobs were lost, something else was lost as well: pride, a sense of dignity.
My dad — and I swear to God this was the expression — used to have an expression. My dad was a high school-educated guy, was well-read, and worked like hell. He didn’t have a chance to go to college. He used to say, “Joey…” — and this is the God’s truth — “Joey, a job is about a lot more than a paycheck. It’s about dignity. It’s about respect. It’s about being able to look your child in the eye and say, ‘Honey, it’s going to be okay,’ and mean it.” That’s what a job is about. That’s what a job is about. (Applause.)
And when the breadwinner in the family loses their job, they lose their pride and the sense of dignity that goes with that.
And people like Ron believe that is a good thing — that corporate American bottom line is that that’s all you need to look at; it’s good for America.
Well, that’s not my bottom line.
From the day I took office, I was determined to turn it around with — with now they’re calling “Bidenomics.” It’s one of the reasons why I fought so hard to write and get passed the CHIPS and Science Act. (Applause.)
We used to invest more in science and research than any country in the world: almost 2 percent of our gross domestic product. Now it’s about seven tenths of 1 percent we invest.
We’re the best engineers in the world. We’re the best scientists in the world. We’re the best researchers in the world. What the hell are we doing?
Well, guess what? That CHIPS and Science Act has generated $231 billion in the last 18 months in private investments, making semiconductors here in America. (Applause.)
And, by the way, we — the United States — invented those semiconductors. We invented them when we went to the Moon.
They’re those small computer chips, the size of the tip of your finger, affecting nearly everything in our lives, from cellphones to automobiles to the most sophisticated weapons systems in the world.
Let me give you one concrete example.
I met with the chairman of the largest chipmaker in the world in South Korea — it’s called SK — when I was in South Korea. They’re investing, now, $22 billion — billion — in America. And I asked them why. This is the God’s truth. “Why America?”
And he said, “Number one…” — think of this now. Remember it. “Number one, there’s no safer place in the world to have my investment than the United States of America. And number two, you have the best workers in the world.” And he’s right. (Applause.) That’s the — that’s the truth. (Applause.)
It’s about time Ron Johnson and his friends understood that.
Look, folks, they think you want to IBEW — I wouldn’t be standing here this time without you guys. But the IBEW, they think — the average American, they’re not being mean or anything, they think, “Well, to be an electrician, you say, ‘I want to be an electrician,’ and you get a — you get a card.”
Four to five years of apprenticeship. You hear me? Like going back to college. Four to five years. You get paid, but not nearly what you get paid when you get your card.
You got to talk more about what you do and what it takes to get it done. People aren’t trying to be mean. They just don’t know. But I’m sure in hell telling them. (Laughter and applause.)
The bottom line is: We invented chips here in America. We used to produce them here. We used to produce 40 percent. And now we’re bringing them back home, thankfully. (Applause.)
Thankfully, we have people like Tammy Baldwin, who championed — (applause) — no, it’s the God’s truth — “Buy American” policies, leading a resurgence in manufacturing in Wisconsin and across the country.
You heard me say it before: Where in God’s name is it written that America can’t lead the world again in manufacturing? Where is that written? Folks —
AUDIENCE MEMBER: Nowhere!
THE PRESIDENT: Nowhere. You got it.
Since I took office, we’ve attracted more than one half trillion dollars — let me say it again — one half trillion dollars in private investment in American manufacturing and the industries of the future.
Spending on construction of manufacfur- — to manufacturing plants that need to be built nearly doubled in the last two years.
And, you know, that’s not just — that’s not just the permanent jobs — they’re generating growth — economic growth and buil- — look, construction jobs do that as well. We’ve added 600,000 good-paying construction jobs since I took office.
When they build these — these plants to build these chips, guess what? They call them “fabs.” They’re as big as football — long as football fields. That’s how big they are. They’re gigantic. And guess what? The people who work there — you know what the average salary is in these fabs? $116,000 a year. Adfsend you don’t need a college degree.
What the hell are we talking about? (Applause.)
Folks, instead of exporting American jobs, we’re creating American jobs and exporting American products. And they’re being built right here in Wisconsin and places where factories had been shut down.
Look at what you’re doing here. Ingeteam came to Milwaukee 10 years ago, thanks to tax incentives in clean energy during the Obama-Biden administration.
Then, exactly one year ago tomorrow, I signed a significant piece of clean energy legisla- — combining — combatting the existential threat of climate change — the single largest investment ever, anywhere in the world, without one single member of the other team voting for it. That law reauthorized those clean energy tax credits and expanded them.
As a result, this com- — this company — this company predicts that demand for the wind turbine generators, which they’re making right here in this facility, will double next year. (Applause.)
And since I took office, the private sector has announced more than $3 billion in investments — not million, billion — in investments for wind energy manufacturing in America. And, by the way, it’s cheaper — cheaper — cheaper than fossil fuels. (Applause.) Cheaper than fossil fuels.
And that’s not all.
Until this year, this company didn’t think it made sense to make chargers for electric vehicles in the United States. But then, when I signed the Bipartisan Infra- — Law — again, which — which Ron Johnson and his friends didn’t vote — they all voted against — that law invests $7.5 billion to build a network of thousands of electric vehicle chargers stretching across the country, including on I-94.
By the way, over 500,000 of these charging stations. That’s real jobs. That’s real money.
And, by the way, my Grandpop Biden, who died very young — he was — died in the hospital I was born in six days before I was there — I mean before I was born — he worked for the American Oil Company. His job was to go from town to town, expanding the American Oil Company, building new gas stations. People didn’t know whether they wanted a couple thousand gallons of gasoline under the ground where they are.
What happens when you build a gas station? You end up with something like a 7/11 or a doughnut shop or a drugstore around it. It generates economic growth. We’re going to be building these facilities all across America so you can plug in and go the width of the country. That way you can travel coast to coast without worrying about running out of power.
Every single one of these chargers must be installed by workers certified by the IBEW plan. Every one. That was a condition. (Applause.) Every one. And every single one must be made in America. (Applause.)
You know, there’s a provision in the law that — I thought I knew a fair amount. But I didn’t realize — maybe you did, Tammy, but I didn’t realize, back in the ‘30s, they passed a law that’s consistent with international trade that if the Congress passes a law to spend money and the President has to decide where to spend it, he has to — he or she has to spend it on American workers and in — in America — American products.
Well, most presidents, including Democrats, didn’t pay a lot of attention to that. But I did. (Laughter and applause.)
And so, now, to use a non-American product, you’ve got to have a real good reason, prove to me you can’t in fact get it from an American product.
Look, folks, this company concluded that it was an opportunity for them as well. And now, they’re making fast-charging EV chargers here in America, right in Wisconsin. (Applause.)
Their goal is to manufacture 13,000 high-speed chargers every single year. And guess what? To the chagrin of your senator — the other senator — it’s going to add 100 good-paying jobs. (Applause.)
And, folks, this is happening across the state. It’s a direct result of those clean energy investments I signed into law a year ago.
Folks, as I’ve said for a long time — for a long time: When I think climate, I think jobs. Not a joke. When I think climate, I think jobs. That’s the future.
By the way, Texas — the state of Texas has a very enlightened governor. The very state of Texas has the signifi- — highest number of wind and solar facilities, I think, of any state in the nation. And it’s cheaper than — than fossil fuel. He wants to shut them down. Isn’t that enlightened?
Like the 12 solar energy products in — Alliant Energy is building across Wisconsin, creating more than 2,000 jobs — local construction jobs — most of them union jobs — and, in the process of serving customers in Wisconsin, saving them more than $1.6 billion in energy costs. These are facts, not fiction.
And back to Kenosha, which was hit hard by the American Motors when it closed, now Paris Solar has broken down in the state — broke ground on the state’s first large-scale solar and battery storage project in Kenosha County. It’s creating 300 good-paying construction jobs. Three hundred. (Applause.)
And just today, the company Siemens announced that because of that law I signed and the significant investments we’re making in clean energy, they’re going to begin manufacturing solar inverters here in Wisconsin. (Applause.)
And, by the way, the American people are going to be learning — no matter how well educated, you’re going to be learning a lot, because I bet most people don’t know what a solar inverter is. It converts solar energy from the sun into electricity. Kind of a novel idea, isn’t it?
How many times did you ever think, in those days when you had those real big bills in the winter and a hot day came, “Well, why couldn’t we capture all this?” Well, guess what? They’re going to be doing a piece of that. Sunlight shines down, and the inverter turns it into electricity. And they’re going to build them just outside of Kenosha.
Don’t tell me Americans can’t innovate. Don’t tell me that.
Since I took office, I’ve seen more than $3 billion in private investment in clean energy manufacturing, all across Wisconsin. That’s Bidenomics. That’s investing in America. (Applause.)
Totally consistent with international law and trade agreements.
And investing in America means investing in all of America.
When I ran for president, I made a promise that I would leave no one behind, no part of the country would I leave behind.
I’m getting mad — a lot of Democrats are getting mad at me because we’re investing actually more in red states than blue states right now. But they’re all Americans, and I made a promise. I made a promise: no matter where.
And folks, red states, blue states, urban, suburban, or rural — all of that will benefit from what we do.
That’s why I launched the Rural Partners Network to help rural communities, including here in Wisconsin and my state of Delaware — which is mostly rural, believe it or not — create jobs and economic opportunity.
And my administration has invested hundreds of millions of dollars to support small- and medium-sized meat and poultry processors across the Midwest, including dozens here in Wisconsin, from Lancaster to Richland Center to Soldiers Grove.
This way, farmers can get the best price for their product. They don’t have to deal with the only giant processor that pays them less for what they need — what they’re do- — (applause) — no, I mean it.
And that wasn’t my idea. That was the Secretary of Agriculture, the former governor of Iowa.
But, folks, that’s not all. We’re also investing $230 million in Wisconsin to support agriculture that’s good for the environment, like planting cover crops that replenish the soil with nutrients and absorb carbon from the air. We’re helping farmers, ranchers, foresters get paid for doing the right thing.
It’s simple, folks: When farmers do well, when the wealth they generate stays in Wisconsin, then their children can stay in Wisconsin and find opportunity here and build a stronger rural economy. (Applause.)
Investing in America also means rebuilding our infrastructure. The governor talked about how many bridges and roads — I mean, it’s amazing. And it’s not even been a year yet. It’s just been about a year.
You know, the last guy who talked about “Infrastructure Month”? We got “Infrastructure Decade,” baby. (Applause.) Ten years. Y’all think I’m kidding. They never had one month.
But I’m jo- — I’m not joking.
And, by the way, a number of my Republican friends voted against this infrastructure bill, including your distinguished other senator.
You know, we used to be number one in the world in infrastructure, but, over time, we slipped to the 13th best infrastructure. Thirteenth best infrastructure in the world from number one.
How can you be the best economy in the world with a second-rate infrastructure? Not a joke. How can you do that?
Well, through the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, we’ve already announced 37,000 projects, 4,500 communities across America, including hundreds of projects, as the governor referenced, right here in Wisconsin. (Applause.)
Let me give you a couple of examples.
We’re investing $80 million to replace the interstate bridge over the Wisconsin River in Columbia County. That’s a major route connecting people to Milwaukee, Madison, and Chicago.
And look across town, where union workers are building North Holton Street Bridge, which is nearly 100 years old. More than 10,000 vehicles travel over it every single day across the Milwaukee River. It’s dangerous, and this reconstruction is long overdue. (Applause.)
You were — a lot of you were with me when I was in Pittsburgh. And, by the way, the — Pittsburgh is “the city of bridges.” More bridges in Pittsburgh than any other city in America. I watched that bridge collapse. I got there and saw it collapse with over 200 feet off the ground, going over a valley. And it collapsed.
Thank God school was out during the — during the pandemic. Imagine all the people who would’ve died. They knew for years they had to do something, but we’re talking hundreds of millions of dollars to rebuild it.
You know, I know everybody kids me because I’m an Amtrak guy. I like rail. (Applause.) Well, I’ve traveled over 1,280,000 miles on Amtrak. And I know you think that’s nuts. I do, too, but my — (laughter) — and the reason for that is: When I got elected, I was 29 years old. I was in an office hiring staff, and I got a phone call saying my wife and daughter were dead and my two boys were not likely to live. A tractor trailer broadsided and killed them.
And I didn’t want to stay in Washington. So, I said they — a lot of really good senators, including a couple good Republican friends — became friends — said, “Just come and stay six months; help us organize.” Hell, we had — we had 58 Democratic senators already and a Democratic governor. I didn’t know any better.
But I stayed. And I started to commute every day, because having been listed as the poorest man in the Congress for 36 years — true. My wife called me one day and said, “Did you read the paper today?” And I was up campaigning for a guy named Pat Leahy in Vermont. I said, “No, honey. I didn’t see the Wilmington paper.” She said, “Headline, above the fold…” — only a politician’s wife would say that — (laughter) — “‘Biden, poorest man in Congress.’ Is that true?” Like I was cheating on her or something. (Laughter.)
But I was. And I couldn’t afford a house in Washington, and I couldn’t afford a house in Delaware. If I sold my house in Delaware, I would lose the election. So, I started to commute. It’s only 300 miles a day, but it still takes me an average of four hours, beginning to end.
And so, what happened was I — when — when you travel as Vice President on Air Force planes, they keep a precise number of miles you travel. And I guess it was in my seventh year or sixth year as vice president, I — there was a headline in a New York paper saying, “Biden travels almost 1,200,000 miles on — on Air Force planes.” One — one million two — one hundred, or whatever.
I’m getting on the train one day with the — the Secret Service are the best in the world. They don’t like me traveling on the train because there are too many opportunities for people to do bad things on trains. And so, I’m getting on a train to go home and see my mom, who was sick and in hospice in my home.
And this guy — I won’t mention his name, because they — it would get him in trouble. But one of the senior guys in Amtrak who I rode — rode with all the time comes up and goes, “Joey, baby,” and grabs my cheek. (Laughter.) I swear to God, I thought they were going to shoot him. (Laughter.)
And I said, “No, no, no, no.” I said, “What’s the matter, Ang?” He said, “We just — I read this thing about a mil- — over a million miles on Air Force planes.” He said, “Hell, you know how many miles you traveled on Amtrak?” I said, “No, Ang. I don’t know.” He said, “We just had a retirement dinner up in Newark.” He said, “You traveled a hundred — an average 117 days a year, round trip, 300 miles a day, 36 years. That’s 1,285,000 miles. I don’t want to hear any more about the Air Force.” (Laughter and applause.)
True story, I swear to God.
I’m getting off point here, but anyway. (Laughter.)
But rail saves a lot — electric rail saves a lot of energy — a lot of energy and the environment.
Thanks to the infrastructure law, we’re providing $23 million to upgrade and modernize Mitchell International Airport, which is going to increase economic activity in Milwaukee. (Applause.)
We’re also removing every single lead pipe in Wisconsin — (applause) — every single one. These lead pipes are dangerous.
Some of you may remember, I had a guest at the last State of the Union when I was speaking, and it was a young woman named Deanna Branch. She’s a Milwaukee mom. She had her 3-year-old son, Aidan, with her, who was hospital- — twice for lead poisoning because of lead pipes in their home.
Well, guess what? We’re removing every single lead pipe in Wisconsin out of the ground. (Applause.) That’s a fact. They’re a risk to everyone’s health, especially to our children’s.
And then, over 250,000 homes and small businesses across Wisconsin don’t have access to high-speed, affordable Internet. No parent should have to sit outside a McDonald’s when we have a — schools are closed to be able to get on McDonald’s Internet so the kid can do their homework. Not a joke. Well, guess what? They do if you don’t have Internet at home.
That’s why we’re investing over $1 billion in every corner of this state, especially rural communities and family farms, with affordable high-speed Internet. Every single home. (Applause.) And folks, all our high-speed Internet projects must use products and construction materials made in America. (Applause.)
Look, folks, it’s really kind of basic. We just decided to invest in America again. That’s what it’s all about.
I want you to see exactly what we’re making these investments across the country. If you want to know exactly where they are, you can go on the Internet. Go to: Invest.gov. Put in your location and find out what’s happening — exactly what’s happening or scheduled to happen.
Folks, we’ve done all this without raising anybody’s taxes making under 400,000 bucks. (Applause.)
My friends talk about the “Big Spendin’ Biden.” Well, guess what? I made a promise: I’ll never raise federal tax on anyone making less than $400,000 a year. I kept my promise. (Applause.)
And unlike the last President, in my first two years in office, even with all we’ve done, I’m the first one to cut the federal
debt [deficit] by $1 trillion 700 billion. (Applause.) One trillion seven hundred billion dollars cut because we generated the growth.
Folks, every Republican voted against our clean energy investment, known as the Inflation Reduction Act. The vast majority voted against the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law. But that didn’t stop them from claiming credit for protecting the health of their constituents that are getting rid of lead by — getting rid of lead pipes or putting to work and building new roads and bridges.
Look, I think the vast majority of my Republican colleagues in the Senate know better. We got to stop the partisanship. We’ve got to stop this stuff.
This legislation they opposed or attack is now the greatest thing to come to their states. You know, there are — you have Marjorie Taylor Greene — you know, the very quiet lady from North Caro- — from — from Georgia. Well, she’s talked about, “What Biden is doing is what Roosevelt did and what Kennedy did and what…” — I thought, “Well, yeah.” (Laughter.)
But, look, folks, like I said: I made a commitment, because I knew this was going to happen. I knew what would happen is the folks who voted against these things — and we barely passed them, sometimes by one or two votes — when it came to their states, would claim credit.
I want them to get credit. That’s okay. It’s okay, as long as they continue to support the things we’re doing.
You know, I re- — I said I represent all the American people in red states and blue states, but that doesn’t mean I can’t make fun of the hypocrisy — (laughter) — of those claiming credit. And like I said in the State of the Union, I’ll see them at the groundbreakings. (Laughs.) (Applause.)
Look, let me close with this. I’m not here to declare victory on the economy. We’re not there yet. We have more work to do, but we’ve always had a plan that turning things around, making in — America stronger and safer and more competitive.
Bidenomics is just another way of saying “restoring the American Dream.” That’s the ba- — that’s what it is, just restoring the American Dream.
I believe every American willing to work hard should be able to get a job no matter where they live — in the heartland, small towns; raise their kids on a good paycheck; and keep their roots where they grew up.
That’s the American Dream. That’s Bidenomics.
It’s rooted in what has always worked best for this country: investing in America, investing in Americans. Because when we invest in our people, when we strengthen the middle class, we see stronger economic growth that benefits all Americans.
The most important thing I want to say today is this: Thank you. Not thank you for how you voted, but thank you to the people of Wisconsin. Thank you to the American people.
We’ve faced some pretty tough times in recent years. The pandemic took over 1 million lives. How many empty chairs are there sitting around dining room tables these days? Our neighbors, our friends, our fellow Americans — they’re still living in pain and loss and isolation caused by the pandemic.
It generated the most severe economic crisis since the Great Depression. It wasn’t that long ago that 20 million people in America were out of work.
But today, the American people — they didn’t give up. Wisconsin didn’t give up. Americans didn’t give up. America didn’t give up.
And I’ve said it a thousand times: There is no quit in America. There is no quit in America. Look how far we’ve come. (Applause.)
Today — today — it’s not hyperbole — we have the strongest economy in the world. And you’re looking at me a little skeptical, but I promise you. Check it out. The strongest economy in the world, the highest job satisfaction in 36 years.
Our inflation rate has dropped to the lowest among major economy — economic nations in the world. And if we keep it up, it’s going to go lower, according to (inaudible).
All I hear from my friends on the other side of the aisle is what is wrong with America. There’s a lot wrong with America, like every country. They tell us America is failing, but they’re wrong.
Democrats, Republicans, independents, conservatives, liberals — I don’t think they understand the average American. Whatever (inaudible) we set our mind to as a country, we’ve always accomplished. Name me one thing in American history where America stood together and said, “We’re going to solve that problem” and we didn’t do it. Name me one. Name me one.
There’s nothing beyond our capacity.
America isn’t failing. America is winning. (Applause.)
And I’m proud of the historic legislation my administration has passed. They were the right steps not only to get our economy moving again but to build to the future.
But the real hero in this story is all of you, and I mean this from the bottom of my heart: the people of Milwaukee, the people of Wisconsin, the American people.
Yes, my policy helped create a lot of these jobs and it has continued to grow, but you’re the ones getting up every single day, walking out that door, and doing the work.
Yes, my policies have helped to create some small businesses. We’ve created more than in any time in history. But you’re the ones who decided to borrow the money and take the risk in the middle of this (inaudible). You took the risk to hire workers, fulfilling your dreams.
I’ve long said it’s never, ever, ever been a good bet to bet against America — never, never, never. And it’s not a good bet today.
This is still a country that believes in honesty, decency, and integrity. The vast majority of Americans do. Our political leaders sometimes in both parties don’t.
We’re still a country that believes in hard work. We’re still a country that believes in — each and every one of us is created equal. We’re still a beacon to the world.
That’s because small towns and in rural America and suburbs, big cities all across the country, every ordinary perpso– — people — all ordinary people do the most extraordinary things.
Let me tell you, America’s best days are ahead, not behind us. Not because of me. Because of you.
It isn’t about the past; it’s about the future. It’s about each of us writing the next chapter in American history.
I can honestly say I’ve never been more optimistic — and I mean this from the bottom of my heart — I’ve never been more optimistic about America’s future, both domestic and foreign.
We just have to remember who in the hell we are. We’re the United States of America. There is nothing — nothing — beyond our capacity when we do it together.
So, let’s do it together, God love ya. (Applause.)
May God bless you all. And may God protect our troops.
Thank you. (Applause.)
1:46 P.M. CDT