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Public Statements

Remarks by Vice President Joseph Biden

Location: Washington, DC

Remarks by Vice President Joseph Biden


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VICE PRESIDENT BIDEN: Well, folks, thanks for coming back again, especially the Cabinet secretaries. I appreciate it. I know -- and the Cabinet secretaries have sent their designees, but I know coming over here as often as I ask you to come is a -- a little bit of a trek. But thanks.

I -- I think that we got this off to a pretty good start because of these meetings. And as I've told you all, and you've told me again, and you've -- telling everybody you're dealing with in the states that we got to get this right. We have a tremendous responsibility. So this is doing this every day, block-and-tackling here, because it's a -- it's a real responsibility.

These funds -- we continue to be guided by three goals. One, are we going to help people who are down and out as a consequence of this economy be able to get through this? And that's everything from the unemployment -- extension of unemployment insurance to -- to the -- to the tax cut, and a lot in between.

Secondly, our objective is to create jobs. That's what we've been doing, and we got some more good news coming, I hope; and also, in the process, lay a foundation for an economy that is not based upon relying on some new bubble. The housing bubble was not a sustainable way for us to continue to grow, nor was the dot-com bubble. And so, so far, I think we've been on track.

But I have a couple examples today, which at least two of our -- our departments are going to be announcing, related to recovery act funds. And Michael (sp), you guys are about, what, five, six weeks ahead of schedule here.

MR. : That's right.

VICE PRESIDENT BIDEN: We're going to be announcing -- we're -- we are announcing today that we are going to -- seniors receiving Social Security as well as supplemental Social Security are going to be receiving a $250 one-time payment. That will begin in May and will continue to be paid out through the month of May. And we're six weeks -- you guys are six weeks ahead of schedule on this. And these folks need the money.

It's going to also have the direct effect of $13 billion pouring into the economy that -- people are going to be actually out there spending that money. And so we -- going to have 50 million people -- the most vulnerable among us are going to get some immediate help.

Secondly, we're announcing today the Department of Energy is investing $3.2 billion in state and local energy-efficiency and conservation programs. We talked about that at our summit that we had up in -- our Middle-Class Task Force meeting up in Philadelphia. This is designed to do everything from take care of -- come on in, Mr. Secretary. Have a seat. We just got started a little bit earlier. And -- the secretary who's handling this, Secretary Chu, setting out this 3.2 billion (dollars).

It's going to go from (sic) everything from making schools to fire stations, libraries, public housing -- we're going to deal with weatherization, greatly reducing costs, not only injecting money into the economy, hiring people to deal with this weatherization, but it's going to have the effect of reducing costs -- reducing costs for individuals and municipalities and states across the country, long term.

And, you know, our -- our local leaders know their communities best, so the secretary, under the statute, is giving them the flexibility of how to do it. But we're monitoring, and he's monitoring, how in fact this money will be spent, to make sure it's spent well and it's spent wisely.

So, Mr. Secretary, I want to commend you as well as the Social Security Administration for taking these steps and moving as quickly as you have. The idea that there is going to be, within the next month -- we're announcing the release today, but somewhere in excess of -- I guess it's close to $16 billion going out to -- yeah. Sixteen-point-two billion dollars being infused into the economy has a benefit in and of itself, beyond the specific purposes.

And so these are just two examples of what we're going to, throughout the next months, be announcing. The recovery act was signed into law not too many weeks ago, and I think we're well under way.

The biggest investment we have made in infrastructure, which the admiral will talk a little bit about today. We're continuing to move forward in the Department of Transportation -- the biggest investment since the -- the Highway Trust Fund was announced by the Eisenhower administration.

We've made dramatic new commitments to renewable energy and energy efficiency, which the secretary's going to be talking about with us more today, what his plans are to roll out the rest. We're rebuilding our -- our nation's schools. We're providing funding needed to keep teachers and cops -- counter-cyclical money out there to keep people employed, providing vital public services.

And -- and in just a few days, April 1st, the tax cuts we talked about everyone is going to see -- 95 percent, I should say; those who pay a payroll tax, they're going to see a(n) increase in their paycheck.

Again, not only does it help those folks, but we're injecting money back into the economy at a time we're trying to get it growing again. So every day, every week, we see these funds going from Washington into American communities. And -- and I believe we're starting to see some mild impact from this already.

And -- but we have 18 months to get this job done. We're going to get it done right. I want you -- as I told you all, we're going to be hearing today -- I -- we've hired on Ed DeSeve as the CEO for -- for me, running this operation. We've already been working with Earl Devaney, who's -- as you already -- by the way, each of your departments (know already ?) we're working with both these guys. But Ed just came on; got hired on last week.

And part of the purpose, of the meeting today, I wanted him to lay out, to you, what he's setting up, where he's setting up, how this -- was going to work and so on and so forth. But I know he's talked with you all already.

So what I'd -- what I'd like to do now is to suggest that we get down to the, you know, brass tacks here and find out what's in your agenda for next week. Let's go back and give an assessment of how you think what we've done so far, in each of your agencies, has actually worked, what we need to change, if anything.

Let's get moving, okay?

(Cross talk.)

Thank you. Thank you all very much.


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