Remarks During a Democratic National Committee Virtual Grassroots Event
The President. Hi, Kamala. I love you. You always have my back. You're really amazing.
Vice President Kamala D. Harris. I do.
The President. You're the best partner I could imagine.
And, Jaime, thanks for your leadership, pal.
You know, I want to thank all of you from the bottom of my heart for your support as we make—mark one year in office. Well, sometimes, it seems longer, doesn't it, Kamala? But the truth of the matter is, it's been a year of challenges. Some enormous progress was made though, you know, and you've helped make it happen.
You've heard some of these statistics: 210 million people vaccinated when 2 million were vaccinated when we took office; 6 million new jobs—I think it's more than that actually; 3.9-percent unemployment rate—they didn't expect it for another 4 years; 40-percent drop in child poverty—a record.
And now we're just getting started in implementing the historic investment of rebuilding America. We're going to create better jobs for millions of Americans by modernizing our roads, our bridges, our rails, our ports, our airports, clean drinking water. You've heard this before, but it's real.
You know, there's over 400,000—anyway, I won't get into all the detail. But high-speed internet for every American, every kid, everybody, every business—rural, suburban, urban. Five hundred thousand charging stations for electric vehicles all across this Nation. And we're focused on delivering for the American people.
My friend—and he really is a friend, and he's continued to be a loyal friend—Jim Clyburn, our leader, says it best. He says it's all about making everything more affordable and more accessible to everybody—to everybody—to ordinary folks like the house I grew up in. That's why we've got to keep pushing the Build Back Better plan to make childcare more affordable and accessible, to make eldercare more affordable and accessible, and make health care and prescription drugs, education more affordable and accessible.
Just look at what our plan does for childcare. For many families, it would cut the cost in half for childcare. For prescription drugs: Under our plan—it costs ten bucks, by the way, to make that insulin that folks need. But guess what? It's 1,000 bucks a month; on average, 655 bucks a month. We can make that at $35 a month, changing people's lives.
And look, of course, you know, we've got a lot of work to do to protect the sacred right to vote. But before I—look, I want to make one other thing clear. And it's almost—I think we forget it sometimes. We not only are going to, in fact, pay for all of this; nobody making under 400 grand a year will pay a penny more in taxes. And we've already cut the Federal budget by $300 billion.
And in terms of the sacred right to vote and the integrity of our elections, this is going to be a fight. I know we're disappointed by last night's vote. Kamala and I are deeply disappointed. But we're not deterred. We're going to keep pushing. We're not going to give up.
The DNC is going to keep pushing on voter education, on voter engagement, voter protection in States, while we continue to push for Federal legislation. And we're going to need your help. Together, we're going to stand up to the "big lie" and the Republican efforts to—for voter suppression and election subversion. That's what they're doing.
Now, we're going to stand up and protect the right to vote and have that vote counted. That's what the Republicans are trying to take away. That's what we have to protect always.
Look, for all the progress we've made, we know it's still a very tough time for Americans. COVID-19, after 2 years, has been—has worn people down. And inflation is taking a bite out of people's pocketbooks. Well, we have answers for that as well. We have—we proposed the answers to the challenges we face. And that's the difference between us and the Republican Party.
You know, I was—I did a couple-hour press conference the other day, and I got asked the question I used to get asked: "Well, you promised." No, I proposed. I like—I know how things have changed. If you say something in a campaign, it's a promise to get it done.
I—you know, we have, basically, 15 "presidents" in the United States Senate. Any one person can be a—make a big difference in the outcome of an election. But we have a unity in the Democratic Party; 48 of the 50 Democrats vote with me on everything. And the other two vote with me on 80 percent of everything. So ask yourself—you know, we know what we're for, but ask yourself the question.
I was thinking about this the other day: What are Republicans for? What are they for? What—it's no accident they didn't even bother to come up with a platform in 2020. They had no platform at their convention, because they don't stand for anything except to stop us.
If I can hold a second and just point out that the—Governor Sununu of—up in New Hampshire said the reason he didn't run for the Senate—he checked with a bunch of Senators and asked what they—what their plans were, what they're going to do. And I'll—I won't give you the whole quote, but you can check it out. It said—he said—they looked at him and said, "We've just got to block anything Biden wants to get done."
I mean, you know, they're—these guys don't have—they're not for anything. And that's the choice we have to prevent [present]* before voters: between the plans we have to improve the lives of the American people and no plan—none at all.
And I—you think—ordinarily, you know, in a DNC meeting, you think you say things like this and maybe we're exaggerating. But, really, think about: What are the Republicans for? What's their platform? They don't even have a platform.
Now, look, this election in 2022 is critical. We have to keep control of the House and the Senate to expand our majority. We need to reelect and elect Democratic Governors, mayors, State legislators, and candidates up and down and ticket.
And the way we're going to do that is by telling the voters what we've done and what we plan to do by making it clear: There's a clear choice—a choice between a party that works for people and is focused on the future, and a party that's completely controlled by one man and that's focused on relitigating the past.
So we're going to keep making our case and making the contrast. We're going to be hitting the road. We're going to need you to organize, to talk to us, to help us raise money. And by the way, you did such an incredible job getting both of us elected. We have to keep building the party, and keep the faith and spread it.
I hope every one of you is enormously proud of what you've helped accomplished here. And I hope you're ready to keep going, because we have a lot more we can get done. And we're going to do it together.
And, again, I can't thank you enough. Think about it: When we started this campaign, the idea that you'd all go out there and raise, you know, a billion, 700 million dollars, elect so many people, get so much done—I can't thank you enough.
And let me tell you what my overwhelming regret is. My overwhelming regret is, I haven't had you at the White House because of COVID. So many of you did so much—so much. And I've been looking to have an excuse to get you to the—get you to the White House to see you, to personally thank you. And we've not been able to do that yet because of COVID. But we're going to turn the corner and be able to do that.
And one more thing. You know, what you've done is changing people's lives. You're literally changing people's lives. And I really think that we're going to look back on this time and realize that we really, literally, changed the trajectory of the country.
You know—and I'll conclude with this; and I've been saying this when I was running and I know for it a fact, and I've encountered it from last year—you know, there's a real—a real—race between democracies and autocracies. The President of Russia, of China, of other countries, they really believe—and in China, they've in fact told me—that democracies aren't that relevant in the 21st century because things are changing so fast—so fast you can't generate a consensus; there's not enough time. But autocracies, they can just do it.
Well, guess what? We're going to demonstrate that democracy is the only way—the only way to do it. And when we explain to people what we've done—they have a little breathing room, once we get through this COVID crisis—then, in fact, I think you'll see things change in a way that we're going to reestablish who America is, what we are, and why there's not a damn thing we can't do.
So I tell every world leader I'm with: It's never, ever, ever been a good bet to bet against the American people. Never. Never. They have never let the country down given half a chance. And we're going to give them more than half a chance.
So anyway, thanks, everybody. I wish I could be there in person to thank you all and all those of you who are watching. So, you know, we're going to have—we have a lot of work to do, but I think we can get it done.
Thank you all, God bless you all, and may God protect our troops.
NOTE: The President spoke at 7:21 p.m. from the Residence at the White House. In his remarks, he referred to Democratic National Committee Chairman Jaime R. Harrison; House Majority Whip James E. Clyburn; Sens. Joseph A. Manchin III and Kyrsten L. Sinema; former President Donald J. Trump; President Vladimir Vladimirovich Putin of Russia; and President Xi Jinping of China. He also referred to H.R. 5376. This transcript was released by the Office of the Press Secretary on January 21.
* White House correction.
Joseph R. Biden, Remarks During a Democratic National Committee Virtual Grassroots Event Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project https://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/node/354184