tv Pres. Biden Holds News Conference CSPAN January 20, 2022 5:05am-7:00am EST
to 210 million americans being fully vaccinated. we created 6 million new jobs, or jobs in one year than any time before. on employment dropped and the unemployment rate dropped to 3.9%. child poverty dropped by nearly 40%. the biggest drop ever in american history. new business applications grew by 30%. the biggest increase ever. for the first time in a long
time, this country's working people actually got a raise.
they actually got a raise. the bottom 40% saw their income
go up. you know those bills that you get? this is beyond what you thought you were going to have to oh? no more. they are now illegal. thanks to the american rescue plan and other acts we have taken, we have seen record economic growth in the past year. now, thanks to the bipartisan infrastructure bill, we are about to make a record investment in rebuilding america. this will be the best infrastructure in the world. we are now way below that.
this will make affordable high-speed internet available to every american in urban, rural and suburban areas. we have never done that before. now we are. we are in the process of getting that done. still, for all this progress, i know there is a lot of frustration. we know why. covid-19. omicron has now been challenging us in a way that -- it is the new enemy. while it is cause for concern, it is not cause for panic. we have been doing everything we can, learning and adapting as fast as we can and preparing for a future beyond the pandemic.
for many of us, it has been too much to bear. vaccines, boosters, masks, tests , to save lives and keep businesses and schools open. 75% of adults are fully vaccinated. down to 35 million with no shots as of today. we will stick with our next mission efforts because vaccinations work. get vaccinated and get your booster. we are also increasing testing. should we have done more testing earlier? yes. but we are doing more now. we have gone through zero at
home tests a year ago to 375 billy tests on the market in just this month. we are making one billion at home tests available for you to order and be available to your home for free. in addition, there are 20,000 sites where you can get tested in person for free, now. and now we have more treatments for people who keep people out of the hospital. this includes lifesaving antiviral pills. we purchased 20 pfizer pills. we are in a better place than we
have been. we are not going back to lockdowns. we are not going back to closing schools. schools should stay open. we provided the states $130 billion. 130 billion dollars to keep the students and educators safe and schools open. we have added another $10 billion for covid-19 testing. unfortunately, some have not. i have encouraged the state and school district's that use the funding to protect her children to keep our schools open. covid-19 is not going to give up and accept things. it is not going to go away. i am not going to give up and
accept things the way they are now. something that will make all of what is happening now the new normal. i call it the job not yet finished. it will get better. covid-19 will be a crisis but something to protect against. we are not there yet. we will get there. the second challenge we are facing our prices. covid-19 has created a lot of economic petition. including rapid price increases across the world economy. here is what we are going to do. the critical job of making sure that the elevated prices don't become entrenched over the rest of the reserve.
the fed reserve provided extra derek support during the crisis of the previous year and a half. the fed chairman powell has indicated to recalibrate the support. i respect the fed's independence and i have nominated five superb individuals to serve on the federal board of governors. they have earned bipartisan praise. we called on the united states senate to confirm without delay. the best thing to tackle high prices is a more productive economy to deliver services to the american people.
and the growing economy where people have for choices and or small businesses compete and where more goods can get to markets faster and cheaper. i have laid out a three-part plan to do just that. fix the supply chain. global -- covid-19 has had a global impact on the economy. shipments to shops and homes and businesses all over the world are disrupted. covid-19 has compounded that many times over. a couple of months ago and this very room, we heard dyer warnings about how the supply chain problems could create a real crisis around the holidays. so we brought together business and labor. that prices did not occur. 99% of the packages we delivered were on time and shelves were stocked. notwithstanding the recent storms that have been impacted. many parts of our country. the share of goods and stocks is
89%. that has fairly changed. 89% are full. this is only a few points below where we were in the pandemic. we will supercharge your effort, upgrading every thing from roads and bridges to ports and airports, railways and transit, to make the economy move faster and reduce prices for families. the second thing, my build back better plan will address the biggest costs that families face every day. no other plane will do more to lower the cost for american families. it costs the cost or childcare. many families including the people sitting in this room, if they have children and are working full-time, many families pay up to $14,000 for childcare care in big cities.
my plan cuts that in half. that will not only be a game chamber -- changer for so many family budgets but it will mean so much to women who left the workforce because of things like childcare. my build back better plan cuts the price of prescription drugs. this cost people as much as a thousand dollars a month. it cuts the cost of eldercare, it lowers energy costs and it will do all of this without raising a single penny in taxes in people making under $400,000 per year. this is what 17 nobel prize winners were economics say we will use long-term inflationary pressure.
capitalism, it is explication. we are going to continue to enforce this along with working in congress where we can. i will close with this, we have faced some of the biggest challenges we have ever faced in this country. challenges to our public health, our economy but we are getting through it. not only are we getting through it, we are laying the foundation for future where america wins the 21st century, by creating jobs at a record pace. and we need to get inflation under control. we have developed an extra nearly effective booster shot and antiviral pills and now i need to finish the job to get covid-19 under control. i have long said it has never been a good bet to bet against the american people or america. i believe that more than ever
today. we have seen the grit and determination. i am happy now to take questions. yes. >> thank you. my colleagues will get into some specific issues but i wanted to zoom out on your first year in office. inflation is up. in a few hours from now, we will deal with voting rights and voting reform legislation, covid-19 is still taking the lives of 1600 americans everyday in the nation's divisions are just as raw as they were a year ago. did you overpromise to the american public what you could achieve in your first year of office and how do you plan to course correct? president biden: i have
outperformed what anyone thought would happen. we are in a situation where made enormous progress. you mentioned the number of deaths from covid. it was three times that not long ago. it is coming down, everything is changing, it is getting better. i did not overpromise but i think if you take a look at what we have been able to do, you would have to acknowledge we have made numerous progress. one of the things i think is something i have been able to do so far is get my republican friends to get in the game of making is better in this country. for example, i was reading the other day -- a quote from senator sununu. he decided -- governor sununu when he decided he was not going to run for the senate in new hampshire. this is what he said.
they were all content with the speed at which they were not doing anything. it was very clear that we just had to hold the line for two years. all right. so we will just be a roadblock for the next two years? that is not what i do sununu said. it bothered me that he was ok with that. i said we are not going to get stuff done if we win the white house back? why did we do anything in 2017 and 2018? and then he said how is republican sooner supposed to answer the challenge? crickets. they had no answer. i did not anticipate such a stalwart effort to make sure the most important thing was that president biden did not get anything done.
take about this. what are republicans for? what are they for? name me one thing they are for. the problem is what i have to do in the change in tactics if you will, i have to make clear to the american people what we are for. we passed a lot of things and people don't even understand what is all in. remember when we passed the affordable care act and everyone thought it was getting pummeled and beaten and it wasn't until that next campaign -- that off your campaign, i was not in office anymore, there were a whole bunch of district campaign for democrats and republican districts said they wanted to do away with health care westmark obamacare? i started pointing out that if you did that, pre-existing conditions would no longer be
covered and they said what? we did not know that. we did not know that. and we won over 38 seats. we had to slain to the people exactly what had passed. one of the things i remember saying -- i remember saying to president obama i said just take a victory lap. he said there are sony things going on there is no time to. as a consequence, no one knew what the details were. they don't know a lot of the details of what we passed. the difference is i'm am going to be out on the road making the case around the country with my colleagues who are up for reelection and others making the case of what we did not do and what we -- what we did do and what we want to do. but we need to do. i don't think i have overpromise at all. i am going to stay on this track. one of the things -- i will end
this after. i was talking with jim clyburn. jim said when he endorsed me -- there was a clip on television the last couple of days of jim and it said we want to make things accessible and affordable for all americans. that is health care, education. prescript and drugs as well. making sure they had access to all the things everybody else has. we can't afford not to do that. i tell my republican friends here i come, this is going to be about what are you for? what are you for? then we lay out what we are for.
>> you mentioned your republican colleagues but right now, your top two legislative priorities, your voting rights legislation are blocked by your own party after months of negotiation. you're only guaranteed control of washington for one more year before the midterm. do you need to be more realistic and scaled-down these priorities in order to get something passed? pres. biden: i don't think so. when you say more realistic, i think it is extremely realistic. let me back up. you all know the politics of this country and your networks. you pull this data, determining where the american people are at. the american people overwhelmingly agree with me on prescription drugs. they overwhelmingly agree with me on the cost of education. they overwhelmingly agree with me on early education. i can go on.
and so, we just have to make the case of what we are for and what the other team is not for. we knew all along that a lot of this was going to be an uphill fight. one of the ways to do this is to make sure we make the contrast as clear as we can. one of the things i think we will have to do is make the case -- i do think there is anything unrealistic. i am not asking for castles in the sky. people have been asking this for a long time. i think we can get it done. >> you're not going to scaled-down any of these priorities but so far, that strategy is not working. you have not been able to get some of these big legislative things done. >> i got two big ones done. currently your spending package and voting rights legislation are not going anywhere. >> not true. >> is there anything you are
confident you can get signed into law before the midterm election? >> yes. i am confit we can get big pieces of the build back better law signed into law and i am coffee we can take the case to the american people that the people they should be voting for oversee that their elections are legitimate. whether or not we can actually get the election, i have not given up. we have not finished up what has been going on. i have been engaged along time in public policy. i don't know many things that have been done in one fell swoop. i think the most important thing to do is try to inform, not
educate, inform the public what is at stake and in stark terms and let them make judgments and let them know who is for them and who is against them. who is there and who is not there. that is what i am spending my time doing in this off year election. -- on in this -- correct mitt romney is a straight guy. one of the things we are doing is trying to make sure that we got everyone on the same page in my party. i did not call many republicans at all. i do think that he is a serious guy and i think we can get things done. i predict you will get something done on the reformed side of this but rather than judge what
is going to get done and not get done, all i can say is that i'm going to continue making the case why it is so important to not turn the look tour process over to the political persons to change the outcome. alison harris, please. >> thank you. speaking of voting rights legislation, if this is not past, do you still believe the upcoming election will be fairly conducted and the results will be legitimate? >> it all depends on whether or not we are able to make the case to the american people that some of this is being set up to alter the outcome of the election. maybe i am just being too much of an optimist but remember how
we thought not that many people were going to show up to vote in the middle of a pandemic and the highest voter turnout in the history of the united state of america happened? i think no matter how hard they make it for minorities to vote, i think you will see them willing to stand in line and defy the attempt to keep them from being able to vote. i think you will see the people we are trying to keep from being able to show up showing up and making the sacrifice in order to change the law back. but it will be difficult. i make no bones about that. it will be difficult that we are not there yet. we have not run out of options yet and we will see how this works. >> teachers are in revolt in so many places. parents are at odds in closing schools. you say we are not going to go back to closing schools.
they are closing in some areas. what do you say to those principles and parents about school closing and what can your administration due to help make up for learning loss for students? >> very few schools are closing. over 95% are still open. i don't think it is deliver on your part but you phrase this question based on what we are watching television. all those schools are closing, what will be due? 95% are still open. that is number one. number two, the idea that parents don't think it is important for their children to be in school and teachers know it as well, that is why we make sure that we have the ability to provide the funding through the recovery act to be able to make sure that schools were able to
be safe. we have new ventilation systems for them, we have the way they handle -- they scrub down laboratories. the laboratory kids go to the bathroom, cafeterias, buses, it set her, all that money is there. billions of dollars available. not every school district has used it as well as it should be used but it is there. in addition to that, there is another $10 billion for testing students in the schools. i think as time goes on, it is much more likely you will see that number go back up from 95% up to 88 or 99%. the district that says we are knocking to be open, it is always going to be the top of the news but let's put it in perspective.
as high as 98% of the schools in america are functioning and capable of doing the job. what about jen epstein of bloomberg? jen: your top policy advisers have warned that russia is now able to get ready to attack ukraine but there is still other unity about what passage of sanctions would look like. if the u.s. and nato are not willing to put troops on the ground in ukraine, has in the u.s. in the west -- and the west lost nearly all of its leverage over vladimir putin? given how effective tensions have been in deterring pugin in the past, why should the threat of new sanctions give him pause? >> because he has never seen sanctions like the one -- once i
promised will be imposed if he moves. we are in a situation where letter report and is about -- we have had very frank discussions, vitamin put in and i. the idea that nato is not going to be united, i don't buy that. i have spoken to every major nato leader, we have the nato russian summit, etc.. i think what you will see is russia will be held accountable. it depends on what it does. we end up having to fight about what to do and not do. but if they actually do what they are capable of doing, it is going to be a disaster for russia if they further invade ukraine and our allies and partners are ready to impose severe costs and significant harm on russia and the russian economy.
we will fortify our nato allies. if he does invade, i have already shipped over $600 million worth of sophisticated equipment, defense equivalent to the ukrainians. the cost of going into ukraine in terms of physical loss of life for the russians, they will be able to prevail over time but it will be heavy and real. it will be consequential. in addition to that, putin has a stark choice. de-escalation or to prom -- or diplomacy or confrontation and consequences. everybody talks about how russia has control over the energy supply that europe absorbs. that money that they earned makes up about 45% of their economy. i don't see that as a one-way
street. they go ahead and cut it off. it is like my mother used to say, you are biting your nails off to spite your face. i spoke with the prime minister of finland. we are talking about concern on the part of finland and sweden about what russia is doing. the last thing that russia needs is finland deciding to change status. they did not say they were going to do that but they're talking about what is going on and how outrageous russia is being. we are finding ourselves in a position where i believe you will see it will be severe economic consequences. anything that involves dollars denominations if they invade, they will pay. their banks will not be able to deal in dollars. a lot will happen. here is the thing. i conversation with putin, we have been -- how can we say it?
we have no problem understanding one another. he has no problem understanding may or may him. the conversations where i have pointed out that you have occupied before, other countries. the price has been extremely high. how long? you can go in overtime at great loss and economic loss to occupy ukraine but how many years? 1, 3, 5, 10? what is that going to take? what told is that take? it is real and consequential. this is not just a cakewalk. they had overwhelming superiority. they will pay a stiff price immediately.
david sanger, new york times. cripes thank you, i wanted to follow-up on your answer about russia and ukraine. when you were in geneva in june, you said there was -- you said that i think the last thing he wants is a cold war. since then, you have seen him gather these trips, 100,000 troops around ukraine.
if he does invade, will your posture be to move back to the kind of containment policy you saw when you were still in the senate? >> i think he still does not want any full-blown war. do i think he will test the west russian mark yes. i think he will. i think he will pay a serious and dear price for it. he does not think now it will cost and what it is going to cost him. i think he will regret having done it. how can i say this in a public forum?
i think that he is dealing with what he things is the most tragic thing that has happened to mother russia. the soviet union has been split but thick about what he has. a situation where he has -- but he is trying to find his place in the world between china and the west. i am not so sure he is certain what he is going to do. i guess he will move in, he has
to do something, i have indicated to him, the two things that he said that he wants guaranteed, one is ukraine will never be part of nato and number two, nato -- there will not be strategic opens stationed in ukraine. this is the russian border in the european area. on the first piece, we had a number of treaties internationally suggesting that you get to choose who you want to be with. this is not very likely. based on how much more work they have to do in terms of democracy. there is room to work if he wants to do that but i think as usual, he is going to -- i
probably should not go any further. i think it will hurt him badly. >> thank you for offering -- it sounds like what it is, at least an informal assurance that nato is not going to take in ukraine anytime in the next few decades and it sounds like we would never put nuclear weapons there. he also wants us to move all of our nuclear weapons out of europe and not have groups rotating through the old soviet bloc. >> there is not space for that. we are actually going to increase presence in poland. because we have the sacred obligation in those countries that are part of nato. thank you.
maureen, usa today. >> thank you i wanted to follow up on your comment. you said that you are confident that you can pass big chunks of build back better. are you looking at breaking the package up into individual portions? and then, on the pandemic, now that the supreme court has blocked the test rule for larger businesses, are you reconsidering whether to -- as a way to boost vaccination rates? pres. biden: the supreme court decision i think was a mistake but you still see thousands and thousands of people who work for major corporations having to be tested as a consequent of the decision made by the standard i sent there.
i think you will see that increase, not decrease. what was the first part of your question? correct that you are confident that major chunks are -- of build a better are going to make it through? pres. biden: it is clear to me that we are going to have to break it up. i have been talking to a number of my colleagues on the hill, it is clear that we would be able to get support for the 500 plus billion dollars for energy and environmental issues that are there, that is number one. number two, i know that the two people who opposed on the democratic side support a number of the things in there. joe manchin strongly supports early education for three years and four years of age.
there is strong support for the way in which to pay for this proposal. i think there is -- i am not going to negotiate again myself as to what should and should not be in there but i think we can break the package up, get as much as we can. >> i wanted to ask about the economy. as you said, americans are feeling the squeeze. oil prices have been at a seven your high. how long should americans expect to face higher prices when they're at the grocery store or the gas pump? is this a thing they will see internet summer or next fall? maybe you could talk about the importance of the fed but isn't
that an acknowledgment that you're the matted in what you can do if you are relying on the fed to make decisions, aren't you simply committed on what you can do to deal with inflation? >> inflation has everything to do with this. what you're saying is we have been able to make progress on the access to materials. for example, one third on the increase on the cost of living is the increase on automobiles. they skyrocketed in price because of the lack of computer chips. we have the capacity and we will do everything in our power to do it to become self-reliant on computer chips that we need in order to be able to produce more automobiles.
that is underway. we have already passed it within the context of another bill, money for that and house of representatives. but i think there is a way that we can move if we can move to get that one thing done, it can make a big difference in terms of the cost -- the total cost. with regard to the whole issue of energy prices, that gets other bit more complicated. you saw what happened when i was able to convince everyone from china to india, the number of other countries to agree with us on their version of the petroleum reserve, to release more into the market. that brought down the price about 12 or $.15 per gallon. some places more. there will be a reckoning along the line about whether or not we will continue to see oil prices
continue to go up in ways they are going and what impact that will have on the producers. it will be hard. i think that is where working-class people it hit the most. paying five dollars a gallon will be really difficult. we are going to continue to work on trying to increase oil supplies available and i think there are ways in which we can be of some value in terms of the price of gas, natural gas to take the burden off of european countries that are now totally dependent on russia but it is going to be hard. it will be really hard. i think we have to deal with -- you have a circumstance where people are paying more for a pound of hamburger meat.
one of the reasons for that is you don't have the people out there that are one of the big four controlling it. we will see more and more movement on this competition is to allow more smaller operations to come in and be able to engage in providing the access to much cheaper meat. i assume the reason you said i can't get build back better, it relates to the nobel boy -- nobel laureate economist, it would actually lower the impact and reduce inflation over time. there is a lot we have to do. it will not be easy. i think we can get it done but it will be very painful for a lot of people in the meantime. the best way to take the burden
off of working-class people is to pass go back better peace. if you get to trade off higher gases versus whether or not you're going to have to -- whether you're going to be able to pay for education and child care and the like, i think most people would make the trade. but it is going to be hard. it will take a lot of work. >> you mentioned china. do you think the time will come to begin lifting some of the tariffs on chinese imports or is there a need for china to make do on some of its commitments in the phase one agreement customer some business groups would like to begin lifting up those tariffs. >> i know that and i know -- that is why my trade rep is
working on that right now. i would like to say they are meeting some of their commitments but not all of them. >> thank you, mr. president. this afternoon, mitch mcconnell said that the midterm elections are going to be a report card on your progress on inflation, order security and standing up to russia. do you think that is unfair which a look at it and if so, how do you think that report card looks right now? >> i think it will look pretty good. mitch has been very clear. he will do anything to prevent success. i shall he like mitch mcconnell. he has one straightforward objective, make sure that there
is nothing that i do that makes me look good in his mind with the public at large. that is ok. bye, big boy, i have been here before but the fact is i am happy to debate and have a referendum on how i handle the economy. whether or not i made progress -- i am taking to -- what is mitch for? what is c4? -- what is he for russian mark -- what is he for? what is he for? dealtig -- dealing with russia? what is he for?
everything is a choice. i laid out a proposal on immigration that if we passed it, we would be in a totally different place right now. we are not there. my buddy, john mccain is gone. it will take time. i go back to governor sununu's quote. i know it is not fair to ask the presse question. did you ever think that one man out of office could intimidate an entire party where they are unwilling to take any vote contrary to what he thinks should be taken for fear of
being beaten in a primary? i have had five republican senators talk to me, bump into me who told me they agree with whatever i am talking about but if i do it, i am going to be defeated in the primary. we have to break that. it has to change. you are all bright as hell, well-informed, more informed than any group of people in america but did any of you think we would get to a point where not a single republican would diverge on a major issue? >> can you tell us who those
enforcers in the justice system who are there to challenge these unconstitutional things. -- what will happen if in fact these things move forward. if i talked to you, not you, if i have talked to the public about the whole idea of subversion of elections by deciding who the electors are after-the-fact, i think people look at me and say i taught constitutional law for 30 years and on saturday morning when i was a senator -- i never thought we would get to a place where we were talking about asking people what they were trying to do this last timeout. sending different electors to different state ledge that bodies to represent who won the election, saying i did not win
but the republican candidate did. i doubt anybody thought that would happen in america in the 21st century but it is happening. what i am saying is there a number of things we can do but i think we would be able to get significant pieces of the legislation if we did not get it all now. >> if you don't mind, you touted the number of americans who were fully vaccinated with two shots. even some of your own say the people are not fully protected unless they have that third shot. the booster. why hasn't this white house changed the definition of fully vaccinated to include that third booster shot? is it because the number of
fully vaccinated americans would suddenly look -- >> this has become clearer and clearer. if you have been vaccinated, get your booster shot. everybody get the booster shot. it is the optimum protection you can have. you are protected very well with two shots. you are better protected with the booster shot. >> the definition right now. the answer -- pres. biden: the answer is yes. get the booster shot. you're better protected. alex, reuters. alex: i wanted to follow up on a question followed by -- asked by bloomberg. he said it depends on what russia does. it is one thing if we end up having to fight about what to do
and what not to do. are you saying that a minor incursion by russia into ukrainian territory would not be to the santas you have threatened or are you effectively giving put in permission to make a small incursion into the country? pres. biden: good question. the most important thing to do, big nations can't bluff, number one. number two, the idea that we would do anything to split nato which would have a profound impact on one of putin boss injected would be a big mistake. the question is, if it is something significantly short of a significant invasion or military forces, it is one thing
to do if they continue to use cyber efforts but we can survive the same way -- respond the same way. cyber. they have people in ukraine trying to undermine the solidarity to try to promote russian interests but it is very important that we keep everyone in nato on the same page. there are differences. they are differences in nato as to what countries are willing to do. i want to be clear with you. the serious imposition of sanctions relative to the dollar transaction is another thing. these are things that will have a negative impact in the united states as well as a negative impact in the economies of europe as well.
a devastating impact on russia. i have to make sure that everybody is on the same page as we move along. i think that we will where there are russian forces moving across a border, i think that changes everything but it depends on what he does. >> if i may ask a quick one on iran, i would want to get a sense on whether any of the vienna talks on making any progress. do you think it is time to give up on that? pres. biden: it is not time to give up. there is some progress being made. it remains to be seen. ok. kristen, nbc. russia. i do have a number of domestic policy issues.
but on russia very quickly. it seems like you said that you have assessed, you feel as though he will move in. that is h -- has this administration, have you determined whether president putin plans to invade or move into ukraine as he said? -- as you said? president biden: look. the only thing i'm confident of is that decision is totally, solely, completely putin's decision. nobody else is going to make that decision. no one else is going to impact that decision. he's making that decision. and i suspect it matters which side of the bed he gets up on in the morning as to exactly what he's going to do. and i think it is not irrational if he wanted to talk about dealing with strategic doctrine and dealing with force structures in europe and in the european parts of russia. but i don't know if he's decided he wants to do that or not. so far in the three meetings we
have had have not produced anything because the impression i get from my secretary of state, my security advisors and other senior officials doing these meetings is that there's a question whether the people they're talking to know what he's going to do. so the answer is, but based on a number of criteria as to what he could do, for example, for him to move in and occupy the whole country, particularly from the north from belarus, he's going to have to wait a little bit when the ground is frozen to move in a direction where he wants to talk about about -- we're continuing to provide for defense capacities to the ukrainians.
we are talking about what's going on in both the baltic and black sea, etc. there's a whole range of things that i'm sure he's trying to calculate how quickly he can do what he wants to do and what does he want to do? but he's not -- he's an informed individual. and i'm sure -- i'm not sure, but i believe he's calculating what the immediate, short-term and near-term and long-term consequences for russia will be. he's an informed individual. i believe he's calculating what -- >> you have gotten lots of questions about voting rights and i want to ask you about black voters, one of your most loyal constituencies. i was in congressman clyburn's district yesterday. you opened this news conference talking about him. i spoke to a number of black
voters who fought to get you elected and now they feel as though you are not fighting enough for them and their priorities, and they told me they see this push on voting rights more as a lastminute p.r. push than it is a legitimate effort to get legislation passed. so what do you say to these black voters who say that you do not have their backs, as you promised on the campaign trail? president biden: i've had their back. i've had their back my entire career. i never not had their back. i started on the voting rights issues long, long ago. this is what got me involved in politics in the first place. and i think part of the problem is look, there's significant disagreement in every community on whether or not the timing of assertions made by people has been in the timeliest way. so i'm sure there are those who are saying that, why didn't biden push john lewis bill as hard as he pushed the why didn't he push it six months ago as hard as he did now? the fact is that there is
there's a timing that is not of one's own's choice. it is dictated by events in the country and around the world. but part of the problem is, as well, i have not been out in the community nearly enough. i've been here an awful lot. i find myself in a situation where i don't get a chance to look people in the eye because of both covid and things that are happening in washington, to be able to go out and do the
things that i've always been able to do pretty well connect with people, let them take a measure of my sincerity, let them take a measure of who i am. as i pointed out in south carolina, you know, last time when i was chairman of the judiciary committee, i got the voting rights act extended for 25 years. i got strom thurmond to vote for it. that's what i've been doing my whole career. so the idea that i that i didn't either anticipate or because i didn't speak to it as fervently as they want me to earlier, in the meantime, i spent a lot of time, spent hours and hours and hours talking with my colleagues on the democratic side trying to get them to agree that if in fact this occurred, if this push continues, they would be there for john lewis and anyway. so but i think that's a problem that is my own making by not communicating as much as i should have.
yet, you find in a d that when you find that when you deal wih members of the black caucus and others in the united states congress, i still have very close working relationships. so it's like every community. i'm sure there are those in the community i'm a big labor guy. i'm sure there are people in labor saying why haven't i been able to do a, b, c, or d. it will take time. reporter: you put vice president harris in charge of voting rights. are you satisfied with her work on this issue? and can you guarantee do you commit she will be your running mate in 2024 provide you run again? president biden: yes and yes. reporter: ok. do you care to expand? president biden: no, there's no need to. she will be my running mate, number one. and number two, i did put her in charge. i think she's doing a good charge. reporter: let me ask you, big
picture, particularly when you think about voting rights and the struggles you had to unify your own party around voting rights, unity was one of your key campaign promises. in fact, in your inaugural address you said, your whole soul was in bringing america together. uniting our people. people heard the speech that you gave on voting rights in georgia recently in which you described those who are opposed to you to george wallace and jefferson davis and some people took exception to that. what do you say to those who were offended by your speech and is this country more unified than when you took office? pres. biden: number one, anybody listening to the speech, i did not say they were going to be a
george wallace or bill connor, i said we were going to have a decision in history. and it was going to be more, just like it was then. not that it made you a george wallace or bill connor, but if you voted against the voting rights, i think -- did a good job of making it seem like i attacked them. i have not attacked any senator, any congressman publicly. communicate to them privately or with them. my desire is still, i underestimated one very important thing.
i never thought that republicans, for example, i said for 16 members of the president of the united states senate who voted to extend the voting rights act. they got very offended by that. that was not a net is a should, i was stating the facts. what has changed? what happened? why is not a single republican, not one, that is not the republican party. that is not an attack. >> is the country more unified than when you took office? pres. biden: the answer is, based on some of the stuff we got done, yes. but it is not nearly as unified as it should be. i know you all have a right to judge me by this. i still contend that unless you
can reach consensus in a democracy, you cannot sustain democracy. so this is a real test whether or not my counterpart is right or not when he says hypocrisies are the only thing that is going to be -- the only thing that is going to prevail because democracies take longer. it occurs every soon -- every generation or even more than that. when things are changing, almost regardless of any particular policy, the world is changing in big ways. we are going to see more change in the next 10 years then we saw in the last 50 years because of technology.
because of fundamental alterations in alliances. that are occurring not because of one individual but because of --. i think you're going to see a lot of transition and the question is can we keep up with it. can we maintain the democratic institutions we have? not just here but around the world. to be able to generate democratic consensus in how we proceed. it is going to be hard but it requires leadership to do it. i am not giving up on the prospect of being able to do that. thank you. >> there are deep questions among americans about the competence of government. and the messy rollout of 5g this week, to the afghanistan withdrawal, to testing on covid. what have you done to restore americans faith in the
competence of government? are you satisfied of the view of competence of your government? pres. biden: let's take afghanistan. i know you all would like to focus on that, which is legitimate. we were spending a trillion dollars a week. i mean, $1 billion a week in afghanistan, for years. raise your hand if you think anyone was going to be able to unify afghanistan under one single government. it has been the graveyard of empires for solid reason. it is not susceptible to unity. number one. so, the question was, do i continue to spend that much money per week in the state of afghanistan knowing that the
idea that being able to succeed, other than sending more body bags home is highly unusual. my dad used to have an expression, when something is equally important to you, nothing is important to you. there is no way to get out of gift, stan after 20 years easily. i make no apologies for what you did. -- for what i did. i have great concern for women and men who were blown up at the line at the airport by a terrorist attack. but the military will acknowledge and i think you will know all about foreign policy. had we stayed and i not pull those troops out, we will be asked to put 20 to 50% more troops in.
the last president signed an agreement to get out by may 1. had we not gotten out, we will be putting a lot more forces in. do i feel badly what is happening as a cost -- as a consequence of what is happening? yes, i do. but i also feel badly about the -- taking place in the congo. i feel badly about a lot of things all over the world that we cannot solve. i do not feel that is a competency issue. the issue whether or not we are dealing with 5g or not, we are going to deal with 5g. the fact is you had to enterprises, to private enterprises that had one promoting 5g and the other with airlines. private enterprises.
that had government regulation admittedly. what i have done is twist as hard as i can to have 5g folks hold up and abide by what was being requested by the airlines until they could more modernized over the years. so the 5g would not interfere. any 5g tower within certain miles of the airport should not be operative. i understand anything that happens is consequential is viewed as the government's responsibility, i get that. in my satisfied in the way in which we have dealt with covid and all the things that go along with it? yeah, i am satisfied. i think we have done remarkably well. the idea that on testing people,
we should have done it quicker. we have done remarkable since then. we have more testing going on than anywhere in the world. we are going to continue to increase that. did we have it at the moment when we should have, what could we have moved a month earlier? yeah, we could have. with everything else going on, i do not view that as a mark of incompetence. think of what we did on covid when we were pushing on astrazeneca to provide more vaccines. they did not have the machine reading to be able to do it. i physically went to michigan, stood there in a factory with the head of astrazeneca and said we will provide the machinery for you. this is what we will do. we will help you do it so you can produces vaccine more rapidly.
we also said, right now with people and hospitalizations running rapid and you have doctors and nurses out because of covid, we put thousands of people back in those hospitals. look at all the military personnel we have there, first responders. nobody is ever organized, nobody has ever organized a strategic operation to get as many shots in arms and being able to get so many people vaccinated. what i am doing now is not just getting significant amounts of vaccines to the rest of the world, but the mechanical way is how they are getting shots in arms. does everybody in america know that? no, they are trying to figure out how to get three square meals on the table and keep everybody safe.
i wish we could have written it differently. just keep -- just -- to keep schools open, some of them were not doing a very good job i understand the frustration. i forget which cabinet member was saying to president barack obama and he was saying, you have to be sure, mr. president. of the millions of employees you have out there right now, somebody is screwing up. you have to look at things like we used to look at it, a
balance. what is the tradition three of the country? is it moving in the right direction now? i do not know how we can say it is not. i understand the overwhelming frustration, fear and concern with regard to the administration and covid. but the ideas i told you when we started, i told you what we would do in the first year, create over 600 million jobs. i am going to get unemployment down to 3.9 percent. you looked at me like you are nuts. >> president, with as much washington experience as you entered this office with, after we sit here for more than an hour, i am not sure i have heard if you would do anything differently in the second year of your term? do you plan to do anything differently to satisfy -- are you satisfied with your team here at the white house? pres. biden: i am satisfied now that i have gotten the critical crisis out of the way, in
regards to knowing exactly where we are going. number one, i am going to get out of this place more often. i'm going to go out and talk to the public. i am going to do public forum. i am going to interface with them. i'm going to make the case of what we have already done, why it is important and what will happen if we support what else i want to do. number two, i am not complaining, 12 or 14 hours a day, but now the big chunks have been put in place and we know the direction. i am also going to be out there seeking more advice of experts outside for macadamia -- to academia. just like they brought in presidential historians to get their perspective on what we should be doing.
seeking more input, more information. more constructive criticism about what i should and shouldn't be doing. the third thing i am going to be doing a lot more is being in a situation where i am able to, i am going to be deeply involved in elections. we are going to be raising money and making sure all of those candidates and asking those in the community to go out and make the case in plain, simple language as to what it is we have done, what we want to do and why we think it is important. pres. biden: how many more hours and my doing this? i am happy to stick around. you always ask me the nicest questions. i know you do. none of them make a lot of sense to me but --
>> why are you trying so hard in your first year to pull the country so far to the left? pres. biden: well, i am not. i do not know what you consider to be too far to the left. if you are talking about making sure we have the money for covid, making sure we have the money to put together a bipartisan infrastructure, making sure we are able to provide for those things that in fact would significantly reduce the burden on working-class people, i do not know how that is pointed at the left. if you recall, you guys have been trying to convince me that i am bernie sanders. i am not. i like him but i am not bernie sanders. i am not a socialist. i am an mainstream democrat and i have been. mainstream democrats will notice
48 of the 50 democrats supported me in the senate on virtually everything i asked. yes, sir? >> a moment ago you were asked whether or not you believed we would have free and fair elections in 2022. some of the legislators reformed their voting poll policies. you said it depends. do you think they would, in any way, be illegitimate? pres. biden: they could easily be illegitimate. imagine if in fact trump succeeded in convincing pens to not count the vote. -- pence to not count the vote. >> in 2022.
pres. biden: i am not saying it is going to be legit. the prospect of being illegitimate, i
do not think you're going to see me and you're not going to see the democratic party give up on coming back and assuming the attempt fails today. >> one more, sir. you campaigned and you ran on civility. i know you dispute of folks who would oppose the bill. you said they would be sort of in the same camp. pres. biden: i did not say that. go back and read what i said and tell me if you think i called anyone who voted on the side of
the position taken by bill connor that they were bill connor. that is an interesting read in english. i assume you got into journalism because you like to write. >> did you expect that will work with senators mansion or --? pres. biden: certain things are so consequential, you have to speak from your heart as well as your head. i was speaking out forcefully on what i think to be at stake. that is what it is. by the way, no one forgets who was on the side of bill connor. the history books will note who was making the case. do not think this is a freebie. you do not get to vote this way and somehow it goes away. this will stick with you the rest of your career and long after you are done.
whoa, whoa, whoa, whoa. hang on guys. let me get something straight here. how long are you guys willing to go? you want to go for another hour, two hours? ok. i tell you what, folks. i am going to go another 20 minutes. ok? yes, sir? >> president biden -- pres. biden: i want to thank my communication staff, they are a big help here. >> [laughter] >> president biden, we are
approaching nearly one million people who have died. why during your press conference with -- you did not press for transparency? pres. biden: the answer is i did raise the question of transparency. i spent a lot of time with him. the fact is they are just not being transparent. >> transparency on the coronavirus origins? pres. biden: you -- yeah. >> is there a reason you're press staff was unaware of that? and what did you say to the chinese president? pres. biden: i thought china had an obligation to be more forthcoming on what the source of the virus was and where it came from. yes? >> mr. president, i would like
to ask you about foreign privacy -- foreign policy. one of the first things you declared when you came in office was to end the war in youngman. -- yamin. today, asking your administration to put -- back on the terror list, are you going to do that and how are you going to end the war in yamin? pres. biden: ending the war in yamin takes two parties to do that and it is going to be very difficult. >> thank you very much for this honor. james rosen with newsmax. i would like to delve into the subject, with respect for your competence and the high office you hold. a poll released this morning by
a political morning consult found 49% of registered voters disagreeing with the statement, joe biden is mentally fit. without even a majority of democrats who responded, strongly affirmed that statement. the question i have for you sir, if you would let me finish. why do you suppose such large sectors have come to harbor such profound concern about your cognitive fitness? thank you. pres. biden: i have no idea. yes, sir. >> thanks mr. president, i appreciate it. i wanted to ask about tension that has been in this press conference about unifying this country. you campaigned on two things, being able to accomplish big
things and being able to unify the country. i wonder if you still think it is possible to do both those things? pres. biden: we have to. as long as i hold public office i am one to attempt to do both things. >> i will follow-up. around this time last year when you were campaigning in georgia, i think one of the things you told people was the power was in your hands. a voters give democrats the house and the senate and the presidency, all these big things could get accomplished. why should folks believe you this time around? pres. biden: can you think of any other president who has done more in one year? >> i am asking you. pres. biden: i am serious. you guys talk about how nothing has happened. i do not think there has been much on any incoming presidents plate that has been a bigger
menu than the plate i had. the fact of the matter is we got an awful lot done. and there is more to get done. let me ask you a rhetorical question, no, i will not. anyway. thank you. yes? >> another question on the ukraine. ukraine -- four nato countries. how concerned are you if the russians really go in there that it could suck in nato countries that are on the border and end up in nato, russia confrontation
of some kind? and secondly, are you entertaining the thought of a summit with vladimir putin as a way to perhaps try to put this whole thing to bed, address their concerns and negotiate a way out of there. pres. biden: the last part, yeah. we talked about we will go from there to go to a summit. we talked about a summit as being before ukraine. strategic doctrine and what it would be. i still think that is a possibility. number two, i am very concerned that this could end up being, the only war that is burst from one unintended is one that is unintended. what i am concerned about is this getting out of hand.
easily get out of hand because the borders of ukraine and what russia may or may not do. i am hoping that vladimir putin understands he is short of a full-blown nuclear war. he is not in a very good position to dominate the world. so i do not think he thinks that. it is a concern. that is why we have to be very careful about how we move forward and make it clear to him that there are prices to pay that could in fact cost this country an awful lot. of course you have to be concerned when you have nuclear power.
>> nearly two years and the global coronavirus pandemic, what type of restrictions do you imagine being on americans this time next year and what does the new normal look like for social gatherings and travel to you? pres. biden: the answer is, i hope the new normal would be we do not still have 30 something million people not vaccinated. i hope the new normal is people have seen what their own interest is an taken advantage of it. number two, with the pill that appears to be advantageous as it seems to be, we would be able to deal with this virus in a way that you make sure you do not -- after the fact you make sure you do not get very sick.
number three, i would hope that what happens is the rest of the world does what i am doing and provide significant amount to the vaccine in the rest of the world. it is not sufficient that we just have this country not have the virus or be able to control the virus, but that we can pool the world -- we can pull the wall high enough not to have -- we are contemplating how to get done. how do we move in a direction where the world itself is vaccinated. it is not enough just to vaccinate 340 million people in the united states. that is not enough. we have to do it and we have to do a lot more than we are doing now and that is why we have continued to keep the commitment to providing vaccines and
available cures for the rest of the world as well. >> how do you plan to win back moderates and independents who cast a ballot for you in 2020 polls indicate are not happy with the way you are doing your job now? pres. biden: i do not believe the polls. >> thank you, mr. president. to follow up on some of the questions about vaccinations, you have urged americans to get vaccinations. you have said it is people's patriotic duty. there have been very few mentions about the fact that young children under the age of five, still in the third year of the pandemic in this country don't have access to the vaccine. can you speak to frustrated parents about why that continues to be the case and when that might change. pres. biden: because science has not reached a point where they are convinced it is in fact
safe. that is what they are doing now. i got asked that question about three months ago. people between the ages of seven and 12. well, finally, they got to the point where they felt secure in the number of tests they had done and the number of tests they had run and it was safe. it will come. i am not a scientist. i cannot tell you win. it is very important that we get that next piece. >> one more follow-up on build back better. you said it is likely going to be broken up into chunks. you said -- it seemed to have broad support. you mention senator manchin has early support of early childcare. you left out the child tax credit. i am wondering is that the peas, given senator manchin's opposition to that is one of the components that may have to wait? pres. biden: there are two really big components i feel strongly about that i am not sure i can get in the package. one is the child kit -- one is
the child tax care credit and one is the community college. i am willing to keep coming back at to try to get chunks of all that. yes, sir? young man next >> to your left. > thank you, mr. president. this is my first press conference here. it is good to meet you. i have a couple of questions for you. number one, you say you want to convey your message by getting out there in the country. i wonder if you are planning on traveling to south america and all the countries in the western hemisphere, given the fact that china has a lot of interest in the region? and the second question is, what would be your message for residents in this country that are struggling every time they
go to the gas station, going to the grocery store and see prices high, and the pharmacy? i come from south texas where i saw a lot of people struggling financially in the last few months. i wonder what is the message you want to spread to them? pres. biden: i tried to answer that seven different ways today, how to deal with inflation. let me answer the first question. i spent a lot of time in south america and in latin america when i was vice president. i spent the bulk of my years in europe and in latin america. i am in contact with the leaders of the countries in south america and we are working closely in making sure we do everything, for example, to deal with helping the countries in question. particularly those in south america -- in central america.
people do not sit around and guatemala and say i have a great idea. take us across a very dangerous trip through central america, up through mexico, drop these sneakers across the desert, won't that be fun? people leave because they have real problems. one of the things i have done when i was vice president, i do not have much republican support anymore, is provided billions of dollars to be able to send it to those countries. why are people leaving and how are you going to reform your own system? that is what we have worked on a long time. it still needs a lot more work and we are focusing on that. i believe i spend a lot of time dealing with policy with -- who is more than a dictator right now.
the same thing in july. -- in chile. i made a speech a while ago saying, if we are smart, we have an opportunity to make the western hemisphere a democratic hemisphere. we were moving in the right direction under our last administration, under the biden administration. so much damage has been done as a consequence of policies the last president made in latin america and south america, that we now have, when i come from -- i call for some of the democracies, what is it that it's going to allow was? we have had a reduction of
democracies over the world. when i was a kid, we talked about america's backyard. it is not america's backyard. everything south of the border is america's front yard. we are equal people. we do not dictate what happens in any other country. we have to work very hard on it. the trouble is we are having mistakes made in the last four years and it is going to take some time. yes, gentlemen in the back. and now i will go to decide. >> thank you mr. president. thank you for holding this press conference. i hope there are more of them. you said you were surprised by republican destruction of your gym though. didn't democrats take the exact
-- when you were vice president to barack obama? why would they treat you any different than they treated him? pres. biden: they were not nearly as destructive. there are a number of republicans we worked with closely. from john mccain, a number of republicans we were close with. even back in those days there was lindsey graham. the difference here is there seems to be a desire, and i did not say my agenda. i said what is their agenda? they had an agenda back in the administration in the eight years we were president and vice president but i don't know what their agenda is now. what is it? the american public is outraged about the tax structure we have in america. and they are promoting a new one?
have you heard anything? i have not heard anything. the american public is outraged about the state of the environment, a vast majority of the public. what have they done to do anything with the climate -- that exist? that eventually happen. we were able to get some things done. we were able to work through some stuff on stuff that was consequently, it was a real fight. i do not think there was a time, what would be the republican platform right now? what do you think? what do you think the position on taxes are? what do you think is their position on immigration?
what do you think there position is on the cost of prescription drugs? i honest to god do not know what they are for and yet i know a lot of these senators in congress and i know they do have things they want to support. whether they are things that i want or not. but you don't hear much about that. every once in a while when you hear something and there is a consensus, it is supported by a small item and it does not get much coverage. there's not much discussion about it. i think this is different. i do not know, no matter how strongly one supports republican or endorses the former president of the united states, i do not know how they can't look at what happened on january 6 and think,
"that is a real problem." >> one more present -- one more question mr. president -- pres. biden: by the way, guys, it is a quarter till. if you give me easy answers i will answer. -- if you give me quick questions i will answer. >> -- allowing them to taste closed in the midterm elections next year? pres. biden: i am confused by the question. i am sorry. >> could school re-openings or closures become a potent midterm issue for republicans to win back the suburbs? pres. biden: i think it could be.
look, let me repeat myself. as time goes on, the voter who is just trying to figure out, as i said, how to take care of their family, put three square meals on the table, be able to pay their mortgage, etc., is becoming much more informed on the motives of some of the political players and political parties. i think they are not going to be as susceptible to believing some of the outlandish things that have been said and continue to be said.
every president, not necessarily in the first 12 months, but every president in the first couple of years, most presidents. of the last president, at least four of them, have had polling numbers that are at least 44% favorable. for this idea that biden, one showed him at 43%, the average at 45 percent, one pole at 49%. the idea, the american public is trying to sift their way through what is real and what is fake. i do not think, i have never seen a time when the political
coverage, the choice of what the voter looks for, it is what they believe, they go to get reinforced on their views. whether it is msnbc or fox. one of the things i find fascinating that is happening, and you all are dealing with it every day is that a lot of the speculation the polling data shows that the cables are heading south. we are losing viewership. fox is ok for a while. a lot of the rest are predicted to be not very much in the mix in the next four to five years. i do not know whether that is true or not.
i do know everybody puts themselves in certain alleys and they decided that, and how many people who watch fox? how many people, again, i am no expert at any of this but the fact is i think you have to acknowledge is necessarily a little bit different than what was covered in the past. the nature of the way things are being covered, it has been my observation over the years, it has changed. we have a thing called the internet, it has changed because of the way in which we have self
identified perspectives based on what channel you turn on. what network you look at. it has never quite been like that. >> on behalf of the correspondence association. , thank you for responding. the question i want to ask is on accountability, sir. the coronavirus and the government's response to it. whether it is confusion over which style of mask to wear, wind to test, how to test, where to test. the public is confused, sir. you see that in the drop off of
the polling. why did you tell jeff you were satisfied in your team? why are you not interested to make any more changes, given that the messages are so confusing? pres. biden: the extent to which the messages have been confusing is because scientists are learning more. they are learning what is needed and what is not needed. the one piece that has gotten a lot of attention, the communications capacity of the cdc. she came along and said i am a scientist and i am learning. i am learning how to deal with stating what is the case that we have observed. i think it is a little bit like saying with the whole issue of how to deal with polio and the polio shots. it was said in the beginning,
"it has changed a little bit, move this way or that way." when we dealt with anything else, this is a brand-new virus. a brand-new phenomenon. some was deadly, others was more communicable. this is an evolving story. it is the rate at which the disease is spreading. we are going to learn about it in a lot of more areas than this, not just covid-19. i look at it this way, think about how astounding it was within the timeframe it took to be able to come up with a vaccine. you use to write about that. pretty amazing how rapidly they came up with the vaccine that saved hundreds of thousands of lives. did everything get right? no.
and by the way, the idea whether -- anyway, i am talking too much. >> thank you, mr. president. i have two really simple questions. you campaigned on student loans, do you still plan to do so and when? and do you plan to reach out to republicans like mitt romney to talk about reforming the electoral count ballot? pres. biden: i talked to mitt on a number of occasions. i reached out to the director of -- as well. at the time he made his speech. i have no reluctance to reach out to any republican and anyone , and i have made it clear. i have now had the opportunity to travel because of funerals and eulogies i have made in
congressmen and senators have come along with me. don't hold me to the number somewhere between 20 and 25 senators and congressperson to have with me. you should get with him and asked how i sat through two, three, four hours we have flown together. i asked him questions, they asked me questions. as president, you do not have the ability to do that as often as i would like to be able to do it. one of the things i do think it's going to be made clear to me, speaking of polling, the public does not want me to be the senator. or they want me to be the president and they want senators to be senators. if i have made the mistake, i am used to negotiating and getting things done. i have been, in the past, relatively successful.
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