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Updated: 1 hour 20 min ago

Statement from National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan on the Global Effort toStrengthen the Cybersecurity of Energy Supply Chains

1 hour 49 min ago

Energy systems around the world face continuous cyber attacks and are vulnerable to disruption.  As new digital clean energy technologies are integrated, we must ensure they are cyber secure to prevent destruction or disruption in services.  This is a global issue and at the G7 Leaders’ Summit in Apulia, President Biden and G7 leaders committed to taking critical action to strengthen the cybersecurity of the global supply chain of key technologies used to manage and operate electricity, oil, and natural gas systems across the world.  The G7 will work to establish a collective cybersecurity framework for operational technologies for both manufacturers and operators. This builds on the White House Council on Supply Chain Resilience’s work to strengthen supply chains critical to America’s economic and national security. It also builds upon the efforts of the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) and Idaho National Laboratory which have brought tremendous expertise to bear in securing operational technologies to date.

We are pleased that several prominent suppliers and manufacturers serving the energy sector have already expressed support for a new set of Supply Chain Cybersecurity Principles released today by DOE, including: GE Vernova, Schneider Electric, Hitachi Energy, Honeywell, Schweitzer Engineering Laboratories, Rockwell Automation, Siemens and Siemens Energy.

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President Joseph R. Biden, Jr. Approves Florida Disaster Declaration

4 hours 30 min ago

Today, President Joseph R. Biden, Jr. declared that a major disaster exists in the State of Florida and ordered Federal aid to supplement State, tribal, and local recovery efforts in the areas affected by severe storms, straight-line winds, and tornadoes on May 10, 2024.

The President’s action makes Federal funding available to affected individuals in Leon County.

Assistance can include grants for temporary housing and home repairs, low-cost loans to cover uninsured property losses, and other programs to help individuals and business owners recover from the effects of the disaster.

Federal funding is also available to State, tribal, and eligible local governments and certain private nonprofit organizations on a cost-sharing basis for debris emergency work and the repair or replacement of facilities damaged by the severe storms, straight-line winds, and tornadoes in the counties of Baker, Gadsden, Hamilton, Lafayette, Leon, Liberty, Madison, Suwannee, Taylor, and Wakulla.

Lastly, Federal funding is available on a cost-sharing basis for hazard mitigation measures statewide.

Mr. John E. Brogan of the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) has been appointed to coordinate Federal recovery operations in the affected areas.

Additional designations may be made at a later date if requested by the state and warranted by the results of further damage assessments.

Residents and business owners who sustained losses in the designated areas can begin applying for assistance at www.DisasterAssistance.gov, by calling 800-621-FEMA (3362), or by using the FEMA App. Anyone using a relay service, such as video relay service (VRS), captioned telephone service or others, can give FEMA the number for that service. 

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION MEDIA SHOULD CONTACT THE FEMA NEWS DESK AT (202) 646-3272 OR FEMA-NEWS-DESK@FEMA.DHS.GOV.

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FACT SHEET: Biden-Harris Administration Announces Historic Rules to Create Good-Paying, High-Quality Clean Energy Jobs

5 hours 4 min ago

Inflation Reduction Act final rules build on Administration actions to develop a skilled, well-paid workforce to build the clean energy economy and combat the climate crisis

Since day one, President Biden has committed to building a clean energy economy that creates good-paying and union jobs for American workers. Spurred by President Biden’s Investing in America agenda, which includes the most significant investment in climate and clean energy in history, America has unleashed a clean energy manufacturing and deployment boom that has attracted hundreds of billions of dollars in private sector investment and created more than 270,000 new good-paying and union clean energy jobs. These investments are flowing to the places President Biden promised not to leave behind, including the historic energy communities that have powered this nation for generations and economically distressed communities, providing jobs and economic opportunity, particularly for workers without a college degree.

The Inflation Reduction Act delivered on President Biden’s commitment to be the most pro-worker, pro-union president in history, attaching strong labor protections and incentives to climate and clean energy tax credits for the first time ever. Outside analysis projects that the Inflation Reduction Act could create 1.5 million additional jobs over the next decade, and these provisions will ensure that those jobs building wind farms, installing solar panels, and constructing hydrogen and carbon capture facilities will be good-paying and support proven pathways into the clean energy industry that will allow workers to earn while they learn.

Today, the Department of the Treasury and the Internal Revenue Service announced final rules implementing the prevailing wage and registered apprenticeship increased credit provisions of the Inflation Reduction Act.

Clean energy projects that meet the requirements of these final rules will receive a fivefold increase for clean energy tax credits for deployment of wind, solar, nuclear, hydrogen, and other clean energy technologies, as well as for projects receiving allocations under the Section 48C Advanced Energy Projects credit., providing a significant incentive for project developers to pay prevailing wages to workers for construction, alteration, and repair of clean energy projects and to hire registered apprentices to earn while they learn by working on those projects.  

Deputy Secretary of the Treasury Wally Adeyemo and Acting Secretary of Labor Julie Su also published a blog highlighting the use of Project Labor Agreements as a best practice for large construction projects and a tool to help project developers comply with the prevailing wage and apprenticeship requirements. Project Labor Agreements, or pre-hire collective bargaining agreements that set the terms and conditions for employment on a construction project, help workers and developers alike by providing strong worker and wage protections while ensuring a reliable supply of skilled workers to help deliver projects on time and on budget.

The final rules provide certainty for clean energy developers and workers to realize the benefits of President Biden’s historic investments in the clean energy economy. To protect workers and ensure compliance with these requirements, the IRS also released a Fact Sheet that can be posted at job sites and used to educate workers about the prevailing wage and registered apprenticeship standards for clean energy projects, including information on how to use IRS Form 3949-A to report suspected violations of tax law. The IRS and Department of Labor (DOL) also announced that they are working on an MOU, to be signed by the end of the year, that will harness DOL’s extensive prevailing wage and registered apprenticeship expertise, to facilitate joint education and public outreach, develop training content for IRS examiners, and formalize a process for DOL to share with IRS, any credible tips or information about potential noncompliance with the prevailing wage and registered apprenticeship requirements.

Today’s announcement builds on efforts across the Administration to create strong pathways into good-paying and union jobs in clean energy and build a high-quality, diverse pipeline of workers prepared to build the clean energy economy of the future:

  • The Department of Labor launched an interactive map to highlight for workers, unions, and the public more than 1,000 planned clean energy projects nationwide, including the estimated number of workers at each project who stand to benefit if taxpayers satisfy the prevailing wage and apprenticeship requirements.
  • The Biden-Harris Administration launched a series of Investing in America Workforce Hubs, partnerships with state and local officials, employers, unions, community colleges, high schools, and other stakeholders in regions with significant investments through President Biden’s Investing in America agenda, to connect Americans to good-paying jobs in industries of the future, including Hubs focused on clean energy.
  • First Lady Jill Biden announced the first set of five Hubs in May 2023, fueling significant progress in building and scaling new job training opportunities, while President Biden announced four more hubs in April to build on the success of the first set.
    • The Augusta, Georgia Workforce Hub announced partnerships between employers, unions, nonprofits, philanthropy, school districts, and colleges to build workforce and skills development efforts to meet the needs of the energy, battery and battery materials, and nuclear sectors.
  • The Pittsburgh Workforce Hub announced hundreds of new job opportunities and training pathways—including registered apprenticeships—in clean energy, as well as in cyber occupations that support clean energy and other critical sectors.
  • Building on historic investments in electric vehicle and battery manufacturing, President Biden launched the Michigan Electric Vehicle Workforce Hub, building on significant efforts underway, to ensure that the transition to electric vehicle supports the union workers and communities that have driven the auto industry for generations.
    • Vice President Kamala Harris visited Detroit in May to announce a suite of actions to support small- and mid-sized auto manufacturers and auto workers to lead the electric vehicle future.
  • In the Columbus Workforce Hub, Columbus State Community College is working with partners across the state to quadruple the number of students trained for engineering technology jobs. In addition, partners are preparing at least 10,000 skilled construction trades workers, including for clean energy jobs in the area.
  • The Department of Energy launched the Community Workforce Readiness Accelerator for Major Projects (RAMP) initiative, a pilot initiative that places selected fellows from across the nation in target geographies in order to  convene and  catalyze effective, inclusive workforce strategies to prepare and connect local workers to good jobs on large clean energy infrastructure and supply chain projects funded the Investing in America agenda.
  • The Department of Energy continues to incentivize grant and loan recipients across a wide array of Investing In America programs to commit to the use of registered apprenticeships, pre-apprenticeships, project labor agreements, collective bargaining agreements, community benefits agreements, and other established tools to ensure that workers have accessible on-ramps to good-paying and union jobs in the growing clean energy economy.
  • The Department of Energy, in coordination with the Department of Labor and the AFL-CIO, launched the Battery Workforce Initiative, a national workforce development strategy for lithium-battery manufacturing with $5 million to support pilot training programs. Recently, the Battery Workforce Initiative announced National Guideline Standards for registered apprenticeships for battery machine operators, created in partnership with battery manufacturers, community colleges, and unions, which lay out rigorous training requirements to support the skilled battery workforce.
  • Last week, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration announced that it would invest $60 million from President Biden’s Inflation Reduction Act to advance climate-ready workforce projects in coastal and Great Lakes states, Tribes, and territories. The Climate-Ready Workforce Initiative will fund skills training in emergency preparedness and response, floodproofing, structural elevation, water and wastewater treatment, geographic information systems, and other critical climate-ready jobs. Every awarded project supports a community identified as disadvantaged by the Climate and Economic Justice Screening Tool.
  • The Department of Labor announced the award of nearly $94 million in grants to support 34 public-private partnerships to provide worker-centered sector strategy training programs in 25 states and the District of Columbia to meet workforce needs created by the Biden-Harris administration’s “Investing in America” agenda. The training will support jobs in sectors including clean energy. This investment will build career pathways in manufacturing Electric Vehicles (EVs), EV batteries, and EV charging infrastructure in places like Georgia, Indiana, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Texas. The Department of Labor also announced the availability of approximately $35 million in funding through the second round of Building Pathways to Infrastructure Jobs grants to be awarded.
  • The Department of Energy announced up to $24 million in high-quality training for union apprentices, incumbent workers, and students for in-demand jobs in advanced manufacturing and clean energy through the Industrial Assessment Centers (IAC) Program. The announcement is part of the IAC Program’s unprecedented expansion to include Registered Apprenticeship, union-led training, and community and technical college programs through President Biden’s Investing in America agenda. It follows DOE’s $40 million investment, announced in November, to support 17 new IACs as well as the inaugural cohort of 10 Building Training and Assessment Centers. 
  • The Biden-Harris Administration launched the Advanced Manufacturing Sprint, an intensive drive to build a diverse, skilled pipeline of workers for needed to fill the good advanced manufacturing jobs created by President Biden’s Investing in America Agenda, including in clean energy, biotechnology, semiconductors, and more. As part of the Sprint, the Department of Labor announced that more than 4,700 apprentices have been hired and more than 150 new programs and occupations created or under development during the course of its Advanced Manufacturing Registered Apprenticeship Accelerator Series—including in the clean energy, semiconductor, aerospace, automotive, and biotechnology sectors.
  • The Department of Labor launched a $20 million cooperative agreement with TradesFutures, the nonprofit organization of partner of North America’s Building Trades Unions) and the National Urban League, to enroll more than 13,000 participants in apprenticeship readiness programs, giving them hands-on learning experience and skills development, and place at least 7,000 participants into Registered Apprenticeships in the construction industry. The launch followed the Department of Labor’s announcement of nearly $200 million in grants to expand registered apprenticeships, including for clean energy jobs.
  • The Biden-Harris Administration launched the Infrastructure Talent Pipeline Challenge, nationwide call to action that brought together more than 350 employers, unions, education and training providers, states, local governments, Tribes, territories, philanthropic organizations, and other stakeholders to make tangible commitments that support equitable workforce development in critical sectors, including electrification.
    • As part of the Talent Pipeline Challenge, the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers trained more than 20,000 members through the Electric Vehicle Infrastructure Training Program to meet the training requirements for the Department of Transportation National Electric Vehicle Infrastructure Program to install fast EV chargers on national corridors and in communities.
  • The Department of Labor has invested more than $440 million to expand, diversify, and modernize registered apprenticeships, including in high demand clean energy occupations including electricians, water treatment specialists, wind turbine maintenance technicians and other occupations. DOL has also invested in a clean energy apprenticeship industry intermediary, Interstate Renewable Energy Coalition, to increase industry awareness, connect employers and labor organizations with workforce and education partners, and provide technical assistance to launch, scale, and diversify Registered Apprenticeship programs. These investments and resources expand the capacity of the Registered Apprenticeship system, supporting the education and training needs of more than 1 million apprentices across the country, including the clean energy sector. 
  • The Department of Energy is working with the National Renewable Energy Laboratory on a first of its kind national Energy Workforce Needs Assessment to project employment impacts from President Biden’s Investing in America agenda and related private investments by occupation and geography, analyze current education and training capacity, and identify the most acute workforce gaps and strategies to fill them. 
  • The Department of Energy has convened a federal advisory committee called the 21st Century Energy Workforce Advisory Board to develop a strategy and recommendations on how DOE and other federal agencies should address the workforce needs, challenges, and opportunities of a rapidly changing energy system. The report is expected in early August. 

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FACT SHEET: President Biden Announces New Actions to Keep Families Together

8 hours 49 min ago

Since his first day in office, President Biden has called on Congress to secure our border and address our broken immigration system. As Congressional Republicans have continued to put partisan politics ahead of national security – twice voting against the toughest and fairest set of reforms in decades – the President and his Administration have taken actions to secure the border, including:

  • Implementing executive actions to bar migrants who cross our Southern border unlawfully from receiving asylum when encounters are high;
  • Deploying record numbers of law enforcement personnel, infrastructure, and technology to the Southern border;
  • Seizing record amounts of fentanyl at our ports of entry;
  • Revoking the visas of CEOs and government officials outside the U.S. who profit from migrants coming to the U.S. unlawfully; and
  • Expanding efforts to dismantle human smuggling networks and prosecuting individuals who violate immigration laws.

President Biden believes that securing the border is essential. He also believes in expanding lawful pathways and keeping families together, and that immigrants who have been in the United States for decades, paying taxes and contributing to their communities, are part of the social fabric of our country. The Day One immigration reform plan that the President sent to Congress reflects both the need for a secure border and protections for the long-term undocumented. While Congress has failed to act on these reforms, the Biden-Harris Administration has worked to strengthen our lawful immigration system. In addition to vigorously defending the DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood arrivals) policy, the Administration has extended Affordable Care Act coverage to DACA recipients and streamlined, expanded, and instituted new reunification programs so that families can stay together while they complete the immigration process. 

Still, there is more that we can do to bring peace of mind and stability to Americans living in mixed-status families as well as young people educated in this country, including Dreamers. That is why today, President Biden announced new actions for people who have been here many years to keep American families together and allow more young people to contribute to our economy.  

Keeping American Families Together

  • Today, President Biden is announcing that the Department of Homeland Security will take action to ensure that U.S. citizens with noncitizen spouses and children can keep their families together.
  • This new process will help certain noncitizen spouses and children apply for lawful permanent residence – status that they are already eligible for – without leaving the country.
  • These actions will promote family unity and strengthen our economy, providing a significant benefit to the country and helping U.S. citizens and their noncitizen family members stay together.
  • In order to be eligible, noncitizens must – as of June 17, 2024 – have resided in the United States for 10 or more years and be legally married to a U.S. citizen, while satisfying all applicable legal requirements. On average, those who are eligible for this process have resided in the U.S. for 23 years.
  • Those who are approved after DHS’s case-by-case assessment of their application will be afforded a three-year period to apply for permanent residency. They will be allowed to remain with their families in the United States and be eligible for work authorization for up to three years. This will apply to all married couples who are eligible.  
  • This action will protect approximately half a million spouses of U.S. citizens, and approximately 50,000 noncitizen children under the age of 21 whose parent is married to a U.S. citizen.

Easing the Visa Process for U.S. College Graduates, Including Dreamers

  • President Obama and then-Vice President Biden established the DACA policy to allow young people who were brought here as children to come out of the shadows and contribute to our country in significant ways. Twelve years later, DACA recipients who started as high school and college students are now building successful careers and establishing families of their own.
  • Today’s announcement will allow individuals,
    including DACA recipients and other Dreamers, who have earned a degree at an accredited U.S. institution of higher education in the United States, and who have received an offer of employment from a U.S. employer in a field related to their degree, to more quickly receive work visas.
  • Recognizing that it is in our national interest to ensure that individuals who are educated in the U.S. are able to use their skills and education to benefit our country, the Administration is taking action to facilitate the employment visa process for those who have graduated from college and have a high-skilled job offer, including DACA recipients and other Dreamers. 

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Remarks by Vice President Harris on Conflict-Related Sexual Violence

Mon, 06/17/2024 - 23:55

Room 350
Eisenhower Executive Office Building

4:47 P.M. EDT

     THE VICE PRESIDENT:  Please, have a seat.  Good afternoon.  Good afternoon.  Good afternoon. 

What an extraordinary group of leaders I see.  It’s so good to be with everyone, and thank you. 

And thank you to Jen.  She has been — I mean, just — like, we are just doing this thing together, Jen.  And you have been so wonderful.  You have been such a power in our administration on fighting for gender equity, and I thank you for that and for the introduction.

And to all our distinguished guests, thank you for being here.

     I especially thank the survivors and advocates that are with us today: Kolbassia, Oleksandra, Amit, and Nadia, whose Nobel Peace Prize on the topic of sexual violence is an extraordinary testament to her global leadership. 

Every day, each of you brings to light the atrocity of conflict-related sexual violence.  You, in particular, are fearless advocates in the fighter — in the fight for justice, and you remind us of the resilience of survivors. 

     President Joe Biden and I stand with you in solidarity and with all the survivors around the world. 

     So, sexual violence has been a tactic of war since ancient times.  Throughout history, those who have waged war have specifically targeted and violated women and girls to exert dominance and power over their bodies and to humiliate and terrorize and subdue entire populations.  And sexual violence remains a gruesome part of modern conflict around the globe. 

     In Ukraine, Russian forces have raped women in occupied territories.  In Iraq, when ISIS seized territory a decade ago, they forced women and girls into sexual slavery as they massacred thousands.  In Sudan, the ongoing conflict includes paramilitary forces terrorizing women and girls through sexual violence.  In Haiti, gangs have used sexual assault to rape and coerce communities into submission.  And we’ve seen similar horrors in South Sudan, in Ethiopia, Central African Republic, and the DRC. 

     My heart breaks for the trauma and pain inflicted in each of these conflicts. 

     And October 7, last year, Hamas committed horrific acts of sexual violence.

     Sheryl, I thank you for all your work to bring to light the horrors of this issue and for your film about what happened on October 7.  In the days after October 7, I saw images of bloodied Israeli women abducted.  Then it came to light that Hamas committed rape and gang rape at the Nova Music Festival, and women’s bodies were found naked from the waist down, hands tied behind their back, and shot in the head. 

     I’ve heard the stories from a former hostage of what she witnessed and heard in captivity.  And I just met with Amit, a survivor who has bravely come forward with her account of sexual violence while she was held captive by Hamas. 

     These testimonies, I fear, will only increase as more hostages are released.  We cannot look away, and we will not be silent. 

     My heart breaks for all these survivors and their families and for all the pain and suffering over the past eight months in Israel and in Gaza. 

We are deeply concerned by all reports of sexual violence and degradation, and we mourn every innocent life lost in this conflict.  It is devastating, which is why President Biden and I have made clear: Hamas needs to accept the deal that is on the table for a ceasefire, which would bring the hostages home and lead to a permanent end to hostilities. 

     Specifically, on the issue of conflict-related sexual violence, in recent years, the international community has made great progress on recognizing that it is an attack on peace, stability, and human rights.  And the United States has been proud to lead the way at the United Nations and around the world by providing rape kits and healthcare for survivors, training militaries and peacekeepers, and supporting the appointment of a Special Representative to the U.N. Secretary General to monitor this issue. 

     But that is not enough.  It’s not enough.  The crimes persist.  And globally, our system of accountability remains inadequate.  More must be done. 

And it is the responsibility of all of us — governments, international organizations, civil society, and individual citizens — to actively confront conflict-related sexual violence and to work to rid our world of this heinous crime and to do what is necessary to hold perpetrators accountable. 

     And it starts, of course, with awareness and acknowledgement.  We must speak truth about the prevalence of conflict-related sexual violence against women and girls and men and boys.  All of these crimes are too often ignored.  The U.N. estimates that for each rape documented in connection with a conflict, there are 10 to 20 cases that go undocumented. 

     Conflict-related sexual violence must be condemned, unequivocally, wherever and whenever it occurs.  And we must fortify systems to prioritize action — systems that support survivors, effectively collect evidence, and promote investigation. 

     That is one of the reasons why our administration is launching the Dignity in Documentation Initiative to improve documentation of these crimes.  For far too long, systems, whether law enforcement or judicial, have not sufficiently addressed conflict-related sexual violence.  And for far too long, the consequences, then, stopped at mere condemnation — which, of course, is important, but stopped there, rather than going to accountability. 

     We have to change that.  We must condemn, of course, this conduct.  But there must be accountability.  So, we have committed, as an administration, to move the system from only condemnation to consequences. 

Thanks to the leadership of our administration, we have made it the policy of the United States to use all of our diplomatic, financial, and legal tools to punish those who commit sexual violence. 

     For example, for the first time, we imposed sanctions based solely on conflict-related sexual violence, including for crimes committed in Haiti, Sudan, Iraq, and the DRC, with the knowledge that meaningful systems of accountability also contribute to deterrence. 

     If one is held accountable by a system that takes seriously the outrageousness of the conduct, it stands to reason that it will serve also as a deterrence to prevent further crimes from happening in the future.

     The bottom line is: The use of sexual violence as a tactic of war is unconscionable.  And any failure to hold perpetrators accountable is a failure to live up to, by all of us, our common humanity.

     We must agree that in civil societies there must be outrage that prompts action to address what is happening around the world and that we commit ourselves to speaking truth about the failures of these systems with the purpose and goal of holding ourselves to the highest standards to ensure that we all prioritize what is right for the sake of the safety and the dignity and the well-being of all people.

     So, let us rededicate ourselves to build a future where women and girls and all people can live free from violence, abuse, and fear.  President Joe Biden and I are committed to work with all of you to that end. 

And I thank you.  Thank you.  (Applause.)

END                     4:57 P.M. EDT

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Remarks by President Biden and NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg Before Bilateral Meeting

Mon, 06/17/2024 - 21:59

PRESIDENT BIDEN:  Well, Mr. Secretary General, welcome back to the Oval Office. 

I have to say ahead of time, I’m going to miss you.  I’m going to miss you. 

You know, I believe that this — this one of the most consequential moments for Europe since World War Two.  I think you do too.  NATO was founded 75 years ago, and it’s — I think the lessons we’ve learned then and about standing together to defend and deter aggression have been consequential. 

And we’ve made NATO — you — under your leader- — leadership, we made it larger, stronger, and it’s more united than it’s ever been.  So, I want to thank you, Mr. Secretary General, for the incredible work you’ve done. 

Together, we deterred further Russian aggression in Europe.  I think we — well, I know we’ve welcomed Finland and Sweden to the Alliance.  And we’ve strengthened NATO’s eastern flank, making it clear that we’ll defend every single inch of NATO territory.

And, Jens, we — a very important announcement to make today: A record number of Allies are meeting the NATO commitment to at least 2 percent of their GDP on defense.  And, in fact, the number has more than doubled since we took office — since I took office. 

And I look forward to building it all — on all this progress next month when we have the 75th meeting here in Washington.

And I look forward to our discussion today.

So, I want to thank you for being here.  We got a lot to talk about.  And I mean it sincerely, you’ve been great.  I just wish you’d extend your term another 10 years. 

You’re doing a hell of a job, seriously.

SECRETARY GENERAL STOLTENBERG:  Thank you.

President Biden, dear Joe, thank you so much for your warm words — words.  And thank you so much for your personal commitment to NATO, to our Transatlantic Alliance. 

And, also, many thanks for hosting the NATO Summit here in Washington, D.C., next month.  At that summit, we will celebrate the 75th anniversary of the most successful alliance in history, but we’ll also make important decisions for the future — not least on the issue and the importance of investing in our security.

And today, we are able to publish new figures for defense spending.  They show that, across Europe and Canada, NATO Allies are, this year, increasing defense spending by 18 percent.  That’s the biggest increase in decades.  And 23 Allies are going to spend 2 percent of GDP or more on defense this year.  That’s more than twice as many as four years ago, and demonstrates that European Allies and Canada are really stepping up and taking their share of the common responsibility to protect all of us in the NATO Alliance. 

It’s also important for the United States to know that a lot of this money is actually spent here in the United States.  Allies are buying more and more equipment from the U.S.  So, NATO is good for U.S. security, but NATO is also good for U.S. jobs. 

Mr. President, and also thank you for your strong leadership on Ukraine.  And congratulations on the bilateral security agreement you signed with President Zelenskyy, with Ukraine. 

European Allies are also stepping up and matching the U.S. contributions, military support to Ukraine.  And I expect that when we meet here next month, we will agree to have NATO in the lead role in providing security assistance and training and also that Allies will agree to step up financial and military support to Ukraine.  This will reduce the burden on the United States and strengthen our support to Ukraine. 

I think it’s important to understand that the stronger our support for Ukraine is, the sooner this war can end, because the sooner President Putin will realize that he cannot wait us out.

It is in — support Ukraine is not charity.  Support Ukraine is in our own security interest.  And therefore, I welcome the strong commitment of all NATO Allies to continue to support Ukraine. 

So, once again, thank you so much.  Thank you for once again hosting me — me here in the Oval Office.  And I look very much forward to the NATO summit in Washington, D.C., next month. 

Thank you.

PRESIDENT BIDEN:  Thank you, pal.

Thank you very much, everyone.

(Cross-talk.)

PRESIDENT BIDEN:  (Inaudible.)  (Laughs.)

4:18 P.M. EDT

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President Joseph R. Biden, Jr. Approves Hawaii Disaster Declaration

Mon, 06/17/2024 - 21:08

Today, President Joseph R. Biden, Jr. declared that a major disaster exists in the State of Hawaii and ordered Federal assistance to supplement state and local recovery efforts in the areas affected by severe storms, flooding, and landslides from April 11 to April 14, 2024.

Federal funding is available to state and eligible local governments and certain private nonprofit organizations on a cost-sharing basis for emergency work and the repair or replacement of facilities damaged by the severe storms, flooding, and landslides in Kauai County.

Federal funding is also available on a cost-sharing basis for hazard mitigation measures statewide.

Mr. Curtis Brown of the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) has been appointed to coordinate Federal recovery operations in the affected areas. 

Additional designations may be made at a later date if requested by the state and warranted by the results of further damage assessments.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION MEDIA SHOULD CONTACT THE FEMA NEWS DESK AT (202) 646-3272 OR FEMA-NEWS-DESK@FEMA.DHS.GOV.\

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President Joseph R. Biden, Jr. Approves Tennessee Disaster Declaration

Mon, 06/17/2024 - 20:55

Today, President Joseph R. Biden, Jr. declared that a major disaster exists in the State of Tennessee and ordered Federal aid to supplement state and local recovery efforts in the areas affected by severe storms, tornadoes, and flooding during the period of May 8 to May 9, 2024.

Federal funding is available to state and eligible local governments and certain private nonprofit organizations on a cost-sharing basis for emergency work and the repair or replacement of facilities damaged by the severe storms, tornadoes, and flooding in Cannon, Cheatham, Giles, Hamilton, Jackson, Macon, Maury, Montgomery, Polk, Smith, Sumner, and Warren Counties.

Federal funding is also available on a cost-sharing basis for hazard mitigation measures statewide.

Ms. Leda M. Khoury of the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) has been appointed to coordinate Federal recovery operations in the affected areas. 

Additional designations may be made at a later date if requested by the state and warranted by the results of further damage assessments.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION MEDIA SHOULD CONTACT THE FEMA NEWS DESK AT (202) 646-3272 OR FEMA-NEWS-DESK@FEMA.DHS.GOV.

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Readout of President Joe Biden’s Meeting with Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg of NATO

Mon, 06/17/2024 - 18:41

President Joseph R. Biden, Jr. met today with Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) ahead of NATO’s 75th Anniversary Summit in Washington, DC next month, which the President will host.  The President welcomed steps NATO Allies are taking to support Ukraine and to deepen partnerships, including in the Indo-Pacific.  President Biden and Secretary General Stoltenberg also discussed significant progress on defense spending, including that a record 23 Allies will reach NATO’s two percent spending threshold, a more than two-fold increase since President Biden took office.  

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Readout of President Joe Biden’s Call with Taoiseach Simon Harris of Ireland

Mon, 06/17/2024 - 16:32

President Joseph R. Biden, Jr. spoke with Taoiseach Simon Harris of Ireland today congratulate him on his recent election as Taoiseach and to deepen U.S.-Ireland cooperation on a range of issues. President Biden highlighted continued cooperation with the Irish government on shared priorities, particularly deepening U.S.-Ireland ties between our people and our economies. They highlighted the importance of cybersecurity to ensure a thriving tech sector in Ireland, home to many U.S. tech companies. They also discussed the conflict between Israel and Hamas, underscoring the need to increase humanitarian aid reaching people in Gaza and reaffirmed their commitment to a two-state solution. They reaffirmed the importance of stability in Northern Ireland, underpinned by its Executive and Assembly to preserve the gains of the Belfast/Good Friday Agreement.

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JOINT FACT SHEET: The United States and India Continue to Chart an Ambitious Course for the Initiative on Critical and Emerging Technology

Mon, 06/17/2024 - 15:47

Today, U.S. National Security Advisor (APNSA) Jake Sullivan and Indian National Security Advisor (NSA) Ajit Doval chaired the second meeting of the U.S.-India initiative on Critical and Emerging Technology (iCET) in New Delhi.  Since the launch of iCET in January 2023, the United States and India have made significant strides toward deepening and expanding strategic cooperation across key technology sectors including space, semiconductors, advanced telecommunications, artificial intelligence, quantum, biotechnology, and clean energy.  Our work also continues to be anchored in a shared commitment to ensuring that technology is designed, developed and deployed in a manner consistent with our democratic values and respect for universal human rights, as well as a recognition that the future security and prosperity of the Indo-Pacific will hinge on the strength of the U.S.-India partnership. 

During the second iCET meeting, APNSA Sullivan and NSA Doval set the vision for the next chapter of our strategic technology partnership.  They underscored their commitment to orienting our cooperation around breakthrough achievements in priority critical and emerging technology areas, by focusing our efforts on co-production, co-development, and research and development (R&D) opportunities to ensure we stay at the leading edge of innovation and enhancing coordination with like-minded nations to deliver secure, reliable, and cost-competitive technology solutions for the American and Indian people and our partners around the world.  Toward this end, they welcomed the inaugural meeting of the U.S.-India-ROK Trilateral Technology Dialogue held in Seoul in March, as well as ongoing cooperation with Australia and Japan through the Quad.

APNSA Sullivan and NSA Doval underscored the vital importance of adapting our technology protection toolkits and resolved to prevent the leakage of sensitive and dual-use technologies to countries of concern.  They also committed to take concrete action in the coming months to address long-standing barriers to bilateral strategic trade, technology, and industrial cooperation, including in the commercial and civil space sector.  They noted continued progress under the Strategic Trade Dialogue, which convened last June in Washington, D.C., as well as through an iCET intersessional review meeting held in New Delhi by our Deputy National Security Advisors in December 2023 to support these measures. They emphasized the need for continued efforts, particularly under the Strategic Trade Dialogue, to address outstanding barriers to technology collaboration.

In addition to the iCET meeting, APNSA Sullivan and NSA Doval convened an industry roundtable that brought together CEOs and thought leaders from both countries as the United States and India mobilize private sector investment and partnerships across strategic technology sectors.

The two National Security Advisors resolved to support enhanced collaboration across our governments, industry, and academia, with a particular focus on the following areas.  

Bridging our Innovation Ecosystems

  • Unlocking a combined $90+ million in U.S. and Indian government funding over the next five years for the U.S.-India Global Challenges Institute that will forge high-impact university and research partnerships between U.S. and Indian institutions in the areas of semiconductor technology and manufacturing; sustainable agriculture and food security; clean energy; healthy equity and pandemic preparedness, and other critical and emerging technologies;
  • Announcing the selection of the first tranche of funding awards between the National Science Foundation and the Indian Department of Science and Technology totaling nearly $5 million to support joint U.S.-India research projects in areas such as next generation telecommunications, connected and autonomous vehicles, and machine learning;
  • Noting the launch of the inaugural “Innovation Handshake” between the U.S. Department of Commerce and the Indian Ministry of Commerce in November 2023 to address regulatory barriers for startups entering the U.S. and India markets, and celebrating the second Innovation Handshake event in India in March 2024, which featured 14 Indian startups and 12 American industry representatives in clean energy technology sectors;
  • Celebrating the U.S. Department of Commerce’s Global Diversity Export Initiative trade mission to Bengaluru, Manipal, Mangaluru, Kochi, and Coimbatore in February 2024 to deepen STEM partnerships between institutions at the leading edge of innovation in technology areas such as AI, quantum, data sciences, space, and financial technologies.

Reaching New Heights in Civilian and Defense Space Technology Cooperation

  • Securing a carrier for the first-ever joint effort between NASA and ISRO astronauts at the International Space Station, which will mark a significant milestone in the U.S.-India space partnership and space exploration;
  • Celebrating the conclusion of a Strategic Framework for Human Spaceflight Cooperation to deepen interoperability in space and work toward commencing advanced training for ISRO astronauts at the NASA Johnson Space Center;
  • Preparing for the launch of the NASA-ISRO Synthetic Aperture Radar, a jointly developed satellite that will map the entirety of the Earth’s surface twice every 12 days as the United States and India work together to combat climate change and other global challenges;
  • Launching a new partnership between the U.S. Space Force and the Indian startups, 114ai and 3rdiTech, including on advancing space situational awareness, data fusion technologies, and infra-red sensor semiconductor manufacturing;
  • Welcoming India’s observation of the U.S. Space Command’s Global Sentinel Exercise at Vandenburg Space Force Base in February and its return as a participant in the exercise in 2025;
  • Strengthening defense space cooperation through the second Advanced Domains Defense Dialogue held at the Pentagon in May 2024, which featured a U.S.-India space table-top exercise and included bilateral expert exchanges on emerging domains including artificial intelligence.
  • Exploring opportunities for India’s participation in the Lunar Gateway Program, as well as joint avenues for collaboration in other space technologies.

Deepening Defense Innovation and Industrial Cooperation

  • Welcoming the discussions on India’s planned acquisition of the MQ-9B platforms, the possible co-production of land warfare systems, and progress on other co-production initiatives outlined in the U.S.-India Roadmap for Defense Industrial Cooperation;
  • Celebrating the second edition of the India-U.S. Defense Acceleration Ecosystem (INDUS-X) Summit which took place in February this year and during which the two sides announced an INDUS-X Investor Summit that will take place in Silicon Valley in September 2024; the awarding of up to $1.2 million in seed funding to 10 U.S. and Indian companies under Joint IMPACT 1.0 Challenges; the intent to launch two challenges focused on space-based intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance (ISR) under IMPACT 2.0; and the launch of an INDUSWERX Testing Consortium steered by industry, academia and non-profit organizations across the United States and India to promote access to testing and certification facilities;
  • Deepening cooperation between the U.S. Defense Innovation Unit and India’s Innovations for Defense Excellence (iDEX) to accelerate the joint adoption of cutting-edge commercial technologies for military solutions and capability enhancement of both defense ecosystems, including through a Memorandum of Understanding;
  • Noting progress in negotiations between GE Aerospace and Hindustan Aeronautics Limited for the co-production of GE F414-INS6 engines to power India’s future fighter fleet;
  • Expanding defense industrial partnerships, such as the launch of an AI Multi-Doman Situational Awareness product jointly developed by General Atomics and 114ai to support joint all domain command and control.

Pursuing Advanced Telecommunications Opportunities

  • Noting the recent finalization of the U.S.-India Open RAN Acceleration Roadmap, ongoing 5G and 6G R&D Task Force collaboration, and continuing efforts between U.S. and Indian industry to work toward large-scale Open RAN deployments in India and the United States;
  • Building partnerships to deploy high-quality, cost-effective Open RAN technology at scale, including through a $5 million USAID Edge Fund grant to Qualcomm and Mavenir to test its ORAN stack in India in partnership with Bharti Airtel, with Qualcomm contributing an additional $9.4 million to the project;
  • Promoting Open RAN workforce development opportunities in India through USAID’s Emerging Technologies in the Indo-Pacific program, an 18-month, $410,000 activity to integrate Open RAN-related educational content into Indian technical training programs and foster collaboration between Indian institutions and the Asia Open RAN Academy in the Philippines;
  • Cooperating on secure and trusted telecommunications products and components and product-level security;
  • Strengthening cooperation in 6G technologies through working groups that would potentially focus on evolving 6G related technologies like network sensing, intelligent reflecting surface, a human-centric cognition-based wireless access framework, and other priority areas;
  • Forging public-private cooperation between vendors and operators of the two countries led by India’s Bharat 6G Alliance and the U.S. Next G Alliance for Open RAN field trails and roll-outs in both the countries, with U.S. funding support.

Combining Capabilities in Biotechnology and Biomanufacturing

  • Celebrating the launch of a Track 1.5 Biopharmaceutical Supply Chain Consortium – the “Bio-5” on June 5 with key industry and government stakeholders from the United States, India, the ROK, Japan, and the European Commission to enhance resilience in supply chains for active pharmaceutical ingredients, key starting materials, and foster high-impact R&D collaboration.
  • Noting the establishment of the first-ever National Science Foundation and Department of Biotechnology joint funding opportunity, through which the two organizations will support collaborative research proposals to promote biotechnology innovation and advance the bioeconomy;
  • Developing a joint Strategic Framework for building biopharmaceutical supply chain optimization to strengthen global supply chains and reduce dependencies on single-source suppliers, in support of Bio-5, led by the Department of Health and Human Services and the Department of State on the U.S. side, and the Departments of Biotechnology, Pharmaceuticals and the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare on the Indian side;
  • Welcoming the launch of a “Bio-X” initiative that would promote biotechnology cooperation by leveraging the synergies between domestic programs and enhancing the competitiveness of the biotechnology industries in both countries, including in areas such as molecular communication and the Internet of Bio-Nano Things.

Securing Semiconductor Supply Chains

  • Launching a new strategic semiconductor partnership between General Atomics and 3rdiTech to co-develop semiconductor design and manufacturing for precision-guided ammunition and other national security-focused electronics platforms;
  • Celebrating the conclusion of a joint Semiconductor Readiness Assessment through a partnership between the U.S. Semiconductor Industry Association and the India Electronics Semiconductor Association, which identifies near-term industry opportunities and facilitates longer-term strategic development of complementary semiconductor ecosystems;
  • Expanding engagement with U.S. and Indian investors in the semiconductor industry in India, to continue building India’s robust semiconductor and information communication technology ecosystem.

Building a Clean Energy and a Critical Minerals Partnership for the 21st Century

  • Promoting India’s vital role in the Mineral Security Partnership, including through co-investing in a lithium resource project in South America and a rare earths deposit in Africa, to responsibly and sustainably diversify critical mineral supply chains;
  • Establishing a U.S.-India Advanced Materials R&D Forum on the margins of the U.S.-India Joint Committee Meeting on Science and Technology to expand collaboration between American and Indian universities, national laboratories, and private sector researchers;
  • Deepening industrial and commercial coordination for critical mineral supply chains under the U.S.-India Commercial Dialogue between the U.S. Department of Commerce and the Indian Ministry of Commerce and Industry, with private sector input from the U.S.-India CEO Forum.
  • Committing to quickly conclude a bilateral Critical Minerals Memorandum of Understanding between the U.S. Department of Commerce and the Indian Ministry of Commerce and Industry and the Ministry of Mines, and driving additional areas of cooperation in critical mineral supply chains such as for graphite, gallium, and germanium
  • Exploring opportunities for collaboration in the critical minerals sector like bilateral collaboration in technologies for Neodymium-iron-boron metal, alloy and magnet making, collaboration with Department of Energy entities;
  • Advancing Indian collaboration with U.S. organizations and companies for carrying out research studies for beneficiation of critical minerals, including lithium, titanium, gallium, and vanadium;
  • Building a collaborative program between the Geological Survey of India and the U.S. Geological Survey on exploration, characterization and evaluation of rare earth elements and critical mineral deposits.

Pursuing Quantum, Artificial Intelligence, and High-Performance Computing Collaboration

  • Initiating new cooperation in quantum science and technology, including through launching a workshop on post-quantum cryptography at the University of California, Los Angeles and facilitating visits of Indian technical experts from academia and the private sector to visit U.S. national laboratories and quantum institutions;
  • Expanding cooperation in quantum communication, post quantum migration and security, and Digital Twins;
  • Celebrating longstanding cooperation by the State Department-supported U.S.-India Science and Technology Endowment Fund and its forthcoming announcement of winners of the “Quantum Technologies and AI for Transforming Lives” competition, fostering joint R&D to generate public good through the commercialization of technology;
  • Welcoming the Indian Centre for Development of Advanced Computing’s membership in the U.S. Accelerated Data Analytics and Computing Institute, a multilateral information exchange mechanism, as the Biden-Harris Administration continues to work with the U.S. Congress to lower barriers to U.S. exports to India for high-performance computing and source code.

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Statement from President Biden on Agreement between the UAW and Ultium Cells

Mon, 06/17/2024 - 15:42

I congratulate the United Auto Workers and Ultium Cells for reaching a historic agreement in Lordstown, Ohio, where UAW workers are manufacturing batteries for General Motors electric cars and trucks. This agreement significantly increases wages and ensures critical health and safety and scheduling protections for 1,600 workers. 

Five years ago, the previous administration made false promises to Lordstown workers – and then stood by as the community lost jobs and faced economic devastation. Today, Lordstown is a comeback story and it didn’t happen by accident. With the help of my Investing in America agenda, the UAW and companies like General Motors are building the future of autos in America while we bring back good paying union jobs to communities like Lordstown. This agreement ensures that these union jobs will continue to be middle class jobs that allow workers to support their families. 

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Bill Signed: S. 2051

Mon, 06/17/2024 - 15:35

On Monday, June 17, 2024, the President signed into law:
 
S. 2051, the “Missing Children’s Assistance Reauthorization Act of 2023,” which reauthorizes and makes certain modifications to the Missing Children’s Assistance Act and authorizes to be appropriated $49.3 million for each of fiscal years 2024 through 2028 for missing and exploited children’s programs.

Thank you to Senators Durbin and Graham, and Representatives Bean, Courtney, Foxx, and Bobby Scott for their leadership.

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Remarks by National Economic Council Deputy Director Daniel Hornung on the Generational Opportunity to Reorient the Tax System in 2025

Mon, 06/17/2024 - 15:00

June 17, 2024,
Washington Center for Equitable Growth
As Prepared for Delivery

It’s wonderful to be here at such an important moment for the future of economic policy. And it’s a particular honor to join Senator Warren and the distinguished experts you just heard from.

The expiration of the individual provisions of the Trump tax cuts presents a generational opportunity to not just correct the failures of that legislation but to fundamentally reorient our tax system towards shared growth and economic opportunity—to address structural issues in our tax code that have long preferenced wealth over work, to adjust to demographic shifts that require us to raise more revenue, and to ensure our society can sustainably invest in a range of critical priorities that benefit those in the bottom and middle of the income and wealth distributions.

I’ll start with the failures of the Trump tax cuts because those failures inform where we should begin in 2025, and then I’ll discuss the kind of tax system and economy President Biden believes we should build.

The Trump Tax Cuts Failed on Their Own Terms

The Trump tax cuts failed on their own terms: they failed to deliver gains in income, economic activity, and revenue that proponents claimed—and instead were a large windfall for high-income households and large businesses.

In 2017, proponents of the Trump tax cuts said the bill would mainly benefit typical Americans and boost their wages. Instead, the bill gave those in the top 1 percent a tax cut over 50 times larger than that of middle-income households. Its corporate rate cut failed to trickle-down: one rigorous analysis found that corporations used the windfall to buy back stock, pay dividends, and boost executive pay, while the bottom 90 percent of workers saw no wage gains.

Similarly, proponents of the Trump tax cuts said they would double or even triple the economic growth rate. But real GDP and fixed investment grew at about the same rate in the two years after the legislation passed as in the two years before.

Finally, the bill’s proponents also claimed that it would increase revenues and fully pay for itself. But in 2017, revenues were expected to average 18.3 percent of the economy from 2023 to 2025. With 2023 behind us, the revised estimate for that period is only 17 percent. And every estimate of the bill suggests it increased deficits.

Despite the bill’s failures, congressional Republicans’ top priority for 2025 is to extend it, including for the highest-income households. In fact, recent reporting suggests they want to expand further on the Trump corporate rate cut. And last week, they even applauded the idea of entirely replacing the progressive income tax with regressive tariffs. While nearly impossible to achieve, anything approximating this policy would amount to a massive shift of the tax burden from the top of the distribution to the bottom and the middle, and it would likely require a tariff rate so high as to induce a substantial increase in prices and interest rates.

Extending the Trump tax cuts and related provisions would cost nearly $5 trillion over the decade, and Congressional Republicans have not said how they would pay for it. In addition to regressive tariffs, they have proposed draconian cuts to Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, and the Affordable Care Act; major cuts to non-defense discretionary funding that would take that share of the Budget to about half of its historic average as a share of the economy; reversing this Administration’s investments in combatting climate change and building a durable clean energy industry here at home; or simply adding the cost to the national debt, as they did in 2017, with low- and middle-income households likely bearing the cost in the future through higher inflation and interest rates or deep programmatic cuts.

President Biden’s Plan Will Build a Tax System that Promotes Shared Growth and Economic Opportunity

President Biden rejects this regressive, anti-growth, and fiscally irresponsible approach. The question now is what kind of tax system and economy we build in 2025. As my boss, National Economic Advisor Lael Brainard, argued in May, our approach will be guided by five key principles.

First, our tax system should be more fair, promoting economic opportunity and work and eliminating preferences for wealth. The President is committed to ensuring that the over 95 percent of American households that earn less than $400,000 do not pay more in taxes.

But we must go beyond correcting the Trump tax cuts’ failures and seize the moment to promote economic opportunity for the middle-class and those in need. For example, President Biden expanded the premium tax credits, which lifted health insurance coverage to record levels across demographic groups. The expansion will lapse without congressional action by fall 2025; making it permanent is at the top of President Biden’s agenda.

The expanded Child Tax Credit cut child poverty nearly in half in 2021, primarily by allowing low-income families to access the full credit. Restoring it would lift those children out of poverty again and cut taxes by an average of $2,600 per year for 39 million families. The Senate should make a down payment on this expansion now by passing the bipartisan tax package that would lift 500,000 children out of poverty.

And, restoring the President’s expansion of the Earned Income Tax Credit for childless workers would cut taxes by an average of $800 per year for 19 million low-paid workers, lifting roughly 6 million workers out of poverty.

In addition to expanding opportunity, we can make our tax code fairer by eliminating preferences for wealth. That begins with allowing the Trump tax cuts above $400,000 to expire and not bringing back deductions or other tax breaks for those households. There is no economic justification for giving millionaires another dollar of tax cuts.

We should go further here, too. Billionaires pay an average federal tax rate of just 8 percent on their true income—a lower rate than many middle-class families—primarily because most of their income comes in the form of returns to capital, which is taxed at a lower rate than wages, if it at all. The current system also allows the wealthy to avoid capital gains taxes entirely on massive amounts of income by holding assets until death. These preferences tilt the tax system in favor of wealth, exacerbating income, wealth, and racial inequality.

The President’s Budget addresses these distortions and promotes greater efficiency and equity by taxing capital gains at ordinary rates for income above $1 million, applying a minimum tax to the wealthiest Americans’ full economic income, and closing the step-up in basis loophole for the wealthiest households.

Our second principle for 2025 is that we should raise revenue in order to fund critical national priorities and reduce fiscal risks. President Biden supports paying for any tax cut extensions to avoid deepening the fiscal hole created by two decades of tax cuts skewed to the wealthy. But we should set our sights higher and raise sufficient revenue to fund our existing commitments, pay for a much-needed public investment agenda, and improve the long-term fiscal outlook.

President Biden strongly believes we must raise more revenue to meet commitments we’ve made to our seniors. Because of our aging population, federal revenue as a share of the economy needs to increase to protect programs for older Americans, yet two decades of tax cuts have caused it to fall instead.

Raising additional revenue will also ensure we are able to invest in national priorities that will help us achieve shared and durable economic growth—including narrowing racial wealth gaps, reducing poverty, investing in our children and education, establishing a robust care infrastructure, building more affordable housing to lower housing costs, reducing healthcare costs, and more.

Raising revenue is also necessary because past tax cuts have increased risks to our long-term fiscal health, with revenues now running below historic averages even when, like now, the economy is strong and unemployment is low. The additional revenue called for in the President’s Budget—along with a reduction in federal outlays to pharmaceutical companies and other special interests—would stabilize debt and deficits as a share of the economy and maintain the economic burden of debt within historical ranges. Doing so is likely to substantially reduce the long-term risk of a fiscal adjustment that would harm lower- and middle-income Americans.

Third, we should ask more from corporations that are making record profits and paying less as a share of the economy and as a share of total revenue than they have historically. The corporate share of revenue has fallen from around 30 percent in the 1950s to well under 10 percent today. American corporate tax receipts are around 1.6 percent of GDP, just half of the OECD average of 3.3 percent. Yet, corporate profits as a share of the economy reached record highs during the pandemic, and have stayed historically elevated as corporations hold onto margins that were forecast to have compressed as the pandemic faded.

The President’s Budget would raise the corporate rate to 28 percent—halfway back to the previous 35 percent rate—in addition to other base-broadening reforms. The lackluster investment response to the Trump tax cuts suggests that bringing corporate taxation more in line with past U.S. and current international practice could raise substantial revenue without hindering economic growth.

Fourth, taxpayers should pay what they owe and play by the same rules. This requires an IRS with the resources needed to identify and address tax evasion—and to provide a smooth tax filing experience.

After a decade of severe underfunding, President Biden’s investment in the IRS has in just a year and a half allowed the IRS to provide exemplary customer service, successfully pilot the Direct File tool that will be a permanent offering, collect over $500 million in unpaid taxes from delinquent millionaires, and launch new initiatives aimed at high-end non-compliance, like a new effort to audit personal use of corporate jets.

Just this morning, Treasury and the IRS announced new efforts to stop large businesses and the wealthy from engaging in complex and opaque transactions where they shift the basis of an asset between related partnerships in order to unlawfully claim increased tax benefits, like depreciating an asset over and over. These abuses were turbocharged by the Trump tax cuts and can typically require a wealthy taxpayer to pay an accountant millions of dollars. Treasury estimates this initiative alone will save the government at least $50 billion over the next decade.

President Biden’s investment in the IRS will lapse without congressional action, starting with the IRS’s taxpayer service cliff in 2026. Congressional Republicans also continue to target IRS funding for deep cuts, which would increase deficits by billions. The Administration will block those misguided efforts and prioritize extending the IRS investment in 2025.

Finally, our tax system should avoid an international race to the bottom. The Administration negotiated an historic agreement, signed by more than 130 nations, that will level the playing field for American small businesses that can’t afford complex tax minimization strategies. The agreement will also better support American workers by preventing other countries from luring jobs and operations out of the U.S. with rock-bottom tax rates, and by enabling the U.S. to collect more tax revenues from corporations instead of workers.

Many of the world’s largest economies are implementing this transformational agreement. We must join them in 2025 to grow our corporate tax base rather than allow it to erode further.

Conclusion

President Biden’s plan would correct the failures of the Trump tax cuts and fundamentally reorient our tax system—and economy—in order to achieve shared growth and economic opportunity. Next year’s tax debate presents a moment of possibility that we must seize together, bolstered by the economic evidence that we have discussed today—and also by the support of the American people, who overwhelmingly believe our tax system and economy should work better for the middle-class and those most in need.

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FACT SHEET: The Biden-Harris Administration’s Actions to Address Conflict-Related Sexual Violence

Mon, 06/17/2024 - 12:07

Preventing and responding to conflict-related sexual violence (CRSV) is a top priority for President Biden and Vice President Harris.  The Biden-Harris Administration is advancing policies and programs to prevent conflict-related sexual violence and all forms of gender-based violence, to support survivors and ensure accountability and justice.  This work is guided by the 2023 U.S. Strategy and National Action Plan on Women, Peace, and Security and the 2022 U.S. Strategy to Prevent and Respond to Gender-Based Violence Globally, which recognize that conflict-related sexual violence is a heinous crime used by perpetrators as a tactic of war, and that preventing it is essential to stability, peace, and security.

On June 17, the Vice President is hosting an event at the White House to mark the International Day for the Elimination of Sexual Violence in Conflict.  Together with survivors and experts on CRSV from around the world, the Vice President will condemn CRSV unequivocally—wherever and whenever it occurs—and called for the international community to join the United States in advancing justice and accountability for this crime.

The Vice President spent her career as a prosecutor working to protect women and girls from violence.  As Vice President, she has continued this leadership globally, working to ensure that CRSV—and promoting the status of women and girls—remains at the forefront of our national security policymaking.

As part of this event, the Vice President is launching the Dignity in Documentation Initiative, which intends to provide support for survivor- and civil society-led efforts to investigate and document CRSV in line with the Murad Code, named for Nobel Laureate and survivor Nadia Murad.  This holistic program, supported under a $10 million investment from the U.S. Department of State, will support justice for survivors by promoting accountability for crimes punishable under international law. 

In addition, the Biden-Harris Administration announces the following actions to implement the 2022 President Memorandum on Promoting Accountability for Conflict-Related Sexual Violence—including efforts focused on documenting violence and supporting survivors, advancing justice and accountability, and preventing CRSV.

Documenting Violence and Supporting Survivors

  • Incorporating Gender-Based Violence Prevention into Humanitarian Response. In 2022, USAID and the U.S. Department of State launched Safe from the Start: ReVisioned, an ambitious update of the flagship U.S. Government initiative focused on GBV prevention and response in humanitarian emergencies.  The expansion of this program supports a systemic shift in humanitarian response to focus on women and girls as experts, service providers, and leaders.  Since the start of this initiative in FY 2013, the United States has provided nearly $373 million for dedicated GBV prevention and response programming at the global, regional, and country levels, including in support of Safe from the Start.
     
  • Supporting Survivors in Ukraine. To support survivors of CRSV and other forms of GBV in Ukraine, the U.S. Department of State is supporting a $4 million project offering survivors and local GBV service providers critical services to help individuals and communities recover and thrive, including psycho-social support and survivor-centered care.  The Department of State also supports Ukraine’s effort to hold accountable those responsible for atrocities, including CRSV, through the U.S.-UK-EU Atrocity Crimes Advisory Group, which provides coordinated strategic advice, capacity building, and operational assistance to Ukraine’s Office of the Prosecutor General.  USAID is also supporting the World Health Organization, the International Organization for Migration, the United Nations Children’s Fund, the United Nations Population Fund, and eleven NGO partners to respond to CRSV and other forms of GBV across Ukraine.

Advancing Justice and Accountability

  • Imposing Sanctions. In 2022, President Biden signed a Memorandum on Promoting Accountability for Conflict-Related Sexual Violence. and committed to fully exercising U.S. authorities—including sanctions, visa restrictions, and security assistance vetting—to promote accountability for perpetrators and enablers of CRSV.  Following the release of this new policy, the Biden-Harris Administration issued sanctions in June 2023, marking the first time the United States imposed sanctions based solely on CRSV.  In December 2023, the Administration announced additional sanctions against thirteen targets from four countries for their connection to acts of CRSV—the largest set of financial sanctions and visa restrictions the United States has issued against individuals connected to this human rights abuse.  Sanctions issued on the basis of CRSV since the release of the PM include:
    • Central African Republic. Designated two armed rebel group members—one for involvement or complicity in killing, maiming, torture, or rape or other sexual violence, and the other who supplied weapons to an armed rebel group that has recruited child soldiers and perpetrated sexual violence.
       
    • Democratic Republic of the Congo. Designated two leaders from the ISIS affiliate in the Democratic Republic of the Congo for their leadership role in ISIS-DRC, which is responsible for killing, maiming, and committing sexual violence against women and girls.  Additionally, the administration sanctioned two individuals from the March 23 Movement and Mai-Mai Yakutumba, two armed groups implicated in sexual violence against civilians.
       
    • Haiti. Designated four leaders of gangs that have committed serious human rights abuses, including rape.  One of the targets and his gang were identified by survivors as directly responsible for more than 1,000 documented cases of sexual violence in 2022 alone.
       
    • Iraq. Designated two ISIS leaders, who committed sexual violence and were responsible for the enslavement of Yazidi women and girls.
       
    • South Sudan. Designated five government and military officials in South Sudan who oversaw, ordered, incentivized, directly engaged in, or failed to prevent sexual assault, sexual slavery, and gang rape.
       
    • Sudan. Designated a Sudanese paramilitary leader for his leadership of the Rapid Support Forces, an entity whose members have engaged in acts of violence and human rights abuses, including the massacre of civilians, ethnic killings, and use of sexual violence.
       
    • Syria. Designated two Syria-based armed militias and three members of the groups’ leadership structures in connection with serious human rights abuses, including rape. 
       
  • Strengthening Sanctions Regimes. In June 2024, the United States negotiated the adoption of UN Security Council Resolution 2734, renewing measures under the sanctions regime on ISIS, Al Qaeda, and other terrorist organizations originally established under Resolution 1267.  For the first time, the resolution explicitly recognized that planning, directing, or committing of acts involving sexual- and gender-based violence are eligible for designation for sanctions under the regime’s criteria, recognizing that GBV is used as a tactic by terrorist groups, and leading to improved reporting, coherence, and coordination. 

Preventing Conflict-Related Sexual Violence

  • Supporting United Nations Efforts to End CRSV. In 2022, the United States announced an additional $400,000 for the Office of the UN Special Representative to the Secretary General (SRSG) on Sexual Violence in Conflict, supporting efforts to promote justice and accountability and address the root causes of conflict-related sexual violence.  The United States provides an annual contribution of $1.75 million to support the Office of the SRSG.
     
  • Increasing Women’s Leadership to Address CRSV. Through the Women, Peace, and Security (WPS) Incentive Fund, USAID plans to support implementation of the WPS Strategy by investing in programs that increase women’s participation in peacebuilding and decision making, improve access to justice for GBV survivors, and address CRSV.
    • In Sudan, USAID intends to provide $2.72 million in WPS Incentive Funds to strengthen monitoring, documentation, and accountability processes and amplify existing Sudanese women’s initiatives, such as the Women Coordination Advocacy Agenda.  Activities include the development of specialized training for GBV and CRSV case documentation, increasing access to care and psychosocial support for survivors, and incorporating the needs of women and girls in relief and recovery distribution systems and services.
       
    • In Sri Lanka, USAID intends to provide $1.5 million to facilitate women’s advocacy on CRSV and peacebuilding and develop programs for women leaders to conduct dialogue and mobilize collective action.  This program will also provide grants to women-led organizations to engage men and boys and mitigate cultural barriers that inhibit women’s participation and fuel CRSV.
  • Expanding Atrocity Prevention. The White House-led Atrocity Prevention Task Force—comprised of representatives from a broad array of U.S. government departments and agencies—requires the consideration of gender and GBV in atrocity risk assessments and has refined atrocity prevention toolkits to incorporate CRSV-specific early warning, prevention, and accountability tools.  This helps ensure that U.S. government response efforts, whether diplomatic or programmatic, are informed by an analysis of gender equality issues.

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Statement by Vice President Kamala Harris on the Occasion of Eid al-Adha

Sun, 06/16/2024 - 20:40

Doug and I wish a blessed Eid al-Adha to all Muslims in America and across the world who are celebrating this holiday of prayer, reflection, and community. We hope that your sacred journey ends with a festive moment alongside family and friends.  
 
Our nation is fortunate to be home to millions of Muslims who are our neighbors, classmates, coworkers, and loved ones. They contribute to our shared success each day – from teaching in our classrooms and serving in our military, to leading our small businesses and making a difference in our government. President Joe Biden and I are proud that more Muslim Americans serve in our Administration than in all previous Administrations combined.
 
Last year, Doug and I were honored to welcome some of these leaders from across our country into our home for Eid al-Adha when we hosted the first-ever gathering of Muslim community leaders at the Vice President’s Residence. Together, we celebrated the countless contributions of Muslim Americans to the U.S. and pledged to continue working alongside one another to increase opportunity and combat hate.
 
We know that for far too long, Muslims in America have endured a disproportionate number of hate-fueled attacks. We have witnessed an uptick in anti-Palestinian, anti-Arab, antisemitic, and Islamophobic incidents across America over the last eight months. Too many of our fellow Americans have also had to live with the fear that they will be targeted, profiled, or attacked simply because of how they worship, how they look, or who they are. President Biden and I announced the development of the country’s first National Strategy to Counter Islamophobia, and our Administration will continue to work to protect communities against hate, violence, and discrimination.
 
I know that Eid al-Adha comes at a difficult time for many Muslims this year. The war in Gaza and the immense suffering it has caused weighs heavily on our hearts. Our Administration is working every day to bring this war to an end, free all hostages, deliver humanitarian relief, relieve the suffering of the Palestinian people, and build a future of security, freedom, and dignity for Palestinians and Israelis. 
 
Today, in the spirit of Eid al-Adha, let us renew our commitment to compassion, empathy, and respect. Eid Mubarak. 

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FACT SHEET: Biden-Harris Administration Takes Action to Counter Islamophobia

Sun, 06/16/2024 - 20:05

As Muslims in America and around the world commemorate Eid-al-Adha this year, the holiday arrives at a time of deep pain for communities at home and abroad. In addition to the devastating humanitarian impacts of the ongoing fighting in Gaza, there has been a rise in harassment, bigotry and horrifying violence towards Muslim, Arab and Palestinian Americans.

To address discrimination and violence, last November the Biden-Harris Administration announced the development of the first-ever U.S. National Strategy to Counter Islamophobia and Related Forms of Bias and Discrimination, including hate against Arab, Sikh and South Asian Americans (“the Strategy”). Building on work that had been underway since 2021, departments and agencies across the government are in close communication with communities regarding their concerns and recommendations on societal and institutional discrimination as we continue to develop the Strategy. Over the past year, the Administration has taken steps to support these communities, including the following actions: 

  • On March 15, 2024, President Biden became the first U.S. President to recognize the International Day to Combat Islamophobia. In his statement, President Biden recognized the violence and hate that Muslims worldwide too often face because of their religious beliefs—and the ugly resurgence of Islamophobia in the wake of the devastating war in Gaza. He rededicated his Administration to help build a world where people of all faiths and all backgrounds are free to live without fear of persecution. To mark this day, the Department of Education’s (ED) Office for Civil Rights (OCR) issued a Dear Colleague Letter reminding schools of their legal obligation under Title VI to address discrimination, including harassment, based on race, color or national origin, including discrimination against students who are or are perceived to be Muslim, Arab, Sikh, South Asian, Hindu or Palestinian based on shared ancestry or ethnic characteristics. U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland also issued a statement recommitting the Justice Department (DOJ) to protecting Muslim Americans from discrimination and hate-fueled violence, and DOJ published resources on hate crimes, combating religious discrimination, combating national origin discrimination and religious land use protections.   
  • Through the Fiscal Year 2024 National Security Supplemental, President Biden secured an additional $400 million for the Nonprofit Security Grant Program, which funds security improvements and training to nonprofits and houses of worship, including mosques. The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and DOJ published a resource guide titled, “Protecting Places of Worship: Six Steps to Enhance Security Against Targeted Violence,” outlining actions Muslim and other faith-based communities and houses of worship can take to increase security through easily implementable steps that sustain an open and welcoming environment. In addition, DHS conducted a series of regional and online workshops on protecting places of worship, including with Muslim organizations and communities, which featured opportunities for communities to offer feedback to help inform DHS policies and practices. To receive information about future engagements, please contact NGOEngagement@hq.dhs.gov
  • The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) published a fact sheet titled, “Anti-Arab, Anti-Middle Eastern, Anti-Muslim, and Antisemitic Discrimination are Illegal,” which highlights employees’ rights related to disparate treatment, segregation, harassment, religious accommodations and retaliation, and which the EEOC has shared at over 70 outreach and education events already this Fiscal Year.
  • ED shared federal campus safety resources that schools, faculty and staff, parents and students can use, including a hate crime response guide, a resource guide on the threat of doxing and information about how to file a complaint alleging discrimination based on race, color or national origin. To safeguard religious freedom rights of K-12 students, ED also continues to disseminate its recently updated guidance on protected prayer and other religious expression in elementary and secondary schools. Ahead of the start of Ramadan, the ED-funded National Center for Safe and Supportive Learning Environments released an expanded collection of specialized K-12 educator resources for supporting Muslim students. 
  • ED OCR issued a Dear Colleague Letter in May 2024 providing information on the legal analyses it uses to determine whether discrimination exists and examples of conduct that, depending on facts and circumstances, could raise concerns under Title VI of the 1964 Civil Rights Act. This letter also includes a section on First Amendment considerations.
  • The Department of Labor released a “Know Your Rights” document for union members on discrimination based on actual or perceived religion, shared ancestry or ethnic characteristics. It notes that union members and workers—including those who are, or are perceived to be, Muslim, Arab, Middle Eastern, Palestinian, Sikh and South Asian—have the right to be free from workplace discrimination based on religion, national origin or race.
  • The Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) announced the availability of $500,000 to support partnerships between state and local fair housing agencies and community-based organizations. Among the overall funds available to support state and local partnerships to combat housing discrimination, HUD has prioritized use of these funds to combat religious discrimination, including Islamophobia and Antisemitism, through education and outreach activities. These funds are available to jurisdictions that enforce fair housing laws under cooperative agreement with HUD through its Fair Housing Assistance Program.     
  • USDA has worked to increase access to culturally appropriate foods for USDA customers with religious dietary needs, including those who need halal food. This work has included engagement with halal food producers, processors and vendors; expanding and creating greater awareness of the number of halal or halal-certified foods in USDA’s food procurement and available to program operators; training schools on how to meet students’ religious dietary needs for the National School Lunch and School Breakfast programs; developing resources for food bank partners; and expanding outreach and technical assistance for halal or kosher meat processors. USDA hosted a discussion with the commercial U.S. halal food industry to discuss opportunities for further collaboration, including to address food insufficiency in schools and underserved communities across America. Also, USDA organized a summit in Omaha, Nebraska on countering Islamophobia, Antisemitism, and related forms of hatred and bias in rural America.
  • The Office of Management and Budget announced that Middle Eastern or North African (MENA) is now a reporting category that all federal agencies must use when collecting information on race and ethnicity, including in the decennial census, to generate more accurate and useful data across the federal Government. Federal agencies, including the Census Bureau, will continue ongoing engagement with MENA communities as they begin implementing this update into censuses, surveys and forms.
  • The President’s Committee for the Arts and the Humanities, the National Endowment for the Arts, the Institute of Museum and Library Services, and the National Endowment for the Humanities launched Artists for Understanding, a new initiative that brings together a diverse community of artists and cultural luminaries who share a common belief in the power of the arts and humanities to counter all forms of hate, including bias and discrimination against Arab, Jewish, Muslim, Palestinian, Sikh and South Asian Americans.
  • For the first time, eight agencies—the Departments of Agriculture, Health and Human Services, Homeland Security, Housing and Urban Development, Interior, Labor, Transportation, and Treasury—clarified in writing that Title VI of the 1964 Civil Rights Act prohibits discrimination based on shared ancestry or ethnic characteristics, including certain forms of Islamophobic, Antisemitic and related forms of discrimination and bias in federally funded programs and activities.
  • The Department of Defense leveraged existing survey data to estimate the prevalence of potential Islamophobic and Antisemitic behavior in the military workplace to evaluate its policies to counter discrimination, discriminatory harassment and extremist activity. This analysis was the first to specifically estimate the prevalence of potential Islamophobic and Antisemitic activity in the military workplace, with the goal of identifying gaps to be addressed in future policies, programs and procedures.
  • The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) incorporated training on countering anti-Muslim and anti-Sikh bias, Antisemitism and related forms of bias and discrimination into its Chaplain Orientation Program, which teaches VA chaplains how to respond to and connect with veterans.

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Statement by President Joe Biden on the Occasion of Eid al-Adha

Sun, 06/16/2024 - 14:59

Jill and I wish American Muslims – and Muslims around the world – a very blessed Eid al-Adha.

This holiday is a time of prayer, reflection, and sacrifice, with Muslims spending time with family and friends, joining in festive meals, sharing food with those in need, and honoring the performance of the annual Hajj rituals. This year, nearly 2 million Muslims from every corner of the world are participating in Hajj, a sacred journey that brings Muslims from all walks of life together in fellowship and faith. We wish them Hajj Mabroor.

The Hajj and Eid al-Adha remind us of our equality before God and the importance of community and charity – values that speak directly to the American character. The United States is blessed to be home to millions of American Muslims who enrich our nation in countless ways, from medicine to technology, education, public service, the arts, and beyond. Many American Muslims serve in my Administration – more than in all previous Administrations combined – and I’m the first president to nominate American Muslims to the federal judiciary. I’m grateful every day for their hard work on behalf of the American people. American Muslims are our neighbors, family, friends, and fellow citizens. They make our nation stronger.

This year, Eid al-Adha comes at a difficult time for many Muslims around the world. In Gaza, innocent civilians are suffering the horrors of the war between Hamas and Israel. Too many innocent people have been killed, including thousands of children. Families have fled their homes and seen their communities destroyed. Their pain is immense. My Administration is doing everything we can to bring an end to the war, free all hostages, deliver humanitarian relief, and work toward a future two-state solution, which I continue to believe is the only way to achieve a lasting peace for Palestinians and Israelis. And I strongly believe that the three-phase ceasefire proposal Israel has made to Hamas and that the U.N. Security Council has endorsed is the best way to end the violence in Gaza and ultimately end the war.

We’re also working to bring a peaceful resolution to the horrific conflict in Sudan. And we continue to advocate for the rights of other Muslim communities – including the Rohingya in Burma and the Uyghurs in the People’s Republic of China – facing persecution around the world. They, like all people, deserve to live free from violence and fear.

That’s why I’m committed to addressing the scourge of Islamophobia in the United States. Hate has no place in America, whether it is targeted at American Muslims, Arab Americans including Palestinians, or anyone else. My Administration is creating a national strategy to counter Islamophobia and related forms of bias and discrimination, which affect not only Muslims, but also Arab, Sikh, and South Asian Americans. At our best, the United States is a place where everyone is treated with respect, everyone’s equal humanity is cherished, and our differences are seen as the source of strength that they are.

In the spirit of Eid al-Adha, let us all renew our commitment to values that unite us – compassion, empathy, and mutual respect – which are both American and Islamic. We look forward to welcoming home our American Muslim pilgrims who have earned the title “Al-Hajj.” To them and all Muslims across the globe, we wish you a blessed and meaningful holiday. Eid Mubarak!

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Remarks by National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan at Summit on Peace in Ukraine Closing Plenary Session | Obbürgen, Switzerland

Sun, 06/16/2024 - 12:44

President Amherd, President Zelenskyy, thank you for hosting this Summit. And more than that, congratulations on a tremendous success in this Summit. You have gathered 100 countries and institutions from all parts of the world, all regions, representing people from everywhere and showing that there is broad and deep support for a just peace. More than that though, what this Summit has done is define what the core character — the core foundation — of what a just peace looks like, and that is the principles of the United Nations Charter, the principles of international law, the notion of sovereignty and territorial integrity, and the basic proposition that no nation should be allowed to conquer another nation by force. Period. 

And that has created a platform upon which Ukraine can stand going forward to negotiate from a position of confidence to secure its sovereignty and territorial integrity and to secure the just peace that the people of Ukraine deserve. Even beyond that, the working groups today gave momentum to the practical steps that we all need to take together on food security, nuclear security, and, of course, the return of abducted children and the monstrous act of abducting those children, taking them from their homes and families, must be rectified and those children must be returned. 

What is most interesting in watching these last two days is the split screen of this weekend with what we heard from President Putin as he laid out his vision for peace a couple of days ago, where he said not only does Ukraine have to give up the territory that Russia currently occupies, but Ukraine has to leave additional sovereign Ukrainian territory before Russia will negotiate. And Ukraine must disarm so that it is vulnerable to future Russian aggression down the road. No responsible nation can say that is a reasonable basis for peace. It defies the UN Charter, it defies basic morality, it defies basic common sense.

By contrast, the vision of peace that was put forward here today from so many different countries, rooted in principles that all of us signed up to. Rooted in principles that all of us would like to live in a world that are ruled by those principles because they make us all safe. This is the right vision as we go forward. And so this Summit from our perspective is a critical milestone on a path toward a just peace and the United States of America will proudly walk with Ukraine along that path until Ukraine prevails and peace prevails. 

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Remarks by President Biden and President Obama in a Moderated Conversation with Jimmy Kimmel at a Campaign Reception | Los Angeles, CA

Sat, 06/15/2024 - 21:00

Peacock Theater
Los Angeles, California

7:45 P.M. PDT

PRESIDENT OBAMA:  Hey.  

Q    Wow, what a turnout, you guys.  You have any trouble getting over here traffic-wise?  (Laughter.)  

PRESIDENT BIDEN:  Used to be a lot of traffic when I — before I was elected president.  Now I notice there’s — we get on the road, and there’s no traffic.  (Laughter.)

PRESIDENT OBAMA:  It’s amazing.  Funny how it works. 

Q    It’s miraculous. 

PRESIDENT BIDEN:  (Inaudible) —

Q    It’s miraculous.

PRESIDENT BIDEN:  — backing up traffic in other lanes.  (Laughter.)

Q    President Biden, is it satisfying to see that video — to see how wrong Orange Julius Caesar was — (laughter) — about your presidency?

PRESIDENT BIDEN:  Well, I could have done nothing and done — done better than he was doing.  (Laughter.)

Q    Well, you didn’t do nothing.  You did a lot of things.  (Applause.)  And since we’re here, we might as well go through some of them. 

Here are a few other things you accomplished that Nostra-dumbass wasn’t able to predict.  (Laughter.)  You expanded the Affordable Care Act — (applause); you passed bipartisan gun legislation — (applause);  you capped prescription drug prices and insulin for seniors on Medicare — (applause); —

PRESIDENT OBAMA:  Hey!

Q    — you decriminalized cannabis — (applause); you helped make an over-the-counter birth control pill accessible — (applause); you orchestrated a $1.2 trillion infrastructure deal — (applause); you expanded healthcare benefits for veterans — (applause); you drastically reduced student debt; and you pardoned six turkeys, one of whom we know for sure was framed.  Not bad for Sleepy Joe.  I’ll say that.  (Applause.)

PRESIDENT OBAMA:  Hey!

Q    Not bad at all.  And there are other things, too.  And there have been many.  Which of these accomplishments would you say you’re most proud of?

PRESIDENT BIDEN:  Well, you know, when I was the President’s Vice President, we — we talked about how to make the middle class have a shot — a better shot.  My dad used to have an expression.  He’d say, “Joey, a paycheck is about a lot more than the amount of money being paid.  It’s about your dignity.  It’s about respect.” 

And what we’ve done — and we’ve changed the model from trickle-down economics to the middle out and bottom up, because that way everybody gets a shot.  And I think it’s working.  We have the strongest economy in the world today.  That’s not hyperbole.  (Applause.)

PRESIDENT OBAMA:  That’s true.

PRESIDENT BIDEN:  But I think what we’ve tried to do from the beginning — and it’s a followon from when I was vice president — we tried to give ordinary people an even chance, just a chance.  Everybody has a chance.  And that’s what’s happening. 

And guess what?  It’s growing.  The economy is growing.  People are doing better.  We have the highest unemployment — the highest — the lowest unemployment rate in 50 years.  We have more people — we’ve had over 50 million people, brand new, hired into the workforce. 

You know, my — my son says, “You ought to have a — you know, we all have various short-term descriptions for your jobs — for your — what — what you accomplished.  And you should say, ‘Joe jobs,’ because it’s about jobs, about giving people a shot.  You give them a shot, they never let you down.”  (Applause.)

PRESIDENT OBAMA:  There you go. 

Q    So, President Ob- — President Obama, are there things that President Biden achieved that you wish you had?

PRESIDENT OBAMA:  Absolutely.  (Laughter.)  I — well, the list that you just put forward, you know, that is the kind of thing that we’ve been fighting for for years.  I mean —

PRESIDENT BIDEN:  You started it all.

PRESIDENT OBAMA:  Well, the — the way — (applause).  I’ve talked about this before.  I’ve talked about this before.  At its best, the presidency is a relay race.  Right?  You take the baton and you run the race.  And so, we get the Affordable Care Act started.  (Applause.)

But we knew at the time that even though 20 million people were getting health insurance from it who didn’t have it before, there were still some people who were having trouble affording it because we couldn’t fund all the subsidies that a lot of people needed. 

Joe comes in, boosts some of the subsidies.  That means millions more people are able to access healthcare that’s affordable — (applause) — and they can have some security.

On climate change.  We fund clean energy at record levels when we first came into office — Joe and I together.  We move forward, in terms of making sure that fuel efficiency standards on — on cars have changed.  We get the Paris Accords done. 

But that’s not enough to deal with the size and scope of the challenges that we face.  Joe comes in, makes historic investments in clean energy.  (Applause.)

So, the — I take great pride in what the Biden administration has accomplished.  And it’s a reminder that we don’t have to just vote against something in this election.  We have somebody to worry about.  And there’s a whole agenda that we should be concerned about. 

But we can take pride in affirming the extraordinary work that Joe has done.  (Applause.)  And we want to make sure that we build on that and then pass it on to the next president rather than have a president who wants to reverse the progress that has been made. 

PRESIDENT BIDEN:  We’ve done a lot of things bipartisan, by the way — the whole idea that we couldn’t get anything done.  When I ran the first time, I said I was running for three reasons: to restore the soul of America, to rebuild the middle class, and to bring the country together.

We’ve passed every major piece of legislation we’ve attempted to get done.  It’s all been passed.  (Applause.)  There’s more to do. 

Q    I do want to talk about that because you did — did say that you were fighting to restore the soul of America.  And lately, it seems like we might need an exorcism.  Is that why you visited the Pope?  (Laughter.)

PRESIDENT BIDEN:  Yeah.  (Laughter.)

Look, the — the truth is that the way in which we communicate with people these days, there’s very little — there’s so much opportunity to just lie and come across as if you have a — if you have a source, you alwa- — just one source you go to and — for your news, you can — it’s just easy to convince people that that’s the only truth that’s out there. 

The fact of the matter is we have to make sure that we get the message out.  And that’s what we’re doing.  I just came back from what they call the G7 — all the European countries and Japan — (applause).  And, you know, we’re in a situation where they — I — I promise you, not because of me but because of America, they have enormous faith in America — enormous faith in America.  And — (applause) — no, I really mean it. 

We have to keep in mind: There’s not a damn thing we can’t do when we set our mind to do it and do it together.  Not a single solitary thing.  (Applause.)

Q    Is this country suffering from what they call “Trump amnesia”?  I mean, why do so many Americans seem to remember the Trump administration the same way we do a colonoscopy?  Like, we know what happened (inaudible).  (Laughter.) 

PRESIDENT BIDEN:  All they got to do is remember what it was like.  You know, what he did with — remember the pandemic?  He said, “Don’t — don’t worry, just inject a little bleach in your body.”  (Laughter.)

Q    That worked for me, by the way.  I do want to —

PRESIDENT BIDEN:  Well —

Q    What’s fair is fair.

PRESIDENT BIDEN:  By the way, it worked for him.  It colored his hair.  (Laughter.)

Look, all kidding aside.  And on a very serious note, the fact is that, you know, we had well over a million people die — die.  For every person who died, there are — all the data shows there eight people who are left behind — eight people of consequence — that profound negative impact on the economy, a profound negative impact on the attitudes in America.  And we’re just getting out of it. 

And one of the things we did was — I’m very proud — we brought an end to the pandemic.  We’re continuing to move in healthcare.  (Applause.)  We have more people, I’m sure now, than any time in American history in healthcare — more time than any time.  (Applause.)

So, there’s — there’s just an awful lot we’ve done.  And for — for example, I get criticized for debt forgiveness for 400 — you know, for 45 million people.  (Applause.) 

Well, guess what?  These are people who’ve continued to work for their country.  They’ve — they’re social workers, police officers, all those folks who worked 10 years.  And when the Supreme Court said, “No, you can’t forgive the debt,” then I went back and looked at what existed that didn’t — wasn’t being used.  And it said if you’re engaged in 10 years of paying your debt back and you, in fact, are doing social — socially positive things — and they define those — from police officers to schoolteachers, you can have your debt forgiven after 10 years.  (Applause.)

Well, guess what?  That didn’t cost the economy.  It grew the economy.  It grows the economy.  (Applause.)  They decided to be able to put their lives back together again. 

There’s just so much — so many possibilities we have.  And — and the next four — anyway.  (Inaudible.)

Q    I think all you have to really remember about the Trump years is that we ran out of toilet paper.  (Laughter.)  Like, he promised to make America great again.  And the next thing you know, we are wiping ourselves with envelopes.  (Laughter.)

PRESIDENT BIDEN:  Well, I tell you what —

PRESIDENT OBAMA:  Is that how you handled it, Jimmy?  I — (laughter).

Q    It was rough.  Manilla, too.  It was a — it was a tough time.  (Laughter.)

PRESIDENT BIDEN:  Well, look, I’ve never — we — we’ve never seen administration — look, he’s the only president other than Herbert Hoover who lost more jobs than he started off with when he became president. 

He has — he has increased the national debt by a trillion dollars.  He provided a $2 trillion tax cut for the super wealthy, which has done nothing but increase the debt and it — very little impact on ordinary people and their ability to, you know, fun- — function and — and grow. 

They’re — I don’t — I didn’t see anything he’s done that hasn’t been centered — centered on what is good, from his perspective, for him. 

And — but, look, we got a lot of work to do it.  And a lot that —

Q    What do you say to — and there are many people in this situation — a lifelong Republican who doesn’t want to vote for Donald Trump but cannot imagine voting for a Democrat?

PRESIDENT OBAMA:  Well, look, I think part of what has happened over the last several years is we’ve normalized behavior that used to be disqualifying.  Right?  (Applause.) 

We had the spectacle of the nominee of one of the two major parties sitting in court and being convicted by a jury of his peers on 34 counts.  (Applause.)  You have — his foundation is not allowed to operate because it was engaging in monkey business and not actually philanthropic work. 

You have his organization being prosecuted for not paying taxes.  Set aside all the other stuff he says —

PRESIDENT BIDEN:  He paid none. 

PRESIDENT OBAMA:  And what I would say and what I do say to a bunch of good people out there who are conservatively dispo- — predisposed, who may not agree with everything that Joe or I or other Democrats stand for is that there was a time when we had certain core values that we agreed with — (applause) — that we believed in basic honesty.  We believed in paying your taxes.  We believed in making sure that we didn’t make fun of POWs, that we did not try to politicize our military, that we respected the ballot. 

And, you know, I — I do think that when we’re talking to people who may not agree with every aspect of the Democratic agenda — and, by the way, what did Will Rogers say about Democrats: We’re not a member of an organized political party.  We’re Democrats.  (Laughter.)

We have a lot of differences in our own party.  And that’s healthy.  (Applause.)  But there are certain standards and values as Americans that we should all abide by.  Joe Biden has stood for those values and continues to and the other guy doesn’t.  (Applause.)  And that in and of itself is something that we can’t ignore or pretend is a difference that doesn’t exist. 

PRESIDENT BIDEN:  Jimmy, look, remember, when I got elected, they said we wouldn’t get anything major passed.  We passed a bill relating to the environment that provided for $368 billion with — we got bipartisan support to get it done.  (Applause.)

We found ourselves in a position where veterans were not getting rewarded for what they — the pain they undertook.  The — and so, we able to pass the — the PACT Act — (applause) — and put a million veterans that exposed — when we fought like hell to get coverage for Agent Orange and — and all the — the thing my son died from from being exposed to a burn pit for a year in Iraq.  Well, guess what?  We got it passed.  We got support from the Republicans. 

And guess what?  Everybod- — a million veterans now and their families are being taken care of.  We only have one sacred obligation to them.  (Applause.)

PRESIDENT OBAMA:  Well — and — and, Joe, you also – for those Republicans who are trying to figure out what to do in this next election and are concerned, for example, about challenges at the border and immigration, it turns out that there was a bipartisan solution to help create a more orderly border and a more lawful system of immigration that the nominee of the other party decided to tank because he wanted it as an issue in this next election rather than to actually solve a problem. 

AUDIENCE MEMBER:  Boo —

PRESIDENT OBAMA:  And that — that kind of gamesmanship- — no, don’t boo.  Vote.  (Applause.)

The — but — but that’s a good example of the kind of work that the Biden administration has been willing to engage in, which is to work with those who are willing to work on behalf of improving the quality of life for the American people.  And that’s what you should expect from your president.  (Applause.)

PRESIDENT BIDEN:  For 30 years, I fought — and as did Barack when he was a senator — to take on Big Pharma.  They were significantly overcharging people for risk- — for prescript- — for prescription drugs.

I can take you on Air Force One — you have a prescription — I can fly to any major capital in the world and get you that prescription for 40 to 60 percent less than you pay here. 

And so, what we did — we finally beat them.  We finally got to the point where, for example, those of you who know someone who has diabetes and needs — and need the insulin, it used to cost an average 400 bucks a month.  It now costs $35 a month.  (Applause.)

But the point is — and guess what?  It’s alre- — it’s already passed the law.  They tried to repeal it again.  But it’s already passed.  Another provision that is beginning next calendar year: No senior will be in a position where they have — no matter how many prescription bills they have, they’ll never have to pay more than $2,000 a year because — (applause) — prescription drugs now for cancer cost $10-, $12,000. 

The point being that there’s so much progress we’ve made and he wants to get rid of it all.  He just doesn’t seem to care about what happens to ordinary people. 

Q    I would love to go on that trip with you on Air Force One where we fly around the world.  (Laughter.) 

PRESIDENT OBAMA:  I — I was worried that Jimmy was going to take — try and take you up —

Q    Yeah, we’ll just go —

PRESIDENT OBAMA:  — on that offer.  But —

Q    We buy prescription drugs in different countries.  I’m in — (laughter) — I mean, if that’s a real thing. 

PRESIDENT BIDEN:  Well, by the way, it’s — I know — I know it sound — it sounds funny, but it’s true.  (Laughter.)  It’s literally true. 

Q    Great. 

PRESIDENT BIDEN:  Literally true.  (Laughter.)  So, jump on board, man.  (Laughter.)  I just —

Q    It could be a great travel show —

PRESIDENT BIDEN:  I — I —

Q    — for us.  (Laughter.)

PRESIDENT BIDEN:  I just flew through nine time zones to get here.  (Laughter.)

Q    I do want to talk about the Affordable Care Act and what an incredible achievement and how grateful so many people are — (applause) — myself included. 

You know, our son had an open-heart surgery — three of them.  And these lifetime caps that these insur- — and these preexisting conditions that these insurance companies put on people who buy insurance from them are something that I feel like almost 100 percent of Americans agree are crazy. 

PRESIDENT BIDEN:  I think they do. 

Q    I think they do, too.  And I think when they — when they see it in practice, when they — when it’s their neighbor or their child or someone who is close to them or someone they work with, then it becomes real to them. 

And yet, you hear every Republican believes — at least states publicly that they want to do away with this Affordable Care Act that you, President Obama, started and that you, President Biden, expanded. 

Why do they want to get rid of such a popular program?  Wouldn’t it be, in a way, just hurt- — wouldn’t they be hurting themselves politically if they did?

PRESIDENT BIDEN:  Well, I don’t — I don’t know if they figured that out.  But it would be hurting the nation significantly. 

And look, there are millions of people who have a preexisting condition who would not be able to get any coverage were it not for the fact this guy started it with the Affordable Care Act.  (Applause.)

And I was able — and I was able to expand it to — and save another 8,000 buck — 800 bucks a year for them. 

But here’s the deal.  The fact is that these guys don’t seem to care.  They somehow — and, by the way, it’s not — it’s saving the country money.  It’s not wasting money.  All the cost — it would — if — this — if it — what — what’s — it’s about, I guess, 40 million people would be affected. 

PRESIDENT OBAMA:  Millions of people would be affected.  And the reason that the Republicans say they’re opposed to it is because we did it — (laughter) — which, you know, is —

PRESIDENT BIDEN:  Well, by the way —

PRESIDENT OBAMA:  — seems to be sort of a pattern.

PRESIDENT BIDEN:  — it’s because it has your name on it.  It had your name on it.  That’s what it is.

PRESIDENT OBAMA:  You know, which I never minded, I have to say.  (Laughter.)  I was like, “I am happy to call it Obamacare.  Please do.”  (Applause.)

PRESIDENT BIDEN:  It is because of you. 

PRESIDENT OBAMA:  You know, I — I didn’t really understand how that was an insult.  (Laughter.)  But — but listen, there’s a reason why they didn’t actually get rid of it. 

Q    What?

PRESIDENT OBAMA:  Because they don’t have anything to replace it with, and they know they don’t.  (Applause.)

But this is the kind of phony performative politics that has become the currency these days.  And you, Jimmy, like so many families all across the country, understand that, at some point, politics is not just a performance.  It’s not just who wins, who gets the spoils.  At its best, politics, at some point, is how we come together to actually solve problems.  And these are personal problems. 

PRESIDENT BIDEN:  Exactly. 

PRESIDENT OBAMA:  They — the — this is a child being able to grow up.  This is somebody not losing their house when they get sick.  (Applause.)  There — there are moments where we say: All right, we go through an election.  Somebody wins, somebody loses — although that, too, apparently, is being challenged.  (Laughter.)  And then we get to the business of actually trying to get something done for the people who sent us there.

That’s what Joe Biden has consistently done.  (Applause.)  He goes about his business to try to deliver for the people who put him into office and gave him this extraordinary privilege, which is why, now that we’re at the next election, we’ve got to make sure that everybody out there is working just as hard to sustain the progress that’s already been made.  (Applause.)

PRESIDENT BIDEN:  Can I say one more thing? 

In the second term — when I originally dealt with taking on Big Pharma, I cut the price, for instance, for example, for everybody.  Republicans gathered the votes to knock out — they couldn’t stop me from getting it for el- — for the elderly, but they knocked out everybody else. 

Barack, I’m coming back.  Next four years, I’m going to — it’s going to be available to everybody. 

PRESIDENT OBAMA:  Absolutely.

PRESIDENT BIDEN:  Everybody.  (Applause.)

Q    After Billy had his open-heart surgery, President Biden, you were very nice to send a letter — a card and a little stuffed Commander dog to Billy, which he loves very much, and he thinks is very special.  Unfortunately, little stu- — little Commander bit Billy’s toe off — (laughter) — and —

PRESIDENT BIDEN:  I’m sorry about that.

Q    — now he needs more healthcare —

PRESIDENT BIDEN:  (Inaudible.)

Q    — which thanks to President Obama —

PRESIDENT OBAMA:  Fortunately, he’s covered.

Q    — he is covered for.  (Laughter.) So, thank you and oops, I guess, is what I’m trying to say. 

So, it’s been almost two years since the largely Trump-appointed justices in the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade.  And —

AUDIENCE:  Boo —

PRESIDENT OBAMA:  Don’t hiss.  Vote.

Q    They’re not booing.  They’re saying “Roe.”  (Laughter.) 

These threats to abortion rights, to women’s rights, to — even to birth control and IVF are not in our liberal imaginations anymore.  They’re very real.  And these decisions — these very personal, intimate decisions are now being made by nine unelected judges, one of whom flies his flag upside down.  The other one — one of the others drives around in a $267,000 gift on vacations. 

And I think we are all wondering: What can we do about this?

PRESIDENT BIDEN:  Elect me again.  (Applause.)  And I’ll tell you why.  No, I’m not just saying — the next president is likely to have two new Supreme Court nominees.  Two more.  Two more.  He’s already appointed two that are — have been very negative in terms of the rights of individuals.

The idea that, if he’s reelected, he’s going to appoint two more flying flags upside down is really — I’m — I really mean it.  There’s —

Q    Could this be — could this be the scariest part of all of it?

PRESIDENT BIDEN:  Well, I think it is one of the scariest parts of it. 

Look, the Supreme Court has never been as out of kilter as it is today.  I mean never.  I taught constitutional law for nine years.  This guy knows more about it than most. 

Look, the fact of the matter is that this has never been a court that’s been this far out of step.  Taking — and not — and, by the way, when we said after the — after the — the decision that overruled Roe v. Wade, the Dobbs decision, you had Clarence Thomas talking about the fact that there are going to be other things we should reconsider, including in — in vitro fertilization, including contraception, including all these things. 

And they’re — they’re going — they’re —

AUDIENCE MEMBER:  (Inaudible.)

PRESIDENT BIDEN:  — and they’re going — and, by the way —

PRESIDENT OBAMA:  Including — sa-

PRESIDENT BIDEN:  — by the way —

PRESIDENT OBAMA:  Including same-sex marriage.

PRESIDENT BIDEN:  — gay rights.

But, by the way, not on my watch.  (Applause.)  Not on my watch. 

PRESIDENT OBAMA:  There you go.

But, Jimmy, I want to — I want to just emphasize this point.  At the end of the day, the power of the Supreme Court is determined by appointments.  It is determined by elections.  And so, you know, what we’re seeing now is a byproduct of, in 2016, there were a whole bunch of folks who, for whatever reason, sat out.  They said, “Well, we’re not enthusiastic enough.  We’re not feeling inspired enough.  Why bother?”

And hopefully, we have learned our lesson because these elections matter in very concrete ways.  (Applause.)  And we’re now seeing how much it matters when it comes to the Supreme Court. 

Q    There are so many crazy things.  Why do you think — why does it seem like so many people are embracing conspiracy theories over facts?  Like, 20 years ago, if you said JFK was coming back from the dead to reclaim the White House, they’d lock you in an asylum.  Now you get a podcast network out of it.  (Laughter.)  Why is this happening?

PRESIDENT BIDEN:  Well, look, they are no editors anymore.  One of the things — I’m not blaming the press.  The press is being victimized as well. 

You have a circumstance where — think about it.  Where do you get — you have a significantly fewer number of people reading the mainstream press.  Most people get their news from some site on the Internet.  So much of it on the Internet is absolutely a flat-out lie.  And it’s hard for people to get what the facts are.  It’s hard for people to di- — discern. 

There’s nobody — and — and there’s no editors at all saying, “You can’t say that.  That’s not true.”  There used to be a lot more of that that existed.  So, it’s just much easier to just flat-out lie, number one. 

Number two, there was a recent study done by a- — about or by New York Times about their polling data.  It shows that — as I remember — this is in the last couple of days — that the significant number of people who — the people who voted the last two times who vote on regular basis, we’re winning by somewhere between 10 and 14 points.  For those people who haven’t voted, when you cou- — and they have voted at all, they — it comes be- — it gets down to a couple-point lead. 

The point is that it matters — it — it’s hard to poll anymore as well.  You know, you have to make — I don’t know what it is — 36 — there’s 40 calls to get one person to respond.  No- — hardly anybody has hardlines anymore.  It’s all on cell phones. 

So, it’s get — it — it’s —

Q    You’re blaming caller ID for this?  (Laughter.)

PRESIDENT BIDEN:  No, I’m — what — what I’m blaming is the failure of us to be able to organize in a way that allows us to get a clear picture of what people are thinking.  And that’s understandable. 

But here’s the bottom line.  For me, there’s one reason to be President of the United States: to do what I believe.  My father used to say, “You have to be a man of conviction and do what you say.”  And so, I’m going to say — I’ve laid out exactly what I’ll do.  (Applause.)  If the people like it, that’s fine.  If they don’t, fine.  But I know what I think I have to get done.  (Applause.)

Q    It’s — and that — you know what?  That is, I think, especially a great message with Father’s Day tomorrow.  My father is here, and the only thing he ever really told me, from an advice standpoint is: When in doubt, order a hamburger.  (Laughter.) 

PRESIDENT OBAMA:  That’s pretty good advice, though.  (Laughter.)

PRESIDENT BIDEN:  My father would say three or four things.  My dad was a — was a really good man.  He was — he never got to go to college.  He got accepted to college during the war.  He never got to go, but he was a very well-read guy. 

And my dad used to say — there were four things he would repeat all the time.  First one was, “You got to be man of your word.  Without your word, you’re not a man.”  And — and talking to me or my — (applause).  No, I — no, I — I mean it.

The second was that — and I think I told you this, Barack — that when I was — he — he would show up — when he was alive, show up at the campaign things I was doing.  And I was up for a reelection effort in the late ‘90s for the Senate.  And he showed up, and I looked out at this little pond we build a house on, and I said, “I really wish my deceased wife could have seen it because she loved the water.” 

And so, he left and came back and he had a — he had a cartoon.  He went up to a strip shopping center for — a Hallmark card place.  And he came back with a — a cartoon of Hägar the Horrible.  And there was two — there were two frames, and it was framed.  There were two — two picture frames.  One, Hägar’s Viking ship was struck by lightning.  He’s looking up at God and saying, “Why me?”  And the next frame, a voice from Heaven comes back, “Why not?”

My father would say, “What makes you special to think it’s not going to happen to you?  Just get up.  Just get up.  Get up.” 

And the third thing he’d always say was — (applause) — “A job is about lot more than a paycheck.  It’s about your dignity.  It’s about respect.  It’s about being able to look your kid in the eye and say, ‘Honey, it’s going to be okay’ and mean it.  Give people a chance.  Just a chance.  That’s all they’re looking for.”  (Applause.)

Q    Your father was some guy.  I just thought of another thing my father used to say: Pull my finger.  (Laughter.)

President Obama, I have a Father’s Day question for you.

PRESIDENT OBAMA:  Yes. 

Q    Who would make a better president: Sasha or Malia?  (Laughter.)

PRESIDENT OBAMA:  You know what?  That is a question I do not need to answer because Michelle drilled into them so early that you would be crazy to go into politics.  (Laughter.)  It will never happen. 

Q    President Obama, what goes through your mind —

PRESIDENT BIDEN:  By the way, before you leave his daughters.

Q    Oh, you want to weigh in on Sasha and Malia?

PRESIDENT BIDEN:  No, no.  I — I — I do.  They’re incredible women.  And guess what?  When Barack came to Washington, they went to the same school my granddaughters went to.  I think it’s fair to say their two closest friends are Finnegan Biden and Maisy Biden. 

Matter of fact, my number three granddaughter just got back after spending a month at your place in Hawaii.  They’re each other’s best friends. 

So, I tell you what.  They’re — they are powerful young women.  (Applause.)

PRESIDENT OBAMA:  Fair.  This is true. 

Q    Just up back to the truth and people saying things that just are brazenly false.  President Obama, what goes through your mind —

PRESIDENT OBAMA:  Yeah.

Q    — when that President Don-ye West says that — (laughter) — he’s done more for Black people than any president since Abraham Lincoln?  Do you agree?

PRESIDENT OBAMA:  You know, it — it doesn’t actually go through my mind.  I sort of leave it aside.  Although, one thing he did, for example, for Black people was make them feel even better about the first Black president.  (Applause.)  Because they said —

PRESIDENT BIDEN:  Hey.  That’s a fact. 

PRESIDENT OBAMA:  (Inaudible.)

Q    You know, the reason that — listen, we’re here tonight.  We love you both.  And we’re very grateful for everything you’ve done for this country and for all of us.  (Applause.)

But I think the biggest reason we all came here tonight and people paid to see this is because we are scared.  We are fearful.  And, in particular, I mean, like, for me — like what are — you’re both — you’ve both been in the White House for quite some time.  What are some things a president can do to, let’s say, a talk show host who has been making fun of him every single night?  (Laughter.)  Like —

PRESIDENT BIDEN:  You ever hear of Delta Force?

Q    Asking for a friend.

(Laughs.)  What’s that?

PRESIDENT BIDEN:  You ever heard of Delta Force?

Q    Yeah.  (Laughter.)

PRESIDENT BIDEN:  That’s what we can do for you. 

Q    That’s a real thing and not just a TV show?  (Laughter.)

PRESIDENT BIDEN:  Not just a TV show. 

Q    Oh, yeah.

PRESIDENT BIDEN:  The idea that they’re threatening — I mean, the idea that he’s actually threatening retribution.  This is the United States of America.  Did you ever think you’d ever, ever, ever hear anything like this?  Retribution — that’s what he’s going to do.  He’s going to get back at people.  And I — it just — I don’t want to get going. 

Q    Yeah.  (Laughter.)

PRESIDENT OBAMA:  Look, at the end of the day, for all the flaws, all the ups and downs that we go through in this country and our democracy, the way the system is set up is that if people come together and they express their best values, the better angels of their nature, at the ballot box, then we are going to do just fine.  (Applause.)

If people have the right information — if those who are listening, those who are in the audience are out there talking to their friends and their neighbors and, you know, their Uncle Jimmy, who’s a little crazy.  (Laughter.)  But, you know, he’s come — he’s come over and he starts spouting facts and you respectfully provide the actual truth. 

Q    Why does he have to be Uncle Jimmy?

PRESIDENT OBAMA:  I just decided.  (Laughter.) 

PRESIDENT BIDEN:  By the way, one of the important —

PRESIDENT OBAMA:  It — if young people reengage and — and aren’t cynical about the process but say, “I have agency and I can change how things work to make sure that it’s working for my generation and for future generations” — (applause) — if those things happen, then Joe Biden is going to be reelected President of the United States.  (Applause.)  Kamala Harris will be reelected as Vice President of the United States.  (Applause.)  Jimmy Kimmel will be safe to continue to do his show.  (Applause.) 

And — you know, and — and I’ll be able to do what ex-presidents are supposed to do, which is not hang out with Jimmy Kimmel.  (Laughter.) 

So —

PRESIDENT BIDEN:  By the way, one thing is —

PRESIDENT OBAMA:  — let’s get to work.

PRESIDENT BIDEN:  — institutions matter.  And this President, what he did on January the 6th, he’s — do you hear what he’s saying now?  He said if he doesn’t win, there’ll be a “bloodbath.”  It’s outrageous what he’s talking about.  Outrageous.  We must make the institutions work.  (Applause.)

Q    It’s like a movie.  It’s — sometimes, it doesn’t even feel real. 

Well, I — we are — unfortunately, we are out of time.  But on behalf of the Presidents, we want to thank you guys for coming.  I know that they say in L.A. — (applause) — we are a bunch of out-of-touch celebrity elitists, but I also know there are teachers and doctors and nurses and hardworking blue-collar people in this room — (applause) — none of whom inherited a real estate empire from their slumlord father.  (Laughter.)

We’ve got our governor, Governor Newsom, here.  Our mayor, Karen Bass, is here.

PRESIDENT BIDEN:  Hey.

PRESIDENT OBAMA:  Hey.

Q    All people who are working hard to make this a better place.  And that is what makes me optimistic about the future. 

Thank you for coming.  And we’ll see you in traffic.  Thanks, everybody. 

PRESIDENT OBAMA:  All right, everybody —

Q    Thank you, Mr. Presidents.

PRESIDENT BIDEN:  Thank you, thank you, thank you.

PRESIDENT OBAMA:  — let’s get to work!

   8:21 P.M. PDT

###

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