President Joe Biden was slammed on Friday after stating during a press conference that there was “nothing” his administration could do to
“change the trajectory of the pandemic over the next several months,”
which comes after he campaigned on ending the pandemic.
Biden made the remarks about not being able to change the course of the pandemic over the next several months while talking about his “American
Rescue Plan,” and how millions of Americans could lose their homes
unless urgent action is taken. As The New York Times reported, Biden
issued a series of executive orders on his first full day in office and
pledged to wage a “full-scale wartime effort” to combat the pandemic.
On Friday, he issued two more orders “aimed at steering additional
federal aid to families struggling to afford food amid the pandemic and
helping workers stay safe on the job,” the paper reported.
“If we fail to act there will be a wave of evictions and foreclosures
in the coming months as this pandemic rages on because there’s nothing
we can do to change the trajectory of the pandemic in the next several
months,” Biden said (full transcript of his remarks below). “So look,
this would overwhelm emergency shelters and increase COVID-19
infections as people have nowhere to go and … can’t socially distance.
The American Rescue Plan asks Congress to provide rental assistance for millions of hard hit families and tenants.”
“A lot of America is hurting, the virus is surging,” Biden later added.
“We’re 400,000 dead, expected to reach well over 600,000. Families are
going hungry. People are at risk of being evicted. Job losses are
mounting again. We need to act.”
Biden’s remarks during the press conference quickly caused a stir
online with people expressing frustration and anger over what he said.
Former Congressman Justin Amash wrote: “Haven’t we been told for months
that restrictions and mandates were necessary to change the trajectory
of the pandemic in the next several months?”
CNN commentator Scott Jennings wrote: “His entire campaign was that he
had the plan to end the pandemic.”
Heritage Communications Director John Cooper wrote: “The backpedal is
so sad. Can’t believe anyone bought his bluff on this.”
Political commentator Stephen Miller wrote: “This is a sudden and
pretty extraordinary quote from the guy who is pretty much only in
office for promising to do exactly that.”
Radio host Chad Hasty wrote: “Well thank God we elected the guy who had
a plan to crush the virus. A few days into the job and he’s giving
people little hope while damaging the economy. But hey, at least he
isn’t mean on Twitter.”
The Daily Wire’s Matt Walsh wrote: “Then why do you want us to wear
masks for 100 days?”
Radio host Dale Jackson wrote: “Wait a second, Trump is personally
responsible but Biden can just toss his hands up and say, ‘nothing we
Doctor and political commentator Pradheep Shanker wrote: “Wait… Now
that he’s president… THERE IS NOTHING WE CAN DO? That is exactly
opposite of the Democrat messaging for the last year, right??? SMDH.”
Political commentator Dave Rubin wrote: “From ‘two weeks to flatten the
curve’ a year ago to basically ‘we don’t have a clue’ today. We get it.
They’re all incompetent buffoons drunk on power and our money. Fine
then. Open the country. Now.”
Full transcript of Joe Biden’s remarks provided via Rev:
BIDEN: Good afternoon, folks. Vice President Harris and I just received
a briefing from our economic team and we remain in a once in a century
public health crisis that’s led to the most unequal job and economic
crisis in modern history. And the crisis is only deepening. It’s not
getting better. It’s deepening. Yesterday, we learned that 900,000 more Americans filed for unemployment, 900,000. They join millions of
Americans who through no fault of their own, have lost the dignity and
respect that comes with a job and a paycheck.
So many of them never thought they’d ever be out of work in the first
place, just like my dad did when he was used to lie awake at night when
I was a kid staring at the ceiling unable to sleep, because he worried
about whether or not he’s about to lose his health care. Or whether we
were going to have the money to pay the mortgage, because of the
economic circumstance he was in. And now a lot of these folks are
facing eviction or waiting hours in their cars, literally hours in
their cars waiting to be able to feed their children as they drive up
to a food bank.
This is the United States of America and they’re waiting to feed their
kids. Folks who are able to still keep their job, many have seen their paychecks reduced and they’re barely hanging on and wondering what’s
next. Sometimes the anxiety about what’s going to happen next is more consequential than what actually happened, but this is happening today
in America. And this cannot be who we are as a country. These are not
the values of our nation. We cannot, will not let people go hungry. We
cannot let people be evicted because of nothing they did themselves.
I cannot watch people lose their jobs and we have to act. We have to
act now. It’s not just to meet them moral obligation to treat our
fellow Americans with the dignity respect they deserve. This is an
economic imperative, a growing economic and consensus that we must act decisively and boldly to grow the economy for all Americans, not just
for tomorrow, but in the future. There’s a growing course of top
economists that agree. That in this moment of crisis with interest
rates as low as they are, historic lows, it is smart fiscal investment, including deficit spending, and they’re more urgent than ever.
And that return on these investments in jobs and racial equity is going
to prevent long-term economic damage and benefits that are going to far
surpass their costs. If we don’t act, the rest of the world is not
standing still in terms of their competitive advantage or the
competitive possibilities relative to us. That our debt situation will
be more stable and not less stable according to these economists. And
that such investments in our people is going to strengthen our economic competitiveness as a nation and help us out-compete our competitors in
the global economy, because we’re going to grow the economy with these investments.
While the COVID-19 package that passed in December was the first step.
As I said, at the time, it’s just a down payment. We need more action
and we need to move fast. Last week, I laid out a two-step plan of
rescue and recovery to get through the crisis and to a better and
stronger and more secure America. The first step of our American Rescue
Plan is a plan to tackle the pandemic and get direct financial relief
to Americans who need it the most.
In just a few days, it’s just been a few days since I outlined this
plan and it’s received bipartisan support from the majority of American
mayors and governors. Businesses and labor organizations have together
welcomed it as an urgent action that’s needed. Even Wall Street firms
have underscored its importance. In fact, an analysis by Moody’s
estimates that if we pass our American Rescue Plan, the economy would
create 7.5 million jobs just in this year alone.
That would be on the way to the more than 18 million, I think it was
18,600,000 jobs that they believe would be created over the four year
period with our Build Back Better recovery plan. And with our American
Rescue Plan, our economy would return to full employment a full year
faster than without the plan, even President Trump’s. President Trump’s
now, not some liberal organization. President Trump’s top former
economic advisor, Kevin Hassett said, quote, “He absolutely is in favor
of this rescue plan.”
This almost doesn’t have a partisan piece to it. We’re seeing the
support because this plan takes a step that we so urgently need. More
than just a step number of steps. It funds big parts of the COVID-19
national strategy that I released yesterday, we released yesterday. Our national strategy puts us on a war footing to aggressively speed up our COVID-19 response, especially on vaccines and testing and reopening our schools.
I found it fascinating yesterday, the press asked the question is a 100
million enough? Week before they were saying, “Biden, you’re crazy. You
can’t do 100 million in 100 days.” Well, we’re going to God-willing not
only do 100 million, we’re going to do more than that, but we have to
do this. We have to move. The American Rescue Plan also includes
economic relief for most Americans who are in need. We’re going to
finish the job of getting a total of $2,000 in direct payments to
folks. $600, which was already passed is simply not enough. If you
still have to choose between paying your rent, putting food on the
table, we’ll extend unemployment insurance benefits for millions of
workers beyond the deadline that’s now set.
It means that 16 million Americans who are currently relying on
unemployment benefits while they look for work can count on these
checks continuing to be there in the middle of this crisis. The
American Rescue Plan also addresses the growing housing crisis in
America. Approximately 14 million Americans, 14 million have fallen
behind on rent and many risk eviction. If we fail to act, there’ll be a
wave of evictions and foreclosures in the coming months as this
pandemic rages on. Because there’s nothing we can do to change the
trajectory of the pandemic in the next several months.
So look, this should overwhelm emergency shelters, increase COVID-19
infections as people have nowhere to go and can’t socially distance.
The American Rescue Plan asked Congress to provide rental assistance
for millions of hard hit families and tenants. This will also be a
bridged economic recovery for countless mom and pop landlords who can’t
afford not to have the rent, but they can’t wait. So on Inauguration
Day, I directed my administration to extend nationwide restrictions on evictions and foreclosures. These crises are straining the budgets of
states and cities and tribal communities that are forced to consider
layoffs and service reductions among essential workers, police
officers, firefighters, first responders, nurses are all at the risk of
losing their jobs.
Over the last year, more than 600,000 educators have lost their jobs in
cities and towns. The American Rescue Plan will provide emergency
funding to keep these essential workers on the job and maintain
essential services. Look, it will also help small businesses that are
the engines of our economic growth. When you say small business, most
people think the major corporate entities are the ones who hire
everybody. These small businesses are the glue that hold and they’re
important, but these small businesses that glue and hold these
communities together. They are hurting badly and they account for
nearly half of the entire us workforce, nearly half.
Our rescue plan will provide flexible grants to help the hardest hit
small businesses to survive the pandemic. And low cost capital to help entrepreneurs of all backgrounds create and maintain jobs, plus provide essential goods and services that communities so desperately depend on.
Look, our recovery plan also calls for an increase in the minimum wage
at 15, at least $15 an hour. No one in America should work 40 hours a
week making below the poverty line. $15 gets people above the poverty
line. We have so many millions of people working 40 hours a week
working and some with two jobs, and they’re still below the poverty
Our plan access to affordable childcare. That’s going to enable
parents, particularly women to get back to work. Millions are not
working now because they don’t have that care. All told, the American
Rescue Plan would lift 12 million Americans out of poverty and cut
child poverty in half. That’s five million children lifted out of
poverty. Our plan will reduce poverty in the black community by one
third and reduce poverty and Hispanic community by almost 40%.
I look forward to working with members of Congress of both parties to
move quickly to get this American Rescue Plan to the American people.
And then we can move with equal urgency and bipartisanship to the
second step of our economic plan to Build Back Better, the recovery
plan. It’s a plan that’s going to make historic investments in
infrastructure, manufacturing, innovation, research and development,
and clean energy and so much more that’s going to create millions more
jobs. Good paying jobs, not minimum wage jobs. It will only work with
members of both parties in the Congress. There are steps that we can
and must take right now.
For example, on Inauguration Day, I directed my administration to pause
student loan repayments for interest for the interest payments for
Americans with federal student loans until at least September. So
they’re not going to have to pay till September. They still pay the
bill as it stands now, but they will not accrue interest and they don’t
have to pay, begin to pay until September. And we may have to look
beyond that I might add. Today, I’m signing an executive order that
directs the whole of government, a whole of government effort to help
millions of Americans who were badly hurting.
Requires all federal agencies to do what they can do to provide relief
to families, small businesses and communities. And in the days ahead, I
expect agencies to act. Let me touch on two ways these actions can help
change Americans’ lives. We need to tackle the growing hunger crisis in America. One in seven households in America, one in seven, more than
one in five black and Latino households in America report they do not
have enough food to eat. That includes nearly 30 million adults and as
many as 12 million children.
And again, they’re in this situation through no fault of their own.
It’s unconscionable. The American Rescue Plan provides additional
emergency food and nutrition assistance for tens of millions of
children and families to address this crisis. But families literally
can’t wait another day. As a result of the executive order I’m going to
shortly sign, the Department of Agriculture will consider taking
immediate steps to make it easier for the hardest hit families to
enroll and claim more generous benefits in the critical food and
nutrition assistance area.
This is going to help tens of millions of families, especially those
who can’t provide meals for their kids, who are learning remotely at
home who are not receiving the regular meal plans that they have at
school for breakfast or lunch. We also need to protect the health and
safety of the American worker. Right now, approximately 40% of
households in America have at least one member with a pre-existing
condition. Just imagine, you’re out of work through no fault of your
own, you file for unemployment while you’re looking for a job, you find
one and you get an offer. But then you find out if there’s a high risk
of you’re getting infected with COVID-19 because of your condition and
you and your loved ones have even greater risk of death and serious
illness because of the pre-existing conditions, so you turn it down.
Right now if you did that, you could be denied unemployment insurance
because you’re offered a job, you didn’t take it. It’s wrong. No one
should have to choose between their livelihoods and their own health,
or the health of their loved ones in the middle of a deadly pandemic.
Because of the executive order I’m about to sign, I expect the
Department of Labor to guarantee the right to refuse employment that
will jeopardize your health. And if you do so, you’ll still be able to
qualify for the insurance. That’s a judgment the Labor Department will
Look, they’re just two consequential ways that the action I’m taking
today will help people in need. Another way to help approximately two
million veterans maintain their financial footing by pausing federal collections on over payments and debts. Another, make sure that federal contractors are receiving taxpayers’ dollars, provide their workers
with the pay and benefits they deserve. These are places where federal
tax dollars are administered or being made available to build things
from ships to staircases. And we let out the federal government lets
the contract and we’re going to make sure that they buy American and
are made in America.
And here’s another. Right now there are up to 8 million people that are eligible for direct payments from the CARES Act and a relief bill
passed in December. They’re entitled to those payments, but there’s not
an easy way for those folks to access to them. So we’re making it a
priority today to fix that problem and get them relief they’re entitled
to. Look, I’m going to close and summarize this way. A lot of America’s hurting. The virus is surging. We’re 400,000 dead, expected to reach
well over 600,000. Families are going hungry. People are at risk of
being evicted. Job losses are mounting again. We need to act. No matter
how you look at it, we need to act.
If we act now, our economy will be stronger in both the short and long
run. That’s what economist left, right and center telling us. Both
liberal and conservative will be better and stronger across the board.
If we act now, we’ll be better able to compete with the world. If we
act now, we’ll be better able to meet our moral obligations to one
another as Americans. I don’t believe that people in this country just
want to stand by and watch their friends, their neighbors, co-workers,
fellow Americans go hungry, lose their homes or lose the sense of
dignity and hope and respect. I don’t believe that, especially in the
middle of a pandemic that’s so weakened and wrecked so much havoc and
cause so much pain on America.
That’s not who we are. The bottom line is this. We’re in a national
emergency. We need to act like we’re in a national emergency. So we’ve
got to move with everything we’ve got and we’ve got to do it together.
I don’t believe Democrats or Republicans are going hungry and losing
jobs. I believe Americans are going hungry and losing their jobs, and
we have the tools to fix it. We have the tools to get through this. We
have the tools to get this virus under control and our economy back on
track. And we have the tools to help people. So let’s use the tools,
all of them, use them now.
So I’m going to sign this executive order, but let me conclude again by
saying. Folks, this is one of the cases where business, labor Wall
Street, Main Street, liberal, conservative, economists know we have to
act now not only to help people who are in need now, but to allow us to
be in a competitive position worldwide and be the leader of the world
economy in the next year or two and three and going forward. So thank
you. I’m going to sign this executive order.
The first one is the economic relief related to COVID-19 pandemic that
I referenced. The second one is protecting the federal workforce. Thank
you very much.