Remarks by President-elect Joe Biden in Wilmington, Delaware
[As prepared for delivery]
Good afternoon. Vice President-elect Harris and I just met with a group of top business and labor leaders: Mary Barra, CEO of General Motors; Brian Cornell, CEO of Target; Satya Nadella, CEO of Microsoft; Rory Gamble, President of the UAW; Mary Kay Henry, President of SEIU; Marc Perrone, President of the UFCW; Lee Saunders, President of AFSCME; Sonia Syngal, President of GAP; Richard Trumka, President of the AFL-CIO.
I am very pleased that they all came together around the same table to advance areas of common ground. They represent different perspectives, but I'm convinced that we can all work together.
And that's what we discussed today.
We all agreed that we want to get the economy back on track. We need our workers back on the job by getting the virus under control. That requires sparing no effort to fight COVID so that we can open our businesses safely, resume our lives, and put this pandemic behind us.
They all agreed that means rallying the country behind a national strategy with robust public health measures, like mandatory masking, widely available testing with rapid results, scaled up production of life-saving treatments and therapeutics, and the safe, equitable, and free distribution of a vaccine.
It's great news that Moderna and Pfizer have come up with vaccines in excess of 90% effectiveness, but getting the vaccine and vaccination are two different issues.
They all agreed that the sooner we had access to the Administration's distribution plan, the smoother the transition would be.
And as we battle COVID, we also have to make sure that businesses and workers have the tools, resources, guidance, and health and safety standards to operate safely.
We can do that.
We can bring Democrats and Republicans together, and work with business and labor to deliver those necessary resources.
And for the millions of Americans who have lost hours or wages, or who have lost their jobs — we all agreed that we can deliver them immediate relief.
Affordable health care for millions of people who have lost it, or are in danger of losing it. Child care, sick leave, and family leave so workers don't have to choose between work and family.
We need to support small businesses and entrepreneurs that form the backbone of our communities but are teetering on the edge.
And we all agreed today on the urgent need for funding for states and cities to keep front-line and essential workers on the job and vital public services running — law enforcement officers, educators, first responders — as we did with the Recovery Act in 2009.
Right now, Congress should come together and pass a COVID relief package like the HEROES Act that the House passed.
And once we shut down the virus and deliver economic relief to workers and businesses, we can start to build back better than ever before.
Throughout the campaign I laid out my Build Back Better plan that an independent analysis put out by Moody's, a well-respected Wall Street firm, projects will create 18.6 million jobs.
For example, we can own the electric vehicle market — building 550,000 charging stations — and creating over a million good jobs here at home — with the federal government investing more in clean energy research.
It's based on a simple premise: it's time we reward hard work in America — not wealth.
We're going to have a fair tax structure that makes sure the wealthy and corporations pay their fair share.
Our plan will create millions of good-paying union jobs in manufacturing building the vehicles, products, and technologies we will need now and in the future.
From autos to our stockpiles, we are going to buy American. No government contracts will be given to companies that don't make their products here in America.
And to secure our position as a global leader in research and development, we'll invest $300 billion in the most critical and competitive new industries and technologies, creating 3 million jobs or more.
We can make sure our future is made right here in America, and that is good for business and it's good for workers.
We'll also modernize our infrastructure: roads, bridges, ports. 1.5 million new affordable housing units, high-speed broadband for every American household — which is more important than ever for remote learning, remote working, and telemedicine in the 21st century.
Build the digital infrastructure to help businesses, health care workers, first responders, and students. $100 billion to rebuild crumbling schools. Invest in HBCUs and community colleges. Retrofit 4 million buildings. Weatherize 2 million homes. Build more climate resilient cities and towns.
These investments will specifically target communities of color so we can break the cycle where in good times they lag, and in bad times they get hit first and hardest and in recovery it's toughest to bounce back.
These are the kinds of investments that will strengthen our economic competitiveness and create millions of jobs, union jobs.
And in doing so, we'll respect the dignity of work and empower the voice of workers.
You know, after my Dad lost his job in Scranton and eventually moved the family to Wilmington, he'd say, "Joey, a job is about a lot more than a paycheck. It's about dignity. Respect. Your place in the community. It's about being able to look your kid in the eye and say that everything will be ok."
When we build back better, we will do so with higher wages, including a $15 minimum wage, better benefits, and stronger collective bargaining rights that you can raise a family on.
That's how we will build back the middle class better than ever.
That's how we make sure workers are treated with the dignity and respect they deserve.
I can go on. The point is that there is so much we can do, but the only way we do any of it is if we work together. I know we can do it.
Eleven years ago, when Barack and I took office during the Great Recession and implemented the Recovery Act that saved us from another Great Depression, we didn't see a map of blue and red states. We saw the United States of America, and we didn't care whether a city or state voted for us. We worked with everyone, and we recovered and rebuilt, together as one nation.
We can do it again.
The refusal of Democrats and Republicans to cooperate with one another is not due to some mysterious force beyond our control.
It's a decision. It's a choice we make.
And if we can decide not to cooperate, then we can decide to cooperate.
And I believe that this is part of the mandate from the American people.
They want us to cooperate. They want us to deliver results.
That's the choice Kamala and I will make.
That's why I am so pleased that today we were able to bring together business and labor leaders to make that choice with us.
We're all Americans.
Let's get to work together.
God bless you all.
May God protect our troops.
Joseph R. Biden, Remarks by President-elect Joe Biden in Wilmington, Delaware Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project https://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/node/347032