Return to Transcripts main page
The Lead with Jake Tapper
Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) Is Interviewed About Spending Bill, Jerome Powell, Facebook, Purdue Pharma; Biden Lowers Spending Bill Price In Effort To Lure Manchin, Sinema; Warren On Fed. Chair Powell: He's A "Dangerous Man"; Report: Facebook Plans To Change Its Name; Massachusetts A.G.: State To Net $90 Million From Settlement With Drug Maker Purdue Pharma; House Moves Closer To Holding Bannon In Contempt; Biden Speaks At Critical Moment For Economic Agenda. Aired 5-6p ET
Aired October 20, 2021 - 17:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
JAKE TAPPER, CNN HOST: The tone on this bill has finally shifted, but it's far from over. What needs to happen before all 50 Democratic senators will sign off on this?
MANU RAJU, CNN CHIEF CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, there are still a number of sticking points in some of the moderate Democratic senators, Kyrsten Sinema, Joe Manchin are still not on board. Manchin said he would not get embrace this $1.9 trillion level. He had been about 1.5 trillion, but he is engaging in significant back and forth.
And there are a number of divisions still about how to deal with some of the key issues here. Climate change is central. Progressives and moderates are still haggling over exactly what that ultimate deal could look like after opposition from Manchin expanding Medicare and the paid family and medical leave. There's a discussion about reducing that from 12 weeks, which was initially proposed down to four weeks.
The child tax credit you mentioned was another issue that is still on the table. And now an issue to how to raise revenue. Sinema has indicated that she will not support increasing taxes on corporations and high earners. Of course, that had been central to financing this package.
And talking to Democrats who are trying to figure out a way now to get around that opposition either to try to convince her to change her mind, or perhaps look at other ways to raise revenue. And I just caught up with the head chief tax writer on the House side about Sinema's opposition, and he said this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. RICHARD NEAL (D-MA), CHAIR, WAYS AND MEANS COMMITTEE: And I think every Democrat in the House and the Senate voted against the Trump tax cuts, this is a chance to address it. So if you're against it, this is a chance to repair it.
One of the most difficult issues here remains, we have still never seen a top line from the Senate. What's the number?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
RAJU: And that's one of the frustrations hear from House members. How come they have not heard a specific top line? How much Senate Democrats would ultimately be willing to support because all 50 Senate Democrats are not yet behind a single number. Of course, the House had tried to propose this $3.5 trillion plan, which will now be significantly scaled back.
But nevertheless, despite these divisions, there is optimism, Jake, among the Democratic leaders that they could get a top line agreement, overall agreement and an outline on this plan by the end of this week. And then that could potentially pave the way for final House passage on that separate infrastructure bill. There's been waiting action in the House for months, that $1.2 trillion bill to pump in money for roads, bridges, broadband, that is still waiting action. But if there's an agreement of the big bill, perhaps it can be an agreement on that narrower bill, but still some ways to go.
TAPPER: Manu Raju on Capitol Hill, thanks so much.
My next guest says there's been quote, "Enough talking, and it's time for Democrats to get this done." Joining me live in studio to discuss Democratic Senator Elizabeth Warren of the great Commonwealth of Massachusetts.
Senator, thank you so much for joining us.
So we don't have a full list of everything in the bill in this compromise, but we have a top line rundown. So take a look, universal pre-K, a short term extension of the child tax credit for a year instead of for more, four weeks of paid leave, instead of 12, money for child care, money for eldercare, and expansion of Medicare to include things like vision and hearing. We also know that tuition free community college got the x as well as the clean electricity power program. I know this isn't a bill that you would craft but could you vote for this?
SEN. ELIZABETH WARREN (D), MASSACHUSETTS: So look, the devil always is in the details and it depends on how robust the programs are that are being funded, and what the plans are on the substitute. So for example, think about it on climate, climate change is the existential threat, we have got to move and we've got to move fast.
The good news is there's not just one program in this package on climate change, there are multiple programs. Our goal is to bring down carbon emissions. And we've got a lot of different tools to do that. If we can't do one particular one because we can't get 50 people on board, we're still looking for other ways that get us to the same point. And that is a sharp reduction in carbon emissions in the short run and an even sharper reduction over a longer arc.
So, I hate to say it but you know, this is really where everybody's down and got their shirt sleeves rolled up and they're going back and forth about the details. TAPPER: Yes.
WARREN: I think we can get there.
TAPPER: You think you can get there. You know, Joe Manchin, you know, Kyrsten Sinema, they have been the holdouts, really. I mean, I'm sure other people have other negotiations they would want to make.
We just heard from Manu that Senator Sinema, who has been saying this for months has concerns about the way to pay for this. She does not want to raise the corporate tax increase. She does not want to raise the corporate tax, which has -- which was decreased a few years ago before she came to the Senate, I should add. And she does not want -- she's reluctant to raise the top level tax increase.
Now I know that those are popular permissions to raise taxes on wealthy people and corporations, but if she's reluctant to do so how do you get there? How do you get her vote?
WARREN: So look, I'd like to be able to raise those rates, and I'll fight to be able to raise those rates. But take a look at my real corporate profits tax, this is not about raising the marginal rate at the top. This is about Amazon, making $10 billion in profits and turning around and telling the IRS, so sorry, we made nothing and paying zero in taxes.
So I've got a proposal to actually pretty straightforward that says, for companies that make more than $100 million in profits, when they report that publicly, they're going to have to pay at least 7 percent on their publicly reported profits. That's not raising the marginal rate. But you know how much money it raises? Over 10 years, that raises about $717 billion.
So, Senator Angus King and I have been fighting for this. This is a way to say our problem is partly about too low a rate at the top. And obviously some Democrats disagree. But I think all the Democrats agree. By golly, everybody ought to be paying something when you're making the kind of profits that Amazon and other companies are making.
Fifty-five companies make more than a billion dollars in profits and pay nothing in taxes. That's not right, we can stop that, and we can fund a lot of this plan.
TAPPER: With all due respect, you don't need to tell me, you need to talk to tell Kyrsten Sinema. And also, if it were that simple, why hasn't it been done? Just because corporate interests are so powerful?
WARREN: Yes. I mean, come on. You're surprised?
TAPPER: No, I'm not. But have you talked to Kyrsten Sinema about this? Because that's who you need to get nodding in agreement.
WARREN: That's right.
TAPPER: Not just me.
WARREN: Look, I'm feeling good about this provision, because it's a good provision. And I'm also feeling good about it, because the lobbyists are totally freaking out about it, which tells me they're worried it's really about to happen.
So, Senator King and I have been talking to all of our colleagues. And so far, we haven't got much pushback on it. Seven hundred and seventeen billion, Jake.
TAPPER: Senator Warren, stick around. I have more questions for you.
We have a lot to discuss with Senator Warren, including her thoughts on why Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell needs to go. And why she calls Amazon, a monster. Stay with us.
TAPPER: We're back with our politics lead in our guest, Democratic Senator Elizabeth Warren from the great Commonwealth of Massachusetts.
Let's change the subject. You've called Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell a, quote, "dangerous man." You vehemently oppose his reappointment as chairman when his current tenure ends in February.
President Biden has not yet made a decision public. But if he reappoints Powell, will you fight it? Will you filibuster it? Will you stop it?
WARREN: I will oppose it. And I'll use the tools I've got.
Look, here's the problem. We need a Fed chair who does two things, good on monetary policy, one to raise interest rates and so on, and also good on regulation of the giant financial institutions. Remember the ones that brought down our entire system --
TAPPER: Yes, I recall.
WARREN: -- back in 2008. And Chair Powell on regulation, I asked him literally, when he came through, when he was nominated for chair by Donald Trump, is there a single regulation and all the regulations that have been put out there, and these banks have grown and they've gotten bigger, and they've taken on more activities, single regulation, you might want to tighten just a little bit? And his answer was, no, can't think of a one.
And in the time that he has been chair, he has consistently just weakened the regulation here and weakened one there. It's not huge. But A, it adds up over time, and B, I don't want to make another five- year bet on someone whose entire attitude is that he is not going to work to rein in the giant financial institutions. That's what went wrong in 2008. That's how I ended up in Washington.
TAPPER: Right. WARREN: And I'm not going to go through this when, again, if I can help it. We need a Fed chair who takes seriously the responsibility to stand up to the big banks.
TAPPER: You're planning to reintroduce your bill targeting private equity --
TAPPER: -- firm practices. It's called the Stop Wall Street Looting Act. The idea is these firms, by a struggling or underperforming company make big changes, and then to make it profitable. Sometimes it works. Sometimes it doesn't. You say the workers are the ones who pay the ultimate price.
Critics say your bill, however, will discourage small business investment. How do you respond?
WARREN: You know look, they don't do best in order to make these businesses more profitable, some private equity does. But the one I want to stop is when they come in just to suck all the value out of these companies. Because this touches the lives of every single American.
Let me give you one example. The nursing home industry has been invaded by private equity and we've now collected data. And you know what it shows? It shows that once private equity takes over a nursing home, that nursing homes death rate goes up by 10 percent, and its costs go up by 10 percent.
That's not helping patients. It's not helping employees. It's not helping communities. So, what I'm asking for is let's just get some curbs on private equity.
So for example, they have to disclose their fees, so investors can tell what they're doing. Or the second one, they have to wait two years before they apply a vacuum cleaner to every bit of value that that company has. They have to stop the tricks. If you sell off the real estate and pay yourself the head of the private equity that's running this and then turn around and make the business now have to rent that same real estate.
There are a lot of tricks in how they do this, but they're sucking value out and they're doing it not only in nursing homes and hospitals, they're doing it in mobile home parks. They're doing it in retail stores. They're doing it in for profit colleges, lots of places where lots of consumers really get hurt. We need some curbs.
TAPPER: We just in the previous hour covered Facebook and some of the trouble they're in and also their plan, apparently to rebrand. They're going to change their name next week to focus on the quote, "metaverse." What's your take on the pending name change?
WARREN: I think going into the witness protection program. What is this about?
TAPPER: Should they?
WARREN: It is not going to change the underlying facts, and the underlying facts that we need to break up Facebook. Come on. They are a monopoly.
TAPPER: Facebook, how do you break it up? Either what, you remove Instagram? Instagram is separate company.
WARREN: For openers.
TAPPER: What else?
WARREN: And you tell them they can't keep eating all of the little businesses that come along.
You know, they have engaged in practices just like the classic monopolist. They either buy up or stomp out any competition.
And right now when they're selling ads, Facebook is playing both sides of the game. You have to go to a Facebook company to buy ads, where on Facebook because they are everywhere. And Facebook is the seller and sets the price for those ads. I mean, this is just one of those where they have figured out multiple ways to be able to suck more value out of the economy.
I believe in markets. But markets require competition. When you've got a giant monopolist like this, you break them into pieces. That's lots of different businesses that can offer different versions of the product.
And by the way, when you break them up, you still want to be able to reach each other. You know, you may not use the same phone company I do, but I can telephone you.
WARREN: Right now on Facebook, everybody's got to be in Facebook to see what your ads up to and your old roommates from school are up to and so on. What we do is we just break them apart. And then, let's see a little market competition.
TAPPER: I wanted to ask you because the Commonwealth of Massachusetts is part of this massive settlement --
TAPPER: -- with Purdue Pharma. That's the manufacturer of OxyContin. Under the terms of this agreement, the Sackler family, which owned a much of and ran Purdue Pharma, they will pay out more than $4 billion, the company, well, Purdue including some $90 million for Massachusetts.
In exchange as part of this deal, there are a lot of moving parts, but in exchange the Sacklers, personally, will get immunity from any future lawsuits. I wonder if you think that the Commonwealth of Massachusetts is doing the right thing by entering into this agreement.
WARREN: Look, I have no doubt that in entering into this agreement, they're looking at the landscape of laws and how much they think they would be able to get from the Sacklers if they pursue them. Particularly given that this is not the only place that the Sacklers are getting protection.
As you know, a Purdue pharma, the company has gone into bankruptcy. And at least right now, the bankruptcy judge in that case, who has been carefully chosen by the company has been evidently quite receptive to the notion that the Sackler family, without going into bankruptcy, should be able to buy protection for itself.
Now, that is fundamentally wrong. In my view, I'm not at all clear that the law permits it. And if it does permit it, I am clear that the law should be changed. If the Sackler family wants to be immune from the deeds that they have engaged in, then they need to go through bankruptcy. And that means they got to fess up to everything that they've done, and to how much money they made and how much money they have right now. And they've got to be willing to turn that money over to the people that they injured. That is justice.
And I believe we need justice, the kind that everyone else gets. The Sackler should not be able to buy their way out of this just because they made billions of dollars by hurting so many people across this country.
TAPPER: Senator Elizabeth Warren, thank you so much for your time today. We really appreciate it.
President Biden expected to speak any minute, a critical moment for his agenda, we'll bring it to you live.
And, how a U.S. intelligence officer started cold calling top American generals to get his family out of Afghanistan. It was a complicated escape. We'll bring you the story next.
TAPPER: Welcome back. Any moment we're expecting President Joe Biden to speak in his hometown of Scranton, P.A. pitching his scale back plan to expand the social safety net and take on climate change.
CNN's Kaitlan Collins is traveling with the President in Scranton.
Kaitlan, what are we expecting to hear from the President?
KAITLAN COLLINS, CNN CHIEF WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Well, he's in a bit of a position here, Jake, where he is going to be selling a bill that has shrunk since the last time he was on the road selling with this proposal that he had laid out over the summer what he wanted it to look like. Because we know this week, we've just seen how much the bill has been scaled back or pared back. And some programs that the President wanted inside this bill have been cut entirely.
That has not been confirmed by the White House. But we have heard from multiple sources that one of the President's favorite proposals here, which was offering those two years of free community college, is no longer going to be in this plan. That is something that back in July, when he was talking about what this bill would look like when it made its way through Congress was a highlight of his.
And so, Jake, it's going to be a situation where the President is out here talking about a bill but also in more realistic terms, because now they are in the nitty gritty part of the negotiations hoping to get to an agreement by Friday. But we know that even as they say that there was progress being made on certain provisions of this bill, that they say can still fit the scope of the plans that they'd like to see put in this social safety net and Climate Change Package. There are other aspects at play here still that are very much underway, including how to pay for this because we know that we have heard from sources that Senator Sinema as of today is still opposed to raising the corporate tax rate. And of course, we know that was a chief proposal from the White House and from some key Democrats that they wanted to use to pay for this plan, to raise that corporate tax rate up to 28 percent of effectively undoing some of those Trump tax cuts that had been put in place, of course, when the former president was in office.
And so, that is really what's facing the President when he comes out here today in his hometown in Scranton, Pennsylvania, talking about what he wants this bill to look like, what it could still do, while also acknowledging the realities of compromise, because you heard the White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki telling reporters on Air Force One on the way here that President Biden is not going to get everything he wants in this bill, neither is the House Speaker Nancy Pelosi or other Democrats, they believe, because they say it's part of the compromise, part of the negotiation as they are still working to finalize what exactly this bill is going to look like.
Talking about compromise, First Lady Jill Biden is a community college professor, that's got a sting, not just professionally, but at home as well.
Kaitlan, thanks so much. We're going to come back to you as we await the President.
Lawmakers are one step closer to holding Trump ally Steve Bannon in criminal contempt of Congress for defying a subpoena today. The Rules Committee in the House advanced the resolution. Now the full House will get there say tomorrow.
Let's discuss. We got a lot to talk about. But Bill, let me start with you on this criminal contempt of Congress vote. Steve Scalise, the House Republican Whip is telling Republicans to vote no, on referring this criminal contempt of Congress charged to the Justice Department for Steve Bannon.
One thing for Republicans to line up behind Trump, but to line up behind Steve Bannon who really is, I mean, I'm just kind of amazed, but are you?
BILL KRISTOL, CONSERVATIVE WRITER: I think I lost my amazement at the current Republican Party some time ago, it's good that you retain yours, Jake, because you have more of a hopeful disposition than I do.
KRISTOL: But will there be any Republican votes for this, which is a pretty routine vote normally. If the committee says this is -- if he's explicitly and obviously defying a subpoena, lawful subpoena of a House committee, will there be any votes beyond Liz Cheney and Adam Kinzinger, both of whom joined the committee, and of course, a part of the unanimous vote to have the subpoena.
And it would be kind of amazing, right? Two hundred and eighty-two to not subpoena, to let Steve Bannon defy a lawful subpoena. That's today's Republican Party in the House.
TAPPER: And take a listen, everyone, to Congresswoman Liz Cheney, one of the two Republicans on the January 6 committee, trying to appeal to her fellow Republicans in this rules committee meeting on why they need to vote to hold Steve Bannon in criminal contempt of Congress.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. LIZ CHENEY, (R) WYOMING: I've heard from a number of my colleagues in the last several days, who say they, quote, "just don't want this target on their back." They're just trying to keep their heads down. They don't want to anger Kevin McCarthy.
I urge you to do what you know is right, to think of the long arc of history. Will you be able to say you did everything possible to ensure Americans got the truth about those events? Or did you look away? Did you make partisan excuses and accept the unacceptable?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
TAPPER: I mean, I think I know how they're going to answer. What do you think? Because I mean, we'll trying to appeal to the conscience, consciences of a house caucus. Two thirds of whom voted to overturn the election, in terms of electoral votes in Pennsylvania and in Arizona, Will that work?
KIRSTEN POWERS, USA TODAY COLUMNIST: I don't think it will work, but I still thinks she should try. So, you never know someday maybe somebody actually will be moved by something that somebody's saying. And I think she's acting like a leader, which is not what they're doing.
So, leaders are supposed to represent the will of the people, but they're also supposed to lead hence being called leaders. So, sometimes that means making decisions that people don't like, because they're very partisan, and they want you to do something because they like, for example, Donald Trump, and you have to stand up against them. So the idea that people would make -- always just make the decision because they want to keep their seat and they don't want to upset Donald Trump and they don't want to upset Kevin McCarthy, that's just not leadership, right?
And I think that they're not really lining up behind Bannon, they're lining up behind Trump, and Bannon is the proxy for Trump. Because of -- Bannon is basically refusing to talk, because he obviously has something to say that would be interesting to them. And what would be interesting about it is what he and Trump talked about.
TAPPER: And just to remind our viewers, this is about the attack on the Capitol on January 6 in which people died, which led to the loss of life in subsequent days of police officers, either dying by suicide or other ways, an attack on their own workplace. And if you listen to things that Steve Bannon said before January 6, he sounded like he had an idea of what was going to happen.
ZOLAN KANNO-YOUNGS, WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT, "THE NEW YORK TIMES": Yes, no, absolutely. If you look at a story, my colleague, Robert Water (ph) wrote today, he also highlights some of the comments that Steve Bannon was saying on his podcast in the days before January 6.
Just taking a step back, that's what this investigation is about. Part of it is about finding out what was said at the highest levels of the government, including the president, who he was speaking to, what he was doing on that day, what he was doing in the days before. But what we're seeing here in terms of some what the road blocking that's going on here by the GOP is an effort where they're prioritizing the political ramifications of this investigation going on. An attempt to detach the party from the ongoing conversation about January 6. Problem is, it seems that accountability and a level of oversight seems to be taking a backseat to that political priority.
TAPPER: How do you think these people, these House Republicans -- would be feeling if this was any other group of people that had attacked the Capitol for any other political reason?
SEUNG MIN KIM, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: Right. And I think that's the big question, because in addition to what Zolan said, this isn't, while Republican leaders and Trump himself are trying to make this a proxy loyalty vote for the former president, this is also fundamentally a question about congressional oversight, as well. And we've seen over the last years just how effectively neutered congressional oversight has become.
But this is about if you defy a lawful subpoena from the United States Congress, shouldn't you be held accountable? Shouldn't you be held punished for that? And I think you'll have some Republicans, obviously, those on the January commission, maybe a couple others, aside with the Democrats on that question but, you know, at the end of the day, Republicans are going to line up behind Donald Trump.
And you're right, if this was another sort of political ideology or another kind of motivation for over running the Capitol like these people that on January 6th, they may have a different answer. TAPPER: No, my sixth grader just had a test on the constitution and I was going over it with him and it's written right there, checks and balances, the legislative branch is supposed to keep the executive branch in check. That's how -- and vice versa -- that's how it's supposed to work. And it doesn't work if people refuse to accept the responsibility like you're talking about.
KIM: Right. And it's -- you've seen how, in terms of strategy, how -- during, for example, during the first impeachment trial, how the then- Trump White House dragged out this process. So time was effectively on their side and trying to kill a lot of these investigations. And that's partly why you see members of the January 6th commission moving so much more expeditiously, actually trying to hold these people accountable.
Because I think there's a broad acknowledgement that this investigation may shut down on January 3rd, 2023, if Republicans do -- with the good chance that they have of taking over control of the House again. So they're really trying to move while time is on their side.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes.
TAPPER: And that's exactly right. Members of the Committee are completely aware that House Republicans will probably, if history is any guide, recapture the House and kill an investigation into an attack on their own workplace. That mob was going to kill anybody. They didn't -- they weren't -- I mean, you saw video of Mitt Romney running for his life. Some of the people who downplayed the attack were hiding for their lives.
BILL KRISTOL, EDITOR-AT-LARGE, THE BULWARK: Well, Democrats will certainly get the report out for the next Congress, I think, but as a result, the stalling by someone like --
TAPPER: I got enough, I'm sorry. Your friend from Scranton is speaking right now.
JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Hello, hello, hello. It's good to be home. Thank you all. Please be seated. I just want you to know we have a tradition in the Biden-Finnegan family. When you see a relative, you go see them first. These are my relatives in the front row here, I want you to know.
And spend an awful lot of time across from St. Paul's Church at my Uncle Jack Finnegan's house. His daughters are here. And he was -- he taught up at E.U. (ph). And I just want you to know that Amtrak is here. They can tell you that you can -- you should name half the line after me.
I am the most railroad guy you ever going to meet. 2,100,000 miles on Amtrak. Hear me now? Not a joke. What happened was when you are a president or vice president, they keep meticulous mileage of when you fly an Air Force aircraft. And so, about -- I guess it was seven years in to my tenure as vice president and I used to always like to take Amtrak home on Friday. I tried to go home and see my mom who was living with us a time after my dad passed and I tried to get home.
And the Secret Service are wonderful, they're the best in the world. They never liked me take an Amtrak because it stops too often and too many people get on and you don't know. And -- but I off there is -- but I it turned out I was about number three in seniority on the road at the time. If you're -- while I'm in terms of actual time on the road. And a lot of the folks in Amtrak became my family. Not a joke.
I'd ride every day. I commuted every single day for 36 years as vice president of United States after my wife and daughter were killed. I went home to see my family, never stopped going doing that.
And so Angelo Negri was from -- you remember Ang? Ang came up to me one day when I was -- when they just had announced that I had flown 1 million, some x number of miles on Air Force aircraft.
And Ang comes up and I'm getting in the car and he goes, "Joey, baby, what do you do?" And I thought the Secret Service is going to shoot him. I said, "No, no, no, he's good. He's good." A true story.
And he said, "I just read, big deal. Big deal. Whatever was 1,200,000 miles Air Force. You know how many miles you did Amtrak?" And I said, "No, Ang, I don't have any idea of Philly. He said, "Let me tell you, we were at the retirement dinner." And I said, "We added it up. Your averaged 100, I think he says, "21 days a year, 121 days year, 36 years plus as vice president boom, boom. You have traveled over 2 million miles. Joe, I don't hear anymore about the Air Force."
But in the Build Back Better plan. I got more money for passenger rail than the entire Amtrak system cost to begin with. We're going to change the nation in a big way.
Shane (ph), I want to thank you for the introduction. I really do. And Madam Mayor Paige, you've done a great job, a great, great job. And I really mean it. I'm a big fan. And I -- she -- I -- when I got elected, and she got through it after I checked on what the margin was in the state of Delaware, I called up here.
She'd won that year, too. And I found out that I won every precinct in Scranton and I looked up, I said, "Mom. I did it. I did it." Look, and it's great to be here -- and it's great to be here in Pennsylvania with a very close friend, become a close friend and a great governor. Governor Wolf, it's good to see you.
And Matt (ph), thank you for the passport to let me back into the district. And, you know, we -- it's interesting. I grew up not very far from Bobby, where -- excuse me, the senator -- where he grew up is about a (INAUDIBLE). If you add it up, I think about five blocks, six blocks. And his dad and I were about 18 years apart, and we're 17 years apart. So it's like a continuum going down here.
But I just want you to know, we went to the same schools, same Parish, just a few years apart, give her a few -- take a few years. And Scranton is where I played shortstop at the Grammy's Little League in the first year that it was put up, my dad helped build the field down there and spent a lot of time at Semis (ph) via in Penny Candy and Hanks Hoagies on Woodlawn Street, watching movies of the Ruzi (ph) on a weekend and trying to re-enact all they did.
And when you watch those movies, I think I was told I don't know, it's two, I was the only kid in my year that I was able to walk across the Lackey on that pipe that was just above living (ph). If you found the Lackey, you were lucky, you were in trouble. But, anyway. That's right.
Look, no matter how long you live here in Scranton, it's a place that climbs into your heart. And it never really leaves you and that's the God's truth. You know, it's like that old saying goes, "You can take the boy out of Scranton, but you can't take Scranton out of the boy." There's some special about it.
And I believe that home is where your character is etched. And I really mean that. Some of you have heard me say this before. It's where your view of the world begins, where you began and where it takes shape. And that happened to me in 2446 North Washington Avenue. We used to come back after 10:30 mass at St. Paul's -- St. Clare's wouldn't build until it moved at St. Paul's. And my grandfather would hold court and back in those days, all the men had breakfast in the kitchen. My mother was one of five children and four brothers. One was lost in World War II.
And a guy who was the chief political reporter at the newspaper Tommy Phillips, who was led the street behind us. He was a good friend of my grandfather's. And all the women would go into the dining room and on the lace tablecloth and have tea. And men would, in fact, have a big breakfast.
And if you're a kid, and you're young boy, you could sort of wander around the table, you can never sit at the table. And that's why I used to every once in a while, walked in and just sort of wander around. I'd stand by my grandpa and I put my hand on his shoulder and I -- they talk and they talked about everything from sports and politics and that's where I learned an awful lot at that kitchen table.
I learned from my grandpa that money doesn't determine your worth. I learned -- he told me, that's not a joke. Those of you know me know it to be true and you guys know it. Is that no one in the world is more worried than you, Joey but everyone's your equal, everybody is your equal.
My mom would remind me, she said, "Joey, this is a God's truth. Remember, you're defined by your courage and you're redeemed by loyalty. You're defined by your courage, you're redeemed by loyalty." And my dad, when things got tough in Scranton after the war, when they run (ph) any work, my dad did not work in a coal mines, my great grandfather was a mining engineer. But my dad was in sales and he worked for the Forward Air Trucking Company. And things got slow in Scranton so we moved. I remember the day he came. I think the longest walk apparent can make is up a short flight of stairs to tell their kid you can't live here anymore. You can't because dad has -- dad don't have a job or mom don't have a job. And my dad had moved from Wilmington, Delaware to Scranton when he was a senior in -- junior in high school. He went then was called St Thomas not the prep but since it was called St. Thomas in those days.
And I remember him walking up under the bedroom and saying, "Honey, I'm going to -- dad's going to have to move. I'm going to -- but it's kind of probably take about a year I'll come home every single weekend. It's only 155 miles." I thought that was like 600 miles away. Come home every weekend but -- and when I get enough, we -- getting enough money, I'm going to bring you, mom, and everyone down to Wilmington, you're going to like it.
And I thought that was like, you know, and you know an awful lot of parents who left Scranton back in those days, who moved away, had to move away. And, you know, I gained so much respect from my father as I get older because I thought about how much would -- how much you must have heard him in the pride it took for him to walk into my grandfather's pantry. And say, "Ambrose is it -- can I leave Jean and the kids with you? I promise I'll make it up to you. But I'll be back every weekend. But I promise I'll make it up."
That's a hard thing for a proud man or woman to do. But somebody had to do it. And I remember when we moved down to Delaware and my dad would say, "Joey" -- and all my friends notice on the literally this phrase you've heard him said it, I know how many times. -- "Joey had jobs about a lot more than a paycheck. It's about your dignity. It's about respect. It's about being look your kid in the eye and say, honey, it's going to be OK."
And think about it. Think about what it is. It means a lot more than just whether you get a paycheck. It defines who you are in his mind.
And I learned that at the kitchen table in Scranton, a place where you take care of one another. And as I said to my mother, I used to stutter badly when I was a kid if Tommy Bell (ph) and Charlie Rob (ph) and all of my old friends are here at St. Paul's, you know. I -- my nickname was Blackbird. It was, bye, bye, bye Blackbird. It wasn't meant as a compliment.
And I wasn't very big, but you could beat me but I'd hurt you. You think I'm kidding, I'm not. And -- but, you know, it's one of those things that I was fortunate because the people I was surrounded by, our neighbors in Scranton as well. That people stuck up for you, stuck up for one another. And my mother used to say, and I never quite understand, "Remember Joey, look at me, look at me, Joey. You're a Biden." Like I'm a DuPont or something, you know, what I mean.
"You're -- I swear to God, you're a Biden. Nobody is better than you. And everybody's equal to you. Nobody."
The point I'm making is the truth is Scranton isn't my home because of the memories he gave me. It's my home because of the values he gave me. So when I ran for president, I came back to Scranton. I came back to Scranton. I started hearing Scranton. And I resolved to bring Scranton values to bear, to make a fundamental shift in how our economy works for working people, to build the economy from the ground up in the middle out, not from the top down.
I've never known a time when the middle class has done well, the wealthy haven't done very, very well. I've never known such a time. So I'm here today to talk about what's fundamentally at stake right now for the families and for our country. For most of the 20th century, we lead the world by a significant margin. Because we invest it in our people, we invest in ourselves. Not only in our roads and our highways and bridges, but on our people and our families.
We didn't just build an interstate highway system, we build a highway to the sky, to outer space. We were also, we invested to win the space race and we won. We're also among the first to provide access to free education beginning back in the late 1800s to early 1900s.
We invest in our children. Does anybody think today for making that decision for the first time? We'd say 12 years is enough in the 21st century. 12 years enough is not.
But back then they did and it's a reason why we leapt ahead of the rest of the world. Not a joke. We became among the best educated countries in the world.
But somewhere along the way, we stopped investing in ourselves. America is still the largest economy in the world, we still have the most productive workers in the world, and most innovative mind, but we risk losing our edge as a nation. And our infrastructure used to be the best in the world, not a joke, the best in the world.
Today, according to the World Economic Forum, we ranked 13th in the world, in terms of infrastructure. Our roads, bridges, highways, and the whole works. 13th in the world. We used to lead the world in educational achievement.
Today, the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development in Europe, ranks America 35 out of 37 major companies when it comes to investing in early childhood education. And talk about an equalizer, the greatest equalizer in the world. Our great universities has done studies the last 15 years.
You give a kid no matter what the kids background, from a broken home, from a home, where mom or dad didn't go to school or whatever, and you put them in school, a third grade, you increased by 50 per school, not daycare, you increased by 56 percent, the chance that they'll complete 12 years of school and build confidence. What's education all about? It's about building confidence in a child. It's about giving the tools to do something.
We can't be competitive in a 21st century economy if we continue to slide of what we had. That's why resolve that we have to, once again, build America from the bottom up in the middle out. Again, not the top down. And by the way, I'm a capitalist. I think if you can be a millionaire, a billionaire fine. Just do your fair share. Just do your fair share.
You know, trickle-down economics is always failed that hadn't built this country. You know who built this country. Like the young managers introduced me, union people, people who in fact can make a decent hard wage build the country. I'm not -- it's not hyperbole. I mean it from the bottom of my heart.
That's why I propose two critical pieces of legislation that are being debated back in Washington. Now there's some really smart national press with me today. And they have understandably believe that there's no possibility of, am I getting this done. This had been declared dead on arrival from the moment I introduced it.
But I think we're going to surprise them. Because I think people are beginning to figure out what's at stake. You know, when I use the phrase Build Back Better is being used internationally now. I got the G7, the largest countries in the world that agree that we're going to have a Build Back Better world. And we're going to invest and we're going to build around the world, the democracies and ability so the rest of the countries don't fall prey to those, like the Belt & Road Initiative out of China and other initiatives, where there's, I'll do something for you, if you give me, if you give me.
Folks, look, these bills are not about left versus right, or about Moderate versus Progressive, or anything that pits one American against another. These bills are about competitiveness, versus complacency, about expanding opportunity, not having an opportunity denied. They're about leading the world and continue to let the world or let it pass us by.
And by the way, they will not increase one single penny of the deficit. They are fully paid for. And all Wall Street points out they will grow employment by tens of thousands of people, tens of thousands of people. 17 Nobel laureate spontaneously. Nobel laureates in economy, and the economy, sent me a letter three weeks ago saying will also reduce, not increase inflation.
Here's what these initiatives are all about. First, the infrastructure bill. When I say infrastructure back home, people look like infrastructure. Tell them what the hell you're talking about Joe. They know infrastructure generically, but it's about rebuilding the arteries of our economy. That's what it's about.
Across this country right now, there are 45,000 bridges, according to Society of Engineers, 45,000. A significant portion if they're ready to fall, fall, fall into the water into the gap that they cover. There are 173 miles of roads in poor conditions that had to be built up, including more than 3,300 bridges, and over 7,500 miles of highways here in the state of Pennsylvania that need to be repaired and build.
Increase timing and commerce. We're going to put hardworking Americans on the job to bring hard infrastructure up to speed.
[17:50:00] Good union jobs, not $7 an hour or $15 an hour but prevailing wage, wage, you can raise your family and you can look at your family with pride. Jobs that can't be outsourced. Jobs replacing lead waterpipes like you have here in the Scranton area.
Kids getting brain damage because of the ingestion of lead. Clean water all across America. We're going to replace every single lead pipe in the nation. Again, creating job but doing more than that. Increasing the health and well-being of our children.
44,000 schools were in a position where they have lead pipes. You send your kid to the water fond, you got to wonder about it. Jobs laying thousands of miles for transmission lines, and building a modern energy grid.
Folks, we're in a situation now where you see what's happening. I've flown all over this country since coming in. You realize more of our land has been burned to the ground, burned to the ground, in the west and northwest than the entire state of New Jersey. Every single square mile in New Jersey, more has been burned down this year, this year in the west because of climate change, and because of electric utilities failing, wires falling.
We know if we can put these wires underground, we increase exponentially, the service but it costs a lot of money. We have to do it. We know that we, in fact, allow people to be able to store, we have this incredible energy. We have -- I've visited one of the largest solar fields in America, it's in the southwest.
Guess what? You can transmit all that energy enough to really light up half of the state of Nevada. But guess what? How do you transmit it? What lines do you put it over? Do we have the capacity to do that? We have the engineering capacity, but do we have the willing to do it? And imagine what that does.
If you realize we had $90 billion in lost this calendar year because of natural disasters, $90 billion. Jobs. Making sure there's a high speed internet, affordable and available anywhere, everywhere in America, including for nearly one in six families who go without internet. They're kind of -- you saw what's happened when we've had this COVID. Try teaching from home.
How many people you see out in McDonald's parking lots, with their kids in their cars because they get access to the internet. to be able to help the kid in school. What are we doing? This is the United States of America damn it. What are we doing?
And both these bills are going to help us meet the moment on the climate crisis in a way that creates good jobs, makes us more economically competitive. $66 billion in passenger rail and freight rail. Why I always talking about passenger rail and particularly high speed rail? You realize that Chinese are now building another high speed rail line and will go up to 300 miles per hour. And you said, what does that make Biden?
Well guess what, if you can get in a train and go from here to Washington much faster, didn't go in an automobile, you take a train, you take the train. We will take literally millions of automobiles off the road, off the road, saving tens of millions of barrels of oil, dealing with cleaning up the air. This is not hyperbole, this is a fact. These are facts.
Right now, when I went out to Silicon Valley, they show we're in a situation where if you put solar panels on your roof, guess what, when the sun is not shining, you're in trouble. Except they have now battery technology. You can have batteries in your basement about the size of the width of this podium and about that thick that keep you going for seven days.
So what do we have in this legislation? We have $39 billion to modernize American transit. I remember riding the trolley. I lived at the end of the line as they say in Greenwich. Three blocks the end of the line. Beyond the end of the line were the dump. And Maloney Field was on the right. And the Little League baseball field I played it was down the bottom of the hill.
But the point is, get ready to work. Most people live in cities. You know, the vast majority of people now, working people live in cities. Their jobs are out of town, no longer in town. No longer in town.
But 65 percent do not own an automobile. They live in a black near Hispanic neighborhood or poor neighborhood. And all the time they waste trying to get to work.
Look, more than $7 billion to build out the national network of electric vehicle charging stations. Why my grandpap cut up here? My grandpap Biden, who died in Mercy Hospital have an aneurysm when he was 46 years old, two months before I was born in Mercy Hospital. He was with the American oil company, he was up here opening up gas stations.
In 19 -- that's how we got here. This was 1942, late '42. Well, guess what? The same thing happens, we build these charging stations. What's happened? Communities build up around them. You get everything from the -- they've figured in McDonald's or the Dunkin Donuts, to the drugstore.
And $21 billion for environmental cleanup and remediation. Look, it means putting people to work and good job, prevailing wages, copying (ph) hundreds of thousands of abandoned wells in southeastern Pennsylvania, and Ohio. Get the same salary that you paid the mine worker to dig the well. They've got to be kept. We have thousands of lead to be kept.
In addition to that, we have methane leaks that are all over and you won't understand in Pennsylvania about that. But guess what, it increases the health of the community and provides good paying jobs.
My plan also makes historic investment in clean energy, clean energy tax credit for people to do things like winterize their homes, install solar panels, developed clean energy products, help businesses produce more clean energy. It's real, I promise you.
I won't be around to see it, but I promise you. Your kids are going to see a time when they're not, in fact, generating any energy from the homes here in Scranton, other than renewable energy. Not a joke. And by the way, one of the things that president put me in charge of my -- I want to be clear here, President Obama put me in charge when I was vice president.
I was able to invest in that legislation that we put together, I put together. We brought down the price of solar and wind cheaper than coal and cheaper than oil on a BTU basis. It's cheaper. Coal belt this town in this part of the country. But we got to provide other avenues for people to make the same kind of living they used to be able to make.
Look, all toll, I just said this project is going to save literally hundreds of millions of barrels of oil annually. But folks in Pennsylvania know the cost of inaction (ph) when it comes to climate change. Extreme weather has caused this state $10 billion over the last decade. And NASA has said extreme weather conditions cost $99 billion last year.
And I flew over all this territory in Marine One, not a joke. See it, see reservoirs that are down 60, 80 feet. Concerned about the Colorado River whether or not we're going to be able to keep things moving, not a joke. It's real. This is serious stuff.
And so, you know, it's not going to ease up on its own. We have to invest in our resilience. Building roads higher. We came -- when I say Build Back Better, we're the only country in the world, historically, that's gone through a crisis, and has come out at the other end better than before the crisis hit. And so we are as Americans, not a joke, think about from those of you who teach history. Think about it.
We come up better than it was before because we don't give up. We invest. We trust our instincts. And so that's what I'm talking about. You know, we need more stronger levees, stronger power grids, more durable, able to withstand ever increasing ferocity, intensity of extreme weather.
Any road it used to be, you have a catastrophe. And the road gets washed out, you build it back to what it was before. You can't build it back to the same standard. You've got to build the road back literally higher. Not a joke, because the weather has already changed. And if we don't do something before we reach 1.5 degrees Celsius, we're in trouble.
Look, I haven't -- we haven't passed the major infrastructure bill for decades in this country. Last four years, you're here -- every month is, you know, infrastructure month. Didn't do a single damn thing. Nothing. I mean, nothing for four years.
We can't afford to sit while other countries passes by.