Remarks on the National Economy and an Exchange With Reporters
The President. Good morning, everyone. It is a good morning. [Laughter] It's a good morning. As we get prepared to celebrate Independence Day, today's job news brought us something else to celebrate. This morning we learned that, in June, our economy created 850,000 jobs. Eight hundred and fifty thousand jobs. Wages went up for American workers.
Since I took office, our recovery [economy]* has created an average of 600,000 dollar—six—"dollars." [Laughter] I wish they—they probably wish there was 600,000 jobs that paid $600,000 a year. But 600,000 jobs per month. We have now created over 3 million jobs since I took office, more jobs than have ever been created in the first 5 months of any Presidency in modern history, thanks to the incredible work of the entire team.
This is historic progress, pulling our economy out of the worst crisis in a hundred years, driven in part by our dramatic progress in vaccinating our Nation and beating back the pandemic, as well as other elements of the American Rescue Plan.
Today, the U.S. is the only major advanced economy where the OECD projections of future output are higher today than they were in January 2020, before the pandemic hit. And America was ranked first in Bloomberg's "COVID Resilience Ranking." None of this happened by accident. Again, it's a direct result of the American Rescue Plan. And at the time, people questioned whether or not we should do that, even though we didn't have bipartisan support. Well, it worked.
In February, the Congressional Budget Office projected 2021 economic growth would be 3.7 percent. Yesterday they doubled that number to 7.4 percent, in large part thanks to the American Rescue Plan and our work to defeat the virus.
The last time the economy grew at this rate was in 1984, and Ronald Reagan was telling us it's "morning in America." Well, it's getting close to afternoon here. The sun is coming out. At the time, the CBO revised their long-run deficit projections down as a share of GDP they—as they just have done.
So the American Rescue Plan is strengthening our financial position, and it grows our economy. It's continuing to grow our economy. And the strength of our recovery is helping us flip the script.
Instead of workers competing with each other for jobs that are scarce, employers are competing with each other to attract workers. That kind of competition in the market doesn't just give workers more ability to earn higher wages, it also gives them the power to demand to be treated with dignity and respect in the workplace.
More jobs, better wages, that's a good combination. Put simply: Our economy is on the move, and we have COVID-19 on the run. Yes, we have more work to do to get America vaccinated and everyone back to work. We're aiming for full employment, and that means keeping our pace on jobs growth, including for Black, Hispanic, and Asian workers.
But this progress is testament to our commitment to grow this economy from the bottom up and the middle out. The American Rescue Plan provided resources to get shots in people's arms and checks in people's pockets. Schools—schools are struggling to reopen so we made vaccinating teachers a priority, getting schools much-needed support. In March, we've added—just in the month of [since]* March, we added 364,000 education jobs and roles. Small businesses and restaurants were getting crushed. Now we're delivering the loans and support they need to reopen and to stay open.
This morning we've learned that jobs in some hard-hit sectors—such as restaurants, hotels, amusement parks—were up by 343,000 last month; over 1.5 million over the past 5 months. And more help is on the way to give families just a little bit more breathing room.
Starting this month, families are going to receiving one of the largest ever, single-year tax cuts that middle class families have ever received, and it's called the childcare tax credit. And here's how it works: In the past, if you paid taxes and had a good income, you could deduct $2,000 per child, and that would come off the total amount of taxes you owe. If you had two children, you owed $10,000; you take off $4,000.
In the American Rescue Plan, we expanded that. Now a parent would get $3,600 for each child under the age of 6 and $3,000 for dependents they had between the ages of 6 and 17. So instead of just being a credit against your taxes you owe, it's now a fully refundable credit, half of which will get paid out in monthly basis.
Look, what that means is: This year, middle class families with two young children can expect to get—receive a—$7,200 in a rebate, in effect—a tax return—with the monthly payments of $600 a month starting this month, until it's paid out. Eight out of every ten families who use direct deposit will get their refunds. They'll be able to get a monthly payment on the 15th of every month from now until the end of the year, so they get that paid out. Help with families most need it—most need help to make ends meet. It's important.
And I've said it for a long time: It's time to give ordinary folks, ordinary Americans, middle class and working class Americans a tax break. This is the type of tax cut that can help our economy because it will go to families who are going to spend it.
It will also help lead a historic reduction in child poverty—excuse me——
[At this point, the President took a drink of water.]
——historic reduction in child poverty, which would have long-term benefits for our economy.
And we're delivering $39 billion to help childcare providers serve more families, to help parents, particularly women, get back to work. Last month, our economy added nearly 25,000 childcare jobs. Again, none of this happened by accident. We're providing—proving to the naysayers and the doubters that they were wrong.
None of this is guaranteed to continue, though, unless we finish our work. Now is the time to accelerate the progress we've been making. Now is the time to build in long-term foundation that we've laid and build it in for a long term. Economists of all stripes agree that my plan will create good jobs and drastically strengthen our economy in the long run.
So we have to continue to make the investments that will allow our economy to build back better and deal everyone in. We took a significant step in that direction last week when the bipartisan group of Senators forged an agreement with me to move forward on key portions of my American Jobs Plan.
It was—I just in Wisconsin, where I highlighted how this agreement is going to pave the way for a generational investment to modernize our infrastructure; create millions of jobs, according to the experts; and what that will mean an ever—and it won't just be in the center cities. It will be every corner of the State and our Nation.
We're going to create jobs repairing roads and bridges, replacing a hundred percent of our Nation's lead water pipes, making our power grid more reliable, delivering high-speed internet to every American home, rural and urban. We're going to put people to work building a nationwide electric vehicle charging network, transitioning from diesel school buses and transit buses to electric buses, and bringing in world-class rail service to more Americans by reducing—and, in the process, reduce our carbon footprint.
For example, when I was up in Wisconsin, I said—I pointed out—the Governor was there. I said, "Gov, I know it takes"—or I don't know how many people—a couple hundred people, I guess, in the audience. I said: "It takes, they tell me, 4½ hours to drive from here to Chicago. With the money we have in—for mass transit here, we—you're going to be able to do that in 2½ hours." And all the data shows that when it's easier to get someplace by rail than by automobile, it's cheaper, and it generates a whole lot less carbon footprint.
We're going to create good-paying union jobs capping hundreds of thousands of abandoned oil and gas wells to stop methane leaks, which are devastating, and to protect the health of our communities. These are good jobs. Taken together, these investments are going to position America to compete with the world and win the 21st century.
You know, as we bring home key parts of my American Jobs Plan, I'm going to make the case for equally critical investments that we still need, including those in which I introduced at the same time: my Americans' Family Plan.
When I was running for President, I put together a bold, aggressive plan to deliver childcare, paid leave, universal pre-K for 3- and 4-year-olds, free community college. Maybe the most important among them was extending the expanded childcare tax credit I just mentioned for another 5 years, which will significantly benefit middle class and working class families.
That human infrastructure is as essential as our physical infrastructure. It's going to help us create more good jobs, ease the burden on working families, and strengthen our economy—strengthen it in the long run.
These investments are critical. And as the plans I put forward tackle our climate crisis, which are broad and deep, I'm going to fight to see them enacted and signed into law. We have a chance to seize this economic momentum of the first months of my administration, not just to build back, but as I've been saying, "build back better."
This is much already—this much is already clear: We're on track, and we're on the right track. Our plan is working. And we're not going to let up now.
So I want to thank everyone. I wish you all a happy Fourth of July. We're going to be able to go to ballgames. You're going to be able to sit in the stadiums. You're going to be able to be with your families in backyard barbeques, as we hoped. And we're going to make more progress.
So God bless America, and may God protect our troops.
Q. Mr. President——
U.S. Troop Drawdown in Afghanistan/Reconciliation Efforts
Q. Could you talk to us about Afghanistan? Is the drawdown going to be done in the next few days?
The President. No.
The President. No, we're on—we're on track exactly as to where we expected to be. But we just—I wanted to make sure there was enough, quote, "running room" that we could get—wouldn't be able to do it all until September. There will still be some forces left. But it's a rational drawdown with our allies, and it's making—so there's nothing unusual about it.
Q. Are you concerned that——
Q. Are you worried that the Afghan Government might fall? I mean, we are hearing about how the Taliban is taking more and more districts.
The President. Look, we were in that war for 20 years. Twenty years. And I think—I met with the Afghan Government here in the White House, in the Oval. I think they have the capacity to be able to sustain the government. There are going to have to be, down the road, more negotiations, I suspect. But I am concerned that they deal with the internal issues that they have to be able to generate the kind of support they need nationwide to maintain the Government.
U.S. Military Support Role in Afghanistan
Q. A follow on that thought on Afghanistan——
The President. I want to talk about happy things, man. [Laughter]
Q. If there is evidence that Kabul is threatened, which some of the intelligence reports have suggested it could be in 6 months or thereabout, do you think you've got the capability to help provide any kind of air support, military support to them to keep the capital safe, even if the U.S. troops are obviously fully out by that time?
The President. We have worked out an over-the-horizon capacity that we can be value added, but the Afghans are going to have to be able to do it themselves with the Air Force they have, which we're helping them maintain.
Q. Sir, on Afghanistan——
The President. I'm not going to answer any more quick questions on Afghanistan.
Q. Are you concerned——
The President. Look, it's Fourth of July.
National Economy/Coronavirus Containment Efforts
Q. On the economy——
Q. Are you concerned about Fourth of July gatherings——
The President. I'm concerned that you guys are asking me questions that I'll answer next week. But I'm—this is a holiday weekend. I'm going to celebrate it. There is great things happening.
The economy is growing faster than any time in 40 years. We've got a record number of new jobs. COVID deaths are down 90 percent. Wages are up faster than any time in 15 years. We're bringing out—bringing our troops home. We have—all across America, people are going to ballgames and doing good things. This is a good—I'll be—I'll answer all your negative questions—not negative—your legitimate question.
Coronavirus Containment Efforts/Coronavirus Variant Strains/National Vaccination Efforts
Q. But with the gatherings, are you concerned that there is a potential, this weekend, in places where vaccination levels are not particularly high, that there will be new COVID outbreaks in various regions of the country?
The President. I am concerned that people who have not gotten vaccinated have the capacity to catch the variant and spread the variant to other people who have not been vaccinated.
I am not concerned there is going to be a major outbreak, in other words, that we're going to have another epidemic nationwide, but I am concerned lives will be lost. And I was even reading today there's some speculation and some judgment that's coming out that you may be able to even communicate the vaccine—the new variant to your pets.
So I say, not totally facetiously, for those of you who haven't been vaccinated because you don't—you don't think it's—you want to go through it: It doesn't hurt, it's accessible, it's free, it's available. And not only—don't think about yourself; think about your family. Think about those around you. That's what we should be thinking about today.
The Fourth of July this year is different than the Fourth of July last year. And it's going to be better next year.
Thank you all.
The President's Agenda
Q. Mr. President, do you think that Congress will enact your plans? Are you confident——
The President. Yes.
Q. ——that you're going to get it done? [Laughter] Come on.
The President. Come on, guys. Am I confident—are you—have you ever been confident about anything with guarantee? Who wants to put money on anything that Congress is going to do? Look, folks, this is a process. This is a process.
I love you guys, but it's a process. And I don't—you want me to say, "Yes, I'm absolutely certain." Well, are you absolutely certain this new commission is going to work, investigating what happened on the 6th? Are you guys confident that Republicans are going to participate?
Look, all I know—only thing I know what to do—and I really mean this—is do my best to lay out what I think the country has to do, try to be as persuasive as I can, and hope. And thus far, you know, it's—you know, it seems to be working a little bit. So thank you.
Q. Mr. President, Mr. President, do you think it's fair that the Olympic runner——
NOTE: The President spoke at 10:50 a.m. in the South Court Auditorium of the Dwight D. Eisenhower Executive Office Building. In his remarks, he referred to Gov. Anthony S. Evers of Wisconsin.
* White House correction.
Joseph R. Biden, Remarks on the National Economy and an Exchange With Reporters Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project https://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/node/350654