Joe Biden

Remarks at a Virtual Democratic National Committee Event

August 03, 2022

Thank you all. And some of you have been with me for so long, like Bill Singer and others. He's probably wondering, "What in the hell am I still doing with Biden?" But I appreciate it a bunch.

And I want to say, I—my old Scranton prejudice—Bob and Virginia McGregor—your daughter is getting married at my old grade school, St. Paul's, in Green Ridge corners in November. And my granddaughter Naomi—named after my deceased daughter—is getting married in November down here. So I hope we both have great weddings.

At any rate, look, I want to thank you all for joining us today and for your generosity. There's no way I'd be speaking to you all if you hadn't done what you did to get me elected in 2020. I see a lot of friends that have been around a long time, and Jill and I are truly grateful for your support. Know that that's not hyperbole; that's a fact.

And it's been an extraordinary few days for the Nation. On Monday, I announced that after 20 years I'd finally been—we'd finally been able to deliver to Zawahiri—Usama bin Laden's deputy, one of the principal architects of 9/11—what he deserved.

And I said at the time, I made the decision to end America's longest war—in August—in Afghanistan, and we would have been able—and that we'd be able to protect America and root out terrorism in Afghanistan or anywhere in the world without thousands and billions of dollars being spent with U.S. troops on the ground. And that's exactly what we did.

You take a look at—and most of the experts will look at this: They acknowledge that there is no concentration of any consequence of Al Qaida in Afghanistan.

They—and there's a long story, but the point is: We kept the faith with all of those who lost loved ones on 9/11. To all those who lost mothers, fathers, husbands, wives, sons, daughters, coworkers, we promised we'd never forget what happened that day, and we haven't.

And last night, after an unexplicable and inexcusable delay caused by 41 Republican Senators, we moved forward with the final passage of the PACT Act—the burns—the burn pits act—bill.

I've long said we have many obligations—I'm sorry to repeat this to you all, but I mean it in every fiber of my being—but we only have one truly sacred obligation as a Government, and that's to prepare and equip the people we send into war and take care of them and their families when they come home. And this bill is as important of a step forward towards fulfilling that sacred obligation as anything we've done.

We also saw something extraordinary in Kansas last night, as a record number of voters turned out to stand up for a woman's right to choose. Look, if there's any doubt about what's going to happen in this country after the Supreme Court's Dobbs decision, there isn't anymore. People aren't just going to vote, they're going to come out in record numbers. And they're going to vote to reclaim the rights that the extreme Supreme Court has taken away from us and said did not exist in the Constitution.

And they will never, never allow MAGA extremists in the Republican Party to pass a national ban on a woman's right to choose in America, no matter what the circumstances, which is what MAGA extremists are determined to do.

In the Dobbs decision, the majority of the Court wrote, and I quote, "Women are not without electoral or political power" in this country. End of quote. They had no idea how true that—what they said was. No kidding.

Let me tell you something: The Supreme Court and the MAGA Republicans don't have a clue about the power of women in this country. And they're soon to find—they're going to find out.

And we just passed—and by the way, we're—I am committed that we pass, legislatively, Roe v. Wade into law. That—that should be—it was there for 50 years and should remain that way.

And so anyway—and we just passed the CHIPS bill, which is a huge breakthrough that's not only going to create tens of thousands of jobs—literally tens of thousands of good-paying jobs in both constructing the facilities and—and—the jobs of making the chips—but it's going to make sure we build the next generation of semiconductor chips in America.

That will not only help us win the economic competition of the future, it's going to protect our national security as well.

And now, while it's not done, we're, hopefully, on the cusp—on the cusp—of passing the final piece of economic agenda I put forward at the start of this administration: It's called the Build Back Better Act—and now it's called the Inflation Reduction Act of 2022.

The first piece was the American Rescue Plan—I might point out—which led to the creation of a record 9 million new, good-paying jobs and a near record-low unemployment rate at 3.6 percent still.

The second piece of what we passed was the bipartisan infrastructure law, the most important commitment this Nation has made in a generation of rebuilding our Nation's roads, bridges, and modernizing our water systems to fortify an infrastructure against devastation caused by ever-intensifying and worsening extreme weather and climate crisis.

Now, the third piece: the Inflation Reduction Act. This bill goes directly to the biggest problem people feel in this nation: The rising cost of living. You know, as my dad said, "You know, everybody needs a little breathing room." When you just have to sit around the kitchen table and write out those monthly bills, you need a little bit of breathing room.

And it's the only bill that can reduce the cost of living for Americans immediately. Republicans have offered a lot of criticism, but they've offered no answers. That's because they want to issue—they want an issue; they don't want to solve a problem.

We're going to be solving the problem. And here's how we do it: by reducing the cost of prescription drugs. We do that by giving Medicare the power to negotiate lower prescription drug prices, holding down health care costs—holding it down.

We do that by extending the reduction in health care premiums for the millions of Americans that I was able to get—help through the Affordable Care Act, saving them $2,400, each family, and making the biggest and most profitable corporations just start paying their fair share.

Look, I come from the corporate State of the world. More corporations are in—are incorporated in Delaware than every other State in the Nation combined. I'm not anticorporation, but everybody has to pay a little bit. Fifty-five of these largest corporations in the country paid zero—zero—in Federal taxes while making $40 billion dollars a year in profits.

It isn't right. Everyone should have to pay their fair share. I'm not even asking to pay their whole fair share. They're going to have to put in—we're going to put in place a corporate minimum tax of 15 percent on those 50-some corporations.

By allowing—we're going to allow Medicare to negotiate prices. So we're going to be lowering the deficit. Because of that, Medicare is not going to be paying out as much money to take care of all those concerns of the elderly that are—need to be taken care of. By lowering—and it's going to lower the deficit by $300 billion a year. And that's on top of the—look, we—what people—you know, the Republicans talk about the deficit. They increased the deficit $2 trillion with the—in the tax cuts that they put it in—that Trump put in.

The first year we were in office, I reduced the deficit by $350 billion—last year—$350 billion. And guess what? This year, by the end of the fiscal year, we will have reduced the deficit an additional $1.5 trillion—hear me?—$350 billion last year and $1.5 trillion this year, and then $300 million as a consequence of Medicare not having to pay outrageous prices.

You know, any of you know anybody who has type 2 diabetes—and they need insulin—it cost them 30—or 15 bucks to make that insulin now. Fifteen bucks. They're charging up to $1,000 a month. There's no rationale for that, none whatsoever. And so we're not going to hurt anybody's access; we're just going to allow them to have to pay a rational price, a rational price where they can still make a good profit.

Look, and in addition to that, we're going to do one more thing. We're making the biggest investment in the history of America in clean energy and a clean future. We've done that, by the way, in the infrastructure bill by reducing the—by—we're dealing with remediation and a whole range of things to the tune of billions of dollars.

And we're going to invest $369 billion—hear me?—$369 billion to address the climate crisis to bring down energy—down the costs for families by about 500 bucks a year. Look, we're going to do it by providing for energy efficiency. We're going to give tax credits for energy efficiency, for appliances, weatherizing homes, tax credits for heat pumps, rooftop solar, and so much more.

That's going to—the estimates by the experts are it's going to reduce a yearly cost of energy generation for the average home by 500 bucks a year. Altogether, it's a pretty amazing record. And even our worst critics are starting to realize there's a pretty remarkable record of success over the past 2 years.

And that doesn't include what I promised: the first Black woman on the Supreme Court in the history of America, or vaccinating 220 million Americans against COVID, or the first significant new gun safety legislation in 30 years. And I want to compliment Congressman David Cicilline for getting the assault weapons ban passed in the House of Representatives. Now we need it to pass the Senate—the Senate.

But, as much as we've gotten done, there's a lot more to do. I'm not going to stop fighting to get the rest of my agenda passed—affordable and accessible childcare, elderly care, universal preschool starting at age 3, affordable housing, and more—and it saves billions of dollars and puts millions of women back to work who are qualified and were working before this.

Look, I've said it many times: I really do believe—and I'm sorry for repeating it—that we're at an inflection point in this country—matter of fact, in the world. And the questions we're facing are as fundamental as what do we stand for; what do we believe; and most importantly, what kind of country we're going to be.

That's true in everything from fundamental rights we have long taken for granted, like the right of privacy; to the benefits we've come to depend on, like Social Security and Medicare; to our very democracy. It sounds like hyperbole, but it's true.

And all of this is at risk from the extremist MAGA Republican Party that's not your father's Republican Party. We need to make clear to the country this year just how critical and fundamental the choice is between us and the MAGA Republicans.

Democrats are the—are determined to codify Roe; MAGA Republicans are determined to pass—determined to pass a national ban, even without exceptions for rape, incest, or when the mother's life is in danger. Democrats are determined to get an assault weapons ban; MAGA Republicans are determined to keep the weapons of war on the streets. And Democrats are determined to face up to the climate crisis—which they don't even acknowledge; MAGA Republicans are climate deniers.

When I tell you this—there's no limit to this MAGA extremism—you just have to take a look at the Republican Senate Campaign Committee Chairman, Senator Rick Scott of Florida. He's proposed requiring that Congress vote on Social Security—Medicare and Medicaid as well—but Social Security every 5 years. Every 5 years, it automatically comes up for reauthorization. If it's not reauthorized, it doesn't exist. So, every 5 years, Congress gets the vote to eliminate or cut Social Security.

If you think I'm kidding, he wrote down and put this plan in the public—and publicly released it. Now, I'm going to come up—I should have done this before. For the website, people who go to this, we should advertise it to you—to lay out the exact plan. He says it in—he wrote it down, handed it out.

When I spoke to 2,200 folks—labor leaders, the AFL-CIO in Philly—I put one—I put the paper on each of their seats. And when I started talking about this, you kind of see them going: "Oh, come on, Joe. Okay. " I said: "Look at your—look at the paper. Look at the pledge. Think about it." He's not even trying to hide it. It's right there in black and white.

So let me ask you something: Do you want to put Social Security, something people have paid for every paycheck their entire life, in the hands of Ted Cruz and Marjorie Taylor Greene every 5 years? You think anybody in America wants to do that? Well, that's who these guys are. We've got to make it clear that we—that—we have to advertise to let people know that.

And then there's Senator Ron Johnson of Wisconsin. He's already told us that if Republicans regain power, they're going to once again try to repeal the Affordable Care Act, denying health care insurance to anyone with a preexisting condition. How many times did they try it—40, 50? Well, they're not giving up.

Look, let me end with this. I ran for President because I believed that our democracy was literally under assault. Some of you were with me right from the beginning.

I wasn't planning on running, my word. I didn't plan on doing it after Beau passed away. But when I saw those neo-Nazis and White supremacists come out on the field in Charlottesville at night, carrying torches, in August of 2017, singing the same—chanting the same anti-Semitic bile—the same bile that was chanted in Germany in the thirties, accompanied by White supremacists. And a young woman—a young woman—was killed in the process.

And the then-President was asked, "What do you think, Mr. President?" And do you know what he said? Remember? Let's remember this. He said there were "very fine people on both sides." That's why I believe we're in the battle for the soul this Nation. That's not hyperbole, again, to use the word for the third time.

And when I saw that mob brutally attack the United States Capitol on January 6, 2021, I felt the same thing: We're in a battle for the soul this Nation. Who the hell are we? What do we believe? Our very democracy—all is still at stake. I think it's pretty clear that democracy was saved in the 2020 election because of all you've done, but the risk hasn't diminished. If anything, I believe it's grown.

We need to take the message to the country. That's why what you're doing is so important. We've got to be up in the air. We've got to be up in the air every day. We've got to be making our case.

That's why supporting the DNC is so important. We need to get the message out. We need to reach, register, and mobilize voters. We need to win up and down the ballot. We are literally in the battle for the soul of America. We need you so badly again.

I know we can do this. I've never been more optimistic about America's future than I am today. We just have to keep the faith. Keep it up. Keep those contributions coming.

You know, when I ran last time, I've never been known for being able to raise a lot of money. [Laughter] You all raised a whole lot of money for me: over $1,700,000,000, with millions of small contributions as well.

We've got to do it again. We got to let people—remind them what is at stake. Because this is not—and I'll say it again and then I'll stop—this ain't your father's Republican Party, man. This is a different breed of cat. These guys are MAGA Republicans—MAGA Republicans. We can't let them win, for our children's sake. I really believe that with every fiber of my being.

Anyway, thanks. And I'm going on too long. I'm sorry. But I can't think of anything more important right now than making sure we are in a position to win in 2022—2022 for the off-year, as well as 2024.

Thank you.

NOTE: The President spoke at 6:56 p.m. In his remarks, he referred to William S. Singer, of counsel, Kirkland and Ellis, LLP; Virginia McGregor, treasurer, Democratic National Committee, her husband Robert, and their daughter Virginia; Ayman al-Zawahiri, leader of the Al Qaida terrorist organization, who was killed in a U.S. airstrike at a safehouse in Kabul, Afghanistan, on July 31; former President Donald J. Trump; Supreme Court Associate Justice Ketanji Brown Jackson; Sen. R. Edward "Ted" Cruz; and Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene. He also referred to S. 3373; H.R. 4346; and H.R. 1808. The transcript was released by the Office of the Press Secretary on August 4.

Joseph R. Biden, Remarks at a Virtual Democratic National Committee Event Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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