President Joe Biden tried to deliver a unifying speech in Boston on Monday focused on his “Moonshot” initiative to reduce cancer deaths in the United States – a stop that is part of an expanded travel schedule that highlights his administration’s achievements before the midterm elections.
Biden told an audience at Boston’s John F. Kennedy Library and Museum that his goal is to reduce cancer death rates by at least 50% in the next 25 years. The president also said he wants to “create a more supportive experience for patients and families.”
The president – who lost his son to brain cancer – spoke in personal and passionate terms about his goal, which he called “bold, ambitious” and “completely achievable”.
“Cancer does not differentiate between red and blue. It doesn’t matter if you’re a Republican or a Democrat. Beating cancer is something we can do together,” the President said, discussing the administration’s efforts to halve the number of cancer deaths in the United States over the next 25 years.
Biden’s speech came on the 60th anniversary of Kennedy’s original “Moonshot” speech, in which he revealed his goal of landing a man on the moon.
“When he set that goal, he created a national goal that could bring the American people together in a common cause, and he succeeded,” Biden said of Kennedy. “Now, in our time, on the 60th anniversary of his clarion call, we face another inflection point. And together, we can choose to move forward with unity, hope and optimism. And I believe we can bring that same unwillingness to push—the same national purpose that will serve to organize and marshal our best energies and abilities to end cancer as we know it and even to cure cancers once and for all.
To “break down barriers” in Congress, Biden said he would use his authority as President to increase funding for cancer research.
The President also announced that Dr. Renee Wegrzyn will become the inaugural director of the Advanced Research Projects Agency for Health, a new agency that aims to “drive biomedical innovation that supports the health of all Americans.” He is also expected to sign an executive order that will launch a National Biotechnology and Biomanufacturing Initiative, the White House said.
The midterm elections are less than 60 days away, and Biden’s trip to Boston is his latest effort to capitalize on the political momentum fueled by recent legislative accomplishments and lower gas prices.
Earlier Monday, the President highlighted projects enabled by the bipartisan infrastructure bill at Boston Logan International Airport’s Terminal E. New spending from the infrastructure bill, he said, will create more than 5,000 jobs and expand capacity and increase access to the airport.
Biden, at the airport, emphasized the importance of competing with other countries such as China, in addition to rebuilding the country’s infrastructure.
“We risk losing our advantage as a nation to China and the rest of the world is catching up. This stops now, with investments like we are celebrating here today”, said the President.
Biden said: “People, America invented modern aviation. But we have allowed our airports to fall behind our competitors. Today, not a single US airport ranks in the top 25 in the world. United States. No airport is ranked in the top 25 in the world. What the hell is wrong with us? It means commerce, it means income, it means security.”
Investments at the airport include $50 million to modernize Terminal E and $12 million to improve roads. The President said that in addition to being frustrating and inconvenient for passengers, traffic jams and delays on airport runways cause air pollution that damages the environment and directly affects neighboring communities.
Biden told reporters Monday before his trip to Boston: “We’re finally going to get the infrastructure up and running. We’re making a big investment as you know, in a big city with an airport that’s really behind the times, as most are. And we’re going to spend a lot of money and we’re going to do it fast, and we’re going to go across America making our airports the best in the world.”
The president is also scheduled to attend a reception for the Democratic National Committee on Monday evening.
Biden’s schedule for the rest of the week, as outlined by the White House, includes a celebration at the White House for the passage of the Inflation Reduction Act — a $750 billion health care, tax and climate bill — as well as a trip to the key battleground state of Michigan.