Biden: Inaction on infrastructure 'not an option'

President Joe Biden says he's open to compromise on how to pay for his $2.3 trillion infrastructure plan, but insists "inaction is simply not an option." (April 7)

Video Transcript

JOE BIDEN: Last week in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania I announced my plan to rebuild what I refer to as the backbone of America through the American Jobs Plan. It's not a plan that tinkers around the edges. It's a once-in-a-generation investment in America unlike anything we've done since we built the interstate highway system and won the space race decades ago. It's the single largest investment in American jobs since World War II, and it's a plan that puts millions of Americans to work to fix what's broken in our country.

Democrats or Republicans will have ideas about what they like and what they don't like about our plan. That's a good thing. That's the American way. That's the way democracy works. Debate is welcome. Compromise is inevitable. Changes are certain. In the next few weeks, the vice president and I will be meeting with Republicans and Democrats to hear from everyone. And we'll be listening. We'll be open to good ideas and good faith negotiations.

But here's what we won't be open to. We will not be open to doing nothing. Inaction simply is not an option. You're all going to be reporting over the next six to eight months how China and the rest of the world is racing ahead of us in the investments they have in the future, attempting to own the future, the technology, quantum computing, investing significant amounts of money and dealing with cancer and Alzheimer's.

That's the infrastructure of a nation. I don't know why we don't get this. One of the only few major economies in the world whose public investment in research and development has declined as a percentage of GDP in the last 25 years-- declined. The United States of America that led the world.