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Interview: Joe Biden Participates in a CNN Town Hall in Baltimore - October 21, 2021

  • Joe Biden
    Person
  • Anderson Cooper
    Person
  • Question
    Person
Unknown

Anderson Cooper

Unknown
00:00:00-00:00:23 (23 sec)
With that, I want to welcome the 46th President of the United States, President Joe Biden. [Applause] 1

Anderson Cooper

Unknown
00:00:23-00:00:38 (16 sec)
So, there's a lot to get to tonight, and we got a lot of great questions from our audience. We want to get into the details of what you're calling the Build Back Better plan. 2

Anderson Cooper

Unknown
00:00:38-00:00:52 (14 sec)
Before we get into that though, I just want to know -- there's been a lot of negotiating going on behind the scenes, as I'm sure you are very involved with. Are you close to a done deal? 3

Joe Biden

Unknown
00:00:52-00:01:17 (25 sec)
No problems. It's all done. [Laughter] 4

Joe Biden

Unknown
00:01:17-00:02:07 (51 sec)
No, look, Anderson, we've been -- I've probably spent, well, well over 100 hours. This is a -- this is a big deal. We're both have -- we have two plans: one is the infrastructure plan -- roads, highways, bridges, buses, trains, et cetera -- and the other one is what I call the "care economy". It has a lot of money in there for environmental remediation as well as care economy. For example, you know, we want to get the economy moving, but millions of women can't go to work because they don't have any childcare. That kind of thing. 5

Joe Biden

Unknown
00:02:07-00:02:19 (11 sec)
So, there's a lot of pieces in there. There's a lot that people don't understand. And, by the way, all of it's paid for -- every single penny. It's not going to raise one single cent [inaudible]. 6

Anderson Cooper

Unknown
00:02:19-00:02:23 (5 sec)
We're going to get into a lot -- a lot of those details. Just, though, are you close to a deal? 7

Joe Biden

Unknown
00:02:23-00:02:33 (10 sec)
I think so. You know, look, I've been -- I was a senator for 370 years. [Laughter] And I was never -- I was relatively good at putting together deals. 8

Anderson Cooper

Unknown
00:02:33-00:02:35 (2 sec)
Is this the toughest deal you've worked on? 9

Joe Biden

Unknown
00:02:35-00:02:40 (5 sec)
No. No. I think banning assault weapons was the toughest deal I worked on -- and succeeded. [Applause] 10

Anderson Cooper

Unknown
00:02:40-00:02:44 (3 sec)
You're flying -- you're flying to Europe, I think, in eight days. 11

Joe Biden

Unknown
00:02:44-00:02:44 (1 sec)
Yes. 12

Anderson Cooper

Unknown
00:02:44-00:02:47 (3 sec)
Do you think you'll have a deal by the time you get on Air Force One in eight days? 13

Joe Biden

Unknown
00:02:47-00:02:52 (5 sec)
Well, look, you know, it's like my asking you, "Are you sure your next show is going to be a success?" Right? You know. 14

Anderson Cooper

Unknown
00:02:52-00:02:53 (1 sec)
Yes. [Laughter] 15

Joe Biden

Unknown
00:02:53-00:03:03 (10 sec)
Well, you're more confident than I am. Look -- hey, look, it's all about compromise. You know, "compromise" has become a dirty word, but it's -- bipartisanship and compromise still has to be possible. 16

Joe Biden

Unknown
00:03:03-00:03:21 (18 sec)
When I ran for the presidency, I said I'm running for three reasons: one, to restore the soul and decency in the country; two, to build the middle class and the working class so they were -- we build from the middle out; and three, to actually unite the country. And everybody has been saying, "Well, that's crazy. You can't do it." If we can't eventually unite this country, we're in deep trouble. 17

Anderson Cooper

Unknown
00:03:21-00:03:23 (2 sec)
Bottom line: Do you think you will get a deal? 18

Joe Biden

Unknown
00:03:23-00:03:25 (2 sec)
I do think I'll get a deal. 19

Anderson Cooper

Unknown
00:03:25-00:03:32 (7 sec)
All right, let's get some -- let's go to the audience. This is Nicholas Vaught. He's the coordinator at the Applied Liberal Studies Program at Morgan State University. He's a Democrat. 20

Anderson Cooper

Unknown
00:03:32-00:03:32 ( sec)
Nicholas, your question. 21

Joe Biden

Unknown
00:03:32-00:03:33 (1 sec)
Morgan State. 22

Question

Unknown
00:03:33-00:03:34 (1 sec)
Morgan State. 23

Joe Biden

Unknown
00:03:34-00:03:41 (7 sec)
All right, man. [Applause] I've spoken there. 24

Question

Unknown
00:03:41-00:04:02 (21 sec)
So, my wife and I have two young boys, Arthur and Teddy. However, the cost of childcare is nearly double our mortgage. We want to have more children, but even though we earn a good salary now, childcare is so expensive. So how will this new infrastructure plan help middle-class families pay for childcare? 25

Joe Biden

Unknown
00:04:02-00:04:05 (3 sec)
Well, let me ask you: Do you have -- how old are your kids? 26

Question

Unknown
00:04:05-00:04:07 (2 sec)
Three and a half and six months old. 27

Joe Biden

Unknown
00:04:07-00:04:08 (1 sec)
God love you. [Laughter] 28

Joe Biden

Unknown
00:04:08-00:04:27 (19 sec)
Well, look, there's two pieces. There's the childcare -- having someone take care of your child while you are working, while you and your wife are working. Under this proposal I have, no one will have to pay -- unless you're making more than -- individually, you're each making -- making over 300 grand --$150,000 apiece. 29

Question

Unknown
00:04:27-00:04:28 (1 sec)
We're educators. 30

Joe Biden

Unknown
00:04:28-00:04:38 (10 sec)
Oh, God. [Laughter] And, by the way, I'm married to one: Dr. Biden -- right here. [Applause] 31

Joe Biden

Unknown
00:04:38-00:04:56 (19 sec)
So -- so you will not have to pay more than 7 percent of your income for childcare -- 7 percent. And the way we do that is we provide for the ability to have childcare centers funded. The money won't even go -- you don't -- the -- figure your income; you get 7 percent with the total cost. 32

Joe Biden

Unknown
00:04:56-00:05:19 (22 sec)
But there's another piece here: You now are qualified to be able to have a Child Tax Credit. It used to be that when you -- you know, when you -- if you were -- had enough money to pay significant taxes, you could write off 2,000 bucks for every child you had and reduce it from your taxes. But if you were making 60,000 bucks a year and you didn't have that much to write off, you didn't get anything. 33

Joe Biden

Unknown
00:05:19-00:05:45 (26 sec)
Well, I call this a tax break for middle-class people. If you're making in the $150,000 range right now, you're in a situation where you can get, if you have a child under 7, $350; if you have a child over 7, between 7 and 17, you can get $300. And you get a direct payment. You -- the IRS sends you money. 34

Anderson Cooper

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00:05:45-00:05:55 (10 sec)
Joe Manchin wants a work requirement with your enhanced tax credit for kids. Is that something you would support? 35

Joe Biden

Unknown
00:05:55-00:06:01 (6 sec)
No. Here's the deal: All these people are working anyway. [Applause] 36

Joe Biden

Unknown
00:06:01-00:06:24 (23 sec)
And, by the way, you know, why should somebody who is not working and has -- you know, makes -- has a million-dollar trust fund, why should they get the benefit, and someone making 60 grand and not working, but staying home, why should they not get anything? I don't get that. 37

Anderson Cooper

Unknown
00:06:24-00:06:28 (4 sec)
You're also proposing, for the first time ever, federal paid parental leave. And -- [Applause] -- 38

Joe Biden

Unknown
00:06:28-00:06:29 (1 sec)
Yes. That's a different issue. Yeah. 39

Anderson Cooper

Unknown
00:06:29-00:06:44 (14 sec)
Right. A different issue. Right. But this is -- but this is in your proposal. How much time off would parents actually get under your proposal? Because at one point, you talked about 12 weeks. Now there's reports it's down to maybe four weeks. 40

Joe Biden

Unknown
00:06:44-00:06:48 (4 sec)
Yeah, it is down to four weeks. And the reason it's down to 4 weeks is I can't get 12 weeks. [Laughter] 41

Joe Biden

Unknown
00:06:48-00:07:12 (24 sec)
And -- but, look, here's the deal, guys: How many people do you know -- not a joke -- or maybe yourself -- have had a circumstance where you are working like the devil, you're making 7 bucks an hour, 15 bucks an hour, or 20 bucks an hour, and you have a child that's sick at home -- or you have a mother or a father, husband and wife, son or daughter, and you need to stay home to help them? 42

Joe Biden

Unknown
00:07:12-00:07:35 (23 sec)
We're one of the few industrial countries in the world that doesn't have paid leave -- so that when you stay home to help that person, to take care of that person, you're still getting your pay. And it does not hurt the business at all. The business isn't paying for it; the federal government is paying for it. It's a little bit like, as I said, a tax cut for people who are not able to otherwise take care of their families. 43

Joe Biden

Unknown
00:07:35-00:07:53 (19 sec)
And, look, I'm looking out here, and a lot of you are part of that sandwich generation: You have young kids, and you have aging parents. And one of the things all the polling data shows, Anderson, is people are more concerned about taking care of the elderly, because they don't know what to do, than they are even their children. 44

Anderson Cooper

Unknown
00:07:53-00:08:01 (7 sec)
I want to talk about this. I want you to meet Vanessa Antrum from Bowie, Maryland. She's retired. She's a caregiver for her elderly parents. 45

Joe Biden

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00:08:01-00:08:03 (2 sec)
God love you. 46

Anderson Cooper

Unknown
00:08:03-00:08:05 (2 sec)
She's a Democrat. 47

Anderson Cooper

Unknown
00:08:05-00:08:07 (2 sec)
Vanessa, your question. 48

Question

Unknown
00:08:07-00:08:25 (18 sec)
Yes. Mr. President, my parents have been married for 73 years and both are dealing -- [Applause] -- yes. Both of them are dealing with dementia. My father, who was a veteran, is completely bedridden, and my mom is experiencing issues with walking. 49

Question

Unknown
00:08:25-00:08:39 (15 sec)
I have found the process for me to provide care for them in my home very hard. They have worked all their life only for me to experience a lot of red tape to provide support -- 50

Joe Biden

Unknown
00:08:39-00:08:40 ( sec)
Bingo. 51

Question

Unknown
00:08:40-00:08:50 (10 sec)
-- in a loving home environment. What is being done to support the elderly, especially for a middle-class family like mine? 52

Joe Biden

Unknown
00:08:50-00:08:57 (7 sec)
Well, first of all -- [Applause] -- if my mom were here, she'd say you're a good daughter, number one. 53

Question

Unknown
00:08:57-00:08:59 (1 sec)
Yes. Thank you. 54

Joe Biden

Unknown
00:08:59-00:09:14 (15 sec)
Number two, I was in a situation like you, where I was making more money -- I was making $42,000 a year as a senator at the time, although I was listed the poorest man in the Senate for 36 years, but -- [laughter] -- I still made more money than most people because Senate salaries kept going up. 55

Joe Biden

Unknown
00:09:14-00:09:33 (19 sec)
What happened was my -- my dad got sick, and he was in hospice, so Jill and I took my dad home and we took care of him in our house. But we were lucky because we had the ability to have -- I have a sister who is an angel and a brother who's a wonderful guy, and we all took turns in our house taking care of them. 56

Joe Biden

Unknown
00:09:33-00:09:49 (16 sec)
But here's the deal: Right now, under Medicaid, there are 860,000 -- I think it's 860- -- don't hold me to the exact number, but it's over 800,000 -- who qualify for home healthcare aid for their parents, but there's no money there. There's no money there. 57

Joe Biden

Unknown
00:09:49-00:10:07 (18 sec)
So what we do is we provide the funding for Medicaid to allow you to be able to keep -- if your parents had their home -- keeping them in their home if you wanted, or get help in your home with homecare from professionals providing -- helping you take care of them -- helping you take care of them. 58

Joe Biden

Unknown
00:10:07-00:10:18 (11 sec)
And in many cases where you're not taking care of them in your own home and they're staying -- and they're staying in their home, you're going to be able to have the ability to have someone come in and make their meals for them. They don't have to be there 24/7. 59

Joe Biden

Unknown
00:10:18-00:10:36 (19 sec)
So, there's a lot of things we're doing. In addition to the process, we're going to be able to train up those homecare workers who are usually minority women, women of color, as well as immigrants. And they have the capacity to learn more as they go along, to move to the point where they can become practical nurses and things like that. 60

Joe Biden

Unknown
00:10:36-00:10:42 (6 sec)
So, it makes a lot of sense, and it's cheaper -- cheaper than it is to not do it. 61

Anderson Cooper

Unknown
00:10:42-00:10:55 (12 sec)
One of the other things that Democrats are looking to do is to expand Medicare to include dental, vision, and hearing as well. Given all the negotiations that are going on, will all three of those still be covered? 62

Joe Biden

Unknown
00:10:55-00:11:05 (10 sec)
That's a reach. And the reason why it's a reach -- it's not -- I think it's a good idea, and it's not that costly in relative terms, especially if we allow Medicare to negotiate drug prices. 63

Joe Biden

Unknown
00:11:05-00:11:16 (11 sec)
But here's the thing: Mr. Manchin is -- is opposed to that, as is -- I think Senator Sinema is as well. 64

Anderson Cooper

Unknown
00:11:16-00:11:17 (1 sec)
Opposed to all of them? 65

Joe Biden

Unknown
00:11:17-00:11:33 (16 sec)
Opposed to all three. Because they don't want -- he says he doesn't want to further burden Medicare so that -- because it will run out of its ability to maintain itself in X number of years. There's ways to fix that, but he's not interested in that part either. [Laughter] 66

Joe Biden

Unknown
00:11:33-00:11:40 (8 sec)
But, look, Joe -- Joe is not a bad guy. He's a friend. And he's always, at the end of the day, come around and voted for it. 67

Joe Biden

Unknown
00:11:40-00:11:55 (15 sec)
But -- but here's the point: We're in a situation now where if you are in a circumstance that you're not able to provide -- let me cut to the chase; I'm taking too long. [Laughter] 68

Joe Biden

Unknown
00:11:55-00:12:14 (19 sec)
One of the things we were able to do in the meantime is -- the most expensive of these things would be dental. Okay? Now, we're talking about -- and I don't have a deal on it yet -- maybe getting an $800 voucher from Medicare for dental work that you may need. 69

Joe Biden

Unknown
00:12:14-00:12:28 (14 sec)
And the hearing is a very important thing because -- as Kyrsten Sinema, who supports this, points out -- hearing is directly related to dementia. When you can't hear, you have a problem, and it impacts on dementia. 70

Joe Biden

Unknown
00:12:28-00:12:51 (23 sec)
So, we're able to, I -- and it's cheaper to be able to take care of hearing. But I think I've been able to take care of that without changing Medicare, because what's happening is now you have these hearing aid companies; you no longer are going to have to go to the doctor and spend five grand and get an app- -- you can go buy at Walgreens, and buy over-the-counter hearing aids. [Applause] 71

Joe Biden

Unknown
00:12:51-00:13:02 (11 sec)
So -- the harder one, though, is we -- we haven't gotten a consensus yet on how to deal with seeing, glasses. And -- but that's -- so "it's not done yet" is the answer. 72

Anderson Cooper

Unknown
00:13:02-00:13:12 (10 sec)
All right. I want to get another question in. This is Ben Frederick. Ben is a realtor, a lifelong resident of Baltimore. He's an independent. Serves on the Maryland Multi-Housing Association. 73

Joe Biden

Unknown
00:13:12-00:13:18 (6 sec)
By the way, Ben, the Bidens all hail from Baltimore, beginning in 1850. [Laughter] I don't know how the hell they kicked me out, but I'm -- [laughter]. 74

Anderson Cooper

Unknown
00:13:18-00:13:21 (2 sec)
Ben, what's your question? 75

Question

Unknown
00:13:21-00:13:38 (17 sec)
IRS data shows that the top 5 percent of income earners pays 60 percent of the income taxes in this country. I hear you repeatedly say that the wealthy are not paying their fair share of income taxes. What is the percentage of income that you believe is fair? 76

Joe Biden

Unknown
00:13:38-00:13:48 (10 sec)
Well, I think what's fair is that -- this present tax code, the highest tax rate is 35 percent, number one. Okay? 77

Joe Biden

Unknown
00:13:48-00:14:02 (14 sec)
Number two, you're in a circumstance where corporate America is not paying their fair share. And I come from the corporate state of the world: Delaware. More corporations in Delaware than every other state in the union combined. Okay? 78

Joe Biden

Unknown
00:14:02-00:14:13 (11 sec)
Now, here's the deal though: You have 55 corporations, for example, in the United States of America making over $40 billion, who don't pay a cent. Not a single little red cent. 79

Joe Biden

Unknown
00:14:13-00:14:21 (8 sec)
Now, I don't care -- I'm a capitalist. I hope you can be a millionaire or a billionaire. I -- not a problem. But at least pay your fair share. Chip in a little bit. 80

Joe Biden

Unknown
00:14:21-00:14:22 (1 sec)
And so -- 81

Anderson Cooper

Unknown
00:14:22-00:14:34 (12 sec)
Well, let me -- let me follow up, because Kyrsten Sinema, who you mentioned -- Senator Sinema is opposed to any tax rate hikes for corporations and for high earners. Speaker Pelosi suggested today she could accept that. 82

Anderson Cooper

Unknown
00:14:34-00:14:43 (9 sec)
The question is: A, would you accept that -- no rate hikes -- tax rate hikes for corporations or high earners? And if so, how would you pay for this plan otherwise? 83

Joe Biden

Unknown
00:14:43-00:14:56 (13 sec)
Because you don't have -- look, here's the deal: The tax rate -- the corporate tax rate was 35 points-some -- 37 percent. Barack and I thought it should come down. We thought it should come down to 28 percent. 84

Joe Biden

Unknown
00:14:56-00:15:16 (21 sec)
In the process, it came down to 21 percent under Trump, which even the corporate leaders -- and you know if you're in real estate -- major real estate. Ask them. They know they should be paying a little more than 21 percent. Because the idea that if you're a schoolteacher and a firefighter, you're paying at a higher tax rate than they are, as a percentage of your taxes. 85

Joe Biden

Unknown
00:15:16-00:15:36 (20 sec)
But here's the deal: I believe that we can do the -- we can pay for this whole thing -- I have it written on a card here, but I won't bore you with the detail. But, for example, if you in fact made sure that you paid a minimum 15 percent -- minimum 15 percent -- if you're paying nothing -- minimum 15 -- that's almost -- that's over almost $400 billion over 10 years. 86

Anderson Cooper

Unknown
00:15:36-00:15:46 (10 sec)
So you would be willing to go along with what Senator Sinema and, it seems like, Speaker Pelosi is willing to consider: no tax hike for corporations or for high-earning individuals? 87

Joe Biden

Unknown
00:15:46-00:15:57 (11 sec)
Here's what I'm willing to do: I'm willing to make sure that we pay for everything without anyone making less than $400,000 paying a single cent more in taxes. That's my objective. 88

Joe Biden

Unknown
00:15:57-00:16:04 (6 sec)
And so, there's ways to do that. For example -- you covered it on your show -- the minimum international tax at 15 percent. 89

Anderson Cooper

Unknown
00:16:04-00:16:06 (2 sec)
But no rate -- actual rate hikes? 90

Joe Biden

Unknown
00:16:06-00:16:23 (17 sec)
No. No. I don't think we're going to be able to get to vote. Look -- [laughs] -- when you're in the United States Senate and you're President of the United States and you have 50 Democrats, every one is a President. [Laughter] Every single one. So, you got to work things out. 91

Joe Biden

Unknown
00:16:23-00:16:30 (8 sec)
But where I am is, I'm hearing now -- I'll turn on the news and I'll hear that "Biden's caved on such and... " 92

Joe Biden

Unknown
00:16:30-00:16:55 (25 sec)
Look, Biden has a simple proposition. Biden is going to get -- all the elements of these two bills have profound impact on economic growth; reduce, not increase, inflation; don't add a penny to the debt; as well as grow the economy. According -- I had 17 Nobel laureates in economics sent me a letter recently saying that my proposals would actually reduce inflation, diminish [inaudible]. 93

Joe Biden

Unknown
00:16:55-00:17:11 (15 sec)
But here's the point. The point of it all is that I'm prepared -- I can't think of anything that was consequential and changing the circumstance for the middle class and working class in America that came as a consequence of a single piece of legislation. 94

Joe Biden

Unknown
00:17:11-00:17:21 (11 sec)
I got a portrait of Roosevelt in my office. Okay? Social Security is not anything like it is today when he passed it. It evolved. It moved. It grew. 95

Joe Biden

Unknown
00:17:21-00:17:31 (10 sec)
So I'm prepared to do the things that can get done now that can begin to change the lives of ordinary Americans to give them a fighting chance and come back and try to get others later. 96

Anderson Cooper

Unknown
00:17:31-00:17:38 (6 sec)
Let's talk about another one of those things. This is Sondra Guttman, an English professor at -- [Applause] -- at Loyola University -- also a Democrat. 97

Anderson Cooper

Unknown
00:17:38-00:17:39 (1 sec)
Sondra, what's your question? 98

Joe Biden

Unknown
00:17:39-00:17:43 (5 sec)
And, by the way, you got another English professor who teaches writing here. [Laughter] 99

Question

Unknown
00:17:43-00:18:20 (37 sec)
Thank you for taking my question, Mr. President. We've heard in the news that the proposal for two years of free community college may be cut from your economic package. An educated citizenry is absolutely crucial to solving complex problems like climate change -- [Applause] -- and the systematic inequities in this country. We hope that this is not cut from the package, but if it is, what can you do to ensure that all Americans can get the education that they need to face these issues? 100

Joe Biden

Unknown
00:18:20-00:18:37 (16 sec)
Well, first of all, Professor, you made a very profound point, and I'm not -- I'm not being sarcastic -- and that is -- and Jill uses a slightly different phrase: "Any country that out-educates us will out-compete us." Any country that out educates will out- -- out-educates will out-compete us. 101

Joe Biden

Unknown
00:18:37-00:19:07 (31 sec)
You have the vast majority -- of the 37 major cor- -- countries in the world -- economies -- we rank 35 in our investment in education. We're in a situation where if you -- if you think about it, when we -- what caused us to move ahead and dominate the 20th century: In the late 1900s -- in the early 1900s, late 1890s, we came up -- we said, 12 years of free education. That was revolutionary at the time. I mean, seriously. 102

Joe Biden

Unknown
00:19:07-00:19:15 (8 sec)
Now, if we were sitting down today and saying, "Oh, we got to put together an education system," raise your hand if anybody thinks 12 years is enough to compete in the 21st century? 103

Joe Biden

Unknown
00:19:15-00:19:27 (11 sec)
So, that's why what I propose is: free child -- free school -- free school for every three- and four-year-old in America, no matter what their background. 104

Joe Biden

Unknown
00:19:27-00:19:38 (11 sec)
All the data shows that no matter what home they come from, they increase exponentially their prospects of succeeding all the way through 12 years of school. You know -- you know all the statistics. 105

Joe Biden

Unknown
00:19:38-00:19:58 (20 sec)
The statistics go that if you come from a home where there's no books in the home and a single mom or a single dad, they don't -- they're not well educated, they don't talk a lot, the kid from the middle class -- average middle-class home versus that home will go to school having heard 1 million more words spoken than the child who didn't. A gigantic disadvantage. 106

Anderson Cooper

Unknown
00:19:58-00:20:01 (3 sec)
Mr. President, the question was on the -- the -- on community colleges -- 107

Joe Biden

Unknown
00:20:01-00:20:03 (2 sec)
No, I know. I -- 108

Anderson Cooper

Unknown
00:20:03-00:20:07 (5 sec)
-- which -- which was a big campaign promise that you made. You talked about that a lot on -- 109

Joe Biden

Unknown
00:20:07-00:20:08 (1 sec)
Oh, I -- 110

Anderson Cooper

Unknown
00:20:08-00:20:09 (1 sec)
-- the campaign trail. 111

Joe Biden

Unknown
00:20:09-00:20:14 (5 sec)
Yeah, and I'm going to get it done. [Applause] And if I don't, I'll be sleeping alone for a long time. [Laughter] 112

Joe Biden

Unknown
00:20:14-00:20:44 (30 sec)
But here's the deal: So far, Mr. Manchin and one other person has indicated they will not support free community college. So, what I've -- what I think we can get done is we can significantly increase the amount of money by 500 bucks a payment for Pell Grants. And Pell Grants are available, and they can apply for up to 30 percent of the cost of community college and/or -- and/or college help tuition. 113

Joe Biden

Unknown
00:20:44-00:20:50 (6 sec)
So, it's not going to get us there. It's not going to get us the whole thing, but it is a start. 114

Joe Biden

Unknown
00:20:50-00:21:14 (24 sec)
I'm convinced -- absolutely, positively convinced that we're going to be able to -- and, by the way, we have in the law -- in the legislation, money for community colleges that deal with -- dealing with apprenticeships, dealing with teaching people particular skills that are not getting -- will not get you a two-year degree but will teach you the skill. 115

Joe Biden

Unknown
00:21:14-00:21:18 (4 sec)
So, I think we can get all of that done this time out. 116

Joe Biden

Unknown
00:21:18-00:21:25 (7 sec)
But I promise you -- I guarantee you, we're going to get free community college in the next several years and across the board. [Applause] 117

Anderson Cooper

Unknown
00:21:25-00:21:38 (13 sec)
What was that conversation when you realized you weren't able -- going to be able to get it in this bill at this time, and you had dinner with Dr. Biden that night, what was that conversation like? [Laughter] How did you break that news? 118

Joe Biden

Unknown
00:21:38-00:21:45 (8 sec)
Well, the White House has a lot of bedrooms. [Laughter] And she went like this. [Points] [Laughter] "Down the hall." 119

Anderson Cooper

Unknown
00:21:45-00:21:46 (1 sec)
All right. 120

Joe Biden

Unknown
00:21:46-00:22:12 (25 sec)
No, look, it really makes a gigantic difference. And think of this: You have more countries in the world with -- having -- providing college -- I mean, providing professional education beyond 12 years. We rank like, I think it's -- don't hold me to the number -- I think it's 16 or 17 in the world -- the United States of America, for God's sake. 121

Anderson Cooper

Unknown
00:22:12-00:22:12 ( sec)
I want -- 122

Joe Biden

Unknown
00:22:12-00:22:14 (2 sec)
This is about putting us in the game. 123

Anderson Cooper

Unknown
00:22:14-00:22:19 (5 sec)
This is John Meche. He's a doctoral candidate at Morgan State University and an independent. John, welcome. What's your question? [Applause] 124

Joe Biden

Unknown
00:22:19-00:22:19 ( sec)
Where -- where are you? 125

Anderson Cooper

Unknown
00:22:19-00:22:20 (1 sec)
Morgan State. 126

Question

Unknown
00:22:20-00:22:21 (1 sec)
Morgan State. 127

Joe Biden

Unknown
00:22:21-00:22:23 (2 sec)
I know all these Morgan men, man. [Applause] 128

Joe Biden

Unknown
00:22:23-00:22:40 (17 sec)
I've spoken there a couple times. And, by the way, the guy who runs my operation is a -- anyway -- [laughter] -- I -- I keep talking about Delaware State, but they keep saying about Morgan State, you know? 129

Question

Unknown
00:22:40-00:22:41 (1 sec)
Morgan State. 130

Question

Unknown
00:22:41-00:23:05 (23 sec)
President Biden, I had so much faith in your election win, but based on history, the bipartisan efforts of the Democratic Party are held hostage by rogue moderates and Republicans. Why not do like the Republicans and usher through the Democratic agenda? [Applause] 131

Joe Biden

Unknown
00:23:05-00:23:24 (19 sec)
Well, two reasons. If you notice, the Republicans haven't passed a single, solitary thing. Zero. So, ushering through their agenda -- their agenda right now is just "stop Biden." Although, I shouldn't make it so personal. "Stop my administration" -- that's what the agenda is. It's much easier to stop something than to start something. 132

Joe Biden

Unknown
00:23:24-00:23:51 (27 sec)
And look, what we did is, when I wrote -- I'm going to back up just a second. I apologize. I wrote -- I personally -- during the campaign, before I got elected, I wrote the infrastructure bill relating to what we do to highways and all that kind of thing. Hard -- hard data. And I wrote the -- what they call -- what's now called the "care economy" piece and has a gigantic piece of environmental pieces in it too. 133

Joe Biden

Unknown
00:23:51-00:24:21 (30 sec)
And I went before the joint session of Congress, and I laid out exactly what I was for. And so, I made it clear what I was for. Initially what happened was, I got no support for anything from our Republican friends. And then they said, "Maybe we can work out a bipartisan deal on infrastructure." And we did. We worked on it. It didn't give me everything I wanted. It didn't have as much money in there for the environment, although it has tens of billions of dollars in there, but didn't have what I wanted in it. But we made a bipartisan deal. 134

Joe Biden

Unknown
00:24:21-00:24:43 (22 sec)
Now, what's coming along is this reconciliation -- they call it a fancy word -- for the other pieces that have the childcare pieces, have the economy that relates to allowing people to -- women to go back to work. It has about $450 billion for environmental remediation, and so on. 135

Joe Biden

Unknown
00:24:43-00:24:46 (3 sec)
And that's the one that is the issue. 136

Anderson Cooper

Unknown
00:24:46-00:24:57 (10 sec)
Well, let me -- let me ask you -- just getting to -- to his question: You -- we've talked a lot about Senator Manchin and Senator Sinema. You seem relatively confident you can kind of get Senator Manchin on board. 137

Anderson Cooper

Unknown
00:24:57-00:25:10 (13 sec)
There's a lot of Democrats in the House and Senate who are confused about where Senator Sinema actually stands on things. [Applause] And I know she's been negotiating directly with you and the White House. What is your read on her? 138

Anderson Cooper

Unknown
00:25:10-00:25:19 (8 sec)
And I -- obviously, you need her to remain positive in your direction, so I don't know what you're going to say. [Laughter] But what is your read on -- 139

Joe Biden

Unknown
00:25:19-00:25:19 ( sec)
No -- 140

Anderson Cooper

Unknown
00:25:19-00:25:20 (1 sec)
Do you know where she stands? 141

Joe Biden

Unknown
00:25:20-00:25:30 (10 sec)
First of all, she's smart as the devil, number one. Number two, she's very supportive of the environmental agenda in my legislation -- very supportive. 142

Joe Biden

Unknown
00:25:30-00:25:38 (8 sec)
She's supportive of all -- almost all the things I mentioned, relating to everything from family care to all -- to all those issues. 143

Joe Biden

Unknown
00:25:38-00:25:48 (10 sec)
Where she's not supportive is she says she will not raise a single penny in taxes on the corporate side and/or on wealthy people. Period. 144

Joe Biden

Unknown
00:25:48-00:26:17 (29 sec)
And so, that's where it sort of breaks down, and there's a few other issues it breaks down on. But what we're trying to do is reach a point here where I'm able to present to the Senate -- they're able to vote on -- and the House -- a serious, serious piece of legislation that changes the dynamic for working-class folks in America and middle-class folks, and begins to have the very wealthy and corporations just begin to pay their fair share -- not a lot. 145

Joe Biden

Unknown
00:26:17-00:26:24 (7 sec)
How we get there -- we're down to four or five issues, which I'm not going to negotiate on national television, as you might guess. 146

Anderson Cooper

Unknown
00:26:24-00:26:24 ( sec)
We'd be interested -- 147

Joe Biden

Unknown
00:26:24-00:26:24 ( sec)
No, no, no. 148

Anderson Cooper

Unknown
00:26:24-00:26:25 (1 sec)
-- in hearing them, if you want. [Laughter] 149

Joe Biden

Unknown
00:26:25-00:26:31 (5 sec)
No, no, no. I know. But, all kidding aside, I think we can get there. 150

Anderson Cooper

Unknown
00:26:31-00:26:40 (9 sec)
You talked about the environmental piece. You said Senator Sinema is on board with that. Certainly, Senator Manchin is not. It gets to our next question. 151

Anderson Cooper

Unknown
00:26:40-00:26:45 (6 sec)
This is from Kobi Khong. He's originally from Anaheim, California. He's a Sophomore Class President at Johns Hopkins University, a Democrat. [Applause] 152

Anderson Cooper

Unknown
00:26:45-00:26:46 (1 sec)
Kobi, what's your question? 153

Joe Biden

Unknown
00:26:46-00:26:52 (6 sec)
Mr. President. 154

Question

Unknown
00:26:52-00:27:15 (23 sec)
One of the largest issues that people have trouble comprehending the severity of is climate change. Many legislators and politicians today are lenient, as they won't have to live with the future effects. Without the legislative support for the climate aspects of your budget proposal and the earth rapidly approaching the Paris Agreement's 1.5 degrees limit, what other backup plans do you have to ensure a future for the next generations? 155

Joe Biden

Unknown
00:27:15-00:27:47 (33 sec)
Well, that's -- [Applause]. Mr. President, you got it right. The existential threat to humanity is climate change. And when President Trump pulled out of the Paris Accord -- which, when I was with the Obama administration, we helped negotiate -- the agreement was that we could not -- if we reached beyond 1.5 degrees Celsius increase in temperature, we're gone. Not a joke. Not a joke. 156

Joe Biden

Unknown
00:27:47-00:27:56 (8 sec)
And so, we decided that -- he pulled out. First thing I committed to do is rejoin that accord, number one. [Applause] 157

Joe Biden

Unknown
00:27:56-00:28:14 (18 sec)
But number two -- number two: What you have to do is you look at -- there's multiple ways in which we can deal with climate. I'm going off to COP26 in Scotland, and -- in, I don't know, I guess it's two weeks or a week. I -- I'm losing track of time. 158

Joe Biden

Unknown
00:28:14-00:28:35 (21 sec)
And -- and I'm presenting a commitment to the world that we will, in fact, get to net-zero emissions on electric power by 2035 and net-zero emissions across the board by 2050 or before. But we have to do so much between now and 2030 to demonstrate what we're going to -- that we're going to do. 159

Joe Biden

Unknown
00:28:35-00:28:36 (2 sec)
So, let me give you a couple examples. 160

Anderson Cooper

Unknown
00:28:36-00:28:50 (14 sec)
Let me just follow up, though, very quickly on that, because the -- the key climate provision that was in the Build Back Better plan, as you call it -- the Clean Electricity Performance Program -- that's been dropped now from this spending bill. Reported -- 161

Joe Biden

Unknown
00:28:50-00:28:50 ( sec)
No, it hasn't. 162

Anderson Cooper

Unknown
00:28:50-00:28:51 (1 sec)
It has not? 163

Joe Biden

Unknown
00:28:51-00:28:52 (1 sec)
No, it ha- -- look -- 164

Anderson Cooper

Unknown
00:28:52-00:28:54 (2 sec)
But Senator Manchin is opposed to that. 165

Joe Biden

Unknown
00:28:54-00:29:06 (12 sec)
He's opposed to it. But here's the deal: That is only one of well over -- well over a trillion dollars' worth of expenditures for climate change. It's $150 billion. It's important. 166

Joe Biden

Unknown
00:29:06-00:29:20 (14 sec)
And what it says is that if, in fact, the utility doesn't pull back and continue to reduce the amount of carbon that they admit, that what will happen is they will end up paying a penalty. And so, there's a penalty incurred. 167

Joe Biden

Unknown
00:29:20-00:29:33 (13 sec)
Joe Manchin's argument is: Look, we still have coal in my state. You're going to eliminate it eventually. We know it's going away. We know it's going to be gone. But don't rush it so fast that my people don't have anything to do. 168

Joe Biden

Unknown
00:29:33-00:29:55 (22 sec)
I think that's not what we should be doing, but the fact of the matter is we can take that $150 billion, add it to the $320 billion that's in the -- in the law now that he's prepared to support for tax incentives -- tax incentives to have people act in a way that they're going to be able to do the things that need to be do from -- 169

Joe Biden

Unknown
00:29:55-00:30:06 (11 sec)
For example, if you're -- if you -- if you got windows that are the, you know, the wind is blowing through, you get an incentive to put new windows in your home. You get -- you -- help get it paid. 170

Joe Biden

Unknown
00:30:06-00:30:27 (21 sec)
We're going to significantly reduce the amount -- the cost of solar panels on your roof. We're going to continually -- and, for example, there's new battery technologies that are being -- I went out in Silicon Valley; there's a battery that's about that wide and about that thick. If you have solar power, you put that in your basement and the sun doesn't shine for seven days, you still have all the power you need. 171

Anderson Cooper

Unknown
00:30:27-00:30:30 (3 sec)
But the concession has been agreed to for Senator Manchin -- 172

Joe Biden

Unknown
00:30:30-00:30:30 ( sec)
No, no, no. 173

Anderson Cooper

Unknown
00:30:30-00:30:31 (1 sec)
-- about coal in his state -- 174

Joe Biden

Unknown
00:30:31-00:30:32 (1 sec)
No, no -- 175

Anderson Cooper

Unknown
00:30:32-00:30:32 ( sec)
Is that true? 176

Joe Biden

Unknown
00:30:32-00:31:02 (30 sec)
Nothing has been formally agreed to. The concession has been -- the negotiation is: I've been saying to Joe, "Look, I'll take -- if we don't do it in terms of the -- the electric grid piece, what we'll do is -- give me that $150 billion. I'm going to add it to be able to do other things that allow me to do things that don't directly affect the electric grid in the way that there's a penalty, but allow me to spend the money to set new technologies in place." 177

Joe Biden

Unknown
00:31:02-00:31:33 (31 sec)
For example, we can save significant amounts of money and, as a consequence of that, significant amounts of energy, if, in fact, we are able to put the high-tension wires underground. It costs a hell of a lot more to do it. It creates real good jobs; it creates a hell of a lot more to do it. But, in fact, it would do a lot to keep things from happening that are dangerous. Half the forest fires out West are those towers coming down, setting fires, et cetera. 178

Joe Biden

Unknown
00:31:33-00:31:45 (12 sec)
So, there's a lot of things Joe is open to my convincing him that I can use it to increase environmental progress without it being that particular deal. 179

Anderson Cooper

Unknown
00:31:45-00:31:49 (4 sec)
We're going to take a quick break. When we get back, we got a lot more questions for President Biden. [Applause] 180

Anderson Cooper

Unknown
00:31:49-00:31:49 ( sec)
[Commercial break] 181

Anderson Cooper

Unknown
00:31:49-00:32:10 (21 sec)
And welcome back. We are live at a CNN Town Hall event in Baltimore, Maryland, with President Joe Biden. 182

Anderson Cooper

Unknown
00:32:10-00:32:26 (17 sec)
So, before we get to our next question, I want to just bring up the current labor market shortages. Millions of jobs are unfilled, businesses are struggling to meet demand. Is there anything you can do to either encourage people to go back to work or make jobs more attractive that they want to go back to work? 183

Joe Biden

Unknown
00:32:26-00:32:27 (1 sec)
Yeah, so, first -- 184

Anderson Cooper

Unknown
00:32:27-00:32:28 (1 sec)
Is there a role for the federal government? 185

Joe Biden

Unknown
00:32:28-00:32:38 (10 sec)
First of all, we've created more jobs in the first eight months of my administration than any President in American history -- total number of jobs created. 186

Joe Biden

Unknown
00:32:38-00:33:08 (30 sec)
But the problem for the people not going back to work is twofold. Number one, they're reluctant to go back to work because they're afraid of COVID -- many of them. So they don't want to go back and they don't want to be exposed to either the customers because they're not required to wear masks or not required to have shots, or they don't want to go back because they're not sure of the people waiting on them and they -- at the table, or the people coming up in the food market. So, a lot of it has to do with COVID. Number one. 187

Joe Biden

Unknown
00:33:08-00:33:27 (19 sec)
Number two -- and that's why, you know, we were able to go from -- when I first got elected -- when I first was elected, there were only 2 million people who had COVID shots in the United States of America -- had the vaccine. Now we got 190 million, because I went out and bought everything I could do -- and buy in sight, and it worked. [Applause] 188

Joe Biden

Unknown
00:33:27-00:33:39 (13 sec)
But here's the deal: The second thing -- the second thing that has happened, Anderson, is that people are now using this as an opportunity to say, "Wait a minute, do I want to go back to that $7-an-hour job?" 189

Joe Biden

Unknown
00:33:39-00:33:52 (13 sec)
I won't name the particular restaurant chain, but they found out when they -- they couldn't hire anybody. When they found out, they started to pay 20 bucks an hour, everybody wanted to go back to work. Not a joke. 190

Joe Biden

Unknown
00:33:52-00:34:07 (15 sec)
So what you see is wages are actually up for those who are working, because for the first time in a long time, employees are able to bargain. "You're the boss? You want me to work for you? What are you going to pay me? How are you going to do it?" I'm not being facetious. 191

Joe Biden

Unknown
00:34:07-00:34:20 (12 sec)
The third thing that's out there is there's a circumstance that exists where people are really worried about what they're going to do -- I mean, how -- how can I say this? 192

Joe Biden

Unknown
00:34:20-00:34:50 (30 sec)
How many people do you know -- and maybe some in this audience -- who, because of what you've been through -- a loss of a husband, wife, brother, mother, father, son, whatever -- or you've had something that's really impacted you with COVID that you really find yourself just down? I mean just down. And so, there's a lot of people who are just down. They're not sure how to get back in the game. They're not sure whether they want to get back in the game. 193

Joe Biden

Unknown
00:34:50-00:35:24 (34 sec)
Think of this: If you're graduating from Morgan State, okay? [Applause] Right? Well, guess what? You didn't have those great dances the last four years that you'd had before you went out at Morgan. No, I'm not joking. Graduated from high school, you don't have your prom, you don't have your graduation, you don't have the thing -- all the things that matter to people that go into things they look forward to. So, a lot of it has to do with us getting back on our feet and getting back on our feet in terms of our attitudes about what the future looks like for us. 194

Anderson Cooper

Unknown
00:35:24-00:35:25 (1 sec)
What do you say to someone who's down? Because -- 195

Joe Biden

Unknown
00:35:25-00:35:25 ( sec)
What I say -- 196

Anderson Cooper

Unknown
00:35:25-00:35:27 (2 sec)
-- there's a lot of people watching tonight who are. 197

Joe Biden

Unknown
00:35:27-00:35:53 (26 sec)
Well, there are. And I tell you what: There's plenty of help. Look, being down, having some problem in terms of needing some -- some advice -- if you have a broken spirit, it's no different than a broken arm. You shouldn't be ashamed of it. You should seek the help. There's a lot of people who can help. [Applause] 198

Joe Biden

Unknown
00:35:53-00:35:55 (2 sec)
And -- but I really mean it. 199

Anderson Cooper

Unknown
00:35:55-00:35:56 ( sec)
Yeah. 200

Joe Biden

Unknown
00:35:56-00:36:01 (5 sec)
I -- I don't -- I'm not saying that's the whole problem, but I'm saying it is an element in terms of attitude about people -- what they want. 201

Joe Biden

Unknown
00:36:01-00:36:15 (14 sec)
Look, how often I get asked the question, "What's Christmas going to be like? How about Thanksgiving? Is it going to be okay? I mean, what's going to happen? I mean, how will I be able to buy gifts for my kids?" How -- there's a lot of anxiety people have. 202

Anderson Cooper

Unknown
00:36:15-00:36:21 (6 sec)
Yeah. I want to ask a question along the lines of concern about Christmas and holidays and the supply chain. 203

Anderson Cooper

Unknown
00:36:21-00:36:25 (4 sec)
Anna Hirsch is here, a student at Loyola University, who is originally from Connecticut. She's a Democrat. Anna, what's your question? [Applause] 204

Joe Biden

Unknown
00:36:25-00:36:31 (6 sec)
Hello, Anna. 205

Question

Unknown
00:36:31-00:36:42 (11 sec)
President Biden, growing up in a small town, I've been surrounded by small-business owners, including my mom who owns her own interior design business. With the current supply chain crisis, small businesses are in jeopardy of not being able to get products that they need -- 206

Joe Biden

Unknown
00:36:42-00:36:42 (1 sec)
They are. 207

Question

Unknown
00:36:42-00:36:53 (11 sec)
-- because priority is given to large businesses. Does your administration have any policies or plans in place to aid the current supply chain problem and/or to help small businesses that are affected by this? 208

Joe Biden

Unknown
00:36:53-00:36:57 (4 sec)
Yes on both. [Applause] Here -- but you -- but you have it exactly right. 209

Joe Biden

Unknown
00:36:57-00:37:27 (30 sec)
We have a significant supply chain problem. In the Obama-Biden administration, all of American business -- and it made sense -- it was just on time. You wanted to make sure that you didn't waste any money and/or time between producing whatever you're producing and having it done. You didn't -- so that's how you saved money. You didn't buy the material six months ahead of time and then keep it in your inventory and then move it. It was on time. 210

Joe Biden

Unknown
00:37:27-00:37:54 (27 sec)
Now, that's a big problem. You can't -- people can't do it. They want to get out ahead. What I've recently done -- and people said -- doubted we could get it done. I was able to go to the private por- -- 40 percent of all products coming into the United States of America on the West Coast go through Los Angeles and -- and -- oh, what am I doing here? 211

Anderson Cooper

Unknown
00:37:54-00:37:55 (1 sec)
Is it Long Beach or -- 212

Joe Biden

Unknown
00:37:55-00:37:56 (1 sec)
Long Beach. Thank you. 213

Joe Biden

Unknown
00:37:56-00:38:15 (20 sec)
And I know both the mayors. So I went to them and I said, "What can we do?" So I met with -- and they're privately owned, these ports -- these two. So I met with the business people. I met with all their major customers -- the Walmarts of the world and all the rest. There are like 70 ships waiting out there unable to get unloaded. 214

Joe Biden

Unknown
00:38:15-00:38:38 (22 sec)
So, I -- and because -- not always -- the longshoremen don't always get along with the business folks in there. I got -- I have a relationship with them. And I brought them together, and I said, "You got to be open 24/7." No port there was open tw- -- open five days a week, 40 hours a week. 24/7 -- they've all agreed to it. They've agreed to it. 215