Remarks by President Biden on a Future Made in America | Beaufort County Now | Remarks by President Biden on a Future Made in America

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Press Release:

Ford Rouge Electric Vehicle Center  •  Dearborn, MI  •  May 18  •  1:51 P.M. EDT

    THE PRESIDENT: My name is Joe Biden and I'm a car guy. (Applause.) I got — please sit down. I got through high school and college and law school because my dad ran an agency. And I'm delighted to be here.

    I want to say something else up front: I'm standing here because, about 180 years ago, when I first got elected to the Senate, Gov — (laughter) — the UAW elected me. (Applause.) We used to have the highest percentage of autoworkers of any state in the nation because we have a small workforce and two giant plants, plus Mopar and a few other things going on. So I want to thank you.

    Look, and I want to thank a good friend of mine: Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer. (Applause.) As my mother would say, Gretchen, "God love you, dear." You've got a backbone like a ramrod, you got a brain as big as anybody in the business, and you are so honorable. It's a delight to know you. And anything I can do — as I said to you before, I'll come campaign for you or against you, whichever will help the most. (Laughter.)

    And, Ang — I want to thank Angela. We were talking backstage — backstage, yeah, on the other side of the truck — and I want to thank her very much for being so gracious.

    And, Rory, I know you're new to the labor movement, but you're doing a pretty good job. (Laughter.) Where — where is Rory? Rory, thank you, pal. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. And everyone at the UAW for being the best autoworkers in the world.

    You know, I — and I want to thank Bill Ford and Jim Farley for hosting us, and investing in our workers and in our country.

    We're at a great inflection point in American history. How we handle the next 4 to 10 years is going to determine where we're going to be 30, 40, 50 years from now. It's one of those moments in American history.

    This is an incredible facility.

    Representative Debbie Dingell, another dear friend — I know John is looking down, and he's saying, "We're finally getting it done, huh?" You're getting it done. Debbie, you're a -

    And Representative Dan Kildee — he's a good friend.

    Representative Brenda Lawrence.

    And, by the way, be careful what you say to Representative Slotkin. She knows more than you and they may be watching you. (Laughter.) Where are you? I tease her all the time, and she's a great, great, great addition to the Congress.

    And Rashida Tlaib — where's Rashida? I tell you what, Rashida — and I want to say to you that I admire your intellect, I admire your passion, and I admire your concern for so many other people. And it's my — from my heart, I pray that your grandmom and family are well. I promise you, I'm going to do everything to see that they are on the West Bank. You're a fighter. And, God, thank you for being a fighter. (Applause.)

    And Andy Levin — I know a lot of Levins. And, Haley Stevens, thank you all as well.

    And I also want to thank Mayor Jim [John] O'Reilly of Dearborn for the passport into the city. Thank you, Mr. Mayor.

    And my buddy, Mike Duggan — he is my mayor. I got — I was sitting one day in the Oval with Barack Obama when President Obama — when I was Vice President. And he looked at me like it was just something off the — he said, "By the way, I want you to go fix Detroit." I said, "Say that again. What am I going to do?"

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    He said, "You can get anybody in the government to go with you. You just do it." First call I made was this guy. You brought it off its knees; you brought it back. You're a great mayor and you're a great friend. You got a lot of courage, Mr. Mayor. Thank you. (Applause.)

    And two great friends, Debbie Stabenow and Gary Peters, who couldn't be here today because they're back fighting like hell — fighting for this industry and the people of this state and for labor.

    Labor, industry, federal, state, local leaders all together. That's America at its best. And that's what I so admire about what Bill Ford is doing here.

    And I — you know, I want to — so everything that these workers, this historic complex, and this state represent is something that I hope gets modeled around the country. It's about respect. It's about dignity — the dignity of work.

    My dad used to say, "Joey..." — and I swear to God, when he left Scranton, when the coal died — my dad was not a — he was — he was a salesperson; he wasn't a coal miner. My great-grandpop was, but —

    He — he said — he used to say — when he moved to Delaware — he had to leave because there were no jobs and he left us with our grandpop for a little over a year. And he commuted back and forth from Wilmington, Delaware, to Scranton on the weekends.

    And when he got back down to Wilmington, he used to say to all of us — and I was, I guess, then, about — I was — well, I was going into third grade.

    And he'd say, "Joey, remember..." — I mean this sincerely — "...a job is about a lot more than a paycheck. It's about your dignity. It's about respect. It's about your place in the community..." — I really mean this — "...and about being able to look your kid in the eye and say, 'Honey, it's going to be okay. It's going to be okay.'"

    It's not labor; it's union. Because what you allow people do is hold their heads up, make a decent living, and have pride in what they do — pride in what you build, pride in what you give this nation.

    And I wanted to be here today — the day before you unveil the next generation of America's bestselling vehicle to the entire world — to thank you. Thank you for showing how we win the competition of the 21st century. You know, how the future is going to be made — it's gong to be made here in America. Made in America. (Applause.)

    And I have to say, this brings me home. For more than 30 years, my dad, when we moved to Delaware, managed automobile dealerships in Delaware, including the Ford dealership.

    And, man, did I like that '57 Ford Fairlane. (Laughs.) Oh, boy, it ain't got nothing on F-150. But all kidding aside, that's what got me through school.

    And, you know, I doubt I'd be — I doubt that it would ever contribute $50 billion — $50 billion — it would support about 500,000 American jobs — F-150 — half of the 1 million American jobs Ford supports overall, like the 150 series.

    You know, I just got a tour of the groundbreaking electric vehicle center here, along with the UAW workers. And they showed me the technology they're using to build this first-ever fully electric F-150. I was able to sit in it. Quite frankly, I — they let me see it. So I apologize to you at home won't see it until tomorrow, but, man, you're going to like it.

    And — and I'd sure like to drive it. I wonder whether or not I can lose the Secret Service and go out to the track. But — you all think I'm kidding, don't you? (Laughter.) The press knows I'm not. (Laughter.)

    Look, the future of the auto industry is electric. There's no turning back. And as Rory says, "The American auto industry is at a crossroads." And the real question is whether we'll lead or we'll fall behind in the race to the future; or whether we'll build these vehicles and the batteries that go in them here in the United States or rely on other countries; or whether the jobs to build these vehicles and batteries, that are good-paying union jobs with benefits — jobs that will sustain and grow the middle class.

    Right now, China is leading in this race. Make no bones about it; it's a fact.

    You know, we used to invest more in research and development than any country in the world and China was number eight — or, excuse me, number nine. We now are number eight and China is number one. Can't let that be sustained. The future is going to be determined by the best minds in the world, by those who break through new barriers.

    You know, it has — China — the largest, fastest-growing electrical vehicle market in the world, and a key part of an electric vehicle is the battery. Right now, 80 percent of the manufacturing capacity of those batteries is done in China, though not the battery for the 150 — the F-150. We went down to Georgia and took care of that.

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    That allows them to corner the market on the supplies and raw materials for those batteries. Important almost — importing almost all the lithium — 90 percent — that comes from countries from like Australia, which lead the world in mining these kinds of critical materials.

    And here's the deal: It's not that China's battery technology is that much more innovative than anyone else's. Remember, our national labs in the United States, our universities, our automakers led in the development of this technology.

    But today, China has a bigger manufacturing scale than all other countries. And they're using that scale to make these batteries not just in China, but they're making them in Germany and in Mexico. And they're now exporting those electric vehicles around the world, with sights on the American market.

    And they think they're going to win. Well, I got news for them: They will not win this race. We can't let them. (Applause.) We have to move fast, and that's what you're doing here.

    When President Obama and I were in — when Barack and I were in office, that was what we were going to do. Remember 2009? The auto industry was flat on its back. And remember, I got criticized by the press because I was the auto guy, pushing.

    Well, guess what? We were told that we'd never be able to sell American-made cars at the same rate as before. But we didn't listen. We bet on you, the American auto worker. We extended a lifeline and we stepped up, saved more than a million jobs. (Applause.)

    Working with the auto industry, we set fuel efficiency standards and provided incentives for folks to buy fuel-efficient vehicles.

    And through the Recovery Act, we made the largest investment in clean energy and battery technology ever. And the Big Three emerged from the crisis in a position to sell millions of vehicles made right here in the USA.

    But then the previous administration came into office. They rolled back the standards we set — rollbacks that the Ford Motor Company opposed.

    Despite bipartisan support for consumer incentives, they let the federal tax credit expire, penalizing autoworkers who were selling the most electric vehicles at the time.

    They announced infrastructure week — and they announced it and announced it and announced it and announced it every week for four years, and didn't do a damn thing. They didn't get the job done.

    Folks, the rest of the world is moving fast. They're moving ahead. They're not waiting for the United States of America. Government, labor, industry — working together — have to step up. And we have a playbook that will work.

    We're going to set a new pace for electric vehicles. That means reversing the previous administration's short-sighted rollback of vehicle emissions and efficiency standards, setting strong, clear targets where we need to go.

    It means passing the American Jobs Plan to do three things. One, transform our infrastructure. Our infrastructure is ranked like 38th in the world. This is the United States of America, for God's sake.

    We're going to put Americans to work modernizing our roads, our highways, our ports, our airports, rails, and transit systems. That includes putting IBEW members and the union workers to work installing 500,000 charging stations along our roads and highways, our homes and our apartments. (Applause.) The IBEW is ready to do it, and they can.

    [ ... ]

    Read the full transcript HERE.



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