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tv   President Biden in Illinois Discusses COVID-19 Mandates  CSPAN  October 8, 2021 12:46am-1:15am EDT

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day. c-span now has you covered. download the app for free today. >> president biden traveled to elk grove village, illinois, where he spoke at a construction site about the need to get vaccinated against covid-19. he called on companies to require their employees to get vaccinated against the coronavirus. he was joined by eleanor -- illinois governor jb pritzker and other officials. >> ladies and gentlemen, please welcome president joe biden. [applause] [applause] >> thank you. thank you. take your seats. good afternoon, everyone. it is an honor to be here today
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to welcome president joe biden and to share his vision of getting everybody vaccinated 100%. we would like to acknowledge our distinguished guest, governor pritzker, mayor lightfoot, mayor johnson. thank you. i am the senior fields operation manager. i have been with them for 23 years. because of its core values, they are treating others how you want to be treated. such a simple philosophy. building a diversified workforce. and creating jobs within the community is that we work in around the country. we are thrilled that you are all here today at this microsoft project, a realization of mayor johnson's vision to creating jobs with a more prosperous and beautiful elk grove village. it looks fantastic.
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we thank all the people involved in this major project, especially all the hard union workers. i am a proud union member vested in 30 years in the union carpentry local 250. safety is a top -- thank you. safety is a top priority. some people say it. we live it every day. we are making sure everyone goes home to their loved ones safe, safer than they came here. that is our philosophy. we are spouses. we are sons. we are daughters. we are parents and grandparents. in our case, like yours, mr. president, i am a grandfather of three young grandchildren who are not yet able to get vaccinated. we are all making personal choices to get vaccinated. everyone has a different story.
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thank you. my reason and my wife's reason, for our grandchildren -- mr. president, thank you for making the safety of our workforce and our great country your top priority. on behalf of microsoft, elk grove village, the city of chicago, it is an honorable lifetime to welcome president joe biden. pres. biden: jerry, thank you. thank you, thank you, thank you. mr. mayor, thank you for the passport into town. every time i come to the greater chicago area, -- i have done it
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a couple times. at any rate, every company means people like you. every single one. someone who knows what my dad taught me and a lot of people know me well including the government assistant i worked closely with for eight years. my dad used to have an expression. everyone is entitled to be treated with dignity and a job is a helluva lot more than eight paycheck. it's about your put -- a paycheck. it's about your dignity. everything will be ok. that is the god's truth. ever since he lost, things went south in scranton, pennsylvania when i was a kid. my dad was a coal miner. i had a great grandfather who was a coal miner engineer. he was a salesperson. moved down to wilmington, delaware. steel town. right on the border of pennsylvania.
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it was always about the dignity of work and what you would do in here about this pandemic is protecting the dignity of your fellow americans. you know, you stayed lining up protective equipment for the rest of the country. when the vaccine came out, we stepped up and got the shots. as a company, you are getting more shots in arms. one of the midwest's biggest construction companies. $3 billion a year in revenue. thousands of employees nationwide and here in elk grove. 100% union. not labor. union. one of the reasons i said i ran was to rebuild this country, rebuild the backbone of the country, and i meant it sincerely. i am a capitalist.
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i think you should be able to make a lot of money. that is not the problem. everyone should have an even shot. who built the middle class? unions. not a joke. without the unions, we would not have a middle class in america so everybody owes y'all. you are constructing buildings for some of america's biggest companies. you are helping us beat back covid-19 so are the great leaders who are here today. governor, you have done more than anybody i can think of in any state. i mean that sincerely. you stepped up. you have always done what you said he will do. you have been relentless in getting people vaccinated. in the midwest, you are leading. it is real. it is not hyperbole. mayor lightfoot, who i said, please go back to work. i will get in trouble. she had to leave. mayor lightfoot did the same thing. mayor johnson, you have done a
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helluva job as well. we had 11 members of congress here. thank you for hosting this. i also want to thank colleagues and house representatives. bill foster, brad schneider, sean casten, lauren underwood, marie newman. for them, you don't quite -- you don't understand it in the different context. they had to come here another politician speak. not a joke, folks. i appreciate it. i genuinely appreciate it. i appreciate it. and i know they wanted to be here but those others in washington cannot be here. dick durbin and tammy, who i have both spoken to. hopefully, they will be voting soon. also, we have state leadership.
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and the ohio -- the illinois president, don harmon, state senator laura murphy, martin moylan, and we have great things here, too. where is tim? thank you, pal. state president. and robert ryder -- reader. chicago federation of labor, and folks, that is how we beat covid-19, by working together. we have an expression. you all brian b to the dance. you are the reason i'm standing here. not a joke. not a joke. i was 29 years old in the united
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states senate. 17 days before i was eligible to be sworn in. not a joke. and i won by 3300 votes. and labor. labor, including the police unions as well as the firefighters stood up and endorsed me. i kid with the governor. i said i grew up in a town called claymont, delaware, from third grade on. and the guys became either a firefighter, a cop, or a priest. i was not qualified for any of them so i had to be president. but look, it has been a month since i laid out a six month plan to accelerate a path out of this pandemic. one, vaccinate the end vaccinated. two, continue to keep the vaccinated protected. keep children safe and schools open. increased testing and masking.
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protect economic recovery and improve the care of the people with covid-19. we made real progress across the board. more than 100 85 million americans are now fully vaccinated. more than 75% of a -- of eligible americans have gotten at least one shot. we made progress on equity as well, closing the gaps in race as well as ethnic vaccination rates. recent data shows latino americans, black americans, native americans, and asian americans have now gotten vaccinated at a comparable rate as white americans. our work on equities is done but it's an important piece of progress. we are also starting to see less than -- mess covid-19 cases in the vast majority of communities around the country here cases are down this past month by 40%. hospitalizations are down by 25%. we are headed in the right direction if we keep our eye on the ball here. we still have a long way to go.
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this has been a pandemic of the unvaccinated. unvaccinated. they overcrowd our hospitals, overrun emergency room as an intensive care units. the unvaccinated patients are leaving no room for someone with a heart attack or in need of a cancer operation, and so much more. they cannot get into the icu, operating rooms. it puts our economy at risk because people are reluctant to go and think about this. even in places where there is no restriction of going to restaurants origins or movie theaters, people are not going. they are worried they are going to get sick. first thing i did when i was sworn into office back in january 20 was i brought enough vaccines right off the bat to vaccinate every single american. there are only 4 million americans vaccinated up to that point even though the virus has
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been around. second, we made everyone eligible to get a vaccination. we made it easy and convenient for them to get vaccinated. 80,000 places around the country. we gave everyone ample time and information to deal with their concerns. we developed hundreds of millions of dollars in incentives. in the city and the state of illinois. cities and community organizations encourage vaccinations. governor pritzker has done one helluva job in terms of encouraging people. even after all these efforts, we still had more than a quarter of the people in the united states who are eligible for vaccinations but did not get the shot. and we know there is no other way to beat the pandemic man to get the vast majority of americans vaccinated. it is as simple as that. to spread to our children and throughout society and our hospitals, our risk of other variants, it is still not there.
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we have to be this thing. while i did not raise to do it right away, that is why i have had to move towards requirements. everyone get vaccinated or i have the authority to do that. it was not my first instinct. my administration is requiring federal workers to be vaccinated and federal contractors to be vaccinated. if you have a contract working for the federal government, you have to be vaccinated. we are requiring active duty military to be vaccinated, making sure health-care workers are vaccinated because if you seek care at a health care facility, you should have a certainty that the people providing that care are protected from covid and cannot spread it to you. the labor department is going to shortly issue an emergency rule which i asked for several weeks ago when they are going through the process to require all employees with more than 100 people, whether they work for the federal government or not, this is in the purview of the
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labor department, to ensure their workers are fully vaccinated or faced testing at least once a week. in total, this labor department vaccination requirement will cover 100 million americans, about two thirds of all the people who work in america. and here is the deal, these requirements are already proving that they work. starting in july when i announced the first vaccination requirement for the federal government, about 95 million eligible americans were and vaccinated. this was mentioned earlier. today, we reduced that number to 67 eligible americans who are not vaccinated. and today, we released a new report outlining effective vaccination requirements that are already proving their worth. this report shows three things per it first, vaccination requirements result in more people getting vaccinated. in the past few weeks, as more and more organizations have implemented their own requirements, they have seen
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their vaccination rates rise dramatically. for example, the department of defense has gone from 67% of active duty forces being vaccinated to 97% as of tomorrow. vaccination just six weeks into this vaccination requirement. that is how quickly it has moved. we are seeing this at universities across the country. more than 95% of students at colleges and universities are vaccinated. we see it in health systems around the country. it has gone from 72% to more than 95% of employees fully vaccinated under its requirements. these requirements work. it business roundtable and others told me when i announced the first requirement that encouraged businesses to feel they could come in and demand the same thing of their employees. more people are getting vaccinated. more lives are being saved. let's be clear. when you see headlines and reports of mass firings and
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hundreds of people losing their jobs, look at the bigger story. i have spoken with scott kirby. united went from 59% of their employees to 99% of their employees in less than two months after implementing the requirement. 99%. scott, i want you to know, i have instructed the justice department to make sure we deal with the violence on aircraft coming from those people who are taking issues. we will do at that. they cut the remaining number of employees left in half. they went from 67,000 united employees of 67,000. 66,800 complied. people chose to get vaccinated. that is why we are seeing more companies signing up. i recently met with the ceo of disney, microsoft, who you are familiar with here, walgreens, to hear about their
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requirements. it has championed vaccination requirements. america's largest aerospace companies, lockheed martin, raytheon, who i met with yesterday, northrop grumman, they all announced plans to implement vaccination requirements. i always get a kick out of this. fox news. fox news requires vaccinations for all employees. give me a break. fox news. over the past week, we have seen american, southwest, alaska, jetblue airlines, all announced requirements. they are stepping up. mayor lightfoot, governor pritzker required vaccinations for state and city workers, health care workers, and teachers. jack leven has called for all
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members of the chamber to require vaccinations for their employees, going back to work in person. i came back here to thank this company for doing the right in. today, he is announcing it's going to require all employees to be fully vaccinated or test once a week. it matters. i know these decisions are not easy. but you are setting the example, a powerful example. the second thing i would like to say, today's report shows that vaccination requirements are good for the economy. not only an increase in vaccination rates, but to help some people back to work. back to work. you know, when i first started the vaccination program, vaccine enough for everyone, vaccinating 3 million people a day, we are getting close before things begin to slow down. the economy is growing at leaps
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and bounds. in fact, increased vaccination coverage results in as many as 5 million american workers going back to work. they feel safe and they can go back to work. more economic demand to drive people back to the workforce. but don't take it from me, not from some liberal think tank this comes from, but here is what wall street is saying. goldman sachs, koch, vaccination will have a positive impact on employment and help people go back to work. moody's and wall street, vaccination means fewer infections, hospitalizations, and deaths. in turn, it means a stronger economy. one economist called vaccine requirements the single most powerful -- he did not say single -- the most powerful economic stimulus ever enacted. the third point i would like to make, reports show that vaccination requirements have broad public support. yes, some object very
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strenuously and some are making the political statement out of this issue. but a strong bipartisan majority of americans support vaccinations. they know it is not about politics, about life and death. that's what it is about, looking out for one another. it's about being patriotic, doing the right thing. vaccination requirements work and there's nothing new about them. they have been around for decades. we have been living with these requirements throughout our lives. students, health care requirements, our troops. the reason most people in america don't worry about polio, measles, mumps, rubella, is because they have been vaccinated. i don't quite get this, why it's a matter of no violation, you are right to go to school, to
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get a job, etc., but now, it's a great cause celebre. so today, i'm calling on more employers to act. my message is require your employees to get vaccinated. vaccinations are going to beat this finally. without them, we face endless months of chaos in our hospitals, damage to our economy, and anxiety in our schools. empty restaurants. much less commerce. i know vaccination requirements are tough medicine unpopular with some. politics for others. but they are lifesaving, game changing for our country. we are in a position to leap forward in a way we have not for a long, long time economically. businesses have more power than ever before to change the arc of this pandemic and save lives and protect and grow our economy. so as president, i'm going to
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continue to do everything i can to get us out of this pandemic. i look forward to more businesses joining that effort. for folks who have not gotten vaccinated, get it done. do the right thing. it can save your life. it can save the lives of those around you. you know, if i can digress for just a second, last night, i was on television. i was on the telephone with a person who -- at an emergency ward in pennsylvania because a good friend had called and he had rushed his significant other to the emergency room because this one was having trouble breathing, had a high fever, and could not really catch a breath. they got her into the hospital but the waiting room was so crowded, things were so backed up, they could not even get her to be seeing initially. because i knew this person, i
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called the desk and receiving nurse and asked what the situation was. they are getting the living hell kicked out of them, by the way. doctors and nurses, some of them are running dry. i really mean it. they are getting the living hell kicked out of them, sometimes physically. to make a long story short, it took a while because all of the -- not all -- the vast majority of the emergency rooms and doctors were occupied taking care of covid patients. i bet you can name some of the who got sent to the hospital with something other than covid and could not get it taken care of. how many people do i know who have had to put off elective surgeries, surgeries they need done, that they could not get a hospital room. did not mean they were going to die but in some places in the world, that is happening.
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you cannot even get to do the elective surgery that's necessary, particularly for a lot of cancer patients. so look, things are changing, and we can end this. we can end this thing. it's easy. it's accessible. and it's free to get the vaccine. text your zip code to 438829. 438829. text your zip code there or visit to find a vaccination location near you. i promise there is one within five minutes, 15 minutes of where you are, and it's free. let me close with this. we have a plan, we have the tools. we are using them and making progress. we just have to finish the job. finish the job. for god sake, for your own sake, for the sake of your family's,
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get vaccinated. we can do this. we can do this if we do it together, and we can literally change the circumstances, the health, the camaraderie, the employment, and the access to a growing economy if we step up and lead the world. one last thing i would like to mention, which is not directly -- it's not part of what i was going to say today. i made a commitment that just like world war ii, we were the arsenal of democracy providing the means by which the allies could fight and win the war. we are the arsenal of vaccines. i have not only purchased enough vaccine to make sure every single american can get a vaccine shot, get the full dose and a booster, but provided for -- already, we put out 1,800,000 doses of vaccines and we will
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end up doing over 1,200,000,000 doses between now and the end of the first quarter of next year. because, you know, it's not just being decent and honorable with what we can do and it's within our own naked interest. if we have not learned before, we cannot build a wall high enough to keep out a virus. cannot do it. cannot do it. we have an obligation and our own naked self-interest to help other countries and by the way, i have traveled the world, i met with all the major world leaders . other countries are making like they are really doing a great deal. we provided more vaccines around the world than any other country in the world combined. combined. and guess what? unlike china and russia and
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others, we are not asking a single thing. not a single thing in return. nothing. nothing. nothing is having a profound impact in our view. those of you who have not gotten vaccinated who may be listening to this broadcast, please get vaccinated, please. god bless you all, and may god protect our troops. thank you all so very much. [applause]
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>> saturday night, former president donald trump speaks at a rally held at the i was state fairgrounds in the state capital of des moines. he won the state of byway in 2020 and is considered the top contender for the 2024 gop nomination. live coverage beginning at 8:00 eastern online at, watch full coverage on our new video app, c-span now. ♪ >> get c-span on the door -- on the go. watch the days biggest


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