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Transcript: Remarks by President Biden Before a Business Leaders Meeting on the American Rescue Plan in Oval Office

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Updated: February 24, 2021

THE PRESIDENT:  Hello, folks.  Thanks for coming in.  I’ve invited in some of the leading business people in America to come in and talk about the state of the economy, our recovery package.  We’re going to talk a little bit, God willing, about infrastructure down the road, and also about the — a little about the minimum wage.  But I want to thank each of them for being here and participating. 

I think they’re — as I’ve said before — you’ve heard me say it to labor groups and others as well — that the American people are hurting.  There’s a lot of people who are in real, real trouble.  A lot of people going to bed at night, staring at the ceiling wondering whether they’re going to be in that apartment the next day, or if they’re going to be evicted, or if they’re going to keep their mortgage payment up, if they’re going to have any health insurance.  We got millions of people unemployed. 

As Secretary Yellen has pointed out, we have a scarring effect that may be going on and can get worse.  We have kids not in school.  There’s a whole range of issues, but I think they’re all soluble.  I think they’re all within our capacity. 

As you know, I’ve met for a long time with my Republican colleagues.  I’ve been exchanging correspondence with them and telephone calls, as well, to see if there’s any way we can follow up beyond where we are, and meeting with the members of the House and the Senate as well.  And I think we’re — I think we’re in a position to think big and move big, and to move in a direction that can not only get the economy back on its feet, but we have to get people well before we get people on their feet.  And we’ve focused a lot of the attention on making sure that we deal with the coronavirus, get it under control. 

As you know, you’ve been through it all in detail with me on what we’re doing on the coronavilus [sic] — virus and the funding mechanisms that exist within this package, as well as we have to deal at the same time with the — with the employment.  We have to deal at the same time with business and growth of the economy.  We can’t let one wait.  We can’t get everybody well and then move on the economy.  We have to move quickly on both.

And I’m anxious to hear what these business leaders have to say about how they think I’m approaching this issue, we’re approaching this issue, and to see if we can find some common ground.  I know I’ve found some common ground with some of my Republican friends and a lot of the Democrats as well, so I’m optimistic. 

So, thank you all for coming in.  I appreciate it. 

Q    Mr. President, just briefly on impeachment.

Q    Will you watch — will you watch President Trump’s trial? 

Q    Just briefly on impeachment, do you mind?

Q    Will you watch the trial?  Are you going to watch the trial?

THE PRESIDENT:  I am not.  Look, I told you before: I have a job.  My job is to keep people — we’ve already lost over 450,000 people.  We’re going to lose a whole lot more if we don’t act, and act decisively and quickly.  A lot of people, as I said, are going — a lot of children are going to be hungry.  A lot of families are food insecure.  They’re in trouble.  That’s my job.  The Senate has their job; they’re about to begin it.  I’m sure they’re going to conduct themselves well.  And that’s all I’m going to have to say about impeachment. 

So, thank you very, very much.  Appreciate it.

Q    Do you want to comment on the Democrats’ proposal last night, President Biden, about the $75,000 cap?  Do you agree with that?

THE PRESIDENT:  Yes.

Q    Okay.

THE PRESIDENT:  Thanks, everybody.

               

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