Remarks by Vice President Harris at an Inflation Reduction Act Anniversary Event

Remarks by Vice President Harris at an Inflation Reduction Act Anniversary Event

Seattle, Washington

12:26 P.M. PDT

THE VICE PRESIDENT:  Cameron, you’re not your dad’s shadow anymore.  (Laughter.)  You’re standing tall.  You’re standing tall.

Well, good afternoon, everyone.  It’s so good to be back.  Good afternoon.  (Applause.)

Governor Inslee, thank you for all that you are and all you have done.  You and I have had so many conversations over the year.  And I will say that, among those who are leaders in our country — and, by extension, in the world — on the issue of what we must do with a sense of urgency to protect, preserve, and love our planet, you are one of the greatest leaders.  So, it is good to be with you and Trudi.  Thank you, both.  Thank you.  (Applause.)  And thank you for the warm welcome to Washington.

I want to thank our Secretary of Energy, Jennifer Granholm.  She is extraordinary.  She has been traveling the country, and she’s a true partner to the President and me.

And my dear friend, Senator Maria Cantwell.  Where are you?  There you are.  Hi.  So, Senator Cantwell and I served together in the United States Senate, and so I have seen her work close up.  I have seen her in rooms where there are cameras.  I have seen her in rooms where there are no cameras.  She’s the same person everywhere.  She is always fighting for the people, and she is truly one of our nation’s greatest climate leaders.  And I want to thank you for that.  (Applause.)

And on the most recent work that has happened, and on the detail of her leadership, she helped she helped pass the CHIPS and Science Act.  And that, of course, is historic in terms of its investment in climate innovation.

And these are investments which will — and she always emphasizes this — it will create jobs and opportunity not only here in Washington but around the country.

So, thank you, Senator Cantwell, for your leadership, always.  Thank you, thank you.  (Applause.)

And, Congresswoman Marilyn Strickland, I thank you.

Mayor Bruce Harrell, thank you for — for meeting me on the tarmac and for your leadership and friendship, always.

And to all the activists, organizers, and young leaders here today, it is because of you and your partnership and the enthusiasm and the passion that you bring to this work that President Biden and I are taking on one of the most urgent issues of our time.  And, of course, that is the climate crisis.

Every day, around the world, the impact of the climate crisis is stark and it is vivid.  We are seeing it in real time.

Here, of course, in Washington State, you have endured deadly heatwaves and devastating wildfires.

And across our nation, we see communities choked by drought, washed out by flood, and decimated by hurricanes.

And, of course, we are all praying for the people of Maui — far too many lives lost.  Far too many lives lost, homes lost, businesses lost, livelihoods lost.

And, of course, we have to recognize and pay spe- — special attention to the Native Hawaiian community, which has seen some of their most sacred cultural sites destroyed.

And so, I will say that President Biden and I will continue to do all that we can to help the people of Hawaii and — both in terms of what they need now, but what they need in terms of recovery and what they will need to rebuild.

So, all of that to say: It is clear the clock is not just ticking, it is banging.

And that is why, one year ago, President Biden and I made the largest climate investment in America’s history.  (Applause.)

And this work was designed to dramatically expand solar and wind energy production; to lower energy costs for working families; and to put millions of electric vehicles on the road, including thousands of electric school buses so that, of course, our children can have clean air to breathe.

And it is with these investments that — we are clear — we are creating millions of good-paying, clean energy jobs; we are rebuilding America’s manufacturing; and we are driving American innovation, something this state knows so well.

In total, President Biden and I have committed nearly $1 trillion to build a thriving, clean energy economy for America.

And I have seen — and — and Cameron mentioned this.  I have seen our progress firsthand. 

I’ve been traveling our country.  And, for example, in April, I was in Dalton, Georgia.  And so, Dalton, Georgia, is a factory town about two hours north of Atlanta, where, for generations, good, stable manufacturing jobs supported thousands of working families.  But then, about a decade ago, those jobs started getting shipped overseas.

And for years, of course, politicians have promised to reinvest in communities like Dalton to rebuild American manufacturing, but they never delivered.

So, President Biden and I decided that it is time to fix that.  And we decided to dramatically expand clean energy production and to do it here in America.  (Applause.)

And so, on the story of Dalton, on this — this year alone, already we have created 2,500 new solar panel manufacturing jobs that have opened up in Dalton.  And across the country, we have created more than 175,000 new clean energy jobs.  (Applause.)  Just so far.  More to go.

And this is all to — to do what we know we must do to meet the challenges of this moment.  But of the challenges, in terms of building a clean energy economy, we also know that the places where we create clean energy — like a solar farm in the desert or a wind farm off the coast — those places are often far away from where people actually live.

And so, thinking about it, to get the energy where it is most needed, President Biden and I are also building thousands of miles of new, high-voltage, transmission lines — (applause) — which is making a difference.

For example, I was recently in rural Arizona to break ground on a project where 125 miles of high-voltage line will deliver clean electricity — electricity from wind and solar farms in the Arizona desert, delivered to people millions of miles away, potentially — well, certainly thousands of miles away.  (Laughter.)  Bit of a typo there.  (Laughter.)  But delivered to millions of people — (laughter) — in faraway places like Phoenix and Los Angeles and San Diego. 

And that electricity will not only be cleaner, it will also be cheaper.  And so, think about that.  That means more money for working families to buy groceries, to invest in home repairs, to be able to afford a vacation from time to time. 

And just think, every year, working families pay thousands of dollars just to keep the fridge and lights on.  So, think about what this means. 

And for the President and me, one of our highest priorities, then, has been to lower energy costs, which is why we designed our climate policy and plan to give working families tax credits and rebates so they can afford to install new insulation and new windows — which, of course, increase energy efficiency and lower energy bills — and so they can better afford to replace their gas-burning furnace with an electric heat pump to heat and cool their home, which costs less money to run. 

And we’re doing the same thing for businesses.  We have made billions of dollars in tax credits available so clean energy upgrades can happen to businesses, in terms of their buildings. 

And we have made sure these credits are not just available this year — not only this year, but for years to come, because we know that for companies like this one — what we know is that when we increase the demand for solar panels and clean energy technology, we want to make sure that there is a consistent demand and it is predictable so that businesses have the confidence to invest in this new approach to doing work and building our economy.  Consistency is something businesses need and want, and that is part of the intention of the design of our policy to give them that. 

In addition, all these investments create jobs — good-paying union jobs.  (Applause.)  Yep. 

Jobs for workers, like many of those who are here with us today, including plumbers and pipefitters and members of IBEW and Sheet Metal Workers and the kind of folk who are just some of the most skilled and experienced workers in our nation going to work every day to build our clean energy economy. 

For example, today, Ambrose Bra- — Bradley is with us.  Ambrose, where are you?  Ambrose is with us.  (Applause.)  Okay.  Ambrose grew up in Oklahoma.  And after high school, he joined the Air Force and worked as a mechanic on an F-16 fighter jet. 

When he left the Air Force, Ambrose joined Sheet Metal Workers Local 66.  And today, Ambrose is a foreman fabricating metal for energy efficient lighting, heating systems, and solar panels.  So, think about that.  He went from F-16s to solar panels.  Talk about highly skilled.  Thank you, Ambrose.  (Applause.)  Really. 

So, all of this is to say: Together, we are building a clean energy economy.  And through all our work, President Biden and I are building an economy that works for working people.  And that, my friends, is called Bidenomics.  (Laughs.)  (Applause.)  And Bidenomics is working. 

Since we took office, President Biden and I have created more than 13 million new jobs, including nearly 400,000 jobs right here in Washington State.  (Applause.)

Today, unemployment — the unemployment rate is near the lowest it has been in over half a century.  (Applause.)

Inflation is down, and wages are up. 

And just last week, President Biden and I announced that we are giving more than a million workers on federal contracts a raise — long overdue — (applause) — Davis-Bacon — long overdue — because the workers building our clean energy economy and all workers deserve to be paid fairly — (applause) — and for the value and the dignity of their work. 

So, I’m going to close with this.  So, in my travels as Vice President, I have met with hundreds of young climate leaders, among the many leaders I have met. 

I’ve met with college students in Michigan, climate justice activists in Miami, Native leaders in Arizona, and high school students in Denver. 

And I will tell you, these young leaders are guiding our nation in our climate fight.  And as they have told me, their work is driven by their hope and their determination.  Hope, because they know we still have time to make a difference.  And their determination is the determination to correct the course. 

So, let us all share in their conviction, in their hope, in their determination.  And let us continue to work to build a cleaner, healthier, and more prosperous future for everyone. 

And let us do so with optimism.  Because while we have more to do, with your partnership, the President and I have shown just how much we can accomplish together. 

May God bless you.  And may God bless the United States of America.  Thank you.  Thank you.  (Applause.) 

                          END                 12:40 P.M. PDT

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