President Biden on the Weekly Economic Briefing

Washington, DC…Well, first of all, Jill and I, and the entire administration, send our condolences to Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II on the loss of Prince Philip. He was a heck of a guy. He — you know, he was — in his lifetime of service to the United Kingdom and the whole Commonwealth was visible to everybody for a long, long time, and his bravery serving in World War II, as well as his being a champion of the environment, as well as the charity — the charitable things he set up.

So we really do express our condolences for an extraordinary life that was led by the Prince. And I think he’s going to be missed, particularly in the United Kingdom. Ninety-nine years old and he never slowed down at all, and — which I admire the devil out of.

And today, we’re meeting on — we’re having an economic briefing here with the team. I sent to Congress my funding priorities for the appropriations process, including two key public health initiatives that I’m pushing.

The first is — like DARPA in the Defense Department, which was designed to develop, and has developed, breakthroughs to protect us and enhance our physical safety — I’m proposing a $6.5 billion appropriation for what we call “ARPA-H,” which is focused on going to — focused on health issues.

This is a pioneering breakthrough that we hope we can detect and treat and prevent diseases like Alzheimer’s and diabetes, and give us a chance to end cancer as we know it, because we’ll focus exclusively on those items.

And secondly, I’m proposing a historic funding increase of 50 percent up to — of $4 billion to end the opioid crisis, which still ravages the country and has taken so many lives over the last two years; resources both to the states and to Tribes for treatment, as well as prevention.

That also includes the single-largest funding increase ever for Title I schools — schools for disadvantaged schools — to lift up the millions of children in low-income families. And it’ll put them in a position where all the data is — we’ve –I’ve talked a lot about this — the data shows that it puts a child from a household that is a lower-income household in a position, if they start school — not daycare, but school — at three and four years old, there’s overwhelming evidence that they are able to compete all the way through high school and beyond.

And so it doubles the funding as well for — for VAWA services, including resources to end the rape kit backlog. We’ve been working on this for a long, long time, and we still have a backlog on the rape kit. And — and the point is: A significant number of women who have been raped — and the person has not been found or convicted is because they’re sitting in jail. The average rapist rapes about six times.

And so, out there, we’re — we want to make sure we go through this backlog and find out, to bring some — some certitude to — for the woman who is saying, “No, no, it was true. That’s the man. He did it.” And it changes the whole perspective — all the hearings we held on that.

And also there — it makes major investments in the fight against climate change.

And there’s issues that are personal to millions of Americans in the area of VAWA, because I get that asked, and we get spoken to by everyone from mayors and governors, local officials of both parties.

So I look forward to working with Congress to advance these and other priorities. I think we’re going to be able to get — I’m hoping we will have some bipartisan support across the board. I’ve already spoken to some of my Republican colleagues about dealing with the infrastructure legislation we have up there, as well as other budget items. So we’re going to work on seeing if we can get some bipartisan support across the board here.

But that’s what we’re about to do now. We’re going to talk about our economic priorities, and we’ll get the brief from the team here. But thank you all for coming.

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