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Key Takeaways From President Joe Biden's CNN Town Hall

BALTIMORE (WJZ) -- President Joe Biden has been taking his "Build Back Better" plan on the road to the American people. His latest stop was here in Baltimore.

During the CNN town hall, moderated by Anderson Cooper, the president touched on several issues including infrastructure, his domestic agenda, his "Build Back Better" plan, spending proposals, tax rates, supply chain issues and Covid during the 90-minute event.

One of the first issues addressed was President Biden's Build Back Better plan.

Anderson Cooper: "Are you close to a done deal?"

President Joe Biden: "This is a big deal. We have two plans. One is the infrastructure plan, roads, highway, bridges, buses, trains, etc. And the other one is what I call the care economy. It has a lot of money in there for environmental remediation as well as care economy. For example, you know, we want to get the economy moving but millions of women can't go to work because they don't have any child care. That kind of thing. So there's a lot of pieces in there. There's a lot that people don't understand. And by the way, all this paid for. Every single penny. It's not going to raise one single cent."

President Biden also expressed optimism on two key spending proposals. He said he believes divided lawmakers are close to an agreement and urged to focus on compromising in regards to the legislation.

Biden: "It's all about compromise," said Biden. "You know, compromise has become a dirty word, but bipartisanship and compromise still has to be possible."


The president also said that corporations need to pay their fair share of taxes when asked about tax rates. Biden added that corporate leaders know they should be paying more in taxes.

Ben Frederick, realtor: "I hear you repeatedly say that the wealthy are not paying their fair share of income taxes. What is the percentage of income that you believe is fair?"

Biden: "I come from the corporate state of the world: Delaware. More corporations in Delaware than every other state in the union combined. Okay? Now, here's the deal, though. You have 55 corporations, for example, in the United States of America making over $40 billion, don't pay a cent. Not a single little red cent. Now, I don't care. I'm a capitalist. I hope you can be a millionaire or billionaire. But at least pay your fair share. Chip in a little bit." The corporate tax rate was 35 point, 37 percent. Barack and I thought it should come down. We thought it should come down to 28 percent. In the process, it came down to 21 percent under Trump. Which even the corporate leaders, and you know if you're in real estate, major real estate, ask them. They know they should be paying a little more than 21 percent because the idea that if you're a school teacher and a firefighter you're paying at a higher tax rate than they are as a percentage of your taxes."


When asked about the supply chain issues, President Biden said he is prepared to call the National Guard to help.

Biden: "The answer is, 'yes,' if we can't move, increase the number of truckers, which we are in a process of doing."

The president also addressed the increase in gas prices and said it's likely that they will remain high until 2022.

Biden: "My guess is you'll start to see gas prices come down as we get into next year, 2022. I don't see anything that's going to happen in the meantime that's going to significantly reduce gas prices."


The president was also asked what he would say to struggling Americans affected by COVID-19 and the economy. He said that as things improve within the country, spirits will be lifted.

Biden: "A lot of it has to do with us getting back on our feet. Getting back on our feet, in terms of our attitudes about what the future looks like for us." He also added,  "There's plenty of help. Being down, having some problem, in terms of needing some advice, if you have a broken spirit, it's no different than a broken arm. They shouldn't be ashamed of it. They should seek the help. There is a lot of people who can help."

The White House is gearing up to roll out COVID-19 shots for children ages five to 11 and the plans were released on Wednesday. "We're completing the operational planning to ensure vaccinations for kids ages five to 11 are available, easy and convenient," White House COVID-19 coordinator Jeff Zients said. "We're going to be ready, pending the FDA and CDC decision."

Biden said his administration has "secured enough vaccine supply to vaccinate the 28 million children who would become eligible."

Biden: "The expectations are, they should be ready in the near term." He also added, "I want to make it clear, unlike past administrations, science will dictate this."

Biden also addressed first responders who refuse to get vaccinated. He said he believes that they should "be forced to stay home or let go." He also said he believes that mandates are working.

Biden: "I waited until July to talk about mandating. I tried everything else possible. The mandates are working."


When asked about the filibuster, Biden said a debate over it right now will cost him votes on his economic agenda.

Biden: "Here is the deal, if, in fact, I get myself into at this moment the debate on the filibuster, I lose at least three votes right now to get what I have to get done on the economic side of the equation, foreign policy side of the equation." He added, "It used to be the filibuster the way it worked and we have ten times as many more than that, times the filibuster has been used since 1978, it used to be you had to stand on the floor and exhaust everything you had and when you gave up the floor and someone else sought the floor, they had to talk until they finished. You're only allowed to do it a second time. After that, it's over. You vote. Someone moves for the vote. I propose we bring that back now, immediately."


Biden said he has not visited the Southern Border but will consider it in the future. He said he has not had a "whole lot of time to visit."

Biden: "I guess I should go down, but the whole point of it is I have not had a whole lot of time to get down."

The president also stressed that the US is not sending children back and defended his decision to uphold Title 42.

"We have maintained that because of the continued extent of Covid in those countries from which people are coming. It is very, high. So, we maintained the policy." He added, "We are not sending back children, we send back adults, and we send back large families but we don't send back children in that circumstance."

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