Biden: 'Time to reward work, not just wealth'
President-elect Joe Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris discuss the incoming administration's economic plan.
workers across our country and some of America's leading technology, auto and retail companies. We had an important conversation about the impact that this pandemic has had on workers, especially essential workers, frontline workers who have risked their own health and the health of their families, and many whom have given their own lives to keep us safe and keep our economy running. And we all know that this pandemic and this recession have hit communities of color particularly hard. Black Americans and Latinos are three times as likely to contract co vid as others and more likely to die. Native Americans are more than four times as likely to be hospitalized as others, and last month the unemployment rate for black Americans was almost twice the rate of others. And we have also had a conversation about the impact this pandemic has had on our economy as a whole, from the Fortune 500 to the small businesses that so many communities rely on over the past few months. On the campaign trail, the president elect and I saw that impact firsthand in state after state, we met with workers who shared their struggles and told us about their pain essential workers who have had to stay on the job even as they worry about their family's well being and their own small business owners, who are dipping into their own savings to make payroll and keep their doors open. And many others who have had to close their doors and fear never reopening at all. Their stories have stayed with us, and the president elect and I are focused on building our country back better for them and all Americans. And as I said, the night we won this election now is when the real work begins. The necessary work, the good work of getting this virus under control, saving lives and beating this pandemic and opening our economy responsibly while rebuilding it so that it works for working people. And we will do it by protecting the health and safety of our workers and creating millions of good paying union jobs, from Otto and construction jobs to domestic workers and caregiving jobs to service and hospitality jobs. The road ahead. It will not be easy, but the president elect and I are hitting the ground running because we all know the challenges facing America today are great Thea. American people deserve no less and we don't have a moment to waste. And now it is my incredible and great honor to introduce our President elect Joe Biden. Thank you very much. Good afternoon, Vice President Harris and I as she and I just met with a group of, ah, America's top business leaders and labor leaders. And I must tell you, it reinforced what I thought from beginning ready to come together. The immunity was astounded. I want to go back and talk about the people who actually participated in that. I'm gonna list all the people who you just so you know who we spoke with? Number one. There was Mary Barra, CEO of General Motors. Brian Cornell, CEO of Target. Mr. Modell, CEO of Microsoft Rory Gamble, president of the u A W Mary Kay Henry President. C I U Marc Perrone, president of UFC UFC W. Lee Saunders, president, asked me and Sonia single president of Gap, Richard Trump, president, the A f l C i o. It was really encouraging, quite frankly, to get people, business and labor together a green on the way forward, which I'm convinced the American people were ready to do when they hear what we have in mind. I'm very pleased. It all came together around the same table to advance areas of common ground and we agreed we're going to continue these conversations. They represent very different perspectives. But I'm convinced that we can all come together around the same table to advance areas of common ground which are really I wish you could have all heard the conversation. It was really encouraging and that's what we were ready to discuss today. We all agreed that we want to get the economy back on track. We need our workers to be back on the job by getting the virus under control. We're going in a very dark winner, things they're going to get much tougher before they get easier. That requires sparing no effort to fight cove it so that we can open our businesses safely, resume our lives and put this pandemic behind us. It's gonna be difficult, but it could be done and they all agreed. That means rallying the country behind a national strategy with robust public health measures like mandatory masking widely available testing with rapid results, scaled up production of life saving treatments and therapeutics and safe, equitable and free distribution of the vaccine. It's great news that Moderna and Pfizer each come up with vaccines that are in excess of 90% effectiveness. And getting the vaccine and a vaccination, though, are two different things. Everyone on our call today in our zoom today agreed that the sooner we have access to the administration's distribution plant, the sooner this transition would be smoothly. Move forward. And, you know, as we battled co vid we else to make sure the business and workers have the tools, the resource is the national guidance and health and safety standards to operate safely. And we can do that. We could bring Democrats and Republicans together, work with business and labor to deliver those necessary resource is. And for millions of Americans who have lost hours and wages or have lost their jobs, we all agreed on our call that we can deliver immediate relief and in need be done quickly. Affordable health care for millions of people who have lost it, or in danger of losing it. Childcare, sickly family needs so workers don't have to choose between work and family. Corporate America agreed on this today that provokes on the call. We need support of small to support small businesses and entrepreneurs that are the backbone of our communities, but they're teetering on the edge. And we all agreed on the urgent need for funding for states and localities to keep frontline workers and essential workers on the job. Vital public services running law enforcement officers, educators, first responders like we did in the Recovery Act of 2000 and nine, saving literally millions of jobs. There's a reason why the federal government is able to run a deficit because the states must must balance their budgets and they're in really trouble. You're gonna see hundreds of thousands of police officers, firefighters, first responders, mental health clinics. You're going to see them going out of business right now. Congress should come together and PASOK over relief package like the Heroes Act that the House passed six months ago. Once we shut down the virus and deliver economic relief toe workers and businesses, then we could start to build back better than before. We talked about how we have an opportunity to come out of this stronger, more resilient than we were when we went in and you should. I wish you could have heard corporate leaders in the major labor leaders singing this from the same hymnal here. Throughout the campaign, I laid out my bill back. Better plan. We laid our plans that an independent analysis put out by Moody's Ah well respected Law Street lost Wall Street firm projected, would create 18.6 million jobs. We can also, we talked about the need toe own, the electric vehicle market. We talked about climbing a lot, building 550,000 charging stations created over a million good paying union jobs here in home. The need for a federal government to invest Maurin Clean Energy research. You know, it's based on a simple premise. It's time to reward work, not just wealth in America. We're gonna have a fair tax structure that make sure the wealthiest among us and corporations pay their fair share. Our plan will create millions of good paying union jobs and manufacturing, building the vehicles, products, technologies that we're gonna we're gonna need for the future to compete with the rest of the world, from autos to our stockpiles. We're going to buy American no government contract will be given tow. Companies that don't make their products here in America to secure our position is a global leader in research and development. We're gonna invest $300 billion in the most critical competitive new industries and technologies, creating three million good paying jobs in the corporate American technology firms like Microsoft. On the call, they all agreed we could make sure our future is made here in America, and that's good for business. It's good for American workers. We can also modernize infrastructure, roads, bridges, ports, 1.5 million new affordable housing units, high speed broadband We talked about for every American household, which is more important than ever for remote learning. Remote working tele medicine in the 21st century, Building digit building a digital infrastructure helps businesses, healthcare workers, first responders and students $100 billion to rebuild our crumbling schools. They talked about the need. The business community talked about the need to invest in HBC use In community colleges, retrofitting four million new buildings are old building, retrofitting them, making them new weatherizing two million homes, building more climate, resilient cities and towns. Thes investments will specifically target communities of colors so we can break the cycle. We're in good times. They lag in the bad times. They get their first get hit first and the hardest in the recovery. It's the toughest to bounce back. These are the kinds of investments. They're going to strengthen our economy and our competitiveness, create millions of jobs, union jobs and, in doing so, respect the dignity of work and empower the voice of workers. You've heard me say it before. My dad, when he lost his job in Scranton, eventually moved to Wilmington. Got a good job. He'd say, Joey, A job's about a lot more than a paycheck. It's about your dignity. Respect your place in the community. It's about being able to look your kid in the eye and say, Honey, everything's gonna be okay when we build back Better will do so with higher wages, including a $15 minimum wage, nationwide, better benefits, stronger collective bargaining rights that you could raise a family on. That's how we build back the middle class better than ever. That's how we make sure workers were treated with dignity and respect. They deserve. I could go on. You can tell I was very encouraged by a conversation, But the point is this. There's so much we can do. The only way we do any of this is if we work together. I know we could do this, for example, on the call. I spent it clear to the corporate leaders. I said, I want you know, I'm a union guy. Unions are gonna have increased power. It is not that they understand it's not anti business. It's about economic growth creating good paying jobs. 11 years ago, when Barack and I took office during the Great Recession and Implemented Recovery Act that saved us from another great Depression, we didn't see a map in red and blue states was the United States man. We didn't care whether the city had voted for us or against us. The state voters, for us against us. We work with everyone and were recovered and rebuilt together as one nation. We could do this again. Refusal of Democrats Republics to cooperate with one another is not due to some mysterious force beyond our control. It's a conscious decision. It's a choice that we make. If we can decide not to cooperate, then we could decide to cooperate. I believe this is in part, mandate from American people. Part of the mandate they gave us. They want us to cooperate. They want us to deliver results. The choice the common I will make is that we're gonna do that. That's why I'm so pleased. Today. We're able to bring together business and labor leaders to make the choice jointly with us. We're all Americans. Let's get to work. As I've said many times. Thank you. May God bless you. May God protect our troops. I understand. Now I'm gonna take some questions. Meghan, Fire away from Thank you, President Elect Biden. Vice President. Look in the wrong direction. Sorry. Good to see you. I want to start with a question about your pandemic planning and then a question about your economic plan. You spoke about the need to access the outgoing administrations. Covic, vaccine distribution plans. What do you see is the biggest threat to your transition right now. Given President Trump's unprecedented attempt toe obstruct and delay a smooth transfer of power, more people may die if we don't coordinate, look and staff Ron Claim would say who handle Ebola. The vaccine is important. It's a little noose until you're vaccinated. So how do we get the vaccine? How do we get over 300 million Americans vaccinated? What's the game plan? It's a huge, huge, huge undertaking to get it done. Prioritize those greatest in need, working our way through it and also cooperate with the World Health Organization and the rest of the world in dealing with this. And so they say they have this warp speed program that not only dealt with getting vaccines, but also how how to distribute this. If we have toe wait until January 20th to start that planning, it puts us behind over a month, month and a half. And so it's important that it be done that there be coordination now. Now, as rapidly as we could get that done on the economy. The vice president elect talked about having an economy that works for working people. One thing I didn't hear you talk specifically about is canceling student loan debt to student loan forgiveness. Figure in your plan. Would you take executive action to achieve it? It does figure in my plan. I've laid out in detail. For example, the the legislation passed by the Democratic House calls for immediate $10,000 forgiveness of student loans is holding people up there in real trouble. They're having to make choices between paying their student loan and paying the rent. Those kinds of decisions. It should be done immediately. In addition to that, if you know, I think that everything from community college straight through to doubling Pell grants to making sure that we have access free education for anyone making under 100 $25,000 for four years of college. And there is a program that exists now under the law that forgive student loans for being able to engage in engaging in public service. I'm gonna institute that fundamental change in that so it is able to be available to everyone that in fact, is engaged. It's not being very well managed right now, so I'm gonna do all of those things. Thank you. Thank you, Mr President Elect. You just spoke of some of the dangers of the president's continued stonewalling of this transition. But it doesn't appear that the president is going to come around anytime soon and admit defeat. So what are you going to dio? What options do you have to try and ensure that you are ready to go on day one deal with every individual organization in the country from business, toe labor, Republicans, Democrats to try to pull together a serious and consistent plan. So we're ready on day one. Everything from staffing Thio ultimately naming Cabinet members to moving along on coordinating with business and labor. Uh, the covert attack, how we're gonna attack Cove it And, uh so it would make a lot easier if the president to participate. You have a number. Republicans suggesting that the good news here is my colleague is still in the intelligence committee, so she gets the intelligence briefings. I don't anymore. So, uh, that that is But there's a number of Republicans calling for that. I am hopeful that the President will, um, be mildly more enlightened before we get to January 20th. And what is your message to Republicans who are backing up the president's refusal to concede? You clearly need toe work with them going forward. My message is I will work with you. I understand. Ah, lot of your reluctance because of the way the president operates. But I I've been in contact with him will be in contact with more of them as we move along. And if it has to wait until January 20th to get actually become operational, that's a shame. But maybe maybe that's the only way to get it done. Thank you very much, Mary. Thank you very much, Mr President Elect. And I want to kind of piggyback off of that. I want to get your thoughts on the president's tweet over the weekend where he first seemed Thio acknowledge that you one then he said he won't concede. Then he said, I want How did you interpret that? And at the end of the day, do you want him to concede? Interpret that as Trumpian ism? Uh, no change In his modus operandi, Onda, uh, I think the pressure will continue, But look, I'm having a lot of meetings with world leaders on telephone. I cannot get in the negotiating with them about things they're gonna be done. But there, calling with some degree of enthusiasm, um, everyone from Holy Father, two prime ministers across the globe. And so we're moving along knowing what the outcome will be. And, um, as I said earlier, I probably shouldn't repeat it, but I find this more embarrassing for the country than debilitating for my ability to get started on then. Secondly, I wanna follow up with you on the vaccine. If the FDA gives emergency authorization to the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine in the coming weeks, will you get vaccinated? And if you're hesitant, why should any American have confidence in the vaccine? Well, first of all, uh, we'll see if that comes forward. And secondly, it's important that people who on the greatest need get it. I wouldn't hesitate to get the vaccine, but I also want to set, um, an example. And but I wouldn't hesitate to get the vaccine if, in fact, Dr Dr Fauci in these two organizations, whether it's Madonna or Pfizer who have been extremely responsible, conclude that it is, it is safe and and able to be done. Look, the only reason people question the vaccine now is because of Donald Trump. That's the reason why people are questioning vaccine because all the things he says and doesn't say with truthful isn't not truthful. The exaggerations. I think we're on a clear path now. We're in a clear path with the international community and national leaders on the scientific community have focused on these two vaccines. They appear to be ready for prime time, ready to be used. And if that continues on those roads, I would take the vaccine. Thank you. Thank you, Mr President Elect. You have been urging the American public to continue practicing social distancing and wearing a mask. But with cases skyrocketing across the country, do you think that mortgage governors should be closing non essential businesses and reinstating stay at home orders? Look, it depends on the state. What I what I failed to mention earlier is the, um the enormous respect I have for Republican conservative Republican governors who stepped up and issued mandates for wearing masks in North Dakota E I mean the idea. One of the leaders in this area has been the Republican governor, Republican and Republican governor in Ohio and in addition to the folks have already been leading like the governor of of Michigan. I mean, you know the idea that the president's now existing remaining adviser on covert is saying that they should resist what does matter with these guys? What is the matter with him? Resist. You know every major individual of any consequence in the health field is saying we can save weaken, save 100,000 lives just between now and January 21st by wearing these masks is gonna take a while for the vaccine to be able to be available, distributed and get to people. We're talking about 350 to 400,000 people dying. I mean, what are they doing? It's totally irresponsible. Irresponsible. And so I compliment the governors who stepped forward who have been stepping forward, but also the Republican governors who stepped forward. I I left out the governor of Utah, very conservative state governor. North Dakota and all the Democratic governors have been doing it all along. I mean it, Z, I just ask a rhetorical question. Do you guys understand this? Does anybody understand why a governor would turn this into a political statement? It's about patriotism. It's about being patriotic. It's about saving lives for Riel. I'm not. That's not hyperbole. It's about being patriotic. And I think you're seeing Mawr and Mawr as this God awful virus continues to spread almost unabated that way that governors were stepping up and just following up on that especially with many states reporting new highs in terms of the daily number of cases and a lot of public health officials sounding the alarm over the holidays, would you? What is your message to people who are considering, for example, getting together with their families and others for Thanksgiving? Would you consider? Would you urge people to reconsider their plans? Well, here's what I do. Let me tell you what the health experts have said to me, Um, and it's not because I'm unique and president elect because my family, they strongly urged that if in fact, we're gonna have Thanksgiving with anyone that we limited to a maximum maximum, they suggest five people maximum 10 people socially distanced, worrying mass and people who have quarantine. So Jill and I spent this morning like many of you trying to figure out What are we gonna do for Thanksgiving? How are we going to do it? We've narrowed down which family members and that they were tested recently tested in 24 hours. And so I would strongly urge for the sake, not just your sake. For the sake of your Children. Your mother, your father, your sisters, your brothers. Whoever you get together of Thanksgiving, think about this. There should be no group more than 10 people in one room at once. I mean, inside the homes. That's what they're telling. May. You were telling me that, you know, making sure that that's the case. And I have the have the more potent mask behind this. When I took it off when I came out here, I wear it inside. This that would be masked. It saves lives. And so, look, I just want to make sure that we're able to beer together next Thanksgiving. Uh, next Christmas. I mean, it's it is a an international crises. It's an international health crisis. And the idea we're at war with the virus. And it is where it war for riel. And all kidding aside, I hope all of you I've watched you all. You all seem to wear masks all the time. When you're in the group that follows me, that is he It follows me that is assigned. It's a Delaware with may seem to do that. I strongly urge you to do it. There's nothing macho about not wearing a mask. Thank you. Thank you, Mr President. elect. Madam Vice president. Elect your plan. My mask is stuck in my ear in classic e watch. You try to take it off. It's hard I e. Don't have unerring your plan that you've outlined just now. About a million union jobs, clean energy jobs, investments in HBC. Use those air things that take time. We have a problem with long term unemployment that's growing fast right now. What would you do right away specifically to address jobs that may not return for months? May not return, ever, including in communities of color. What I would do, I would pass the Heroes Act. It has all the money and capacity to take care of each of those things Now, now, not tomorrow now. And the idea the president is still playing golf and not do anything about it is beyond my comprehension. At least think he'd want to go off on a on a positive note. But what is he doing? And there's virtually no discussion, and the Republicans were told, I don't know there's true. You may know, Senator, but there's 22 Republicans say they won't vote for anything. Well, there ought to be a least least a dozen of them have the courage to stand up and save lives and jobs. Now we should be doing it now, keeping those businesses open, providing the PPE, the protective equipment as well as the P p p. The money that we allow people thio get funding to keep their businesses open. Everything from separation to testing the whole range of things allow businesses open and stay open. That's what the plan was the beginning. And by the way, if you notice in the very beginning, when they passed the stimulus program, the first two pieces, what happened? People, business. We're staying open. And then when they weren't open, they were still able to make people able to get paid. But look where they are now. People are running out of unemployment insurance. What are they gonna do? 20 million people are on the verge of losing their home because they can't make a mortgage payments. You have a larger number being kicked out. It will be kicked out in the street because they can't pay their rent. And by the way, it's not just the Renner. It's the It's the outfit that owns the building. A lot of multi millionaires. They're running small operations. How can they do it? This is about keeping Americans afloat. Get them through this pandemic, Get them through where they still their business is able to come back. The money's there. The money is there and also on the economic front. As we fight the pandemic, world trade continues, and there is great debate over world trade agreements. International trade agreements. Uh, it seems that in the last couple of days, 15 countries, Asian Pacific countries have signed on to a new trade deal. The R C E P. Should the United States consider joining that trade agreement? I've talked with a number of these world leaders, and I told them, under the law, I'm not able to begin to discuss with them. There's only one president of time as to who can say what our policy will be. So I'm reluctant to answer that question now, but here's I could say we make up 25% the world's trading capacity of the economy in the world. We need to be aligned with the other democracies another 25% or more so that we can set the rules of the road instead of having China and others dictate outcomes because they are the only game in town. And so but what I'm insisting on and what I've been asked by world leaders as to what I would do without getting the detail I've said. But I want you to know that there are three things gonna happen if I'm elected one. We're going to invest in American workers to make them more competitive. Number two, We're going to make sure that labor is at the table and environmentalists are at the table and any trade deals we make. And I'm not looking for punitive change. The idea that we are poking our finger in the eyes of our friends and embracing autocrats makes no sense to me. And so, But I'm reluctant to get in more detail at this moment. I promise you, I have a pretty thorough plan, and I will be prepared to announce that to you on January 21st. You have indicated changes you want to make in U. S. International policy on other fronts, like the Paris climate. Yes, that's a generic notion of rejoining, but I didn't get into the detail of what we'll do in that agreement. I the same thing with rejoining the World Health Organization. Why not? Because you're you're asking me about what? I joined a specific proposal. The details of what you're now on Lee being negotiated among those nations. The require negotiation. Thank you. Thank you. Appreciate it, Mr. President. Elect for you guys. Mhm.