tv President Biden Vice Pres. Harris on Passage of Infrastructure Deal CSPAN August 10, 2021 11:15pm-11:53pm EDT
house, sunday night at 10:00 eastern on c-span, c-span.org or listen on the c-span radio app. >> president biden and vice president harris spoke to the white house after the senate approved the $1.2 trillion bipartisan infrastructure package. after his speech, the president answered questions from reporters about covid-19 vaccines, afghanistan, and new york governor andrew cuomo's resignation.
>> it afternoon, everyone. the president has been clear that every day, in every way, our administration will work on behalf of the american people and this has been true as we delivered historic relief through the american rescue plan to families with small businesses. as we continue the fight to pass legislation to protect and strengthen the sacred right to vote. and as we continue the work to strengthen our nation's care economy. and this is true today. because today we move one step closer to making a once in a generation investment in the national infrastructure. today democrats, independents, and republicans in the u.s. senate passed the infrastructure investment and jobs act.
so, let me describe just a little about why this bill is so important. it is an investment in the roads and bridges that we drive on every day to get our kids to school. it is and then -- and investment in the public transit that we rely on to get to work. it will mean that people in the nation will not have to drink water from lead pipes or go to a fast food parking lot to get high-speed internet. this bill will also establish a national network of electric vehicle chargers. the president has been fighting for that for a long time. and build towards a national fleet of electric school buses. the way that i see it, investment in infrastructure provides people with what they need to get where they need to go.
this bill that passed the senate today gives people what they , need to get where they need to go. and it will do that while also creating millions of good, union jobs for our nation's workers. it will do that while helping businesses compete worldwide. just so that we are clear, we are not going to raise middle-class taxes to pay for it. because that is what the president promised and that is what we must deliver. this afternoon i was proud to , preside over the senate vote and i want to thank the senators who worked together to pass this bill. i also thank the members of the house, who will work to get this bill to the president's desk. first and foremost, we would not
be here today were it not for the leadership of our president, joe biden. mr. president, from the very start you welcomed ideas. , you welcomed debate. you welcomed democrats, independents, and republicans to meet with us in the oval office. in those meetings, i watched as you listened. in those meetings, you deliberated. you were determined to bring all sides together and deliver real results to the people of our nation. and i know that even after this vote, our work will not stop. even when you sign the bill into law, our work will not stop. we will never stop working on behalf of the american people. so, thank you, mr. president.
thank you, thank you. it is now my great honor to introduce the president of the united states, joe biden. pres. biden: well, thank you, madam vice president. first of all, i want to thank a group of senators, democrats and republicans, for doing what they told me they would do. the death of this legislation was mildly premature as reported. they said they were willing to work in a bipartisan manner and i want to thank them, that's just what they did. after years and years of infrastructure week, we are on the cusp of an infrastructure decade that i think will transform america. as you all know, a short while
ago the u.s. senate passed the infrastructure investment and jobs act, the very legislation i ran on when i announced my candidacy for the nomination for president. historic investment in the nation's roads and highway, bridges and transit, drinking water systems clean energy, , environmental cleanup, and making infrastructure more resilient and the climate crisis much more in our minds and how we deal with it. you know, we are poised once again, and i mean this in the literal sense, to make the same kind of historic investment that has so often made it possible for america to build the future and allow us to outcompete the rest of the world. from building the erie canal in the early 1800s to the transcontinental railroad. to the construction of the
civil war to dwight eisenhower's highway system of the 1950's. the investments that literally connected our entire nation and fundamentally changed the pattern of life in america. to the public investments that took us to the moon and the discovery of lifesaving medicines and vaccines. gave us the internet. america has often had the greatest prosperity and made the most progress when we invest in america itself. and that's what this infrastructure bill does, with overwhelming support from the united states senate. 69 votes in the senate. a vote margin bigger than when the interstate highway system passed in 1956. make key investments that will create millions of good, union jobs across the country. in cities, small towns, rural and tribal communities. america, america, this is how we
truly build back better. this bill is going to put people to work, modernizing our roads, highways, and bridges so that commuters and truckers don't lose time in traffic. saving billions of dollars, nationally. today, up to 10 million homes in america, more than 400,000 schools and childcare centers have pipes with lead in them, including for drinking water. this is a clear and present danger to the health of america. particularly our children's health. this bill will put plumbers and pipefitters to work, replacing all the lead pipes so that every child, every american can turn on a faucet at home and school and know that they are drinking clean water. during remote learning and the pandemic last year, we saw too many families forced to
literally sit in their vehicles in a fast food parking lot so that their children could get on the internet that they couldn't afford and didn't have access to at home. the bill will deliver affordable high-speed internet to every american, a necessity for the 21st century. we have also seen in the last couple of years the damage done in texas and other places where transmission lines carrying power were taken down by extreme and unanticipated weather, leaving millions without electricity for weeks and weeks, costing the economy billions of dollars. this bill provides upgrades to the power grid so that more secure, resilient, and cleaner energy can be transferred across the wires. down in new orleans, i met with incredible women and men who are in charge of the water system, some of it running on technology that is literally 100 years old.
this bill is going to provide opportunities to upgrade that system and it also allows american workers to strengthen our national infrastructure, like the levees. they are at risk of catastrophic collapse in the face of extreme weather like super storms, wildfires, droughts, and heat waves. last week i stood, and many of you were with me, on the south lawn of the white house with the united auto workers and leaders of the big three automobile companies in america, surrounded by iconic american vehicles that will all be electric and made right here in america in the not-too-distant future. this bill is also going to put electrical workers to work installing a truly national network of electric vehicle charging stations, changing the way that we travel and move.
by the way, around them you will see, just like gas stations, other industries will build up. we have the benefit of significantly reducing pollution on the roads. look, this bill, i believe, will make the most important investment in public transit in american history. when i went to philadelphia not long ago for the 50th anniversary of amtrak, i was proud to be able to say that the bill was in the works and that it would be the most important investment in rail since the creation of amtrak itself. the bill will upgrade railroad tracks so that people can get to work and their destinations faster and build new lines to get people to more places faster. reducing, i might add, pollution. another critical part of the bill, 90% of the jobs created don't require a college degree.
tired of hearing me say that, i know, but this is a blue-collar blueprint to rebuild america. we are going to do all of this by keeping my commitment. we will not raise taxes by one cent on people making less than $400,000 a year. everyone from union to business leaders to economists, left, right, and center, believe the public investment in this bill will generate more jobs higher , productivity, higher growth for the economy over the long term. forecasters on wall street project that over the next 10 years the economy will expand by trillions of dollars and create an additional two million jobs per year beyond what was already projected. good paying jobs around the country. experts believe that the majority of the benefits will
flow to working families. faster commutes. cleaner water. less expense. available and affordable internet. these are the things that working families need. last week the jobs report showed the economy recovering at a record rate. 934,000 new jobs created in july. it's going to go up and down, but 4 million created since i took office. this bill is going to help take a historic recovery a long-term boom. folks, above all, this historic investment in infrastructure is what i believe you, the american people, want. what you have been asking for for a long, long time. this bill shows that we can work together. i know a lot of people, some in the audience, who didn't think this could happen. this bill has been declared dead
more often then -- anyway. that bipartisanship was a thing of the past. from the time that i announced my candidacy to bring the country together in a bipartisan way, it was characterized as a relic of an earlier age. as you may well remember, i never believed that and i still don't. i want to thank senators who work so hard to bring this together. i know it wasn't easy. for the republicans who supported this bill you showed a , lot of courage and i would like to personally thank you for that and i have called most of you on the phone to do just that. you have and no doubt will disagree with me on many issues, but where we can agree, we should. here on this bill we proved you can still come together to do big things, important things for the american people. for the democrats who supported
this bill we can be proud of , this unprecedented investment that is going to transform the nation and change millions of lives for the better. think about what's going to happen in a practical sense. clogged arteries at the heart of our economy are going to be opened up, reducing transportation costs, reduce commuting costs, and as a result reduce costs overall for families and businesses. safety provisions, as i said not long ago, everyone can tell you what the most dangerous intersections in their community are. there is money there to deal with those specific needs. thousands of bridges will be safer and more accessible and as you have heard me say before, some bridges are so weak, they couldn't have a fire truck go across it, requiring the fire department to go 10 to 12 miles out of the way just to get literally a mile away to put out a fire.
millions of lead pipes carrying drinking water to homes, schools, and daycare centers are finally going to be replaced. never again can we allow what happened in flint, michigan or jackson, mississippi, to happen again. high-speed internet will be available to everyone, everywhere. farmers can get the best prices by knowing when to sell. children in chicago or philadelphia never again have to sit in a parking lot of a mcdonald's to do their homework. this is transformational. i know compromise is hard for both sides. but it is important, important and necessary for democracy to be able to function and i want to thank everyone on both sides of the aisle for supporting this bill. today we proved democracy can still work.
but we have more work to do. i want to thank republican, senate republican leader mitch mcconnell for supporting the bill. i want to give special thanks to senate majority leader chuck schumer, whose leadership was masterful in the senate. let's be clear. the work is far from done. the bill now has to go to the house of representatives, where i look forward to winning its approval. we have to get to work on the next critical piece of my agenda, the build back better plan. making housing more affordable. it is so unaffordable to so many americans. providing clean energy tax cuts, including to homeowners, to make energy-efficient improvements in their homes. bringing down the costs of prescription drugs, making elder care more affordable, giving middle-class families and
children a tax break, a tax cut. the one they are receiving now, well-deserved childcare and health care that gives them just , a little bit of breathing room. this is a plan that invests in the american people, their future, and their success. it will be paid for by having the largest corporations, including 55 of them who didn't pay a single penny in federal income tax, and the super wealthy, to pay their fair share. i want you to be able to be millionaires and corporations to do incredibly well. but this isn't going to change anything for you. you will still have your three homes, whatever you need, and corporations will continue to do well. i have more to say about this later as the senate continues its work, but today i'm happy to mark this significant milestone on the road toward making what we all know are long overdue, much needed investments in
basic, hard infrastructure in thisation. i truly believe that this bill proves the voice of the people will be heard and we can all come together to make a difference in the lives of the -- in people's lives. as you heard me say it before, and i apologize for repeating it, there are no republican bridges or democratic roads. this is a moment that lives beyond the headlines and beyond partisan soundbites. beyond the culture of instant outrage and conflict as entertainment. this is about us doing the real hard work of governing. it's about democracy delivering for the people. this is about winning the future. it's about doing our job. it's about building an economy from the bottom up in the middle out, giving everyone a decent chance at a decent life and when the bottom and the middle do
well, the wealthy do very, very well. nobody, nobody, nobody gets hurt. this is what i call governing, government doing its job, making sure everybody is better off. i have said it many times and i will say it again today, we are the united states of america. there is nothing, nothing we can't do, if we do it together. so, thank you. god bless you all and may god protect our troops. >> [indiscernible] pres. biden: arlene, ap. >> what is your reaction to the governor cuomo at's announcement he is stepping down. you called on him to resign, did you think you would? pres. biden: i respect the governor's decision and the decision that he made. >> how concerned are you now
about children in school, given that 94% of children are too young to get vaccinated, what are your concerns around school staying open as you have asked? pres. biden: my concerns have deepened. i'm very concerned. we all know why. look, i understand that there are millions of people, adults, who decided not to get vaccinated. i understand that to badger those folks is not likely to get them to move or get vaccinated. i also understand that the reason children are becoming infected is because in most cases they live in low vaccination rate states and communities and they are getting it from unvaccinated adults.
that's what's happening. so my plea is, for those who are not vaccinated think about it. , god willing, the fda will be coming out in a reasonable timeframe to say that this vaccine is totally safe. we have seen millions of doses around the world. a billion doses already. we know how it's transmitted. one of the things that i find a little disingenuous, when i suggest that people in zones where there is a high risk wear the mask, like you all are doing, i'm told government should get out of the way and not do that. they don't have the authority to do that. i find it interesting that some
of the very people saying that, who hold government positions, are people who are threatening that if a schoolteacher asks a student if they have been vaccinated, or if a principal says everyone in my school should wear a mask or the school board votes for it, that governor will nullify that, the governor has the ability to -- authority to see you cannot do that. i found that counterintuitive and disingenuous. >> are you going to intervene in states like texas and florida? pres. biden: i don't believe i do, we are checking on that. but on the federal workforce, i can and i think that people should understand seeing little , kids come up 4, 5, 6 years old
-- six years old in hospitals on ventilators, some of them passing, not many, but some of them passing, it's almost, it's, it's, well i should not characterize beyond that. >> what impact -- as the head of the party, what impact does the formal resignation have on the party? pres. biden: the impact is all on andrew cuomo and his decision to make that judgment. and i respect that decision. >> in the last few days, multiple cities in afghanistan have fallen to the taliban and there is irrefutable evidence that the vast majority of those afghan forces cannot hold ground there. has your plan to withdraw changed at all? pres. biden: no. look, we spent over $1 trillion over 20 years, training over 300,000 afghan forces.
afghan leaders have to come together. we lost thousands, death and injury to thousands of american personnel. they have got to fight for themselves. fight for their nation. the united states, i insist, will continue to keep the commitments we made, providing close air support, making sure that their air force functions and is operable. resupplying their forces with food and equipment and paying all of their salaries. but they have got to want to fight. they have outnumbered the taliban. i'm getting daily briefings and there is still a possibility that a significant new secretary of defense, our equivalent in afghanistan, who is a serious fighter, i think they are
beginning to realize that they have got to come together politically at the top. but we will continue to keep our commitment and i do not regret my decision. yes, ma'am? >> on the issue of the infrastructure bill and the work ahead of you now, are you concerned or confident that you have the support of all of the democrats on board to get this package through? pres. biden: god love you, dear. look, i have, and i'm not referring to you in particular, just overall, was going over some of the quotes from the moment that i got elected how my , plan was dead. this is the exact same plan that i ran on. we'll see. i continue to be an optimist. i was once referred to as a
general optimist. i think that we can get a significant portion, if not all of the reconciliation bill, the budget that they are voting on , now, i think that over the next month, the way it's going to work, they vote on all these amendments and then they get to the business of seeing if they -- how they can make it work and then they come back. i know you understand this well but the public wonders what we are talking about sometimes. decide exactly how much is in that reconciliation bill. i think we will get enough democrats to vote for it, i think, and i think the house will eventually put two bills on my desk. one on infrastructure and one on reconciliation. thank you. >> >> mr. president, [inaudible]
[indiscernible] from other countries in may and june about how the variants spread. pres. biden: we knew how it spread. we knew how the variant spreads. a lot of countries don't have the vaccines we were able to put together. we have 300 million, 600 million doses of vaccines for americans and have exported, when we have exported over half a billion, we knew, what is disappointing is that more people were not willing to take the vaccine. we have done everything in our
power -- i shouldn't say that, there is probably more, we will do more, but we will continue to try to make the case to the american people who haven't taken the vaccine that it is in your interest, can save your life and fundamentally impact the lives of the children and the people you love. as bad as things have gotten, the death rate is don't hold me one 50th, to the number, significantly lower than when i inherited this job. when i inherited the coronavirus pandemic, when i first got elected. so, the thing that i, i, i continue to hope is that people will overcome their fears.
their fear is based on some political statement but very , few. i think most people are worried, and that's why i hope that the fda will say that we permanently approve of these vaccines, because we have enough for everyone. and i am hoping that as people realize this, vaccines are picking up, but not at the rate they were before. remember, i was setting up sports stadiums where we had thousands of vaccines today. a day -- a day. i wish i could have thought of something that would help make everyone want to get the vaccine. but that hasn't been the case. now at the federal level what i am going to be doing is making sure they understand that i do have the authority to say that if you are coming into a federal building, you have to have been vaccinated or show that you will
be wearing a mask. and i think that i'm going to use, and i anticipate it is probable that the defense department will, as they put in place all the mechanisms needed to be able to in fact impose or initiate a mandate for all regular forces and reserves to get vaccinated, i continue to be hopeful. you see, i had a long talk, not long, but a talk with governor asa hutchinson, who said he made a mistake, and is working hard going around, telling me that is doing a lot of town meetings, not all of which are being embraced, but he's making the case and we will continue to make the case. >> mr. president, mr. president. >> ironically one of the democrats, who you spoke with
the most is andrew cuomo. he's resigning today. you traveled to new york with him and during the launch of the reconstruction of laguardia he supported your campaign early on. though you called on him to resign, condemned the behavior, as someone who spends a lot of time with mayors and governors, how would you assess his time in -- 10.5 years as governor of the state. pres. biden: in terms of his personal behavior or as a governor? >> his job as a governor. pres. biden: he's done a hell of a job. both on everything from access to voting and infrastructure to a whole range of things. that's why it's so sad. >> i have a question about the significance of the bipartisan nature of the infrastructure agreement. are there lessons to be learned that can be applied to police reform or civil rights? pres. biden: by you guys will by
-- or by me? i shouldn't kid. i was reading serious statements about how my plan was dead from the beginning. look, the lesson learned is being willing to talk and listen. listen. call people in. let me finish. i think the lesson learned is exposing people to other views. that is why, from the beginning on all the subjects he raised, i , -- you raised have sat with , people and listened to their position. some in agreement, some in disagreement. i think it's a matter of the listening and it's a part of democracy. >> [indiscernible] >> why have you not named a permanent fda commissioner? >> you have not named in fda
commissioner yet, have you -- why have not found pres. biden: one yet. we are working hard to do that fast. >> following up, can you really say that governor cuomo has done a hell of a job if he's accused of sexually harassing? pres. biden: should he remain as governor is one question. women should be believed when they make accusations that make sense on the face of them and they are investigated and the judgment was made that what they said was correct. that's one thing. the question is did he do a good , job on infrastructure? that was the question. he did. >> his job as governor -- >> know, the question was, correct me if i'm wrong. >> generally. outside his personal behavior. >> can you separate the two?
>> i'm asking about infrastructure as well. you said it is urgent that the bill is passed, why not have the house take it up immediately for a vote? pres. biden: [laughter] we will get it done. thank you. >> [indiscernible] fda approval of coronavirus vaccine, c-span is your unfiltered view of government. broadband is a force for empowerment. they invested billions, upgrading technology, empowering her community and communities big and small. charter is connecting us. >> charter communications support c-span as a public service, along with these other television providers, giving you
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talks about police reform and crime with the washington post. it online at c-span.org or listen with the free c-span radio app. >> new york governor andrew cuomo announced his resignation, set to take effect in two weeks. he said the state attorney general's report on sexual assault -- harassment allegations against him have no basis. he said he is stepping aside to get -- what the government can best work. fmr. gov. cuomo: first, i've always started by telling new yorkers the fact for my opinions. let's start tough with the truth. the attorney general did reports on complaints made against me by certain women for my conduct. the report says that i sexually harassed 11 women. that was the headline people heard, saw, and reacted.