Remarks by Vice President Joe Biden in Erie, Pennsylvania
As prepared for delivery.
Thank you, Mr. Mayor, County Council President Horton, and all the local elected leaders who are joining us here today.
Thank you, Julie Slomski.
We need to turn out strong support for Democrats up and down the ticket, so let's make sure to send Julie to the Pennsylvania Senate.
Thank you to President McManus for coming out, and to everyone at the UA for hosting us at this incredible training facility.
I'm so grateful to have earned the UA's endorsement — and to have 355,000 proud plumbers, pipefitters, and more behind me.
I also want to thank Rick for sharing his story with us today—and for being part of our convention this year where he shared his story with America.
Farmers all across this country have been gutted by President Trump's broken promises and reckless trade war.
But our farmers — just like our union members, and anyone who actually does an honest day's work in this country — see him and his promises for what they are.
Rick, I think you put it best in the op-ed you wrote last year: it's a bunch of "hot air into the cold wind."
Folks, this is it. The election is here.
The choice couldn't be clearer, or the stakes any higher.
So many Pennsylvanians are facing hard times right now.
After my debate in Cleveland last week, I took a train from Northeastern Ohio and into Pittsburgh, Greensburg, LaTrobe, and Johnstown.
I heard the same story I've been hearing around the country.
You're trying your best, but it never feels like it's enough.
You're not looking a handout — you just want a fair chance.
That's how my dad felt when he couldn't find work in Scranton.
I moved in with my grandparents until he found work again.
We ended up in Claymont, Delaware — then Wilmington, where he got a sales job.
He worked hard to build a decent middle-class life. It wasn't easy for him.
But he had an expression — "Joey, I don't expect the government to solve my problems. But I expect it to understand my problems."
Americans deserve a President who understands what they're going through.
You're facing real challenges right now. The last thing you need is a President who exacerbates them.
More than 210,000 Americans are dead — we lose anywhere from 700 to 1,000 more every day.
The President was told a little while ago that 1,000 people are dying every day and he said, "it is what it is."
Well, it is what it is because he is who he is.
More than 7.5 million Americans have been infected and counting, with 175,000 cases right here in Pennsylvania.
My heart goes out to all those families who have an empty chair around the dinner table tonight where their loved one should be.
And my heart goes out to everyone struggling in the economic crisis caused by the neglect — simple neglect of this President.
Nearly 11 million jobs lost since the beginning of the crisis have still not come back — temporary layoffs turned permanent.
We're still down 647,000 manufacturing jobs nationwide since the crisis started — more than 40,000 of those jobs here in Pennsylvania.
The Trump presidency will be the first presidency in modern American history to leave office with fewer jobs than when it began.
And President Trump is leaving us a "K-shaped" recession, where those at the top keep going up, while everyone in the middle and below are seeing things get worse.
It means that essential workers who have sacrificed to keep us going through the pandemic are being left behind by the most unequal recovery in modern history.
It means that while the top 100 billionaires in America have done pretty well, they're up more than $300 billion this year — you get the bottom half of that K-shape. The downward slide.
Because the fact is, President Trump can only see the world from Park Avenue.
I see the world from Scranton. From Erie. And that's who my Build Back Better agenda is for.
An independent analysis put out by the highly respected financial experts at Moody's, a Wall Street firm, projects that my plan will create 18.6 million jobs — 7 million more jobs than the President's economic plan and $1 trillion more in economic growth than the President's plan.
Here's how my plan works: I'm not going to raise taxes on anyone who makes less than $400,000 a year — you won't pay a penny more.
But I'll ask big corporations and the wealthy to begin to pay their fair share.
91 corporations, billionaires paying a tax rate lower than most of you in this room.
The money we raise will allow us to invest in working people and grow the middle class and make sure everyone is included in the deal.
My plan is about making the kinds of investments that will stimulate the economy, to get us back to full employment fast and help us build back better than before.
We'll create millions of good paying jobs, union jobs in manufacturing and technology,
making sure our future is Made in America.
In infrastructure — building airports, schools, affordable housing. Upgrading our water pipes, making sure it's sustainable and resilient, built and laid down by union plumbers and pipefitters here in Pennsylvania and across the country.
In clean energy: upgrading 4 million buildings and weatherizing 2 million homes will create at least one million good paying jobs, union jobs to be filled by men and women like the members of this local.
Donald Trump hears the words climate change and thinks: "hoax."
I hear climate change and think: "jobs."
And let me be clear—no matter how many lies Donald Trump tells — I am not banning fracking. Period.
We'll also increase incomes. A $15 minimum wage. And we'll ease the burden of the major costs in your life.
Instead of trying to tear down the Affordable Care Act, we'll build on it — adding a new health insurance option — a not-for-profit public option — which will give private insurers a real competitor.
We'll increase subsidies so your premiums are lower, and you can afford plans with lower deductibles and lower out-of-pocket spending.
And we'll take on pharmaceutical companies with a plan that slashes the cost of prescription drugs by 60 percent.
We'll work with states to ensure that every 3 and 4-year-old will get access to free, high-quality preschool.
And we'll make sure that low- and middle-income families will never have to spend more than 7 percent of their income on care for young children.
We'll make four years of public colleges and universities tuition-free for families making less than $125,000 a year.
And when Erie gets that first new community college to open in Pennsylvania in 27 years,
I'll make sure that it's free for all hard-working individuals.
If you're buying your first home, you'll have a tax credit up to $15,000 to help you get there.
And we will protect Social Security, and increase benefits for millions of seniors so Americans can retire with dignity and respect.
But if we're going to get anything done — we've got to come together.
And we're going to have to vote like we've never voted before.
Early vote is open here in Pennsylvania — so vote early if you can. Go to IWillVote.com/PA to find out when and where you can vote early.
And if you requested a mail-in ballot, return it as soon as possible — and make sure you seal-it first in the secrecy envelope, and sign the declaration on the outside envelope before you return it.
As I said earlier this week on the sacred ground of Gettysburg: I'm running as a proud Democrat, but I'll govern as an American president.
I'll work as hard for those who don't support me, as for those who do.
And I'm so proud in this campaign to have earned the support of so many proud and patriotic Republicans — including Pennsylvania's former Governor and former Secretary of Homeland Security Tom Ridge.
We may not agree on everything, but we agree that this is a moment to put country above party.
Because after all this country has been through, after all that America has accomplished, after all the years we have stood as a beacon of light to the world, it cannot be that here and now, in 2020, we will allow a government of the people, by the people, and for the people to perish from this earth.
We can be better than what we've seen. We can be what we are at our best — the United States of America.
God bless you.
May God protect our troops.
Joseph R. Biden, Remarks by Vice President Joe Biden in Erie, Pennsylvania Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project https://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/node/345124