Joe Biden

Remarks Prior to a Meeting With the Infrastructure Implementation Task Force

January 20, 2022

The President. Well, let me start by, first, saying a few words about Russia and Ukraine.


I've been absolutely clear with President Putin. He has no misunderstanding. If any—any—assembled Russian units move across the Ukrainian border, that is an invasion. But—and it would be met with severe and coordinated economic response that I've discussed in detail with our allies, as well as laid out very clearly for President Putin.

But there is no doubt—let there be no doubt at all—that if Putin makes this choice, Russia will pay a heavy price.

It is also not the only scenario we need to be prepared for: Russia has a long history of using measures other than overt military action to carry out aggression and paramilitary tactics, so-called "gray zone" attacks, and actions by Russian soldiers not wearing Russian uniforms.

Remember when they moved into the Donbas with the "little green men"? They weren't—they were dealing with those who were Russian sympathizers and said that Russia had no—nobody in there. Well, that includes "little green men" in uniforms, as well as cyber attack.

We have to be ready to respond to these as well—and decisively—in a united way, with a range of tools at our disposal. The Ukrainian Foreign Minister said this morning that he's confident of our support and resolve. And he has a right to be.

Now let me turn to the topic of the day.

Meeting With the Infrastructure Implementation Task Force

By enacting the bipartisan infrastructure law, we've demonstrated that Democrats and Republicans can actually work together to get something done. And by implementing it efficiently and effectively, we're going to demonstrate that Government also can work for people efficiently and effectively.

In just 2 months, the investments are underway to modernize our roads, our bridges, our ports, our airports, our rail, delivering high-speed internet and clean water—and expand and modernize, as I said, rail—as well as strengthening the energy grid. And the list goes on.

Up until now, our Nation has never fully made this kind of investment. In part—just the reason why we've had the whole problem with regard to supply chains.

But when we start moving stuff faster through our ports, when bridges don't have weight restrictions, when there's less traffic on our roads because there are more roads to travel on and people aren't backed up bumper to bumper and more capacity in our rails, that's how we resolve the supply chain problems and get goods to people and get them to them quicker and cheaper.

And I know you've been all over the country, Mr. Mayor—former mayor, and my buddy—meeting with mayors and Governors, county commissioners, Tribal leaders. And I—and like I did with the Recovery Act, which was a similar kind of operation. Because we need to stay on top of it.

I know you remember, Marty, as mayor, what it was like and how detail really matters. And so the detail matters, execution matters. And I'm looking forward to an update on where we are now and where we're going from here.

So thank you very much. And I'm going to turn it over to the guy who I asked to come out of retirement—[laughter]—not really retirement, but come and take over this gigantic job for me.

Senior Adviser and Infrastructure Act Implementation Coordinator Mitchell J. Landrieu. Mr. President, thank you so much. I'm honored. And thank you for having me.

You asked us to rebuild America with the largest infrastructure investment in generations in the country. And this is the team, Mr. President, that you put together that has been, in the last 60 days, hitting the ground and getting things done.

[At this point, Coordinator Landrieu continued his remarks, concluding as follows.]

And so, Mr. President, this is your team. We're hard at work. We're ready to get the job done. And we're ready to continue to do the work that we've done in the last 60 days. So thank you so much.

The President. Okay. Well, let's get to work.

NOTE: The President spoke at 11:21 a.m. in the Cabinet Room at the White House. In his remarks, he referred to Minister of Foreign Affairs Dmytro Kuleba of Ukraine; and Secretary of Labor Martin J. Walsh, in his capacity as former mayor of Boston, MA.

Joseph R. Biden, Remarks Prior to a Meeting With the Infrastructure Implementation Task Force Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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