Biden-Harris

The Government Shutdown: 2023 – 2024

Photo of The White House by Aaron Kitteridge from Pexels

Here is everything you need to know about the Government Shutdown that took place during the Biden-Harris administration. This is not the first time the U.S. government has faced a shutdown.


In 2018-2019, (then) President Donald Trump caused a shutdown because he wanted money for a border wall. This resulted in several weeks of having the U.S. government experience a partial shutdown.

You can read more about the Trump shutdown here:

This blog post covers the Government Shutdown from March of 2023 through May of 2023.


March 2023:

March 1, 2023: Press Briefing by Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: Hi. Good afternoon, everybody. Apologies for the briefing staring late today.

I want to start by saying: Happy Women’s History Month — a time when we celebrate the countless women who have fought tirelessly and courageously for equality, justice, and opportunity in our nation. And we reaffirm our commitment to continue advancing rights and opportunities for women and girls in the United States and around the world.

The President is honoring this commitment with action. He signed into law legislation to advance gender equity over the last year, including to support women in the workplace, such as the Pregnant Workers Family — Fairness Act — pardon me; the Speak Out Act; and the Pump for Nursing Mothers Act, as well. And to ensure all people can live free from violence through the strengthening and reauthorization of the Violence Against Women Act.

The President is also proud of having the most diverse group of women at the highest levels of government in U.S. history, including the first woman Vice President and the first gender-equal Cabinet.

This Women’s History Month, we remain committed to continuing this important work in services of advancing the full participation of women, a foun- — foundational tenant of our democracy.

And I wanted to lift up some really good news that all of you saw this morning and you also heard from the President as well speak to this, which is the lowering health cost for American people that we heard today.

So, as you know, for far too long, American families have been crushed by drug cost many times higher than that cost to make them and what people in our – in other countries are charged for for that same very — that same prescription.

Insulin costs less than $10 to make, but Americans are sometimes forced to pay over $300 for it as well. As the President said this morning, it’s flat wrong. That’s why the President fought tooth and nail to pass the Inflation Reduction Act, which caps the price of insulin of Americans on Medicare.

This was a critical action to lower healthcare costs for American people. But the President has been clear that the insulin cap should apply to all Americans. And that was something that we saw congressional Republicans blocked at that time.

In this — in his State of the Union address, he also called on Pharma companies to continue this process and bring prices down for everyone on their own.

Today, Eli Lilly, the largest manufacturer of insulin in the United States, heeded that call and announced that they are lowering prices, capping what patients pay out of the pocket — out of pocket for drugmakers’ insulin products at $30 — at $35.

This is great news and important progress towards lowering costs for all Americans. Unfortunately, congressional Republicans are making — are among the few left that believe insulin costs should be sky high. In fact, they are fighting to repeal the Inflation Reduction Act, which would increase healthcare costs for American people and increase the deficit as well.

And finally, last night, House Republicans voted to overturn the Department of Labor’s rule that investors make their own investment decision free of government interference. The Senate will vote on the measure today.

Republicans talk about their love of free markets, small government, and letting the private sector do its work. The Republican bill is opposite of that. It forces MAGA Republicans’ ideology down the throats of private sector and handcuffing investors as well. The bill would bar fiduciaries from considering significant risks like extreme climate threats and poor coop- — coop — corporate governance when they make investment decisions.

It would give investment professionals less flexibility to make prudent decisions, meaning they won’t be free to maximize the retirement savings for millions of Americans. That would jeopardize the retirement and life savings for police officers, firefighters, teachers, and tens of millions of retirees all across the country.

This is unacceptable to the President, and that is why he will veto this bill if it does come to his desk.

President Biden is focused on protecting workers’ hard-earned life savings and pensions. And that is — that is what he’s going to continue to do. You’ve heard him say that many times.

And with that, Aamer, you want to kick us off?

Q: Yeah. Thank you. So, Chicago had their mayoral — or first round of their mayoral elections yesterday. And it’s the latest big American city where frustrations about crime was a central issue of the cycle. Does President Biden — does he feel that this administration and, I guess, Washington writ large is putting enough attention on dealing with the issue of crime, particularly in areas — big urban areas like Chicago?

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: So, let me first speak to the mayor’s race. Look, the President is committed to working with who — whoever — whomever the — you know, the people in Chicago or the people on the ground, whichever — if it’s a city or a state — whomever they choose to represent them. So that is — is the case and will continue to be the case.

And so I’m going to withhold commenting on any specific race, but I know you’re asking about crime specifically. Look, the President put forth, as you know, a comprehensive Safer Communities plan. And he put that forth after inheriting a rise of crime. That is something that he has been focused on since the beginning of his administration.

Let’s not forget, in that plan, he calls for more than 100,000 police officers to go into the community, to work with communities, and make sure that communities feel safe, families feel safe. And that’s what the President has put forward.

And you’ll see — when you see his commitment to crime — you’ll see that in his — in his budget next week. As you know, we’re going to release that March 9th, And it will reflect his commitment, as well, as we’re trying to continue to fight crime, which is — the President has been leading at from the beginning of his administration.

But what we have seen is that, for years, — for years, congressional Republicans have been doing the opposite. When you think about the COPS program, which is something that the President put forward, they have wanted to defund that, to take it away.

And if you think about that, that leads to defunding the police. Just recently, they called on defunding the FBI. And you think about the border security funding; they want to take that away as well.

So the President has been committed. And one more thing I would add: Let’s not forget the banning assault weapons. That is a key part of this — when we think about crime, when we think about gun crime — that we believe will help alleviate the crime that we’re seeing, keep families safe, keep communities safe across the country.

So, the President has walked the talk. The President has been very consistent on making sure that communities feel safe and fighting crime. And he’ll continue to do that.

Q: Okay. So just one on a different topic. If TikTok isn’t safe for federal government workers’ devices, does the President believe it’s safe for Americans’ children’s smartphones?

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: So, I’m glad that you asked about that because, look, we have been clear about our concerns about TikTok, apps like TikTok — and, certainly, our concerns with countries, including China, as they seek to leverage digital technologies and Americans’ — and Americans’ data in ways that can present harm and — and risk to our national security, clearly.

There was — to your point about families, there was a piece of data, of CDC data, that jus found recently nearly 60 percent of teen girls felt persistently sad or hopeless in 2021, and — and 30 percent seriously considered suicide.

So, this is something that the President has taken action on. If you look at the executive — executive — using his executive branch authorities. When you think about his Unity Agenda, a couple of things that he was able to do was stop collecting — stop collecting personal data on kids and teenagers online, ban targeted advertising to children, and impose stricter limits on the personal data companies collect on all of us.

And so, this is what the President calls on Congress to pass in a bipartisan way — you know, privacy legislation to hold bi- — big tech accountable.

And so, the President is going to continue to take actions. But we see that. We see that in the data how this has affected young people, especially during this pandemic in the last couple of years.

Q: Thanks, Karine. To follow on that, does the President believe TikTok is a threat to national security?

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: Well, we have said that we have concerns. We have concerns about the app. And that’s why we have called on Congress to act and — including — and I mentioned earlier, just moments ago — including what China — how China is trying to collect the privacy of Americans in a way that it would have — it would — can present national security risks.

So, yes, we have concerns about that. And — and look, we’re going to continue to — again, to call on Congress. I just laid out the President’s Unity Agenda and what he’s looking to do and the actions that he wants to take from the executive branch, his authority. And so we’re going to continue to call that out.

Q: But does that — do the actions include a ban on all devices in the U.S.?

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: So, look, what I would — what I would say is this: The White House does not use TikTok. And — but we do believe — we do believe that — that, you know, Congress took action. And so, therefore, clearly, we’re — they took action and put this into law. And clearly, we’re taking — taking those steps as it — as it relates to the federal government.

Outside of that, we know that CFIUS has an ongoing investigation or ongoing — looking at this — looking at this situation. So I’m not going to go beyond what CFIUS is doing.

Q: I guess what I’m truing to understand is: You know, has the President not issued a federal ban on TikTok on all devices because he does not think it’s a threat to national security or because he does not have a legal mechanism to do so?

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: I’m not going to get into the specifics on what he has legally to so or not to do so. What I’m saying — and we’ve been very clear that TikTok, you know, poses a problem and an issue. And so, we have concerns about that as it relates to Americans’ data — collecting Americans’ data and the potential national security risk. And we’ve been very, very, clear on that.

Again, CFIUS has an ongoing process that they’re going — they’re working through, so I’m going to let that speak for itself, what they come up with/

Q: And then just one more on the — the intelligence assessment on the Havana Syndrome. The community does not believe it was a foreign adversary that is to blame for these cases, but rather things such as pre-existing conditions, conventional illnesses, environmental factors. Can you elaborate on what that might mean and what else you’re doing to try to pinpoint exactly what caused it?

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: Yeah, so a couple of things. So, look, nothing is more important to this admin – — administration to this President than the health and the wellbeing of our workforce. So that is a priority for this President.

With bipartisan support with Congress, we have focused on ensuring that our colleagues and their families who report anomalous health incidents receive the support and access — care that they need. And so, that also — that medical treatment, the medical care that they need has been incredibly important.

So we also asked the — the U.S. intelligence company [community] to surge resources to help advance our understanding of the AHI reports to date and examine all possibil- all possible explanations. We have committed to be transparent with the workforce because we believe that’s what they deserve and with the American people as well.

But what the IC has learned — and we would refer you to, clearly ODNI — as it relates to assessment and what the specifics of that assess – — assessment and the key judgements that the IC released, that’s something that we clearly would recommend to them.

But it is important to note that what the Director of the National Intelligence said and underscored today is that today’s IC assessment does not call into action the very real experiences and symptoms. Like, we acknowledge that, and we understand that people are truly — truly went through — went through an ordeal. And so, you know — and that’s something that, clearly, our colleag- — our colleagues and their families had to deal with.

So, our commitment and the President’s commitment to the health and safety of U.S. government personnel remains unwavering. And this is why the departments and agency will continue to provide timely care on the medi- — as we look at the medical care and make sure that — that the reports are thorough, support research efforts, and process HAVANA Act payments as requested.

So, again, when it — as it relates to the specific — any specific questions to their assessment, I would refer you to ODNI.

But this doesn’t change the commitment that the President has in making sure that, you know, these families, our colleagues in the workforce get the help and the assistance that they need. And we’re — they’re going to continue to — to work through that.

Q: Thank you. And just to follow up on that, is the President satisfied with that report, with that assessment on the Havana Syndrome?

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: Look, I’ll say this: You know, what’s important to the President is that we take this very seriously, as the intelligence community has.

And you saw the assessment. They laid it out pretty — pretty clearly from ODNI. What we are committed to is making sure that– that our workforce and their families get the assistance that they need through this — the medical care. And, look, the work is ongoing. It continues.

Q: So the — that extra, special financial support that came from the HAVANA Act that the President signed, the White House still believes that the people who are suffering from these symptoms, even with this assessment now, that those people should still get that extra financial support?

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: Absolutely.

Q: That’s the position of the White House?

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: Yeah, absolutely.

But I do want to send a message to the American people: Look, it is — it is important, again, for the health and wellness of the — of our workforce to be a priority.

And that’s what you — you saw from the intelligence community assessment. And — and it — Look, and even from the assessment, that doesn’t alter that. It doesn’t alter our commitment, the President’s commitment to their health and safety. And so that’s what I would say.

There is a commitment there to make sure that we make sure that there is a safe workplace for folks who are working for the U.S. government and who are clearly employees.

Q: If I can just — on one topic that you had brought up: the Eli Lilly news. Did the President make a personal appeal directly to any company executives ahead of this announcement to lower the cost of insulin?

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: So, I’ll say this: I mean, the President has the biggest bu- — bully pulpit, right?

Q: Yeah beyond what we heard from him, of course, in the State of the Union.

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: Well, I mean, I think that’s pretty important, right? I think when people ask what is the President doing using the bully pulpit, as he did at the State of the Union, and calling out or laying out how we can help the American people is critical. It’s important here.

And we saw that, right? We saw that. He talked — he spoke to insulin and how costs need to go down. And here we see Eli Lilly taking action.

And so, look, this is something that he’s going to do. Using the bully pulpit as the President of the United States is an incredibly powerful tool, and the President uses that in a very important way not just to talk to the American people and lay out his platform, lay out how he’s working every day to make sure — in this case, lowering costs for Americans, wether it’s healthcare, whether its energy — and making sure that we continue to deliver, but it’s also speaking directly to companies out there like Eli Lilly and saying, “Hey, you know, we need — you all need to change how you move forward, especially on something like insulin that affects so many families across the country.”

Q: But one-on-one conversations with anybody —

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: I — I don’t have — I —

Q: — or other companies?

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: I don’t have a — any conversations to preview. But I think it is important to really speak to the importance of the bully pulpit, as the — and the way that the President uses that in a way that’s effective and in a way that communicates what the American people need.

Go ahead.

Q: Thanks, Karine. China is going through its party Congress process right now, and they’re expected to implement the biggest government reshuffle in a decade over there.

Do you — what will U.S. engagement with the Chinese look like once this process is over? Do you have a comment?

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: So, the approach — the approach that we have to China hasn’t changed, right? We’ve — you’ve heard us say, “We seek competition, not conflict.” You’ve heard us say that it needs to be practical. That’s the way we approach it: calm with — and resolute. And that is not going to change.

And the President will always do what is required to defend our interests, the American people’s interests. Still believes it is important to keep the lines of communication open.

As you all know, Secretary Blinken very recently, when he was in Munich, had a — had a meeting, a conversation with Wang Yi, his counterpart in China. And so, again, keeping those lines of communication open.

As you mentioned, they’re going through the annual parliament to put in place its government representative. We maintain working-level lines of communication as they go through this process. And after that’s done, as we have said, we are prepared to have high-level engagement with China from – from the President on down.

I don’t have anything to preview. I know many of you have asked me about if there’s a conversation with the President and President Xi. There — I don’t have anything to read out for you at that — at this time.

Q: Xi is expected to further tighten his grip on China after this process is over. Is that — how is the administration viewing that? How is the administration planning to engage with him?

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: Look, I’m not going to get into what — how the process of their annual parliament. I’m going to let them — you know, that’s something political. We don’t really respond to that.

They’re going to go through their process. Once that is over, we’re going to continue having an open channel conversation.

As I mentioned, Secretary Blinken had a conversation with his counterpart, Wang Yi, very recently in Munich, when they all — when they all gathered there for the summit.

And so, we’re going to keep — continue to have those line of communication.

Look, as I said just moments ago, it’s going to be resolute, it’s going to be practical, and it’s going to be calm. And we have been very, very clear: Nothing will change on how — on our approach with handling — with dealing with our — our relationship with China in this — in this past two years.

Q: And I had one on another topic. The Ron DeSantis opportunity-ed in the Journal yesterday, where he talked about signing a law that ended Disney’s self-governing status in Florida that essentially provided the company with a favorable tax structure; they were able to get away without paying taxes around regional infrastructure developments.

How does the White House that has been cracking down on corporate tax evasion view this move by DeSantis? I mean, is there — is there any line of thinking that perhaps supports what has just happened in Florida with Disney?

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: So, I’m going to be very frank with you, Nandita. I have not read the op-ed, and I — frankly, I don’t plan to.

Look, the President has been very clear here. He’s going to deliver for the American people.

I talked about lowering costs. We just talked about Eli Lilly and their great announcement or — of capping $35 for insulin, which is going to be so important to families across the country.

We just talked about — I was just asked about crime and the work that the President has done over the last two years to fight crime in communities, something — something that he inherited, when you think about the rise of crime in the last couple of years.

And so, we’re not going to play political games. That’s not something that we do here. We’re going to continue to stay very focused — laser focused on delivering for the American people.

And I’m not going to read that op-ed/

Go ahead.

Q: Thanks, Karine. There’s a bipartisan rail safety bill that was introduced or proposed today in the Senate. Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer endorsed the broad outlines of the proposal. Has the White House seen it? Does the White House support it in the wake of the East Palestine disaster?

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: So, we’re glad to see bipartisan support. This is something that — you know, that Secretary Pete has been calling for. And this is, clearly, to bring forth several rail safety measures, which is incredibly important.

So, you know, the bill would increase the maximum fines for safety violations. It would strengthen rules governing trains carrying hazardous materials. It will accel- — accelerate the timeline for phasing in safer tank cars and establishing a permanent requirement for two-person train cars. So, this is a good first step, and we welcome it.

We encourage Republicans and Democrats to continue to work together enva- — advance these commonsense rail safety measures. And it’s an I’m- — again, an important first step, and we welcome it.

Q: Is there anything, just on the executive branch side, that you guys are considering or weighing in terms of assistance to East Palestine?

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: So, as far – you’re talking about economic — more economic assistance? Look, we — you’ve heard from Secretary Buttigieg, you’ve heard from the EPA Administrator speak to how we’re going to hold Norfolk Suffolk [Southern] accountable here to make sure that they pay for the mess they created on the ground in the community of East Palestine.

This is something that we are incredibly focused on and serious about. Your’ve envy heard the EPA Administrator say that if they don’t, they will — they will have to pay this three times over.

And so, look, we’re going to keep them — keep them accountable. And that’s going to be our focus.

Q: And just one more final one. The President nominated Eric Garcetti roughly 600 days ago to be ambassador to India. I think he’s supposed to have a committee approval process next week. The vote, I think, is still kind of up in the air.

Does the administration believe that he will be confirmed? And do you feel like this is a make-or-break moment for a long process?

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: As you know, Phil, — you know, Eric Garcetti was voted out in a bipartisan way — out of committee. And so, clearly he has had bipartisan support, which is very important in this process.

And we encourage and look forward to the Senate — the Senate, you know, moving forward with his nomination on the floor.

Q: Thanks, Karine. I just wanted to circle back to crime. As soon as next week, Congress could end up overturning a new sentencing law in D.C. that reduces penalties for some violent crimes, among other measures. Is the President prepared to issue a veto if that vote passes and it crosses his desk?

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: So, I know we’ve been asked this question before.

Q: Yeah, but given that Manchin has signaled support, I thought (inaudible) update.

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: So, look, the President takes this very seriously when it comes to crime. I’m not going to get ahead of — of what — of what the — you know, of what the decision is going to be or what it’s going to ultimately look like. Don’t want to get too much into hypotheticals.

But what I can state clearly, and I’ve said this before: The President is very committed to make sure that our communities are safer, that families feel safer. That’s why he put a forth a plan very early on, making sure that we put more police in — in communities, that work with communities so that they feel safer.

That’s — and you’ll see that as it — as it relates to funding you’ll see that in his budget next month.

I’m not going to get into too much of hypotheticals from here. But the President, I believe in the last two years and throughout his career has shown his dedication in making sure that we keep communities safe.

Q: Okay. And just a second one. Since it’s March 1st, do you have any information about the President’s planned trip to Ottawa this month? It’s been reported that he’s going to be visiting Trudeau.

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: I don’t have anything to share. Nothing to preview at this time.

Q: Okay.

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: Go ahead.

Q: I wanted to ask you about the student loan arguments that were before the Supreme Court yesterday, and many justices seem to take issue with — with the program. And I wonder if the administration has a message to those who have loans already forgiven and are kind of in limbo right now.

And given the skepticism from a lot of the justices, are there any plans from the administration in the event that you don’t have the authority or the authority is struck down?

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: So, a couple of things. We, you know — the plan that we put forward in August is the plan that we have — right? — which is a — which is also a plan that you heard the Solicitor General really defend in a — in a very strong and powerful way yesterday. And that’s our plan.

And we believe in our legal authority to get that done, to get it implemented. And let’s not forget, it is a good plan. It is a plan that’s going to give American families — middle-class families who truly need it, individuals who truly need it — up to $20,000 in relief; to give that, again, a little bit of breathing room for, again, working families and middle-class Americans.

You heard — I don’t know if you saw this, but Secretary — Secretary of Education sent out a an email to borrowers yesterday, and basically saying that we have their back. And I think that’s also very important. That’s the message that we sent to borrowers who need this opportunity right now as we’re coming out of this pandemic, going through this pandemic — a little bit, again, of breathing room.

Q: I guess my question is: if that plan is deemed unconstitutional, is there a backup plan?

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: No, I just said, that’s our plan. This is our — our focus right now is getting this done.

It is – you saw — again, you saw the Solicitor General really give a strong argument yesterday in front of the highest court in the land. There’s a reason why we took it to the Supreme Court: because we believe that we have legal authority.

And it’s not forget who this helps. It helps teachers. It helps firefighters, nurses, police officers. That is who we’re talking about and giving that extra little time and extra breathing room to make sure that they can either start a family or buy a house.

And let’s not forget: When that happens, when that occurs, it actually puts money back into the community and helps the economy more broadly.

Go ahead.

Q: Thank you. Follow-up -on —

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: Oh — (laughs) — go ahead.

Q: Is it me? Or —

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: No, it’s okay.

Q: Okay. Thank you.

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: You’ve got the floor my friend.

Q: A follow-up on Mayor Garcetti’s nomination. It looks like he doesn’t have the bipartisan support, as this week, Florida Senator Marco Rubio placed a hold on his nomination, along with six other senior diplomatic position, including Rich Verma, Geeta — Geeta Rao.

What do you have to say on that? Is the President calling these senators — some of the senators to get these nominations through the Senate?

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: I mean, it’s basically what I just said. We think that Eric Garcetti is — you know, is qualified to serve this vital role. That’s why the President nominated him, right? The President nominated him because he thought he had the experience to be the U.S. ambassador to India.

And as I mentioned moments ago to one of your colleagues, he received bipartisan support going out of committee. And we — we would like to see the — you know, the Senate to move him forward and to continue getting that support.

Q: One more. Secretary Blinken landed in Delhi today to attend the G20 Foreign Ministers Meeting — attend (inaudible) — Foreign Ministers Meeting and his bilateral with his Indian counterpart. Is he carrying any message from the President for the Prime Minister and (inaudible)?

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: Yeah. On his visit, Secretary Blinken will reaffirm the strength of the U.S.-India relationship and express our commitment to continue working together and in groups like the Quad to advance economic growth for our two countries and expand cooperation as we have our shared priorities.

So, that’s what you’re going to hear from Secretary Blinken. That is the message that he will deliver.

Q: Thank you.

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: Go ahead.

Q: Thanks, Karine. Just following up on the HAVANA Act, which technically stands for the “Helping Americans Victims Afflicted by Neurological Attacks” Act. The predicate, obviously, of that law the President signed is that these are attacks. And now, the intelligence community is saying that the — seven agencies are saying that it was either “unlikely” or “very unlikely” that that’s the case.

So, understanding your position that obviously the administration wants to ensure that personnel across the government gets care — but that’s not what this law outlines. This law outlines care for those who have been a subject of attacks. Is that a concern of yours? And how do you plan to address that?

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: Look, I think what the President wants to make sure that occurs, that happens is that we show our commitment to — to government employees, to the workforce, as they’re going through a real issue here. This is a real problem that they have all experienced.

And so, I want to make sure that they continue the medical care that they’re getting, that they get the resources that is needed as they’re working for the U.S. government. That doesn’t take that away.

And — and so, that is a message that we’re going to send to the workforce, the U.S. government federal workforce, and also the families who are going through this, the individuals who are going through this right now.

And I think that’s an important message for the President to send. They had a real experience that they all went through, that they reported, that, clearly, the intelligence community looked into to see exactly what it was. They have a conclusion; they came up with an assessment. I would leave it to them to speak directly to that.

But it doesn’t — it doesn’t take away what they went through. And so, the President is committed to that. And I think that’s the message that we want to make sure that goes forward.

Q: And just quickly following up on that: Now that this assessment is in, does the President feel, does the White House feel as if this is a settled matter? Or does he have more (inaudible)?

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: I — honestly, I would refer you to ODNI on their specific assessment and where they are and what they concluded. I’m not going to speak from — to that from here.

I just — what I want to reiterate again is that we want to make sure that the workforce, our federal workforce, understand that their health and safety is indeed our priority.

Go ahead, Jen.

Q: Yeah. On the Federal Reserve search — the search for the Vice Chair — can you say, is the President looking for a more dovish counterbalance to Jay Powell, which is what some progressives would prefer? Or is that not a factor in this search?

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: Look, this is a priority. Making sure that we fill this vacancy is a priority to this President. I’m not going to get into specifics on what the President’s process is, but I would tell you that he — he thinks it’s important to get that vacancy filled, and he’s going to clearly continue to make that a priority. And we hope to have something to share in the near future.

Go ahead.

Q: FISA 702 reauthorization. What’s the White House’s position on reforms to 702 in this round? Or is it the White House insisting that the section be reauthorized without any changes?

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: I don’t have anything new to — to share on that particular piece.

Q: Okay. If I could go back to the question about the D.C. Council action and the likelihood that the Senate will send the President a bill that forces him to make a decision. Is it fair to say the President is at this moment undecided? Has he not yet decided what he’s going to do?

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: I’m just not going to get into hypotheticals from here. I just — what I can say to you is the President’s commitment just more broadly, as it relates to crime, as it relates to making sure that Americans and families feel safe, and what he’s done in the past two years but also beyond.

And so, that’s what I can speak to at this time. Just not going to get into hypotheticals from here.

Q: Okay. So let me ask you it this way: There — basically, there are two ways to look at the question. One is to side with the mayor, who said that the Council’s action went too far and she vetoed it. The other is to side with the members of the Council who insisted on enacting it against her objections. But has the President decided where he stands? Does he stand with Mayor Bowser? Does he stand with mayors — members of the Council?

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: So, look, what I can say — so as it relates to D.C., I’ll say this and the President has been very clear about this: You know, we think that we must do more to — to reduce crime and save lives. And that’s why the President has taken those actions.

As it relates to more — D.C. more broadly, and the President has said this as well, it’s a clear example of why D.C. deserves statehood. Right? And that’s something that the President has called for since the campaign.

But again, I’m not going to get into — into particulars, into hypotheticals.

The Safer America Plan was something that the President has put forward to lay out how he sees making communities safer, how he sees dealing with an increase of crime that happened, — that he inherited, that happened before he walked into office.

So I’ll just leave it there, and I won’t speak further to any hypotheticals.

I’ll go to the back, and then I’ll come back down.

Go ahead.

Q: Yeah. Thanks, Karine. So I want to ask you about the Labor Secretary pick, Julie Su. While she was labor secretary of California, the — during COVID — the state lost between $20 billion and $32 billion in unemployment insurance to fraudsters. Meanwhile, 5 million people had benefits delayed and a million people had them wrongfully canceled. Is the President concerned that his will impact her getting confirmed?

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: So, a couple of things, because there’s — we got to put this all in context of what was happening at the time.

It was a historic crush of unemployment claims at the onset of the pandemic. That’s what we were seeing. The design of the initial pandemic unemployment systems and years of national investments in UI modernization led to challenges — right? — including fraud attacks, as you were just stating, across the nation in red and blue states alike. That was happening across th country during the very early stages of the pandemic.

But under her leadership — under Julie’s leadership, California took important steps to process a number of claims — we’re talking about one in five, which is in the entire nation — that’s what California was deal with — to ensure that working people who were — who were out of work, and this was not their fault, could continue to pay their rent, could continue to put food on the table, continue to put the — keep the lights on.

So, look, she believes in safety nets and — need to be strengthened. That is something that she indeed believes in.

And — and I’ll add — I’ll add this as well. When the President took office, he — he prioritized combating potential frauds of relief funds, just as he did aggressively and successfully as Vice President.

So this is an issue that’s important to her, strengthening those safety nets, and also an issue that’s important to the President that he’s actually taken action on.

Q: So, does he think she can be confirmed?

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: Oh, absolutely. Yes. He thinks that the Senate should confirm her and she is the right person for the job and has the experience to do the job.

And let’s not forget: She has spent the last two years working hand in hand, you know, with Secretary Walsh.

Q: You talked about TikTok earlier. I’m just curious now, why did the administration then wait so long to ban TikTok in all federal employees? Twenty-nine states have already done it. And the President, his first month in office, canceled an investigation by the Commerce Department into TikTok. So why did he wait so long?

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: So I’m not going to speak to any investigation. Look, the process is happening now. That’s what we’re seeing. What I can say is that the President has very — been very clear about his concern with apps like TikTok. And I just laid out the CDC reporting and how it’s affecting our children, and the importance of making sure that we deal with this in a real way, which is why he put forth his Unity Agenda and laying out ways that we can deal with an issue that is affecting the emotional growth and — and also — of our children.

And so, look, the Unity Agenda kind of lays out how the President wants to move forward. I’m not going to go beyond that.

Go ahead.

Q: A quick follow-up on the ESG Labor rule. You had framed, the White House has framed this as a kind of MAGA Republicans imposing their views on the free market. The fact that two Democratic senators say they’re going to vote for this bill, does that undermine that argument?

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: No, not at all, because this is a — this is something that Republicans have pushed forward. This is their — this is their — this is their agenda, which is kind of in line with how they want to move forward with a very extreme ideology, the MAGA — the MAGA Republicans ileo — ideology. And what they’re doing, again, is they’re really pushing down the throats of private sector. That’s what we’re seeing. This is what this piece of legislation is.

Q: And a timeline question. Any timeline on when the President would issue this veto if we assume this bill passes today?

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: I mean, it depends on the mechanism of the Senate a what ultimately happens in the voting dynamics. I can’t speak to that here, on the timeline.

Go ahead, Peter.

Q: Thank you, Karine. Why is President Biden afraid of China?

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: The President is not afraid of China.

Q: Well —

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: Did you see — did you see the President last week, when we went to — when we went to — when we went to Ukraine, went to Kyiv? This is not a President that’s afraid of anything. It was a historic trip that many of you said was brave.

So, clearly, this is a President that’s not afraid to go to a warzone. He’s not afraid to go there when there’s no military presence on the ground.

So, there’s nothing that this President fears.

Q: China flew a spy craft over the U.S. The President didn’t really do anything to China. And according to the FBI director, China may have created something that has killed more than 1.1 million people in this country. And President Biden is not punishing them.

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: So, you’re — you’re giving me two — two things here. So let’s take them in parts.

As we talk about the Chinese surveillance — the China surveillance balloon, the President did take that down. And he did it in a way that, as it was on its path, we collected information from it; we protected our national security information on the ground; and we did it in a way that was smart, effective, and also protected the American people. That’s why the President is always going to put forth, is the — is the safety of the American people. So that’s what the President did with that particular issue.

Look, as it relates to — you’re talking about the COVID origins, we’ve been very clear. We’ve been very clear that we need the data, and we need to figure out how to get to the bottom of the COVID origins. And that’s something that the President has said since the beginning of this administration.

So, that — none of that has changed.

Q: But with his campaign, it was all about shutting down the virus and how hard it is for families with an empty chair at the kitchen table because of COVID. If we now know, according to the FBI director, who is most likely responsible for all those empty chairs at all those kitchen tables, why not do more to try to hold them accountable?

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: So — so, I’m going to flip that on its head for a second. It was because of this President that took action — by the way, the last administration did not; they did not have a comprehensive plan to actually —

Q: But before that —

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: No, no, no, no, no. No —

Q: That is responding to COVID.

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: No —

Q: But where did COVID come from?

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: No, but — but —

Q: If we know that it’s China —

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: Peter, you can’t tell — first of all, you can’t tell me how to answer the question. I’m going to answer it for you. Right? So just give me a second.

Q: Thank you.

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: So because he took those actions, he actually helped to save lives. Because he — he took action to make sure that people got shots in arms and put a comprehensive plan in front of the American people and put in the work, we actually were able to get to a place where COVID is not gone, but we now are in a place — we’re in a different place in the pandemic. And that’s because of the President. And that’s because of his leadership.

So, lets not — let’s, like, be very real about what the President has done of the last two years to take on COVID, to make sure that the economy is growing again, to make sure that we’re really working for the American people. So that’s number one. I want to be very, very, clear on that.

Now, to your question about COVID origins: As we’ve known — as we know, we have seen many — Many different conclusions — right? — from — from the intelligence community. Some of them have made some conclusion on the other side. Some of them say they don’t have enough information. So I want to also be very careful there as well.

And it was because of this President, very early on — the first several months of his administration — he went to the intelligence community and said, “We need to figure out how to get to the bottom of this. We need to figure out how this all occurred.” Because, who knows we have to try and prevent any future pandemics. So that is the work that this President did.

And it included, clearly, the Department of Energy that has National Labs. And so, now, they’re continuing to double down and try to get to the bottom of this.

Our relationship with China has not changed. It is — it is very different — I’m going to be very clear — very different than how we have seen it in the last administration.

All right, I’m going to continue. Go ahead, Peter. And I’ll come to the back.

Q: Just a separate thought on China, if I can quickly. The administration has constantly described the relationship between the U.S. and China is one of strategic competition, a point that the President made himself a couple of weeks ago when he spoke about this issue.

The congressman, Mike Gallagher, who was the Republican Chair of the House Select Committee on China, yesterday, referred to this relationship as an “existential struggle.” Does the White House agree with that characterization? And is the White House understating the threat from China right now?

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: So, under this President, we are more prepared to outcompete China, protect our national security, and advance a free and open Indo-Pacific than ever before. That’s under this President. And that’s because of the Pres- — of the work that he’s done in the last two years and also the experience. This is an experienced President.

As you know, he spent more than 30 years in the Senate. He spent eight years as Vice President. And so, he understands national — how to deal with foreign policy relationships.

And so, that’s how we see our relationship with China moving forward. Many of our efforts we have been pursuing are bipartisan. They’re underscoring the alignment at home on key issues, and we will continue to work with Democrats and Republicans, because the way we have moved forward is indeed in a bipartisan way.

Q: Let me follow up on a separate question that was asked by one of my colleagues in the room about the student loans and the wait for the decision from the Supreme Court as it relates to this.

I know that you said earlier that there is no other plan. The plan right now is the one that’s being presented before the Supreme Court and you feel strongly in your case. Obviously, those who have loans that they would ow, in case this is rejected, don’t have that same ability. They have to have a backup plan in case. I know that two months would pass before they would have to pay those loans again, in case the Supreme Court rejects this here.

But what do you say to those Americans who have tens of thousands of dollars that they might be responsible for two months after the Court makes its decision, if they choose to reject it? How should they be preparing right now for that? And what would you do to protect them?

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: And I’ll just add that, yesterday, right in front of the Supreme Court, you saw many of those Americans speaking out loud —

Q: We did.

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: — and clear, and saying how important the President’s plan is to them. Because they’re being crushed, right?

Q: But what’s the — what should be —

MS. JEAN PIERRE: No —

Q: – the plan B?

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: Well —

Q: Because everybody who has their own budget at home has to have a plan B.

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: I totally, — I — I hear you, Peter. And you asked me what the message was to the American people. You heard — I just laid out or mentioned how Secretary of Education put out, sent an email out to those borrowers saying that, “Hey, we have your back.”

This is an administration, when you think about the President and the last couple of years here — he has — that is kind of his motto, right? “We have your back.” We will do everything that we can to protect Americans and give them, again, some space to actually be able to be part of this growing economy.

And so, look, we do not — we do not — again, we do not have another plan. This is our plan. This is it.

We believe that we have the legal authority. That’s why we took it to the highest court of the land, the Supreme Court. And we’re going to continue to fight.

And you saw — you saw the solicitor general do a fantastic job in putting forth a strong argument defending — defending the President’s plan.

Q: Just to be clear, though: So you don’t have another plan? Which is to say for those other — and you have those individuals’ backs, which is to say, if this is rejected though, there isn’t anything in the works right now —

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: What —

Q: — by this administration to have their —

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: What I’m saying to you, Peter —

Q: — back going forward? They would be —

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: What I’m saying — what I’m saying to you, Peter, is: This is our plan. It is a good plan because how it helps Americans across the country, especially working Americans, middle-class Americans. So this is our plan.

And you heard it. You heard it. The reason I mentioned the folks that were in front —

Q: I get it. I’m just asking on behalf of —

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: — of the Supreme Court.

Q: — those folks that have tens of thousands they owe. What should they do?

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: (Laughs.) I — and — and —

Q: So what should they do?

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: And I sa- — and I said —

Q: Do they need to start saving money?

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: — they should know that we are going to continue to fight, that we feel strong in our legal authority here.

And you heard it. You heard it from the — from — form the SG yesterday, who did a — who did a — who defended it — the President’s plan in a forceful way in front of the Supreme Court.

Q: Has the President spoken to Jimmy Carter in recent days, given that fact that he appears to be doing well, considering the circumstances? Have they had any opportunity to speak?

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: I don’t have any call to preview or to speak to. As — as you know, the President, I think, spoke to this when he did his ABC interview recently, that he as known Jimmy Carter for some time, was the first senator —

Q: But no new calls to share with us then?

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: — the first senator to endorse him. And so they have decades of relationship behind them. And so I would just say that, you know, he continues to wish him well.

But I don’t have a call to read out.

I’ll go to the back. Trying — all the way to the back. Go — behind you.

Q: Thank you. So, shifting gears. The Daily Beast reported yesterday that Republican Congressman James Comer invoked President Biden’s son, Beau Biden, over not being prosecute- — prosecuted, excuse me, — saying, “This U.S. attorney had had an opportunity to go after the Bidens years ago.” He goes on to say, “It was Beau Biden, the President’s other son, the one that was involved in some campaign donations from a person that got indicted.”

So, I’m wondering if the White House has a response to Chairman Comer invoking Beau Biden and whether the President thinks it’s potentially — if Mr. President thinks it’s potentially appropriate that Mr. Comer investigate his deceased son.

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: Oh, it’s completely unappropriate [sic]. And it’s ugly, the comments that he made. And it says a lot about the chairman, which is not good, by the way. To — to make the statement that he did is incredibly ugly and inappropriate.

And here’s what I would say: Instead of — instead of House Republicans focusing on attacking the President and his family, why don’t they actually focus on what the American people put them in office to do, which is to deliver for them, which is to actually work with — with their colleagues — the Democratic colleagues, the President — to actually put forth pieces of legislation or put forth policies that’s going to make a difference in their lives?

And, as you know, you don’t have to listen to me: You can look at the results from — from the midterms that said just that. They want to see — they want to see Congress working for them. That’s what they want to see.

They want to make sure that their Medicare is protected. They want to make sure that we’re lowering costs. They want to make sure that their family feels protected. They want to make sure that their rights are protected.

But that’s not what the House Republicans are doing. Instead, they want to do political stunts.

Q: Thank you.

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: In the back. Way in the back. Go ahead.

Q: Thank you. The Attorney General, Merrick Garland, was testifying up on the Hill today, and he was asked a lot about fentanyl. I have a few questions for you on that front.

He was asked by Senator Graham — he said — Senator Graham said, quote: “Would you agree with me that whatever we are doing, as relates to sentencing guidelines, is not working?” And the Attorney General said, “I would agree with that because of the number of deaths that you pointed out.”

Does President Biden believe that sentencing guidelines around fentanyl deaths need to get stricter?

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: I’m going to just — I just caught a bit of that — of the coverage. I didn’t catch all of it. And I — I will say that the — the Secretary — or the Attorney General spoke to a number of issues from what I understand. What I know for sure that he did, he spoke to the department’s independent — the Justice Department’s independent work and his commitment to rule of law.

I’m just not going to go beyond — beyond that.

Q: The Attorney General said — was asked if he opposes making the most cart- — the senior-most cartels being labeled as “foreign terrorist organizations.” And he said he would not oppose that.

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: Again, I’m not —

Q: Does the White House believe that —

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: I’m just not — I’m —

Q: — the cartels need to be labeled “foreign terrorist organizations”?

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: I only saw a bit of the coverage.

What I can say is what he’s committed to. I’m just not going to go into this.

Q: So let me go a little bit broader for a second. The number of fentanyl deaths in this county has doubled in the last two years. The Attorney General descried in the last two years. The Attorney General described it as an epidemic. Can you describe what the administration has done to take on, to curb, and to try to tackle this epidemic, as he put it?

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: So the — this administration, when you think about fentanyl and you think about the work that this President has done, it has been very much focused on getting — making sure that we keep our families safe, making sure that we keep our communities safe, and getting fentanyl off the street. And we’ve done that in record numbers.

We have seen record numbers of fentanyl, you know, come off the streets because of the work that the President has done, because of what he has committed in protecting the border’s security, making sure that he put forth historic funding.

There’s still more work to be done. We would like to do that work with Republicans. They’ve refused to work with us. If anything, they want to take away — they want to take away that border security funding. They want to defund the FBI.

But the Pres- — the President is using the tools that are in front of him right now on the executive level to seek — to make sure that we do every — he does everything that he can, without the help of many — of many Republicans in Congress, to make sure that we keep our communities safe. And that’s what he’s going to continue to do.

Go ahead, way in the back. Owen.

Q: Okay, thank you. Thank you, Karine. Two questions for you, please. Thank you. Number one, just recently in California — a very tragic story. Catholic Bishop David O’Connell, Auxiliary Bishop of Los Angeles, he served the area of 45 years ministering to migrants, the poor, victims of gang violence; known as the peacemaker. And he was gunned down at his home, murdered, just — again, just a few weeks ago. I know the White House is aware if it, but do you have a statement you — or is there —

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: Yeah.

Q: — something you want to tell the faithful there in Los Angeles?

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: Absolutely. And I appreciate the question.

We do have something that we want to share, which is: The President and the First Lady join Archbishop Gómez, the Archdiocese of Los Angeles, and the entire Catholic community in the mourning of Bishop David O’Connell. We also express our sympathy and prayers for the family and friends of the Bishop, who will certainly — certainly remember his legacy of service to those on the margins of society.

And so, again, we offer up our condolences to — to the community.

Q: Thank you. And then secondly, is the President — is President Biden aware of this leaked document that recently came out of the Richmond, Virginia, field office that compared Catholics — conservative Catholics — to violent extremists?

Several attorney’s general have written a letter, and they say, quote, “Anti-Catholic bigotry appears to be festering in the FBI, and the Bureau is treating Catholics as potential terrorists because of their beliefs.” Again, the wrote that in reaction to that leaked document.

So, my question is: Is the President aware of that document? And what would he tell Catholics seeing these headlines who might be worried “They’re coming after us — the Feds — because of our faith?”

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: So, I — look, I have not seen this leaked document. I have not spoken to the Pres- — I haven’t seen it, so therefore I haven’t spoken to the President about it. So I just don’t want to get ahead of — of that.

Q: Would you look at it eventually and give —

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: Okay.

Q: Okay.

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: I’m happy to.

Q: Thank you.

Q: Thank you, Karine. About Labor Departments ESG rule.

I have a follow-up question on that. Today, Senator Jon Tester joined Senator Manchin, and he — he voiced his opposition to this ESG retirements rule. I understand the President will veto this bill. But what’s your reaction to his statement today?

And how does the White House feel about growing opposition to the ESG investment in Congress and in general?

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: Well, I spoke to this the top of the briefing, and I laid out where the President is on this. I — as it relates to the dynamics of the Senate and where this is going to go, I’d leave that to — to Senator Schumer. That’s something for him to speak to.

What I can say is that if this bill reaches the President’s desk, he will veto it. And I’ll — I’ll leave it there for now.

Go ahead.

Q: Thanks a lot. I want to ask you about Merrick Garland’s testimony before the Senate Judiciary Committee. He was asked a number of questions in regard to Hunter Biden and the ongoing investigation that’s being conducted by the U.S. Attorney in Delaware.

And during that particular testimony, he said it would be a “national security problem” if the President’s son had been receiving payments from a foreign government as a means to influence the administration.

Do you agree with that statement from the chief law enforcement officer of the U.S.?

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: We’re going to continue to be prudent from here and not speak to any investigation that is currently underway by the Department of Justice.

And when it comes to Hunter Biden, I would refer you to his personal representative. He’s a private citizen. So I will leave it there.

And we’re going to continue to be consistent from here.

Q: Let me ask you another question on a separate matter entirel- — entirely — a foreign policy matter. Two Iranian warships are going to dock in port in Brazil on Sunday. As you well know, the President of Brazil was just here meeting with President Biden. President Biden lauded the shared values of both countries. Do you have any issue with Iranian warships docking in port in Brazil?

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: And so, we’ve been very clear when we’ve been asked these types of questions of meetings or any engagement. We just won’t speak to that from here. I would refer you to the respective countries. I’m just not going to speak to a potential meeting or a potential engagement. Just not going to do that.

Court- —

Q: Well, it’s not a meeting.

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: Well, I’m just not going to — clearly, there’s some sort of engagement happening. I’m just not going to speak to that — to that from here.

Go ahead, Courtney.

Q: Thank you. I wanted to ask you about the case that is before a judge in federal court in Texas about abortion medication. We’re expecting that judge to run any day now in the decision that could either temporarily, permanently — depending on how the legal process goes — ban access to mifepristone in certain places?

What’s your message to patients that are worried about this? I know that you’ve, so far, spoken out on how you disagree with this court challenge. But what should doctors know, what should patients know when tis can happen at any day, especially given that this judge has been relatively hostile to this administration?

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: Look, I mean, I spoke to this very recently. Like, we don’t know what the court is going to do, as you just stated. Ultimately, it’s for the col- — court to decide. So we’re always very careful.

The decision would be unprecedented, as you know, and devastating to women’s health. And we may find ourselves in uncharted territory.

And so, we’re closely — closely working with the Justice Department and DHS — HHS on this, on how to be prepared for any range of outcome or potential outcomes. And so we’ll continue to do that. We’ll continue to be steadfast. We will — we’re monitoring this and waiting, like all of you, to see where the decision goes.

But again, we’re not taking this lightly. We’re taking this very seriously. This is going to be — depending on where this goes, this could be unprecedented and uncharted territory. And we’re going to continue to do our — our work internally to see which way — how we would respond.

Q: I ask wanted to ask you about education for practi- — (sneezes) excuse me – practitioners, doctors who perform abortions in certain states. When they’re in medical school now, it’s difficult to get practice with the procedure that it’s so limited or restricted.

Vice President Harris has expressed interest in working on that issue, either by sending students to other places to get practical experience or other ideas. Can you provide any update on that and if you’re engaged in that?

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: Yeah, I know she — she spoke about this recently. I don’t have anything more to share than what she laid out about her concerns and the potential next steps. Don’t — just don’t have anything further to share with — than what the Vice President laid out.

Go ahead.

Q: If the Supreme Court rules against the President’s student debt plan, will you all consider extending the payment pause while you come up with a plan B?

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: Again, we don’t — our plan is what we — what we laid out in August. That is our plan. And we believe it’s a good plan as it delivers — as it delivers to the American people — middle-class Americans, as it relates to working people.

This is a plan that is going to give relief to tens of millions of Americans across the country. And we heard from many of them yesterday in front of the Supreme Court.

I’m just not going to get into hypotheticals.

We believe — we believe that we have a strong legal authority here. That’s why we took it to the Supreme Court. And you heard from the solicitor general. She made a very strong case for why the President’s program is important. And — and I’m just going to leave it here for now.

Q: Just another question on TikTok. You have all had TikTok influencers in the building before; you’ve briefed them before. Given the focus on the national security concerns, do you still feel like that’s an appropriate way to engage with the app?

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: So, look, as — as I’ve mentioned before, the White House, clearly, does not — does not use TikTok. But one thing that we do believe in is meeting the American people where they are. And the reality is some — many of them — million of them — are on this app.

So we engage with people who are using their own platforms. It’s up to them on how they use the content. But we’ve always said form here — this is something that we’ve said for a long time — that we’re going to try to communicate with the American people and meet them where they are. But we’re — also have been clear about the concerns that we have with this — with — with apps like TikTok. And that’s not going to stop.

Q: Thanks.

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: Go ahead.

Oh, go ahead. You’re the last question.

Q: Thanks, Karine. We just learned the TSA officers at a Pennsylvania airport stopped an explosive device from getting onto a plane Monday. Do you have any comment on that?

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: I don’t have any comment form here at this time. I would have to talk to our team.

Q: More broadly, do you have a message to Americans who are hearing about flight-safety incidents, close calls, devices on planes? How can you ensure that the airs are safe — the air is safe?

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: Well, Secretary Buttigieg has been on the airwaves today, this morning, the last couple of months on this, speaking to our commitment to making sure that we keep Americans safe, especially Americans who are — are clearly, flying.

And — and so we’re going to continue to do that. The President is committed to do that.

As it relates, for example to the — the objects — the three recent objects, one of the reasons the President took that — the actions that we took was because we wanted to make sure that we kept civilian air- — airways safe. So, you’ve seen him take really bold actions in that way.

But as it relates to, you know, just what we’ve been seeing the past couple of months and just most recently, look, we’re going to do everything that we can to make sure that we — that Americans feel safe flying.

I know there’s an FAA investigation on this most recent incident, and so, you know, we’re going to see where the investi- — investigation goes and how we can prevent that.

All right. Thanks, everybody. See you tomorrow.

March 10, 2023: The House Freedom Caucus posted the following on X/Twitter:

SHRINK WASHINGTON, GROW AMERICA

“The Members of the House Freedom Caucus will consider voting to raise the debt ceiling contingent upon the enactment of legislation to:

Cut current spending by ending President Biden’s $400 billion student loan bailout, rescinding all unobligated and unspent COVID-19 funds; recouping the $80 billion in IRS expansion funds, as well as billions of wasteful climate change spending in the so-called “Inflation Reduction Act,” and finding every dollar spent by Democrats that can be reclaimed for the American taxpayer.

Cap future spending by setting topline discretionary spending at the FY2022 level for 10 years, allowing for 1% annual growth. Doing so will cut $131 billion in FY2024 and save roughly $3 trillion over the long term by cutting the wasteful, woke, and weaponized process to address the many abuses and disasters caused by the Biden Administration, such as the chaos on the southern border, COVID vaccine mandates and discrimination policies, and the unconstitutional “pistol brace” ATF rule. Importantly, 10-year spending caps at the FY2022 level puts our budget on the path to balance while protecting Social Security retirement and Medicare benefits.

Grow the economy by enacting major policy changes and reforms to the wasteful, work, and weaponized federal bureaucracy, including, but not limited to:

  • Curtailing burdensome regulations by requiring congressional approval under the REINS Act
  • Unleashing the production of reliable domestic energy by ending federal regulations and subsidies
  • Restoring Clinton-era work requirements on welfare programs; and
  • Passing a pre-emptive Continuing Resolution with non-defense discretionary spending restored to the pre-COVID FY2019 level to force Congress to pass appropriations in a timely manner.

March 10, 2023: The White House posted: “Statement from White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre on MAGA House Republican Attack on Medicare, Law Enforcement and Manufacturing

Today, extreme MAGA House Republicans showed us what they value: tax breaks for the super wealthy and wasteful spending for special interests.

The House Freedom caucus’ proposal would be a gut-punch to the American middle class and wouldn’t cut the deficit. Let me repeat that: this proposal would bring devastating consequences to our national security, working families, and community safety, and result in $0 in deficit reduction when coupled with MAGA Republicans’ support for trillions in tax cuts.

Extreme MAGA Republicans’ proposals would ship manufacturing jobs overseas, in a crushing blow to states from Ohio to Georgia to Arizona – and would provide a windfall of economic benefits to China. They would increase health care premiums for nearly 15 million Americans and make the biggest Medicare benefits cut in decades, forcing America’s seniors to pay more for prescription drugs so Big Pharma can see new taxpayer handouts. They would defund the police, weaken our competition with China, and slash border security funding. All so that the super-wealthy and corporate special interests can enjoy their tax breaks and cheat on their taxes.

This is a blueprint for selling out the middle class, law enforcement, and American competitiveness.

Yesterday, the President laid out his budget – one that lowers costs for families, protects Medicare and Social Security, invests in more manufacturing, positions the United States to win the global competition with China, strengthens our defense, funds the police, and reinforces the border. This is what he values – and poll after poll shows Americans agree.

March 14, 2023: The Congressional Budget Office Director Phillip L. Swagel, sent the following information to Sheldon Whitehouse, Chairman Committee on the Budget, and to Ron Wyden, Chairman Committee on Finance:

Re: Spending Reductions That Would Balance the Budget in 2033

Dear Chairman Whitehouse and Chairman Wyden:

In the Congressional Budget Office’s current baseline projections, the deficit reaches $2.9 trillion, or 7.3 percent of gross domestic product (GDP), in 2023. In response to your request, this letter provides information about the two budgetary paths you specified, which would eliminate that deficit through reductions in spending. Those paths are illustrative, and the analysis presented here does not represent a cost estimate for legislation.

CBO’s calculations show the following:

The budget would be balanced in 2023 if all noninterest outlays were gradually reduced starting in 2024 so that they were 29 percent less than the amount in the agency’s baseline projections in 2023. Under that path, revenues equal the baseline amounts, which reflect the scheduled expiration of certain provisions of the 2017 tax act.

If those tax provisions were extended, revenues would be lower than they are in CBO’s baseline projections, and larger reductions in spending would be needed to balance the budget. In that case, the budget would be balanced in 2023 if non interest spending was gradually reduced from 2024 to 2023 so that in that final year it was 35 percent less than the amount in CBO’s baseline projections adjusted to incorporate the extension of the tax provisions of the 2017 tax act.

If those tax provisions were extended, revenues would be lower than they are in CBO’s baseline projections, and larger reductions in spending would be needed to balance the budget. In that case, the budget would be balanced in 2023 if non interest spending was gradually reduced from 2024 to 2023 so that in that final year it was 35 percent less than the amount in CBO’s baseline projections adjusted to incorporate the extension of the tax provisions.

The Budgetary Paths That CBO Analyzed: CBO first examined the two budgetary paths that you specified. The specified reductions in spending do not reflect an analysis of any specific policies that might be implemented to bring about those paths.

Path With Baseline Revenues. Under this path, the deficit would be eliminated by reducing noninterest outlays to 15.3 percent of GDP in 2023. Noninterest outlays would be reduced each year so that they were lower than they are in CBO’s baseline projections – 0.6 percent of GDP lower in 2024, 1.3 percent of GDP lower in 2025, and so on, until they were 6.4 percent of GDP lower in 2033. That year, noninterest outlays would be 29 percent less than they are in CBO’s baseline projections.

Revenues would be the same as they are in CBO’s current baseline budget projections. Because cuts in noninterest spending would reduce federal borrowing, net outlays for interest in 2023 would also be less than they are in CBO’s baseline. Together, those reductions would eliminate the deficit in 2033.

Path Incorporating Extensions of Certain Provisions of the 2017 Tax Act: Under this path, revenues and outlays would be adjusted to account for CBO’s most recent estimates of the effects of extending certain provisions of the 2017 tax act – namely, the changes to individual income tax provisions, the higher estate and gift tax exemptions, the changes to the tax treatment of investment costs, and changes to certain business tax provisions implemented under that law. The adjustments made to account for extending those provisions would increase deficits in relation to the amounts in CBO’s baseline projections, so larger reduction in spending than those under the first path would be required to balance the budget in 2023.

Noninterest outlays would be reduced to 14.2 percent of GDP in 2023– 1.1 percent of GDP less than they would be under the path with baseline revenues. Noninterest outlays would be reduced each year in relation to the amounts in CBO’s baseline projections: They would be 0.8 percent of GDP lower than those in the baseline in 2024, 1.5 percent of GDP lower in 2025, and so on, until they were 7.6 percent of GDP lower in 20203. That year, noninterest outlays would be 35 percent less than they are in CBO’s provisions. The spending cuts combined with the resulting reductions in net outlays for interest would eliminate the deficit in 2023.

How Paths Differ From Policies. The budgetary paths you specified are illustrative and do not correspond to any specific spending policies. Legislation could reduce mandatory spending by making fewer people eligible for benefits or by reducing benefit amounts. Legislation could reduce discretionary spending by providing less funding for certain activities. It would take time for reductions in budget authority to result in reductions in outlays.

Spending Reductions With Some Categories Excluded. In the second part of the analysis, CBO analyzed the percentage decrease in outlays that would be needed if certain categories of spending that you specified were excluded from the reductions and were instead continued at baseline levels.

If some noninterest spending was excluded from the reduction, the percentage reduction in outlays in the remaining categories needed to balance the budget would be greater than the percentage required when all noninterest outlays are reduced.

Specifically, under the budgetary path with baseline revenues, noninterest spending in the applicable categories would need to be reduced in relation to the amounts in CBO’s baseline projections by the following percentages in 2023.

  • 29 percent, when the reduction is applied to all noninterest outlays;
  • 1 percent, when the reduction is applies to all noninterest outlays other than those for Social Security;
  • 57 percent, when the reduction is applied to all noninterest outlays other than those for Social Security and Medicare; and
  • 86 percent when the reduction is applied to all noninteret outlays other than those for Social Security, Medicare, the defense discretionary programs, and mandatory veterans’ programs.

The corresponding reductions under the budgetary path incorporating extensions of certain provisions of the 2017 tax act are larger: 35 percent, 48 percent, 67, percent, and 100 percent. Under that path, eliminating all noninterest outlays other than those for Social Security, Medicare, defense discretionary programs, and mandatory veteran’s programs would, according to CBO’s calculations, result in a very small deficit rather than a balanced budget in 2023. In that case, outlays for all major health care programs other than Medicare, all income security programs, all federal civilian and retirement programs, all other mandatory programs except Social Security and veterans’ programs, and all nondefense discretionary programs would be reduced to zero.

Limitations of the Analysis

This analysis is more simplified and mechanical than the more comprehensive approach CBO would typically use when estimating the effects of particular policies and thus has several limitations.

It does not account for any behavioral effects of the budgetary changes, some of which might change revenues or spending for certain programs. For example, a reduction in spending on income security programs or Medicaid could affect spending for Social Security, Medicare, or veterans’ programs.

This analysis also does not account for the effects that the reductions in spending would have on the economy in the short term or the effects that decreased federal borrowing would on the economy in the long term:

  • Reductions in spending would decrease demand for goods and services in the short term below what it otherwise would be, and thus, they would be expected to hold down economic growth and income in the short term.
  • Over the longer term, the resulting reduction in deficits and the associated decrease in federal borrowing would push down interest rates and thus increase private investment in capital, causing output to be higher than it would be otherwise. More private investment would increase the amount of capitol per worker, making workers more productive and leading to higher wages, which would increase people’s incentives to work and thereby lead to a larger supply of labor. Additionally, more private investment tends to reduce deficits.

Because the paths do not account for the effects of the policies that would be implemented to reduce spending, the analysis does not incorporate the ways in which changes in fiscal policy could affect productivity growth or people’s incentives to work or save.

I hope this information is helpful to you. If you have any additional questions, please contact me.

Sincerely,

Phillip L. Swagel

Director Phillip L. Swagel

March 20, 2023: The White House posted: FIVE-ALARM-FIRE: The House Freedom Caucus’ Extreme Budget Proposal Endangers Public Safety

The extreme MAGA Republican Freedom Caucus has made their promises clear: imposing devastating cuts to public safety and increasing costs for working- and middle-class families, all to protect and extend tax breaks skewed to the wealthy and big corporations. In fact, their tax coups would be so expensive that their deep and harmful cuts would not reduce the deficit.

That’s in sharp contrast with the President’s Budget, which invests in America, lowers costs for families, protects and strengthens Medicare and Social Security, and reduces the deficit by $3 trillion dollars over 10 years, while ensuring no one making less than $400,000 per year pays a penny more in new taxes.

Combined with other commitments extreme MAGA House Republicans have already made, the extreme Freedom Caucus proposal will be a disaster for families in at least five key ways: endangering public safety, raising costs for families, shipping manufacturing jobs overseas and undermining American workers, weakening national securities, and hurting seniors.

Last week, the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office (CBO) confirmed that Congressional Republicans’ budget math doesn’t add up. CBO found that – in order to meet Congressional Republicans’ stated commitment to balancing the budget in 10 years without raising taxes on the wealthy or corporations, and without cutting Social Security, Medicare, defense, and some veterans’ benefits – Congressional Republicans would need to eliminate everything in the rest of the Federal budget.

The extreme MAGA Republican House Freedom Caucus proposal will be a five-alarm fire for families – including by endangering public safety. While the President’s Budget proposes smart investments to improve public safety, strengthen border security, and improve the safety of our transportation networks, extreme MAGA Republicans are pushing draconian cuts to these critical national priorities that would endanger Americans’ safety.

Their proposals will:

  • Make Our Border Less Secure The extreme MAGA Republican House Freedom Caucus proposal would eliminate funding for more than 2,000 Customs and Border Protection agents and officers and severely undermine our ability to secure the border and combat drug trafficking – allowing an additional 150,000 pounds of cocaine, nearly 900 pounds of fentanyl, nearly 2,000 pounds if heroin, and more than 17,000 pounds of methamphetamine into our country.
  • Defund the Police and Make Communities Less Safe. The extreme MAGA Republican House Freedom Caucus proposal would eliminate funding for 11,000 FBI personnel, including agents who investigate crimes and keep guns out of the hands of felons and domestic abusers. Their plan would cut Federal support to 60 local law enforcement agencies, eliminating 400 local law enforcement positions, slash law enforcement, crime prevention and justice grants to local and state governments by an average of $30,000 per locality and $1 million per state. The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) would have to implement a hiring freeze that would mean 190 agents, 130 Industry Operations Investigators, 180 technical and support staff would be lost to attrition – and ATF’s entire workforce of over 5,000 personnel would have to take 36 furlough days, further undermining their operations. ATF agents are often some of the first federal law enforcement on the scene of a mass shooting to help local law enforcement identify at-large shooters.
  • Scale Back Rail Safety Inspections. At a time when train derailments are wreaking havoc on community safety, the extreme MAGA Republican House Freedom Caucus proposal would lead to 11,000 fewer rail safety inspections days next year alone, and almost 30,000 fewer miles of track inspected annually – enough track to cross the United States nearly 10 times. Since the Norfolk Southern train derailment, bipartisan Senators have called for more rail inspections, not fewer.
  • Jeopardize Air Safety and Increase Airport Security Wait Times. The extreme MAGA Republican House Freedom Caucus proposal would shut down services at 125 Air Traffic Control Towers across the country – undermining safety at one third of all U.S. airports – and increase wait times at TSA security check points by an average of 30 minutes.

March 21, 2023: The White House posted: FIVE-ALARM FIRE: The House Freedom Caucus’ Extreme Budget Proposal Raises Costs for Families

The extreme MAGA Republican House Freedom Caucus has made their priorities clear: imposing devastating cuts to public safety and increasing costs for working- and middle-class families, all to protect and extend tax breaks skewed to the wealthy and big corporations. In fact, their tax cuts would be so expensive that their deep and harmful cuts would not reduce the deficit.

That’s in sharp contrast with the President’s Budget, which invests in America, lowers costs for families, protects and strengthens Medicare and Social Security, and reduces the deficit by $3 trillion over 10 years, while ensuring no one making less than $400,000 per year pays a penny more in new taxes.

Combined with other communities extreme MAGA House Republicans have already made, the extreme Freedom Caucus proposal will be a disaster for families in at least five key ways: endangering public safety, raising costs for families, shipping manufacturing jobs overseas and undermining American workers, weakening national security, and hurting seniors.

Last week, the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office (CBO) confirmed that Congressional Republicans’ budget math doesn’t add up. CBO fond that – in order to meet Congressional Republicans’ stated commitment to balancing the budget in 10 years without raising taxes on the wealthy or corporations, and without cutting Social Security, Medicare, defense, and some veterans’ benefits – Congressional Republicans would need to eliminate everything in the rest of the Federal budget.

The extreme MAGA Republican House Freedom caucus proposal will be a five-alarm fire for families – including by raising costs. Unlike extreme MAGA Republicans in the House who are focused on repealing the Inflation Reduction Act – which would raise costs on everything from health insurance, to prescription drugs, to utility bills – President Biden is focused on lowering everyday costs and giving working families more breathing room.

The extreme MAGA Republican House Freedom Caucus proposals will:

  • Make Health Care More Expensive: Extreme MAGA Republicans in the House have signed onto a bill to repeal the Inflation Reduction Act. That will increase health care premiums by an average of $800 per year for nearly 15 million Americans.
  • Increase Energy Costs. The Extreme MAGA House Republicans would eliminate a law that will lower utility bills for American families by hundreds of dollars per year. Their plans would deny Americans critical savings on electric vehicles, energy-efficient windows, solar panels, and more.
  • Make College More Expensive. The extreme MAGA Republican House Freedom Caucus proposal would not only eliminate the Pell Grants altogether for 80,0000 students, it would also reduce the maximum award by nearly $1,000 for the remaining 6.6 million students who receive Pell Grants – making it harder for them to attend and afford college.
  • Eliminate Preschool and Child Care Slots. The extreme MAGA House Republican House Freedom Caucus proposal would mean 200,000 children lose access to Head Start slots and 100,000 children lose access to child care – undermining our children’s education and making it more difficult for parents to join the workforce and contribute to our economy.
  • Strip Medicaid Coverage and Food Assistance from Millions of People: Extreme MAGA Republicans want to impose failed policies that take Medicaid coverage away from people who fail to meet bureaucratic work reporting requirements. When it was tried, this policy led to nearly 1 in 4 losing Medicaid coverage – including working people and people with disabilities, caused uninsured rates to spike and led people to go without needed care, and failed to increase employment. Their proposals also put food assistance at risk for millions of older people and parents, would lose vital nutrition assistance through the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC), significantly increasing child poverty and hunger.

March 23, 2023: The White House posted: “FIVE-ALARM-FIRE: The House Freedom Caucus’ Extreme Budget Proposal Hurts Seniors”

The extreme MAGA Republican House Freedom Caucus has made their priorities clear: imposing devastating cuts that would hurt seniors and increasing costs for working- and middle-class families, all to protect and extend tax breaks for the wealthy and big corporations. In fact, their tax cuts would be so expensive that their deep and harmful cuts would not reduce the deficit.

That’s in sharp contrast with the President’s Budget, which invests in American, lowers costs for families, protects and strengthens Medicare and Social Security, and reduces the deficit by $3 trillion over 10 years, while ensuring no one making less than $400,000 per year pays a penny more in new taxes.

Combined with other commitments extreme MAGA House Republicans have already made, the extreme Freedom Caucus proposal will be a disaster for families in a least five key ways: endangering public safety, raising costs for families, shipping manufacturing jobs overseas and undermining American workers, weakening national security, and hurting seniors.

Last week, the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office (CBO) confirmed that Congressional Republicans’ budget math doesn’t add up. CBO found that – in order to meet Congressional Republicans’ stated commitment to balancing the budget in 10 years without raising taxes on the wealthy or corporations, and without cutting Social Security, Medicare, defense, and some veterans’ benefits – Congressional Republicans would need to eliminate everything in the rest of the Federal budget.

Republicans in the House try to cut Social Security, Medicare, or Medicaid, he will stop them – and his Budget protects these bedrock programs while investing in the health and well-being of America’s seniors.

The extreme MAGA Republican House Freedom Caucus proposals will:

  • Make the Largest Medicare Benefit Cut in Decades. Extreme MAGA Republicans in the House have signed onto a bill to repeal the Inflation Reduction Act. That will eliminate access to $35 insulin for more than 3 million Medicare beneficiaries, eliminate the $2,000 out of pocket cap on prescription drugs for seniors, and eliminate free vaccines that are saving 3.4 million seniors on average $70 per year – all to give Big Pharma a bigger taxpayer handout.
  • Worsen Social Security and Medicare Wait Times. Under the extreme MAGA Republican House Freedom Caucus proposal, people applying for disability benefits would have to wait at least two months longer for a decision. With fewer staff available, seniors would also be forced to endure longer wait times when they call for assistance for both Social Security and Medicare, and as many as 240 Social Security field offices could be forced to close or shorten the hours they are open to the public.
  • Rob Seniors of Healthy Meals. The extreme MAGA Republican House Freedom Caucus proposal would take away nutrition services, such as Meals on Wheels, for more than 1 million seniors. For many of these seniors, these programs provide the only healthy meal they receive on any given day.

Cuts Housing for Seniors: The extreme MAGA Republican House Freedom Caucus proposal would eliminate funding for Housing Choice Vouchers for as many as 100,000 households headed by seniors, putting seniors across the country at greater risk of homelessness.

March 27, 2023: FACT SHEET: Extreme MAGA Congressional Republicans Propose Handouts to Rich and Tax Hikes for Working Families

President Biden Asks the Super-Wealthy to Pay Their Fair Share and Cuts Taxes For Hardworking Families

The President’s economic vision is to invest in American and grow the economy from the bottom up and the middle out, not the top down. As part of his plan to cut costs for Americans and give families more breathing room, the President’s Budget cuts taxes for working people and families with children by almost $800 billion over the next 10 years. Like the rest of the Budget’s investments, these tax cuts are more than paid for by ensuring wealthy people and large corporations pay their fair share in taxes and by cutting spending on special interests, without raising taxes on anyone with income below $400,000 per year.

Congressional Republicans have instead offered a set of top-down tax proposals. Their agenda would add over $3 trillion to the debt with tax cuts and other giveaways skewed to the wealthy and large corporations. Remarkably, even as they have put forward trillions in tax cuts, they have also advanced proposals that would raise taxes on millions of middle-class and working Americans. And now, MAGA Republicans are demanding massive cuts to programs middle-class and working families, seniors, and students rely on – from public safety to health care to education – while reportedly declining to put forward a budget, which would how how much of these cuts are going to pay for tax cuts, rather then reduce the debt.

Who would see a tax cut?

Under the President’s Plan: Families with Children, Working Households, People Buying Health Insurance, and Families Adopting a Child

  • 39 million families with children. By increasing and improving the Child Tax Credit, the President would cut taxes by an average of $2,600 for 39 million families that include 62 million children. That includes 18 million children in low-income families who would be newly eligible for the full credit, helping to continue historic reductions in child poverty.
  • 19 million working individuals or couples. By increasing and improving the Earned Income Tax Credit, the President’s plan would cut taxes by an average of $800 for 19 million working individuals or couples. That includes 2 million older workers age 65 and older and 5 million young adults age 18 to 24 newly eligible for the credit.
  • 14.8 million people getting help purchasing health insurance. By improving and expanding eligibility for the Adoption Tax Credit, the President’s plan would cut taxes by thousands of dollars on average for 70,000 families adopting a child, reducing the financial burden on low- and moderate-income families pursuing adoption, as well as for families who opt for legal guardianship.

Under Congressional Republican Proposals: Huge Corporations, Multi-Millionaires, Wealthy Tax Cheats

  • About 150 large, profitable businesses that could go back to paying less than 15% of income in taxes. Congressional Republicans want to cut taxes for an estimated 150 large and profitable companies, firms with over $1 billion in profits. In 2020, 55 of the largest most profitable corporations paid $0 in taxes.
  • 120,000 households with incomes over $4 million per year. Extreme MAGA House Republican leaders have also introduced legislation to extend the expiring Trump tax cuts, including the large share that flows to the highest income Americans. That would deliver an average tax cut of $175,000 – over 2.5 times a typical family’s annual income – to the 120,000 highest income American households.
  • Wealthy people and businesses who cheat on their taxes. While working people pay 99% of taxes on their wage and salary income, the top 1% hides about 20% of their income from tax, including tax havens that do not report earnings. As their very first piece of legislation, House Republicans passed the Tax Cheats Protection Act to let wealthy people and businesses to keep cheating on over $100 billion in taxes they owe.

Who would pay more?

Under the President’s Plan: Billionaires Who Now Pay Virtually Nothing, Huge Corporations Sheltering Income in Tax Havens, and Businesses Splurging on Stock Buybacks

Under the President’s plan, there are no tax increases at all for anyone making less than $400,000 per year. But taxes would go up for:

  • Billionaires and multi-millionaires currently paying less tax than any middle-class families. The President’s plan includes a 25% minimum tax on the wealthiest 0.01%, those with wealth of more than $100 million. Because, billionaires make their money in ways that ware taxed at lower rates, and sometimes not taxed at all, many of the wealthiest Americans are able not pay an average income tax rate of just 8 percent on their full incomes – a lower rate than many firefighters or teachers.
  • Multinational corporations that use loopholes and tax havens to pay less in tax than many middle-class families.The President’s plan proposes to reform the international tax system to reduce incentives to shelter profits in tax havens and raise the tax rate on U.S. multinationals’ foreign earnings to 21%.
  • Corporations with massive stock buybacks. President Biden signed into law a surcharge on corporate stock buybacks, which reduces the differential tax treatment between buybacks and dividends. This encourages businesses to invest in their growth and productivity as opposed to paying out corporate executives or funneling tax-preferred profits to shareholders. The President’s Budget proposes quadrupling the stock buybacks tax to 4 percent to address the continued tax advantage for buybacks and encourage long-term investment over handouts to executives and shareholders.

Under Congressional Republican Proposals: Middle Class and Working Families and Seniors

14.8 million middle-class and low-income Americans getting help purchasing health insurance. Extreme MAGA House Republicans have introduced legislation to immediately repeal President Biden’s improvements to ACA tax credits for people buying health insurance. Among those who would be particularly hard hit are:

  • Middle-income older people with high health insurance costs: A typical 60-year-old earning $60,000 per year would face a tax increase of over $6,000 for 2023. In areas with high health insurance premiums, the impact would be even greater.
  • Self-employed people and small business owners who don’t get health insurance through their jobs. In 2021, self-employed people and small business owners accounted for 25 percent of working-age people with ACA marketplace coverage.
  • Working families and middle-class retirees. Some Congressional Republicans continue to push a national retail sales tax bill that would repeal most existing taxes and impose a new 30% sales tax on American families. That legislation would increase the debt by trillions of dollars and deliver massive tax cuts to the well-off – while increasing taxes by $7,000 for a retired couple with $60,000 in Social Security income and by $6,000 for a single mom making $38,000 a year.

March 28: President Biden posted the following on Twitter/X:

Dear Mr. Speaker,

Thank you for your letter of March 28, 2023, following up on our last meeting to discuss the obligation of the Congress to keep our Nation from defaulting on its debts. As you know, this is a critical priority – for the Congress, for my Administration, and for the American people who will bear the pain of a default. This has been done by previous Congresses with no conditions attached and this Congress should act quickly to do so now.

We can agree that an unprecedented default would inflict needless economic pain on hard-working Americans and that the American people have no interest in brinksmanship. That is why House Democrats joined with House Republicans and voted to avoid default throughout the Trump Administration – without conditions despite disagreements about budget priorities. That same standard should apply today.

Separately, as you and I discussed earlier, I look forward to talking with you about the Nation’s economic and fiscal future. But for that conversation to be productive, we should both tell the American people what we are for.

I shared my Budget with the American people on March 9, 2023. As you know, the Invest in America budget proposal I sent to the Congress builds on the record deficit reduction achieved on my watch. In fact, I put forward specific proposals for how to cut deficits by nearly $3 trillion over 10 years by having big corporations and the super wealthy pay their fair share, cutting special interest subsidies like tax breaks for the oil and gas industry – some of the most profitable companies in America, and expanding Medicare’s new ability to negotiate lower drug prices with pharmaceutical companies. My proposals enable us to lower costs for families and invest in our economic growth, all while reducing the deficit.

Unfortunately, the tax proposals from the House Republican Conference would exacerbate the debt problem I inherited by adding over $3 trillion in new tax spending skewed to the same constituencies who should be paying more, like multinational corporations and the richest taxpayers. That is one reason why seeing your full set of proposals would be useful before we meet, so we can understand the full, combined impact on the deficit, the economy, and American families.

My hope is that House Republicans can present the American public with your budget plan before Congress leaves for the Easter recess so that we can have an in-depth conversation when you return. As I have repeatedly said, that conversation must be separate from prompt action on the Congress’ basic obligation to pay the Nation’s bills and avoid economic catastrophe.

I look forward to your response, to eliminating the specter of default and to your budget.

Sincerely,

Joseph R. Biden Jr.

March 28, 2023: Speaker of the House Kevin McCarthy posted the following letter to President Biden:

Nearly two months ago, you and I sat down to discuss a path forward on the debt limit. Since that time, however, you and your team have been completely missing in action on any meaningful follow-up to this rapidly approaching deadline.

With each passing day, I am incredibly concerned that you are putting an already fragile economy in jeopardy by insisting upon your extreme position of refusing to negotiate any meaningful changes to out-of-control government spending alongside an increase of the debt limit. Your position – if maintained – could prevent America from meeting its obligations and hold dire ramifications for the entire nation.

I have no interest in brinksmanship – only in doing what is best for the American people. We cannot solve the nation’s fiscal impacts overnight, and House Republicans are not demanding we do so. But we cannot continue to kick the can down the road and ignore America’s ballooning national debt., all while you continue to spend trillions more, including through unaccountable executive fiat.

House Republicans are unite in our view that the best way to reduce the national debt is to Limit Spending, Save Taxpayer Money, and Grow the Economy. I am prepared to sit down to discuss a variety of means that would achieve trillions of dollars in savings and economic growth – some of which you even agreed to during the Biden Debt Limit Talks of 2011. These include, but are not limited to:

  • Reducing excessive non-defense government spending to pre-inflationary levels and limiting out-year growth, similar to what Senator Joe Manchim (D-WV) has proposed;
  • Reclaiming unspent COVID funds that have sat dormant for over two years;
  • Strengthening work requirements for those without dependents who can work, as was enacted under President Bill Clinton and which you voted for as a United States Senator;
  • Policies to grow our economy and keep Americans safe, including measures to lower energy costs, make America energy dependent, and secure our border from the flow of deadly fentanyl that is killing million 300 Americans per day.

Taken together, such policies would help address the number one issue facing Americans today: stubbornly high inflation brought on by reckless government spending.

Mr. President, simply put: you are on the clock. It’s time to drop the partisanship, roll up our sleeves, and find common ground on this urgent challenge. Please have your team reach out to mine by the end of this week to set a date for our next meeting.

Sincerely,

Kevin McCarthy – Speaker of the House

March 28, 2023: Statement from Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre on Speaker McCarthy’s Letter

Congress has a constitutional obligation to address the debt limit – as they did three times in the previous administration without conditions. Business leaders and economists have warned that the threat of a default risks the livelihoods of American small businesses, retirees, and working families and would hand a massive win to China – and recent events underscore the need for Congress to address the debt limit as soon as possible. It’s time for Republicans to quit playing games, pass a clean debt ceiling bill, and quit threatening our economic recovery.

The President welcomes a separate conversation about our nation’s fiscal future. Earlier this month, he released a budget that cuts the deficit by nearly $3 trillion while lowering costs for families and investing in America. Speaker McCarthy and his extreme MAGA caucus have refused to put out a budget. All we’ve heard from them is a list of devastating cuts to law enforcement and border security and proposals to take health care away from Americans and raise health care and child care costs. All to pay for their tax giveaway to the super-wealthy and corporations. In fact, their proposals don’t reduce the deficit at all.

March 30, 2023: STATE FACT SHEETS: White House Details Devastating Impacts Extreme MAGA House Republicans’ Reckless Plan Would Have on Hard-Working Families

Cuts would endanger public safety and worsen public health, raise costs for families and students, and harm seniors and veterans – while multimillionaires and big corporations would get massive tax cuts.

Today, the White House released 51 state and territory fact sheets highlighting the impacts of extreme MAGA House Republicans’ reckless plan to gut crucial support for hardworking families while delivering massive tax breaks for the super wealthy and corporations.

This week, Speaker McCarthy doubled down on holding the full faith and credit of the United States hostage and risking economic chaos and catastrophe in order to force draconian cuts that will endanger public safety and worsen public health, raise costs for families and students, and harm seniors and veterans. The House Freedom Caucus was quick to praise Speaker McCarthy’s proposal as consistent with their own, which would slash critical investments in hard-working families by roughly 20%. What’s more, House Republicans are demanding these reckless cuts while advancing trillions in deficit increasing tax cuts skewed to the super wealthy and big corporations.

That’s in sharp contrast with President Biden’s Budget, which invests in America, lowers costs for families, protects and strengthens Medicare and Social Security, and reduces the deficit by nearly $3 trillion over 10 years, while ensuring no one making less than $400,000 per year pays a penny in new taxes…


April 2023:

April 19, 2023: Press Briefing by Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: Okay. Good afternoon, everybody.

All right, let’s get going because I know we’re going to have to end this earlier than usual.

Okay, I see your hand. Give me a second, Ed. I see you.

Okay, as you all know, a bit later this afternoon the President will deliver remarks contrasting his and congressional Republicans’ economic visions for the future. He’ll lay this out at a union facility training workers for the jobs his agenda is creating.

The President’s agenda is fighting inflation, investing in America, which has helped lower prescription drug and insulin costs, created manufacturing jobs, and unleashed $435 billion in private sector investments.

The President’s economic vision reduces the deficit by nearly $3 trillion by asking the super-wealthy and biggest corporations to pay their fair share and cutting wasteful spending on special interests like Big Oil and Big Pharma.

By contrast, just two days ago, as you all saw and covered, Speaker McCarthy went to Wall Street. And instead of telling the wealthy and big corporations to pay their fair share and stop shipping jobs overseas, the Speaker proposed huge cuts to important programs that working- and middle-class Americans rely on.

The Speaker hid the details on — of his proposal by — by — the reality is it would slash education, veterans care, Meals on Wheels, food safety, and so much more, while outsourcing manufacturing and American jobs.

Moreover, for all his talk about fiscal responsibility, they don’t have any real plan to cut the deficit. That’s because House Republicans support over $3 trillion in tax giveaways that overwhelming, benefit the rich and the biggest corporations.

The President will also call on Speaker – on the Speaker to take default off the table to – so they can have a real – have a real conversation about the budget.

Now, moving to Ukraine. Later today, the Biden-Harris administration will announce a new security assistant package for Ukraine as part of our ongoing efforts to help Ukraine defend itself against Russia’s brutal invasion.

The announcement, which will come from Depart- — from the Department of State and Defense, will be the 36th use of presidential daw – — presidential drawdown authorities to support Ukraine. The package will include more ammunition for U.S.-provided HIMARS rocket systems and anti-armor systems, as well as additional artillery rounds.

The United States will continue to work with our allies and partners to help Ukraine defend itself, to defend its democracy and protect its people.

Another thing for today. I am pleased to announce that President Biden will welcome President Pedro Sánchez of Spain to the White House on Friday, May 12th, to deepen the historic ties between the United States and Spain. The two leaders will review our efforts as NATO Allies and close partners strengthen our bilateral defense relationship, transatlantic security, and economic prosperity.

They will discuss an – our unwavering support for Ukraine and our efforts to impose costs on the Kremlin as Russia continues its brutal war of aggression.

The leaders will also coordinate on a range of issues as Spain prepares to assume the rotating presidency of the Council of the European Union in July, including climate change and expanded cooperation with Latin America and the Caribbean.

And finally, before we take questions, I’m please to share that the President looks forward to welcoming Tennessee State Representative Justin Jones, Justin Pierson, and Gloria Johnson to the White House this coming Monday.

Earlier this month, the President spoke to them by phone after they were subjugated to expulsion votes in the Tennessee statehouse for peacefully protesting in support of stronger gun safety laws following the shooting at the Covenant School in Nashville.

During that call, the President thanked them for their leadership in seeking to ban assault weap – weapons and standing up for the democratic values.

And the three lawmakers thanked the President for his leadership on gun safety and for spotlighting the undemocratic and unprecedented attacks on them in the Tennessee statehouse.

The President looks forward to continuing that discussion when they all meet with – with him on Monday.

With that, Darlene.

Q: Ooo, thank you. Excuse me.

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: Just a little news.

Q: Is the White House or the President aware that a federal watchdog is investigating whether the DEA Administrator improperly awarded millions of dollars in no-bid contracts to hire her past associates? Is there any commitment on that?

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: So, that’s the first time I’m hearing this. I would have to check in with – with our colleagues. I just don’t – don’t have anything to share at this time from this podium.

Q: Today, on Capitol Hill, the Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction testified and said specifically that State and USAID have refused to cooperate with his independent oversight of the Afghanistan withdrawal and have stonewalled the investigation. How do you respond to those allegations?

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: So the administration has consistently provided updates and information, and including — I’ll list out a couple of things here – thousands of pages of documents, analysis spreadsheets, and written responses to questions, hundreds of briefings to bipartisan members and also their staff, public congressional testimony by senior officials, all while consistently providing updates and information to numerous – to numerous inspector – inspectors general.

So, again, I would refer you, as I normally do when it comes to stuff like this, to my White House Counsel’s office for more details on specifics.

But, again, have been consistently providing updates to – to the committee.

Q: And just quickly, one more on Sudan. Given that the President said last year that the U.S. is “all in” on Africa, do you foresee the President at any point stepping up his involvement in trying to end hostilities that are going on it Sudan at this point?

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: So, here – I – I do we have a – we do have a statement that we wanted to put out to all of you on an update on Sudan specifically.

Look, we condemn – the United State’s condemn in the strongest terms violence between the Sudanese Armed Forces – SAF – and the Rapid Support Forces – RSF.

As you’ve heard in today’s joint statement, people across Sudan continue sheltering in place, fearing for their lives, and running low on fuel, food, medicine, and water.

Military operations have resulted in significant civilian deaths and injuries, and are recklessly endangering the Sudanese people, diplomats, humanitarian aid workers, as well.

The toll has been high with initial estimate civilian deaths of more than 270. Access to hospitals and vital medical services have been severely disrupted. Much of this fighting has occurred in urban areas, including Khartoum.

Sudan’s military leaders must engage in dialogue without delay. Their actions across Sudan have placed countless people at risk and set back the Sudanese people’s rightful call for a peaceful democratic transition.

Senior U.S. officials are in direct contact with the leadership of the SAF and also the RSF. We continue to press the RSF and SAF to establish an immediate ceasefire and call on both to ensure all forces adhere to that.

We are consulting very closely with the regional and other partners on this situation. We call on – on SAF and RSF to adhere to international law, renounce violence, and return to negotiations.

The military leadership – General Burhan and Hemeti – are responsible for ensuring the protections of civilians and noncombatants. This includes people from third countries, including our diplomatic personnel working in Sudan and their families, along with humanitarian staff working to save lives.

We have no higher priority than the safety and security of U.S. citizens abroad. We continue to remain in close contact with our embassy in Khartoum and have full accountability of our personnel.

The State Department has been communicating with U.S. citizens who may be in the region about safety measures and other precautions.

Don’t have anything more to share outside of what I just laid out.

Go Ahead.

Q: Thanks, Karine. You said yesterday the stakes could not be higher as the Supreme Court prepares to weigh in on the abortion pill case. Can you give use a sense of how the President is watching this decision today? Who’s briefing him? What is his response?

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: Well, his senior advisors will continue to brief him throughout the day. As you just said, this is – this is a high priority. We’re clearly keeping a close eye on this and what the decisions – what decisions may come down from this.

Look, as we know, this – as you just mentioned, the stay – the stay will expire tonight, and we are prepared. We are prepared for any outcome the Supreme Court may. may issue, and we are prepared for a long legal fight if necessary. You’ve heard me say this before.

And we will continue — we will continue to stand with FDA’s evidence-based approval of mifepristone. As we know, that’s been around for more than 20 years. It’s — It’s — it is used in more than 60 countries. And we will continue to support FDA’s independent expert authority to review, approve, and regulate a wide range of prescription drugs.

Again, as you just stated in your question, the stakes could not be higher, and we are going to continue to fight. That is the commitment that this President, this administration, has made.

And we are going to continue to protect women’s — women’s reproductive rights. That is something that we have said since the Dobbs decision came down this past — this past summer in June.

Q: You say you’re prepared. Can you give us a sense of what those preparations are in case the stay is not extended? What can you tell American women who are worried about these restrictions going into effect?

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: Well, what we can tell American women is that we’re going to continue to fight. We’ve been very clear about that. We fee that the law is on our side here. And clearly, we’re going to wait to see what the Court decisions will be later — later — at some point today. As we know, the deadline — the stay will expire tonight.

But this is something that the President, the Vice President has been clear on. We are going to continue to fight for women’s reproductive rights. This is something where the majority of Americans agree with us on.

And so, again, this is a fight we are willing to have, that we will continue to have, and that we have been having. And that’s what the women — million os women across the country can — can really count on when it — when it comes to this administration.

Q: And if I could — just one more specific: Are you looking at prescribing this off-label? Is that something — one of the options that’s on the table?

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: I’m just not going to — I’m not going to get ahead of – of any – any actions that we will be taking.

What I can say is that we will continue to fight, and we are prepared for whatever decision is made on this today.

Go ahead.

Q: Just a couple on the debt ceiling. So, Speaker McCarthy is preparing to unveil a plan to lift the debt ceiling. Are you in communication with him about that? That is expected later today, we’re reporting.

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: So, what I can say is we — we’re — we’ve heard that there’s something coming out today — a plan coming out today. Speaker — Speaker McCarthy is engaging in dangerous economic hostage-taking.

You heard directly from the President. He was very clear about this yesterday in the Rose Garden. And taking — and that is threatening, as we all know, hardworking Americans’ jobs and retirement savings and his — and in his plan.

And so it is clear that extreme House Republicans — the MAGA House Republicans — what they want to do. They’ve been very clear about this. They have told us over and over again they want to increase costs for hardworking families, take food assistance and healthcare away from millions of Americans, and increase the debt when combined with House Republicans’ proposal for tax giveaways skewed for the super-rich, special interests, and profitable companies.

And that seems to be their priority. That is what they’ve put forth. And the President was very clear yesterday. He’s like, “What are they doing? What is the MAGA Republicans doing?” Why would the Speaker — like no other Speaker has done this before — threaten default? Why would he do this?

And so, again, we’ve heard that this is coming out today. But we’ve been very clear about how we see what MAGA Republicans have been doing these past couple of months.

Q: And a follow-up. It looks like tax collections may be down. That means that the date in which the — you know, the Treasury runs out of money could be earlier than expected, according to some analysts. Do you have any guidance for us on how quickly that could happen? And then —

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: So, that is something, as you know, the Secretary of Treasury has spoken to, so I would refer to the U.S. Treasury on any — any — any comments on deadlines that — that relates to this.

I’m just not going to comment from here.

Q: Okay. And then just some more on the dollar. So, yesterday, Jared Bernstein, during the confirmation hearing, said there was some evidence that China wanted to see the, you know, dollar displaced or dislodged as the world’s reserve currency. We’ve had some comments from Brazil in recent days about the dollar — the Chinese currency instead. I mean, how — how concerned are you to that debt ceiling default or a U.S. default could lead to trouble with the dollar?

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: So, what I can say is that we’re always monitoring development in this space and ensure we maintain the centrality of the dollar in global financial markets in the global economy as well.

What I will say is: The primary — the primary focus of the U.S. — or the primary of the U.S. dollar is underpinned by fundamental advantages that the United States has held for a long time and will continue to hold. That incudes credible and longstanding commitments for — to transparency and sound government — governance, rule of law, the most liquid financial markets in the world, and the independence of the Federal Reserve system as well.

I’ll leave it there.

Go ahead.

Q: I know that you’ve said that the White House is prepared to respond to whatever decision comes from the Supreme Court. But if the Supreme Court denies DOJ’s request, how soon do you anticipate having some actual actions to unveil regarding abortion?

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: I’m not going to get ahead of the — the court decision today.

What I can say — and I think we have shown this — we have been fighting for women’s reproductive rights since the Dobbs decision came — came out back in June, and we’ll continue to fight. And we are prepared. I’m just not going to get ahead of the decision at this time.

Q: And should we expect the President to speak on this today?

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: Well, we have to — we have to see what the decision is. I’m just not going to give any more details until we hear what the court is going to say today.

What I can say — and I think we have shown this — we have been fighting for women’s reproductive rights since the Dobbs decision came — came out back in June, and we’ll continue to fight. And we are prepared. I’m just not going to get ahead of the decision at this time.

Q: And should we expect the President to speak on this today?

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: Well, we have to — we have to see what the decision is. I’m just not going to give any more details until we hear what the court is going to say today.

Q: And then on the debt ceiling, as was mentioned, House Speaker McCarthy is preparing to unveil this plan — he’s hoping — by the end of today. And one of the proposals is that it wouldn’t be raising it by $1.5 trillion or suspending it until May 31st. Taking aside any spending cuts that they want to include, would the White House support doing a short-term extension for a year?

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: I’m not going to get into the mechanics. What we have been very clear about this is that there should be no negotiation. It’s been — should be done without conditions. We’ve been very, very clear these past several weeks, several months on how we view the debt ceiling and what should be done. It should be — it should be done again, without conditions.

This is something that both Republicans and Democrats came together in the last administration and did it three times. And when you have a Speaker that is threatening — threatening to default — no other Speaker has done that before.

And – and so, again, they need to do this. There should be no negotiations. They need to do this — they ned to do this again, because it is a constitutional responsibility that they have in Congress.

Go ahead.

Q: Yeah, following up on the meeting that you announced between President Biden and the three Tennessee state lawmakers, why was it important for the President that they visit the White House and that he sit down with them here? And is there something specific, you know, that he wants to get out of this — this meeting to share with the American public?

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: Well, the President has been very clear about how important it is to — to take the next steps when it comes to gun — gun reform.

And he saw these three legislators as taking — taking that next step — right? — when calling for – calling for assault wep- — weapons ban, which is incredibly important. He was proud and very — and very — you know, he was appreciative of their efforts and what they were trying to do in the statehouse and how important it is to have that type of (inaudible) — to have those type of voices to continue to call on an issue that he’s been talking about for not just the past several months, but for years, which is to ban assault weapons. Right?

And that’s what we know is killing communities. We see them in our schools. We see them in our churches. And — and we see in — we see them in our places of worship. And this is not — weapons of war should not be on the streets.

And so, he wants to — they had a conversation. He thanked them for speaking out and standing their ground and being very clear about what’s needed for — to protect their communities. And he invited them here to continue that conversation.

You all asked me: What else is the President going to do? This is another step, right? This is bringing these leaders in a — in a — in a city that was — that was harmed in the most horrible way by a shooting — or a state that was harmed in a horrible with three kids and three — three administrators being murdered in the school. And now they want to speak out.

And now they’re going to come here, and the President is going to have that conversation. And it’s important to continue to move that conversation in that way.

Q: A follow-up on that, Karine?

Q: Thanks, Karine. Just another quick follow-up on the — the three Tennessee lawmakers coming. Are — what are the plans for when they’re here? Are they having an Oval Office meeting with the President? Are they meeting with a larger group? Are they doing an event with the President?

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: So we’ll have more to share. Right now, today, I was able to confirm that they will be here on Monday. And as we get closer to Monday, we’ll certainly have more to share on what that’s going to look like. Just don’t have anything at this time.

Q: On Senator Dianne Feinstein, the President has obviously known her and worked with her for decades. Has he had an opportunity to talk with her to see how she’s doing?

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: I don’t have a call to read out at this time.

What I can say is just reiterate what the President has said — and the First Lady — you know, wishing her a speedy recovery. As you know, they out that statement out some time ago.

And also what else he said is that he sees her as a friend. He was very close to — to — very close to the senator’s husband as well — late husband, Richard. And they have a close friendship. And they worked, as you just stated, very closely together while he was a senator.

And she has — the work that she has done — I was just talking about banning assault weapons — that was something that he partnered with her on. The work that she has done as senator has made the lives of Americans better.

I don’t have — again, don’t have a call to read out. But this — he has — he has been very thankful for her partnership and her leadership in the Senate over the years.

Q: What does the White House believe that Senate Democrats should do now that Senate Republicans have said they’re not going to support temporarily replacing Senator Feinstein on the Senate Judiciary Committee?

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: So, let me just first state that the — this request was made by, as you know, Senator Feinstein. This is something that she had asked for — for the committee, for the Senate to do. And the President will continue to say he hopes all Senate — senators in both parties really respect and honor her requests.

Look, I kind of said this last — yesterday, and I’ll say it again: It is flat wrong to seek partisan advantage from health issues of a colleague. The American people reject that kind of scorched-earth approach to governing.

And — and so, in order to uphold the rule of law, it is imperative that we move expeditiously without unnecessarily delay. And that’s how the President sees this moving forward.

But, again, as you know, this was her request. This is something she asked for.

Q: But it appears they’re not going to go along with that request. And is this having a profound impact on the ability of the Senate to confirm the President’s judicial nominees. So what should happen now?

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: Look, we are going to — we’re going to leave that to the Senate. The President has been very clear that they should move forward. This is a request that she asked for, and it is a reasonable request.

And, again, I’m going to leave that to the Senate. And we’re — this should not be a partisan issue. This should just not be a partisan issue.

Q: So, how long should this position remain vacant? Is there a point at which, given the number of nominations that are piling up, that the White House believes that it’s the senator’s obligation — given that she’s been gone for a couple months now, has no timeline for returning — that for the good of the people of California and also for her party, it needs to consider steps?

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: Look, we are going to — we’re going to leave that to the Senate. The President has been very clear that they should move forward. This is a request that she asked for, and it is a reasonable request.

And, again, I’m going to leave that to the Senate. And we’re — this should not be a partisan issue. This should just not be a partisan issue.

Q: So, how long should this position remain vacant? Is there a point at which, given the number of nominations that are piling up, that the White House believes that it’s the senator’s obligation — give that she’s been gone for a couple of months now, has no timeline for returning — that for the good of the people of California and also for her party, it needs to consider next steps?

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: So, look. it is her decision to make. When it relates to anything about her future, that is for her to make. The President has been very clear about that.

And it is — you know, this is something that the Senate has — all senators have to deal with and not make this a partisan issue. Make it about the — you know, make it about the people. Make it about the people of California, the people across the country.

This is important to move forward. We do — the American people do not want a scorched-earth approach. We’ve been very clear. They were very clear about that when we looked at the midterm results.

And so, again, this should not be a partisan — partisan approach. We have to make sure that these issues are dealt with on behalf of the American people.

Go ahead, Justin.

Q: Thanks, Karine. I wanted to ask you about reports that President Macron had asked his top diplomat to meet with his Chinese counterpart and try to come up with a framework for possible peace negotiations related to Ukraine. And I’m wondering if the U.S. is aware of this effort, involved in it, supportive of it.

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: So, we certainly — I — we’ve heard the reporting, but we haven’t heard anything from — from the French on this, so we have to reach out and get more information. So I’m just not going to get ahead of having that conversation with the French. But certainly, we’ve seen the reports ourselves as well.

Q: There’s a report in Politico today that the Problem Solvers Caucus is working on a debt ceiling plan that would see the debt raised until the next presidential administration but an outside commission set up on fiscal reforms. Is there any White House reaction to that?

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: So, look, I don’t have a reaction to that at this time. What I can say: We — we’ve seen their one-pager. We have a very close and respectful relationship, a good relationship with the Problem Solvers Caucus. I just don’t have a reaction to share at this time.

But you’re familiar with what the President said yesterday. Our position continues to be not negotiable- –negotiate over default. This is something that is the responsibility, the obligation of congressional members. They were able to do this three times in the last administration.

And — and so, again, this has been something that both parties have been able to come together to take — to get done, and so that’s what we would like to see.

Q: A last quick one. You said — you were asked yesterday about Justice Thomas’s ethics questions. And you said you were going to be very careful not to comment on it.

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: Yeah.

Q: And I’m wondering if you could tease out why you’re going to be careful not to comment on it. Is the basic calculus, which I think people might understand, that you don’t feel like weighing in on these ethical issues or pushing for reforms is worth possibly alienating the Supreme Court?

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: Yeah, we just — I’m just not going to comment on it. Really, I’m just not going to comment on it from here.

Go ahead.

Q: Karine, the President has been pretty consistent when he’s been asked about this debt ceiling fight and potential negotiations with Republican leadership that he wants to see them put forward a budget before that happens. Are we getting closer now, with what the Speaker is putting out today and with the potential vote in the House next week, to seeing both parties having at least conversations in person, beginning a process by which there might be a discussion?

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: So, look, you — you saw the readout that the President had a conversation with Leader Schumer and Jeffries.

And what they said was very clear: We won’t negotiate over default. Republicans should pass a clean bill like they did. three times in the previous administration, as I’ve just stated over and over again.

And as the President said, the President is ready to have a separate conversation, as you just laid out, Emily, about the budget once the Republicans present their plan.

And we just haven’t seen that. We have not seen a detailed plan that — not just presented to the President, but to present to the American people.

Again, we’re just not going to negotiate over default. This is something that they need to get done, and they need to get done just like they did in the previous administration.

Q: This has largely been a messaging and political battle at this point. But I’m wondering if you can speak to what preparations might be undertaken behind the scenes within the administration about the potentially severe consequences of a default? We are potentially as quick as two months away from seeing this. What is the President being briefed on about contingencies about what might happen in the event of a default?

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: So, I — you know, I’m going to — you said “messaging and political battle.” Look, this is — this is their congressional — like, this is their duty. This is something that they have to get done. This is something that Republicans should not be holding hostage our nation. It is something that should not be happening.

And so, we’re calling them out, these MEGA Rep- –MAGA Republicans, these House Republicans. We’re calling them out for something that they were — easily were able to do in the last administration.

So I don’t want the American people thinking this is just some messaging — a political battle. No, this is the right thing to do. This is there duty as congressional members in the House to get this done.

On your second question, I just don’t have anything to share from here.

Q: And then, one more quick question. Robert F. Kennedy, Jr., today announced his candidacy for president, potentially challenging the President for renomination.

I’m wondering — obviously, from that podium, you’re limited in what you can say about politics. But the President just spent some time with Joseph Kennedy III last week, spoke with Ethel Kennedy. He has other Kennedys within the administration. Have you had a chance to speak with the President about his reaction to this potential candidacy now announced by RFK Jr.?

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: So it’s 2024. The Hatch Act. I’m just not going to touch that with a 12-foot poll.

Q: The President hasn’t offered a personal reaction?

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: I’m not going to — I’m not going to touch that with a 12-foot pole.

Thank you. Go ahead.

Q: Oh, thanks so much Karine. Just on the debit ceiling quickly, you’ve been very, very clear today, in previous days that the President wants a clean debt ceiling — a clean vote on the debt ceiling. But can you talk about whether he would want an amount — the debt ceiling to be raised an amount or by, like, a date?

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: No, I’m not going to get into the details. This is something that they should not do. They should raise the debt ceiling. This is something that the House Republicans need to get done. I’m not going to get into specifics.

Q: But is there a preference about —

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: I — I’m just not —

Q: — the way in which they do it?

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: I’m just not going to get into specifics from here.

What we can lay out is what the House Republicans have told us thus far that they want to do, that they have been very clear about, which is devastating cuts to veterans and education; as I’ve mentioned before, taking food assistance and healthcare away from millions of people; sending manufaca- — manufacturing jobs overseas or manufacturing overseas, which means outsourcing good-paying jobs to countries, including China; and increasing energy costs while increasing the deficit. This is what they have said and laid out that they want to do. And — and, let’s not forget, defund law enforcement and border security.

So that’s what we’re going to call out. They need to get this done. This is their duty, their congressional duty — constitutional duty, to be even more specific and accurate. And they have to get this done. They did it three times in the last administration.

Q: And just have a really quick question, if I may. President Putin has visited Ukraine twice in about a month. Can you say anything about what that might signal about the coming spring offensive and how the U.S. interprets his decision to make those two visits?

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: Yeah, I know he visited the Donbas region very recently.

Look, we’ve been very clear Russia has no legitimate or legal claim to these sovereign Ukrainian territories. We’ve been very clear about that, and we’ll continue to restate that. That’s why we will continue to support Ukraine, the Ukrainian government.

There’s going to be a PDA that’s going to announced by my colleagues at the Department of Defense, so I’ll refer you to that.

And, you know, Mr. Putin’s visit seems like an indication that they know things aren’t going well for Russia. They know that. Mr. Putin seems to know that very clearly. He is likely trying to shore up his own populace since he knows his military is underperforming and struggling to achieve its objectives through this invasion that we have seen them do for this past year.

Q: Thank you. As you know, the U.S. has now surpassed China in becoming India’s largest trading partner. And the U- — India-U.S. bilateral trade is now touching around $200 billion a year; last year, it was $192 billion.

Do you know when President Biden wen to India as the Vice President of this country, he had set a goal of having the bilateral trade to around $500 billion a year. Does the President still believe in that goal? And what steps is the administration is taking to reach that goal of India-U.S. bilateral trade of $500 billion a year?

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: So, I’ll say more broadly: As you know, the United States and India have a strong bilateral relationship, and that’s including trade as well — trade relationship.

We’re committed to continuing working together and in groups like the Quad to advance economic growth for our two countries and expand cooperation of our shared priorities. And that is a commitment that is — that you can — that you can — that you can know that that is coming from the United States.

Go ahead, Peter.

Q: Thanks, Karine. Sixty-nine percent of people polled by CNBC say they have a negative view of the economy. President Biden talks about the economy all the time. Why —

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: He talks about – oh.

Q: Why aren’t people buying it?

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: He talks about the economy all the time because he wants the American people to know that he’s doing everything that he can to make sure that he’s — that his policies that he’s put forward that have shown that he’s building an economy that doesn’t leave anybody behind; it builds an economy from the bottom up, and middle out.

And he also talks about the economy. And when you hear him talk about the economy, he talks about how he’s prioritizing, making sure that we lower inflation. And that is where the American people are, meeting them where they are. He’s going to continue to have that conversation. He understands how important that is for Americans and American families. And so, he’ll never shy away from that.

I know you’re reading a poll right now; that is one poll. But he’s not going to stop talking about what the American people really care about, which is: What are we doing here to make sure that we are addressing the issues and the concerns that they have?

Q: Okay, on China: China is setting up police stations in the U.S. There’s more proof now that they created COVID. There’s reason to think that there were more spy balloons than the White House has said. Why is it taking so long for President Biden to call Xi and tell him to cut it out?

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: We have said over and over again that the President intends to call President Xi.

I don’t have a call to read out to you at this time.

Look, and we’ve said this before — we — we believe it’s important to maintain open lines of communication with China. We believe that it is a — it is a — an important bilateral relationship, the U.S.-China relationship, even as we’re talking about strategic competition with China. And so that has not changed. We’re going to continue to move forward in that way.

Q: And then one more. So, Monday, you’re going to have three of the lawmakers who protested after —

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: Peace- — peacefully protested.

Q: — who peacefully protested after the Nashville Covenant School shooting. Have any of the victims or the victims’ families been invited to the White House?

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: I just don’t have anything at this time to read out to you — any invite.

Q: Why?

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: What I can say to you right now is that the President is focused on getting things done. He’s focused on making sure that we are protecting our communities, that we’re protecting our schools, that we’re protecting our churches, we’re protecting our grocery — grocery stores. That people, as we know, in Buffalo went to the grocery on a Saturday and got murdered. Ten of them were murdered. We see what’s happening in our schools.

And that’s why he’s brining these legislators here to have that conversation and to see what else can be done to highlight that. That’s why the President is using the bully pulpit for. That’s why he continues to put pressure on Congress to get things done, make sure that they’re showing some courage — Republicans in Congress — to make sure that we’re banning assault weapons.

And so, we cannot have weapons of war in our streets. We cannot have weapons of war in our schools. And so, that’s why he’s bringing them there. He’s bringing him here to continue that conversation.

All right. Go ahead, April.

Q: Karine, three topics. One, Tennessee —

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: Three topics? (Laughter.)

Q: Yes, ma’am.

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: It’s been a while, huh?

Q: Been a minute.

Tennessee legislative time has been truncated. What was the President’s thoughts about that? As the governor had said that he wanted to move forward with even red-flag laws, and now Republicans truncated that time that was supposed to be longer — a couple of weeks longer — and it now ends Friday of this week.

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: Can you say the beginning of the question? I’m so sorry. What —

Q: I’m sorry.

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: I’m sorry.

Q: What are the President’s thoughts about the Tennessee Legislative Assembly time being truncated, cut short —

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: Got you.

Q: — after the governor had said that he wanted red-flag laws and maybe even wanted to compromise with some other things? And now it seems like they may get the budget done and nothing else.

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: Well, it’s — look, it is — it is shameful and unfortunate what Republicans — what we see these MAGA Republicans in Congress and across the country and statehouses are doing on an issue — again, I just laid this out for Peter — on an issue that is so important to the American people.

It is — gun violence is an epidemic in our country. It’s killing our kids. Guns are the number-one killer of our children. And it’s only going up.

We should be doing — as adults, we should be doing everything that we can to protect our children. That is on us to do. This is a President that has taken action after action to do just that: to protect our community.

But as we understand, as you all know, it takes legislation to continue the work. That’s why we’re asking Congress to do more. That’s why we’re calling on House Republicans to do more.

And we should see that same type of action in statehouses as well.

Q: And next question: Do you know of any movements, any efforts to extradite the suspects in the Shanquella Robinson murder?

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: I don’t have any information on that.

Q: Okay. And —

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: I would refer you to the Department of Justice.

Q: And lastly, what are the efforts by this administration — as the nation is waiting to find out the decision on affirmative action in the Supreme Court, what are the next steps? Because, you know, the thought is that it will be overturned — affirmative action.

It could have tentacles not only just in that case, but in the historic Brown v. Board and in other pieces of affirmative action and DEI around the nation.

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: So what I can say is the President supports making higher education access- — accessible to all Americans.

As the Department of Justice argued in court, it is important that our colleagues and universities produce graduates who are from all segments of society, who are prepared to succeed — to succeed and lead an increasingly diverse nation.

The Supreme Court reaffirmed this less than a decade ago in Fisher v. University of Texas at Austin, and it should do so again.

Q: But, again, it has — it has tentacles beyond education into the broader society — workplace, et. cet. — into the broader society, workplace, et cetera. What does the President say about that as he stood to run on equity and inclusion?

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: And — and you said it right there, April: He stood to run on equity and inclusion. And he has shown that throughout his administration.

One of the first executive orders that he signed was to make sure that we say that — that type of diversity that — that was — that was — we were leading with diversity in our different agencies and departments. And that is what the executive order that he — one of the first executive orders was leading with that lens and taking action to make sure that there is inclusion and diversity.

So he has walked the talk. And so — and so the President is — something that he has always said: He’s going to make sure that no one gets left behind.

As we’re talking — as we ta- — I’ve talked numerous times about his in- — his economic policies. He does that. And any other policies that he’s put forward are to make sure that, again, no one gets left behind, that we’re making sure there’s inclusion and diversity at the center of everything that he does.

I go to move around.

AIDE: Karine, we got to move.

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: Okay, go ahead, Ed.

Q: Yeah, thanks, April. I — I mean, thanks —

Q: April? That’s —

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: April?

Q: Yeah, thanks Karine. (Laughs.)

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: April, you’re up here right now. All right, come on up, April.

Q: I’m on my way. (Laughter.)

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: All right, you ready?

Q: So, I want to — I want to ask about gas prices.

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: Switch — let’s switch sides.

Q: Let’s switch — switch to the economy this idea —

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: Okay.

Q: — gas prices. The price of gas has been inching up 24 cents over the past month. Are there any new actions the President is going to take now to bring gas prices down for the summer?

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: So, look, as just — as a reminder, gas prices are not where they were a year ago because of the actions the President has taken. They have gone down by $1.30 since this summer — again, because of what the President has done.

I was being asked about why the President talks about the economy. Because he wants to make sure that the American people know the work that he’s been doing and how he has put inflation number one — as — number-one thing that he wants to get done as it relates to the economy.

And time and time again, we have seen — we have seen analysts’ predictions proven wrong.

And so, look, the President has been clear that he will do everything that he can to continue to lower — lower costs for the American people, and that includes calling on oil and gas companies to use the permits and profits available to them to increase production, which is already on track to reach a record high this year.

I don’t have any additional actions to provide to you. I’m being told that we have to go because the President is going to be leaving shortly. And all you guys — and all you have to leave.

Q: Just quickly, then — where that meets inflation. So core inflation is basically flat, and if we see gas price inflation come back into it, how concerned is the President that inflation will then come back up?

And we’ve seen him resist policy pivots. Are there any concerns or lo – — is there any examples of the President possibly looking at policy pivots for the future?

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: So we’re always monitoring gas prices, which we know are a key part of families’ budgets, which is why the President has done the work that he has.

Again, gas prices are not where they were a year ago, They have gone down since its — the highest peak this past summer.

And we have always said it will take some time for inflation to come down. And we may see bumps in the roads, but that’s why lowering costs and fighting inflation remains the President’s top priority.

That’s why the Inflation Reduction Act is important. That’s why the Bipartisan Infrastructure — Infrastructure legislation is so important. That’s why CHIPS and Science Act are so important.

All of these are part of the President’s economic policies to make sure that we meet the American people where they are.

And bye, everybody. I’ll see you tomorrow. (Laughter.)

Q: Thanks, Karine.


MAY 2023:

May 9, 2023: Press Briefing By Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: Good afternoon, everybody. Okay. Let’s get to it.

As you know, tomorrow the President will travel to New York to drive home the impact of current discussions on the economy to real hardworking American families. After his meeting, it’s important to the President that Americans across the country know what is at stake here.

Default threatens 8 million jobs, a recession, retirement accounts, and Social Security and Medicare payments.

The President has a different vision: prevent default and invest in America while reducing the deficit by nearly $3 trillion and cutting wasteful spending on special interest.

Now, just a few minutes ago, a while ago, we announced that President Biden will be making a historic stop in Papua New Guinea while traveling from the G7 Leaders’ Summit in Hiroshima, Japan, to the Quad Leader Summit in Sydney, Australia — Australia later this month.

While in Papua New Guinea, President Biden will meet with the Prime Minister Marape of Papua New Guinea and other Pacific Island Forum Leaders to follow up on the first-ever U.S.-Pacific Islands Summit in Washington, D.C., this past fall.

The leaders will discuss ways to deepen cooperation on challenges critical to the region and to the United States, such as combating climate change, protecting maritime resources, and advancing resilient and inclusive economic growth.

As a Pacific nation, the United States has deep, historical, and people-to-people ties with the Pacific Islands. And this visit — the first time a sitting U.S. President has visited a Pacific Island country — further reinforces this critical partnership.

This week marks, as you all know, the anniversary of the — of the end of World War Two in Europe and the victory of the United States and Allied forces over fascism and aggression on the continent.

President Putin had the — had the rema- — had remarks for the occasion by launching another wave of cruise missiles and armed drones at the Ukrainian people.

Since Russia launched its brutal invasion of Ukraine last year, thousands of Ukrainian citizens have been killed and millions have been driven from their homes.

The European continent now faces new aggression.

The United States has rallied the world in response, and we will continue to support the people of Ukraine as they defend their independence and their democracy.

As part of those efforts, today we are announcing a significant new security assistant package that will help build the capacity of Ukraine’s armed forces and to defend Ukraine’s territory and deter Russian aggression over the long term.

The package includes additional air defense systems that will help Ukraine protect its people against Russia’s missiles and drone attacks, as well as artillerary [artillery] rounds and support to enable Ukraine to better maintain its systems and equipment.

Victory Day is supposed to be about peace and unity in Europe. It’s supposed to be about the end of the war and bloodshed and suffering.

Instead, Mr. Putin promised only more violence and spewed only more lies about a war he fo– — falsely claims has been unleashed against Russia.

Make no mistake, Russia is the aggressor here. Mr. Putin started this unprovoked, unjustified war against the people of Ukraine, and he could end it at any moment. He could end it today, if he chooses.

Unless or until he does, we and our allies and partners will work to help Ukraine achieve the peace and security they deserve.

With that, Josh, welcome. Good to see you, my friend. How are you?

Q: Good to see you, Karine. I’m good. How are you?

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: I’m doing well. Its a big day today.

Q: Yes. So, three subjects.

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: Sure.

Q: First, what’s the White House reaction to Imran Khan’s arrest in Pakistan?

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: So, just a couple of things I’d like to say about that.

Just give me a second here. Yikes.

Okay. So, as you can — as you know, we are aware of the arrest of former Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan. As we have said before, the United States does not have a position on one political candidate or party versus another. We call for the respect of the democratic principles and the rule of law around the world. So, I would refer you to the Pakista- — the government of Pakistan for any further information on that.

Q: Secondly, as part of the debt limit talks, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce today called for an agreement that includes discretionary spending caps. Does the White House see all spending caps as a negative, or just the spending caps that are part of the House GOP bill?

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: So, I’m going to be very clear here. The President is going to have a conversation with the four leaders, as you all know. That’s going to happen in a couple of hours, 4:00 p.m. local time, clearly. And we’re going to stay focused on what Congress needs to be doing here — their congressional duty — which is to prevent a default.

That’s what we’re going to be clear about. I just laid out at the top how this can cost almost 8 million jobs if — if House Republicans get their way. It could also lead us to a recession — trigger a recession. And we’ve listed over and over again what this could be if they continue to hold the American economy hostage.

That’s going to be our focus, that’s going to be the President’s focus today, to make that clear to the leaders that they have to do their con- — congressional duty. And that’s what’s expected not just of him but of the American people. And I’m just going to leave it there.

Q: And then, lastly, the Writers Guild of America tweeted out the President saying that he wants the striking writers to get a fair deal.

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: So, I’m just going to reiterate what — echo what the President said last night from his yesterday — yesterday’s remark: We “sincerely hope that the writers’ strike in Hollywood gets resolved and the writers are given the fair deal they deserve [and] as soon as possible.” And that is what you heard directly from the President yesterday.

Q: Is he on their side?

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: I think his words — his words from the last night make it clear where the President stand on this issue.

Go ahead, Mary.

Q: Given the conversation that is happening today, that it is not negotiations, as you’ve made very clear, how is the President going into this? How is he viewing success in this meeting? What will he consider to be a successful meeting? Is it simply just conveying his message to them and having them receive it?

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: I mean, look, what we — what we convey as success — I mean, people have asked, “Well, will the President give — give Speaker McCarthy an off-ramp, an exit strategy?” The exit strategy is very clear: Do your job. Congress must act, prevent a default. That’s what a success — not for him. It’s not about the President; it’s about the American economy, it’s about the American people. That’s what the President views as success. That’s the way that it should be done.

Regular order. This is regular order.

What House Republicans are saying is that they are — they want to potentially, if they get their way, threaten their — the country’s first default, something that has never happened before. That’s what they’re threatening.

Again, could lead to — to trigger a recession. Eight million jobs potentially lost. That is what they are threatening.

So, it’s very easy. It’s very, very simple: Do you job, go back to regular order, do what you’re supposed to do. It’s been done 78 times and — since 1960. And that’s what he’s expecting from Congress.

Q: The Speaker says the President is ignoring the problem.

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: The President is not ignoring the problem. We have — the four leaders are going to be here today at four o’clock to have this conversation.

The President is going to make himself very clear. The President has been clear since February. Since February, he has said over and over again: We cannot be a country that defaults. And most recently, he has said we cannot be a deadbeat nation, something that we have never done before — never done before.

And so they need to take action. Congress has to do their job. Super simple.

They are — they are manufacturing — manufacturing a crisis.

Q: And just one on immigration. The Mexican President said that the has plans to talk with President Biden this morning. Has that conversation taken place? Can you give us any sense of what was discussed?

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: I can confirm that the — the President spoke to President AMLO this — earlier today, this morning. We will have a readout later on. And then that — we’ll — we’ll certainly share that readout to all of you so I can confirm.

Go ahead, Steve.

Q: Does the President plan to postpone his foreign trip in order to deal with the debt ceiling?

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: So, look, the President could be a president anywhere. It doesn’t matter if it’s domestic or international. He is always President, even when he travels.

Look, this is something that Congress can take care of today, if they choose — is do their job, do their constitutional duty.

Q: And what happens after today’s meeting, from your standpoint? Will you set up more meetings or is this a one-off?

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: I’m not going to get ahead of today’s conversation, discussion. The President hopes it’s a productive conversation. We’ll see how it goes.

Again, the President is going to make it very clear to the — to the congressional leaders that they must act and not — and avoid default.

Q: And lastly, there are some estimates that are 150,000 migrants waiting to cross the border when Title 42 expires. Is the U.S. prepared to deal with this onslaught of people?

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: So, as you know, Steve — I’ve said this many times; I said it yesterday. Look, actually let me just give you guys a bit of an update on the briefings that are coming up.

Q: Thank you.

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: The State Department and Department of Homeland Security will be holding a call on our plan later today. Secretary Mayorkas and the State Department will also be holding a press conference tomorrow. And Secretary Mayorkas will be joining me at the podium on Thursday.

We want to make sure that we are transparent about the plan, how we’re moving forward. So, he’ll be here to certainly take all of your questions on what’s — what’s ahead.

But we’ve been very clear. We have multi-agency process. We believe we have a robust process to deal with what is going to occur after Title 42 lifts.

Again, we’re using the tools that are available to us because Congress refuses to do their job when it — as it relates to the border. Again, a system that has been broken for decades.

Go ahead.

Q: Thanks, Karine. Senator Manchin this morning sharply criticized the President’s handling of these debt ceiling talks. He said it’s, quote, “not rational, it’s not reasonable, it’s not practical,” in terms of his refusal to negotiate over raising the debt limit. What’s the White House’s response to that? And — and to what extent does it weaken the President’s position to not have Democrats in lockstep with him?

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: It’s not rationable — it’s not rational — rationable — it’s not reasonable and it’s not practical for Congress to do — to be doing what they’re doing, for House Republicans to be holding this up, for threatening default. That’s is where the problem should be and that’s who should be called out.

Speaker McCarthy is going to be here. And he — you know, what we’re seeing from House Republican, from MAGA Republicans, is that they are making — they are manufacturing a crisis. That shouldn’t be. That shouldn’t be.

The President doesn’t want to see this happen either. He doesn’t want to see our economy held hostage. He does not want to see this. That’s why he’s having these leaders here. And he’s going to make himself very, very clear. And that’s the discussion that they’re going to have.

And, you know, I’m not going to get ahead of what’s going to come out of that. And we’ll see.

Q: Given how unified Republicans have been around Speaker McCarthy, do you have any concern about, you know, Democrats not — you know, that there may be some wavering among some Democrats about the President’s position on the debt ceiling?

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: I mean, look, the Democrats have been very clear as well that we need to deal with — deal with the debt limit. We’ve all been very clear about that; so has Leader Jeffries and so has Leader Schumer. They’ve — we’ve been all on the same page when the — with the leadership — is that Republicans in Congress need to do their job. And that’s what we’re going to see today.

Q: And then, in terms of the situation on the southern border, there have been — yesterday there were nearly 10,000 migrant encounters on the southern border. There are around 27,000 migrants currently in CBP custody. I know that the administration — you guys talked a lot about the surge that you anticipated after Title 42 would expire. Did the administration expect there to be a surge before? And how is that going to impact your preparedness if there’s still another surge expected after May 11th?

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: So what you can expect from us is that we’re going to do everything that we can and use every available tool to us, as we have been, to deal with this issue in a humane — in a humane way, manage it humanely. And that’s what we’ve been very clear about.

Our focus when it — as it relates to managing the border is we’re going to do this through enforcement, deterrence, and diplomacy. And that’s what you have seen.

And we’ve been working with our regional partners, and we have just a few tools that are available to the President, you know? And that’s because Congress has failed to act. So right now, we believe we have a robust plan, a multiagency plan to do this in a humane way.

And we’re going to have Secretary Mayorkas here with us in the Briefing Room on Thursday, and he’ll certainly lay out the plan in a more deeper way, a more in-depth way. You will all be able to ask him this question. He was at the border very recently he’s held multiple press conferences on this issue.

You’ve heard from the State Department. You’ve heard from Homeland Security — clearly, Mayorkas, as I just mentioned. You’ve heard from the Pentagon, who did a briefing just last week. And we’re going to continue to inform the American people and continue to inform all of you on how we’re moving forward. And that’s what you could expect from this administration.

Q: But, to my question, did you anticipate the current numbers that we are seeing right now, before?

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: Look, I can’t — I — I can’t get into hypotheticals about the numbers and what they were going or going to be. That’s not something I’m going to do here.

What I can say is that we knew, clearly — we knew from the Court that Title 42 was going to lift on Thursday. That’s something that we were clearly going to lift on Thursday. That’s something that we were very well aware — aware of since — since earlier this year. We have put plans in place and professes in place to deal with this very moment.

And so that’s what you — I can only speak to what you can expect from us. And we’ve been very transparent about that, and we’ll continue to be.

Go ahead, Joey.

Q: Thank you. Speaker McCarthy said today the doesn’t support a short-term debt ceiling increase. “Let’s just get this done now,” he told reporters. Does the White House agree with him, with the Speaker, on this — this point.

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: Look, a short-term extension is not our plan either. That is not our plan.

This is — can be easily resolved. This is a manmade crisis that the Speaker is leading. We can get this done. We want to make sure that we move the threat of default and that’s what the President is going to be making clear about. This is not negotiable. Default is not negotiable.

Q: And a second question. On the Writer’s Guild strike that the may- — that the President weighed into, he says he wants a — to see a fair deal. What is a fair deal in the President’s view?

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: We’re certainly not going to get into a back-and-forth on what a fair deal looks like. We’re going to continue to encourage both sides to come together, to come to the table and have that discussion. I’m just not going to get ahead of that.

Q: Okay. Thanks.

Q: Thanks, Karine. I mean, does the — I wanted to ask: Secretary Mayorkis is going to come speak with us. Thanks for that. Just, what about the President? Will the President speak out about Title 42, share a message that Mayorkas has given or, you know — you know, something to that effect? Will we here from the President on Title 42?

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: Well, I would say you heard from the President just this past Friday. He did a — he did an interview, a sit-down interview, with one of the networks and talked about Title 42, talked about immigration. So the American people did hear directly from the President on this issue.

I don’t have anything else to share in the next couple of days about the President’s schedule, so I’ll just leave it there.

But he was asked a question, and he answered it.

Go ahead, Josh.

Q: One more please, if I could. I mean, Americans anticipate or expect an orderly process on the border? Or does the administration want Americans to know that this is going to be a challenging moment and there could be some hiccups or there could be some challenges and to give a little bit of patience as the transition is made?

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: Look, what we have been very clear about is that we do want to put a process in place that’s orderly, that’s humane, and using the tools that the President has in front of him to do that.

I’ve said very clearly, we want enforcement, deterrence, and diplomacy. That’s what we’re — that’s how we’re moving forward. Those are the three steps that we’re taking to get this done.

There are challenges at the border. This is something that the President has taken seriously, from day one, putting forth a comprehensive piece of legislation to deal with immigration reform, something that has been a problem for the past several decades. The system has been broken for the past several decades.

And, again, the President would like to do more. He ha- — he’s using the tools in front of him, but Congress refuses to act. Instead, many Republican official want to make a political case out of this. They’re not looking to meet us at the table to actually deal with this issue. They want to turn this into a political stunt.

And so that’s not what we’re trying to do. We’re trying to deal with this issue. We’re trying to deal with this challenge. And again, we’ve been doing this since day one.

Go ahead, Josh.

Q: Can you say what will happen if Congress doesn’t act on the debt limit? Speaker McCarthy hasn’t budged yet. The President hasn’t moved his position. Will he let this go off a cliff if the Speaker doesn’t do anything?

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: Well, the Speaker has to do his job; Congress has to do their job. That’s what we’re —
Q: (Inaudible) the President doesn’t have any job to do?

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: The President — historically, 78 times since 1960, this is what Congress has done. They have done their constitutional duty — is to deal with the debt limit. That is something that they have done. This is regular order. This is the process that they have used. And we’re asking them to go back into — to — to that process.

And look, what they — what could potentially happen, as I just laid out, is a potential recession — 8 million jobs lost. That is something that Congress could avoid. They can easily avoid this and do their jobs.

So I’m not going to get ahead of what’s going to happen today at four-o’clock or get into hypotheticals from here. But the President has been very clear. He’s been very, very clear. They have to get this done.

And what they’re threatening is, and what they’re saying to us is, we have to take their whole entire agenda — which is extreme; a lot of Americans do not agree with that agenda — or they’re going to hold the economy hostage. That’s what they’re putting forward.

Remember, a lot — 22 percent cut on veterans, on healthcare, on Meals on Wheels, all the things that we have listed out over and over again — Americans don’t agree with that. And it’s going to hurt American families.

So we’re going to be very clear. The President is going to be very clear with — with — with the leaders today that they have to act.

Q: And you’ve been talking today about two subjects where Congress hasn’t acted. One is immigration. And you’re saying you — we’ll use the tools available to us because Congress refuses to act on the border. They also, so far, haven’t acted on the debt ceiling. So I guess I’m trying to figure out what will happen if they continue not to act and we get closer to the deadline, which could be enforced as early as June 1st or as late as August.

Will the President — does he think he has any tools to use if Congress continues to not do its job? Because it’s not clear that Speaker McCarthy can really move — right? — that he has a lot of leeway in his caucus to (inaudible).

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: Well, that’s for Spea- — that’s for Speaker McCarthy to speak to. I can’t speak about the leeway and the pull —

Q: Right. But what happens if he doesn’t — I guess, if he can’t

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: I know. I — no, I hear you.

You mentioned Speaker McCarthy. I can’t speak for him. I can speak for the President.

And it is Congress’s job. And I get your question, Josh, but this is there — literally their constitutional duty. They take an oath, and this is what they’re supposed to do. They’re supposed to deal with the debt limit — one of the many things that they have that they’re supposed to deal with.

And this is something that we — a first-ever default? That’s what they’re threatening? This is what they’re saying that they want to take us down the road on?

This is — a first-ever default would trigger a recession, erase millions of job. It’s very simple. The exit ramp for them is to do their job — is to do their job. The President will make that clear in his meeting. I’m not going to get ahead of what’s going to come out of that meeting. But the President has been really, really clear here.

Go ahead.

Q: Thanks, Karine. Going back to Steve’s question. When the President does leave for Japan and Australia next week, he’s not slated to return until just before that June deadline that the Treasury Secretary has talked about. If we get to next week and there is no plan in place to raise the debt ceiling, will the President delay or cancel his trip?

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: So, Nancy, appreciate the question. I understand the question. I’m not going to get ahead of today’s meeting. Let’s see how the meeting goes at four o’clock.

Certainly, our goal here is to make sure the Congress does their constitutional duty and to prevent default. Just not going to get into hypotheticals. Let’s see how the meeting goes. It’s going to happen very shortly, at 4:00. And let’s see how it turns out, what comes out of that.

Q: Who’s going to be handling these discussions from the White House while the President is overseas?

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: Well, look, the President could be president anywhere. These are issues that — certainly that he will be very aware of and very involved in getting updates from his — his team.

As you know, the office of — when it comes to legislative things and things that are dealt with Congress, that’s the Office of Leg Affairs. They play point on this.

But the President, again, can be president wherever he is, in — domestically or out of the country.

Q: Should the Vice President be involved in today’s meeting since she’s be here in the county while the President is away?

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: So the President is closely — has been closely consulting with the Vice President on this. They have had several conversations on this issue. And so, again, when it comes to issues that matter to the American people, they’re very much partners.

Q: What message does it send to the world that we’re not three weeks away from a potential default and it is still completely unclear how this is going to be resolved?

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: So, look, the United States is not a deadbeat nation. The President ma- — has made that very clear. We have never failed to pay our bills, and we should not do this now. Congress must do its job and prevent a default.

And, look, this — if there was a default, it would be a gift to China, to Russia and to other competitors. That’s what we’re saying here. That’s what the House Republicans are saying. If they were to default it would be a gift to them.

Let me just give you a little bit about the Director of National Intelligence, Avril Haines, said, who, as you all know, the head of the intelligence community.

She testified last week to Congress, and she said the following: Both Russia and China would look to use a default to demonstrate “the chaos within the United States, that we’re not capable of functioning as a democracy…” Default would “create global uncertainty about the value of the U.S. dollar and the U.S. institutions and leadership, leading to volatility in currency and financial markets and commodity markets that are priced in dollars.” China and Russia “would look to take advantage of the opportunity” if we were to default.

That’s what congressional Republicans are threatening. That’s why they are potentially going to really put us into a tailspin if they don’t actually do their jobs — really simple — do their jobs and avoid default.

Go ahead.

Q: On matters of the economy, the public often holds the President accountable for the outcomes here. Does the President have a sense that he will be blamed by the American public if default actually occurs?

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: So, Republicans are holding the entire economy hostage and saying, unless their agenda gets done, they’re going to cause an unprecedented default.

What the President is doing is the opposite of that. He wants to make sure that we take that off the table and have a separate conversation — a separate conversation on the budget, something the he put forth on March 9th, which shows how he values the way moving forward, what cou- — to show how he sees our economy moving forward, building on the successes that he’s had these last two years, making sure that we cut the deficit by $3 trillion for the next 10 years.

So, to your question — I have an answer to your question — polling from 2011 and 2013 makes it clear that congressional Republicans were to blame for their threats to default. And polling now shows Americans want spending and default handled separately, as does the President.

That said, when it comes to threatening default, people should not be looking at polling. They should be looking at how they’re going to be delivering for the American people. They should be looking at their constituents whose jobs and retirements could be crushed by recession if they — if this is truly going to move forward in the way that they seemingly want to go, which is manufacturing a crisis.

So, again, you know this is something that the President wants to avoid. He wants to make sure that this is not on the table, that we take default off the table. And that’s a conversation that he’s going to have very clearly with congressional members today — leaders today.

Q: There have been other instances of brinksmanship on Capitol Hill with government shutdowns, and the public has seen that. They’ve seen 11th hour resolutions to things.

This is a very different beast, in therms of the potential negative impact; as you’ve pointed out, never happened before. Do you think the public has a sense of what is at stake for them, their retirement accounts, their job security, the overall economy? And do you anticipate the President will have to speak out about this in a — in a bigger way than the daily communication that he’s done or that you speaking on his behalf? Is there a speech to be had? Is there a moment coming?

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: So, the President is going to go to New York. He’s going to visit a district that he won in 2020. He’s going to talk directly to — to constituents and, clearly, Americans in — in that district, and have a very clear conversation and be — lay this out very clearly, as he’s done many times.

I had mentioned the polling in 2011 —

Q: I was thinking — nighttime is, I guess, where I was going with that.

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: I see. (Laughs.) I — I mentioned —

Q: So — I’m sorry. That wasn’t clear. I knew —

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: No —

Q: — I know he’s going to New York.

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: Yep. No, no. I totally understand. I mentioned the polling from 2011 and 2013, how congressional Republicans were blamed by the American people about what they tried to do in those two instances. And the President is going to continue to talk about this.

Don’t have a nighttime, primetime speech to lay out for you or to preview at this time. But look, let’s see what happens at 4:00. Let’s see how this conversation goes.

And, you know, we’ve been very clear. Secretary Yellen has been clear, the President has been clear, many — many economists who work here in the administration has been clear, businesses have been clear: This would be catastrophic. And it does not have to happen. It does not have to happen. This could be avoided.

We have never, ever, defaulted before. We cannot be a deadbeat nation. So we can avoid this. The President is going to make that very clear today.

Q: Hey, Karine. Thank you. You mentioned that the President is going to New York tomorrow. You mentioned that he’s going to a district that he won in 2020. It also happens to be a district that is represented by a Republican currently.

Can you talk about the decision to target this specific district and what the President plans to say? And also, can you address the fact that the Republican member of Congress, Mike Lawler, agreed to the White House’s invitation to appear alongside the President and what that means for the President’s remarks?

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: So, look, I’m going to let the congressman speak for himself. He can do that. He’s able to do so.

I mentioned this at the top: The President is going to drive home the impact of these current discussions that we’re having — the economy; how it affects real hardworking Americans. That’s what you’re going to hear from the President. He’ll be very clear about that. He’ll be clear about what could potentially happen.

And yes, you know, we’ve talked about default and what that could look like — recession, trigging [triggering] a recession, potentially 8 million jobs lost.

But let’s not forget the other piece of the act that Republicans in the House have put forward. Let’s not forget veterans. Let’s not forget healthcare. Let’s not forget schools, to support staff.

Those things are also embedded or part — a 22 percent cut to these programs that families really, truly need. So he’s going to talk about that.

I’m going to let the congressman speak for himself. The President is — loves to travel across the country to different district, different states. And that’s what you’re going to see from this President tomorrow.

Q: The President has talked about, you know, having a sense of unity and not questioning people’s motives and sort of bringing the temperature down in politics. We’ve seen him on the stumps — we’ve seen his stump speech. We’ve seen how aggressive it can be about quote, unquote, “MAGA Republicans.” You are going to have a Republican member in front of his constituents, right alongside the President. Will that change the way the President addresses the crowd in (inaudible)?

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: The President is always going to be honest with the American people. There’s a — there’s a real question about where our economy is going to be going. Right? And that is something that the President is going to lay out for the American people.

And so, when the President speaks, it’s not just to the people who are in front of me — in front of him, pardon me — or the people in that district or in that state. He’s speaking to the nation, and sometimes to the world, when he’s at the podium or when he’s speaking — when the President speaks just in general. Like, everyone listens, and you all cover it, you all write about it.

And so this is a message that he’ll have to the American people about what’s at stake. Americans need to know what’s at stake. You know, basically — to Kelly O’s question — they need to know what’s at stake here, where we’re headed with our economy.

The President has worked the last two years to rebuild our economy, as we’ve always said, from the middle out, bottom up, and we’ve had some successes. If this occurs, it’s going to take us back. It’s going to take us back.

And so, the President is going to be very honest, very upfront with the American people. That’s what you’ll hear from him, as he always is when he speaks. And so he’ll lay out — again, lay out what’s at stake.

Go ahead.

Q: Thanks. Just a quick follow-up. On — can you just give a bit more specifics on why the President chose Hudson Valley for — to give this speech? And does he think that giving this speech on avoiding the default and going after the Republican plan that they passed would actually convince them to pass a clean debt limit increase?

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: So, I’m not going to get ahead of the President. He’ll lay out why he’s there, as he always does, why he’s in front of the audience that he’ll be speaking to tomorrow. So I’m going to let him speak to that.

But what I can say is, again, kind of what I jus said to your colleague: The President is going to be very clear about what’s at stake, the impact of the current discussions that we’re having, the impact of this budget and this default that House Republicans have connected. He’s going to make it very, very, clear this is going to hurt American families. It’s going to hurt our economy, and it’s going to hurt American families.

We’re talking about American families that need these programs that are having 22 percent cut. They need it just to make ends meet. So he’s going to lay that out, as he has many times when he talks about the economy, when he talks about what MAGA Republicans are doing.

He’s mentioned that before; he’s talked about that before over the last — especially in the last two weeks. And so now he’s going to be doing it in New York in front of an audience, again, speaking to — speaking to the country, as he does every time he speaks, as President of the United States. And I’ll let him speak to why now, why New York and what is it he wants — wants the American people to know.

Go ahead, Karen.

Q: Thanks, Karine. Two questions on Title 42 and governors. I know you were asked yesterday about when the President — if the President had spoken to Governor Abbott about the Allen, Texas shooting. But when was the last time the President spoke to Governor Abbott about the border situation?

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: I don’t have a timeline of calls to lay out to the governor. You’ve seen the governor and the President together many times over the past, I would say, year when the President visited Texas. I don’t have anything to lay out on the timeline of conversation or the last time he’s spoken to the governor.

Q: And any plans for them to talk this week?

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: I don’t have anything to preview at this time.

Q: Okay. And Arizona Democratic Governor Katie Hobbs said Monday that she’s afraid the federal government is prepared to meet the demands of the expected influx at the border. And she said that her recent request to the White House and to the DHS Secretary asking what the plans are and for more help have not been met with an adequate response. What is the response to the governor? And why hasn’t the administration responded to what she’s asking for?

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: So, look, we welcome the additional steps that Governor Hobbs announced. And teams in our administration remain in close contact with border communities, including Arizona, to provide tam- — timely information and resources. Just this past Friday, DHS provided $45.5 million to organizations in Arizona supporting migrants.

Look, we’re — continue to have those conversations with her. We’ll continue to stay in touch. I just mentioned the — the funding that we provided — that DHS provided on Friday.

We are putting forth a robust plan, and we’re putting that in place to do this in a humane- — humane way, to do this in an orderly way through enforcement, deterrence, and diplomacy. We’ve been very clear about that not just today, not just yesterday, not just last week, but for the past several months.

We’re going to have Secretary Mayorkas, who is kindly going to be joining us in the briefing on Thursday. He’s going to take your questions. He’s going to lay out very clearly, again, what we’ve been doing. We want to provide all the information that we can, that we have to all of you. We have been doing that not just here, State Department, DHS, and Pentagon as well.

And so, we’re going to continue to have those conversation. Again, we appreciate and welcome the additional steps that was provided by the governor, and we’ll continue to stay in close touch.

Go ahead.

Q: Thank you. Forty-three Republican senators signed on to a letter opposing raising the debt ceiling without budget reforms, and 217 members in the House voted for that bill to raise the debt limit with cuts to spending. Does the White House consider all of those member to be dangerous MAGA Republican extremists?

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: Do they understand what the cuts that they’re voting for is going to do? Do they — do — that’s the question. I mean Republicans in Congress, in the House specifically, voted for cuts that’s going to hurt American families. I mean, we can’t say this enough: 22 percent cuts to veterans, healthcare, schools. That’s what they voted for. That’s what — and — and this is not —

Q: (Inaudible) off — off the table. But —

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: Okay. But this is not — this is not just — this is their constituents. This is what they voted for.

Q: And those constituents that they’re voting in behalf of have said that they are concerned about their retirements, about the effects of inflation. And those members represent more than have of the country in the House. I mean, those — that’s the majority of districts in the county that they’re voting on behalf of those constituents who are expressing concern about where the economy is.

So, I guess, how can the White House continue to use messaging in calling this the “Default on America Act” and — and paint this legislation in such a way without having a conversation about the budget when you’ve got half the country saying that they want that conversation?

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: So, House Republicans are threatening a first-ever default. They want the President to agree on a plan in its entirety that includes cuts — that includes cuts to programs that are incredibly important for the American family — because they want to hold the American economy hostage. Because that’s what they’re saying that they want to do by threatening — by threatening a default.

Q: Their bill would raise the debt limit. They passed a bill to raise the debt limit. So they’re — the conversation —

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: They’ve connect – — I hear you, but they are connecting passing whatever — this debt limit — to cuts: 22 percent cuts to veterans, to seniors. That’s what they are threatening, cuts to schools. That’s what the twen- — that’s what is connecting . That’s what their budget plan is.

Q: The bill doesn’t have any appropriations in it, actually. And the — the Speaker has, you know ruled out a number of those things, including defense, veterans’ benefits, senior entitlement programs. When you have Mitt Romney saying that there has to be a conversation here, is he a MAGA Republican extremist?

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: What I’m saying is House Republicans have been very clear. They voted on a bill that’s going to cut programs that are very important to Americans families: law enforcement – cutting programs to law enforcement; cutting program to veterans — veterans care; cutting program to our school system. That’s what Republicans have voted on.

So those are extreme. Those are very extreme. These are things that the American people don’t want. Just look at twenty- — 2022, what they voted for. They voted for — to protect — to protect their retirement accounts. That’s what the American people want to see.

And so, they’re connecting those two. They want the President to agree on its entire agenda of an extreme budget. It is an extreme budget, something that Americans do not want. And, you know, that’s something for them to answer to. This is — this is also speaking to their — they’re speaking to their constituents when they’re voting for something like that.

And so, look, the President put forth a budget where it also cuts spending, but not hurting American families. We’re trying to make sure that we lower the deficit by saying that we’re going to cut the deficit by $3 trillion over 10 years.

But he put forth something that is actually responsible. Remember: Show me your value. Show me your budget, and I’ll tell you what you value. That’s what the President said. They showed their value by showing veteran — cutting veterans’ programs, cutting school programs, cutting healthcare — 22 percent. That’s what they value? That’s something that they have to answer to the American people about.

Go ahead, Ed.

Q: Thanks, Karine. So if cutting government spending would help reduce inflation faster, in this meeting today, is the President open to hearing other viewpoints?

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: So, look, as you know, Ed, because you asked me this question many times, when it comes to the economy, when it comes to a priority that the President have for the American people, lowering costs for families is a top priority. He talks about that often.

You’ve heard him talk about lowering prescription drug costs, which we have been able to do; capping insulin at 35 bucks a month for seniors; allowing Medicare to negotiate lower prices. That’s why Inflation Reduction Act was so critical and important. Only — only Democrats voted for that. Helped lower energy bills, another — another component of the Inflation Reduction Act. I just talked about how he put forth a budget that’s going to lower the deficit by $3 trillion over the next 10 years.

And, again, I was very clear with Jacqui: They have put forth the opposite. They want to go in the opposite direction. They want to cut programs that’s going to lower cost. They want to take our economy hostage with a default. They want to bring back failed trickle-down economy, which we know doesn’t work.

So, look, the President is always going to try and figure out how he can lower costs for the American people. He has actually taken action and been able to put policies forward; pass legislation with Democrats — with the help of Democrats in Congress; signed that legislation to deal with issues that really matter to the American people.

Q: (Inaudible.) One more on — on a different subject, if I could. So, after Title 42 ends, does the President then want to go back to the border to see the situation for himself?

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: I don’t have any trips to — to preview for you. As you know, the President has gone to the border more than once. We have put forth a robust multiagency plan to humanely deal with the border in a way that leads with enforcement, deterrence, and diplomacy.

I’m going to have Secretary Mayorkas here on Thursday. He’ll be glad to take your questions. That’s why he’s joining us.

We’ve had multiple briefings from the different agencies that are involved in this process. We’ll continue to do that and answer your questions and put out information on how we’re dealing with the real — with the — the challenge that we’re seeing at the border.

Again, the President is using the tools that he has in front of him because Congress refuses to act.

Go ahead.

Q: Yes, Karine. On the COVID-19 public health emergency ending on Thursday, obviously, we know that COVID is not over. And, in fact, CDC data shows that there’s a disproportionate share of hospitalizations and infections and deaths for Black, Hispanic, and Indigenous populations. These are also populations that are overrepresented in lack of access to healthcare, unemployment, poverty levels. Is the administration concerned that these communities could be left behind as we move away from the public heath emergency, especially when you think about long COVID?

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: So, there’s a couple questions there with long COVID, and I’ll take that first.

Look, we’ve seen the progress that has been made last year that HHS has led on, and that’s deliver high-quality care for individuals experiencing long COVID; provide information and resources to help people struggling with long COVID, including our nation’s veterans; employ employers — employees, pardon me, in — in the workplace. And we’ve invested in care for people in underserved communities who have been disproportionately impacted by long COVID.

We are going to — there’s going to be an office that’s going to be set up, as you know, that — because of the omnibus fiscal year of twenty — in 2023. Certainly that would be a space where we’ll continue to deal with this — with the pandemic, even though we’re in a different stage of the pandemic. As you said, COVID is still here. So we’ll — we’ll certainly deal with that in an appropriate way.

And so, look, there’s the Project Next Generation as well. That’s a way to stay ahead of the rapidly evolving virus that causes COVID. We need to continue to support development of a new generational — generation of tools and that’s what you’re going to see from Project Next Gen.

So we are talking all of this very seriously. And we’ll certainly have more to share in the next day or two.

Q: And more broadly, could you give a sense of how the administration is feeling coming out of the public emergency — public health emergency — given where we were two, three years ago? Does the administration see this as a success in terms of combatting COVID or a sense of a sigh of rel- — of relief at all?

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: So, look — look, we are definitely at a different point in the pandemic. Over the last two years, the administration has — has made significant progress in ability — in an ability to manage COVID-19 in a way that protects life and heath and no longer meaningfully disrupts our lives. And that’s because of this President’s leadership.

Again, where not out of the pode- — pandemic; we’re certainly in a different place. And that’s because of what this President has been able to do — when you think about how COVID deaths have declined by 95 percent, new COVID-19 hospitalizations are down nearly 88 percent, and COVID-19 cases and deaths globally are at its lowest levels since the start of the pandemic.

You heard from the World Health Organization, saying COVID — COVID Pandem- — pandemic no longer qualifies as a global health emergency,

So, look, let the numbers speak for itself. The President — over 270 million people have at least one shot in arms because of the comprehensive plan that this President and his administration has put forward. And so – look, again, let the numbers speak for itself.

The President has taken this very seriously since day one. And now we’re in a — it’s good. It’s actually good that we’re in a different stage of this pandemic.

One more. Go ahead, Courtney.

Q: Thank you. I wanted to ask about the Labor Department. They — the department hasn’t tested before Congress yet about its budget. I know that Acting Secretary Julie Su is also up for a nomination. Is there a reason that she hasn’t gone before Congress abut the budget in her acting role or that you haven’t sent someone else to take questions?

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: That’s a very good question. I would refer you to the Department of Labor about their process and being in front of Congress and speaking to their budget. I would just refer you to them.

Q: Also, on Title 42, there’s a bill emerging on Capitol Hill this week that Republicans are pushing in the House. I understand that broadly you disagree with that bill, But can you talk about if you see any points of agreement with the GOP on places of tension or problems related to the border that you agree on that you can move forward with or other solutions that you know would have broad support?

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: So I laid out yesterday why we don’t agree with that bill. Certainly that —

Q: (Inaudible.)

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: No, no, no —

Q: Yeah.

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: — that — nothing changes there. That still stands. What we have seen is Congress cut — Republicans cut — wanting to cut resources to — cutting 2,000 in law enforcement to be at the border. They have not done anything to be helpful in this process. They’ve done politi- — they’ve taken political stunts. What they put forward is not going to help the issue at all, and we’ve taken this very seriously.

On day one, the President put forth an — a comprehensive immigration reform legislation to really have this conversation about how do we put more resources to deal with this challenge. And instead, they want to take away resources. That’s what they’ve — they’ve told us.

And so if they want to seriously have a real conversation, we’re willing to have that conversation. But they haven’t proven that. They haven’t proven that they want a real conversation. They want to actually make the situation — the challenges at the border — worse. That’s what their legislation shows. That’s what it tells the American people.

Q: So I take it you don’t —

Q: Thanks Karine.

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: All right.

Q: — see a specific area of agreement then?

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: I mean, I’ve been very clear. I li — I literally went almost line by line about the things that we disagree about with this — in this — that legislation yesterday. It’s going to make the situation worse. It’s not going to help. And look, they want to play political games. and that’s not what the President wants to do. He wants to do the opposite.

All right, everybody. I’ll see you on Thursday. Thank you.

May 10, 2023: Remarks by President Biden on Why Congress Must Avoid Default Immediately and Without Conditions

SUNY Westchester Community College, Valhalla, New York

The President: Hello, hello, hello! (Applause.)

I asked Brian one question: What position did he play? (Laughter.) It looks like he spends a lot of time in the gym.

Please, sit down. Sit down. Sit down.

It’s good to be back. It’s good to be back. (Applause.)

Governor Hochul, thank you for welcoming us to your state. And she’s helping New York lead the way in making things in America. And I mean making things in America. Not importing them – making them. Send – sending products out, bringing jobs back.

And my friend, the Majority Leader, Chuck Schumer, can’t be here today. I don’t know what he’s doing. He’s just down there in – (laughter) – trying to settle a crisis of – he’s the best there is, man. And I want to thank him for working so hard for the people of this state and for being such a great partner. (Applause.)

Nobody has been a greater fighter for women’s rights in the Congress than Senator Kristen Gillibrand. God love her. (Applause.) I’ve been backing everything she’s wanted to do for a long time. I tell you what – when she comes in and is asking for something, it’s easier to just say yes. (Laughter.) Don’t even start discussing it, because you’re just going to give in anyway.

She’s taken on the military, and she’s made it – she’s a game changer.

And it’s great to see Representative Jamaal Bowman, a lifelong educator – (applause) – champion of the next generation.

And Republican Congressman Mike Lawler is here as well. Mike is on the other team. But you know what? Mike is the kind of guy that when – when I was in Congress, they’re the kind of Republican I was used to dealing with. But he’s not one of these MAGA Republicans, which I’m going to talk a little bit about.

I don’t want to get him in trouble by saying anything nice about him – (laughter) – or negative about him. But I — thanks for coming, Mike. Thanks for being here. This is the way we used to do it all the time. (Applause.)

And I want to acknowledge all the state and local officials as well. The president, Belinda Miles, thanks for hosting us. (Applause.)

And my — Madam President, my wife teaches full time at a community college in Northern Virginia, and she’s been teaching for a long time. (Applause.)

She says two things. One, community college is the best-kept secret in America. (Applause.) Well, they are.

And two, equally as important, any educat– any — any state that out-educates us — any country that out-educates us is going to outcompete us. It’s a simple proposition.

This is a really important moment. There’s a big debate going on in this country about protecting America’s hard-earned reputation as the most trusted, reliable nation in the world, and about how — how we will fix the long-term fiscal health of this nation. A debate with an enormous and, quite frankly, for the world economy. And that’s not hyperbole. For the world economy.

It’s important for the American people to know what’s at stake. This isn’t just a theoretical debate going on in Washington. The decisions we make are going to have real impact on real people’s lives. And that’s what I’m her to talk about today.

So let me tell you a story about what’s going on. There is a very extreme wing of the Republican Party in the House of Representatives who refer to themselves now — I’ve been calling them this for a while, but now they refer to themselves as “MAGA Republicans.” And they’ve taken control of the House. They’ve taken control. They have a Speaker who has his job because he yielded it to the, quote “MAGA” element of the party.

And they’re doing the best — to the best of my knowledge what no other political party has done in our nation’s history. They’re literally, not figuratively, holding the economy hostage by threatening to default on our nation’s debt that if we’ve alrea- a debt we’ve already incurred — we’ve already incurred over the last couple hundred years, unless we give into their threats and demands as to what they think we should be doing with regard to the budget. This would be incredibly damaging.

Here’s what the Speaker has put forward for the Republican proposal. He says he’s going to take the funding that we — how we fund the government — back to what the levels were in 2022, before the omnibus bill. And they exclude any cuts in defense. They say we’re going to go back to spending what we spent in 2022, but we’re not going to make any cuts in defense, which we spent in 2023 — we’re calling for in 2023.

You may remember, in the State of the Union, I got our Republican colleagues to agree, somewhat spontaneously — (laughter) — to — (applause) — to protect Social Security and Medicare from any cuts. Remember, I said, “Now, let me get this straight. You’re not going to cut Medicare? You’re not gong to cut…” They said, “That’s right.” I said, “Well, you know, you’re on — you’re on camera. They can see you.” (Laughter.)

AUDIENCE MEMBER: They lied!

THE PRESIDENT: Well, they — so far, they’re not cutting Social Security so far.

And not only do they rule out any new revenue, they’re still determined to make permanent $2 trillion tax cuts which is due to expire — the Trump tax cuts — without paying a penny of it.

Now, here – look, here’s what that leaves us with. This is just basic sort of math. It leaves us with a requirement to cut 22 percent of everything else in the budget in order to meet the requirements they’re demanding — that we live at the 2022 budget numbers.

The Speaker and the Republicans don’t like that I point that out. But that’s not my opinion; it’s just basic math.

And here’s what it does: It makes huge cuts in important programs for millions of working and middle-class American — programs they count on.

According to estimates, the Republican bill would put 21 million people at risk of losing Medicaid, including 2.3 million people here in New York State and 78,000 people right here in Westchester County. It’s devastating. It’s not right.

The Republican plan would cut federal law enforcement officers — 30,000 — including 11,000 FBI agents, 2,000 Border agents, DEA agents, and so on. They’ve cut — that’s why — in order to meet the requirement, they’d have to cut that many law enforcement officers.

It risks shutting down 375 air traffic control towers, including 5 right here in New York State, like Westchester County Airport, because they don’t have enough personnel.

And I’ve long believed that we have many obligations to the nation, but the only — I’ve — you’ve heard me say this before; I apologize for repeating it — but we only have one sacred obligation. We have many obligations, but one sacred obligation, and that’s to equip those we send to war and take care of them and their families when they come home. (Applause.) It’s a sacred obligation. For real.

And that’s why — one of the reasons I fought so hard and I was so proud to sign the bipartisan PACT Act that takes care of millions of veterans who were exposed to toxic materials and that take care of their families as well.

My son went to Iraq for a year, was one of the healthiest guys in his outfit, came back with stage 4 glioblastoma, having lived just a couple — less than a quarter mile from one of those major burn pits. And you saw what happened in the Trade Towers that went down, what happened to all those firemen and the exposure to toxic chemicals.

But under the Republican bill today, they would cut 30 million veterans’ healthcare visits. The way that do that — that’s including nearly 2 million healthcare visits for veterans in New York State, because there’s not enough personnel. There’s not enough personnel.

The difference between the 2022 budget — which they want to get back to — and the 2023 budget is I increased the funding for the Veterans Administration by $22 billion. And the reason I did it — (applause) – and the reason I did it — and probably some of you know of these folks — the number of — you know, more veterans are committing suicide than are being killed in battle. And so, they pick up the phone and they call the VA in their area. “I need help.” “Well, come in in six weeks. Come in in whatever.” Well, we ended that. We ended that.

Now they want to go back to the levels where we cut those folks that now provide that kind of help. This amounts to a $22 billion cut in veterans’ healthcare.

Now, they dispute this. They — nowhere in their actual proposal are there exclusive protection for veterans. But they say I’m — it’s unusual language we use with presidents these days – they say I’m “lying” when I say that. Well, the truth is: Wy do so many veterans’ groups — why have they spoken out in opposition to the Republican proposal? They’re not all Democrats. They know what’s going to happen.

Folks, that’s the game Republicans are playing. Anytime you single out the impact of their overall cuts, they tell you, “No, no, no, it’s not true.” But they’re wrong. If they want to protect something, they would have written it down and say, “We’re protecting it. You can’t cut this program. You can’t cut it.” So you can see it.

Here’s another example. Under the Republican plan, nationwide, 100,000 teachers and support staff would lose their jobs at the very time we’re attempting to overcome the sufficient — the incredible deficiencies that occurred as a consequence of what happened with the pandemic. So many kids — the average student out there is about a year and a half behind. We don’t need fewer teachers; we need more teachers. (Applause.)

And by the way — no, I’m — I’m not being solicitous. What we should be doing — and I’m proposing when I try to finish this job — I’m proposing that we — for example, if we start — instead of Head Start, which they want to cut 21,000 Head Start spots in this state alone, we should be sending — all the studies show that if we sent — no matter what the background of a child, if we sent a child to a school at age three — learning reading, writing, and arithmetic – at age three and four and five — we end up increasing by 56 percent the chance that they’ll graduate from high school and go on beyond high school. (Applause.)

But look, we’re here at a community college. And, by the way, this is one beautiful community college. What a — (applause) — no, it really is. The property here is amazing.

And the consequences here would be severe. Here in New York, it would cut the maximum Pell Grant, that millions of students use to get to community college, by nearly a thousand dollars. It would eliminate Pell Grants entirely for 5,000 New York students.

And here is another devastating consequence they don’t want you to know about: Moody’s — not a Democratic outfit; a respected Wall Street analytical firm — said the Republican plan would cost the country 780,000 jobs.

Yesterday, I brought the congressional leaders together at the White House to make sure America doesn’t default on its debt and for the first time in our history.

And, by the way, I know the Speaker keeps saying, “93 days ago I said to Biden I want to talk to him.” And I said, “Fine.” I said, “You put down your budget, I’ll put down mine.” I laid my down in detail on the four – –on the 9th of – of March. He didn’t put down his so-called budget. I don’t know what — what — what you’d call it – his connecting the two items. He didn’t do that until — five days after he did it, I invited him to the White House. (Applause.)

So, folks, look, let’s be clear: The debt we’re talking about is accumulated over 200 years. The last administration alone — the last guy who served in this office for four years — increased the total national debt by 40 percent in just four years.

Over the last decade, the single largest contribution to the debt, aside from the pandemic, were the Trump tax cuts – skewed to the wealthy and large corporations – for $2 trillion.

I made it clear — I made it clear: America is not a deadbeat nation. We pay our bills. (Applause.)

And I was pleased but not surprised by the Republican Leader in the United States Senate, McConnell, who said after the meeting in the White House — and he went to the press — he said, “The United States is not going to default. It never has and it never will.”

We shouldn’t even be talking about it.

And, folks, Republicans in Congress used to understand this. In fact, under the previous President, Republicans voted to avoid default. three times.

This is not your father’s Republican Party, though.

You know, here’s what’s happened if MAGA Republicans get their way: America defaults on our debt; higher interest rates for credit cards, car loans, mortgages; payments for Social Security, Medicare, our troops, and veterans could all be halted or delayed.

According to Moody’s, 8 million Americans would lose their jobs, including 400,000 New Yorkers alone. Our economy would fall into recession. And our international reputation would be damaged in the extreme.

We shouldn’t even be having this situ– talking about this situation.

And as you know, I do an awful lot of foreign policy with my — my stint as senator for all those years and then as Vice President. And I’ve traveled the world; I’ve met with over 80 heads of state — 88 heads of state so far. They are all looking at me: “Are you guys serious?”

No, no, I’m serious Because if we default on our debt, the whole world is in trouble.

This is a manufactured crisis. And there’s no question about America’s ability to pay its bills. America has the strongest economy in the world, and we should be cutting spending and lowering the deficit without a needless crisis, in a responsible way.

I believe in cutting spending and cutting the deficit. In my first two years in office, I’m the only President in history that’s lowered the deficit in those two years by a record $1.7 trillion (Applause.) $1.7 trillion.

And the budget I proposed back in March would cut the deficit again by nearly $3 trillion in the decade ahead.

For example, my budget cuts $30 billion in wasteful spending on tax subsidies to the gas and oil companies. They earned two — (applause) — wait, but — here — tax subsidies aren’t all bad, but they earned $200 billion last year. Do they need a $30 billion subsidy?

AUDIENCE: No!

THE PRESIDENT: Well, look, it cuts wasteful spending for Big Pharma. We pay more for our prescription drugs than any nation in the world, any ma — advanced nation in the world.

You can get the exact same drug if you fly to Paris or London or to Germany, anywhere you’ve traveled — Canada — and you — that you — than you pay here. You pay a lot more.

On Big Pharma, we cut that spending by $200 billion by expanding the Medicaid’s power to negotiate prescription drug prices and making drug companies — (applause) — pay rebates when they raise prices faster than inflation.

And we’ve already cut by $160 billion in savings the bill we passed last year. And that has three parts to it, by the way. One, it didn’t — one part didn’t kick in until January 1. We said the price of insulin and other drugs — the price of insulin would be reduced to $35.

Let me put it this way: How many of you know someone with Type 1 or 2 – Type 1 or Type 2 diabetes?

And you know — you know that’s needed to keep – they need insulin to keep themselves alive or their children alive or on good health.

Well, guess what? The price of insulin went form four, five, six hundred bucks a month down to $35 a month — (applause) — for those on Medicare.

And let — here’s the deal: It’s not just it made it reasonable for people to be able to stay healthy, but it saved the government $160 billion because they’re paying less out. (Applause.)

And, by the way, the other cuts that are coming up because of what we did in Medi — with regard to being able to negotiate with Medicare, it’s estimated we’re going to save another $200 billion.

For example, any of you know someone who’s on Medicare and also on a cancer drug? Well, guess what? They’re paying, right now, sometimes $12, $14,- $16,000 a year for the cancer drug.

Well, beginning this — next January, the most any senior is going to have to pay is $3,500 for all of their drugs.

And beginning in 2025 — (applause) — in 2025, they’re only — they pay no more than $2,000 for all of their drugs. (Applause.)

Well, by the way, that saves the government another $200 billion because they’re not paying out for all the — the drugs come forward and they come at a reasonable price.

My budget also cuts tax loopholes. Look, I — I don’t have anything against Wall Street or hedge funds executive, but just pay your taxes, man. (Applause.) No, I’m serious. Hedge funds executive pay a lower tax rate than the middle-class worker who works for them.

No one earning less than $400,000 is going to see a single penny in increase and their taxes under me. Not a single penny. They haven’t yet, and they won’t. (Applause.)

If you’re making — if you’re making more than 400, well, start to pay your fair share. (Applause.)

Look, instead, we’re making the biggest corporations begin to pay their fair share.

Just — not — I — I’m not talking about 70 percent tax rates.

For example, at least pay something. Folks, let me ask you this: Does anyone think we have a fair tax system in America?

AUDIENCE: Nooo —

THE PRESIDENT: No, I’m — I’m being deadly earnest. I’m not being a wise guy.

In 2020 — you got tired of hearing me say this — I pointed out there were 50 major corporations of the — 55 of the Fortune 500 companies that paid zero in federal income tax after having made $40 billion in profits. Forty billion. So we instituted and got passed a corporate minimum tax of 15 percent. (Applause.)

Well, guess what? Y’all are paying more than that. Just 15 percent. And it paid for everything else we did.

Look, I proposed a billionaire minimum tax. There have now went — it went from about 760 — I think the number was — to around a thousand billionaires in America. Well, that’s great. If you want to be a billionaire, you can make it. I’m — I’m not one of these guys who say you shouldn’t be able to do that. And if you want to be a — if you’re a multimillionaire, I’m not trying to say that can’t happen. But at least pay something.

The average tax paid by the thousand billionaires in America — individual — the average tax paid is 8 percent. E-I-G-H-T. Eight percent. No billionaire should be paying a lower rate than a school teacher or a firefighter. (Applause.)

And there’s nothing radical about this. That’s why my budget also fully funds the Internal Revenue Service.

You know, and it’s kind of interesting: Republicans have been consistent for the last 10 years, cutting the number of IRS agents. I wonder why. (Laughter.)

So we now have legislation that passed that’s going to — that’s in our budget — that says we’re going to beef up the number of IRS agents to thoroughly look at the taxes of billionaires in America.

According to the Congressional Budget Office, a bipartisan office, they estimate that just that alone would raise another $200 billion a year.

Larry Summers, who’s not what you call a “whacko liberal” out there, right? Former president of Harvard. He says its more like —

AUDIENCE MEMBER: Wooo! (Laughter.)

THE PRESIDENT: My kids who went to Penn would disagree, but that’s okay. (Laughter.)

But I went to a great school. I went to a state school. I went to the University of Delaware. But anyway. (Applause.)

But all – but all – but all kidding aside — estimates it would raise another $400 billion a year — a year. And they still wouldn’t be paying very much tax, relative to their income, to begin with.

My budget also has some of the strongest anti-fraud proposals ever. You may remember when we had that — the legislation to help deal with a pandemic. What — what Trump used to keep doing is cutting the number of inspectors general to be able to find out whether or not this money is actually not being wasted.

Well, guess what? It turns out there was about — there were several billions of dollars that were being wasted. People were getting money they didn’t need or didn’t deserve. And the — And they were — they were playing the system.

Well, you know, I think that — that we should have inspectors general again looking at what, in fact, we’re spending and whether its going where its supposed to go.

It calls for an unprecedented effort to combat identity fraud for — by tripling anti-fraud strike forces to prosecute pandemic fraudsters and seize back stolen funds. There’s billions of dollars in stolen funds that we haven’t gotten back yet.

It strengthens inspector generals and watchdogs for taxpayer’s dollars. It’s estimated it — for every $10 — every $1 we spend in hiring these folks, it’s going to save $10. Ten dollars.

This debate is about fundamental choices.

Would you rather cut — would you rather continue a subsidy of $30 billion for Big Oil, or cut $30 billion from veterans?

Would you rather cut Big Pharma or – and — or cut healthcare for Americans?

These are real-world choices. That’s what’s at stake, literally.

You know, I ran for President to see to it that ordinary folks got an even shake. I was raised in a family that was a typical — we weren’t poor — a typical middle-class family. My dad — we lived in a three-bedroom, split-level home in a housing development that got — it as a nice area; that was when they were developing suburbia — with four kids and a grandpop living with us. I — I look back and I wonder how thin those walls were for my mom and dad. But, at any rate — (Laughter.)

But, you know, the truth of the matter is that, you know, we — my — my dad did fine. I guess by the time he retired — he managed an automotive dealership — he was probably making the equivalent of $20,000 a year, which would be like, what? Sixty or seventy or eighty? I don’t know what it would be.

But my point is that I thought — I’ve always thought the middle-class folks were getting the short end of things. I think the trickle-down economy ne- — not much ever trickled down on my dad’s kitchen table that I can recall.

And so, when I ran — and my whole career as a senator was about making sure middle-class folks get an even shot. That’s why I believe we should grow the economy from the middle out and the bottom up, not the top down. The wealthy will still do very well. (Applause.)

Because if the middle class does well, the poor have a ladder up and the wealthy still do very well, and that’s fine. We all do well.

We’ve made enormous progress. Just look at what we’ve done so far. Over the past two years, we’ve created a record 12.7 million new jobs — (applause) — more than ever in that period of time — including 800,000 manufacturing jobs.

Unemployment is at 3.4 percent, the lowest in 50 years. (Applause.)

Black unemployment is at one of its lowest levels. Hispanic unemployment, across the board.

In part, our policies are — and the pace of our annual inflation has been coming down for 10 months in a row. We still — it slowed by 45 percent. We still have more to do.

But, you know, when we’re in a position to invest in America — the way we do that is we buy American products, we hire American workers.

I get to spend a lot of money that Congress passes. So if I have $60 billion to spend, I — and I’m going to have to put new decks on aircraft carriers, I don’t outsource the work. There was a law back in the ’30s that said “buy American.” Buy American. So we — they have to have — use American products. They have to go out and make sure that they hire American workers.

For a long time, in Democrat and Republican administrations, it was cheaper to go get the cheap labor overseas and bring back the expensive product. No more. Not on my watch. Not on my watch. (Applause.)

Instead of importing jobs abroad for cheaper labor and importing product, we’re exporting product and buying American workers the opportunity to make a living.

Folks, I signed the American Rescue Plan, which sent $27 million to this community college to keep students enrolled — (applause) — and to keep this school afloat, help vaccinate our nation, got immediate relief for folks who needed it the most, and got our economy back on track. It didn’t have a single, solitary Republican vote.

Then I signed the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, which had some Republicans voting for it, to build the roads — the best roads, bridges, airports, water system, high-speed Internet, get risk of all those — those pipes that are polluting water, et cetera.

You know, how can we be the most prosperous economy in the world without having the greatest infrastructure in the world? We used to be ranked number one in the world in infrastructure. You know what we rank now? Thirteen. Thirteen.

Next week, this infras- — is Infrastructure Week. Remember all four years of the last guy we had Infrastructure Week every week? Well, under my predecessor, “Infrastructure Week” became a punch line. On my watch, we’re making “infrastructure decade” a headline. (Applause.) We’re already announced over 25,000 projects in 4,500 towns across — across Westchester County is projects for better water, wastewater, and sewer systems; repairing dams; and doing so much more.

I signed the CHIPS and Science Act, which I felt very strongly about — (applause) — to bring back key parts of our supply chain back to America. Remember when we had real trouble — when automobiles — they — Detroit said they had to stop making automobiles? You know, they’d take 30,000 chips — I mean 3,000 chips. Well, guess what? They are all being made in Asia. And when the pandemic hit, they shut down, so we were in trouble.

Folks, these are small computer chips the size of the end of your little finger — nearly everything in our lives from cell phones, automobiles, refrigerators, most sophisticated weapons systems. America invented these chips. We invented them. We made them better.

But over time, we went from producing up to 40 percent of the world’s chips to producing only 10 percent, despite leading the world in research and design. Now we’re turning that around. (Applause.)

The private sector — I want around the world and at home, and I convinced people that they had to invest in building the chip factories here. They call them “fabs.” F-A-B-S. Factories.

Investing — and guess what? We got a commitment for investments of $470 billion in American — by American companies home and abroad for manufacturing clean energy. (Applause.) Like Micron in Syracuse investing $100 billion over the next 20 years to build semiconductors, thanks to the hard work of Chuck Schumer and Governor Hochul. IBM in Poughkeepsie investing $20 billion over the next (inaudible) — computer chip. (Applause.)

Putting America back in the game and creating thousands of good paying jobs.

Many of these jobs in the — first of all, the construction takes a lot — a lot of jobs. They don’t require four years degrees when you in these fabs. You know what the average pay is going to be? Close to $100,000. and you don’t need a college degree. (Applause.) That’s progress.

But I know folks are still struggling with inflation. The way I think about it is the way my dad used to talk about it around the kitchen table. For real. He’d say, “How much are the monthly bills? At the end of the month, do you have enough to pay for all your bills and just have a little breathing room left? Just a little breathing room.

Well, that’s why I wrote and signed the Inflation Reduction Act. Americans pay more in prescription drugs, as I said, than any advanced country on Earth. We were fighting for years to allow Medicare to negotiate those lower drugs prices.

Well, we finally beat Big Pharma, and we did it without a single Republican vote. I’ll have a — it will have a profound impact and save lives. It’s already happening.

As I mentioned earlier, it’s going to reduce the deficit by $160 billion just this year.

And how many of — you know, and — like I said, diabetes; 1 in 10 Americans have diabetes. Millions need insulin to stay alive.

Insulin has been around for 100 years. It costs 10 bucks to make it. Ten dollars. Package it — a total of $12. And they’re paying hundreds of dollars, making record profits.

Well, we capped it at 35 bucks, as I said. And we’re going to make sure — we’re going to make sure it’s capped at 35 for everyone, not just those on Social Security. (Applause.)

Because guess what? It saves the taxpayer money. The federal government doesn’t have to write a check for the 400 bucks; it writes a check for 35 bucks.

Look, the Inflation Reduction Act also makes the biggest investment in fighting climate change anywhere in the history of the world — (applause) — and it’s creating tens of thousands of jobs. It’s a giant step toward saving the planet.

Tax credits for consumers who weatherize their homes. Many of you have done it — purchase energy-efficient windows, doors, appliances, electric vehicles can save an average of 1,000 bucks a year.

Look, tax credits for states and businesses to deploy renewable energy — solar, wind, hydrogen and more. Not a single Republican voted for it, this law, and now they want to get away with — get rid of it all.

Well, when we have — when have we ever heard of a Republican opposing tax credits for businesses? Well, that’s what they’re doing this time.

Take a look at the New York Times yesterday, what they wrote. I think it was the front page. Texas is now becoming one of the leading states in the nation in renewable energy — the number of wind farms they have, solar farms, and hydrogen.

But now the Republicans want to get rid of this law and these tax credits. Well, why do you think that is? Because the fossil fuel industry wants to get rid of them. That’s why.

Even though it’d be creating jobs, taking on climate change — they don’t want it. Because it’s so, so much more costly to go the other route. They say it costs too much but the truth is it’s too successful.

And here’s the real truth: Big Oil doesn’t want it, and the Republicans are carrying their water. That’s what this is all about.

Let me close with this. We’ve made so much progress, but there’s so much more to do.

We’re on the cusp of a major change. We’re creating jobs again. American manufacturers are booming again. Where is it written that America can’t lead the world in manufacturing?

We’re lowering the deficit.

Towns that had been forgotten and left behind are coming alive again, bringing back a sense of pride.

All those chip factories — fabs that I talked about — they’re going to be all over America. They’re not just going to be in the Northeast and the West Coast. They’re all through the central Am —

You know people who come from the m- — people like, for example, up in Scranton, where I came from, where I was born and raised. Or other states across the country, where all of a sudden the factories that employed six, eight – six, seven hundred people for years shut down and went abroad.

Not only did they lose the jobs, they lost their sense of pride. They lost their sense of belonging.

How many folks here have — know folks in the Midwest who had their kids come up and say, “Mom, Dad, I got a good education, but I’ve got to leave. There’s no jobs here, no reason to stay.”

We’re bringing jobs back all across America.

This is no time to put all of this at risk, to threaten a recession, to put at risk millions of jobs, to undermine America’s standing in the world.

Republican threats are dangerous and they make no sense.

Folks, we have to keep going and finish the job. I’ve long said it’s never, ever, ever been a good bet to bet against America. Never. (Applause.)

And I can honestly say, as I stand here today, I’ve never been more optimistic about America’s future than I am this very day.

We just have to remember who in God’s name we are. We’re the United States of America. (Applause.) There is nothing — nothing beyond our capacity if we work together.

God bless you all, and may God protect our troops.

Thank you, thank you, thank you, thank you. (Applause.)

We’ve got to fight. We’re going to win this fight.

Thank you.

May 17, 2023: Remarks by President Biden on Preventing a First-Ever Government Default

THE PRESIDENT: Hey, everybody, Well, I’m about to take off in a few minutes, if you hear the helicopter out there, to Japan — not in the helicopter, but to Andrews. Anyway — and to meet with the leaders of G7.

America’s role in the world is vital, especially right now as we work together with other countries to support Ukraine and take on the challenges that demand international cooperation, from tackling the climate crisis to strengthening the — the global economy.

And before I leave, I wanted to say a word about the status of negotiations with the Congressional leaders. We had a productive meeting yesterday and — with all four leaders of the Congress.

It was civil and respectful. And everyone came to the meeting, I think, in good faith.

I’m confident that we’ll get the agreement on the budget, that America will not default. And every leader in the room understands the consequences if we fail to pay our bills. And it would be catastrophic for the — for the American economy and the American people if we didn’t pay our bills.

And I’m confident everyone in the room agreed, with the Speaker — from the Speaker to the Majority Leader to the — Majority Leader in the House and Senate — excuse me — the Majority Leader in the Senate, the Minority Leader in the Senate, as well as the Leader — the Democratic Leader in the House, that we’re going to come together, because there’s no alternative to do the right thing for the country. We have to move on.

And to be clear, this negotiation is about the outlines of what the budget will look like, not about whether or not we’re going to, in fact, pay our debts.

The leaders have all agreed that we will not default. Every leader has said that.

And I’m proud of the progress my administration has made. We’ve reduced the deficit in the first two years by $1.7 trillion in the first two years. And I’ve proposed a budget that will reduce another $3 trillion over the next decade. That includes more revenue by asking the wealthy and large corporations to begin to pay — pay their fair share and cutting subsidies that exist in the law now to Big Oil and Big Pharma.

Yesterday, we all agreed that both the Speaker McCarthy and I would designate senior members that we would negotiate to give our authority to make agreements and detail on what we wanted. So we narrowed the group. We narrowed the group to meet and hammer out our differences.

And we’ve done that. In fact, they’ve met last night, and they’re going to be meeting again today. And — and I’ll be in constant contact with my team while I’m at the G7. And I’ll be in close touch with Speaker McCarthy and other leaders as well.

Now, what I have done in anticipation that we won’t get it all done until I get back is I’ve cut my s- — trip short in order to be — for the final negotiations and sign the deal with — with the Majority Leader.

I made clear that — and I’ll say it again: America is not a deadbeat nation. We pay our bills.

The nation has never defaulted on its debt, and it never will.

And we’re going to continue these discussions with Congressional leaders in the coming days until we reach an agreement. And I’ll have more to say about that on Sunday, when I’m going to have a press conference on this issue.

As it stands now, the intention is to go to the G7, be back here on Sunday, hold a press conference.

And in the meantime, I’m going — I’ve spoken to the Australian leader Albanese, and I’ve spoken to — I’m going to be seeing him at G7. He’ll be there as well, along with the Indian Prime Minister and along with the Japanese as well. So the Quad members will be there. We’ll get a chance to talk separately at the meeting, but it’s unlikely I’m going to be going on to Australia.

So, thank you very much.

Q: Mr. President, what about work requirements specifically are you still considering? It sounds like it’s still on the table and you haven’t ruled it out. Which would you be willing to accept?

THE PRESIDENT: Well, I’m not — they’re — I’m not going to accept any work requirements that’s going to impact on medical health needs of people. I’m not going to accept any work requirements that go much beyond what is already — what I — I voted years ago for the work requirements that exist. But it’s possible there could be a few others, but not anything of consequence.

Thank you.

Q: What message does this send —

THE PRESIDENT: That we’re —

Q: — to PNG and Australia? I know that it was important to you to focus on Asia on this trip, but this is having to be put aside. Does this — is this almost a win for China?

THE PRESIDENT: No. No, because we’re still meeting. We still have four good allies.

Q: Mr. President, do you intend to speak with President Xi soon, sir?

THE PRESIDENT: That’s my — whether it’s soon or not, but we will be meeting.

May 20, 2023: Statement by Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre on a Reasonable Bipartisan Budget Agreement

On Tuesday, the President appointed a senior team to negotiate with the Speaker’s team. The President and Speaker agreed that any budget agreement would need to be bipartisan. Last night in DC, the Speaker’s team put on the table an offer that was a big step back and contained a set of extreme partisan demands that could never pass both Houses of Congress. The President has over and over again put deficit reduction proposals on the table, from limits on spending to cuts to Big Pharma profits to closing tax loopholes for oil and gas. Let’s be clear: The President’s team is ready to meet any time. And, let’s be serious about what can pass in a bipartisan manner, get to the President’s desk and reduce the deficit. It is not only a leadership beholden to its MAGA wing — not the President or Democratic leadership — who are threatening to put our nation into default for the first time in our history unless extreme partisan demands are met.

May 22, 2023: Remarks by President Biden Before Meeting with Speaker McCarthy to Discuss the Debt Ceiling

THE PRESIDENT: Well, I’m glad the Speaker is here today. We — we’re optimistic we may be able to make some progress because we both agree that we — default is not really on the table; we got to get something done here.

And the consequence of failing to pay our bills would be the American people would have a real kick in their econ- — economic well-being. As a matter of fact, the rest of the world would too.

And so, we also agree we need to reduce the deficit. And I might add, in my first two years as president, I reduced it by $1.7 trillion. It matters. And so I’m all for reducing and continuing to reduce the deficit.

And — But we all — we both talked about the need for a bipartisan agreement. We have to be in a position where we can sell it to our constituencies. We’re pretty well divided in the House, almost down the middle, and it’s not any different in the Senate. So we got to get something we can sell to both sides.

And we need to cut spending, but we — here’s the disagreement: We have to — I think we should be looking at tax loopholes and making sure the wealthy pay their fair share. I think revenue matters as well as — as long as you’re not taxing anybody under 400,000 bucks.

And so we’re going to — we still have some disagreements, but I think we may be able to get where we have to go. We both know we have a significant responsibility.

With that, I’m going to turn it over to the Speaker. Kevin, it’s all yours.

SPEAKER MCCARTHY: I thank the President for spending time. We had a very productive conversation yesterday, even though he was coming back from the G7 meeting.

We do have disagreements. I think we — of a 50-year average, we’re having more revenue than any time coming in. But I think we both agree that we need to change that directory, that our debt is too large. And I think, at the end of the day, we can find some common ground, make our economy stronger, take care of this debt, but, more importantly, get this government moving again to curb inflation, make us less dependent on China, and make our appropriations system work when we get done, right?

THE PRESIDENT: I’m all for making appropriations work — (laughter) — now that I don’t have to be there to do it.

Q: Mr. President, is overall spending the way to resolve this, to agree on that kind of number?

THE PRESIDENT: Not alone. Not that alone.

May 22, 2023: I just concluded a productive meeting with Speaker McCarthy about at the end to prevent default and avoid a catastrophe for our economy.

We reiterated once again that default is off the table and the only way to move forward is in good faith toward a bipartisan agreement.

While there are areas of disagreement, the Speaker and I, and his lead negotiators Chairman McHenry and Congressman Graves, our staffs will continue to discuss the path forward.

May 30, 2023: Press Briefing by Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre and Office of Management Budget Director Shalanda Young

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: Hi, everybody. Happy Tuesday. Hope everyone had a restful Memorial Day — an observant one as well.

Let’s get started.

For months, the President made clear that Congress must meet its basic constitutional responsibility to prevent a first-ever default, just as it has been done 78 times before since 1960.

The President made clear that default was not an option and laid out the economy stakes of a default: a recession, millions of jobs lost, devastated retirement accounts, higher borrowing costs.

And the President said from the beginning that he would negotiate with Republicans on a budget just like it has been done every year.

He directed his team to work in good faith toward a reasonable, bipartisan agreement. This agreement will do the following:

Protect Democrats’ historic legislative accomplishments, including the Inflation Reduction Act, PACT Act, CHIPS Act, and the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law Protect the economic gains we’ve made — 12.7 million jobs and the lowest unemployment rate in 54 years.

Ensure we have the same level of investments in the Middle class as we did in fiscal year 2023.

Protect healthcare and not push people into poverty.

Block devastating cuts to law enforcement, public safety, and education as well.

Negotiations require give-and-take. No one gets everything that they want. That’s how divided government works. But the President successfully protected core Democratic priorities and the historic — historic economic progress that we have made over the past two years.

Now, the House and Senate, it’s up to them. They must pass this bill so that the President can sign it into law and so that we can continue to build on those very historic economic progress that I just list out we’ve mead under this President’s leadership, and so — over the past two years, as I have stated as well, as you’ve heard us lay out as well before.

Now, without further ado, I have the OMB Director — the Director of Office Management and Budget, Shalanda Young. Director — Director Young is here, and she’s happy to take your questions. And thank you for all the work you’ve done in the past two weeks — or several weeks.

MS. YOUNG: Thank you. I will see my child again. (Laughter.)

And I do have a small confession to make: I’m also out of clean clothes — (laughter) — after these last couple of weeks. So I think I ran into Annie Linskey of the Wall Street Journal and Lauren Egan with Politico as they saw me trekking back to get some clothes to wear with you here today because I don’t have the time to do laundry or take anything to the dry cleaner. (Laughter.) So, that’s about how my last two weeks have gone.

But as you know, the President and the Speaker — Speaker McCarthy — reached a reasonable, bipartisan agreement over the weekend. As someone who had the pleasure of negotiating this as a part of a great team, I can assure you that this was no easy task to get here, but what was on the line for the American people was real.

I know I breathed a little easier — I called my parents, told them to breathe a little easier — that a deal had been reached. And that’s what this was all about.

It’s an agreement that not only prevents the first-ever default in this country, but it will protect our hard-earned and historic economic recovery. It will protect our legislative achievements, including the legislation that is creating good jobs in this country. And it’s protecting critical programs that millions of American count on that you’ve heard me repeatedly talk about.

I want to be clear: This agreement represents a compromise, which means no one gets everything that they want, and hard choices had to be made. Negotiations require give-and-take. That’s the responsibility of governing.

For months, the President made clear — and you may have heard me say this once or twice — that Congress must take action to prevent default. And from the beginning, he said he would negotiate with Republican leadership on a budget framework, and that will allow the appropriations process to proceed under regular order, just like we do every year.

The bipartisan budget agreement that we’ve reached protects key legislative accomplishments from the past two years, including the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, the CHIPS and Science Act, the PACT Act, and the Inflation Reduction Act’s clean energy, corporate minimum tax, and prescription drug provisions.

It protects programs million of hardworking families count on. It protects Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, the Affordable Care Act, safeguarding health insurance for millions of Americans.

It fully funds veterans’ medical care, including mandatory funding for the PACT Act’s Toxic Exposure Fund at the levels the President proposed in his fiscal year ’24 budget.

And it protects critical public health funding from being clawed back to prepare for future pandemics and possible COVID-19 surges.

This agreement is now with the United States House and then on to the Senate. And we strongly urge both chambers to pass the bill and send it to the President’s desk.

And, with that, I’m all yours.

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: Phil, who just came back from Beyoncé in Paris. (Laughter.)

MS. YOUNG: You did not.

Q: It was great. It was a great concert. It was my wife’s 40th birthday present. That’s not bad.

MS. YOUNG: I have feelings right now. (Laughter.)

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: (Laughs.) I feel you.

Q: Can we talk about it after, in a very lengthy interview? We can do that at the very end of it.

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: Phil has feelings, too. (Laughter.)

Q: This is going to be a hell of a sequence. (Laughter.)

The appropriations adjustments —

MS. YOUNG: Yep.

Q: — they’re a pretty critical part of the agreement, I think. We know about COVID funds; obviously, IRS as well. Can you detail, kind of, the full scale of the adjustments–

MS. YOUNG: Yeah.

Q: — that you guys agree to, shook hands on?

MS. YOUNG: First, I think it’s important to know the appropriations process — hello, former staff director — users adjustments all the time. They do rescissions. They use emergency money. That is how the appropriations process works.

Because we were dealing with the toplines, we thought it important to memorializes some of those adjustment agreements. It does not stop the appropriations committee from doing other things they feel is necessary to make sure the appropriations process works. But to ensure that we got to a similar level, close to the same level as this year, we certainly wanted to have an agreement with the Speaker’s team about what that was. Because, remember, part of this deal is to make sure we have an appropriations process that works. This unlocks that, like budget resolutions would have.

So now we’re getting topline here. And when the appropriation committee works, you will see them use $22 billion of the COVID relief recessions, which were taken in this bill. The appropriators will use some of that money to spread around how they see fit.

We didn’t get into the individual line items in this bill. They will also, as you’ve heard, use IRS recessions from the IRA on the mandatory side. Again, we don’t dictate how, but they will rescind $10 billion both years, and they will then use that to be reinvested into non-defense discretionary.

They will also use other recessions that their appropriators will decide the mix of. But we agreed on the levels — that they could be higher, $10 billion higher than last year — and the appropriators will use that.

And building on the emergencies used in December, the appropriators will use about $23 billion in emergency for ’24 and ’25.

Q: And then, can I just ask real quick: Do you have an understanding of how many votes Republicans will provide in the House to get over the finish line?

MS. YOUNG: No, remember, I moved. I moved over here. We’re going to let the Speaker work with his conference. This is what I miss about the House, though. This is a fun day over there. Lots of meetings. I’m sure it’s very interesting and a lot of energy.

But we’re going to leave that to them to work out the votes and how they get there. We know — we talked to them in good faith; they talked to use in good faith. But now it’s their — their chance to talk to their members.

We, from here, are making sure members know what’s in this bill. Education, education, education.

But look, I know a lot of members of Congress. What you don’t to is call and tell them what to do. You educate. You say, “Let me know what you need to know — what — what’s in this bill, how it’s written, how it’s going to be implemented. And we’re here to answer you.”

Q: Thanks. I have two questions. First, on SNAP, Karine, just said that one of the President’s priorities was not to push people into poverty. But as this bill is written with the adjustments in the work requirements in SNAP, Republicans estimate 700,000 Americans are going to lose those benefits.

So, can you square that circle? How —

MS. YOUNG: Yeah. The President said to me, said to the rest of the team over and over, he would not increase poverty in this country.

So, while, yes, there will be a phase-in to add age up to 54, remember, we also got new exemptions in this bill that both parties agree to do. We will have exemptions for — from 18 to the new population of 54. So not just a new population, but these new there exemptions for — from 18 to the new population. So, some people who have these requirements now will no longer if they’re homeless, if they’re veterans, if they’re foster youth aged out of the system up to 24.

So, the analysis is being finalized, but we believe those who are off of those requirements, because of those exemptions, will be about the same number as those who are phased in on age.

And you have to remember this: The entire SNAP change is sunset in 2030 to give Congress a chance to see how the new exemptions work and how the new ages work. And they can opine on a future farm bill if these changes have made a difference in the SNAP program.

Q: But do you know how many individual would go off the program right — off government assistance right now who are not eligible for those?

MS. YOUNG: So, we think it’s about the same number. I don’t want to give you a number until that analysis by USDA is done. But the range is about what you said. But it’s also the same range of people who will take advantage and who qualify for the new exemptions.

So those number are going to be very close to each other, meaning a wash in those affected who go on and who are phased over the years, and those who come off the requirements.

Q: And, sorry, different topic, real quick. Can you explain a little bit how the Mountain Valley Pipeline made it into this bill? Was it at the White House’s request? Obviously, it’s been Senator Manchin’s priority here, but he wasn’t in the negotiations. So how did it make it in the agreement?

MS. YOUNG: Well, I believe what you’re talking about is part of the permitting piece. We all thought permitting would be a part of this package. We all have an interest to make sure these projects move faster.

I talked about the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law. One of the things we’re focused on here is what can we do to get that money out faster to ensure that these projects really happen in an expedient manner. That’s why we’ve been for permitting. And the project you talk about is part of the permitting piece that we knew would be in the final legislation.

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: Nancy.

Q: Thank you so much, Shalanda, for doing this. The chair in the Progressive Caucus says that it’s really unfortunate that you are expanding the work requirements for this particular age group. She says it’s terrible policy. I know that you’ve been working the phones speaking to a number of members of, I assume, the Progressive Caucus trying to convince them that this is good policy. Is she right about that, that this is bad policy?

MS. YOUNG: Look, I won’t get into individual member opinions because I think I told Phil or someone else: My job is to tell members what’s in the bill. You get into trouble when you try to tell members what their opinion is. Every member is — should have whatever opinion.

Our job is to say, “This is what’s in the bill. This is how some of the worst things Republicans wanted were mitigated.”

And, by the way, you heard me answer on SNAP. There’s a very real possibility, when we see the numbers, that the number who are phased in, who have new requirements on SNAP, is offset by the number who will not be covered under the new exemptions.

Q: And then I heard what you’re saying about the Mountain Valley Pipeline and about permitting, but this one project that takes up about 25 pages of a 99-page bill. Why was it so important to spend so much time on this one project?

MS. YOUNG: I think we’ve been clear about our position on permitting. We worked with senators to try and get more permitting. This was a small piece. It was a start of a longer process that both parties know we have to do, especially to get clean energy projects going. And I don’t think it’s a surprise to anyone that permitting was a key part of a compromise piece that both parties know we got a little done here but we’ll need to get more done later.

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: Go ahead, Mary.

Q: When you think of the big picture and you reflect on these talks, what lessons have you learned about how this Speaker and this Congress negotiate, lessons that may be applicable going forward?

MS. YOUNG: One never looks the same as the other. I’ve done this a few times. They end different every time. They feel different every time. Going in and thinking there is a formula is the wrong thing to do. Different people in the room this time. I’m used to being in a room with appropriators and a little leadership/

So, it’s just always different, and you got to be flexible. The most important things to know: what they have to have. You have to be clear about what you have to have. I want to know their value statements, and they need to know mine, and we have to find a middle ground. They shouldn’t have to compromise their values, and neither should we. That is a bipartisan compromise.

I know that’s a reach. They try with me to see maybe if I’m asleep or not, but at the end of the day, we both have to find a way to protect each other’s core principles, like not increasing people in po- — on po– going into poverty in this country. And that’s how you get to (inaudible.)

And first and foremost — I’ve said this, I think, in this room — I have always though the majority of members, Democrats and Republicans, did not want to take us even to the brink of default. I think this bill shows that that assessment was correct. And we have to keep our eye on the prize: that passing this bill, getting it to the President, avoids the catastrophic thing that would hurt millions of Americans. And there’s a reason world leaders were worried about this: This would have impacted the global economy.

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: Go ahead.

Q: Thank you, Karine. Director Young, you talked a little bit about the calls that you’ve been making and that other members of the administration have been making to members of your own party. What is the mood or the or the tenor on some of those calls? And where, realistically, is the whip count among Democrats right now?

MS. YOUNG: Remember, I worked there a long time. So, the mood and tenor — I tend to get patched in with people’s children so I can say hello to people I haven’t seen in a long time, so it is catch-up time for me. And these are — these are friends of mine. And I play it straight with them, and they play it straight with me. And I have long relationship with a lot of people, and that means I’m honest with them and they are honest back with me.

And again, this is education. I like — I play ti straight with folks. They will make their own determination. And it’s incumbent upon us to make sure they know every single detail in those 99 pages.

Q: Leader Jeffries said that Republicans had pledged 150 votes. Is that still the case? And can Democrats provide 70?

MS. YOUNG: I’ll let them figure that part out. All I know is, when you enter into good faith negotiations, you don’t negotiate to see a bill posted; you negotiate to make sure when it gets to the President’s desk. And we’ll fulfill our part when it gets to the President’s desk.

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: Go ahead, Nancy.

Q: How concerned, Director Young, is the White House right now about the growing Republican opposition that threatens the compromise on the table from a procedural standpoint in the next couple of hours?

MS. YOUNG: Look, this is not — the — the House is not very different from when I was there. You have to have some faith in the governing majority, which I do, because I have a lot of respect for members of both sides of the aisle to do what’s best for the American people.

And that is not some pollyannish thing. I know them. And I’ve always thought we could get her if we let the extreme go away. Like, a lot of things in the Republican bill just were non-starters. I get it. But we just could not do that, and they know that.

By the end of the day, more people than not knew that default — threatening default would have been bad for — for America. the 12 million jobs added, record low unemployment — undoubtedly, that would have been wiped out almost immediately. And that would have been unacceptable.

Q: And what does this mean for future negotiations in a sharply divided Congress, as you’ve been talking about, in terms of the level of confidence you have that we just — there’s enough goodwill that we won’t just be back in this same position later this year when it comes to avoiding a government shutdown or just a repeat of this scenario with different stakes?

MS. YOUNG: Yeah, look, I think I’ve been honest with you. I — I have always, during this process, worried about the three months from now. And I represented that. Whatever these toplines were, they had to allow an appropriations process to at least try.

We couldn’t do things that were so draconian that we knew we’d be back here. I love them — those are some of my old offices I got to sit in — but I also like seeing my child. And we don’t have to do these things where we make the American people very nervous, even though we know we’re going to get there.

So, one of the goals here was, like, let’s try not to do this again; let’s set up a topline regime that allows the appropriators a fighting chance. Because it’s hard, even in unified government, to get all 12 bills done. And I thin we each the sweet spot in this agreement to give the appropriators the tools they need to get started, get that appropriations process unlocked, and have a fighting chance to get bills done by October 1st.

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: Go ahead, Steve.

Q: Is there a mechanism for increasing defense spending if that is deemed necessary?

MS. YOUNG: They would have to — to change any of these numbers in the caps. You ha- — you would have to go amend this bill. So, if you spend — the idea of caps is: If you spend more than them, they’re sequestered. To change defense or non-defense, one would have to change — change this law.

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: Go ahead, Ken.

Q: There’s been some suggestion that the X-date might move around in the final week; a Republican member said he’d heard it could move to June 8th.

MS. YOUNG: He knows more than I do.

Q: Are you getting any indication that that might move?

MS. YOUNG: He knows more than I do, then, because I don’t have that indication.

Q: And in terms of Ukraine funding, do you expect this to bipartisan deal to have any impact on the administration’s ability to get more funding for Ukraine —

MS. YOUNG: I do not.

Q: — in the months, weeks ahead?

MS. YOUNG: I do not.

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: Go ahead, Phil. In the back.

Q: Thank you. The compromise gives you, as the OMB director, complete waiver authority over administrative PAYGO if you deem fit necessary for program delivery. I’m wondering, if the bill is as written becomes law, how frequently do you anticipate using that waiver authority?

MS. YOUNG: Look, it’s impossible to know the frequency, but I do know we negotiated all of this in good faith. We will follow the process laid out in the law on PAYGO. And if that waiver is deemed necessary to make sure President Biden’s agenda is cared for, we’re going to use that — that authority. But we will have a process to follow as the law is written.

Q: Thank you.

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: Steve Portnoy.

Q: Thanks. Can you explain to student loan borrowers, who might be confused about what’s been agreed to here, how the Supreme Court decision may implicate that and explain the President’s continued commitment to forgiveness now?

MS. YOUNG: Yeah, thank you, because I want to be clear. Because as someone who owed a lot of money once upon a time in her life, people need certainty here.

There are Court cases, which this bill does not deal with, so that continues to be where it is. Supreme Court will opine on the President’s action to forgive $10,000 in student debt and $20,000 for those with Pell Grants.

But in this bill, even though House Republicans’ bill sought to do away with that, we saved it in this bill. So there’s nothing on that in this bill.

We also protect the income-driven repayment rule, which if anyone has had student loans knows it was not — it did not work as intended. And this rule is intended to really tie payments to true income.

Like, it matters to people whether they pay $50 or $500 a month. The big balance matters, but when I was a young person starting out in this town, if you asked me to pay $200, then I probably ate ramen noodles. If it was $50, maybe I could go out a little.

So that balance each — this is an important rule to make sure people have a little breathing room every month, and that was protected in this law.

The one thing is: This bill does end the payment pause. But very close to the timeframe, we are going to end it, as an administration, when it comes to repayment.

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: Go ahead, Tamara.

Q: Yeah, you talk about this as a compromise. I’m wondering if you could talk about what you lost on.

MS. YOUNG: Look, you — when the American people win and we avoid default, and retirement accounts are not in flux and the global economy is not crashing, I’m going to call that a win every day.

You know, individual people have issues with different parts of the bill. You’ve heard some of your colleagues bring up concerns that some members have.

I have to look at what was our ultimate goal. And we are in divided government. This is what happens in divided government: They get to have an opinion, and we get to have an opinion. And all things equal, I think this compromise agreement is reasonable for both sides.

And that’s what we saw. Protect the American people from the worst possible outcome: first-ever default. Allow Republicans to have some — some curbing of spending, which is flatlined for non-defense discretionary. Ad we move on and get an appropriations process that works. And I think that’s a good middle ground.

Q: Just —

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: Go ahead, Francesca.

Q: Just one more. Given that this process brought to the U.S. to the brink, and this process isn’t quite over yet, has there been any reconsideration of doing away with the debt ceiling at some point? Is there — you know, late at night when you had no laundry or at other times, where the administration’s thinking on the usefulness of having a debt ceiling?

MS. YOUNG: Right now, I’m thinking about how quickly this can get to the President’s dest and we can avoid default. And not only avoid default for a little while — until 2025, which is what this bill does. And it does give us some breathing room not to enter into these chaotic circumstances which would bring uncertainty to the American people. That’s where I’m focused.

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: Go ahead, Francesca.

Q: Director Young, progressives would say that you lost several provisions: permitting reform, work requirements, spending cuts that they view as harmful. Congresswoman Jayapal said today that he CPC wants to immediately sit down with the President and talk about what the next two years are going to be like.

So, does the White House feel, as a result of the way this process played out, that it has some work to do with repairing relationships with progressives? And would the White House also like to set up a meeting like that?

MS. YOUNG: Look, I don’t do the President’s schedule. I’ll let other people opine on who he will meet with and when.

What I will say is: I’ve worked hard in many divided government situations. I think this is where you would expect a bipartisan agreement to land. It’s just the reality.

There’s not a unified government. They have ideas; we have to listen to them. We have to talk about it. We have to find a place that is not harmful for the American people or try to stave off the words. I think we did that.

And so we have to look at the big picture. That’s what I’m going to do over the next two years: What can we do to find common ground, work together? This President has a history of bipartisanship, including over the last few years, including on veterans — PACT Act — and Bipartisan Infrastructure Law.

So there is opportunity to work together here. And we have seen that over the last two years with this President and Republicans, and there’s opportunity to keep that going.

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: Go ahead, Karen.

Q: Thanks. You’ve said a couple of times that the agreement represents a compromise, and you’ve said it’s reasonable for both sides. But does the President feel like he came out ahead with this deal?

MS. YOUNG: The American people came out ahead. When you go into these things, what are you doing it for? Sure, there are some days where I have to slap myself and you’re like, “Ah, let it go. It’s fine.”

The point is to avoid default, not hurt American people in the process by having draconian changes, like we saw in the Republican bill in Medicaid, which we did not care for it.

So protect the things that would have hurt hardworking Americans. Come up with reasonable spending levels — which I think most Americans, when they hear a “spending freeze,” that’s reasonable. And do our basic — have Congress do its basic constitutional duty, which is to avoid default.

So, this isn’t about Republicans or Democrats. If you get into who won, who didn’t, you lost already. When you’re talking about default, it is the American people won today, especially when it gets to the President’s desk, because we have avoided what have — would have been absolutely catastrophic.

Look, we’ve seen government shutdowns, and I think people understand what the feel is.

Thankfully, we have not seen default in this country. So when we talk about catastrophe — sine we have not seen it, have not felt it — I think people think it’s a little hyperbole. It is not. Every economist tells us that all the gains we’e seen, we go backwards; that we’re back to situations like we’ve seen in the pandemic. That was absolutely unacceptable, and we avoided that by also protecting some key things and not violating our core values.

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: Just a few more. Go ahead, Ed.

Q: Thank you, Shalanda. So, taking a larger view at this: Should the debt ceiling get signed, will it help bring down inflation over the next 12 months?

MS. YOUNG: So, what I will tell you is: Would have — would have been terrible for inflation and the economy would have been a default. We have seen a moderation.

I’ll let — the credit agencies have not moved down the credit worthiness of the United States, but we needed to make sure we got a deal before that happened. We have done that and hopefully staved that off.

But this is exactly why – because we risk overturning the gains we’ve made in inflation — it is not low enough, but it is moderating. And my fear was even if we got closer and certainly defaulted, we would have been in a situation where we lot jobs and lost the gains we’ve made in tackling inflation.

Q: But with this deal, is this an admission by the President that maybe the government spent too much money over the past two years?

MS. YOUNG: What I’ll say is: We’re in divided government, and both sides have thoughts about the trajectory of the country, of spending.

This President takes a backseat to nobody on deficit reduction. $1.7 trillion reduction in the first two years. He presided over that. His budget put forth a plan to reduce the deficit by $3 trillion more. He also made the case over and over in this conversation that if you really want to do big deficit reduction, where’s the revenue? Where are the high-income earners putting more skin in the game?

But this is one part. We’re not going to give up on our revenue proposals. So while this will change the trajectory of spending when you see the CBO — when we all see the CBO report when it comes out — where we really need to make headway is on or revenue proposals, which has long-lasting deficit reduction abilities and just structural change to change the unfairness in the tax system.

Q: But, quickly, most of that $1.7 trillion that went off in the first two years was COVID spending that ran off. And the CBO says the deficit actually will increase next year. It’s 1.7. It was 1.4 this year, 1.7 next year, and then up to 2-point-something by — in 10 years.

MS. YOUNG: Well, that assumes this President did not preside over getting COVID under control, that it was an accident that he managed a vaccine program that was highly successful. Had he not done that, what additional measures would we have needed to ensure that more Americans did not die needlessly from the COVID pandemic?

So, I get the argument: You didn’t need COVID spending anymore, so you shouldn’t take credit for deficit reduction.

Well, he got it under control. He used the tools Congress gave him in the American Rescue Plan to get this virus under control and stave off the worst of economic scarring.

The rebound we have seen since COVID is not comparable to anything, including the economic recession we saw when he was Vice President.

So, this is not by accident. This President managed COVID. He managed the economic fallout. And that’s why you’ve seen 12.4 million jobs added.

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: Go ahead, James.

Q: Thank you very much, Karine. Director, I have two questions: one about this current set of negotiations and then a separate question, if you’d indulge me, on the President’s broader budget priorities.

It seems to me, in the context of these negotiations, that the White House has been clinging to a fiction, which is that this deal only was negotiated on the basis of federal discretionary spending and that the President, who promised all along that he would never negotiate on the debt ceiling, didn’t do so in these negotiations.

That’s false, right? The President and his team, you included, did negotiate on the actual debt ceiling itself and not just the federal discretionary spending, Correct?

MS. YOUNG: If you’re asking me what was said in a room, I’ll be very clear: The debt ceiling was a — what did I say earlier? — I don’t like to use the word “red line,” but the debt ceiling had to be taken care of for a long period of time.

I’m not sure what you call a negotiation, but this was certainly a declarative statement from this side of the table. So —

Q: (Inaudible)

MS YOUNG: — maybe you call that negotiating; I call that a statement of fact and a statement we weren’t leaving the room with. So I’m not quite sure I would call that negotiating.

The debt ceiling had to be lifted, and it had to be lifted for a long period of time. You see this bill lift the debt ceiling until 2025. You can call it a negotiation; I call it a declarative statement. And that was our position, and that’s what’s in the bill.

Q: On broader budget priorities, the President likes to say — we’ve herd Karine say many times — “Show me your budget, and that will show me your priorities.”

No one is more conversant with this President’s budgeting priorities than you. Based on the budgets he’s put together so far as President, would it be accurate to say that President Biden has been governing from the center? Or would it be more accurate to say, as Republicans would, that he’s been governing from the far left?

MS. YOUNG: The President does his own politics. I’m his OMB director.

What I will say is that his budgets absolutely show who he values, and it is working families in this country, it is the middle class in this country.

This is a President who had put out a tax fairness system in his — all of his budgets. This isn’t a new thing. This is the third budget this President has put out, the third time he has said the tax system in this country is not fair. And he means it.

That’s why you’ve seen billionaire minimum tax proposals. That’s why you’ve seen him call for corporate minimum rate to go up to 28.6 percent.

It is not fair to ask working families in this country to bear the brunt. And, by the way, that’s not real deficit reduction. We have to have a fair tax system in this country.

This President has put forth three budgets that have been very clear about his priorities there. And again, we’re not going to give up on those. We’re going to keep pushing on those.

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: Okay, last question. In the back, the (inaudible).

Q: Karine, thank you. (Inaudible) we’ve heard a lot from Republican negotiators about the tone of this process. I was curious what your takeaway was on the tone of the conversations and where you felt like the toughest sticking points were. And when you walk away from this, is there anything you haven’t gotten done that’s going to be the next highest priority for you?

MS. YOUNG: Look, it was professional. You had people who’ve done this a long time in the room, certainly with the great team I had to work with. This is a full administration push to make sure this happened. We knew the risk of default if we did not find agreement here. So it was a very respectful and professional working relationship between us and the Speaker’s team he had negotiating.

You’ve heard, clearly, this was a small permitting piece, but we’ve got more to do on transmission. When it comes to the — to the permitting space, it’s very clear about that. This was a starting point, and we are going to make sure that we can get clean energy expanded by working on transmission in the future.

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: All right, thank you so much, Director Young. Appreciate you.

MS. YOUNG: All right, thank you. It was starting to get hot. (Laughter.)

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: It gets hot —

MS. YOUNG: It’s the lights.

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: — up under these lights.

MS. YOUNG: All right, thanks so much. Thank you.

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: Thank you. I didn’t think she wanted to leave for a second. (Laughter.)

All right, I have one more thing at the top, and then I’ll take a few more — a few more questions.

So, as you all saw, we announced this morning that President Biden looks forward to welcoming Prime Minister Sunak of the United Kingdom to the White House on Thursday, June 8th, to further deepen the close and historic partnership between the United States and the United Kingdom.

The two leaders saw each other most recently, as you all know, in Hiroshima at the G7, and they have met several times this year, including Belfast in April and San Diego in March as well.

During the visit, the two leaders will review a range of global issues, including our shared support of Ukraine as it defends itself against Russia’s brutal war of aggression, as well as further action to bolster energy scrutiny and address the climate crisis.

The President and the Prime Minister will also discuss efforts to continue strengthening our economic relationship as well — as we confront shared economic and national security challenges.

They will also review developments in Northern Ireland as part of their shared commitment to preserving the gains of the Belfast/Good Friday Agreement.

And to pre-exempt any questions that will come from here about a two-plus-two press conference during the visit, both leaders are looking forward to hosting a joint two-plus-two conference on June 8th. So you certainly could expect that — well, should expect that from the two leaders that day.

Go ahead, Zeke.

Q: Thanks, Karine. There’s some news from Georgia today from the — former First Lady Rosalynn Carter has been diagnosed with dementia. I was wondering: Does the White House have any reaction? And has the President spoken with either the Carters recently of members of the Carter family?

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: Well, thank you for the question. I can say that the Bidens have stayed in touch with President Carter’s team to ensure that their family knows that they are — they are certainly in the President and the First Lady’s thoughts. And I will leave I there.

Q: And then, secondly, in regards to the attacks — the (inaudible) attacks this morning in Moscow, has the U.S. ascertained whether American-supplied drones were used in that attack, that the Ukrainian government had knowledge of that attack?

And then, did last week’s discovery of U.S.-supplied material in Belgorod, in Russia, pro — does it give the President any concern about supplying the — continuing to supply the Ukrainian government with military equipment that can be used in — on Russian soil.

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: So, look, as you know, we saw that — we’ve seen the reporting. We’ve seen the news and are, certainly, gathering information about what happened to get a better perspective and some clarity about what happened.

But I can speak to this more generally. As you know and as a general matter — we have said this before — we do not support attacks inside of Russia. We’ve been very clear about that.

We have — you know, we have been focused on providing Ukraine — as you’ve heard from the President, as you’ve heard form the National Security Advisor and many colleagues from the NSC, my colleagues from the NSC — with the equipment and training they need to retake their own sovereign territory. And that’s exactly what we’ve done for the past more than a year now.

And if you look at where we are today, today was also Russia’s 17th round of airstrikes in Kyiv just this month alone. Just this month alone — the month of May — which, we’re almost, clearly, done with. Many of which have devastated civilian areas as Russia continues its brutal attacks. — it’s brutal attacks against the people of Ukraine.

So, Russia started this unprovoked aggression, this unprovoked war against Ukraine. Russia can end this at any time. You’ve heard us say this many times from this podium.

They can withdraw their forces from Ukraine and ins — — instead of launching these brutal airstrikes against Ukraine, in their cities and on people every day. So, we’ve been very clear about that.

Q: (Inaudible.) Does the President believe that Ukraine risks losing the moral high ground in this conflict if it strikes at — touched civilian targets in Moscow?

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: So, look, I’m not going to be very clear. We’re gathering information. I’m not going to get into hypotheticals from here. We do not support the use of U.S.-made equipment being used for attacks inside of Russia.

We’ve been very clear about that. And we’ll continue to do that. And we have been clear not just publicly but privately, clearly, with the Ukrainians.

But not going to get into hypotheticals. We’re going to look into — gather information to see exactly what happened so we can get some clarity.

But, as I said, we’ve been very clear.

Go ahead.

Q: Have you spoken to Ukraine about this attack yet?

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: I — I don’t have any calls to preview at this time on any specific conversations that have been had by this administration to Ukrainians. All I can tell you is that we’ve been gathering information about exactly what happened.

Q: And separately, what happened with Defense Secretary Austin’s plans to meet with his Chinese counterpart in Singapore?

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: So, look, as you’ve heard just say — again, from her at this podium — it is — we value in — we see value, certainly, in military-to-military conversations to responsibility to — to responsibly manage a complex — a complex relationship and to avoid any misunderstanding or escalation of competition into conflict.

We’ve been very clear about that. And keeping the lines of communication open between the United States and China is a — is a responsible thing to do, is something that we want to, certainly, continue to — to have that approach.

Anything else, I would certainly refer you to the Department of Defense.

Q: Thank you. And just one more. The President said yesterday there will be a review on engagement with Uganda. How long do you expect that to take?

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: So, look, I know the President, as you just stated, put out a statement about — about this — a pretty lengthy statement yesterday about what we saw from Uganda yesterday.

The enactment of Uganda’s Anti-Homosexually — – Homosexuality Act is a tragic violation of human rights — of universal human rights, one that is worth — worthy of the — that one is not worthy, to be clear, of the Ugandan people and one that jeopardizes the prospects of critical economic growth for the entire country.

So, look, this certainly da- — endangers are poised — da- — the dangers of poise of — by this democratic backsliding are a threat to everyone residing in Uganda, including the U.S. government personnel, the staff of our implementing partners, tourists, members of the business community, and others.

And so, as we consider — and we — as the President stated in his — in his statement yesterday — additional steps, the National Security Council and other U.S. government agencies are evaluating the implications of this law and all aspects of U.S. engagement with Uganda, including our ability to safely deliver services under the U.S. President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief – PEPFAR, as you, — as we call it here, as you all have reported on — and other forms of assistance and investment.

Again, we’re going to review that. We’re going to take a look at that. And just don’t have anything to share on what the — when the review will be done and exactly what steps we’re going to be taking.

Go ahead.

Q: Just following — thanks for blowing me up on that.

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: I know, but I have a question for you. (Laughter.) What’s your — what your favorite Beyoncé song?

Q: I — there’s too many to list — (laughter) — on camera in this moment.

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: Smart ques- –smart answer. Smart answer.

Q: It was — it was a good concert. That’s what I will say.

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: Go ahead, Phil.

Q: Following up on Steve’s question about the request for a meeting between Secretary Austin and his Chinese counterpart. Is the administration aware of anything that the Chines want to try and open this line of communication? Where do things stand in terms of if there’s a pathway forward or if this just the reality from here on out?

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: So, look — look, I don’t have any — that’s something for, clearly, the PRC to — to answer to. What I can say is, we understand the importance — and we have been very lear about this for several months — about keeping the lines of communication open between the Untied States and China.

And so, we believe, again, it’s the most responsible thing to do. And as you know, most recently, the National Security Advisor, Jake Sullivan, had a lengthy conversation with his counterpart about meaningful step forward as we think about the relationship – the U.S. relationship with China.

And so — so, that is important. Those lines of communication, certainly, have been open and continue to — continue — continue to happen. But, look, military — military conversation is obviously critical, as we man- — manage, as I mentioned moments ago, this really complex relationship that we have and — again, to avoid any misunderstandings or, certainly, avoid what we see as competition into conflict.

Sw, we’re goin to continue to — continue to, certainly, have that approach. But any specifics that leads to — that has to deal with the Department of Defense, certainly, I would refer you to to my colleagues there.

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: Go ahead.

Q: Thanks, Karine. So, there are now some 50 amendments and counting that have been proposed in the House when it comes to the budget debt bill. Is the White House position that this bill needs to pass as is? Are you open to some amendments depending on what they are?

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: So, look, what I can say is: We have a short — limited of time here, as we know from the Treasury’s letter on when — when — you know, when default can happen, which is on June 5th, with the budget agreement.

We’ve been very clear. We think this is a bipartisan, reasonable budget agreement that the two sides certainly have come together and that, clearly, Speaker McCarthy supports and the President support.

And so, we’re certainly going to leave the mechanics and how this moves forward to the leadership in Congress. But as we see this budget agreement today, as we saw the framework that came out of the really good-faith conversations, we’re certainly going to continue to — to share our thoughts about how important it is to get things done for the American people.

I’m not going to get into specifics about the 50-plus amendments and what it will ultimately look like.

But, look, this has been something that both sides, again, came to the table in good faith, understanding how important this is to the American people. And that’s what you saw. And you saw — American people should at least have some understanding or some comfort that, you know, government is working for them in the sense of coming forward with a bipartisan, reasonable agreement.

Q: And what does it say that this Mountain Valley Pipeline — which, you know, goes to southern Virginia — is being opposed in this bill by one of Virginia’s own senators, who says this shouldn’t happen, at least not this way.

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: So, look, the — as you know, and I — you guys have been reporting on this as we talk about the Mountain Valley Pipeline. It was going to move forward with or without this bill. That is just how — that is just fact. This is how it was —

Q: It was being held up because a lot of different —

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: Well –

Q: — environmental concerns.

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: Well, look, it — the bill doesn’t really do much as it relates to that — to that project, to be quite honest. Instead, it preserves the largest investment in climate protection that we have seen in history, under this administration.

It helps get hundreds of clean energy projects online faster, all while protecting the full scope — the full scope of the environmental reviews.

And so, look, we believe a bipartisan compromise that — that congressional Democrats can be proud of and — and also will accelerate on those clean energy promises.

Look, again, when you look at this — this bipartisan, reasonable budget agreement — and we have talked about negotiation — I’ve said this many times from here, and certainly Director Young said it when she was here moments ago — it’s not going to be perfect. Not everyone will get — what they want, and that’s what the negotiation looks like. This is a divided government, as you all — as we all know.

And so, look, this is — but this is really important to the American people. We have to get this done. We have to make sure that we get to the other side of these conversations.

Go ahead.

Q: Thank you. President Biden was asked yesterday about long-range missiles for Ukraine — ATACMS. And he said, “It’s still in play.” In the past, the U.S. would say, “No.” So what’s changed from “no” to “it’s still in pay”? And what needs to happen for the U.S. to provide Ukraine with long-range missiles?

And also, I would like to follow up on Zeke’s question. I would like to clarify: Do you — you don’t support Ukraine — Ukraine’s attacks on Russian territory at all or attacks with U.S. equipment?

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: So, look, I don’t have anything to — any changes in — to the policy to announce from here, as it relates to ATAC- — long range mi — information — long- — I’m sorry, long-range missiles.

Look, as it relates to the done attacks that we saw in Moscow, we’ve been very clear: We’re going to see — we’re going to gather information and see exactly what happens. So just want to be very clear about that.

But look, we do not support attacks inside of Russia. That’s it.

Q: Ever?

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: Period. I mean, that’s — I cannot be any more clear than what I just stated: We do not support attacks inside of Russia, period. We’ve been very clear about that. That’s been a general matter that you have heard from us over and over again this past several months. And I cannot be more clearer than that.

Q: So why did the President say “It’s still in play” when asked about long-range missiles?

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: What I can tell you right now is that we — I don’t have any changes to our policy to — to share with you at this time.

Go ahead.

Q: Thanks. I have a NATO question and then an Afghanistan-Iran question. Starting with NATO: When the Danish Prime Minister visits on Monday, is the President going to speak to her about maybe being an interlocutor and working with Turkey on getting Sweden into NATO?

And then, also, can you just update us on the F-16s and Sweden’s membership? Is that something that — that the White House expects to have sorted by the time the NATO Summit happens?

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: So, two things I can say. As you know, the President — we read out the President’s conversation with Erdoğa yesterday. They had a — clearly a conversation.

But in that — in that — in that dialogue, the President did express his strong desire for Turkey to approve Sweden application to join NATO, which would — which — which we would like to happen as soon as possible so that — he did bring that up in a — in that conversation.

I’m not going to get ahead of what is going to be on the agenda, what’s going to come out of the Denmark visit that’s going to happen a week from this pats Monday.

Look, when it comes to, you know, any conditions, as it relates to F-16s — the sales of F-16s to Turkey and — as with them not approving Sweden’s bid to join NATO — look, that is not — that is not – that is not a condition. President Biden — long been clear that he supports selling F-16s — you’ve heard that from this podium — to Turkey, which would help facilitate NATO interoperability.

So, look, Congress has an important role in providing arm sales. And so, I would leave the rest to Congress.

But the President has been very clear where he stands in that — on that.

Q: On Iran and Afghanistan, there have been some border clashes over the weekend over, I think, water rights. What’s the White House’s reaction? And do you have any leverage over either of these parties to get this violence to stop?

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: So, look, we’ve been clear about how we see the conflict there.

I don’t have anything else to provide on — on what’s currently occurring there. And so, I’ll just leave it there for now.

Go ahead, Monica.

Q: Karine, can you just let us know a bit more about the President’s engagement on all this, calls that he has made?

He takes about reaching out to Leader McConnell yesterday. Is he also making calls to other Republicans — besides, of course, his conversations with Speaker McCarthy — on this? And what should we expect in terms of his outreach today and tomorrow ahead of an expected possible vote tomorrow night?

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: So, a couple of things. I do have some — some — some items to share here. Look, the President has been engaging with members of Congress throughout this process, as you all know, and he’ll continue to do so.

And so, the President and his team are having conversations with Democratic members of Congress across the ideological spectrum — moderate and progressives. That includes more than 100 one-on-one calls with members of Congress. That’s with — between the President and his team. In the past 24 hours or so, our senior team made individual calls to all House Democratic leadership, all committee ranking members, and all Tri-Caucus and ideological caucus chairs as well.

So, we have hosted numerous separate briefings on the entire bill for the House and Senate Democrats, as well as six issue-specific briefings for House Democrats on energy, policy, appropriations, TANF, and SNAP. That doesn’t include the numerous briefings for their staff.

We’ve also briefed or offered to brief each of the Tri-Caucuses and ideological caucuses as well, in addition, our policy experts have had numerous conversations with members of their staffs to answer specific questions about the bill that members have had.

And so — so, again, we’ve been in constant contact with leadership from both parties in the House and Senate to provide information. As Director Young was stating is that her — their job is to provide information on the facts and what they know and how we can make sure they have the — all of the details that they need.

So, as you know, we don’t provide private conversations from here, but I just list out all of the — all of the — all of the conversations and what we’ve done specifically coming out of this administration as it relates to this budget negotiation.

Q: And is there still a concern about the U.S. credit rating being downgraded, given the Fitch warning last week? How (inaudible) is that right now? And how is that factoring it?

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: So, look, we believe this is a reasonable bipartisan compromise that — that, you know, the House congressional members should be proud of. We believe that it is important to get this done. We believe that, again, we are in a country that pays our — pays our debts and that — and that, you know, we should not — we should not be defaulting on those debts.

And so, what the President wants to see: He wants to see the House and the Senate take this up/ He wants to see this pass in clearly both chambers. He wants to see this on his desk so he can sign it into law.

And — and that’s what we’re going to continue to have those conversations to make sure that occurs.

Go ahead, Peter. I haven’t seen you since Japan.

Q: Nice to see you again.

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: Oh, yeah. I’m sure. (Laughs.)

Q: You can say it’s nice to see me too.

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: It’s nice to see you, too, Peter.

Q: It’s been more than a month since the re-election announcement. Is President Biden going to hold a campaign event ever?

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: So, I will say this to you, Peter: As you know, we follow the rule of law here. We believe in following the rule of law as it relates — hold on — as it relates —

Q: I’m not asking you to weigh in on the impact of an election —

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: I’m — I’m about —

Q: –just his schedule.

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: I’m — I’m —

Q: You’ll have to schedule around rallies.

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: I’m — I’m about to answer your question here. As it relates to anything that — that is connected to the campaign, any rallies, any events, any — any endorsement, anything that is connected o the 2024 re-election, that is not going to certainly come from here. That is going to come from his campaign or the DNC – and/or the DNC.

Q: So you can’t say if he will be campaigning for re-election.

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: I’m sit not going to comment from here.

Q: Okay.

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: — on 2024 re-election.

Q: Another story.

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: The Hatch Act does exist.

Q: A group of experts now say that AI poses an extinction risk right up there with nuclear war and a pandemic. Does President Biden agree?

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: What I can say — you’re speaking to the letter that was provided today, made public. And so, look, the President and the Vice President has been very clear on this: As it relates to AI, it is one of the most powerful technologies — right? — that we see currently in our time. But our — but in order to seize the opportunities it presents, we must miti- — first mitis- — mitigate its risk, and that’s what we’re focusing on here in this administration.

As you know, the AI — we brought some CEOs here recently — that the President and the Vice President hosted — to the Whi- — White House to reiterate their responsibility for these specific companies — have to ensure that products are safe before they are released to the public. And so, I will leave it there.

I — as — again, I know there’s a letter that went out today from — from Elon Musk and CEOs. I will let the public read that letter. But, again, we have been very clear on that — how companies need to be responsible in — as it relates to AI.

Q: It’s been months, Karine.

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: Go ahead. Go ahead.

Q: Thanks, Karine. Following up on the question about Erdoğan and President Biden’s call, yesterday the President said that when it refers to Sweden’s membership in NATO, we’re going to talk about it next week. Do they have another call scheduled? Do you know that that refers to?

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: No, I don’t have a call to read out to you at this time.

Q: Okay. And then, Florida Governor Ron De- —

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: But as I — but let me just say, as I just stated, the President did bring that up in their conversation.

Q: Sure. Florida Governor Ron DeSantis said late last week that he would take an aggressive approach to issuing pardons to January 6th rioters if elected to higher office. Given the recent sentencing [sic] — sentencing of members of the Oath Keepers, including 18 years in prison for leader Stewart Rhode, who the DOJ called the archite- — architect of the plan to storm the Capitol, do you have any comment on that proposed use of clemency?

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: So, look, I’m going to be very — very careful because he is a candidate in the 2024 pres- — presidential election, so going to be really mindful to not respond directly to the governor in this case.

But we’ve been very clear. We’ve been very clear. This President has been very clear as it relates to January 6th: It was one of the darkest days of our democracy, and we need to get to the bottom of what happened. As we know, there were law enforcement officers that were injured, that were harmed. And what we saw was devastating on that day. It was devastating.

So we need to get to the bottom of the, but I’m not — certainly not going to respond directly to a 2024 presidential candidate.

AIDE: Karine —

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: Yeah, okay. One more. Go ahead, Aurelia.

Q: Thank you so much. So, Elon Musk is in China today meeting with the foreign minister, announcing new investments. In November last year, the President said that Elon Musk’s relationships with foreign countries are, and I quote him, “with looking at.” So, is the administration looking at Elon Musk’s relationship with China? And what conclusions does it draw?

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: I just don’t have anything to add or go beyond what the President said.

Okay? Thanks, everybody. I’ll see you tomorrow. Thank you.


JUNE 2023

June 2023: Remarks by President Biden on Averting Default and the Bipartisan Budget Agreement

The President: My fellow Americans, when I ran for President I was told the days of bipartisanship were over and that Democrats and Republicans could no longer work together. But I refused to believe that, because America can never give into that way of thinking.

Look, the only way American democracy can function is through compromise and consensus, and that’s what I worked to do as your President — you know, to forge a bipartisan agreement where its possible and where it’s needed.

I’ve signed more than 350 bipartisan laws thus far in almost two and a half years, including a historic law that — rebuilding America so we can rank number one in the world in infrastructure instead of where we’re ranked now, number thirteen in the world.

Another historic law, rebuilding our manufacturing base so that we’ll lead the world once again in making semiconductor chips so much more — and so many more and so many sophisticated ones.

And now, because of a bipartisan budget agreement. This is vital because — it’s because it’s essential to the progress we’ve made over the last few years. — is keeping full, faith, and credit of the United States of American and passing a budget that continues to grow our economy and reflects our values as a nation.

That’s why I’m speaking to you tonight: to report on the crisis averted and what we’re doing to protect America’s future.

Passing this budget agreement was critical. The stakes could not have been higher.

If we had failed to reach an agreement on the budget, there were extreme voices threatening to take America, for the first time in our 247-year history, into default on our national debt. Nothing — nothing would have been more irresponsible. Nothing would have been more catastrophic.

Our economy would’ve been thrown into recession. Retirement accounts for millions of Americans would have ben dec — been decimated. Eight million Americans would have lost their jobs.

Default would have been – ha — have destroyed our nation’s credit rating, which would have made everything from mortgages to car loans to funding for the government much more expensive. And it would have taken years to climb out of that hole. And America’s standing as the most trusted, reliable financial partner in the world would have been shattered.

So it was critical to reach an agreement. And it’s very good news for the American people.

No one got everything they wanted, but the American people go what they needed. We averted an economic crisis, an economic collapse.

We’re cutting spending and bringing the deficits down at the same time.

We’re protecting important priorities from Social Security, to Medicare, to Medicaid, to veterans, to our transformational investments in infrastructure and clean energy.

I want to commend Senator — Speaker McCarthy. You know, he and I, we – and our teams – we were able to get along and get things done. We were straightforward with one another, completely honest with one another. Both sides operated in good faith. Both sides keep their word.

I also want to commend the congressional leaders: House Minority Leader Jeffries, Senate Majority Leader Schumer, Senate Minority Leader McConnell. They acted responsibly and put the good of the country ahead of politics.

The final vote in both chambers was overwhelming, far more bar- –bipartisan than anyone thought possible.

So, I want to thank the members of Congress who voted to pass this agreement, which I’m going to sign tomorrow and become the law.

So here’s what the deal does:

First, it cuts spending. And over the next ten years, the deficit will be cut by more than $1 trillion. And that will be on top of the record 1.7 trillion — $1.7 trillion I already cut the deficit in my first two years in office.

And it’s clear: We’re all on a much more fiscally responsible course than the one I inherited when I took office four years ago. When I came to office, the deficit had increased every year for the previous four years. And nearly $8 trillion was added to the national debt in the last administration.

And now we’re turning things around, and that’s good for America.

You know, my dad use to have an expression. He said, “Joey, don’t tell me what you value. Show me your budget; I’ll tell you what you value.” And that’s at the heard of this debate: What do we value?

Protecting seniors. You may remember, during my State of the Union Address there were a spir — there was a spirited exchange between me and a few Republicans spontaneously occurring on the floor of the House of Representatives. I was pointing out that, for years, some of them were putting forward proposals to cut Social Security and Medicare.

And some of them that night took exception, and they said very loudly that that wasn’t true.

So I asked them on the House that night. I said — asked them a simple question: Will you agree not to cut Social Security and not to cut Medicare? Would they agree to protect these essential programs that are a lifeline for millions of Americans? Programs that these Americans have been paying into every singly pay check they’ve earned since they started working and that provide so much peace of mind.

With the bright lights and cameras on, those few Republicans who were protesting, they agreed. They said they wouldn’t cut it. That’s how we protected Social Security and Medicare from the beginning and from it being cut, period.

Healthcare was another priority for me – a top priority. I made it clear from the outset I would not agree to any cuts in Medicaid — another essential lifeline for millions of Americans, including children in poverty, the elderly in nursing homes, and Americans living with disabilities.

Hou- –the Hou- –the original House Republican proposal would have cut healthcare for up to 21 million Americans on Medicaid, and I said no. And Medicare [Medicaid] was protected and so were millions of people most in need.

Look, I’ve long believed that the only one truly sacred obligation that the government has is to prepare those we send into harm’s way and care for them and their families when they come home and when they don’t come home.

That’s why my last budget provided VA hospitals with additional funding for more doctors, nurses, and equipment to accommodate the needs of veterans and more appointments.

The House Republican plan would have mean 30 fewer million VA healthcare visits for our veterans. But we didn’t let that happen.

In addition, this bill fully funds the bipartisan PACT Act, the most significant law in decades for veterans exposed to toxic burn pits and for their families. It expands access to those veterans and their families to healthcare and to disability benefits.

Look, we’re investing in America and in our people and in our future.

We’ve created over 13 million new jobs, nearly 800,000 manufacturing jobs.

Where is it written that America can’t lead the world again in manufacturing?

Unemployment is at 3.7 percent. More Americans are working today than ever in the history of this country.

And inflation has dropped 10 straight months in a row.

In this debate, I refused to put what was responsible for all this economic progress on the chopping block. This bipartisan agreement protects the law that will help us build the best infrastructure in the world.

It fully protects the CHIPS and Science Act, which is going to bring key parts of our supply chain to America so we don’t have to rely on others — like semiconductors, those tiny computer chips smaller than the tip of your finger that affect nearly everything we rely on, from cellphone to having — building automobiles, of the most sophisticated weapons systems, and so much more.

We protected another law that I passed and signed last year that finally beat Big Pharma, which I’ve been trying to do for over 30 years. It finally gives Medicare the power to negotiate lower drug prices, just like the VA has been able to do for veterans.

Negotiating lower drug prices not only saves seniors a lot of money, it also saves the country a lot of money — $160 billion that is not having to be paid out, because we have drug prices that are more rational. We pay the highest drug prices of any industrial nation in the world.

And it’s just the beginning.

You know, we also protected the most significant breakthrough ever — ever — in dealing with the exis- –existential threat of climate change.

Today, new wind and solar power is cheaper than fossil fuel.

Since I’ve been in office, clean energy and advanced manufacturing have brought in $470 billion in private investments. That’s going to create thousands of jobs — good-paying jobs — all across the country and help the environment at the same time.

And remember, at the beginning of this debate, some of my Republican colleagues were determined to gut the clean energy investments. And I said no, and we kept them all.

And there’s one — and there’s so much more to do. We’re going to do even more to reduce the deficit. We need to control spending if we’re going to do that. But we also have to raise revenue and go after tax cheats and make sure everybody is paying their fair share.

No one — and I promise no one making less than $400,000 a year will pay a penny more in federal taxes.

But like most of you at home, I know the federal tax system isn’t fair. That’s why I kept my commitment, again, that no one earning less than $400,000 a year will pay a penny more in federal taxes.

That’s why last year I secured more funding to go — more IRS funding to go after wealthy tax cheats. The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office — and it is nonpartisan – says that this bill will bring in $150 billion, and other outside experts expect that it would save as much as $400 billion, because it’s forcing people to pay their fair share.

Republicans may not like it, but I’m going to make sure the wealthy pay they’re fair share.

I’m also proposed closing over a dozen special interest tax loopholes for Big Oil, crypto traders, hedge fund billionaires — saving taxpayers billions of dollars.

Republicans — Republicans defended every single one of these special interest loopholes. Every single one. But I’m going to be coming back. And with your help, I’m going to win.

Right now — catch this: Right now, the average billionaire in America pays just 8 percent in federal taxes. Eight percent. Teachers and firefighters pay more than that.

That’s why I proposed a minimum tax for billionaires. Republicans are against it, but I’m going to keep fighting for it.

No billionaire should pay less in federal taxes than a teacher or a firefighter.

Look, let me close with this. I know bipartisanship is hard and unity is hard, but we can never stop trying, because in moments like this one — the one we just faced, where the American economy and the world economy is at risk of collapsing — there is no other way.

No matter how tough our politics gets, we need to see each other not as adversaries, but as fellow Americans. Treat each other with dignity and respect. To join forces as Americans to stop shouting, lower the temperature, and work together to pursue progress, secure prosperity, and keep the promise of America for everybody.

I’ve said in my inaugural address, without unity there is no peace, only bitterness and fu- — and fury. And we can never become that country.

I can honestly say — I can honestly say to you tonight that I’ve never been more optimistic about America’s future. We just need to remember who we are. We are the United States of America, and there’s nothing — nothing we can’t do when we do it together.

I thank you all for listening, taking the time tonight to listen to me.

May God bless you all. And may God protect our troops.

Thank you.


September 2023:

September 19: The White House posted “By the Numbers: Impacts of House Republicans’ Extreme CR 8% Cuts”

With less than two weeks before the end of the fiscal year, extreme House Republicans are playing partisan games with peoples’ lives and marching our country toward a government shutdown instead of working in a bipartisan manner to keep the government open and address emergency needs for the American people.

The continuing resolution they introduced this week makes indiscriminate cuts to programs that millions of hardworking Americans count on – violating the agreement the Speaker negotiated with President Biden and rejecting the bipartisan approach of the Senate. House Republicans have made clear that these cuts are designed to force longer-term cuts, in-line with their extreme and damaging appropriations bills. So what would it mean for the American people if House Republicans’ proposed 8% cuts were extended for an entire year?

IMPACTS OF HOUSE REPUBLICANS’ EXTREME CR:

  • 800 fewer Customs and Border Protection (CBP) agents and officers.
  • 50,000 pounds of cocaine, more than 300 pounds of fentanyl, more than 700 pounds of heroin, and more than 6,000 pounds of methamphetamine let into our country due to cuts to CBP.
  • 110,000 children would lose access to Head Start slots.
  • 65,000 children would lose access to childcare.
  • 60,000 seniors would be robbed of nutrition services line Meals on Wheels.
  • 2.1 million women, infants, and children would be waitlisted for the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children (WIC)
  • Up to 40,000 fewer teachers, aides, or other key staff across the country, affecting 26 million students in schools that teach low-income students and 7.5 million students with disabilities.
  • Nearly 70 fewer Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) agents, who are often some of the first federal law enforcement on the scene of a mass shooting to help local law enforcement identify at-large shooters — and 13 furlough days for ATF’s entire workforce.
  • 4,000 fewer rail safety inspection days next year alone, with nearly 11,000 fewer miles of track inspected annually — enough track to cross the United States more than 3 times.
  • 145 fewer members of local law enforcement due to cuts at the Department of Justice.
  • Nearly 300,000 households — including 20,000 veterans and 90,000 seniors — would lose housing choice vouchers, putting them at greater risk of homelessness.
  • A roughly $500 reduction to the maximum Pell Grant for 6.6 million students.
  • 250,000 fewer FBI personnel, including agents who investigate crimes.
  • 50,000 workers would lose an average of $1,000 in back wages they are owed.
  • People applying for disability benefits would have to way 2 months longer.

September 20: The White House posted “Extreme House Republicans’ Chaos Is Marching Us Toward A Government Shutdown

While President Biden continues delivering for the American people, extreme House Republicans are consumed by chaos and marching our country toward a government shutdown that would damage our communities, economy, and national security.

Instead of following the bipartisan example of Republicans and Democrats in the Senate, extreme House Republicans continue to demand a reckless laundry list of partisan proposals as a condition of keeping the government open – from an evidence-free impeachment that even some of their own members don’t agree with to reckless cuts to programs millions of hardworking families and seniors count on, to a litany of other extraneous ideological demands.

Just three months after threatening to default on America over their partisan agenda, extreme House Republicans are back at it again. Their latest 30-day continuing resolution is just more of the same – a shutdown bill that doubles down on extreme, partisan proposals that can’t pass the Senate and will never become law. Their bill not only makes devastating indiscriminate cuts to food safety, education, law enforcement, housing, public health, Head Star and child care, Meals on Wheels, and more -it also fails to provide the urgent funding President Biden has requested to support disaster-struck communities, counter fentanyl trafficking, support Ukraine, provide critical food assistance for pregnant and postpartum women and young children, and avoid disruptions to FAA air traffic operations.

And here’s what’s clear: if extreme House Republicans fail to ram through their radical agenda, they plan to take their frustration out on the American people by forcing a government shutdown that would undermine our economy and national security, create needless uncertainty for families and businesses and have damaging consequences across the country.

Consider just some of the impacts of a Republican shutdown:

  • Threaten Vital Nutrition Assistance for Nearly 7 Million Vulnerable Moms and Young Children: Women and children who count on the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) – a program that serves nearly half of babies born in this country – would too start being turned away at grocery store counters, with a federal contingency fund drying up after just a few days and many states left with limited WIC funds to operate the program.
  • Endanger Disaster Response: A Republican shutdown would create an increased risk that FEMA’s Disaster Relief Fund is depleted and would complicate new emergency response efforts if additional catastrophic disasters occur. Funding for long-term recovery projects would also remain halted, worsening ongoing delays as FEMA awaits new appropriations.
  • Undermine Research on Cancer and Other Diseases: A Republican shutdown would stall critical research on diseases like cancer and Alzheimer’s because the National Institutes of Health would be forced to delay new clinical trials. New patients, many of whom are desperately waiting for a chance at new treatment through a clinical trial, will be turned away.
  • Eliminate Head Start Slots for Kids: Under a Republican shutdown, 10,000 children across the country would immediately lose access to Head Start, as the Department of Health and Human Services wouldn’t be able to award Head Start Grants during a shutdown — with the impacts only growing worse over time.
  • Risk Significant Delays for Travelers: Air traffic controllers and TSA Officers would have to work without pay – potentially leading to significant delays and longer wait times for travelers at airports across the country like there were during previous shutdowns.
  • Undermine Public Health and Environmental Protections: Most EPA-led inspections at hazardous waste sites as well a drinking water and chemical facilities would stop. EPA would halt oversight and review of permits and plans to esquire safe water and clean air in communities. Additionally, efforts to address dangerous contaminants like PFAS – which are linked to severe health affects, including cancer – would be delayed, and cleanup activities at Superfund sites would slow or cease.
  • Deny Capital for Small Businesses: The Small Business Administration would not accept, review, or approve any new business loans — including SBA’s primary loan to small businesses – cutting off an important source of funding for small businesses across the country.
  • Undermine Food Safety: The Food and Drug Administration could be forced to delay food safety inspections for a wide variety of products all across the country.
  • Delay Infrastructure Projects: A Republican shutdown could delay major infrastructure projects across the country die to a delay in EPA and DOI environmental reviews, which would affect multiple federal agency projects. In addition, permitting could be disrupted. For example, no USDA loans or grants would be made for modernizing utilities infrastructure in rural America, including permitting actions for rural electric transmission and broadband projects.
  • Impair Workplace Safety and Accountability: The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) would be forced to limit workplace inspections, denying workers a key protection against safety risk, and Americans who are owed back pay for their hard work would face delays due to the majority of Department of Labor investigations being suspended.

These consequences are real and avoidable — but only if House Republicans stop playing political games with peoples’ lives and catering to the ideological demands of the most extreme, far-right members. It’s time for House Republicans to abide by the bipartisan budget agreement that a majority of them voted for, keep the government open, and address other urgent needs for the American people.

September 26: The White House posted “Extreme Republican Shutdown Would Force Troops To Work Without Getting Paid And Undermine Our National Security”

With less than one week before the end of the fiscal year, extreme House Republicans are playing partisan games with people’s lives and marching our country toward a government shutdown that would have damaging impacts across the country — including undermining our national security and forcing servicemembers across the country and around the world to work without pay.

During an Extreme Republican Shutdown, service members would continue working every day to keep our country safe, including our 1.3 million active-duty troops – but wouldn’t receive their paychecks until funding becomes available. Hundreds of thousands of their civilian colleagues in the Department of Defense would also be furloughed, affecting the ways in which the Department manages its affairs globally, including the vital task of recruiting new members of the military. All of this would prove disruptive to our national security.

The reason these national security priorities are now at risk: extreme House Republicans’ relentless efforts to slash funding for vital programs rather than work in a bipartisan manner to keep the government open and address emergency needs for the American people. House Republicans have turned their backs on the bipartisan budget deal that two-third of them voted for just a few months ago and have instead proposed devastating cuts to programs that millions of hardworking Americans count on.

Below is a state-by-state breakdown of the 1.3 million active-duty service members at risk of not getting paid during an Extreme Republican Shutdown:

September 27: The White House posted “Extreme Republican Shutdown Would Risk Delays for Travelers and Force Air Traffic Controllers and TSA Officers to Work Without Getting Paid”

With less than one week before the end of the fiscal year, extreme House Republicans are playing partisan games with peoples’ lives and marching our country toward a government shutdown that would have damaging impacts across the country — including risking significant delays for travelers and forcing air traffic controllers and Transportation Security Officers to work without pay.

During an Extreme Republican Shutdown, more than 13,000 air traffic controllers and 50,000 Transportation Security Officers – in addition to thousands of other Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and Transportation Security Administration (TSA) personnel — would have to show up to do their critical jobs without getting paid until funding becomes available. In previous shutdowns, this led to significant delays and longer wait times for travelers at airports across the country.

Additionally, an Extreme Republican Shutdown would halt air traffic controller training — potentially leading to long-term disruptions to the industry at a moment when we’ve seen disruptions to the industry at a moment when we’ve seen critical progress filling a backlog of controllers.

The reason why these transportation priorities are now at risk: extreme House Republicans’ relentless efforts to slash funding for vital programs rather than work in a bipartisan manner to keep the government open and address emergency needs for the American people.

House Republicans have turned their backs on the bipartisan budget deal that two-third of them voted for just a few months ago and instead proposed a continuing resolution (CR) that proposes devastating cuts to programs that millions of hardworking Americans count on – including rail safety inspections and the Transportation Security Administration. Their extreme CR also failed to provide the urgent funding President Biden requested to avoid disruptions to FAA air traffic operations.

Below is a state-by-state breakdown of the more than 13,000 air traffic controllers and 50,000 TSA Officers who would be forced to work without pay during an Extreme Republican Shutdown:

September 28: The White House posted “Extreme Republican Shutdown Would Delay Nearly 2,000 Long-Term Disaster Recovery Projects And Undermine Community Preparedness”

With just days left before the end of the fiscal year, extreme House Republicans are playing partisan games with peoples’ lives and marching our country toward a government shutdown that would have damaging effects across the country – including delaying long-term disaster recovery and undermining preparedness in communities across the country. Their partisan approach stands in stark contrast to the Senate’s bipartisan progress towards keeping the government open and making a down payment on disaster relief funding.

As the Administration has continued to call on Congress to provide disaster relief funding, the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s Disaster Relief Fund (DRF) continues to dwindle and is now forced to prioritize only immediate lifesaving and live sustaining operations. An Extreme Republican Shutdown would leave DRF underfunded – delaying nearly 2,000 long-term recovery projects in communities across the country.

For example, Wilson County School in Tennessee would continue being unable to push forward with rebuilding due to a deadly tornado that left 100 teachers and 1,000 students without classrooms. In New Jersey, millions of dollars meant to help rebuild a senior citizen building following Hurricane Ida would reman frozen. And in Florida, hundreds of millions of dollars of Hurricane Ian recover obligations would continue to be delayed.

An Extreme Republican Shutdown would also undermine communities’ preparedness by preventing fire departments from accessing funding necessary to retain firefighters and purchase equipment, halting first responder training, and jeopardizing equipment, halting first responder training, and jeopardizing access to grants for disaster and terrorism preparedness.

The reason these disaster recovery and preparedness priorities are now at risk: extreme House Republicans’ relentless efforts to slash funding for vital programs rather than work in a bipartisan manner to keep the government open and address emergency needs for the American people.

House Republicans have turned their backs on the bipartisan budget deal that two-thirds of them voted for just a few months ago and instead proposed a continuing resolution (CR) that proposes devastating cuts to programs that millions of hardworking Americans count on – including to FEMA. Their extreme CR also fails to provide the urgent funding President Biden requested for FEMA’s DRF.

Below is a breakdown of the nearly 2,000 recovery projects across all 50 states, D.C., and Puerto Rico that would be further delayed during an Extreme Republican Shutdown:

(START HERE)

September 29: The White House posted “During an Extreme Republican Shutdown, American Small Businesses Would Lose Out on More Than $100 Million in Critical Financing Every Day

With just one day before the end of the fiscal year, extreme House Republicans are playing partisan games with peoples’ lives and livelihoods and marching our country toward a government shutdown that would have devastating consequences for small businesses and needlessly undermine America’s economic progress. Their partisan approach stands in stark contrast to the Senate’s bipartisan budget deal two-thirds of House Republicans voted for just four months ago.

An Extreme Republican Shutdown would force the Small Business Administration (SBA) to stop processing new business loans for small businesses. Each weekday the government is shut down, hundreds of small businesses would see their 7(a) and 504 loan applications fail to move forward. That means extreme House Republicans would deny more than $100 million in critical financing to American small businesses every day.

These delays can have devastating consequences for small business owners and the community they support, including losing the ability to purchase critical real estate or equipment, losing out on business deals and opportunities, and being forced into high-interest, price-gouging loans.

A shutdown would also make it harder for small businesses access federal contracting opportunities by halting the processing of applications for nearly all government contracting programs – only months after the SBA announced that the Biden-Harris Administration had awarded in Fiscal Year 2022. And an Extreme Republican Shutdown would close SBA’s district offices, preventing more than 2,000 Americans every day from receiving assistance.

During the first two years of the Biden-Harris Administration, Americans filed more than 10.5 million applications to start new small businesses, the two strongest years on record – part of the President’s Bidenomics agenda to grow the economy from the middle out and the bottom up.

The reason this critical support for small businesses is now at risk: extreme House Republicans’ relentless efforts to slash funding for vital programs — including those that help small businesses – rather than work in a bipartisan manner to keep the government open and address emergency needs for the American people. House Republicans have turned their backs on the bipartisan budget deal that two-thirds of them voted for just a few months ago and instead proposed a continuing resolution (CR) that would make devastating cuts to programs that millions of hardworking Americans count on – including the Small Business Administration.

Below is a state-by-state estimate of the more than $100 million in financing that small businesses would lose out on every day during an Extreme Republican Shutdown:

STATE Average Small Business Financing Delayed Each Business Day

Biden-Harris 0 comments on Vice President Harris Will Oversee White House Office of Gun Violence Prevention

Vice President Harris Will Oversee White House Office of Gun Violence Prevention

Photo of a statue of an oversized handgun with a knot tied at the end of it by Maria Lysenko on Unsplash

Statue of a overly-large handgun with a knot tied in it by Maria Lysenko on Unsplash

In September of 2023, President Biden established the first-ever White House Office of Gun Violence Prevention to reduce gun violence, which has ravaged communities across the country, and implement and expand upon key executive and legislative action which has been taken to save lives.

The Office of Gun Violence Prevention is overseen by Vice President Harris, who has been a key leader in the Biden-Harris Administration’s efforts to end our nation’s gun violence epidemic. Stefanie Feldman, a longtime policy advisor to President Biden on gun violence prevention, serves as Director of the Office of Gun Violence Prevention, alongside leading gun violence prevention advocates Greg Jackson and Rob Wilcox, who join the Administration as Deputy Directors of the Office of Gun Violence Prevention.

The Office of Gun Violence Prevention builds on historic actions taken by President Biden to end violence in our country; including signing the Bipartisan Safer Communities Act, the most significant legislative action in nearly 30 years aimed at doing so, and taking more meaningful executive action than any other president to make our schools, churches, grocery stores, and communities safer.

The Biden-Harris Administration has worked to implement the Bipartisan Safer Communities Act, the most significant gun violence prevention legislation in nearly 30 years. This legislation is already saving lives by keeping guns out of the hands of individuals under 21 who are prohibited from purchasing firearms, empowering the Justice Department with new authorities to prosecute firearm traffickers, improving access to mental health services in our schools to help young people deal with the trauma and grief resulting from gun violence, and investing in community violence interventions.

The Biden-Harris Administration announced dozens of executive actions to: keep especially dangerous weapons and repeat shooters off our streets; hold rogue gun dealers and gun traffickers accountable; provide law enforcement with the tools and resources they need to reduce gun violence; and address the root causes of gun violence.

Most recently, the Justice Department’s Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives – a critical leader in work to reduce gun violence – proposed a rule to reduce the number of guns sold without background checks and keep guns out of the hands of criminals.

President Biden continues to call on Congress to take additional action, including by:

  • Banning assault weapons and high-capacity magazines;
  • Requiring safe storage of firearms;
  • Requiring background checks for all gun sales;
  • Eliminating gun manufacturers’ immunity from liability; and
  • Enacting his Safer America Plan, which would put more police officers on our streets for accountable, community policing and invest in gun violence prevention and intervention.

The first thing that comes to my mind is the poem “America is a Gun” by Brian Bilston. It is a powerful poem, and I highly recommend you read it.

NPR reported today (January 19, 2024) that Vice President Harris says young voters could create a “sea change” on the issue of gun violence if they turn out and vote. It is an issue that the Biden campaign says will help motivate a key part of its base of support – and one where it sees Harris as being an effective messenger.

“On this issue, it is a lived experience,” Harris told U.S. mayors in Washington on Thursday, describing what she’s learned from talking to younger people about the gun violence epidemic.

“They are aware of the solutions. And I think, frankly, when they start voting in numbers, we’re going to see a sea change.”

According to NPR, Harris has long been talking about gun violence prevention, dating back to her first position in office as a district attorney in San Francisco. In September, when President Biden created Office of Gun Violence Prevention, he tapped Harris to lead it.

But as focus turns to the reelection campaign, Harris is making gun violence prevention an issue as the brings up all over the country. It even comes up at events that aren’t specifically focused on it.

Last year, for example, she embarked on a tour of college campuses around the country, where her office says she met with more than 15,000 students. And gun violence came up at every stop.

I believe that the first-ever White House Office of Gun Violence Prevention is going to make a big difference in people’s lives. The existence of this new office evokes the potential of being able to safely walk outside, go to the grocery store, go to school, and/or participate in the religion you have chosen – without being fearful of getting shot in the process. Imagine schools that would no longer have to put children through lockdowns.

Here’s a statement from Vice President Harris:

“Every person and every child deserves the opportunity to fulfill their dreams and live up to their God-given potential. Every family, in every community, should have the freedom live and to thrive. We know that true freedom is not possible if people are not safe.

This epidemic of gun violence requires urgent leadership to end the fear and trauma that Americans experience every day. The new Office of Gun Violence Prevention will play a critical role in implementing President Biden’s and my efforts to reduce violence to the fullest extent under the law, while also engaging and encouraging Congressional leaders, state and local leaders, and advocates to build upon the meaningful progress that we have made to save lives.

Our promise to the American people is this: we will not stop working to end the epidemic of gun violence in every community, because we do not have a moment, nor a life to spare.”

Biden-Harris 0 comments on January 6th Committee Demands Records

January 6th Committee Demands Records

The January 6th Committee was put in place to investigate what happened at our nation’s capital on January 6, 2021, and its causes. In order to do that, the Committee needs access to records held by the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) and seven other Executive Branch agencies.

Continue Reading “January 6th Committee Demands Records”
Biden-Harris 1 comment on Justice Department Sues Uber over “Wait Time” Fees

Justice Department Sues Uber over “Wait Time” Fees

Photo of an older person using a wheelchair. The photo focuses on the back of the wheelchair, which has room for a backpack. The wheels of the chair are the most prominent part of the photo. Photo by Steve Buissine from Pixabay.
Image by Steve Buissinne from Pixabay

Uber’s “wait time” fees discriminate against people who have disabilities.

The U.S. Department of Justice filed a lawsuit against Uber Technologies Inc. (Uber) for charging “wait time” fees to passengers who, because of disability, need more time to enter a car. According to the Department of Justice, Uber’s practice of charging wait time fees based on disability have harmed many passengers and potential passengers with disabilities throughout the country.

Continue Reading “Justice Department Sues Uber over “Wait Time” Fees”