Oval Office Washington D.C. July 20 11:07 A.M. EDT
Okay, well, thank you very much. You've asked to see what's going on at our meetings, so I figured let you come in. You'll look and you'll see we have a lot of — a lot of good things happening. We have tremendous progress on vaccines and therapeutics. We're getting reports. We're studying the reports very closely. I think people are going to be very pleasantly surprised with what's going on on the vaccine front and the therapeutic front. And that, to us, is always the first topic.
Secondarily, but very importantly, we're working and negotiating with the Democrats on trying to get a plan that helps small businesses, helps people, helps this country. And I think we've made a lot of progress on that. And the discussions are going on.
Steve, do you want to say a few words as to where we are?
Yes, Mr. President. Mark and I have been working very hard over the last two weeks, with Mitch and Kevin, on really what we see as the focus is kids and jobs, the Recovery Act, CARES 4.0.
We've spent an unprecedented amount of money. The good news is a lot of the $3 trillion, we still have left to put in the economy and put back to work. We're focused on starting with another trillion dollars. We think that will make a big impact.
And the focus is, as I said, is really about kids and jobs and vaccines. We're going to make sure that we have a vaccine by the end of the year for emergency use. And the plan is — we just updated the President and the Vice President; they signed off on this. Mark and I will be meeting tomorrow with the Republicans at the lunch to give them a full briefing, and then we will also be reaching out to the Democrats to begin our discussions.
But we are committed that, by the end of this month, make sure that before the enhanced unemployment insurance expires, that we pass legislation so that we can protect Americans that are unemployed.
Now, we've said the number one issue is we have to finish the technical fix on enhanced unemployment. We're going to make sure that we don't pay people more money to stay home than go to work. We want to make sure that people who can go to work safely can do so. We'll have tax credits that incentivize businesses to bring people back to work. We'll have tax credits for PPE, for safe work environment. And we're going to have big incentives, money to the states for education, for schools that can open safely and do education.
So these are the priorities, as well as liability protection. We want to make sure that frivolous lawsuits don't prevent schools, universities, and businesses from reopening.
THE VICE PRESIDENT:
Well, Mr. President, I just want to — I want to say how much we appreciate the leadership in the House and Senate. Today's conversation is a continuation of your commitment to do whatever it takes to get the American people, American businesses, and communities through this very challenging time.
The outbreaks across the Sun Belt are serious, but because of the support that we've had from, frankly, leaders in both political parties in the Congress of the United States, we're meeting this moment with expanded testing, personal protective equipment, and, as you said, Mr. President, with the development and distribution of therapeutics and a rapid development of vaccines. That will all continue.
But it's important that the Congress come together and provide additional resources for families that have been impacted, businesses that have been impacted. We'll make sure our healthcare workers and our states have the resources that they need. But also, Mr. President, we're going to continue to advance policies that'll make it possible for us to open up America again and open up America's schools.
And I look forward, I know as you do, in working with the leaders that are gathered here and members of Congress in both political parties, to deliver another important elements of a recovery package that will keep on working until we bring our country all the way back and reach that day that we someday put this coronavirus in the past.
Okay. Mitch, please.
Yeah, tomorrow begins the process of socializing what we've been discussing with the administration over the last two weeks with our members. And if you're looking for a theme here, think liability protection for those who have been trying to deal with the pandemic. We don't need an epidemic of lawsuits on the heels of the pandemic we're already struggling with.
Kids in school, jobs, and healthcare will be the theme of the proposal that we hope to come together and present to our Republicans. And then, as the Secretary of the Treasury indicated, obviously you can't pass the bill in the Senate without the Democrats, and we'll begin to talk with them as well.
Yes. I mean, just to sum up what we're looking at: If you're sitting at home and you're concerned that you don't have a job, we want to make sure you're able to come back. We don't think any federal money should be spent that gives you a disincentive to work. We want to make sure we have incentives to keep going.
For those small businesses, we want to make sure you can stay open. We want to make sure your kids can go back to school, but go back safely — not just for the children, but for the teachers as well.
We continue to make strides to make sure we get to a vaccine — that we find a cure for this virus that we did not invite, that came from a foreign land. And I think that's the focus that we have to be a part of.
Mitch talks about — and I think it's fundamental not just for schools, but for any businesses striving — whether they can open back up or not. They should not have an attack from any lawsuits. We need to give the protection that we rebuild, restore, and renew this country to where we were before, and I know we can do it together.
That's why we're working here. We'll be reaching out to the Democrats. And I hope, for that moment in time, they put politics aside; that we look at one nation, that we don't sit back inside of a rule within a Senate that a minority denies the ability to have this debate, that denies the ability to help America unite and solve this problem once and for all.
We are making great strides when it comes to therapies, what — this Warp Speed. History will write about this. When we get to the moment in time that we have this vaccine, they'll write about how fast it would and no other country could do what we did because of the ingenuity of this nation. And that's the focus of what we're trying to do for the safety of this country, for our students, for our teachers, and for our businesses that we're back to work again, stronger and safer and more united.
It came from China. It should have never been allowed to get out. They could have stopped it. They could have stopped it easily. They chose not to. And we'll have further reports on that. But it came from China. They could have stopped it, but they didn't. They stopped it from going into China, but they didn't stop it from going to the rest of the world. It didn't stop it from going to Europe, to us.
They should have stopped it. They could have stopped it. They weren't transparent at all; they were the opposite. It's not good.
I spoke with the President of France this morning, and I spoke with — I spoke with the President of Egypt, and we had a very, very good conversation, both of us. And all of us, and all of us together — I've had many conversations with leaders all over the world over the weekend, and over the last couple of weeks in particular. And this is a pandemic that is flaring up all over the place. Countries thought they were in good shape and then, all of a sudden, they have a big flare-up.
I see that over the weekend — I guess on Friday — there was a worldwide number of death — worldwide. Because when you watch the news — the local news — and you see it, and it's — it's, like, all about the United States. They never like to talk about what's going on in the world. But you look at Mexico, Brazil, many countries in Europe, many countries — all over — Russia. Russia has a got a tremendous problem. It's — what's going on is terrible. It's terrible. But this is a worldwide problem.
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