Remarks by Vice President Harris at the Asian Pacific American Institute for Congressional Studies 28th Annual Awards

Renaissance Hotel
Washington, D.C.

7:06 P.M. EDT
THE VICE PRESIDENT:  Thank you.  Thank you.  Thank you.  Please sit, everyone.  (Applause.)  Thank you.  Thank you.
 
What an incredible room.  And, Judy Chu, thank you for that introduction and for your leadership on so many levels.
 
Tonight is a rough night.  We planned for a great celebration, but I’m sure most of you have heard the tragic news about what has happened in Texas.
 
So I had prepared comments about tonight, which I will speak, but I just first want to begin by saying a few words about the tragedy that occurred today in Uvalde, Texas.
 
As many of you now, the reports are that there was a mass shooting at an elementary school, and the preliminary reports are that 14 children have been killed.  And the details are still coming in, and of course the President and I are monitoring the situation closely.
 
So while we don’t know all the details yet, we do know that there are parents who have lost children, families that have lost children and their loves ones, of course, and many others who may have been injured.
 
So, I would normally say in a moment like this — we would all say naturally — that our hearts break, but our hearts keep getting broken. 
 
You know, I think so many — there’s so many elected leaders in this room.  You know what I’m talking about.  Every time a tragedy like this happens, our hearts break, and our broken hearts are nothing compared to the broken hearts of those families.  And yet, it keeps happening.
 
So, I think we all know and have said many times with each other: Enough is enough.  Enough is enough.
 
As a nation, we have to have the courage to take action and understand the nexus between what make for reasonable and sensible public policy to ensure something like this never happens again.
 
So, the President will speak more about this later.  But for now, I will just say to the people of Uvalde: Please know that this is a room full of leaders who grieve with you.  And we are praying for you, and we stand with you.
 
And it is difficult at a time like this to think about much else, but I do look around this room and I know who is here, and I know this is a room full of American leaders who know and have the courage to take a stand. 
 
And so let us, tonight, as we do every time we all get together, recommit ourselves to having the courage to take action.
 
And so that does bring me to the leaders who are in this room and the leaders of APAICS.  And, again, I want to thank Chairwoman Judy Chu for that kind introduction.  As a former member of CAPAC, I had the opportunity to see her leadership firsthand, and she is truly a national leader who lifts up the people of our country.
 
And, of course, I’m honored tonight to be with Congresswoman Marilyn Strickland; APAICS Board Chair Susan Jin Davis; and all of the federal, state, and local elected officials who are here; and so many friends and former colleagues.
 
So this is the first time APAICS has gathered without the great Secretary Norman Mineta, who I all know — I know we all miss.  And, you know, Norm showed us what a leader could be.  I loved Norm.  I knew Norm.  (Applause.) 
 
As a kid who group up — I think I see Norm’s family here.  There you are.  I — as a kid who grew up in the Bay Area, I was born in the Bay Area, Norm Mineta was a legend.  He was a legend.  In fact, many of you may know — his family knows — my brother-in-law Tony West, who some of you have worked with over the years, he was an intern in then-Congressman Mineta’s office when Tony was a very, very mature 11-year-old.  (Laughter.)  Because that’s the kind of leader Norm Mineta was.
 
He, if he were here, would have great expectations of us in terms of what this moment requires of us as leaders.  But throughout his life, as long as any of us have known him — and we will carry our knowledge of him and memory — he never thought that anyone was too young or too small to deserve his attention and concern and investment.

That’s the kind of leader Norm Mineta was.  He was a leader who understood what is possible and a leader who understood what must be.

And as I think about it, going forward, I say that, you know, Norm is somebody who had the ability to — out of great sacrifice, out of great tragedy — always still be so optimistic about who we are as a country.

As we all know, he endured — through his own life experiences, along with approximately 120,000 other Japanese Americans — virtual incarceration.  We called it, for many years, “internment.”

But Norm — but Norm decided that he understood the power of a government; that he endured, he understood what a government could do.  And he said — because he was the kind of leader — “I’m going to go inside.  I’m going to run for office.  I’m going to hold office.  And I’m going to lead with a sense of optimism about the best of who we are.”

Norm saw America’s during one — saw America during one of our darkest hours.  And even so, he never gave up on our country.
 
Instead, he chose to devote his career to public service.  And he worked tirelessly to make our nation stronger, safer, and more just.  And he was relentless in his efforts to bring together the AANHPI community in pursuit of a better future.
 
As he once said — and I will quote — “If we will act together, then we are strong enough to withstand any evil, internal or external, that threatens to unravel this beautiful tapestry that is America.”  This room.
 
After the events of today and the last two weeks in Buffalo, Laguna Woods, and Dallas, Norm’s words take on a new sense of urgency.
 
Today, we are witnessing, again and again, the terrible consequences of hate and the consequences of violence.  But let’s not lose sight of the beautiful tapestry that Norm spoke of.
 
Because I do believe our country still embodies a most profound belief: That we are in this together, as one nation undivided.  Out of many, one.
 
And so, this is a moment that calls on us to take action.  A moment once again for all of us to join together in the collective fight against hate and toward a better future for all people.

And now I’m speaking specifically of the events — not today — that have occurred though, in the last couple of weeks and for years before.
 
For nearly three decades, APAICS has done the outstanding work to promote AA and NHPI participation and representation in all levels of government.
 
We know our country is stronger and more just when policies reflect the experiences and the perspectives of all people.
 
We know that Asian Americans need to be in the rooms where decisions are being made.  (Applause.)  That Native Hawaiians and Pacific Islanders need to be in the room where decisions are made.  (Applause.)  We know and have devoted our lives to understand the words when we say, “Participation and access matter.”  It’s a lived experience for us.

And I know, of course — like so many of you — I know firsthand what it is like to be in the rooms where decisions are being made and be the only person who looks like you or who has had your life experience. 

And so, I will remind us all that in those moments, we must always remember — and I will say to you, those of you especially who are starting out in your role of leadership: When you are in those rooms, please remember you are never alone.  Look around this room and hold onto the image to remember we are all in that room with you. 
 
And always remember, then, that what comes with that experience is also, of course, a responsibility to know and remember that we carry the voices of so many who are not in the room — and perhaps have never been in the room — to carry those voices with us and to remind each other always that we are in this together, supporting each other.

And most importantly, I believe it is very much a part of the spirit of this organization and its work to remember our collective responsibility to speak up for everyone who is not in the room, for those voices must be heard. 

So this is a unique responsibility that all of us here carry.  However, it should not be ours alone.  It falls on every American, and especially all of our elected officials, regardless of their party affiliation, to fight for the promise of equal justice under law.

And it will take all of us working together to uplift our nation.  And slowly but surely, I’m confident that we, as elected leaders, are making progress.

And I know Judy mentioned it and I’ll just remind us all — think about it: Just one year ago, members of Congress from both parties came together to pass the COVID-19 Hate Crimes Act.
 
It was based on a resolution that I had introduced — (applause) — right? — that I had introduced when I was senator, together with the phenomenal Mazie Hirono, the phenomenal Tammy Duckworth — (applause) — condemning the rise of anti-Asian sentiment in our country.
 
And as I stood, then, later — a year later almost — as Vice President with President Joe Biden in the East Room that day, while he signed the bill into law, I looked around and I saw all the people in that room, including many of whom are here today, who fought to ensure that this law would be a significant step forward.

We have seen progress.  And that law, of course, now provides resources and training for law enforcement to accurately identify and report hate crime.  And it addresses language and cultural barriers that make it difficult for AA and NHPI communities to report those crimes.
 
As of this month, hate crime resources are now available in 18 of the most commonly spoken Asian languages.  But we know we have hundreds; I know that too, so — but — (laughter) — it’s a start.
 
And our administration has taken steps to address not only that which holds us back but that which moves us forward.
 
We have created over 8 million jobs since taking office — a record-setting pace of job creation.  (Applause.)  We did that together.
 
Together, we all passed an historic infrastructure law that is already delivering results for the American people and lowering costs for working families through initiatives like the Affordable Connectivity Program so more families can access high-speed Internet.
 
And our administration is determined to increase representation.  We have appointed AA and NHPI Americans at every level in our government.  And we appointed and confirmed more AA and NHPI judges during our first year than any other administration.  (Applause.)
 
So, I’ll close with this: In spite of the obstacles that we face along the way, the strength of our country has always been that we fight to move forward — from injustice to justice, from darkness to light.
 
And together, in spite of whatever the challenges may be, let us remain focused on the path forward to a better future for all people.  Let us remain focused on what many of you have heard me say all the time: Let us remain focused on what can be — and our vision, collectively, of what can be — unburdened by what has been.

That is the beauty and the strength of this organization and the leaders in this room. 

Thank you all.  God bless.  (Applause.)

                              END                 7:22 P.M. EDT

A Proclamation Honoring The Victims Of The Tragedy In Uvalde, Texas

As a mark of respect for the victims of the senseless acts of violence perpetrated on May 24, 2022, by a gunman at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas, by the authority vested in me as President of the United States by the Constitution and the laws of the United States of America, I hereby order that the flag of the United States shall be flown at half-staff at the White House and upon all public buildings and grounds, at all military posts and naval stations, and on all naval vessels of the Federal Government in the District of Columbia and throughout the United States and its Territories and possessions until sunset, May 28, 2022.  I also direct that the flag shall be flown at half-staff for the same length of time at all United States embassies, legations, consular offices, and other facilities abroad, including all military facilities and naval vessels and stations.

IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand this twenty-fourth day of May, in the year of our Lord two thousand twenty-two, and of the Independence of the United States of America the two hundred and forty-sixth.

                               JOSEPH R. BIDEN JR.

Readout of White House Meeting with State Legislative Leaders on Reproductive Rights

Today, White House Gender Policy Council Director Jennifer Klein and White House Intergovernmental Affairs Director Julie Chavez Rodriguez chaired a meeting with state legislative leaders on protecting access to reproductive health care. This important discussion follows the passage of proactive reproductive rights measures in at least 10 states so far in the 2022 legislative session, including in California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Maine, Maryland, New Jersey, New York, Oregon, and Washington. These actions to protect and expand access to reproductive health care stand in sharp contrast to a wave of abortion bans and restrictions that have passed in states across the country.

State legislative leaders shared the steps they have taken so far to protect access to abortion, as well as plans to further expand care, and discussed ways the Administration can support state and local efforts. Senior White House officials thanked the leaders for their efforts and underscored their support for state action to strengthen reproductive rights.

State legislative leaders included:

  • California Senate President Pro Tempore Toni Atkins
  • California Assemblymember Rebecca Bauer-Kahan
  • Connecticut Senate Majority Leader Bob Duff
  • Illinois Senate President Don Harmon
  • Illinois Representative Anna Moeller
  • Illinois Senator Celina Villanueva
  • Illinois Senator Julie Morrison
  • Maryland Delegate Ariana Kelly
  • New York Senator Liz Krueger
  • Oregon Senate Majority Leader Rob Wagner
  • Oregon House Majority Leader Julie Fahey
  • Oregon Representative Andrea Valderrama
  • Oregon Senator Deb Patterson
  • Washington President Pro Tempore Karen Keiser

Remarks by President Biden and Prime Minister Narendra Modi of the Republic of India Before Bilateral Meeting

Kantei,
Tokyo, Japan

2:36 P.M. JST

PRESIDENT BIDEN:  Well, Mr. Prime Minister, it’s a pleasure to see you again here in Japan.  We just finished, I thought, a very productive morning together at the Quad Leaders’ Summit. 

And our — on our video call in April, you highlighted the need for democracies to deliver.  I think that’s what we’re doing today.  We’re talking about how to deliver through the Quad and the U.S.-India cooperation as well.  And so, we’re delivering for our people and for the wider world.

Do I want to stop for interpretation? 

INTERPRETER:  Yes, sir.  Yes, sir.

PRESIDENT BIDEN:  I think it’s a good idea.  (Laughter.)

And here in Tokyo, we announced two new initiatives — the Indo-Pacific Economic Framework and the Indo-Pacific Maritime Domain Awareness program — that’s going to bring India and the United States together with other nations to reflect our vision for a more open and more prosperous, connected, and secure world.

I’m pleased that we’ve reached agreement for the U.S. Development Finance Corporation to continue its important work in India supporting vaccine production, clean energy initiatives.  And I am also glad we’re renewing the Indo-U.S. Vaccine Action Program.

We also discussed the ongoing effects of Russia’s brutal and unjustified invasion of Ukraine and the effect it has on the entire global world order.  And the U.S. and India are going to continue consulting closely on how to mitigate these negative effects.

I’m looking forward to continuing our conversation today.  Mr. Prime Minister, there’s so much that our countries can and will do together, and I am committed to making the U.S.-India partnership among the closest we have on Earth.

Thank you.

PRIME MINISTER MODI:  (As interpreted.)  Mr. President, it’s always a pleasure to meet you.  And today, we also participated together in a very positive and useful Quad Summit.

The India-America strategic partnership is, in the true sense, a partnership of trust.

Our common interests — our common interests in defense and other relations — in defense and other matters, and our shared values, have indeed strengthened this bond of trust between our two countries.

Our people-to-people relations and our strong economic cooperation makes our partnership even more unique. 

Our trade and investment relations are also steadily on the rise, but they are still well below potential. 

I am absolutely confident that with the conclusion of the India-USA Investment Incentive Agreement, we will see concrete progress in investment between our two countries.

We’re also increasing bilateral cooperation in the domain of technology.  And even on global issues, we cooperate closely.

We both share similar views on the Indo-Pacific.  And at the bilateral level, as well as with likeminded countries, we continue to work to protect our common concerns.

The Quad and the IPEF are two important examples of this cooperation.  And I believe that our discussions today will give even further speed to this positive momentum.

I’m absolutely sure that the India-U.S. friendship will continue to be a force for good, for global peace and stability, for sustainability of the planet, and for human development.

PRESIDENT BIDEN:  So am I.  Thank you.

2:45 P.M. JST

              

Remarks by President Biden and Prime Minister Anthony Albanese of the Commonwealth of Australia Before Bilateral Meeting | Tokyo, Japan

Kantei,
Tokyo, Japan

3:21 P.M. JST
 
PRESIDENT BIDEN:  Well, Mr. Prime Minister, welcome.  Welcome.  I know you’ve been on the job a long time.  
 
PRIME MINISTER ALBANESE:  Thank you.  (Laughter.)  All over.
 
PRESIDENT BIDEN:  All over it.  I’m sure you will be.  And I appreciate you making the effort to be here so quickly.  You’re such a critical part of the Quad, and your absence would have been — made a big difference — a negative difference.  
 
And — and as I said earlier, I appreciate your determination to get here so quickly.  And I — it’s testament to Australia being all in on our shared vision on what we have to do.
 
I think that it’s important to demonstrate that in democracies, we have the power to deliver from — and it comes from our people — and that it’s real.  
 
And so, I hope your people are prepared to understand why you got up here so quickly.  And we appreciate it.  
 
I’m looking forward to having a chance to get to know you a bit and more personally.  I always get kidded by Barack Obama when I would say to him, “All politics is personal.”  I’m looking forward to a personal relationship with you because I think it’s critical.  
 
The alliance between Australia and the United States has long been an anchor of stability and prosperity I — in the Indo-Pacific, our nations have stood shoulder-to-shoulder in every conflict since World War One.  And — and I’m proud that our alliances is strong as it’s ever been, and I’m sure it’ll even get stronger with your leadership.  
 
So, thank you for coming to Tokyo, Mr. Prime Minister.  Congratulations again on your election.  And the floor is yours.
 
PRIME MINISTER ALBANESE:  Well, thank you very much, Mr.  President.  And it — it’s been an honor to start my prime ministership and the new government with meetings with yourself and also with Prime Minister Kishida and Prime Minister Modi.
 
Australia and the United States are great friends.  Many years ago, a young fellow — myself in my — in my 20s, I was a guest of your State Department with the State Department program and had — had five weeks in the — in the U.S.  
 
Diverse — we went to I — they had of program, which was — you could design a theme, and mine was — I wanted to see the interaction of groups with the U.S. government.  So, I did everything from the National Rifle Association to the Sierra Club to Planned Parenthood to the full — the full kit and caboodle across the spectrum.  (Laughter.)
 
PRESIDENT BIDEN:  (Gets up and pretends to walk away.)  (Laughter.)  You’re a brave man.  (Laughter.)
 
PRIME MINISTER ALBANESE:  I am.
 
PRESIDENT BIDEN:  You’re a brave man.  
 
PRIME MINISTER ALBANESE:  I am.
 
PRESIDENT BIDEN:  (Inaudible.)
 
PRIME MINISTER ALBANESE:  But it was an —
 
PRESIDENT BIDEN:  The Sierra Club and the National Rifle.
 
PRIME MINISTER ALBANESE:  — an opportunity to see the — the full diversity of the way that the country operates.  And as well, of course they do — you do dinners in people’s homes as well, who host you.  And it was a chance to really immerse myself there.  
 
And I had security briefings in — in Hawaii on the way back.  And the — the U.S. State Department was good enough as well to manage to justify a trip to Vegas as well.  (Laughter.)  I’m not quite sure — I’m not quite sure where that fitted in, but it was a — it was a good trip indeed.  
 
And, of course, my — my government is very committed to the alliance.  We’re very proud of the fact that the alliance was forged by John Curtin during World War Two — that we turned to America.  And that led, in the post war, to what we’ve just celebrated as the 70th anniversary of the formal alliance, but it really began when our country was under threat.  And we commemorated as well, recently, the 80th anniversary of — of USS Peary in Darwin — the American loss of life.  And we’ve been friends ever since. 
 
And we play a very important role, in terms of national security, for us but for our region as well.  I was a part of a government that brought the U.S. Marines to Darwin —
 
PRESIDENT BIDEN:  (Inaudible.)
 
PRIME MINISTER ALBANESE:  — under Julia Gillard, which was a very important move.  And I look forward to really strengthening our relationship.
 
I’ve — I’ve been a partic- — we last met when you were Vice President under my participation in the Australia American Leadership Dialogue — I’ve done for many, many years — and that’s an important body.  And I’ve known some of your colleagues, Kurt in particular, for some time through that process as well.
 
PRESIDENT BIDEN:  I apologize (inaudible).  (Laughter.)  
 
PRIME MINISTER ALBANESE:  He’s a good guy.  
 
PRESIDENT BIDEN:  He’s a great guy.  
 
PRIME MINISTER ALBANESE:  I quote him regularly.  So —
 
PRESIDENT BIDEN:  So do I.  (Laughter.)  
 
PRIME MINISTER ALBANESE:  He’s very important.  
 
So, thank you, Mr. President, for your congratulations and your warm welcome.  And I look forward to welcoming you down to the Quad Leaders’ Meeting next year.  But also, my intention to thank you to — I will be visiting the U.S. before then.  I look forward to —
 
PRESIDENT BIDEN:  I’d like to invite you to the U.S. —
 
PRIME MINISTER ALBANESE:  — to that.  
 
PRESIDENT BIDEN:  — well before then.  
 
PRIME MINISTER ALBANESE:  Thank you.  
 
PRESIDENT BIDEN:  And maybe we can work out a time sooner than later, but you are going to have to be home at some point.  (Laughter.)  (Inaudible.)
 
PRIME MINISTER ALBANESE:  Indeed.  It’s working out okay so far.  (Laughter.)
 
PRESIDENT BIDEN:  Well, thank you very much.  
 
Thank you, press.
 
PRIME MINISTER ALBANESE:  Thank you.  
 
3:27 P.M. JST                

Joint Statement Between the United States and the European Commission on European Energy Security

Russia has demonstrated that it is an unreliable supplier of energy to Europe through unjustified and unacceptable actions such as cutting off electricity and natural gas to Finland, halting natural gas exports to Poland and Bulgaria, and threatening similar actions against other European nations. The United States and the European Commission condemn Russia’s use of energy blackmail and reaffirm our commitment to strengthening Europe’s energy security.

Across Europe, from the Nordics to the Balkans, efforts are underway to diversify supplies and reduce dependence on Russian gas.  Since 2020, Finland has been interconnected to Estonia via the Balticonnector, a project supported by the European Commission, which increases security of supply for Finland and the region. Furthermore, on May 1, the Poland-Lithuania Gas Interconnector started its commercial operation which reinforces optionality and resilience of the whole Baltic gas market and was also supported through the Connecting Europe Facility of the European Commission. 

The European Commission and the United States understand the urgency of taking decisive action to reduce energy imports from Russia. Together, we are partnering to address these challenges under our joint Task Force on Energy Security announced by Presidents Biden and von der Leyen on March 25.  Through the Task Force we will continue working to diversify Europe’s supply of natural gas while we accelerate the deployment of energy efficiency and smart technologies in European homes and businesses, electrify heating, and ramp-up clean energy output to reduce demand for fossil fuels altogether.  

As an important step towards realizing the goals of the Task Force, the European Commission and the United States welcome Finland’s contract to lease a floating LNG import terminal from a U.S. provider that will be operational before the end of this year.  

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