3:10 P.M. EDT
THE PRESIDENT: Well, I’m deeply honored to welcome the members of the Congressional Black Caucus to the White House. We’re going to have a lot of meetings over the years, and I very much appreciate you being here.
Throughout my campaign, I pledged to focus on improving conditions for African American citizens. This means more to me than anybody would understand or know. Every American child has a right to grow up in a safe community, to attend great schools, to graduate with access to high-paying jobs.
America has spent trillions and trillions of dollars overseas. I guess — I heard just recently in the Middle East we’ve spent as of about two months ago $6 trillion — $6 trillion, and you know where we are over there — while neglecting the fate of American children in cities like Baltimore and Chicago and Detroit.
African American citizens have given so much to this country. They’ve fought in every war since the Revolution, and they’ve fought hard. They’ve lifted up the conscience of our nation in the march toward civil rights, enriched the soul of America — and their faith and courage. And they’ve advanced our country in the fields of science, arts and medicine.
Elijah Cummings, who was here about two weeks ago, who I happen to think is a terrific man — I don’t know if he’ll say that about me, but I will tell you, I really liked him a lot. And we were talking about drugs and prescription drugs and the costs. And you go to Europe, you go to Canada, you go to other countries and you buy them for a fraction of what you pay in this country. And that’s been a very big subject for him, and it’s a subject for me that is very important. And we’re going to either do it in healthcare — which I think we’re going to do it in healthcare — or we’re going to do it separately.
But we’re going to bid on drug prices, and we’re going to try and have the lowest prices anywhere in the world, from really the highest. And that’s not only the drugs, it’s prescription drugs. But you go out to stores and you go even — in any community, rich or poor community, and you look at the kind of drug prices that we’re paying and it’s really unfair what’s happened in our country.
So we’re going to be instituting a very, very strong bidding process. We’ll probably need some legislation, but we’re going to do it regardless. We have to do it. And we’re going to get drug prices way down, way down. Some people think it’s as important as the healthcare measure, because people are being ripped off when they need their — they need drugs, they need prescription drugs. And we’re going to take care of that situation.
So again, I very much appreciate you being here. It’s a tremendous honor for me. And we’re going to work on different things, and we’re going to see if we can get a lot accomplished.
And with that, let’s get going. And thank you all very much.
3:13 P.M. EDT