Joe Biden

Remarks at Smith Flooring Incorporated in Chester, Pennsylvania

March 16, 2021

The President. As I said, they—I'm going to turn this down just a little bit.

[At this point, the President pulled down his mask.]

As I said, this is a great outfit. This is a union shop. These are people who work like the devil, and they can make a living wage, a decent wage. But 300,000 Pennsylvanians lost jobs—300,000. And in Delaware County alone—this in 2020—19,000.

And I'm not being solicitous when I say these are two of the finest Congressmen in the United States Congress in terms of getting things done. I really mean it. And you know, the American Rescue Plan is going to do more than just provide for the PPE.

And one of the things that we've done early on—they passed the CARES Act early on. And what we did—what they did was they provided for an Inspector General, an outfit to look over where the money was going to make sure that it was spent properly. And the first thing the President did: he came along; he fired the Inspector General. And we found out that only 40 percent of the people who, in fact, were small businesses got in on the deal. And they got very big businesses getting the lion's share of that money.

So when we wrote this Rescue Plan, they were part of the insisting that we have an Inspector General to make sure the money goes exactly where it's supposed to go. And so we're in a position where it's going to bring immediate relief—$1,400—to 85 percent of the American public. I said yesterday we're going to get 100 million shots in people's arms within the first 60 days of my administration and 100 million checks out—100 million people are going to be getting, not a joke, a check for $1,400, which would change their lives.

And you know so many of the people who have worked—[inaudible]—and gotten themselves laid off or there wasn't work, and you find yourself, you know, it's hard paying the rent, hard paying the childcare, hard paying for much of anything.

So I just think that—I hope that the program that we're having here—we're going to have a tax cut to help retired workers. We're in a situation where we're going to expand the Paycheck Protection Program for the folks who were initially shut out.

Initially, at the very beginning of the Paycheck Protection Program, you'd go to a big bank, they'd say: "Do you have an account with us? Have you borrowed money from us? Do you have a credit card from us?" They didn't want to deal with people who were on the short side of things. But you've really made it work. And I think you should be aware: More help is on the way, for real.

Do you have questions for me at all?

Smith Flooring Inc. President Kristin Smith. Well, we don't have any questions, but we did want to say thank you. Thank you for your being who you are. Thank you for helping the small business—small minority business. It means a lot that you're here in Chester. It means a lot that you came to see our business because, you know, although Congresswoman Scanlon and Congresswoman Houlahan, sorry—I know Congresswoman Scanlon a little more. [Laughter] Sorry. But not many people come out and stop here in Chester. And so we're just grateful. We're grateful for the things that you're doing. The President. Every time I got stopped in Chester, I lost. [Laughter] I went to school in Claymont, just across the line, Archmere Academy. And we played up here, and you'd better come prepared to play against Chester. [Laughter]

Mrs. Smith. That's true.

The President. Yes, you always came prepared to play in Chester. So a lot of my buddies are from Chester, for real, the people I grew up with.

And it's—you know, one of the things that we haven't—and we're trying like the devil to make sure to correct is: People who are hardest hit by—and the Congresswoman knows this better than I do—the hardest hit are people in the minority communities. Their—the rate at which they get COVID is significantly higher sometimes in the Latino community, Black community, four times greater, and the death rate is significantly higher.

And in the last place—and that's why we're working so hard—they're working so hard to make sure to get the vaccines in places that are not ordinarily the focus. That's why we put these vaccines in community health centers. That's why we have them in drugstores now. That's why we have mobile units.

But I'm not just saying this because we're here. They have been loud and strong voices getting this done. And it's not like it passed with a hundred votes. You know what I mean? It's—it was close.

And I want to thank you both. And everybody in this county and the next county, in Delaware County, should thank you as well.

So is there anything else we can be doing?

Mrs. Smith. We just want——

The President. How many employees at your peak?

Smith Flooring Inc. Vice President James Smith. At our peak, we're at about 20, 23 people. Our peak is summertime. We do a lot of school work, and so that's when we get our big boost.

The President. Yes.

Mr. Smith. Right now we're about 12: 12 people between people in the office, out in the field.

The President. I think it's going to allow you to bring folks back and increase your business.

Mr. Smith. And it's great that schools got funding, so now the schools are going to do some construction and—[inaudible].

The President. Yes. No, that's good. It's a big deal. It's a big deal.

Well, you both do a heck of a job.

Mrs. Smith. Thank you.

NOTE: The President spoke at 3:30 p.m. In his remarks, he referred to former President Donald J. Trump; and Glenn A. Fine, former Principal Deputy Inspector General, Department of Defense.

Joseph R. Biden, Remarks at Smith Flooring Incorporated in Chester, Pennsylvania Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

Filed Under




Simple Search of Our Archives