Remarks by President Biden on Growing the Economy and Creating Good-Paying Jobs | The
SK Siltron CSS Facility
Bay City, Michigan
3:19 P.M. EST
THE PRESIDENT: Hello, Michigan! (Applause.) Hello, hello, hello, hello!
I’ll tell you what: I — if I — my mom is looking down from Heaven and saying, “Apologize to these people because you have their — you have their back to them.” I apologize — (laughter) — because I’m going to be talking that way. But thank you very, very much.
And I told Jeffrey that I went to a school that had these colors. The — you guys will recognize these colors. Well, they — you know, my college football coach played at Michigan. And he — he became a — he made it to the Hall of Fame as a coach. And — but the thing was that he always — here’s what he did to — I have to admit it front end. I told this to Kildee on the way up. We stole Michigan’s uniforms. (Laughter.) Same exact uniforms. So that’s why the blue and gold.
Many of you who are State folks, just remember —
AUDIENCE: Go green!
THE PRESIDENT: — just remember, for all of you who are looking at the tie, it’s Delaware, okay? (Laughter.) If you’re from the University of Michigan, it’s Michigan.
Hey, it’s great to be here. It really is. Jeff, thanks. Thank you, Jeffrey, for your introduction. I really mean it. It’s a big deal. And you’re a big guy. (Laughter.) And as I told you, if I had you running in front of me when I was playing flanker back, I could have been an All-American, man. (Laughter.) I could have been big. Could have been big.
Look, Governor Whitmer, thanks for inviting me back to Michigan. (Applause.) And congratulations on your historic victory. (Applause.) Historic. You stood for jobs. You stood for dignity. You stood for the American worker. You stood up for women’s fundamental rights. (Applause.) You insisted on democratic values. And we’re seeing here today business leaders, at home and abroad, recognize the importance of your leadership. And it’s not a small item. It’s a significant item.
And Senator Debbie Stabenow and Gary Peters, both close friends, had to be in Washington today. But I want to say thanks to them because we wouldn’t have gotten half the stuff we passed passed. And they’re true leaders in the Senate and tireless fighters for the state of Michigan.
Representative Dan Kildee — we rode up together — he’s the most — one of the most effective members in the United States Congress and a good friend. (Applause.) No, he really is. And thanks for your partnership over the past couple of years, pal. I — I really mean it. And you’re doing a lot to revitalize American manufacturing in Michigan and across the country.
And Representative Slotkin came up on the plane with me. Where — is she here today? (Applause.) There you are. I’m — I — I love her. I’m very careful with her because she’s former CIA. I’m really worried. (Laughter.) She — (laughs) — good to see you. Thanks for your — your work on so many important issues in this state and everything you do to support service women and men and our veterans all over the world. And — and all those issues that, as my dad used to say, we used to talk about at the kitchen table, they’re the bread-and-butter issues, and you work like hell on all of them. And I appreciate it.
And I also want to thank the leaders of SK siltron css. And I met with the — some of their folks as well in Korea. They’re a first-rate operation, and they’re going to create a lot of good-paying jobs here, Rev. They’re going to do that pretty soon. (Applause.)
I recently got back from a trip literally around the world. You know that “around the world in 80 days”? Well, I did in six. (Laughter.) And I started off in Egypt and ended up in Guam and coming on home. And we ended with a meeting in Indonesia with the G20, the 20 largest economies in the world.
And it was clear in those meetings — and I mean it sincerely — that the rest of the world views the United States as better positioned than any other nation — any major nation in the world to lead the world economy in the 21st century. And that’s not a joke.
Here we have a strong sense — our strong sense of what all the leaders in the world and — look to us about. And they see resilience in the American economy. And we’re seeing that here at home as well with investments like we’re going to talk about today.
Together, with the help of your elected leaders here today, we had an extraordinary two years of progress. We passed the American Rescue Plan. (Applause.) Now, everybody knows that the — we did so much; no one knows the effects of it yet. We’re just — just — they’re just coming into play.
What that little plan did with the billions of dollars we spent is it kept tens of thousands of cops, firefighters, teachers, first responders on the job in 50 states because they lost income because of the significant reduction in employment in those states. And it provided them the money to be able to keep everyone employed.
We fully vaccinated — when I came to office, there were 2 million people vaccinated. We vaccinated 220 million people, saving thousands of lives. (Applause.)
And we’re rebuilding our infrastructure. And, Governor, we’re fixing the damn roads. (Applause.) Well, I cam- — I came and campaigned for the first time she ran for governor. She ran on the platform of “fix the damn roads.” Well, it stuck in my mind. I kept my promise. We’re going to fix your damn roads in a big way, to the tune of billions of dollars — bridges and airports as well.
And we’re lowering prescription drug cost. Anybody — a senior citizen on Medicare, the fact — I mean, the fact is that — and it won’t take effect until January 1st, but from that point on, you’ll pay $35 for your insulin, not $400 a month for your insulin. (Applause.)
And we’ve strengthened American manufacturing. We’ve creating more jobs in the first two years of any presidency: 735,000 manufacturing jobs. (Applause.) Manufacturing jobs. And we’re still counting. (Applause.)
And Michigan will once again become the manufacturing hub of the nation, and that’s not a joke. Because when I got to the United States Senate as a 29-year-old kid — I had to wait a couple days to be sworn in — but when I got there, this was the — one of the epicenters of manufacturing.
And we’re addressing the climate crisis as well. The climate plan we just passed is going to reduce emissions by 1 billion metric tons by 2030.
And because of our po- — our policies, gasoline prices are coming down. And what’s most exciting about it: People are starting to feel a sense of optimism and the impact of these legislative achievements in their own lives.
It’s going to accelerate in the months ahead. And so many things — you’re going to find out what we’ve already done that we haven’t been able to actually implement yet. We’re in the process of doing it.
And it’s part of a broader story about the economy we’re building that works for everybody — you know, one of the — one that grows from the bottom up and the middle out, not from the top down.
When it grows from the bottom up and the middle out, the wealthy do very well — they don’t get hurt at all — but working pe- — poor folks get a shot and a ladder up, and middle-class folks get a shot, as my dad would say, just to have a little breathing room. A little breathing room. And that positions America to win the economic competition of the 21st century.
My dad used to have an expression, and I mean it sincerely. Matter of fact, it was quoted to me today by one of the congressmen. He used to say, “Joey, a job is about a lot more than a paycheck. It’s about your dignity. It’s about your place in your community.” Literally. Not a joke. Think about it. It’s about being able to look your child in the eye and say, “Honey, it’s going to be okay.”
That’s what a job should be about. And thousands of Michiganders are going to be able to look their child in the eye and say, “Honey, it’s going to be okay. It’s going to be okay.” (Applause.)
Back in July when the chairman of SK, who is here today, came to the White House, we talked about a $50 billion investment SK is making in the United States. At the time, they wouldn’t let me come down from the — from the third floor because I was exposed to COVID. I didn’t have it yet, but they were worried about me exposing other people.
And so, as he said, it was like “Alice in Wonderland.” I’m up on the third floor in that balcony and waving to the chairman of SK, saying, “You are coming, aren’t ya?” (Laughter.) “You are coming, aren’t ya?”
But, look, they produce everything from semiconductors to electric vehicle batteries to chargers, pharmaceuticals.
And part of the investment is coming right here in Bay City to produce semiconductor materials for the small computer chips that power our everyday lives: smartphones, washing machines, hospital equipment, automobiles — just to name a few.
They’re especially critical for powering electric vehicles, which you can use 2- to 3,000 chips per single vehicle just to —
And, by the way, think about it: General Motors, Ford, Stellantis — all manufacturing electric vehicles made by the UAW here in Michigan. (Applause.)
And, by the way, if you can hold for a second, my — the person who introduced me — everybody thinks, because I’ve been so pro-union my whole career — everybody — and I talk about it, and I talked about this with SK in Korea and here: You’re the best workers in the world. You’re the most qua- — I’m not just — I’m not being nice. You’re the most qualified workers in the world.
What most people don’t know: This man here did not four years of college — five years learning this trade. Five years working at it. (Applause.)
They’re the best in the world. I mean it. Most people don’t know it. Most people who think, “I want to be a pipefitter” — and you show up and they give you a wrench. Come on, man. I’m serious. We have the best workers in the world. The most qualified workers in the world.
And, by the way, you know, I wanted — the middle class built America, and unions built the middle class. (Applause.) That’s a fact. That’s a fact. And that’s coming from the boy who grew in Scranton, Pennsylvania, and Claymont, Delaware. (Applause.)
No, I really mean it. We sort of forgot. We forgot how critically important the skill of the labor force we have in the United States of America. We need these chips to make vehicles. SK said –excuse me — SK came along and is making the material that goes into these computer chips. So instead of relying on chips made overseas in places like China, the supply chain for those chips will be here in…