President Joe Biden reassured a group of union supporters in the East Room of the White House on Wednesday that he has never been more optimistic for the future while discussing American manufacturing and infrastructure.
“Look, for most of the 20th century, America led the world because we invested in ourselves,” Biden said. “But somewhere along the way, not a joke, somewhere along the way, we stopped investing in ourselves.
“Jobs were going overseas,” he added, before whispering, “Now we’re sending products overseas, not jobs.”
In between the whispering and the time he told the crowd that wind energy and solar energy are cheaper than oil, gas, and coal – shouting the word “cheaper” to emphasize a point – Biden focused on the infrastructure bill throughout his speech.
The president also spoke about the CHIPS and Science Act, the future of manufacturing and what he sees as the role of unions to allow for the mobilization of everyday things.
“You had already come along…but everybody came along because we finally reached the point with the help of the [International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers] and the Carpenters,” he said of the unions that came on board. “So many others, so many others that, you know, the future is about the future.”
As more everyday items begin to require computer chips, Biden reminded the room that businesses in the U.S. invented those microchips and advanced them.
Then the market was lost, he said, because America did not invest in America.
Turning the attention back to America’s future, Biden said he signed the infrastructure law into place last year to ensure the country invests in roads, bridges, railroads, airports, high speed internet, clean air, clean water and clean energy.
“I signed that,” he said. “I signed that so that … we could be positioned to win the competition of the second quarter of the 21st century.”
Many of the jobs, he continued, will allow those without college degrees to make six-figure incomes.
Biden also boasted about a nationwide talent pipeline challenge designed to ensure workers in historically underrepresented jobs can see job growth, and that $800 billion will go toward workforce development.
“Companies, many of you are here, are forging partnerships with unions, community colleges, local nonprofits to create apprenticeships that train workers to develop the necessary skills,” he said. “It’s the first time we have high-paying jobs and not enough people to do them.”
“[With] these partnerships, we’re regaining the momentum and taking back our competitive edge,” he said. “And the United States is going to win again.”