Joe Biden

Remarks Prior to a Meeting With Governors and Mayors on Infrastructure and Jobs Legislation and an Exchange With Reporters

July 14, 2021

The President. Well, we're going to talk about infrastructure and how we're going to have to widen this room so you all can get in. [Laughter]

I want to thank you for being here, all of you, to discuss an issue that has been always bipartisan for the longest time. When I got here 180 years ago—[laughter]—it was a bipartisan issue.

Mayors and Governors, more than anyone else, knows what it means to be accountable to people, and you have to solve problems every single day in your communities. And there's no—there are no Democratic roads or Republican bridges.

And—but you know, but there are families in need of shorter commute times, safer commutes; kids need to be able to drink clean drinking water that doesn't have lead in it; and communities need to have reliable transit systems.

And we have a chance to solve these problems, a bipartisan chance to solve these problems. It would create millions of jobs, literally, not $7-an-hour jobs or even $15-an-hour jobs, but jobs of prevailing wages, making $46, $50 an hour with benefits, and you know—and a chance for America to put ourselves in a position where we can begin to win the second quarter of the 21st century, because our infrastructure, relative to the rest of the world, is moving—we're falling behind.

I found it disturbing to find out that they ask if you name—I think it was the 25 best airports in the world——

National Economic Council Director Brian C. Deese. Yes, sir.

The President. ——the United States wasn't mentioned. There wasn't a single U.S. entry.

So—but fixing the broken today is okay, but we've got to build for tomorrow. There's a lot we're going to do. And press is tired of hearing me say this because I've been talking about infrastructure for a while now. Hopefully, it won't be like the last team in here, once a week and not get anything done. [Laughter]

But we're going to get something done. And that's why I think that my Build Back Better agenda is all about not just building back, but build back better than what we inherited.

And mayors and Governors, you know how to get this done. And what we have to do, it's time to stop talking about it and time to get you the resources. But what I want to talk about today is what you need most and what you think will work the best.

And so that's what we're going to be talking about, and hopefully, we're going to get a lot done.

So thank you all for coming in.

Q. Mr. President——

Infrastructure and Jobs Legislation

Q. Do you need to do more work on the pay-fors, Mr. President? Are the pay-fors even intact?

The President. He's talking about—I went up and spoke to the Democratic Caucus today, and we put together a plan that dealt with infrastructure. And it's a bipartisan plan. I think we're in good shape. There may be some slight adjustments to the—of the pay-fors. And that's going to get down to what the Congress wants to do.

I've laid out how I think we'd pay for it. And we have an agreement. We have an agreement. There may be slight changes; I'm not sure what may happen, exactly how—but it's going to be paid for. And that's what we're going to do.

So thank you all very much.

Infrastructure and Jobs Legislation/Bipartisanship

Q. Mr. President, any concern that having two tracks here will disrupt the bipartisan agreement that was worked out?

The President. No, I think it's the only way to get it done is having those two tracks.

Thank you.

Q. Thank you, sir.

NOTE: The President spoke at 3:52 p.m. in the Roosevelt Room at the White House.

Joseph R. Biden, Remarks Prior to a Meeting With Governors and Mayors on Infrastructure and Jobs Legislation and an Exchange With Reporters Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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