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Remarks in an Exchange With Reporters Prior to Departure From Lansing, Michigan

October 05, 2021

Senate Minority Leader A. Mitchell McConnell

Q. President Biden, when are you going to speak to Mitch McConnell on the debt limit?

The President. I'll be speaking to Mitch, yes.

The President's Travel to Howell, Michigan

Q. A lot of signs coming in, profane signs. When you read those signs, what do you—what do you think? What comes across your mind?

The President. I smile. I give them a little thumbs up.

Budget Reconciliation Process/The President's Legislative Agenda

Q. How are you going to trim a trillion or more dollars from this package? What's going to have to go?

The President. Well, that's what we're negotiating now. And it will be done.

Look, my objective is to get everything that I campaigned on passed eventually. It won't all happen at once. And so we'll get a compromise between the folks who are supporting strongly the infrastructure and the human infrastructure. We'll get a compromise. But it doesn't mean that's the end of what's in the rest of the package.

Q. Is means testing part of that, Mr. President?

The President. Pardon me?

Q. Is means testing part of that, Mr. President?

The President. Sure. Some of it will be means tested, I'm sure. Some of will be means tested.

Budget Reconciliation Process

Q. What about the Hyde Amendment, Mr. President? Joe Manchin has been pretty strong about where he stands on that. You guys have different views.

The President. Well, I think that's something that's going to have to be decided based on the whole package.

The President's Meeting With Democratic Members of Congress/The President's Legislative Agenda

Q. Mr. President, your meeting with moderates earlier—how was your meeting with moderates?

The President. [Inaudible]—what?

Q. Do you think that they're on the same page as Senator Manchin when it comes to the overall price tag?

The President. I think they're on the same page as I am. And I'm not being facetious when I say that.

The—you mean the group I met with this morning?

Q. Yes.

The President. Yes. No, I think they're on the same—they all said they're on the same page.

The question is, look, every major fundamental shift that has taken place in the American economy has seldom ever come with one single piece of legislation at the beginning.

For example—you've heard me say this before, but it's relevant—when Roosevelt passed Social Security, it didn't bear any resemblance to what it is now. And so the idea that we're going to—everything that is—gets passed is going to be the totality of what it's going to end up being remains to be seen.

And my message this morning was: Look, it's very important to establish the principle: the principle that is contained in the amendment, such as childcare, the child tax credit. Well, it may be that the child tax credit gets altered in terms of amount. But once it's put in place, even though it's only for several years, it gets harder and harder to take it out. And that's my point to people. We don't have to get everything all at once.

Public Debt Limit/Budget Reconciliation Process

Q. Mr. President, if McConnell—if Senate Minority Leader McConnell refuses to cooperate, should Senate Democrats do this by reconciliation? What happens next?

The President. Well, quite frankly, there's not many options. If they're going to be that irresponsible, there's not many options. There's not much time left to do it by reconciliation.

They can keep it on two tranches. They can keep us on the floor for hundreds of amendments. They can just delay this.

I don't think they're going to end up being that irresponsible. I can't believe it.

But thank you.

Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome H. Powell

Q. Mr. President, do you still have confidence in the Fed Chair?

The President. Sorry?

Q. Do you still have confidence in the Fed Chair? There's been a lot of trading activities going on. And do you think that the Fed is still—has maintained its integrity? In Fed Chair Powell?

The President. Well——

Q. Do you still have confidence in him? And do you——

The President. Thus far, yes. But I'm just catching up on some of these assertions you make.

Thank you.

Q. Are you going to renominate him?

Budget Reconciliation Process

Q. Mr. President, how did you persuade Senator Manchin to come up a little?

The President. Well, we've had many, many talks. And what I've asked Senator Manchin, as well as Senator Sinema, to do is decide what it is they like in the Build Back Better and then move from there. And if they like it, the particular provisions, like, for example—I'm not going to give away what either one of them said, but one of them said they very much like the child tax credit, but they'd like to see it phase out sooner than later.

I said: "Well, come up with a number. Come up with what you're for." And when they added up—each of them added up all that they think they like, it got them a higher number. But whether they settle on that remains to be seen.

Thank you all very much.

The President's Travel to Howell, Michigan/Representative Elissa B. Slotkin

Q. Mr. President, why did you go to Slotkin's district? Are you worried about her seat?

The President. Oh, no, no. I came back out because I wanted to be with the engineers. For real. But I like her a lot. She's really a star.

Thank you.

NOTE: The President spoke at 4:50 p.m. on the tarmac at the Capital Region International Airport prior to boarding Air Force One en route to Joint Base Andrews, MD.

Joseph R. Biden, Remarks in an Exchange With Reporters Prior to Departure From Lansing, Michigan Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project https://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/node/352852

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