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Remarks by President Biden in Roundtable with Business and Labor Leaders on the Inflation

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Via Teleconference

1:53 P.M. EDT

THE PRESIDENT:  Good afternoon, folks.  I’m here with leaders from some of the — America’s largest companies and labor organizations: Kaiser Permanente, General Motors, Cummins, Carrier, Ameren, you know, the United Auto Workers, the AFL-CIO.

They’re all here because they believe that the Inflation Reduction Act meets the needs of working families now and what our economy needs now for stronger, sustained economic growth in the years ahead. 

Let me tell you a few things about what this bill does.

First, it will lower healthcare costs for millions of Americans who buy coverage from the Affordable Care Act, locking in the healthcare premiums that save 13 million people an average of $800 a year.

This comes on top the news that we have the lowest percentage of Americans who are uninsured than ever before in our history thanks to the Affordable Care Act, as well as the American Rescue Plan that I signed into law last year that saved families an average of $240 [sic] — $2,400 in premiums.  $2,400 in premiums.

The Inflation Reduction Act is also going to deliver on a promise Washington has made for years: give Medicare the power to negotiate prescription drug prices.

This bill will save the American people and Medicare hundreds of billions of dollars.  It’s going to cap the amount of money seniors pay for prescription drugs at $2,000 a year — period — whether it’s for cancer or for other diseases and the treatments they need.  Maximum $2,000 a year.

That’s a Godsend for so many families.

Second, we’re going to invest $369 billion to address the climate crisis and bring down family energy bills by an average of $500 a year.  We’re going to do this providing — by providing working families rebates to buy new and efficient appliances, weatherize their homes, and tax credits for everything from heat pumps to rooftop solar to wind energy.

It also provides tax credits to spur the construction of energy projects all across America — projects that will deliver new, clean energy and strengthen our country’s grid.

We also — it’s going to — there are also manufacturing tax credits as well in this bi- — in this bill to make products like solar panels, wind turbines, battery storage — make it right here in the United States of America.  

And this is going to create thousands of good-paying jobs, apprenticeship opportunities, and manufacturing jobs for clean energy construction projects, solar projects, wind projects, clean hydrogen projects, carbon capture projects, and so much more. 

And along with the CHIPS and Science Act that I’ll be signing into law next week, the Inflation Reduction Act will mean we are making the largest investment ever in clean energy and American energy security — the largest in our history.  It will be the largest investment in American manufacturing — in American manufacturing as well.

Joining me today are the CEOs of some of the most iconic American manufacturing companies and the union leaders who represent America’s manufacturing workers.

They see — they see how, already, because of our work over the last 18 months, American manufacturing is coming back stronger than ever.  Where is it written that America can’t lead in manufacturing in the world?  Six hundred and thirteen thousand manufacturing jobs created just since I took office — the most created in three decades.

And with the investments in this bill, we are going to supercharge that recovery; make sure that the manufacturing, innovation, and jobs that come from this bill are made in America. 

And third, this bill is going to reduce the deficit by another $300 billion.  That’s beyond the record $1.7 trillion we’re on track to cut the deficit by just this year — this fiscal year.

And we’re going to help pay for those critical needs from working families and our economy by asking corporations earning more than $1 billion a year to pay a minimum tax of 15 percent.  That’s less than a school teacher and a — and a autoworker pay.

Let me be clear: Despite what some folks are saying, the Inflation Reduction Act makes sure that no one earning less than $400,000 will pay a penny more in federal taxes, notwithstanding all these ads you see on television.

But don’t take my word for it.  Nearly 130 economists, 7 Nobel laureates in economics, former — former Treasury Secretaries, the Federal Reserve Vice Chair, former director of the Congressional Budget Office wrote that this bill will, quote, “fight inflation and lower costs for American families while setting the stage for strong, stable, and broadly-shared long-term economic growth.”  End of quote.

So, you know, look at the facts.

So let me close with this: The Inflation Reduction Act lowers prescription drug prices, lowers health insurance premiums, invests in clean energy that will create jobs and economic opportunity for business and labor.  It reduces the deficit and makes commonsense reforms to our corporate tax code.  These are the facts.

One more thing.  The Inflation Reduction Act has bipartisan support among the people of this country.

Look at the polling data: The vast majority of people in America support what’s in the Inflation Reduction Act.

So my message to Congress is this: Listen to the American people. 

This is the strongest bill you can pass to lower inflation, continue to cut the deficit, reduce healthcare costs, tackle the climate crisis, and promote America’s energy security, all while reducing the burdens facing working-class and middle-class families.

Pass it.  Pass it and get it to my desk.  Pass it for the American people.  Pass it for businesses and workers.  Pass it for America.

I’m going to stop here and turn this over to Brian Deese to start the meeting.

But thank you.  And thank you all for participating in this meeting.  I really appreciate it.

MR. DEESE:  Thank you, Mr. President.  And let me echo my thanks to all of you for joining us and for offering your perspective today.  I just want to — we’ll start right in and ask Jennifer, you, to start us off. 

First of all, congratulations on the — the new role, and would really appreciate your perspective on — on the — from the manufacturing lens.  Cummins, obviously iconic and long-serving American manufacturing company.  And I’m told — you can confirm if this is true — that half of the diesel trucks on U.S. highways today are powered by Cummins — Cummins engines.

And so we’d really just love to start off with your perspective on how this legislation, as well as the other efforts that we’re working on together, affects your thinking about how to grow American manufacturing and, importantly, stay on the cutting edge of manufacturing innovation here.

MS. RUMSEY:  Great.  Well, thank — thank you, Brian.  And thank you, Mr. President, for the opportunity to be here today and speak in support of the Inflation Reduction Act and, in particular, the clean technology focus within that — that bill.

As you know, Cummins is a global power leader.  We’re headquartered in Columbus, Indiana, and we employ more than 26,000 employees across the United States.  In fact, we increased that number by several thousand yesterday when we completed our acquisition of Meritor.

And we provide power solutions for a wide range of applications.  As you said, Brian, we’re best known for providing diesel engines and trucks.  And almost every truck on the road has either a Cummins engine or a Cummins component on another engine. 

We also provide a wide range of other power solutions, including construction, agricultural equipment; power generation, including backup power for hospitals, data centers, even the Statue of Liberty. 

And, Mr. President, I thought you might be interested to know that we provide the locomotive engines for Amtrak’s Northeast Corridor as well. 

We have a long history of ensuring that everything we do leads to a cleaner, healthier, and safer environment.  We’ve set an environmental sustainability goals that, by 2050, all of Cummins products, our operations, and facilities will achieve carbon neutrality.  And that’s aligned with the Paris Climate Agreement and the United States’ own carbon reduction goals. 

And we truly believe that we can do things that are good for the environment and for our customers and our business.  Decarbonization is critical.

I read the news now almost every day that talks about record temperatures, fires in the west, flooding in Kentucky.  Climate change is real, and we have a responsibility to deal with it.  And we have an opportunity to leverage that for growth in our business and for strengthening — strengthening America innovation and competitiveness. 

To do that and to have the biggest impact and help our customers as we make this transition, create good-paying American jobs, we need the right policies and incentives for infrastructure development and deployment of new and improved technologies.  And many of those market-based incentives that we think are needed are included in the Inflation Reduction Act.

We think that the comprehensive scope of energy provisions — from power generation to transportation to hydrogen production — are all important pieces of the decarbonization puzzle, and they’re important to ensure we have wells-to-wheels decarbonization in hard-to-abate — hard-to-abate sectors like those that we serve.

The tax credits for low-carbon fuel production, including renewable natural gas and renewable diesel fuel, are needed.  These alternative fuels can lower NOx and carbon emissions in many vehicles that are already in use.

For new trucks, the 30 percent investment tax credit included for low- and no-carbon trucks and their respective charging and fueling infrastructure are critical to help fleets afford newer technologies, like hybrid and battery and fuel-cell powered vehicles, as we continue to advance and scale up these technologies and make them more cost competitive, and ensure our customers are successful in their businesses as well. 

The clean hydrogen production credit is essential to creating a robust domestic hydrogen economy so we can compete with Europe and East Asia that are focused on doing that today.

And finally, we think that tax incentives for fuel cells, energy storage, and microgrids will help accelerate more efficient solutions for stationary power. 

So we think these provisions make these new and low-carbon technologies more affordable, accelerating infrastructure development and deployment throughout the economy.  And by reducing some of the cost gap between traditional power and these newer solutions, we can advance their viabl- — viability and make them a reality. 

So thank you…

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