Photo of Joe Biden

Remarks by Vice President Joe Biden in Las Vegas, Nevada

October 09, 2020

As prepared for delivery.

Hello, Las Vegas!

Governor Sisolak, Senator Rosen, Representatives Titus, Lee, and Horsford — thank you for the passport to your great state.

Thanks to Principal Ryan Cordia here at Southeast Career Technical Academy for hosting. I know you wish your students could be here in person. Thanks for all you and your staff are doing during this challenging time.

And thank you, Alejandro, for that introduction. I know times are tough, especially for folks working in hospitality. Even before the pandemic and recession, you still had to work two jobs.

Now, it's one and you're just trying to do right by your family.

Just like so many people across this country.

I was just at the East Las Vegas Community Center with Assemblyman Edgar Flores. The son of Mexican immigrants, born and raised here in Las Vegas, became a lawyer to fight the rights of immigrants and workers.

We met with a group of Latino leaders, who fight for the respect and dignity we are all entitled to, no matter who we are or where we're from.

Yesterday, I was with Kamala Harris in Arizona after her outstanding debate.

I couldn't be prouder to be running alongside her. She is always looking out for the people, for you.

We took a tour through Phoenix, met with workers, small business owners, and tribal leaders.

Met with Cindy McCain, the widow of my dear friend, an American hero, John McCain.

We saw the resilience, the goodness, the decency of the American people.

You're not looking for a hand out. You just want a fair chance. That's how my Dad felt when he lost his job in Scranton, Pennsylvania.

I moved in with my Grandparents until he found work again. We ended up in Claymont, Delaware, then Wilmington, where he finally got a job and could afford to buy a small home.

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."

Folks, you deserve a President who understands what you're going through; who sees where you are and where you want to be.

The last thing you need is a President who ignores you, looks down at you, who just doesn't understand you.

Like President Trump.

His reckless personal conduct since his diagnosis, the destabilizing effect it's having on our government, is unconscionable.

He didn't take necessary precautions to protect himself and others.

And the longer Donald Trump is president, the more reckless he gets.

How can we trust him to protect the country?

Governor, you've seen how he picks fights with states and pits them against each other. Look what's happened.

More than 210,000 Americans are dead. And nearly 420,000 have been hospitalized. We lose anywhere from 700 to 1,000 more every day.

More than 7.5 million Americans have been infected, and counting.

Here in Nevada, there have been more than 82,000 cases in total.

More than 1,600 deaths — 80% of deaths have been for seniors 60 years of age and older.

Black, Latino, Asian American, and Native American communities are especially hit hard.

Nationally, the infection rate among Latino's is almost three times higher than among white, non-Latinos. The death rate is three times higher.

More than 40,000 Latinos have died from COVID-19.

My heart goes out to all those families who have an empty chair around the dinner table tonight where their loved one should be.

You and I — we are all about family. Losing a family member is like losing a part of your soul. We can do so much better.

And my heart goes out to everyone struggling in the economic crisis caused by the neglect – the simple neglect of this President.

Nearly 11 million jobs lost since the beginning of the crisis have still not come back—including 136,000 jobs here in Nevada.

Temporary layoffs turned permanent.

Record growth last month in the number of Americans facing long-term unemployment.

All told, there are now 30 million workers who have either lost hours, lost paychecks, or lost their jobs entirely.

Roughly 700,000 people dropped out of the labor force last month. The vast majority were women.

We're still down 647,000 manufacturing jobs nationwide since the crisis started.

Here in Nevada, the unemployment rate is 13.2%, the highest in the nation because of President Trump's negligence.

And the hospitality industry has been hard hit. The Culinary Union has recently said publicly that 50% of their members are still out of work.

Tourism in June was down 70% from a year ago. The result?

The Trump presidency will be the first presidency in modern American history to leave office with fewer jobs than when it began.

Here in Nevada, after seeing over 200,000 jobs created in the last seven years of the Obama-Biden Administration, Nevada has seen jobs actually go down under the Trump presidency.

And he's 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 the top 100 billionaires in America have done pretty well.

They're up more than $300 billion this year.

But you get the bottom half of that K-shape. The downward slide.

You're left to figure out how you're going to pay the bills and put food on the table.

How to balance doing your job with being a teacher to your kids because their school has gone remote.

You're asked to risk your neck because you can't work from home, where the risks of COVID are kept outside.

That's because you're a police officer, firefighter, or nurse. Or you work on the assembly line, in customer service, at the checkout counter.

Or here in Las Vegas in hospitality, if you're a housekeeper, or casino worker, convention worker who built this very stage.

Governor Sisolak, your members of Congress — they are doing everything they can to help turn things around for you.

Governor, you've been focused and responsible. Followed science and put public health and safety first. Made tough calls that saved lives. Working around the clock so we can reopen schools and the economy safely.

Your members of Congress are doing the same.

The House passed the HEROES Act months ago, which would have provided billions of dollars to help states keep first responders on the job by safety measures, PPE, opening up our schools and businesses — but Donald Trump and Mitch McConnell did nothing to move the legislation.

Nothing in June. Nothing in July. Nothing in August. Nothing in September.

Things getting worse and worse and worse.

And as people struggled and suffered, what did they focus on? More tax cuts for the wealthy.

$30 Billion dollars for millionaires and billionaires — Cuts in funding.

Cutting the means by which we fund the Social Security system. And a relentless effort to eliminate the Affordable Care Act which provided health coverage for 22 million people – and over 100 million people with preexisting conditions.

And this is going on while at the same time, 10 million people have lost their health insurance because their companies have gone bankrupt. It's unconscionable.

And instead of focusing on your needs — he's still trying to take your health care away.

He's asking the Supreme Court right now to strike down the entire Affordable Care Act.

To take away health care coverage for 20 million Americans.

That's 282,000 Nevadans.

To take away federal protections for preexisting conditions for more than 100 million people. That's about 1.2 million Nevadans.

And complications from COVID-19, like lung scarring and heart damage, could well become the next pre-existing condition.

Striking down the Affordable Care Act would toss out the rule that allows children to be covered on their parents' health care until the age of 26.

Take us backward when insurance companies could charge a woman more for her health care than a man — just because she's a woman.

Take away Medicare benefits for seniors and increase their prescription drug costs — just as he's vowed to "terminate' the funding source for Social Security.

An idea that, in just a few years, could put at risk the Social Security benefits more than 410,000 Nevadans rely on for a dignified retirement.

And all this time, not once did President Trump call a high level meeting with Democrats and Republicans to the White House to resolve these issues.

He spent too much time in the bunker in the White House or in the bunker of his golf course.

Then on this Tuesday, he walked away from the negotiations.

And now today they say he's back at the table.

One thing's for sure: Donald Trump shows no urgency to deliver for hard working Americans like the family I grew up in and all of you.

We're exactly two months since the emergency small business program closed up.

Two months of small businesses owners in Nevada and across the country, waiting and hoping for just that little bit of extra help.

More than 400,000 small businesses have permanently closed nationwide. Millions more are struggling to hang on.

How many more will go under, how many more dreams will be extinguished, because of the selfishness of this President and the Republican leaders in the Congress?

Make no mistake: if you are out of work, if your business is closed, if your child's school is shut down, if you're facing eviction as millions of Americans are, over 20 million Americans worry about whether they can pay their mortgage payment next month, none of that matters to Donald Trump.

If you're a firefighter, or police officer who depends on state and local budgets, he's turned his back on you.

When Barack and I were elected and inherited the worst recession short of the Great Depression in American history.

He put me in charge of the Recovery Act, over $800 billion dollars needed to get out to save our economy within 18 months.

We did it with less than two tenths of waste or fraud.

And I was able to see to it that states, in order to keep moving, received over $140 billion in aid.

Right here in Clark County, I was able to bring in $1.2 Billion dollars to keep your economy going.

We started the longest sustained recovery in American history.

But you know what Mitch McConnell said about helping the states? He said, "let them go bankrupt."

Folks, we are better than this. We can turn this crisis into progress. We can contain the virus to fully reopen our economy.

If we just follow the science. Expand testing and tracing. Social distance. Wash hands. Implement nationwide mask mandates.

Don't politicize the race for a vaccine. And have a plan for its safe and equitable distribution.

On the economy, bring Congress together to pass real relief.

And then implement a comprehensive agenda that I've laid out that makes bold investments so we can Build Back Better.

An independent analysis put out by 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 pay their fair share.

The money we raise will allow us to invest in working people and growing the middle class and make sure everyone is included in the deal.

The kinds of investments that will stimulate the economy, including in industries like tourism and hospitality, to get us back to full employment fast and help us build back better than before.

That means creating millions of good paying jobs, union jobs.

In manufacturing and technology, making sure our future is Made in America.

In infrastructure, building roads, bridges, highways, ports and airports.

In clean energy, upgrading 4 million buildings and weatherizing 2 million homes, creating at least one million good paying jobs and saving hundreds of millions of barrels of oil.

We'll deal with climate change by creating millions of union jobs that build up the climate resilience of our cities and towns fighting back stronger and more frequent wildfires, heat waves, droughts, hurricanes, and floods.

Under my plan, small businesses can come out the other side of this crisis with access to capital and the ability to deal with their debts.

We'll get $50 billion in new capital, especially for minority-owned small businesses, and we'll make another $100 billion in low-interest loans available to these businesses.

We'll also increase incomes. A $15 minimum wage.

For our essential workers, we're not just going to praise you, we're going to pay you a good wage

and ensure you have strong benefits. And we'll ease the burden of the major costs in your life.

We'll build on the Affordable Care Act by 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 also make high-quality child care affordable and accessible.

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.

Because if we truly want to reward work in this country, we have to ease the financial burden of care that families are carrying raising their kids and caring for an aging loved one.

And the professional caregivers out there — home health workers, child care workers, who are more often women, women of color, and immigrants — are too often underpaid, unseen, and undervalued.

That's why my Build Back better plan will elevate the compensation, benefits, and dignity of caregiving workers and early childhood educators.

We'll also triple funding for Title I schools like this one, which serve the highest number of children from low-income families.

We'll make four years of public colleges and universities tuition-free for families making less than $125,000 a year, and we'll make community colleges and job training programs 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.

The fact is, President Trump can only see the world from Park Avenue.

He thinks that Wall Street built this country, but I see the world from where I grew up in Scranton, Pennsylvania - from communities like this one.

I know that middle class, working people built this country, and I measure our economic success by what your families are talking about around your kitchen table.

Being able to look your kids in the eye and say, "honey, everything will be okay"—and meaning it.

But if we're going to get anything done, we've got to come together.

As I said earlier this week in 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.

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.

And folks, we have in our hands the ultimate power: the power of the vote.

And here in Nevada, the best thing you can do is vote early and return your ballot quickly.

Ballots here in Clark County were mailed two days ago on Wednesday.

You can return your ballot by mail or drop it off at a drop-box, or vote in person during Early Vote or on Election Day.

Just make a plan. Visit iwillvote.com/NV.

Don't risk any delays—return that mail-in ballot as soon as you can, and make sure your voice is heard.

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 Biden, Remarks by Vice President Joe Biden in Las Vegas, Nevada Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project https://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/node/345129

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