Remarks at a Reception for Pennsylvania Democratic Senatorial Candidate Lieutenant Governor John K. Fetterman in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
The President. Hello, everybody. My name is Joe Biden. I'm Jill Biden's husband. [Laughter] I married a Philly girl. [Laughter] And I tell you what—she is, like most of you, a rabid, rabid, rabid Phillies fan. [Laughter] A rabid Eagles fan. And as Bobby knows, she is also rabid—she says she hates violence, but she loves hockey. [Laughter] I don't know, man. And I know one thing. Even if I didn't like Philly—I would be sleeping alone if I didn't. [Laughter]
Look, folks, you've been here a while. I'm going to try to be brief, but to the point.
You know, there's a lot more at stake in this race than merely whether a great guy becomes the next Senator—John Fetterman. If we do not maintain the Senate and the House this next election, a lot is going to change. A lot is going to change.
And we're at a point where there's not many real Republicans left. No, I mean that sincerely. I'm not joking. There are no Specters out there anymore. We disagreed, but there are no Specters. There's no folks out there who—they're—the folks running this party are the MAGA Republicans. No, I mean, for real. Not a joke. And they have a very different view about government, about the role of the Congress, the institutions we serve in, and the institutions that maintain our democracy. And that's not hyperbole; they really do. They have a different view of the world. And it's really consequential.
And a perfect example of one of those MAGA Republicans is the guy that John is running against. By the way, I have to acknowledge to you—I didn't even realize it; I couldn't believe it—but he went to high school in Delaware. [Laughter] But Delaware was smart enough to send him to New Jersey. [Laughter]
Look, you've got a great congressional delegation. And the thing that John would add most to that delegation is integrity. You never have to wonder whether he means what he says and says when he means.
And this election is not a referendum. It's a choice. It's a choice. What direction you want to see this country go in? What do you think is the—what do you think Republicans are for?
You know, I heard John say—I was sitting in the back that, you know—what is his opponent for? And he basically said he's for nothing. He's for a lot; he's for undoing everything that we have done.
You know, people didn't believe me when I started saying it. But these guys, they want to get rid of or fundamentally change Social Security and Medicare.
You have the guy in charge of the Republican Senate campaign from Florida, Scott, saying every 5 years there should be a referendum on Social Security, there should be a referendum on Medicare and Medicaid. And that is, if we don't, it comes up—it goes away unless you vote it back in place.
And then along came a Senator from Wisconsin, Johnson. And he said every 5 years is too long. He said every year there should be a referendum on these things. Not a joke.
This is—I should have brought along their pamphlets, their campaign material. They genuinely believe that. For example, the threat came from McCarthy, the Republican leader, that if I were not willing to cut Social Security by the end of this year, then, in fact, they would not pay for the national debt and they would not extend the debt ceiling, meaning, for the first time in American history, we would in fact default on a debt and our credit as a nation would be demolished.
That's the threat. Have you ever heard anybody do that before as major candidate for the Republican Party? These guys also are of the view that we should not—we pay more for drug prices for prescription drugs than any nation in the world—any major nation in the world. The same exact prescription made by the same drug company in America can cost as much as 10 times more in America than it does in other major countries.
So I was able to put together a bill that this crowd right in front of me—these guys who stand up for me—all voted for, saying that we're not going to allow any senior citizen to ever have to pay, no matter how big their drug bills are, more than $2,000 a year.
We also said the Medicare should be able to negotiate prescription drug prices with the drug manufacturers, because they're—we passed it. It passed without a single Republican vote. Without one. Not one vote.
We found ourselves—we passed the law. They said they want to make it a target. When we put together the Inflation Reduction Act, we put in money to make sure that we fix the environment, to make sure that you get tax credits for doing the things that would make it cheaper for you to live in your home by weatherizing your home, a whole range of things. And besides that, providing the money to cap the wells and cap the places—the old coal mines that are spewing methane and pay the same amount and same salary to those who dug those wells to be able to cap them.
All this they say they want to do away with. It's not what they're for. What they're for is what they're against, and they're against everything that we're for.
And by the way, Bobby Brady knows I make no apologies. I'm the most pro-union President in American history—and I mean it, and I've demonstrated it—for a simple reason: They happen to be the best employees in the world.
You know, people these—these Republicans—I spoke to the Business Roundtable, I spoke to the—all these big corporate types. And I come from the corporate State of the world, Delaware. More corporations are incorporated in Delaware than every other State in the union combined.
And guess what? The fact of the matter is that we know—they don't—they look at a worker—they look at an electrician and assume he just walked off the street and said, "I want to be an electrician." He spent 5 years as an apprentice busting his neck or her neck for the job. The most qualified workers in the world.
But they don't show any respect. These new MAGA Republicans show no respect for any of these folks, the folks we grew up with, the folks I grew up with in Claymont and Scranton.
So, folks, look, this is a consequential piece of business we're going through.
And John is right—it could get—we need 51. We need 51. We actually need 53 votes. Fifty-one guarantees the only thing that will deprive—that—just deprive the Vice President of knowing every time she votes she wins. [Laughter]
But all kidding aside, we need John badly. Not a joke. Because all of these items, all these things—we have passed more major legislation in the first year than any President in American history. That's a fact. Major legislation.
You know why they're mad? You know why that—the other three—the thing that people don't get: Why would they possibly be against what I've done in create—what we've done in creating 700,000 new manufacturing jobs in America? You know how we did that? We said we're going to buy American.
Any money I spend of yours—any money I spend—there's a provision of law back in the thirties saying "Buy American." So I made a commitment. I spend—I allocate somewhere around $700 billion of American taxpayers' money, whether it's to build a submarine or a highway or deal with healthcare. And guess what? No contract goes to anybody who isn't an American contractor and made in America. And people are really angry. But guess what? We—I came up with an idea of a thing called the CHIPS and—the CHIPS Act that we provided—and research.
We used to—we used to invest 2 percent of our GDP—2 percent—in research and development in America. Now it got 0.7 percent. We stopped investing in America. But guess what? Other countries didn't stop. From Europe to China, they didn't stop.
So we started to invest. Guess what? There's literally several hundred billion dollars now being invested in America. I was just up—no, no, no, I really mean it. In new technologies—not old tech, new technologies. Employing thousands of people, thousands of people.
And guess what? Like the Intel project in—just east of Columbus, Ohio. Guess what? Of those jobs—those 12,000 jobs—5,000 were permanent jobs. The others are construction jobs. Of those jobs, 80 percent of the people don't need more than a high school degree with some training. And the average salary is 128,000 bucks a year.
So, folks, look, we've employed in the first 10 years, because of the projects that John supports and Bobby and all the Members here, we have employed 10 million additional workers. Ten million. More than any time at all.
Unemployment is the second lowest rate in all of American history.
And, folks, look, you know, I just—we have to remind people what the Republicans are for, this new Republican Party. This is not your father's Republican Party, as I said. This a different group of people.
I've had six—and the press has heard me say this. I've had six Republican Senators that I've worked with—I was there a long time—that are still there. And I promised I would never say their names, and I will never reveal who they are. But they've come up to me individually and said: "Joe, I know you're right. But if I vote with you, I'll get primaried by the Trumpites and I'll lose. I can't do it."
We got to change this. We've got to change where we bend. And the only way we do that is, we have to win. If we lose this off-year election, we're in real trouble. America is at an inflection point. The decisions we make we make in the next 2 to 4 years are going to determine what this country looks like for the next 20 to 30 years. Not a joke.
And in foreign policy, you hear what they said today? They said that if they win, they're not likely to fund to help—continue to fund Ukraine and the Ukrainian war against the Russians. These guys don't get it. It's a lot bigger than Ukraine. It's Eastern Europe. It's NATO. It's real serious, serious, consequential outcomes. They have no sense of American foreign policy.
So, folks, look, I think—and I—you know, we've used this a lot. I've been around a year or 2, as you know. [Laughter] But I started in the Senate a long time. I was Vice President that President Obama asked to do an awful lot on the foreign policy for 8 years. I've known every major head of state for the last 20 years and known them personally.
And guess what? These guys on the other team don't get it. They don't get it that how America does is going to determine how most of the rest of the world does. Because we are—they look to us. They look to us as a leader. They look to us to determine the direction because they're not nearly as big or as powerful. But they also are still democrats—democrat with a small "d"—democratic organizations.
And, folks, you know, think about it: First G-7 meeting, meaning the largest democracies in the world—the seven of them—we meet on a regular basis. I'm going to Indonesia for the G-20, the 20 largest that are not democracies all of them. But in this one they are.
And I sat down at the first meeting in the February after I got elected. And I said to the group—I said, "America is back." And one of the heads of state looked at me, and he said: "For how long? For how long?" And then we had a discussion about whether democracy can be sustained. Not a joke.
You know, over 50 percent of the American people worry about the sustaining of American democracy. Well, the rest of the world worries about it as well. And Macron looked to me, and he said: "What would you say, Mr. President, if tomorrow you woke up and found out that a couple thousand people broke down the doors of the British Parliament, went down the road, broke down the doors of the House of Commons, and ended up—three cops dying, and threatening the lives of the—and the outcome of an election? What would you, in America, think?" And what would you think? Think about it. What would you think?
Think what happened here. The rest of the world watched a bunch of thugs attack the United States Capitol, threaten the lives of the Vice President of the United States. At the time, it was—had to call an election as it constitutionally was required. And then they come along, and they're called "patriots" and "heroes"? I mean, think about that. Did you ever think in your life something like that could happen in the United States of America?
So, folks, look, the rest of the world is looking at this election as well, both the good guys and the bad guys out there, to see what they're—see what's going to happen. We've got to win.
John has got to win. John has got to win. Because if in fact we lose this—we lose the Senate, say goodbye to lower Medicare costs. Gone. Say goodbye to a $2,000 limit on what seniors have to pay for their drugs. Gone. Say goodbye to the $35 cap on insulin, which now they get charged 30, 40 times more for that insulin.
I was in Virginia not long ago, Bobby. And a woman stands up when I'm talking in a town hall and says: "I have two children. They have type 2 diabetes. I have no insurance. I can't afford it." And I think she said the total cost, if you did both kids, if I'm not mistaken, was about 1,000 bucks a month for the insulin. It costs $10 to make—10—T-E-N. She started crying.
Imagine being—[inaudible]—about stripped to your dignity, look at your beautiful child and know you don't have enough money to assure that they'll not have serious—serious—problems physically if they don't get their insulin. So they divide it—use half doses, et cetera.
What the hell is going on? This is the United States of America, for God's sake. The United States of America.
John Fetterman—I've watched these ads going after John on law enforcement. John is the guy fighting like hell—and he'll be a vote from me—to outlaw assault weapons if we get elected.
You know how many people are killed by assault weapons? Who in God's name to have—needs to have a—the ability to fire anywhere from 30 to 200 rounds and five times the speed that come out of a regular—a regular rifle or pistol?
Folks, this is way over. And here's what we've finally done: We have finally been able to take on—take on the Business Roundtable and beat—we took on Big Pharma, and we beat them without a single Republican vote—one vote.
We took on the major utility companies who, by the way, said that if we pass what we did pass in terms of the environment, electric bills would come down across America, kicking off in next year.
So I guess what I'm saying to you is that all the things—they've laid out, honestly—and quite frankly, I don't think the press has picked it up—what they're for. They're for getting—raising the drug prices, based on what we've done. They're for lifting the cap on the cost for seniors. They're for the biggest climate—doing away with the biggest climate change law in history. And they're for—they're strongly against what even most corporations don't—aren't offended by.
The reason I worked so hard to get that cap to make sure that we're in a situation that everybody paid a little bit of their tax anyway—not to get away with it—there are 54 corporations in 2020 that made $40 billion and did not pay a single penny in income tax. Not a single penny. Not a joke. This is real.
And so we passed—with the help of the members in front of me here, we passed the 15 percent minimum tax. Well, guess what? That's only half of what they should be paying, but it paid for everything else that was in the bill.
They want to get rid of that as well. And they actually offered legislation—Scott—offered legislation that everybody should pay taxes. That means anybody who is making less than 50 grand should be paying more taxes no matter what. Raising taxes on working-class people.
Well, folks, look, we're in a place where we have an opportunity to change the Nation in a way that we haven't been able to do in a long time, to finish what we started.
We made—we've laid all the groundwork. And if we're able to win, I've never been more optimistic in my life about the prospects for this country. I mean it from the bottom of my heart—never.
And one of the reasons is, the generation under the age of 30 is the best educated, least prejudiced, most informed, and most volunteering generation in American history. No, for real. And the preference for Democrats—you know, the Democrat versus Republican—is between 58 and 60 versus 33 to 35.
And, folks—but they're looking at us. If we don't step up and do our part, they're going to get so damn cynical about what we can do. And there's nothing—nothing—beyond our capacity.
This is the United States of America, for God's sake. We're the only nation in the world that has come out of every crisis stronger than we went in. Every one. Our diversity is also our power.
So, folks, we have an enormous opportunity—an enormous opportunity. Let's not blow it. And it means we got to get out and get every single person we know to vote, vote, vote.
Last thing: I made a promise, and I've kept all my promises. But I made a promise that if we win the Senate and keep the Senate and keep the House, we're going to pass—we're going to codify Roe v. Wade.
No, no, I mean it. We're going to make it the law of the land. Because you saw what the Republicans are offering—the leadership. They say they're going to pass a national referendum—the Congress—the Court said the—this is a decision to make by the States, but the Congress can affect what the States do.
So if the United States Congress and the President were to sign a law saying, "We outlaw abortion under any circumstance," it's the law of the land under the Supreme Court ruling. We're going to do the opposite. We're going to make sure Roe v. Wade becomes the law of the land.
And, folks, you know—I'm going on too long here, I apologize—but look, if you listen to what the Court said in that decision, the author of the opinion said women have—are able to have the right to vote; if they don't like what we're doing, they can vote. I'm paraphrasing.
Well, you ain't seen nothing yet, Mr. Justice. [Laughter] Watch women vote this time. Watch.
You saw what happened in Kansas—a conservative, Republican State. Women turned out overwhelmingly to reject the law in Kansas that they had passed—they were trying to pass.
So, folks, look, we have so much potential to change so much to make the country so much better, especially as we deal with the environment.
And by the way, if you notice, remember I got fairly criticized when I was running because I did not—even though I was the first person to make—to call for legislation back in the eighties calling for environmental standards across the board, I was—"What's wrong with Biden? He's not putting forward his plan yet." Because I started off with the IBEW. I met with every major union.
And if you noticed, for the first time, every union in America is supporting—is supporting—my amendment. Every one. Because they figured out that's where the future is, that's where the jobs are, and they can do it better than anybody.
So, folks, we have enormous, enormous opportunities. And I tell you what—I want to be standing next to Big John when he wins. I want to be standing. Because, John, you have character, pal. It matters. Character matters, and you have it.
So, ladies and gentlemen, vote. Vote, vote, vote! And get people to vote. This is critical. Thank you very much.
NOTE: The President spoke at 6:45 p.m. at the Union Trust event space. In his remarks, he referred to Sen. Robert P. Casey, Jr.; Pennsylvania Republican senatorial candidate Mehmet Oz; former Rep. Robert A. Brady; House Minority Leader Kevin O. McCarthy; President Emmanuel Macron of France; former Vice President Michael R. Pence; Midlothian, VA, resident Shannon Davis and her sons Joshua and Jackson; and Supreme Court Associate Justice Samuel A. Alito, Jr. The transcript was released by the Office of the Press Secretary on October 21. Audio was not available for verification of the content of these remarks.
Joseph R. Biden, Remarks at a Reception for Pennsylvania Democratic Senatorial Candidate Lieutenant Governor John K. Fetterman in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project https://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/node/358478