tv Pres. Biden Signs Economic Executive Order CSPAN July 9, 2021 1:48pm-2:09pm EDT
afternoon. [laughter] we are in the midst of a historic economic recovery. because our successful vaccination program strategies have been working and the immediate relief through the american rescue plan has brought back our economy from the worst economic crisis in nearly a century, america is now on track for the highest economic growth in 40 years. one of the highest growth records on record. we designed our economic strategy to be durable to the ups and downs that come with recovery. there are ups and downs. that's why the american rescue plan was designed to help people not just all at once but over the course of a full year, so we can continue supporting small families, state and local budgets, to help them weather those ups and downs.
now that the economy is back on track, we are making progress on the second phase of our strategy, ensuring long-term growth. that is what my build back better agenda and the bipartisan infrastructure agreement, that's what it's all about long-term. to keep our country moving, we have to take other steps as well. i know you are all tired of hearing me drink campaign and since i'm elected president talk about it. that is bringing fair competition back to the economy. that is why today, i'm going to be signing the executive order promoting competition, to lower prices, to increase wages, and take another critical step toward an economy that works for everybody. the heart of american capitalism is a simple idea -- open and fair competition. that means if your company wants to win the business, they have to go out and up their game. better prices and services, new
ideas and products -- competition keeps the economy moving and keep the economy growing. fair competition is why capitalism has been the world's greatest force of prosperity and growth. by the same token, a competitive economy means companies do everything they can do to compete were -- compete for workers as offering higher wages come a flex bull hours and better benefits. but what we have seen over the past few decades is less competition and more concentration that holds our economy back. we see it in big agriculture, big tech, and big pharma, the list goes on. rather than competing for consumers, they are consuming their competitors. rather than competing for workers, they are finding ways to gain the upper hand on labor. and, too often, the government has actually made it harder for
new companies to break in and compete. look at what that means for family budgets. take prescription drugs. just a handful of companies control the markets for many vital medicines, giving them leverage over everyone else to charge whatever they want. as a result, americans pay to and a half times more for prescription drugs then any other leading country. nearly one in four americans struggles to afford their medication. another example -- hearing aids. right now, if you need a hearing aid, you can't just walk into a pharmacy and pick one up over the counter. you have to get it from a doctor or specialist. not only does that make getting hearing aids inconvenient, it makes them considerably more expensive and it makes it harder for new companies to compete, innovate, and sell hearing aids at lower prices. as a result, a pair of hearing aids can cost thousands of dollars. that is a big reason why just
one in seven americans with hearing loss actually use hearing aids. another example -- internet services. there are more than six to 5 million americans who live in a place with only one high-speed internet provider. research shows when you have a limited internet operation, you pay up to five times in places -- then places with more choices. that is what a lack of competition does. it raises the prices you pay. it's not just consumers getting hurt. big bag is putting the squeeze on farmers, small family farms, first-time farmers, like veterans coming home, black, latino and indigenous farmers, they are seeing price hikes for seed, lopsided contracts, stringing profits and growing debt. lack of competition hurts workers as well. in many communities, there are only a handful of employers left
competing for workers. think of company towns across appalachia and other parts of the country where one big corporation runs the show. when corporations have that kind of leverage over workers, it pushes down advertised wages. businesses don't feel the pressure to innovate or invest in their workforce. that hurts working families and hurts our economy. all told, between rising prices and lowering wages, lack of competition costs the median american household $5,000 a year. look, i am a proud capitalist. i spend -- spent most of my career rep setting the corporate state of delaware. i know america can't succeed unless american businesses succeed. capitalism without competition
isn't capitalism, it's exploitation. without help he competition, big players can change and charge whatever they want and treat you however they want. for too many americans, that means accepting a bad deal for things you can't go without. so, we know we've got a problem, a major problem. we also have an incredible opportunity. we can bring back more competition to morph the country , helping entrepreneurs and small businesses get in the game , helping workers get a better deal, helping families save money every month. the good news is we have done it before. in the early 1900s, president teddy roosevelt saw an economy dominated by giants like standard oil and j.p. morgan and the railroads. he took them on and one. they gave the little guy a fighting chance. decades later, during the great
depression, his cousin, franklin roosevelt, saw a wave of corporate mergers that wiped out scores of small businesses, crushing competition and innovation, so he ramped up antitrust enforcement eightfold, saving families billions in today's dollars. and helping set the course for sustained economic growth after world war ii. he also called for an economic bill of rights, including the right of every businessman large and small to trade in an atmosphere of freedom, among fair competition and domination from monopolies. between them, they established an american tradition -- and antitrust tradition. it's how we ensure our economy is not people working for capitalism, it's about capitalism working for people. but over time, we've lost the idea that true capitalism depends on fair and open competition. 40 years ago, we chose the wrong
path, in my view, following the misguided philosophy of people like robert bork, enforcing laws to promote competition. -- a pullback on laws to promote competition. now, we are letting giant corporations acutely more and more power and what have we gotten from it? less growth, week investment, fewer small businesses. too many americans who feel left behind, too many people who are poorer than their parents. i believe the experiment failed. we have to get back to an economy that grows from the bottom up and middle out. the executive order i'm soon going to be signing puts a full and bashful enforcement of antitrust laws. no more abuse by monopolies, no more bad mergers that lead to mass layoffs and higher prices, fewer options for workers and consumers alike.
my executive order includes 72 specific actions. i expect the federal agencies to help restore competition. so we have lower prices, higher wages, more money, more options and more conveniences for the american people. today, i want to focus on three specific actions. first, the fda come of the food and drug administration. they are going to work with states and tribes to safely import prescription drugs from canada. that's one of many actions that will lower prescription drug prices. second, the fda is going to issue rules so that hearing aids can be sold over-the-counter. that's something the lasted ministry she was supposed to have done but did not do. after these go into effect, a pair of hearing aids can cost
hundreds of dollars, not thousands of dollars and you can pick them up at your local grocery store. third, i've talked a lot about noncompete agreements, contracts that say you can't take another job in your field even if you get a better deal. i was just reminiscing with my staff, back into me 18, the brookings institution, where i talked about the noncompete clauses and how not only were they absolutely ridiculous, but how prevalent they were. at least one in three businesses require their workers to sign a noncompete agreement. these are not just high paid executives or scientists that hold a secret formula for coca-cola so pepsi can get their hands on it. a recent study found one in five workers without a college education is subject to noncompete agreements.
like construction workers, hotel workers, disproportionally she is a star worker, but she is not being treated right. she has underpaid. her competitor across the street knows that and wants to bring her into a higher wage, but she can't do it. her company threatens legal action over a noncompete clause she had to sign in order to get hired in the first place. she can't afford a lawyer for help, so she's locked in. imagine you are in her shoes. you would feel powerless. this respected. bullied. trapped. that's not right. workers should be free to take a better job if someone offers it. if your employer wants to keep you, he or she should have to make it worth your while to stay. that is the kind of competition that leads to better wages and greater dignity of work. look, i'm not going to go into
it now, but i used to talk about, there noncompete clauses and people running the machines that lay down asphalt -- for people running the machines that lay down asphalt. if you are in arkansas doing it, a lot of specific examples, you can't take a job in west texas to do it. what does that have to do with anything? [laughter] no, i'm serious. or closets and mcdonald's contracts, you can't leave burger king and go to mcdonald's. come on. is there a trade secret about what is inside that petty -- patty? [laughter] but i'm serious. i didn't know the incredible number of non-complete -- noncompete clauses for a number of people that are done for one reason, to keep wages low. period.
look, my executive order called on the ftc to ban or limit noncompete agreements. let workers choose who they want to work for. i am also calling on the ftc to do away with certain occupational licensing requirements. you realize if you want to braid here and you move -- from one state to another, sometimes you have to do a six-month apprenticeship even though you've been in the business for a long time? what's that all about? military families, for example. they are often on the move between states. with new assignments. so you have a woman in the military, a husband following her, or vice versa, guess what? if you are a plumber, you have to get a different license when you move from delaware to missouri. look, it can be a significant burden to get a new license, and
a new home state -- in a new home state. that burden can to be around more. it takes time and money. it takes a toll on families' income. while you are waiting. we should remove that barrier. providing more mobility, more opportunity, higher wages for families on the move. this is something my wife, jill, has worked on together with michelle obama for the military. we want to keep that moving. we are going to get it done in executive order. let me close with this, competition works. we know it works. we have seen it works, when it exists. fair competition is what made america the wealthiest, most innovative nation in history. that is why people come here to invent things and start new businesses. in the competition against china and other nations in the tone for century, let's show that american democracy and the american people can truly
outcompete anyone. because i know given half a chance, american people have never, ever let their country down. imagine if we give everyone a full and fair chance, that is what this is all about. that is what i am about to do. so i would like to invite the cabinet members up here. the attorney general, general garland, mr. secretary, you can come up, too. gina raimondo, pete buttigieg, and the chair of the fcc, lena, acting chair of the ftc. and the director of the national economic council. did i leave anybody out? anyway, come on up, this may be the first cabinet meeting we've had.
>> you said three weeks ago there would be consequences. will there be, sir? pres. biden: yes. announcer: say spanish or unfiltered view of government. funded by these television companies and more, including buckeye broadband. ♪ buckeye broadband supports c-span as a public service, along with these other television providers, giving you a front row seat to democracy. ♪ announcer: this week marked the
six-month anniversary of the january 6 attack on the u.s. capitol. each night, we've been showing congressional hearings that occurred in the aftermath of the attack. tonight, we conclude with former trump administration officials and d.c. police chief robert contee, testifying on their actions in response to the capital security breach. watch that hearing tonight starting at 8:00 p.m. eastern on c-span. recently, the white house, in bipartisan group of senators, announced they had reached a deal on infrastructure legislation. next, the transportation secretary, pete would a judge, and industry officials discuss infrastructure investment and clean energy initiatives. the bipartisan policy center is the host of this event. >> well, good afternoon, friends and family. welcome to this special event, critical infrastructure for a clean energy future. i am jason. on behalf of the bipartisan policy