Joe Biden

Remarks at a Virtual Fundraiser for Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms of Atlanta, Georgia

March 26, 2021

[The President spoke via video conference from his residence in Wilmington, Delaware.]

Well, look, Mayor—can you hear me now? I truly apologize to everybody, especially on a Friday afternoon, as the mayor said.

I want to thank the mayor for her leadership, and more importantly, I want to thank her for her friendship. And for everyone on this call, you should know that Keisha endorsed me, as I said, very early in my campaign, back when most folks didn't think I had a chance. She stuck with me when things were bad and—[inaudible]. But through it all, she believed in me, and I'm forever grateful.

But maybe the person I should be thanking most is Keisha's mom. Keisha often tells me stories about how her best polling source is her mom and what her mom is hearing about at the bridge club every Saturday. Well, when Keisha's mom said she believed in me, I guess that was good enough for Keisha. And just like she had my back, I have hers.

And we need her, and Atlanta needs her. You know, we saw it just weeks after—just weeks after we found ourselves—[inaudible]—to the mass shooting. When the Vice President—when I—when the Vice President and I traveled to Atlanta, we met with the mayor and saw her strength keeping the city together, especially for the Asian American community that remains in fear and is hurting right now.

And we've seen her leadership during this pandemic, believing in science and leading a city that's home to a tremendous public servant, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the CDC. We saw her stand tall and speak out during the summer of protests and pain. And during the campaign that tested our very democracy, she was always there. So many of you stepped up as well.

And if anyone ever doubted that voting matters, Georgia just proved that it did. If anyone ever wondered if one vote can make a difference, Georgia proved it 11,779 times. And if anyone ever wondered if voting can change a country, Georgia just proved that. And if you're wondering whether Republican officials will finally stop their attacks on the right to vote and actually try and win over votes, they just proved yesterday they won't. It's—[inaudible]—America and what they're doing—that it cannot stand.

So, above all, Keisha knows democracy is not just about winning elections. It's about governing, making government work. It's about making government work for working families, for the people who are the backbone of this country.

And that's why we fought so hard to pass the American Rescue Plan. It's making a difference. Just last week, we passed 100 million shots in arms in the first 58 days in office. We're going to get—[inaudible]—200 million in my first 100 days. That includes a $10 billion investment to make sure we reach the hardest hit and highest risk communities.

And yesterday we reached 100 million checks for $1,400 into people's pockets and their bank accounts. By the time this money is distributed, 88 percent of all adults and children in Georgia will receive such a check. That's going to change their lives. The American Rescue Plan will cut child poverty literally in half, including for 171,000 Georgia children. It provides $4 billion for Georgia's schoolchildren, in grades K through 12, to keep them open and keep them open safely.

And one of the biggest things for Georgia and the Atlantic—and Atlanta: Georgia is now eligible for about $2 billion in expanded Medicaid. That means another 500,000 Georgians will be covered all across the State with Medicaid that they don't have right now. And that's on top of the lower premiums and expanded coverage, if you have a plan through Obamacare.

Your State—the State of Georgia—will also get around $5 billion to make up for the lost revenues. Local governments will get around $3.5 billion. That's going to make it possible to keep police officers, firefighters, teachers, first responders on the job, rather than have to lay them off because of a lack of funding.

And who is going to deliver this help on the ground? The mayor. The mayor. But that's just the beginning.

And as we rescue the economy in the coming weeks, I'll be laying out my vision for a Build Back Better plan to rebuild America's own 21st century, modernizing our infrastructure: our transportation systems, our broadband systems, our water and power systems.

And we're going to make historic investments in research and development, and we're going to create millions—and it's not just me; it's not just a Democratic think tank. Wall Street has pointed out millions of good-paying jobs here in America—manufacturing, clean energy, and so much more. Just manufacturing in general.

A big piece of that, as the mayor knows and as I promised on the campaign, is historic investment in Historically Black Colleges and Universities to help the next generation of Black students get access to good-paying jobs now and in the future.

We're also going to invest in our families, making—[inaudible]—housing more affordable, and caregiving economy stronger for millions of Americans, mostly women and women of color who care for children and aging loved ones. And they deserve to be paid well.

All this is going to help us outcompete the rest of the world, and it will depend on government being able to work for the American people. That's why I need people like Keisha leading the way, and I really mean that.

I'm going to close with this—I've kept you too long already: There is so much we can do if we do it together, if we stand together; if we once again believe and invest in science; if we stand up for justice and equality and the right of Americans to vote and have access to voting.

And Keisha is leading our efforts as vice chair of the Democratic National Committee. You have to remember, we're here to help all the people of this country, the bottom up and the middle out, not just those in the top few. Folks, if we do that, then there's not a single solitary thing we can't do if we do it together.

So to Keisha and to all of you, I apologize for the mixup. I'm not—I don't want to be fastidious about making sure—[inaudible]—to do this. So I'm—[inaudible]—home, and we just got a little messed up here. But I truly apologize.

And I—and again, let me thank all of you who—that we called on our contribution list, asking about Keisha—[inaudible]—coming through. She is the real deal. She's bright. She's honorable. She's tough. She has great integrity. And it really matters that we have people like Keisha to—[inaudible].

So, Keisha, I want to thank you as well for being my buddy. May God bless you all, and may God protect our troops. Have a good weekend. Thank you.

NOTE: The President spoke at 5:37 p.m. from his residence. In his remarks, he referred to Sylvia Robinson, mother of Mayor Bottoms. The transcript was released by the Office of the Press Secretary on March 27. Audio was not available for verification of the content of these remarks.

Joseph R. Biden, Remarks at a Virtual Fundraiser for Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms of Atlanta, Georgia Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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