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Biden Delivers Remarks On Plan To Fight Inflation; Biden: Economy Has Gone "From On The Mend, To On The Move"; Biden: Inflation Is "Our Top Economic Challenge Right Now"; Biden: GOP Is Pushing "Ultra-MEGA Agenda" To Raise Taxes; Biden: Need To Make Wealthiest Corporations Pay Their Far Share; Biden touts his plan to fight inflation, attacks GOP policies. Aired 12-12:30p ET

Aired May 10, 2022 - 12:00   ET



JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT, UNITED STATES OF AMERICA: 20 percent more than any of the year on record. And as I see at everything, everything across the country, as I go across the country, our economy has gone from being on the mend to on the move.

But for every worker I met, who's gained a little bit of breathing room to seek out a better paying job, for every entrepreneur who's gained the confidence to pursue their small business dreams. I know the families all across America are hurting because of inflation.

I understand what it feels like. I come from a family where, when the price of gas or food went up, we felt it, it was a discussion at the kitchen table. I want every American to know that I am taking inflation very seriously. And it's my top for domestic priority. And I'm here today to talk about solutions. And there's going to be more, we're going to have to talk about as well.

But first, I want us to be crystal clear about the problem. There are two leading causes of inflation we're seeing today. The first cause of inflation is a once in a century pandemic. Not only did it shut down our global economy, it through the supply chains and demand completely out of whack. Especially in countries where more effective recovery responses weren't available, especially in those sectors that rely on semiconductors.

The supply challenges have been further hampered by the onset of delta and omicron viruses. And you've all seen it, you've all felt it. And this year, we have a second cause, a second cause, Mr. Putin's war in Ukraine. You saw - we saw in March that 60 percent of inflation that month, was due to price increases at the pump for gasoline. Putin's war has raised food prices as well. Because Ukraine and Russia, two of the world's major bread baskets for wheat and corn, are essentially completely stalled.

Ukraine has 20, 20 million tons of grain in storage and silos right now. They're trying to figure out how to get out of the country to market, which would reduce prices around the world. Normally, normally, we'd have already begun to export them into the market. But it hasn't because of Putin's invasion. So, we're working with our European partners to get this food out into the world. So, they could help bring down prices. But it's difficult because again, of Putin and the Russians invasion of Ukraine. And those two major contributors to inflation, are both global in nature. That's why we're seeing historic inflation in countries all over the world.

But here's the good news. Because of the actions we've taken, America's in a stronger position to meet this challenge than just about any other country in the world. Some of the roots of the inflation are outside of our control to state the obvious, but there are things we can do, and we can address, and we need to do.

That starts with the Federal Reserve, which plays a primary role in fighting inflation in our country. I put forward a highly qualified nominees to lead that institution. And I strongly urge the Senate to confirm them without delay. The Fed has a dual responsibilities.

First is achieving maximum employment, and second stable prices. And while I'll never interfere with the Fed's judgments, decision or tell them what they have to do, they're independent. They're independent. I believe that inflation is our top economic challenge right now. And I think they do too.

We build a strong economy with a strong job market. And I agree with what Chairman Powell said last week, that the number one threat is the strength - in that strength that we built is inflation. So, the Fed should do its job and it will do his job. I'm convinced with that in mind.

Now, as I said, when I came to what Congress and the president can do to fight inflation, Americans have two potential paths forward. The first is my plan, democratic plan, plan put forward by congressional Republicans as a second alternative. Here's how each of us would take tackle inflation.

My plan is to lower everyday costs for hardworking Americans. And lower the deficit by asking large corporations and the wealthiest Americans, to not engage in price gouging and to pay their fair share in taxes. Republican plan is to increase taxes on the middle-class families, let billionaires and large companies off the hook as they raise profits, raise prices and reap profits in record number - record amounts. And it's really that simple. But let me explain why this choice is so important.


Let me start. Let me start with the Putin price hike, high gas prices and energy prices. My plan is already in motion. I lead the world and other countries to be joined with us to coordinate the largest release of oil from our stockpiles of all the countries in history. 240 million barrels to boost global supply.

Here at home, U.S. oil and gas production is approaching record levels. In fact, we produce more oil domestically in my first year in office than my predecessor did in his first year. To further drive down prices, my administration is allowing the sale of gasoline using homegrown biofuels, biofuels this summer, which wasn't allowed before.

And to reduce our dependence on foreign oil, and reckless autocrats like Putin, I'm working with Congress to pass landmark investments to help build a clean energy future as well. From tax credits for businesses to produce renewable energy, to tax credits for families to make their homes more energy efficient.

I met with nearly a dozen CEOs of America's largest utility companies. And they to a person told me that and that including Southern Company, American Electric Power and 10 others. They confirm that if we pass, the investments I'm talking about will immediately lower family's utility bills by as much as $500 a year according to their one estimate. That's by their third run and make their homes more secure in terms of heat not getting out and air conditioning not escaping because they have good insulation.

Now, what's the congressional Republican plan with respect to energy? First of all, there are plans to give oil companies a free pass. For example, right now, oil companies are sitting on 9,000 unused leases, oil leases, which are the property of the federal government, on the property of the federal government.

Under my plan, they would have to pay taxes, and if they don't use those leases to produce more oil, is can't sit on it. Unlike under Republican plan, they'd be allowed to continue to sit on this land without producing, while shipping record profits back to their investors. The fact is, the average cost of a barrel of oil has been steady for weeks.

So, why do gas prices keep going up so high? Republicans that offered plenty of blame, but not a single solution to actually bring down the energy prices. You know, we have no plan. They have no plan to bring down energy prices today. No plan to get us to a cleaner energy independent future tomorrow.

So, in the future, American families are no longer subject to the winds and of dictators halfway around the world. The next thing is let's compare our plans when it comes to lowering everyday cost. My plan is to make concrete, concrete common-sense steps to bring down the biggest expenses of families are facing.

Let's take drug prices. My plan would let Medicare negotiate prices for prescription drugs, like they do with the with the department of - with the military as a relates to what the administration is able to negotiate for prices for military, the cap, and I also call for a cap on the price of insulin, which 200 million to shimmy, bigger party, 200,000 American children rely on because they have type two diabetes at $35 a month, costs 10 bucks to make the insulin, they make a significant profit, instead of the average price and about $640 a month.

Think of the difference will make and millions of American families, like the family I met with in Virginia about three weeks ago, struggling every day, every single month to afford their son's insulin. On this and other issues, I've laid out specific proposals of Congress to bring down the cost of everyday costs all American, from many American families face.

And that's in addition to the work my administration has already done to lower prices. Another reason why prices are up for products people need relates to whether or not the manufacturer has access to all the materials they need to build the product. Think of the materials you need to build a house. If you can't get the materials from the ship to shore, from the shore to the home, the prices are going to go up.

That's why we brought labor and industry together on the west coast, to improve operations at the ports of speed up, to transfer products from abroad to shore, from shore to the location where they're going to be used. So, that those products can move more quickly and cheaply.


We haven't had enough truckers for example to deliver the lumber or other goods. That's why we are executing a plan to get more truckers on the job, reduces the time it takes to move the goods quickly. Another problem, we face is in some industries, there's just there isn't enough competition. And I've often said that capitalism without competition isn't capitalism, it's exploitation.

So, we're promoting competition for everything from internet services to meat processing. We basically have four meat processors in the whole country. They process the meat that goes into the hamburgers you buy. So, they set the price. When there's no competition, they can set the price higher and higher. So, we're helping smaller companies to get into the game to compete and help bring down the overall prices.

The bottom line is easy, easy these bottlenecks, and making our supply chains more secure, is a major focus of my economic strategy. So, things move more quickly, prices go down, not up. You know, some parts of my plan, I've been able to get done on my own. I mean, just without congressional approval, some parts have been held up by Congress. But all of my plan is focused on lowering costs for the average family in America, to give them just a little bit of breathing room.

Now, what's the congressional Republican plan? They don't want to solve inflation by lowering your costs. They want to solve it by raising your taxes and lowering your income. I happen to think it's a good thing when American families have a little more money in their pockets at the end of the month, but Republicans in Congress don't seem to think so.

Their plan is actually made working families going to make working families poor. You don't have to take my word for it. It's in writing. They've made their intentions perfectly clear. Senator Rick Scott is constantly, a member of the Senate Republican leadership laid it all out. And a plan is the ultra-MAGA agenda.

Their plan is to raise taxes on 75 million American families, over 95 percent of who make less than $100,000 a year total income, the average tax increase will be about $1,500 per family. They've got it backwards in my view. I've proposed a minimum tax for billionaires.

In recent years, the average billionaire has paid about 8 percent in federal taxes. Congressional Republicans have proposed increasing taxes on teachers and firefighters. 55 percent of the largest corporations paid net zero in federal taxes in 2020 and $40 million profits. That's just isn't right. That's why I proposed the minimum tax for corporations.

Their plan would also raise taxes on 82 percent of small business owners, making less than $50,000 a year. But it would do nothing to help to hold big corporations and companies accountable. Think about it. Republicans in Congress are so deeply committed to protecting big corporations and CEOs, that they rather see taxes on working American families, and try to depress their wages to take on inflation.

Never mind the fact that many of these companies are recording record profit margins, even as they raise prices, records amounts. Look, you've heard me say before, I'm a capitalist. I'm not out to punish anybody. I have no problem with companies getting and generating reasonable profits. But in this moment of peril, with war overseas and inflation surging around the world.

The last thing we should be thinking about if rewarding companies were exploiting the situation, while families struggling to pay their bills, some corporate executives are on earnings calls with investors on Wall Street, sharing the record profits, and explain how they're using this period of inflation to cover the rise in prices far beyond what they need to do to cover their costs.

And all this time, they're not even paying for fair share of taxes in the first place. You want to bring down inflation. Let's make sure the wealthiest corporations pay their fair share. My plan, ask those companies to pay their fair share in taxes. Congressional Republican plan, let them off Scott free. And if you weren't extreme enough in the congressional Republican agenda, they put it in writing.

He also calls on Congress to put special, excuse me, put social security, Medicare and Medicaid on the chopping block every five years. Now if I hadn't seen in a writing, I think somebody's making this up. Their proposal is every five years, all those programs would cease unless they're re voted that the Congress comes along and says, yes, we want to keep these plans affirmatively voting for him.


Well imagine where the changes are going to take place, then imagine all the bargaining is going to take place. The Democrats want to maintain social security, you got to give up such and such. Look, I want to give Medicare the power to negotiate drug prices and make it stronger and lowers your cost. They probably kind of want to make - and Congress want to make Medicare's very existence up for vote over and over again, along with social security and Medicaid.

Really, ask yourself, how well are we going to sleep at night? Knowing that every five years, MAGA Republicans, if there's still Republican visit, as I said, it's not your father's Republican Party. If we're going to have to vote on whether you will have social security, Medicare and Medicaid, and what amounts you'll have in each of those programs. You know, what they're likely to do, use them as hostages every five years to get their way and other things. Think about it.

Give us another tax cut for billionaires or social security gets it. Stop investing in clean energy, or you're going to kiss your Medicare, goodbye. It's outrageous. It's outrageous. I can't believe that the majority of Republicans, by honest, God's plan, but that's a plan in writing, he's in the leadership.

Finally, let's do one more comparison. Let's compare two plans when it comes to the deficit. Republicans love to attack me as a big spender, as if that's the reason why inflation has gone up. Let's compare the facts. Under my predecessor, the deficit exploded, rising every single year under Republicans.

Under my plan, we're on track to cut the federal deficit by $1.5 trillion this year. We said again, $1.5 trillion by the end of this fiscal year, the biggest one-year decline in all of history for America. That's an addition to last year, we cut the budget $350 billion, the deficit, not the budget, the deficit $350 billion.

My treasury department is planning to pay down the national debt this quarter, which never happened under my predecessor, not once, not once, because unlike my predecessor, the deficit has gone down both years I've been here. That is not an abstraction. It matters. It matters to families, because reducing the deficit is one of the main ways, we can ease inflationary pressures.

Look, the bottom line is this. Americans have a choice right now, between two paths, reflecting two very different sets of values. My plan, attacks inflation and grows the economy by lowering costs for working families, give me workers well deserve raises, reducing the deficit by historic levels, and making big corporations and the very wealthiest Americans pay their fair share.

The other path is the ultra-MEGA plan, put forward by congressional Republicans to raise taxes on working families, lower the income of American workers, threaten sacred programs, Americans count on like social security, Medicare and Medicaid, and give break after break to big corporations and billionaires, just like they did the last time they were in power.

When their top priority was the reckless $2 trillion tax cut, going majority that going to the very wealthiest Americans, which balloon the deficit and not a penny who was paid for? Look, I know you got to be frustrated. I know. I can taste it. Frustrated by high prices by gridlock in Congress.

By the time it takes to get anything done. Believe me, I understand the frustration. But the fact is congressional Republicans, not all of them, but the MEGA Republicans are counting on you to be as frustrated by the pace of progress, which they have everything they've done everything they can to slow down. That you're going to will hand power over to them, and in an act so they can enact their extreme agenda.


Look at their agenda. We'll put up on a web paid somewhere I think I can do this. The Scott plan is in writing. We need a government focused on what families actually need. So, I urge all Americans, to think about the path I've laid forward. We're going to have to do more beyond what I laid forward. But then think about the Republican Congress are actually proposing, which path is right for you, and for your family, and quite frankly, for America?

Let's build on the extraordinary process and progress we've made, instead of tearing it down. Let's focus on what matters, resinous really matters to average Americans. I want to thank you all. God bless you, and may God protect our troops.


BIDEN: If you're going to ask me about what I spoke about?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Mr. President, why do you believe so many Americans believe that your administration is not doing enough to combat inflation? And do you believe that you and your administration bear some measure of responsibility for the inflation that we're seeing across the country?

BIDEN: First is, we're in power. That's the first thing. And you justifiably, right, we control all three branches of government. Well, we don't really. We have 50-50 in the Senate. You need 60 votes to get major things done. I've been pushing the things I've been proposing here. And you've heard me speak today, since I got an office. And I need to get 60 votes to be able to even pass, number one.

Number two, I think that, you know, it's - they're not focused, there's it all they're focused on, understandably, is the problem they're facing. They get a 5.5 percent raise an average raise in their salaries. And yet inflation exceeds that. And they look around the world. And they know that a lot of it's extremely complicated. And so, they're frustrated, and I don't blame them. I really don't blame them.

There's a lot we have to do. And but, you know, as well, I shouldn't say you. I think what I have to do is explain in simple, straightforward language, what's going on, like, reason why 30 percent of the inflation last year is because automobiles cost more. Why they cost more? They couldn't get the computer chips to make them.

People were making a lot more money. They wanted to buy the automobiles, they couldn't buy them, because the cost went up so high, because there were so few of them. The same way this year, the same way this year, originally, prices are up. They understand, but they don't.

Look, most people, the vast majority of Americans are hoping that their government just takes care of the problem. And they don't have to think about it in detail at the kitchen table, at the dinner table. And that's understandable, no matter what their background. But right now, it's confusing because of war in Ukraine. And they're scratching their heads like, what the heck is Russia doing?

Should we be helping? They think we should be helping the Ukrainians. But what impact is that have? You think the average person, whether they have a PhD or they have any other job? Since the thanks, wow, there's thousands of tons of grain and elevators in Ukraine can't get out. And Ukraine is one of the biggest producers of corn and wheat. Hmm. I wonder whether that's the reason my prices are up.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Do you take any responsibility of your policies?

BIDEN: I think our policies help, not hurt. Think about what they say. The vast majority of the economist, think that this is going to be a real tough problem to solve, but it's not because of spending. We brought down the deficit. The bottom line is how much does America owe? How much in the hole are we going? We're reducing that.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Mr. President, today you have detailed gasoline prices and diesel prices are at record highs. Yet, you have yet to ask Americans to consume less, your train guide. Have you ever thought your administration asking him that Americans to drive less, to take public transport?

BIDEN: Well, if you ever raised a family like mine, you don't have to tell them. They're doing everything in their power to figure out how not to have to show up at the gas pump. The vast and that's why, for example, one of the things is going to help a lot, which is going to take time is our infrastructure bill. The truth is, they don't have that many options in terms of transportation around the country right now.


If you live in the Northeast Carter, you do, if you're driving back and forth between Baltimore, Washington, New York, etc. But you don't have many choices. You don't have a whole lot of choices to deal with other aspects of transportation in terms of local transportation. And so, what happens is and unless they're electric, we find themselves the cost of flying, you get in buying a ticket on a plane cost more because of gas prices.

So, this is a process. But it's a process that I've been consistent about, wanting to lower prices for and shift to renewable energy. So, we're not as dependent. I have conversations, almost every device now, that's an exaggeration, at least twice a week with one of my European counterparts' heads of state. And how can we help them, in fact, wean themselves off of Russian oil, because they're so totally dependent.

So, we're like unlike, we're working like the devil to help them transition because as long as Russia is able to make money selling oil, they're going to continue to be able to do the bad things they're doing. So, there's a lot, it's really complicated. I'm not suggesting American people can understand it. They understand it, but they have, you know, they're working 8-10 hours a day just to put food on the table.

And so, I think what's happened is, we have in a sense, I never expected. Let me say - I'd say this carefully. I never expected the ultra-MAGA Republicans, who seemed to control the Republican Party now to have been able to control the Republican Party. I never anticipated that happening.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Mr. President, a year ago, the administration was saying that inflation was transitory. That's obviously not the case now. How long do you think it will be until we see prices coming down?

BIDEN: I'm not going to predict that. It ranges defendant most economists you're talking to by the end of this year, and some say it's going to be, it's going to increase next year. But there's others say, by the end of this year, you're going to see it come down by the calendar year. I don't know. But I know what we have to do to make sure that we can bring it down.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Do you support any restrictions on abortion? Or what limits do you believe? There should be as the Senate of states got.

BIDEN: (CROSSTALK) I want the story to be about inflation


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You call that Rick Scott, a little while ago in your remarks, earlier today. anticipating your remarks, he said, and I'm just quoting here, that the best thing, the most effective thing Joe Biden can do to solve the inflation crisis he created is resolving. He's the problem. The Senator add it later. Joe Biden is unwell, he's unfit for office. He's incoherent, incapacitated and confused. He is a hit for us, offering him a chance to respond.

BIDEN: I think the man has a problem.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Will you drop former President Trump's China tariffs?

BIDEN: We're discussing that right now. We're looking at most positively.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: So, (Inaudible) to erase that.

BIDEN: No, I didn't say that.


BIDEN: I'm telling you, we're discussing it and no decision in may not.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Mr. President, how long should the American people them, as same as what at the pump?

JOHN KING, CNN HOST: I am John King in Washington. You see President Biden leaving an event at the White House. He spoke for just shy of 30 minutes, about 20 minutes of that remarks. And he took some questions from reporters, the overwhelming theme inflation and the president says his plan to help Americans do something about it. And he drawing a sharp contrast there with Republicans saying, Republicans don't have a plan. Even as they criticize him in this midterm election year.

Let's start with our CNN, MJ Lee. She's live outside at the White House. MJ, no new proposals on the president today, but a very conscious effort to try to convince the American people, I get it. I get your frustration. His point was, though, that I'm trying my best the other guys don't have a plan.

MJ LEE, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: That's absolutely right, John. Right off the top of his speech, we sense the tone of urgency coming from the president, he said that inflation is the number one challenge facing Americans across the country today, and that dealing with it is his top domestic priority. And what he tried to do in the course of that speech, was trying to lay out a plan of actions that the administration is trying to take to try to tackle inflation.

So, everything from of course, releasing oil from the strategic reserve, trying to make drivers across the country less dependent on cars that run on fuel, and then various other actions that the administration hopes to take to try to lower prices of everything from food to drug prices to childcare.

But John, we have to note that when we're talking about this White House plan, there is a huge asterisk next to it, and it is because it is incredibly challenging to actually lower inflation. And the president, I think was pretty realistic about that. The president is aware that even though this administration has tapped oil from the strategic reserve multiple times now, that hasn't had a significant or permanent effect on gas prices. In fact, gas prices reaching new records just this week. And also, some of these other actions that the administration hopes to take.