Biden open to negotiating on infrastructure, but not to 'doing nothing’

Delivering remarks on the American Jobs Plan, President Biden said he is amenable to compromise on his infrastructure plan, but not to "doing nothing.” He added, “Inaction simply is not an option.”

Video Transcript

JOE BIDEN: Last week in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, I announced my plan to rebuild what I refer to 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 is 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.

Tens of thousands of miles of roads and highways, thousands of bridges in desperate need of repair, but it also is a blueprint for infrastructure needed for tomorrow-- not just yesterday, tomorrow-- for American jobs, for American competitiveness. Last week, I said that once Congress is back from recess, I'd get to work right away, because we have no time to lose. So here we are.

Democrats and Republicans will have ideas about what they like and what they don't like about our plan. That's-- 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, and 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. Now since I announced this plan, I've heard from my Republican friends say that it's-- many of them say it's too big. They say, "Why not focus on traditional infrastructure?" Fix what we've already got, the roads and the highways that exist, and the bridges.

I'm happy to have that debate, but I want to tell you my view. We are America. We don't just fix for today, we build for tomorrow.