Remarks at a Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee Reception in Los Angeles, California
The President. Nancy, thank you. Thank you. Thank you, thank you, thank you.
Please. Please. Thank you very, very much. I'm going home. [Laughter]
Well, Nancy, thank you so much. I don't want this to turn into a mutual admiration society, but the truth of the matter is: Not a single thing we got done in the administration, not a single thing of all the things that Nancy mentioned would have gotten done without her leadership in the House and the Senate—and the Senate.
And as my colleagues in the House and Senate who are here can tell you, I have a—no one ever doubts I mean what I say. The problem is, I sometimes say all that I mean. [Laughter]
But I really mean this. I've only been around 50 years. [Laughter] I got elected to the Senate when I was 29 years old. And I can tell you, I've been with a lot of Speakers, a lot of leaders in the House and Senate. And it's not hyperbole: Nancy is the single best Speaker, I think, in American history.
And my inclination is, when she asks you for something, just say yes. It's a hell of a lot easier. [Laughter] Oh, you think I'm kidding. Paul can tell you. [Laughter] Paul can tell you.
But look, folks, you know, the truth of the matter is—and many of you heard me say this before, especially my colleagues in the House and Senate—that I think America is really at one of those moments. We're at a real inflection point in history—not just American history, but in history.
The world is changing. It's changing rapidly. And it's beyond the control, and it's not because of any one single individual or one nation at all. You know, the Organization of American States—look what's happening there. Look what's happening around the world in terms of NATO and all the countries, in terms of them rethinking their place in the world, and what, in fact, and who their alliances are.
There's a lot up for grabs internationally. A lot of—a lot going on.
The whole idea—I apologize for repeating this to some of you, but the whole idea that we're in a situation where technology has made things change so drastically.
You know, when there was a lot written, when Gutenberg invented the printing press—for real—how it fundamentally changed international relations at the time, how it fundamentally changed the ability of people to communicate with one another. And it changed the politics of the world.
And it goes all the way straight through to everything from the electronic changes—everything from the telegraph to the telephone to television. You know, think of this—I know it sounds silly to bring it up; it's minor—but Nixon may very well have won had he been more accustomed to television. Not a joke. Not a joke. Not a joke.
And look what's happened now. Everything is changing because technology has changed. There are no editors anymore. There are no editors anymore. The ability of newspapers to have much impact is de minimis. They've been overtaken by the internet. And more happens, in terms of the internet, without a single editor at all.
How do people know the truth? What do they—how do they make—make a distinction between fact and fiction? There's so much—so much going on. And we're in the middle of this.
And the truth of the matter is—I genuinely believe this—that the world is looking to us. Not a joke. Even our enemies are looking to us to figure out how we figure this out, what we do.
You know, folks, I have spent probably—not probably; the staff actually calculated—well over 200—I think it was 220, 225 hours directly in contact with the heads of state at NATO and the European Union, just holding it together. Not a joke. Not a joke.
One thing that Putin decided—counted on was us splitting NATO. Not a joke. Splitting NATO. And look what's happening. Look what's happening in the eastern front of NATO. Look what Poland is doing now. Look what's happening. And Poland is sticking there. But how about Hungary? What's happening? Look what's happened recently in Spain and Italy.
Folks, you know, there's a lot at stake. But I'm absolutely convinced we have the capacity—we have the capacity to lead the world to a place that it's never been.
I saw a big article today—I didn't even realize it; it was in the front page of the New York Times—about "Biden Has Declared the End of a Cold War Period After World War II." Well, it held—it held—kept the peace, essentially, since 1946. It's a different world. A totally different world right now.
Did any of you ever think you'd have a Russian leader, since the Cuban Missile Crisis, threatening the use of tactical nuclear weapons that would—could only kill three, four thousand people and be limited to make a point?
Did anybody think we'd be in a situation where China is trying to figure out its role relative to Russia and relative to India and relative to Pakistan?
I've spent more time with Xi Jinping than any person in—any head of state in America—in the world. I spent over—they keep count of it—78 hours' worth. Of that, 68 were in person, over the last 10 years, because Barack knew that he couldn't be dealing with a Vice President. And so, he assigned me. I've traveled 17,000 miles with him.
This is a guy who understands what he wants but has an enormous, enormous array of problems. How do we handle that? How do we handle that relative to what's going on in Russia? And what I think is maybe one of the most dangerous nations in the world: Pakistan. Nuclear weapons without any cohesion.
So, folks, there's a lot going on. A lot going on. But there's also enormous opportunities for the United States to change the dynamic in the second quarter of the 21st century.
And one of the ways that occurs is how we handle ourselves. You've heard me say this before, some of you: When I went to the first G-7 meeting of the major democracies—most powerful democracies in the world—I showed up in February after we had just been elected. And I sat down and I said, "America is back." I know all these folks; I knew them from before. I said, "America is back." You know what the comment was? "For how long?" "For how long?"
"Put yourself"—as one of them said to me—"Put yourself in the position of"—they said, "Mr. President, what would you think if you went to bed tonight and got up in the morning and learned that the British Parliament had been raided by over a thousand people, broken down the doors to the House of Parliament, killed several leaders, et cetera, et cetera? What would you think about the state of events?"
And what would you think? You'd think England was gone. You'd think democracy had collapsed in England. Well, guess what? What do you think people think about what happened here? What do you think people thought about what happened here?
So Nancy—Nancy has—you know, she's given me credit for an awful lot of things a little bit earlier. But not a single one of them would have happened—no hyperbole—not a single one of them would have happened without Nancy's leadership in the House and the Senate. And the Senate.
And I'm not joking. Think about this: You know, I've—it's fair to say we've got more done in the first 2 years than—than any President in the past has.
I—no, not—but—if you recall, even though Nancy did say, when I—she was telling me her point of view, which is always straightforward—[laughter]—that—she was telling me her point of view, and I said: "Nancy, I understand. I wrote the damn bill." [Laughter]
But think about this: In the beginning, all the things that we got passed, I had campaigned on before even they were introduced. They're what I ran on. But none of them went anywhere at first. None of them went anywhere at first until Nancy stepped up.
And by the way, the DCCC has a hell of a chair in a guy named Sean Patrick Maloney. And I want to recognize the people we're working for here: Julia Brownley, who's California 26. Ted Lieu, California 30 *. Brad Sherman. Maxine Waters. And Dina Titus of Nevada, and Steve Horsford of Nevada.
And look, I'm not going to repeat what Nancy said, but the fact is that the American Rescue Plan, it not only created jobs, it—you know, before that was passed, there had been 2 million people who a been vaccinated. Because of that, we vaccinated 220 million people.
In the meantime, we can't underestimate a million people died. A million people died. And the psychological impact on the Nation is profound. We don't even talk about it. I speak with our Surgeon General about the mental needs of American people to deal with all that's happened.
Think about your kids and your grandkids when they've graduated from high school and college in this period. What did they get to celebrate? They didn't have their proms. They didn't have graduation ceremonies. They didn't have all the things that we took for granted, but are part of what gives people confidence and gives them—let's them grow up in a way that—where there's some sense of that—of a future.
But look what they keep doing. They keep moving. They keep moving.
So there's a whole lot—a whole lot that's out there that we've overcome. But because of the willingness of people to say, okay, not one Republican voted for the Recovery Act—not one—but guess what? It's the reason why everything from the State of California to the little State of Delaware stayed afloat, because tax base was lost. And guess what? All those first responders, all those teachers, all those firefighters, all those cops, all those essential workers were able to be kept on—[inaudible]—because we—Nancy—led the fight to make sure that they had the money to keep the States going. That's what it was about.
And you talk about the infrastructure law. You know, we—I mean, we used to be rated—having an infrastructure that put us in a position where we were—had probably the second, if not the first, best infrastructure in the world. Well, guess what? We got down to number 22, in terms of the competence of our infrastructure: from our ports, to our roads, to our bridges, to the whole notion of lead pipes and the purity of our water, and all of it. But we passed the infrastructure bill. We did get a few Republicans for that. A few Republicans voted for that.
And then we talk about guns. Well, Nancy was able to get passed, along with Chuck Schumer, the first major gun legislation in 30 years.
But Nancy got passed the assault weapons ban. And the Senate didn't pass it. And look at what—the news today. I'm not going to go through the news today, but look what happened today in two different places with AK-47s. They're weapons of war. They have no place in society. None. Zero.
And by the way—and so, you know—and the burn pits. If you'll excuse a point of personal privilege, my son Beau was one of those guys. My son Beau was the attorney general. He was—should be the one standing here talking to you, not me; he was a better man than I am. Not a joke. That's a flat truth. He was attorney general. He sought—he had to get a dispensation, in effect, from the—to join the National Guard—to go from the National Guard to Iraq for a year after having volunteered as assistant U.S. attorney in Philadelphia to be in Ukraine—excuse me, in Kosovo for 9 months.
The only war memorial built to a foreigner in the state of Kosovo was to my son Beau. Only one. And here's the deal: He spent a year in Iraq, and he lived within about 300 yards of one of those burn pits. And he died of brain cancer. I'm not—and a lot of people have suffered worse than I have. And he did.
But the point is this: I made a commitment when I did the State of the Union last year that we were going to take care of our veterans. And guess what? All those veterans now—those who are still alive who weren't getting any care, and those who died and their families, in fact, were able to get compensation for what happened. They lost a head of household, in most cases. And guess what?
We're in a situation now where they're able to begin to move those families. We have a lot of obligations as a public. We only have one truly sacred obligation—sacred: It's to equip and prepare those we send to war and care for them and their families when they come home. That's a sacred obligation.
And only 1 percent—1 percent of this Nation—1 percent of the Nation is the backbone and sinew of this country and defending us. One percent.
And so, look, the whole point of this is that there's so much—and again, we were having trouble getting that passed, believe it or not. Nancy stood up. She moved the House. And finally, the Senate and everybody else moved.
But so I guess what I'm saying is, when you get to the Inflation Reduction Act, what was that all about? It was all about—the biggest part of that was twofold. One, taking on Pharma. You know, we pay the highest drug prices of any nation in the world for the same exact drugs, I might add. Same exact prescription.
Well, guess what? We got it changed so that, now, no senior on Medicare will have to pay more than $2,000 a year for their drug prices, no matter what the cost of their cancer drugs are, no matter what it is.
And some of you have type 2 diabetes. Some of you have children who have type 2 diabetes. You know, it costs 10 bucks to make that insulin. Ten dollars to make it and package it. And it's charging somewhere between 300 and 700 times the cost.
Well, we had a bill that said that everybody, including the 200,000—or excuse me, 2 million children who have that same—same type of that diabetes would not have to pay more than $35. Well, guess what? Nancy got it all passed; the Senate couldn't get the second part passed. And so it's only seniors now.
But the point is, we're changing people's lives. And I think one of the things that occurred as a consequence of—excuse me for going on on this, but the—one of the things that occurred as a consequence of the pandemic was a sense of what can we do as a country.
The idea that we thought—you know, the reason we were thought—and many of you are very sophisticated and travel the world—the "ugly Americans" is—I was with Xi Jinping in the Tibetan Plateau. And he turned to me and he said, "Can you define America for me?" This is the God's truth. He's repeated it. I said, "Yes, one word: possibilities." We believe as Americans that anything is possible, anything at all. But the American people began to doubt whether we really can do anything.
Look, if I could wave a wand and do one thing, I'd cure cancer. Why not? That's the biggest problem in the world. But to demonstrate to people we could take on a subject that no one thought could be defeated and do it.
Well, that's what we're trying to do—demonstrate to the American people there's reason for optimism. There's overwhelming reason for optimism. We are better equipped than any other nation in the world to lead the 21st century by far—by far.
And in addition to the legislation we passed, the Inflation Reduction Act—the reason we called it "inflation reduction," there's more than one way to reduce the price of an—for an average family. My dad used to say, "The way it works is, at the end"—and my dad was a well-read high-school-educated guy whose greatest regret—greatest regret—he never went to college. But he was a decent, honorable, well-read man.
And he used to say, "What is needed is, after all the bills are paid by an ordinary, hard-working or middle class folks, is there anything left over to have just a little breathing room?"
There's one more—more than one way to provide the breathing room. You deal with the necessities. What's a necessity for the vast majority of families? Prescription drugs. What's a necessity for the vast majority of American families? We go down the list of things. We are affecting the ability for them to—when they buy a new appliance, to have—get a tax credit for buying an energy-efficient appliance; be able to reduce, by weatherizing their home, and be able to save on average 5,000 bucks a year. For an ordinary family that's a big damn deal. A big deal. And it affects their bottom line.
I could go on, but I won't.
So we're going to—we still—it still—inflation is out there. It's real. And a lot of people are getting hurt badly by it. But we can take—we can overcome this.
The other thing I like to say to you—and I'm going on too long, and I apologize—is that—you know, let's take a look at—can anybody—if anybody in here can tell me what the Republican platform is. [Laughter]
No, I know we laugh about it, but think about it. What is the Republican platform?
Audience member. Disenfranchisement!
The President. Well, more than that.
Audience member. Staying in power!
The President. Well, they've been very specific, and we've not paid much attention to it.
First of all, they want to—they want to make sure that they codify—not Roe—but codify the Supreme Court's decision in Dobbs. They want to make sure that they make sure we do not take on the gun industry. They want to—I could go on.
But if we're going to keep the House—if you keep the House for us, and give us two more Democrats, we're going to pass a lot of things that are going to make a big difference, and support the work of the—look—look at the work Nancy did with the January 6th Committee. Think about what's happening.
And she had the courage to do—I didn't recommend it to her, but she had the courage to do what I firmly believed. Bennie Thompson, a Black man from Mississippi, who was one of the first guys to endorse me way early on—no, I'm serious—look how he stepped up. Look how he stepped up.
And by the way, Liz Cheney—Liz Cheney and I agree on virtually nothing in terms of substance. No, I mean it sincerely. But it used to be like that all the time. We got along. I used to fight like hell in the United States Senate with very conservative Republicans who were honorable people, had a very different view. Look what's happened.
And the message to the American people is coming across really clearly—really clearly. And I think we're going to see some real change as a consequence of the work of the committee.
And look, if you take a look at it, and you look at Nancy and the Congress for support for Ukraine—I spent a lot of time in Ukraine. I spent a lot of time—I've spent probably 3 weeks in Ukraine before the war started, making the case that they had to clear up their circumstances in terms of corruption.
But here we go. Ukrainians have shown enormous courage. I think it surprised everybody. And some of you are military women and men, and you know the courage that they supplied—and it's because, with Nancy's leadership, we've provided over $16 billion in weapons to them, and another 15—or there or so about—in terms of the daily needs for them to maintain their government.
And so, look, everything—everything here we deal with in less than 30 days is at stake. What's on the ballot? The right to choose. The right to privacy. Social Security and Medicare. Climate. Our very democracy. We have more than half the American people worried about the sustaining of American democracy. Did you ever think you'd see that in the polling data? And they're not political polls. They're done by networks.
And folks, look, if Republicans get control, their number-one priority—they've stated it very straightforward—is repeal the Inflation Reduction Act. Medicare's power to negotiate—gone. Two-thousand-dollar cap—gone. Thirty-five-dollar cap on insulin—gone. The biggest climate investment in all of history—gone. The 15-percent corporate tax—gone. Which is paying for a great deal of this, by the way.
And by the way, the reason I did that: I come from the corporate State of the world, Delaware. More corporations incorporated in Delaware than every other State in the Nation combined. And I'm not anticorporation. I got elected six times in Delaware, but they know that I think they've got to pay their fair share.
Fifty-five corporations in 2020 made $40 billion, did not pay a single penny in taxes. Not a single, solitary penny. That changed. It's only 15 percent, but it's enough to pay for most of this.
And, folks, look, in the meantime, you've got Rick Scott, the guy heading up the Republican Senate campaign committee, from Florida. And you got—he says Social Security and Medicare, as well as veterans benefits, should be in the chopping block every 5 years. Every 5 years you'd have to affirmatively revote for the existence of the programs or cut the programs. You did nothing, they go out of existence.
Then along comes a guy named Johnson, from the State of Wisconsin, who is not what you call a particularly—anyway, I won't characterize it. [Laughter] Johnson—this is true. The—and you have Republicans supporting this. He suggests 5 years is too long; every year we have to vote on the existence of those programs.
What do you think happens? You've been paying Social Security tax since you were—got your first job when you were 16 years old. This is how these guys look at things.
Republicans are going to ban abortion nationwide. By the way, if they do that, as long as I'm President, I'll veto it so it won't happen. But no exceptions for rape or incest—none—or the life of the mother.
And look, you know, literally, the right to vote is at stake. Who gets to count the vote? No, that's not a joke. Who gets to count it? And how do you count? And who gets to make the decision? State legislatures or State—why do you think they have 253, I think it is—or 255 election deniers running for office in the Republican Party—House, Senate?
But guess what? Secretaries of State—secretaries of State, they can change the nature of whether or not we have a democracy—how votes are counted. The Republicans love to attack what we've done, but it doesn't stop from taking credit for when it works.
You know, you saw the—in the infrastructure law, they attack it and attack me as a "Socialist," anybody who voted for it. "This is socialism." And they—but then they, interesting enough, send—privately send letters to my administration asking for help. And they list the names. I'm not going to take the time to tell you who they are, but they list—I didn't know there were so many Socialists in the Republican caucus. [Laughter]
But here's the point: I'm going to still support those programs if they're needed because I promised I'd be a President for all the people. Not—if they have a bad leader, I wasn't going to deny them the right to have the work done on the—that needs to be done.
But look, it's been a hard few years. And the bright side is, 10 million jobs have been created, 3.5-percent unemployment, nearly 700,000 manufacturing jobs. "Made in America" is not just a slogan, it's real.
And look, I was just up in Poughkeepsie with Sean Patrick Maloney. Sean, are you still here? Okay.
Representative Sean P. Maloney. I'm here.
The President. Okay. Well, Sean—with IBM. Because of the—of the CHIPS Act that we passed and Nancy got through—because of that act, in Poughkeepsie, New York, IBM is investing $20 billion in quantum computing. We used to be—we used to invest—we used to invest 2 percent of our GDP in research and development. It's down to 0.7 percent—0.7 percent.
The rest of the world is investing much more in the future than we are, but we're changing that.
In Syracuse, Micron is investing $100 billion over the next 10 years. And then you have in Intel, out in Ohio, outside of Columbus, it's become a field of dreams. Twenty billion dollars as a commitment. They'll probably go to 100 over the next 10 years. That creating tens of thousands—of thousands of jobs.
And guess what? You have something on—60 percent of those jobs don't require a college degree. They have apprentice programs. And guess what the average salary in—out in Intel is going to be, out in Ohio? $128,000.
So this is about expanding opportunity. And look, folks, my point is, we've never been—I've never been more optimistic about America. I really haven't. We have a chance to do so much at this inflection point. I really mean it. I'm absolutely confident. There's not a damn thing we can't do. Not a damn thing we can't do if we remember who in the hell we are.
This is the United States of America. Whatever we've set our mind to in our history, we have gotten it done when we've done it together. So please, please, please keep a Democratic House of Representatives. We'll get it done.
NOTE: The President spoke at 8:02 p.m. at a private residence. In his remarks, he referred to Speaker of the House of Representatives Nancy Pelosi and her husband Paul; President Vladimir Vladimirovich Putin of Russia; President Xi Jinping of China; former President Barack Obama; Reps. Bennie G. Thompson and Elizabeth L. Cheney, in their respective capacities as chair and vice chair of the House Select Committee To Investigate the January 6th Attack on the United States Capitol; U.S. Surgeon General Vivek H. Murthy; Senate Majority Leader Charles E. Schumer; and Sen. Ronald H. Johnson. He also referred to H.R. 1808. The transcript released by the Office of the Press Secretary also included the remarks of October 14. Audio was not available for verification of the content of these remarks.
* White House correction.
Joseph R. Biden, Remarks at a Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee Reception in Los Angeles, California Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project https://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/node/358383