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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 going 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: President Biden wrote: 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.


July 2023:

July 24: The White House posted “Statement of Administration Policy” (Rep. Granger, R-TX)

The Administration strongly opposes House passage of H.R. 4366, making appropriations for military construction, the Department of Veterans Affairs, and related agencies for the fiscal year (FY) ending September 30, 2024 and for other purposes.

In May, the Administration negotiated in good faith with the Speaker on bipartisan legislation to avoid a first-ever default and protect the Nation’s hard-earned and historic economic recovery. The overwhelming bipartisan support set spending levels for FYs 2024 and 2025.

The agreement held spending for non-defense programs roughly flat with FY 2023 levels, a compromise that protected vital programs Americans rely on from draconian cuts House Republicans proposed. The agreement also protected historic legislative accomplishments from the past two years, including the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA), Honoring our PACT Act of 2022, CHIPS and Science Act, and the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (Bipartisan Infrastructure Law).

House Republicans had an opportunity to engage in a productive, bipartisan appropriations process, but instead, with just over two month before the end of the fiscal year, are wasting time with partisan bills that cut domestic spending levels well below the FRA agreement and endanger critical services for the American people. These levels would result in deep cuts to climate change and clean energy programs, essential nutrition services, law enforcement, consumer safety, education and healthcare.

These bills include billions in additional recessions from the IRA and other vital legislation that would result in unacceptable harm to clean energy and to energy efficiency initiatives that lower energy costs and critical investments in rural America.

The draft bills also include numerous now, partisan policy provisions with devastating consequences including harming access to reproductive healthcare, threatening the health and safety of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer, and Intersex (LGBTQI+) Americans, endangering marriage equality, hindering critical climate change initiatives, and preventing the Administration from promoting diversity, equity, and inclusion.

The Administration stands ready to engage with both chambers of the Congress in a bipartisan appropriations process to enact responsible spending bills that fully fund Federal agencies in a timely manner.

If the President were presented with H.R. 4366, he would veto it.

The Administration would like to take this opportunity to share additional views regarding the House Appropriations Committee’s (Committee) version of the bill.

Department of Defense

Reprioritization of Military Construction Funding to Unrequested Projects. The Administration opposes the bill’s realignment of military construction funding from priority projects to other projects. Contrary to the Administration’s fiscally responsible policy to fully fund executable projects, the bill proposes to fund 22 military construction projects incrementally.

This would effectively create an unfunded obligation of more than $2.3 billion needed to successfully execute these projects over time, divert those funds to projects that either are not executable in FY 2024, or were not requested by the Administration, and, given the already agreed upon ceilings FY 2025 appropriations under the Fiscal Responsibility Act of 2023, reduce the amount available for other high priority military construction requirements in FY 2025 by a comparable amount.

Guantanamo Bay Prohibitions. The Administration strongly opposes section 412 and 135 of the bill, which would prohibit construction or modification of facilities in the United States to house transferred Guantanamo Bay Detention Facilities (GTMO) detainees. This provision would interfere with the President’s ability to determine the appropriate disposition of GTMO detainees.

Department of Veterans Affairs (VA)

VA Medical Care. The Administration appreciates the $121 billion in discretionary appropriations that the Committee provides for VA Medical Care. Along with previously provided Toxic Exposures Fund funding, this level would enable VA to support key Administration priorities such as ending veteran homelessness, increasing access to mental healthcare, and providing suicide prevention services, as well as investments in other critical areas, including caregiver support programs and overdose prevention and treatment programs. The Administration also appreciates the continuing flexibility to provide veterans with the robust array of medical care services they deserve.

VA Abortion Final Rule. The Administration strongly opposes section 258 of the bill, which would prevent VA from using funds to implement, administer, or otherwise carry out the Interim Final Rule (IFR) published on September 9, 2022, which expanded access to abortion for certain veterans.

VA’s IFR specified that VA is able to provide access to abortions when the life or health of the pregnant veteran would be endangered if the pregnancy were carried to term, or when the pregnancy is the result of rape or incest. VA beneficiaries enrolled in the Civilian Health and Medical Program of the Department of Veterans Affairs also have this access under the IFR.

The provision would restrict abortions to the case of rape or incest, or “where a woman suffers from a physical disorder, physical injury, or physical illness, including a life-endangering physical condition caused by or arising from the pregnancy itself, that would, as certified by a physician, place the woman in danger of death unless the abortion is preformed.” This change would prevent VA from providing needed care to veterans when the health of the woman is endangered.

Gender Affirming Care. The Administration also strongly opposes section 259 of the bill, which would prevent VA from using funds to provide hormone therapies for the purpose of gender affirming care and surgical procedures for the purpose of gender affirming care. This would prevent VA from providing the full extent of quality care to veterans and legislature on decisions that should be left to the patient and their healthcare provider.

Lease Restriction. The Administration opposes section 252 of the bill, which would restrict VA from using funds to pay the rent currently required for the medical facility in Bakersfield, CA, which may force VA to vacate the facility, potentially creating a service gap for Bakersfield veterans.

Flags at VA Facilities. The Administration opposes section 260 of the bill, which would prevent VA from using funds to display any but the listed flags, thereby preventing VA from displaying flags demonstrating support for historically marginalized groups such as Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer, and Intersex veterans.

Advancing Equity. The Administration opposes sections 414, 415, and 417 of the bill. These provisions would limit efforts by the Federal Government to implement a comprehensive approach to advancing equity for all, including people of color and others who have been historically underserved, marginalized, and adversely affected by persistent poverty and inequality and cultivate a workforce that draws from the full diversity of the Nation.

Protection the Rights of Veterans and Their Loved Ones. The Administration opposes section 416 of the bill, which would prevent VA from using funds made available in this Act or in previous Appropriations Acts to take “discriminatory action” regarding persons who do not support same sex marriage due to a “sincerely held religious belief or moral conviction.” This provision would undermine same sex marriage while also unduly complicating the routine business of the Department to provide healthcare and other services for veterans.

Constitutional Concerns

Certain provisions of the draft bill raise separation of powers concerns, including by conditioning the Executive’s authority to take certain actions on receiving the approval of the House and Senate Committees on Appropriations. The Administration looks forward to workin with the Congress to address these and other concerns,

The Administration looks forward to working with Congress as the FY 2024 appropriations process moves forward.


August 2023:

August 15, 2023: Press Gaggle by Principal Deputy Press Secretary Olivia Dalton En Route Milwaukee, Wisconsin

MS. DALTON: Hi, everybody. How are you today?

Okay. As you heard — I just want to do a word on Hawaii at the top, which I know is front of mind for everyone.

As you heard from FEMA Administrator Criswell yesterday, the Biden-Harris Administration has mobilized a robust, whole-of-government response to support immediate and long-term rescue and recovery efforts in Maui.

Since the onset of the horrific fires in Maui, dozens of federal departments and agencies hav been working with state and local partners on the ground to assess ongoing needs and provide resources and personnel to support the response efforts.

This morning, we released a factsheet detailing all of the actions underway, which you can find on WhiteHouse.gov. And as of this morning, there are almost 500 federal personnel deployed to Maui to assist residents in their greatest time of need.

FEMA has deployed more than 140 Urban Search and Rescue personnel, who have integrated with the Maui Fire Department to help conduct search and rescue operations across a search zone that is several miles wide and encompasses thousands of predominantly residential structures.

In Maui, FEMA has provided 50,000 meals, 75,000 liters of water, 5,000 cots, and 10,000 blankets, as well as shelter supplies to the county government for distribution.

As the President has said, we will be in Maui as long as it takes and provide everything they need. You can expect to hear more from the President at the top of his remarks today about the ongoing whole-of-government response he has marshaled to support the people of Hawaii.

And when — and I would also just like to add, because I know many of you have asked, that we’re currently having active conversations about when a visit to Hawaii might be possible.

Turning to today’s visit to Milwaukee. As you know, tomorrow is the one-year anniversary of the Inflation Reduction Act, the largest climate investment in history. In Milwaukee today, the President will discuss how Bidenomics and his Investing in America agenda are ushering in a manufacturing boom and attracting more than $110 billion in business investment and clean energy manufacturing.

Today, the President will tour Ingeteam, a clean energy manufacturing company that produces on-shore wind turbine generators. Thanks to the Inflation Reduction Act, the company expects orders to double next year.

Ingeteam also recently announced that, spurred by the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, they will begin expanding and manufacturing of EV charging — charging stations across Milwaukee.

In addition, today, Siemens is announcing that will – it will manufacture solar inverters in Kenosha County thanks to the Inflation Reduction Act.

Across Wisconsin, companies have committed over $3 billion in manufacturing and clean energy investments under President Biden’s leadership.

The President will be joined today by state and local leaders, including Governor Tony Evers, Senator Tammy Baldwin, and Congresswan [sic] — Congresswoman Gwen Moore.

Also today, ahead of tomorrow’s anniversary, the Vice President is traveling to Seattle to visit McKinstry, a company working on the design, construction and operation of energy efficient buildings. She’ll be joined there by the Second Gentleman, Energy Secretary Granholm, and Washington state leaders.

Today’s lists are examples of the impact the Inflation Reduction Act is having across America just one year after it was signed.

Tomorrow, the President will discuss the law at length, not just the impact it has had unleashing a manufacutring boom, but also how it is lowering costs — healthcare costs, from insulin to prescription drugs to insurance premiums.

Speaking of lowering costs, the President promised to fight for hardworking families to fix problems in the student loan system. This administration is already — has already approved over $116 billion in debt cancellation for 3.4 million Americans, no matter how many lawsuits, challenges, or roadblocks Republican elected officials or special interests put in our way.

Also today, ahead of tomorrow’s anniversary, the Vice President is traveling to Seattle to visit McKinstry, a company working on the design, construction and operation of energy efficient buildings. She’ll be joined there by the Second Gentleman, Energy Secretary Granholm, and Washington state leaders.

Today’s lists are examples of the impact the Inflation Reduction Act is having across America just one year after it was signed.

Tomorrow, the President will discuss the law at length, not just the impact it has had unleashing a manufacutring boom, but also how it is lowering costs — healthcare costs, from insulin to prescription drugs to insurance premiums.

Speaking of lowering costs, the President promised to fight for hardworking families to fix problems in the student loan system. This administration is already — has already approved over $116 billion in debt cancellation for 3.4 million Americans, no matter how many lawsuits, challenges, or roadblocks Republican elected officials or special interests put in our way.

And we’re not done. As the President announced earlier this summer in the wake of the Supreme Court’s decision, we will continue to pursue an alternative path to deliver student debt relief to as many borrowers as possible as quickly as possible. We will use every tool at our disposal to get student loan borrowers the relief they need to reach their dreams.

With that, Fatima.

Q: Does the President intend to address all the criticism that it’s taken, you know, a long time actually make comment about the Hawaiian fires?

MS. DALTON: Well, first of all, I would point out that the President first addressed in public remarks the wildfires last Thursday in Salt Lake City. He spoke to this. He put out a statement last week. And he began marshaling a whole-of-government response from day one.

So, the fact of the matter is: This President has been on it from the beginning, marshaling a response across dozens of agencies, across the government to get Hawaii everything that they ned. He’s been in regular contact with the governor, with other officials, with his senior team. And we have provided and are continuing to provide everything that the state is asking for.

Today, you’ll hear from his – from the President directly on the latest stats of the — of the recovery efforts. And I won’t get ahead of that he’ll — he’ll share in those remarks today, but certainly, from the very beginning, the President has been on top of this, and he will continue to be.

Q: Olivia, can I ask you: Does the White House have a comment on the indictments out of Georgia?

MS. DALTON: Certainly not going to comment on that. Would refer you to the local authorities.

Q: And just to follow up on that question broadly — I’m not surprised you’re not commenting; that’s what you’ve been doing for the other three as well. But the issue of democracy was one that President Biden ran on in 2020 and in the — ahead of the midterm elections. At what point does he wan to or will he comment on the broader implications about democracy that are represented in these cases, without delving into the legal part that he obviously wants to stay away from?

MS. DALTON: Well, look, I think you’ve heard the President speak on a number of occasions about restoring the soul of our nation, making sure that we’re protecting our foundations of our democracy. But you’ve also heard this President, even before he was in office, talk about the importance of restoring the independence of the DOJ. And so, you know, we have to hold both of those things.

And with respect to the cases that are underway, with the respect to ongoing criminal cases, that’s certainly why we’ve continued to observe the independence of the DOH, to respect that and same sure that we don’t — to weight in and — and overstep here.

Q: Do you have any concern at all that the atten- — the country’s attention won’t be on the IRA anniversary that you’re promoting some and other parts of Bidenomics because people are so focused on the legal issues involving the former President?

MS. DALTON: Well, look, you all will make your editorial decisions, but this President will stay focused on delivering for the American people. That is his job. That is his priority.

And, you know, I think we’ve seen this movie before, actually. Right? You know, the President has continued to — over the pa- — in recent months to travel around the country and talk about the ways in which the Investing in America agenda, all of the legislation over the past two and a half years that he’s managed to get passed — the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, the CHIPS and Science Act, the Inflation Reduction Act, that we’re celebrating today and tomorrow — are delivering major private-sector investment, bringing supply chains and manufacturing back to our shores, delivering good-paying jobs to the American people. That’s what the President is foc- focused on. That’s what he’ll continue to talk about.

You know, we certainly can’t speak to what others are spending their time on.

Q: Is the President and is the White House confident that the President’s message on selling is economic agenda is reaching Americans? And are they giving him the credit that you all see is — is enough on these economic pieces?

MS. DALTON: Well, look, I think when you look across the country, you know, the polling that we see is that indi- — individually, these — the legislation the President has passed, the policies he passed is incredibly popular — you know, when you look at the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law supported by 76 percent of the American people, 72 percent of the American people strongly supporting the CHIPS and Science Act, 80 percent of the American people supporting the IRA that cut costs for prescription drugs and bring down healthcare premiums.

So, his agenda is incredibly popular. The — what we’re doing today is getting out there and talking to people about it.

Q: Why do you think that people don’t connect that agenda with him in public polling?

MS. DALTON: Look, I think — you know, you’ve heard me and other officials talk about the fact that we recognize the American people have been through a rough few years coming out of a pandemic, facing the spikes in inflation that were created by Russia’s brutal invasion of Ukraine just 18 months ago. And so, coming out of that, we’re now starting to see the impact of, again, all of this historic legislation the President has managed to get passed, the impact of Bidenomics taking root.

We’re starting to see that in terms of almost record low unemployment, inflation coming down two thirds over the past year, and the United States embracing the — the strongest and fastest economic recovery of any G7 economy in the world – you know, talking about real wages rising for the American people, faster among people in low- and middle-paying jobs.

And so, these are the kinds of things that — you know, they’ll take time for people to feel. But we believe we’re headed in the right direction and people are going to increasingly see that, and the President is going to keep talking about it.

Q: Olivia, I have two. Both are at the risk of being a little pedantic. But when you said that you’re discussing times to potentially go to Hawaii, does that mean the President is committed, in fact, to visiting Hawaii when the time is right?

MS. DALTON: Well, I would — you know, first of all, I don’t want to get ahead of what the President may say in his remarks today. But what I can tell you is: We’re actively having conversations about the possibility of visiting Hawaii, when that might be possible. I think the — as you know, the issue here is there’s an active search and rescue underway that we want to be mindful of.

The President is constantly, whether — you know, in these kinds of situations, mindful of not wanting to divert resources of any kind away from that. And so, you know, we’ll continue to be in conversation with the FEMA Administrator and state and local officials to understand what timeline —

Q: But you’re not committing yet to going?

MS. DALTON: I’m not going to get ahead of the President. But I — I think, you know, as I’ve communicated, we’re actively discussing the timeline on a possible visit.

Q: And I wanted to ask: Karine was asked yesterday about the President’s remarks in the Park City fundraiser, about the “ticking time-bomb” in China. There were sort of two elements of it. One was him broadly saying that the Chinese economy was struggling and had some demographic challenges, which I think everybody agrees with. But he cited some specific economic data, the GDP. Some of the demographic stuff ha he spoke about, the — the Chinese say just simply isn’t true.

Im wondering if the difference here is that the President garbled some data, as can happen to anybody, you know, if they’re talking about the economy, or if he was, in fact, saying what the U.S. has sort of concluded is the actual state of the Chinese economy.

MS. DALTON: I think I’m going to let the President’s words speak for themselves. But, you know, I’ll also say: The President will continue to be forthright and direct about his views on PRC.

And separately, we’re going to remain focused on managing competition with China responsibly and making sure that the United States is equipped to outcompete the rest of the world in decades ahead.

That’s why you see the President prioritizing an econo- — and economic agenda that is focused on reversing the failed trickle-down policies of the past and embracing, sort of, the Bidenomics agenda — right? — the — attracting private investments to our shores, bringing back manufacturing and supply chains that for decades flew oversees to China.

These are the kinds of policies the President is focused on that we’re seeing are strengthening the United States’ ability to compete in the decades ahead vis-à-vis the rest of the world.

Q: May I follow up on that?

Q: The President is going to Milwaukee today. It’s a week before the GOP debate next week. Was that in any calculation in why you guys are going to Milwaukee today?

MS. DALTON: Well, as you know the — the Hatch Act precludes me from speaking about politics from here. But what I can tell you is: Today we’re going to visit a clean energy manufacturing plant that is bringing manufacturing and investment and good-paying jobs to Milwaukee.

We’re also highlighting an investment by Siemens in Kenosha County, which is bringing more jobs and investment to the region — that coupled with the fact that we see Bidenomics is delivering for people across the state of Wisconsin.

Over the past two and a half years, we’ve seen 150,000 jobs created in Wisconsin, 155,000 small business starts, and unemployment has now come down to 2.5 percent in the state.

So, we think that all adds up to a really great reason to travel to Milwaukee and highlight the Inflation Reduction Act ahead of the anniversary tomorrow.

Q: I just wanted to follow up on Justin’s good question. I understand saying that you’ll let the President’s words speak for themselves, but the question he was asking is because his words weren’t clear. Are — is that U.S. data or is it Chinese data that he was referring to — that 2 percent?

MS. DALTON: I don’t have, you know, cross tabs for you here, Jeff, but I’m happy to follow up with you on that. But I think I’m going to let the President’s words speak for themselves on that.

Q: I mean, that’s just — just to explain why we asked that. Like, it — it’s totally — as Justin said, like, people mess up numbers all the time. I do. We all do. But if the U.S. has different figures for China, that’s interesting. And he revealed that — or maybe he didn’t — at that fundraiser, and that’s why we’re asking.

MS. DALTON: I’m not going to — I don’t have anything further to illuminate on that question.

Q: Just two of my questions. Is the President worries about a government shutdown at the end of September?

MS. DALTON: Look, I — you know, we worked in good faith to negotiate a bi- — good — a bipartisan agreement a couple of months ago. We’ve held up our end — upheld our end of the bargain. They’ve upheld theirs so far. We c- — expect that to continue.

We don’t believe that there’s any reason we should have to have a government shutdown — that congressional Republicans should bring us to that point. We think that we can work together to meet the needs of our country and the urgent needs that we put forward. And beyond that, I won’t get into, sort of, speculating about that kind of possibility.

Q: And there was a report a few days ago that the President was preparing to roll out additional executive action on background checks, and I wondered if you had any update on that or if we can expect any additional movement on — on gun violence.

MS. DALTON: Well, certainly, as — as you know, the President has been a vocal advocate for stronger gun safety laws for his entire career, championed the Assault Weapons Ban back in the Senate in 1994, and has never stopped being the tip of the spear on this issue.

As President, he has signed more executive action than any president in history on gun safety to strengthen our community safety, our school safety, and combat the scourge of gun violence that has become the number one killer of kids in America.

So, certainly, you saw that with the historic legislation, the Bipartisan Safer Communities law, that we’re continuing to implement and work with law enforcement to make sure we’re maximizing the full implementation and intensifying our efforts to implement that law completely.

And, as you know, one of the most recent executive orders that he announced back in Monterey Park in — in March, I believe, included initiating a rule making at the Department of Justice that would expand the use of background checks to the full extent possible without passing new legislation.

So, I don’t have any new action to announce on that today. But certainly, back in March, he previewed that rulemaking would be coming at some point.

Q: Can I follow on — it’s a two-part. One is: Congressional Republicans have floated a CR that would go to early December. Would you — would the President be willing to sign that?

And the second is: Senator Schatz has said that he wants to add emergency relief for Hawaii into the supplemental request that was transmitted by the White House last week. Are you guys supportive of adding additional Hawaii-specific funding to that amount, or do you think it’s necessary?

MS. DALTON: I’ll have to take your first question and get back to you.

On the second, I think, you know, with respect to the supplemental request, as you know, we’ve requested $12 million in disaster assistance in the supplemental that we put forward last week The — FEMA believes that, in the very near term, the agency has what it needs to meet its urgent — most urgent emergency needs.

But, certainly, we hope Congress will work a- — work with us to deliver the assistance that we have requested in the supplemental so that we have what we need to meet their needs over the coming (inaudible) —

Q: But you don’t anticipate adding that request now that the fuller scope of Hawaii is coming into —

MS. DALTON: I don’t have anything to announce at this moment in time. But, of course, OMB Director Shalanda Young and our senior staff at the White House continue to work with members of both parties in Congress on the supplemental request and making sure that our agencies have everything they need to support the disaster response, as well as manage the border effectively and safely and make sure Ukraine continues to get everything that they need.

Thanks, everybody.

August 30, 2023: Press Briefing by Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre and FEMA Administrator Deanne Criswell

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: Good afternoon, everyone. I want to — apologies for the late start. The Administrator was meeting with the President — giving the President an update. And so, we wanted to make sure we had her with us before we came out, given the day.

So, again, good afternoon, everyone. This morning, Hurricane Idalia made landfall in Florida as a major hurricane. Our administration is prepared to support any needs that may arise as Idalia moves through Florida and into Georgia. Personnel and resources from across the federal government and from our voluntary and nonprofit partners are ready to assist.

Later today, the American people will hear directly — they will hear directly from the President. He will speak about our efforts to respond to hurr- — to the — to Hurricane Idalia and on our — and our ongoing commitment to help the residents of Maui recover after the tragic wildfires earlier this month as well.

But before I turn it over to the FEMA Administrator for an update on Hurricane Idalia, we want to make sure all of those experiencing the effects of Idalia are — or are on the path — to make sure that they are staying safe.

If you are experiencing hurricane winds, storm surge, and flooding, don’t venture outside. Listen to warnings of local officials and shelter in place. Do not enter flood waters, since there can be chemicals and debris.

If you are in the projected path of the hurricane, please remain alert, closely monitoring any changes in its — to its path, listen to local and state officials for guidance and evacuations notices, and finish your preparedness.

The President and our entire administration — our entire administration are committed to supporting all communities impacted by the hurricane. With — we will be with you every step of the way, as we have been when we have — when we have to deal with these types of disastrous situation — hurricanes, extreme weather.

This is an administration that will be with this community from before — before it started, as you all know – from what you heard the President earlier this week and also the Administra- — the Administrator after it hits. And we will be there until they are able to rebuild.

With that, Administrator Criswell, welcome back.

ADMINISTRATOR CRISWELL: All right, good morning, everybody. And thanks, Karine. And I’ll just jump right in.

I did just have an opportunity to brief the President on our current response efforts for Hurricane Idalia, which, as all of you know, made landfall early this morning.

While we were in there, the President contacted Governor DeSantis to let him know that the federal family continues to be there to support him. The governor expressed that all of his needs are met currently. And the President reiterated that if anything is needed from the federal government, we will be able to support, and we have over 1,000 personnel currently deployed, prepared to support not just Florida, but all of our states that are in the path as needed.

While I was there, the governor also — or the President also directed me to travel immediately into the area, and I will be traveling later this afternoon to join Governor DeSantis tomorrow to do assessments and see firsthand what the impacts from this storm are. And I can be able to report back to the President exactly what I see, what we think the needs might be, and where the federal family can continue to assist.

Before I touch more on Hurricane Idalia, I also want to address the second reason that I am here at the White House today.

Today I will also join President Biden alongside his Cabinet and agency officials who are supporting the response and the recovery efforts on the ground in Hawaii as we continue to help the people of Maui rebuild and recover the long term.

This whole-of-gov- — this whole-of-government approach is what’s needed to get the right resources to the people of Maui — the resources and the assistance that they need and that they deserve.

Now back to a little bot to what we know so far on Hurricane Idalia. While it is still too soon to assess the total damages, we know that the storm made landfall as a Category 3, which means over 120 mile per hour winds and up to 10 inches of rain in some areas. Peak storm surge in some places along the coast — it has peaked right now, but it could surpass, once they measure, over 15 feet of storm surge. And we’ll get exact numbers as they’re able to go in and assess what the total storm surge was.

And in fact, Idalia is the strongest storm to hit his part of Florida — to make landfall in this part of Florida in over 100 years.

But FEMA and the entire Biden-Harris Administration — we were prepared, and we were ready to support the needs of this storm. As I mentioned, we have actually over 1,500 federal responders that are on the ground in the affected area. This includes over 300 personnel from FEMA, as well as over 500 Urban Search and Rescue personnel ready to support any of the state’s requests.

As of 7:30 this morning — and I know these numbers are dynamic and fluid — but as of 7:30 this morning, there are nearly 300,000 customer outages for power in Florida. And we do expect those numbers to continue to rise as the storm passes through and goes into Georgia. And we’ll see power outage numbers for Georgia, South Carolina, and perhaps North Carolina.

Our partners at the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers are pre-positioned to support power restoration, and they have over 30 generators that are pre-staged.

Additionally, the utilities are preparing for storm impacts, including pre-staging crews and equipment outside of the projected storm track, and the state anticipates a total of about 30,000 to 40,000 linemen in Florida to begin to assist the power restoration efforts.

People that are still in the storm’s path, however — as you heard from Karine — they should not venture out into the storm, and remain sheltering in place if your local officials are telling you to do so.

However, if you are in trouble and you need immediate assistance, please call 911.

As you do go out, do not wade in the water. Do not drive through flooded roads and streets. Just remember: “Turn Around, Don’t Drown.”

Unfortunately, we see so many fatalities after the storm passes. We want to make sure that everybody is taking the right precautions to keep themselves safe.

And as always, please continue to listen to your local officials as the storm continues to pass over Georgia currently and into South Carolina.

Please check on your friends and your family and your loved ones, especially older adults and people living with disabilities, to see if they have any needs.

In closing, I just want to remind people that this is still very much an active situation. Remnants of the storm are still affecting Florida. As we speak, the storm is over Georgia and moving into South Carolina. People there and in the Carolinas will continue to experience impacts throughout the day today and possibly into the weekend.

Again, FEmA is well postured with our federal partners to support Floridians during this time of need and stands ready to support other affected states as needed.

With that, I can take any questions.

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: Go ahead.

Q: Thank you. Administrator, what are you most concerned about over the next day or two, since you just said it’s too early right now to assess the extent of damage in Florida?

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: Go ahead.

Q: Thanks, Karine. I wanted to ask about a possible government shutdown. Some conservatives have been — on the Hill have been talking about it not being a big deal, that no one will really notice. Can you talk a little bit specifically about would continue to work during a shutdown and what would stop?

And then, secondly, you said that Governor DeSantis is satisfied with the federal response, doesn’t need anything additional. Was there anything else discussed on that — on that call?

ADMINISTRATOR CRISWELL: Yeah. The — the President’s main concern is making sure that we are — are bringing everything that we have in to support these states as they’re having immediate response and lifesaving needs or beginning to start their assessment and their recovery process.

I think it’s incredibly important that — that our governors know that — that we are ready and postured to bring in all federal resources to support any of their lifesaving and their life-sustaining needs in the very near future.

The conversation with Governor DeSantis was that — you know, reiterating the fact that we already had over 1,500 personnel there in the area to be able to support. And the governor currently has no unit needs. But as we begin to assess — right? — as the governor assesses and as I get on the ground tomorrow to assess, we’ll see what additional needs ming be there and if any of those resources need to be employed or we need to move more into the area.

Q: And has the President spoken yet with the governors of Georgia or South Carolina as well, or any plans for that to happen?

ADMINISTRATOR CRISWELL: I believe he was preparing to contact them after I left so I could come to this briefing.

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: Go ahead, Jeff.

Q: Thank you. Administrator, to what extent do you attribute climate change of this storm and the other weather events that we’re seeing over the last weeks and months?

ADMINISTRATOR CRISWELL: Yeah. You know, I’m not going to attribute the cause of the storm. But what I can say is that we are seeing an increase in the number of severe weather events.

And what we saw with this storm, as we have seen with several other hurricanes over the last few years, is that they are intensifying more rapidly due to the elevated heat of the water temperature in the Gulf or in the Pacific or whether it’s in the Atlantic. These storms are intensifying so fast that our local emergency management officials have less time to warn and evacuate and get people to safety.

This is something that we have to take into consideration as we build our preparedness plans, as our local communities build their preparedness plans and how they’re going to communicate and prepare their communities for the types of storms that they’re going to face in the future.

Q: And secondly, and more specifically, on this storm, do you have any sense of is it too early now to say what the cost of recovery will require or will be?

ADMINISTRATOR CRISWELL: Yeah. It’s far too early to even estimate what the cost is. It’s still unsafe in many parts to even go out. That’s what’s going to happen over the next several days is to really get a good understanding and an initial estimate of what we think the costs will be and what the amount of impact to these communities has been.

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: Go ahead, Selina.

Q: Just to follow on that, with what you’ve seen so far, how long do you think it will take to get that full assessment? And how long will it take to understand the costs of the recovery efforts?

ADMINISTRATOR CRISWELL: Yeah. We have rapid assessment teams that have been pre-positioned, ready to go out as soon as it’s safe to do so. And so, tho- — those are personnel that will integrate in with the state personnel to go see what the damages are.

But we also use technology, right? We use aerial imagery and satellite technology, and we use our geospatial information to get a better idea so we don’t have to physically put people out there. And it allows us to make these types of decisions much quicker than we’ve been able to in the past.

And so, again, it will take several days to get a full understanding of what the initial assessment — damage assessment is. But it will take longer to get the full picture of the total amount of impact to these communities.

Q: And yesterday, you had said that FEMA’s Disaster Relief Fund was running low. With what we’ve seen from this storm so far — there’s also the Maui fires — do you think there’s enough funding? Are you confident there’s enough if there’s another extreme weather event in the next month?

ADMINISTRATOR CRISWELL: Yeah. So, yesterday, as I announced, I directed my personnel to implement what we call Immediate Needs Funding, and that prioritizes the remaining funding within the Disaster Relief Fund to support those lifesaving efforts.

I believe, through this effort, we have plenty of funding to be able to support our ongoing efforts in Maui, as well as this event, to include Florida, Georgia, South Carolina, as needed.

But we are monitoring it very closely, right? Every day, we are looking at what the cost of these storms are as we approach the end of this fiscal year. And if we have another storm, we’re going to have to closely monitor what impact that’s going to have and any other actions we might have to take.

Q: Administrator, thank you for being here. As we do approach the end of the fiscal year, as you’ve just noted — just getting a little bit down the road — these take weeks, months to recover. FEMA’s involvement will go on for quite a long time.

Back in 2013, when there was a government shutdown, FEMA had to furlough its nonessential staff. Right now, what potential impact would a government shutdown — as lawmakers have considerations about whether to fund the government — have on FEMA’s ability to care for those in both Maui and Florida?

ADMINISTRATOR CRISWELL: I mean, we always want to take account to what our personnel are doing and — and how we’re using our personnel to support these events. A government shutdown does not impact our personnel that are funded through the Disaster Relief Fund, and so they’re able to continue operating and supporting all of the immediate efforts and lifesaving efforts that continue to go on.

And we also — for our other staff — can designate our — our emergency essential personnel to support any lifesaving efforts. And so, we have plans in place as we have gone through this before, on how we would staff our — our agency to continue to support those efforts.

Q: And if I can follow up about the Critical Needs Assistance that was provided to Maui — $700 in payments to individuals there. Given the cost of living in Hawaii, specifically in the Lahaina community, is anything being done now? Are there considerations or effort being made to try to raise that cap — that $700 figure for those who are there?

ADMINISTRATOR CRISWELL: Yeah, the $700 figure of Critical Needs Assistance is really just that really just that amount of funding for some of the very immediate needs that individuals have.

Every year, the — the main part of our assistance, which is our Individual and Household program, adjusts annually based on inflation. This year, it’s $41,000 of a cap that individuals can get. That will get raised after the fiscal year. I — I don’t know what the number is yet. But we do adjust that main portion of the funding that goes to individuals annually based on inflation.

Q: So, $700 is for now, and then they can pursue those other monies going forward? But if people have run through that money, right now they’re on their own until the get access to the further assistance coming?

ADMINISTRATOR CRISWELL: Yeah, and we already have — I think it was 12,000 individuals that registered for assistance in Maui and somewhere over $15 million that’s out on the street That number could be higher right now from that other program.

Q: Thank you, Administrator.

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: Go ahead.

Q: I know that you and the governor and local officials, state officials have all told people they need to get out of the way of this storm. So, my first question is: Are you satisfied that people heeded those calls, both from you and — and local and state officials?

And then secondly, you mentioned the search and recovery teams that are sort of deployed and ready to go. What’s your assessment so far on what those needs look like if people are sort of stranded right now?

ADMINISTRATOR CRISWELL: Yeah. So, on the first question, I think many people did heed the warning, but unfortunately, many did not, right? We’re already getting reports of people that chose to stay, and they’re getting calls into the local first responders to come in and assist them.

And if anybody needs assistance, they should — they should call 911, and those local first responders will come in and help.

As far as the — the entire footprint of those resources that are available: It’s a combined effort recognizing the capability that the state already has with all of their resources, and we have additional resources that are integrated in with that operation.

So, if we need to immediately augment, we have resources that are ready to deploy as soon as requested, without hesitation and without interruption.

Q: But is it clear yet how many people may be stranded?

ADMINISTRATOR CRISWELL: Oh, I don’t have a number on how many. No.

MS.JEAN-PIERRE: Go ahead.

Q: From the initial assessment, what would you say are the most damaged areas? And what was the response from the population in those areas to the government’s instructions?

ADMINISTRATOR CRISWELL: I would say that initial reports are in that Big Bend area that have had the greatest impact. They have experienced the greatest amount of storm surge. They experienced the greatest wind speeds. And so, when we do get out to start assessments, that would be my anticipation of where we would experience the greatest amount of damage and impact across Florida.

Q: And how did people respond in those areas?

ADMINISTRATOR CRISWELL: Again, I think many people did heed the warnings. And there was a lot of public messaging that went out there to let people understand that the danger is not just the cone of the hurricane, but it’s the storm surge and the water, which is creating and causing the most fatalities in these events.

But, again, many people did not — as we are hearing about our first responders going in to support rescuing people from their homes that are now stranded.

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: Okay. We’re going to wrap — we’re going to wrap it up. We’ll — way in the back and then (inaudible).

Q: Thanks. On the Immediate Needs Funding, I’m curious if you have recognized the potential long-term, ongoing recovery efforts that could be at risk here.

ADMINISTRATOR CRISWELL: I — so, if I understand, the — the long-term recovery efforts based on right now or what it looks like going into the next fiscal year?

Q: Going into the next — next fiscal year, which ones are at risk here if you do not get the funding you need?

ADMINISTRATOR CRISWELL: Yeah. So, what Immediate Needs Funding does is — the work does not stop, right? The projects continue to go underway — our longer-term recovery projects for the variety of disasters the we’ve experienced over the year. The obligation or the reimbursement of the funding for those is delayed into the next fiscal year.

If it gets delayed into the next fiscal year, then that just starts us out at a smaller balance of what we had anticipated our needs would be for fiscal year ’24.

Q: Are there any ongoing efforts, though, that you’ve identified that would be at risk if it comes to that?

ADMINISTRATOR CRISWELL: Again, the funding it — or the work itself does not stop. Its the funding that just gets delayed into the next fiscal year.

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: Go ahead, Ed. Last question.

Q: I’m going to take you back to Hawaii, if I could, Administrator, because there is still a lot of questions among officials in Maui and Lahaina and across Hawaii about who was in charge in the hours as the fires burned and in the hours after. You’re a veteran local emergency management official, state emergency management official, now at the federal level — how do you assess how officials there responded? Are there lessons to be learned, perhaps for other communities? And is your agency prepared to work with congressional Republicans if they launch investigations, as they say they will?

ADMINISTRATOR CRISWELL: Again, I was not there during the response, and so I would be out of line to assess how they responded during the time because I did not experience what they were experiencing.

What the federal government does is: We come in and we support their efforts, and that’s exactly what we did. And we will continue to support their recovery and their rebuilding efforts as they move forward.

Q: Were you be properly briefed by FEMA authorities in Hawaii that would have been working with those officials?

ADMINISTRATOR CRISWELL: What I was briefed on throughout the time is my Regional Administrator Bob Fenton happened to be in Oahu for another meeting. And he was engaging with the team and giving us updates as to the spread of the fire and what the population was impacted and what the potential federal resources would be needed to come help support the initial response in the ongoing recovery efforts.

Q: And if congressional Republicans want you or other agency officials to testify about what went on in Hawaii —

ADMINISTRATOR CRISWELL: I’m happy to —

Q: — are you willing to do so?

ADMINISTRATOR CRISWELL: — testify on what the federal role was in this process.

Q: Thank you.

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: Thanks, everybody. Thank you so much.

Q: Thank you.

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: Safe travels tomorrow.

ADMINISTRATOR CRISWELL: Thank you.

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: All right, one — one thing before we continue. Thank, again, the Administrator for — for coming today and yesterday to provide all of you an update.

So, as Acting Labor Secretary Su announced today, the Department of Labor is supporting one of the basic tenants of Bidenomics that a hards day [hard day’s] work should lead to a fair days pay.

This proposed rule would deliver on the tenant by restoring and extending overtime protections to 3.6 million salaried workers. The Biden-Harris administration recognizes the benefits of a growing economy are only broadly shared when you have [policies] that empower workers.

We’ll continue working to build an economy that works for working families. The President and the Vice President are committed to ensuring that all workers are paid fairly for their hard work.

With that, Darlene, you want to kick us off?

Q: Yes. Thank you. Two questions. First on Africa. The President had promised in December that he would visit this year. It’s now September; a trip has not been announced. Just wondering if today’s coup in Gabon, the recent coup in Niger, and others in recent years make it any less likely that he will visit. How will those destabilizing events factor into whether he ultimately goes or not?

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: So, as you asked me about if there’s any U.S. concerns, domino effect potentially, as we’re seeing what’s happening over the last couple of months or so: Look, we remain focused on working with our African partners and the people to address challenges and support democracy — that is something that, certainly, the President is steadfast on — which is also the best foundation for development, social cohesion, and stability in Africa.

President Biden has been clear about the United States commitment to deepen and expand our partnership between the United States and African countries, institutions, and people as well. We stand with the African people in working towards these goals.

I don’t have anything to announce about a — about a potential scheduled trip for — for this year. The President is still very much committed to going to the continent.

As you know, the Vice President has been there. The First Lady has been there. So, you’ve seen a commitment throughout. And also, other Secretaries, clearly, in this administration. So, you’ve seen a commitment from us of the — for the continent.

We had a very successful, as you all know, meeting with African leaders just last winter. That went very well. And that commitment continues.

As soon as we have a date and a location clearly laid out, we certainly will share that with all of you.

Q: And a second question closer to home. Will the President stay in Washington this weekend, given what’s going on in Florida? We don’t know the extent of damage. The week ahead had him leaving on Friday to go home to Rehoboth for the weekend.

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: As you just heard directly from the Administrator, we do not have an assessment. Obviously she’s going to be going to — to Florida tomorrow at the President’s direction. And she will be with Governor DeSantis throughout the day.

I can confirm, before coming out here the — the President did connect with Governor Kemp of the — the governor of Georgia, obviously, and so that conversation did — did happen. He’s also going to try and connect with the governor of South Carolina.

So, as the Administrator said, the situation is still very dynamic. I don’t have any changes or any additions to the President’s travel. You’re going to hear from the President directly who is going to speak about the continued efforts to prepare and to respond to Hurricane Idalia.

Following those remarks, as you all know, he’s going to be meeting with his Cabinet and agency officials to continue our coordination of federal response. So that will happen.

He will always continue to — to be engaged directly with local elected officials. I just — we just mentioned that he spoke to the governor of Florida, spoke to the governor of Georgia. He’s going to reach out to, certainly, other elected officials to ensure that they have what they need on the ground — the resources that they ned to deal with the impacts, the — certainly the aftermath of this particular hurricane when — when they are able to assess and see what — and they are able to see what their needs are.

We — you hear us say this often — you heard it from the Administrator, you’ve heard this from — from us: We — this President is committed to being there for the community, for the people who are — certainly have been impacted by this hurricane, you know, today, tomorrow, as long as it takes to help them all get back on their feet. So, that will not change, obviously.

Q: Thank you.

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: Go ahead, Jeff.

Q: Thanks, Karine. Two foreign policy questions. The Kremlin acknowledged today that the plane crash that killed Prizhogin [Prigozhin] may have been a deliberate act. Does the White House have a response to that?

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: So, I mean — I was, you know, kind of asked this question yesterday. I don’t have any new assessment or anything to share with what the Kremlin or Russia — the government may have shared.

What we — what I have said yesterday continues to be the case. It pre- — it seems pretty evident what happened here.

You know, as the President said recently, and I’ll quote him, “There’s not much that happens in Russia that Putin is not — is not behind.” And that was not just predictable, but it was predicted — the very same words I used yesterday.

So, we all know that the Kremlin has a long history in killing its opponents. We know how — how forthcoming and — and if — if I will, how forthright Prigozhin was in the — in — in these past — past several weeks or couple of months. And so, this is not surprising.

I just don’t have any new assessment, regardless of what the Kremlin or the government of Russia wants to share.

Q: On a separate topic, Nigerian police raided a — a gay wedding and arrested 67 people there today. I’m wondering if the White House is tracking that and has a reaction.

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: So, this is the first I’m hearing of that. I haven’t spoken to our teams here about that particular — that particular incident.

Look, you know, we’ve been very clear: The President — when it comes to LGBTQ community, he is — he is — has been an ally and supports that community. He will continue to do so. He will always speak out when it comes to any type of humanitarian mistreatment, even across the globe. And he has always been very forthright in talking to leaders about that.

As it relates to this particular event, I just don’t have a comment for you at this time.

Go ahead, Jeremy.

Q: Thanks, Karine. There’s a report in Bloomberg that the President — sorry, that the Assistant Secretary of Health has recommended rescheduling marijuana as a Schedule III drug. I’m wondering if the President would support that move.

And secondly, just where does the President currently stand on the issue of decriminalizing marijuana?

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: So, look, the President actually asked the Secretary of HHS and also the Attorney General to initiate the administrative process to review how marijuana is scheduled.

As you know, the administration process is an independent process — led by HHS, led by the Department of Justice, and guided by evidence. So — so, I’m not going to comment on that. We’re going to let that process move forward.

And again, it’s going to be an independent process that’s led by HHS and DOJ. So any specifics on that, I would refer you to HHS.

Q: And more broadly, on the question of decriminalizing, which would be going further than this, of course.

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: I mean, look, he’s — he’s asking HHS and DOJ to — to take a look at it, to do an initial administrative kind of process or review of you will. It’s going to be an independent process. They’re going to certainly use the evidence. It’s going to be guided by evidence.

And so, I’m going to leave it to HHS and DOJ to — to move that process. And so, we’re just not going to comment specifically on it.

Q: And then, the President is about, sort of, a week away from heading off to India for the G20. He’s scheduled to be in Rehoboth this weekend. Given all of those scheduling concerns, how likely is it that the President would make it down to Florida before heading abroad? Is that a goal of his: that he would like to try and get down there before he goes out of the country?

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: So, look, don’t have any schedule additions or travel to add at this time or to share at this time. Clearly, as you just heard, the Administrator is going to go there tomorrow, is going to be with the governor. And that is at the President’s direction.

When it comes to any type of travel as it relates to, certainly these types of unfortunate disasters, the President doesn’t want to take away — clearly — from what’s going on on the ground.

A you know, the President has a big footprint when he travels. So, we want to make sure that the community, the elected officials, the local leaders — certainly, the people have and get what they need in this time after it is the — we have the assessment and we see the aftermath of the Hurricane Idalia.

So, I don’t have anything to share.

Clearly, it’s something that the President always looks forward and always wants to be there for the people who are affected by these types of disasters. And — and certainly, you’ve seen him, in many different states, be there and talk directly to — to Americans who are — who are there and living through this moment.

But we just want to be incredibly mindful. This is a dynamic situation, and we want to make sure they have everything that they need at this time.

Go ahead.

Q: Obviously, lots of issues facing the President — the presidency this week, but two others that, sort of, gauge the sense of the presidential awareness or involvement.

You were asked yesterday about the situation in Guatemala. I noticed the Secretary of State reiterated support for the results there. Is that something that’s reached the President’s attention, who has expressed a lot of concern about democracy versus autocracies in the world? This is a situation two doors down from the United States. Is he aware of it? And would he be willing to meet with Mr. Arévalo were he to come to Washington before becoming president?

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: So, look, the President obviously is kept up to — up to date by his National Security Council and his — foreign policy advisors on all of — any dynamic or any situations globally. Clearly, that is something that the President is — is kept — kept abreast.

I just don’t have anything to share on any future upcoming meeting at this time. As you know, we congratulated the new leader. And — and, clearly, all — his — his election was confirmed by — by the certified vote results.

And so, I don’t have anything to share or anything to announce about a potential meeting.

Q: You were also asked yesterday about potential White House involvement or at least awareness of the UAW labor situation. How about the Writer’s Guild, Screen Actors Guild negotiations? We’re at about 120-plus with the writers, 47-plus with SAG-AFTRA. These are members and these are companies that have close, at least, political, ties to this President. Just curious if he’s been briefed at all or talked to anybody involved in those —

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: I —

Q: — or who in the administration might be talking to them?

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: I mean, look, regardless of political ties — right? — this is a president that has been — that has been called by many labor folks — right? — that he is the — the most pro-union president ever. And so, this is a president that believes, certainly, of the right of — of workers to strike. We’ve been very clear about that.

And as it relates to the writers and also the actors, we believe they have the right to — to be able to — to — you know, to — to ask for fair wages and fair benefits. That’s why collective bargaining is so important. And we have seen it worked over the — even the past several years while this president has been president, during his tenure.

So, that’s what the President is going to continue to call for — for folks to come to the table in good faith, have those conversations, do that collective bargaining that the President supports.

And so, I don’t have anything else beyond to — to share. But again, this is the most pro-union president, and this is a — he’s incredibly proud of that record.

Go ahead.

Q: In the hours and days ahead, how frequently does President Biden intend to get briefed on the storm?

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: Regularly. Daily. Multipl– multiple times a day. You’re going to hear from him in — in a few minutes. You heard — the Administrator was here today briefing him. He was here — she was here yesterday, in person, briefing him.

This is something that the President is keeping a very close eye on, as all of you are following this very closely.

This is important. It doesn’t matter if we are in a — this is not about politics. We should take politics out of any type of disaster that we see that the American people are having to suffer or deal with.

And so, this is not about politics. This is — for the President, this is about being a president — a president for all Americans. And so, he is going to be closely watching this, getting updated regularly to make sure that the people in Georgia, in South Carolina, in Florida are getting exactly what they need. And so, that’s going to be the President’s focus.

Go ahead.

Q: Thanks, Karine. I wanted to ask about a possible government shutdown. Some conservative have been — on the Hill, have been talking about it not being a big deal, that no one will really notice. Can you talk a little bit specifically about what would continue to work during a shutdown an what would stop?

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: So, look, I appreciate the question. I’m not going to get into hypotheticals.

Here’s what we know, and here’s what I have said when I’ve been asked this question: It is that there’s no reason — there’s absolutely no reason at all for Congress to shut down the government. There isn’t. And this is a question for Congress to answer.

The — this should not be happening. And they should fund these vital, vital government programs that the American people rely on. And these are critical needs we’ve requested — when you think about what we’ve requested and asked for when it comes to emergency funding — right? — when it comes to what we came to the table for, when it comes to the budget agreement.

This was a bipartisan agreement from both sides. And so, there’s no reason — no reason at all – that Congress should be — should be going down the path of shutting down this government.

Q: Can you – can you confirm, though, at least that federal criminal proceedings would continue in a shutdown, including those involving the former president?

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: That would — you would have to ask the Speaker of the House and the Congress on that question. That is not something that I can speak to to — here.

Q: But not federal criminal proceedings?

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: I – you – you would have to reach out to Department of Justice. You would hav to reach out to Congress, whatever it is they’re doing on that side. That is something for the Department of Justice to speak to. That is not for me to speak to.

But I will say that our — when it — as it relates to the engagement that we have been having with the Hill on whether it is government funding or any kind of legislative process. Look, we have our OMB Director, Shandala Young; our Legis- — Legislative Affairs Office have been in regular contact with them. We are engaging with congressional members on the Hill, and that’s going to certainly continue.

Go ahead.

Q: I want to ask you quickly, the President — President Biden awarded Presidential Citizens Medal to two Fulton County election workers, Ruby Freeman and Shane Moss, in the past.

A federal judge today ruled in favor of those women, who had sued Rudy Giuliana for defamation, ordering that the attorney — that Giuliani pay sanctions.

Just your thoughts on this now that it has been completed? It’s no longer in the hands of the courts. The judge has delivered her ruling. What do you make of that?

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: I’m just not going to comment on that at this time.

Go ahead.

Q: Thanks, Karine. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell had another episode in which he froze while answering questions today. I know the President spoke to him the last time this happened and when he has had previous health issues. Do you know if the President is aware of this, and whether or not he’s likely to —

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: I haven’t spoken to the President, so I — I don’t know if he’s aware of this.

Q: And then, secondly, on Labor Day. I wanted to follow up and see if there are any announcements for how the President is going to mark Labor Day this year.

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: I — I just — just to step back on your question about Senator McConnell. Clearly, we — we wish him well, a speedy recovery. As you know, the two of them are — are — have – have worked together and have known each other for some time. But I can’t speak to a call or a conversation. I just haven’t asked the President about that.

As it relates to Labor Day, clearly, that’s a day the President enjoys celebrating, as it is an important day for the labor community. I just don’t have anything to share.

Once we get closer to that — to that date, certainly, we will lay out what the President plans to do.

Q: At the beginning of June, the White House announced the Education Department was going to be appointing a coordinator to address book bans. I asked Education Department for a status update and couldn’t get an answer. So I’m — since we’ve got students returning to the classroom now, can you give us an update on when this effort is going to start?

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: So that is something for the Department of Education to speak to. I don’t have an update for — for — for you at — on that particular question.

But, again, that’s something for the Department of Education. I know they’re going to announce somebody. I just don’t have it right at this time.

Q: So they are going to be announcing someone in the next —

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: I just don’t have — I know they said they said that — that was announced that there was going to be a book czar. Sorry, I just don’t have anything for you at this time.

Q: Would it be possible at some point to get a description of what this coordinator has done, what schools they’ve reached out to, what that outreach looked like?

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: Again, that’s for — something for the Department of Education to speak to directly.

Go ahead, Karen.

Q: Thanks. New York Governor Kathy Hochul is meeting with the Chief of Staff Jeff Zeints today to discuss migration. Can you tell us a little bit more about that meeting? And then I have a follow-up to that.

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: Yeah. So, and you just mentioned, we are hosting Governor Hochul today here at the White House to continue our close collaboration and to underscore all the ways in which this administration supported communities ho- — who are hosting asylum seekers and ways we are working together to increase access to work authorization. So we’ll have more to share about the meeting later today.

But yes, she is indeed here and is going to be meeting with members of the President’s team.

Q: Okay. I have another follow-up. But will there be a readout of that from the White House?

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: We will have more to share later today on the meeting. I just don’t have anything specific on how that’s going to look like.

Q: Okay. And Hochul and other Democrats have been pushing the administration to expedite work authorizations for asylum seekers who are already here. Does the Administration see that as a viable solution to getting people out of shelters faster?

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: So I’m not going to get ahead of — of the conversation that they’re going to have.

I do want to say that DHS met recently with state and local. This is the assessment team that you’ve — you’ve heard us announce not to long ago. They met with local and state officials and to — to outline — and they outlined nearly two dozen ways or recommendations to strengthen certainly their operations.

The administration, across several departments and agencies, identified a number of federal sites across New York State for housing. Additionally, the Department of Interior is negotiating a lease of Floyd Bennett Field with the city and state, so that conversation that continues to happen. Again, that happened, I believe, on Monday.

When it comes to work auth- — authorization, look, this administration has led the largest expansion as it relates to pathways — lawful pathways in decades, and we are committed to building a humane and safe and orderly immigration system. Those who arrive through those lawful pathways are immediately eligible to request an employment authorization document. That’s how that process works.

As it relates to this con- this particular conversation and what has been requested by New York, I’m — I’m just not going to get ahead of the meeting that they’re going to have today.

Go ahead.

Q: A couple of follow-ups on the spending questions that you got. Lawmakers are already, sort of, talking about a proposal that perhaps would be a CR in the December — kind of a shorter-term deal. Is that acceptable to the President? Would he be okay with that?

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: That is something — I’m not going to get into hypotheticals. That is something that Congress — Congress should — should kind of decide on — on the length of a continuing — continuing resolutions. That’s some- — something that I defer to them.

Q: And then, related to that, I know you said that the administration — Director Young, others — are already engaged with lawmakers. Are you’re — has there been an expression of sort of red lines, sort of priorities or cuts or provisions that would be unacceptable to President Biden that would not get signed into law?

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: So, look, as I said, we have had continued calls with them, continued engagement with members of Congress to lay out the urgency and the important nature of making sure that we do not shut down and we continue funding the government. That’s going to continue. I’m not going to get into red lines. I’m not going to get into hypotheticals from here. There is no reason for Congress to shut down the government. And we’ll be — continue to be very, very, clear about that.

Go ahead.

Q: Thank you very much. There’s a new book coming “The Last Politician” Inside Joe — Joe Biden’s White House and the Struggle for America’s Future.” The Guardian has excerpts today saying the President has told aides in private that he felt tired and that explains why there are so few events before 10:00 a.m.

So, two questions: Is this why we’re seeing brunch lids in recent weeks? Today, we had a breakfast lid. And has the President admitted to you —

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: Wait, say that last part.

Q: So, is that why we had a breakfast lid this morning? I mean, there — the book is —

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: A what?

Q: There was a break — the breakfast lid came to the press —

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: Oh, okay.

Q — for the first time, I think. We’ve had some brunch lids in recent weeks as well. So my question is: Is that a reflection —

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: So you think we’ve had those lids because the — because of this excerpt?

Q: Not because of the excerpt. The book is suggesting the President tells aides he’s tired.

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: But that’s in the excerpt, right?

Q: Yeah. And that that’s why there have been so few public events before 10:00 a.m.

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: I mean, that’s a ridiculous assumption to make.

Q: (Inaudible)?

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: I mean, that’s a ridiculous assumption to — to make.

Go ahead, Peter.

Q: Thank you. Eric Adams, the New York mayor, is saying these migrants in New York City, “Any plan that does not include stopping the flow at the border is a failed plan.” So, why aren’t you guys stopping the flow at the border?

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: We are stopping the flow at the border. If anything, the — what the President has been able to do on his own, without the help of Republicans in Congress — something that he had to do on his own, again, because Republicans refused to give the funding necessary to deal with a situation imm- — a broken immigration system that has been broken for decades.

They choose — what they choose to do is play politics, but the pers- — the President has put a plan that is — indeed, the data showing is — that it is indeed stopping, slowing down the flow of unlawful migration. And that is because of the work that this President continues to do without — without the help of Republicans.

Q: Okay. And it seems like the hurricane response so far is robust. Did you guys realize that the initial Hawaii wildfire response was not that good or is it just easier for people to get help from the White House when the President is on vacation?

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: So, the premise of your question and the way you pose your question, I disagree just for the record.

So, if you talk to — if you were to do your reporting and speak to the governor of Hawaii, the senators of Hawaii, the folks on the ground, they would say that the President reacted in record time when it came to dealing with the wildfires, when it came to dealing and making sure that they got everything that they need on the federal level to deal with what was going on on the ground.

Let’s not forget, there were more than 600 federal employees on the ground already to assist with the wildfires in Maui.

So, your question is — is wrong — it’s flawed in many, many ways. And I would — I would — I would advise you to go speak to the governor and the local and state officials in — in Hawaii.

Go ahead.

Q: Thanks, Karine. Putin is supposed to visit China in October. This is a first visit — if it happens, this is the first visit after a warrant of his arrest has been issued. What do you make of that?

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: I’m just not going to speak to Putin’s travels. I — I was kind of asked this question yesterday. It doesn’t change. I’m not going to speak to his travels.

Q: One more question on Russia. I know — I understand you don’t want to comment on the Prigozhin plane incident. But many U.S. officials went on the record and said having him march toward Moscow, it was a sign of weakness. Now, killing him, doesn’t that reflect a sign of strength in your assessment?

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: I mean, I — I’ve answered the question. I mean, the President basically said there is not much that happens in Russia that Putin is not behind.

I mean, you know, this is — this was not just predictable, but it was predicted. We have said: We know that when it — the Kremlin has a long history — a very long history in killing its opponents.

So I think we’ve been very clear here about — about — about our thoughts. I’m just not going to — I don’t have any new assessments. I don’t have assessment to make. But there is a history here, so I’ll leave it there.

Go ahead.

Go ahead.

Q: Thanks, Karine. I wanted to go back to the question you were answering about legal pathways for migrants and the work authorizations. When I’ve spoken to advocates, people who work with parolees when they arrive in the United States, sponsors, the number on thing they say is how long it takes to get work authorization.

I didn’t hear you talk about necessarily what you’re doing to speed that up, given that you’ve opened these pathways so that people can come here temporarily from certain countries.

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: So, just to give — give a little bit of how this works: The process for applying for asylum and applying for an employment authorization based on asylum applications is established under the current immigration laws and can only be changed by Congress. that’s how this process works.

The law established 150-day waiting period to apply for work authorization and an additional 30 days to be eligible for approval. That’s how the process works.

Again, this is something that Congress put forth. And the only way that it can change is with — through Congress.

Q: And have you asked Congress to work on that?

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: Well, we’ve had — had asked Congress to help us just revamp – and–

Q: But that issue specifically.

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: — deal with a broken — in — in many different ways, including this, to help us revamp and actually fix a broken system. We have asked Congress to do that from day one.

Remember, the President put forth a comprehensive immigration reform legislation. So this is something that the President has made a priority. The first piece of legislation that he put forward health with the immigration system.

Again, this is something that — this is — when it comes to this system, the President wants to do this in a humane way. And he has taken the actions to work on this issue on his own without the help, certainly from Republicans in Congress.

Q: I also wanted to ask you: Administrator Criswell, when she was here yesterday, talked about — and again today about the rise of extreme weather, this idea of FEMA having to deal with an unprecedented workload. Is the President thinking about all — outside of your funding request to Congress — any changes in structures within the White House, any changes within agencies that would help support what we’re seeing, which is more extreme weather more often, more people needing help?

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: I mean, I don’t have — I don’t have anything to share about structure within the administration. But I would say this —

Q: Or resources beyond — without Congress?

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: Look, I’ll say this. We’ve asked for $12 billion – right? — FEMA has asked for — for FEMA to continue doing its work. That conversation is going to continue. Obviously, she — the — the Administrator laid out what that means for — for her work.

As it relates to extreme weather, one of the reasons the President has called climate change a crisis and done the work — historic work that he’s done on dealing with climate change is because of that — right? — is because we’re seeing this change of pattern. We’re seeing how rapidly and quickly this — this extreme weather– hurricanes are coming about. That’s what the Administrator just said.

And so, look, there’s a lot of work to do. The President has taken this very, very seriously. That’s why the Inflation Reduction Act was so critical and important — the biggest investment in dealing with climate change. that’s why the Bipartisan — the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law is so important.

So, this is work that the President is going to continue to do to deal with an issue that is a crisis not just here, but globally.

As it relates to any changes within the administration, I don’t have anything for you on that.

Go right behind you. Go ahead.

Q: Thanks.

Q: The Afghanistan withdrawal ended two years ago this week. Does President Biden plan to commemorate the events and the people who were killed or left behind as that happened?

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: So, as you know, the President put — had a statement recently, when it came to the anniversary of Abbey Gate.

So, we just want to state this as it was stated in the President’s statement that we’ll for- — “forever honor the memory of the 13 service members who were stolen far too soon from their families, loved ones, and brothers- and sisters-in-arms while performing a noble mission on behalf of our nation.”

And the First Lady, certainly the President, and our entire nation will always support those families.

And so, look, the President has said on many occasion that ending our longest war after 20 years was the right thing to do. He refused to send another generation — you’ve heard him say this — of Americans to fight a war that should have ended a long time ago.

America is no longer — is — is no longer there, obviously. It is on a stronger footing, more capable to — to meet our security needs around the world because we are not fighting a ground — on the ground — a ground war in Afghanistan. And we continue to put are assure- — to put pressure on al-Qaeda and ISIS-K, while also focusing on terrorist threats elsewhere.

And so, that’s going to be the President’s focus: to make sure that our homeland is protected, that Americans are protected. And that’s what the President’s focus is going to continue to be.

(Cross-talk)

I have – I have one more question.

Go ahead, Peter.

Q: A question about North Korea — the missile launch earlier this morning.

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: Yeah.

Q: Anything you can say about that?

And then, also, we heard about increased cooperation between the Russians and the North Koreans with respect to weapons for the Russians. I’m wondering if the President would consider meeting with Kim Jong Un because of this increased cooperation and he can’t seem to get a response from the North Koreans.

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: So, a couple of things. And I know my colleagues spoke to — spoke to – this is Russia and North Korea — just recently during a gaggle. So, just to reiterate what he said is — in part due to the success of U.S. sanctions and export controls, you know, Russia has ben forced to turn to rogue regimes, like the DPRK, to try and obtain weapons and equipment to support its military operations in Ukraine. We have previously warned that Russia is actively seeking to acquire additional munitions from the DPRK.

Any arms deal between the DPRK and Russia would directly violate a number of U.N. Security Council res- — resolutions. we urge DPRK to cease its arms negotiations with Russia. And we are taking action directly to exposing and sanctioning individuals and entities working to facilitate arm deals between Russia and the DPRK. So, we will continue to identify, expose, and counter Russia attempts to acquire military equipment from the DPRK or any other states that is prepared to support its — to support its war in Ukraine.

As it relates to the missile, we condemn — we’ve been very clear about this — condemned the DPRK’s latest b- ballistic missile launch. This launch is in violation of multiple United Nations Security Council resolutions and possesses [poses] a threat to the DPRK’s neighbors and international community.

We remain committed to a diplomatic approach to the DPRK and call on DPRK to engage in dialogue, as we have for some time now.

Our commitment to the defense of the Republic of Korea, Japan remains ironclan [ironclad].

Any specifics on that, I would refer you to INDOPACOM and for — for any additional comment. And just don’t have anything else to add on that.

Q: If they’re unresponsive to your calls for engagement, would the President consider a meeting?

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: We just don’t have anything to share on that at this time.

I just don’t have anything to share on a potential meeting.

With that, I’ll see you guys tomorrow. Thanks, everybody.

Q: Thanks, Karine.

August 31: The White House posted Press Briefing by Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre and Homeland Security Advisor and Deputy National Security Advisor Dr. Elizabeth Sherwood-Randall

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

Q: Good afternoon.

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: Thank you for your patience today. As you saw, the President went to FEMA to thank the workers there — and their hard work over not just this past couple of days, but these past several weeks. So thank you for your patience with all of us.

I have a quick intro, and then we’ll — we’ll get going.

As the President said earlier today, the entire administration is committed to supporting all of the communities impacted by Idalia, and he has directed a whole-of-government response to ensure those impacted have everything they may need.

Now, before I turn it over to Homeland Security Advisor Liz Sherwood-Randall, we want to make sure everyone who was impacted continues to listen to the guidance and direction of local officials and first responders.

Do not put your lives at risk by attempting to transverse flooded or damaged areas. FEMA Administrator Criswell, as you all know, is in Florida to survey the damages firsthand and will continue to brief the President and the White House team.

The administration will stand with the impacted communities every step of the way, as we have for the past two years and as long as it takes.

With that, Liz, thank you for coming back again.

Dr. SHERWOOD-RANDALL: Thanks, Karine.

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: It’s been too long.

DR. SHERWOOD-RANDALL: Happy to be here. Hello everyone.

Q: Hello.

DR. SHERWOOD-RANDALL: Good afternoon. The President is intensely focused on extreme weather that has impacted people across the country. And as you know, we’re experiencing more of it every day.

He has been receiving regular updates from Administrator Criswell and from me on the latest developments with Hurricane Idalia and also, of course, with the ongoing recovery operations in Hawaii on the island of Maui.

He continues to guide the response to both — to the devastating fires on Maui, as well as the remnants of Idalia now that it has moved off the coast of North Carolina.

He and Deanne Criswell have been talking daily. He spoke to her this morning before he went over to FEMA headquarters.

He’s also been in regular contact with Governor Ron DeSantis. He spoke to the governor twice today. He spoke to him yesterday as well to check on the circumstances on the ground and today, when he reached him this morning — let him know that he was approving the governor’s overnight request for a major disaster declaration.

He also talked yesterday to Governor Kemp, Governor McMaster, and Governor Cooper and committed the federal government support to each of those states as they responded to and recovered from what we, at the time, did not know would be, relative to some of the early predictions from the National Hurricane Center, a consequential but not a catastrophic hurricane in those states.

Yesterday, he also convened key Cabinet members who are leading the federal recovery efforts on Maui and asked them to report to him on their progress. That is essential to supporting the people of Maui.

He has directed us to do everything that we can to accelerate recovery wherever people are impacted by extreme weather, whether its is in Maui, Florida, Georgia, the Carolinas, or any of the other communities that have been impacted by extreme weather events since the beginning of his administration.

He is particularly focused whenever we talk about these events on the lives that are torn apart and how we can help people get back on their feet as quickly as possible.

For example, yesterday, when we were briefing him with respect to Maui, he was very focused on the opening of the school year and how the kids of Lahaina don’t necessarily have schools they’ll be able to attend and what we can do, using federal resources from the Department of Education, to support the local community in finding a way for kids to get back to school this fall.

I also want to thank the brave first responders, the Coast Guard, the search and rescue teams, the local law enforcement personnel, and so many others who, in a moment like yesterday, run toward danger. They’re the ones we pre-deploy — the search and rescue teams, the Coast Guard. They’re out there under extremely dangerous circumstances talking personal risk to make it possible to save lives.

I was talking to Admiral Poulin, the deputy of the Coast Guard, when we were over at FEMA just now about the Jayhawk helicopters that fly when a hurricane is still happening in order to be able to rescue people who may need their assistance.

So, as you’ve heard, he — the President did just visit FEMA. The reason he went over there was principally to thank the personnel there on the floor of the National Response Coordination Center, who work 24/7 to make sure that we’re capable of responding to whatever is happening across the country. He walked the floor and thanked people for what they’re doing.

It’s incredibly important that we acknowledge this work, because this are really the unsung heroes — the FEMA folks both here in the headquarters and also those who are out in the field all around the country helping Americans

He has directed us to ensure that we have a fully coordinated whole-of-government effort to support people in the aftermath of this storm.

At his direction, Administrator Fe- — Criswell flew down to Florida yesterday just as soon as she had completed briefing him both on what was happening in Florida and then during the meeting that he convened on Maui. And she is joining Governor DeSantis today, conducting the initial damage assessments in the state.

As the President just announced when he was over at FEMA, he will fly to Florida on Saturday to visit the areas most impacted by the hurricane.

There are approximately 1,500 federal response on the ground in Florida. This includes over 500 Urban Search and Rescue personnel, who were there ready to save lives and help people get to safety.

One of the decisions we took was to pre-deploy personnel. That’s something we do regularly to make sure that we’ve got what it takes in a disaster, rather than wait until it happens and then be late to need.

The U.S. Army Corp of Engineers was pre-positioned before this storm to support power restoration. It brought in more than 30 large generators that are pre-staged if needed to support critical infrastructure assets in particular, like hospitals or water treatment plants.

There’s also a great deal of work that goes on behind the scenes to ensure that the electric grid can be maintained for people to have access to power after a storm.

One of the benefits to the citizens of Florida is that during the Obama-Biden administration, we spent more than $200 million on hardening the grid in Florida by putting in stronger power poles and smart meters on those power poles — something the President referenced yesterday — which has enabled Florida to recover much more quickly from a series of extreme weather events that they face.

I want to also acknowledge the pre-positioning of critical supplies, including more than 1.3 million meals and 1.6 million liters of water in the region, in case that’s necessary It may not all be necessary, but, again, we want to be ready.

The Red Cross is our critical partner in much of this work. They pre-positioned personnel and resources to support sheltering for up to 20,000 survivors. That may not be necessary, but we know that here are thousands of people who are in shelters as of this morning. The evacuation orders have been lif- — lifted in most places in Florida, and so people may be able to go back to their homes.

We have also approved, through USDA, early issuance of September SNAP benefits to all households that receive those benefits.

We will be with the citizens of these impacted states as long as it takes. We know that there is some very heavy rain in North Carolina today, lowland flooding. We’ve asked people to be sure to pay attention to what their local officials are telling them about where it is safe to move, because often people think that all the storm surge and flooding is over.

We won’t know the full extent of the damage done for several days. The assessment teams are out on Friday today, as I mentioned. What we do know is that we will stay there as long as it takes to help, in partnership with our state and local counterparts, to get people back on their feet.

Now I’m glad to take a few questions.

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: Okay. Just a couple questions.

Go ahead.

Q: Can you say a few words about the state of the U.S. electrical grid? The outages that we saw with Idalia raise concerns about that. I mean, can you — have you done an assessment? Do you know what percentage of the electrical grid is in need of upgrades? And how serious of a threat is that? How concerned should Americans be?

DR. SHERWOOD-RANDALL: So, we are investing an enormous amount in grid resilience through a number of pieces of legislation that the President has passed. Just this week from the infrastructure law — the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law – the President announced $95 million to assist the state of Hawaii in hardening its grid and making the grid more resilient to the extreme weather and also potentially other threats. And that’s the kind of work that has to take place all across the country.

We’re looking to invest from similar funds in other states, working in partnership with the private sector, to make sure we do modernize the grid in a way that both employs clean sources of energy and enables us to sustain power for the American people under all hazardous conditions.

Now, it’s inevitable that there will be outages. And indeed, sometimes it’s preferable that a utility takes the power off certain parts of the grid in order to prevent fires. And that’s a decision made by state and local utilities; it’s not something we would decide at the federal level. But it’s a way of managing for the possibility that you could have a circumstance in which it would be preferable not to have power on the line — for example, in a circumstance in which you’re concerned about the spread of fire in a community.

So, this is an ongoing effort which the President is driving from the White House, in conjunction with the Secretary of Energy and other agencies, to ensure that we have the grid of the future that we need, both to power our clean energy future and also to provide resilient power to the American people.

Q: But can you say how much of the grid is in danger or is at risk or antiquated?

DR. SHERWOOD-RANDALL: I think we should go on to others. Thanks.

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: Go ahead, Kayla.

Q: Thank you. President Biden said today that he will be visiting Florida —

DR. SHERWOOD-RANDALL: Yeah.

Q: – on Saturday. He said that he should have a direct line to Governor DeSantis at this point based on how much they’ve been speaking. Should we expect the President to be meeting in person with Governor DeSantis? Will they be touring some of the hard-hit areas together?

DR. SHERWOOD-RANDALL: We’re just planning the visit, but I will say that every time I’ve been to Florida with the President, he has met, of course, with Governor DeSantis and traveled the disaster zone, whether it’s from last year’s hurricane or when the Surfside condominium building collapsed.

Often, they’ll meet, have a briefing from the emergency responders. It can be in the open, as it was from the hurricane last year. It could be in a briefing room, as it was at Surfside. They are very collegial when we have the work to do together of helping Americans in need, citizens of Florida in need.

Q: And you mentioned what the federal government is doing in response to Hurricane Idalia and the assistance that’s being provided some of these states. But NOAA has predicted above-normal hurricane activity for the duration of this hurricane season. So, I’m wondering what other actions are being taken proactively to prepare for that?

DR. SHERWOOD-RANDALL: Well, I’ll tell you that one of the things we’re doing proactively, if we — is that we have submitted to Congress a supplemental request that would replenish the Disaster Relief Fund, because that fund has been depleted.

We have requested $12 billion because we know that every American expects FEMA to be there if they are experiencing a disaster. And we want to be sure that we can fund that support that these communities will need, whether its hurricanes or wildfires.

We have an extremely intense wildfire situation in a number of Western, Southwestern states right now. And in each of those communities, the expectation is the federal government will come in in support of state and local partners to help people.

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: All right, last question, Selina. And then we have to wrap up.

Q: What are the biggest concerns on the ground at the moment? And is there any more clarity on just how long the road to recovery will be for those hardest areas?

DR. SHERWOOD-RANDALL: So, we’re just getting the initial assessments. The President heard from Diane Criswell when she briefed him on the telephone before we went to FEMA that the greatest concern right now is flooding and the impact on people’s homes and businesses of that flooding.

It currently doesn’t look, from aerial surveillance, as if there has been widespread destruction of many buildings. Some homes have been harmed. Some businesses have been harmed. But principally, it looks like it’s about flooding in areas that are low lying, where there was storm surge in that bend in Florida — the Big Bend in Florida. And so that — that will likely be the area in which we have to invest the most in recovery.

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: All right Liz, thank you so much.

DR. SHERWOOD-RANDALL: Thank you, all.

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: Thank you, thank you. All right, please come back.

All right, a couple of things at the top, and then we’ll get started.

So, as you all know, in March, President Biden signed an executive order directing the Attorney General to move as close to universal background checks as possible within existing law.

Today as a result of that executive order that the President signed and also the Bipartisan Safer Communities Act, the Department of Justice is taking lifesaving action to reduce the number of guns sold without background checks and keep guns out of the hands of criminals.

Now, this action that a majority of Americans want to see, a majority of gun owners also want. And it’s just common sense. It’s just common sense, because we know that background checks are one of the best tools we have to keep dangerous weapons out of the hands of criminals.

This administration respects the right of responsible gun owners while also believing Americans have the right to live free from gun violence as well. Those two things can exist.

The President will continue to call on Congress to build upon this step and pass universal background checks, legislation, as well as the commonsense legislation to save lives.

And this administration will continue to do everything it can to combat the epidemic of gun violence that is tear- — tearing up our families, our communities, and also our country apart.

Now, President Biden — as you all know if you heard the back-and-forth of the Q&A that he — he was able to take over at FEMA — that this week he also announced Overdose Awareness Week to focus the nation’s attention on the devastation caused by illicit fentanyl and other illicit drugs and recognize the pe- — and recognize the people who have lost their lives of a loved one to drug overdoes.

This is an issue that affects red states and blue states. And it’s a key pillar of President Biden’s Unity Agenda.

That’s why today the White House announced more than $450 million in new funding to strengthen treatment for addiction and disrupt drug trafficking.

The Second Gentleman and the Director of Drug Policy Officer [Office] Dr. Gupta also hosted family members across the country here at the White House today who have lost loved ones due to drug overdose.

Now, the reality is that far too many Americans have lost someone to the overdose epidemic. Every day, and especially today, we want you to know we see you, we grieve with you, and this administration is committed to ensuring that our nation has the resources we need to beat — to be at this crisis.

And today, as you all saw from the P- –the PCA –PCE — pardon me — report came out. It showed that further evidence that inflation is easing with monthly inflation at 0.2 percent, the same rate as last month.

Economists often look at inflation over three months to understand trends. As the chart behind me shows, over the last three months, PCE inflation averaged about 2.1 percent, in line with the pre-pandemic trend that we saw, and core PCE over the last three months also fell to the lowest rate in two and a half years.

Now, our economy and labor market remains strong. Yesterday, we learned the economy grew faster than 2 percent last quarter. And we’ll get an update in tomorrow’s jobs report. As you all know — I know some of you track that very closely.

But we know unemployment has been near historic lows and below 4 percent for the longest stretch in 50 years.

With that, William, it’s good to see you. It’s been a while.

Q: It has. Thanks. I have two questions. On disaster relief funding, does the President think that $12 billion is going to be enough or is it possible that he’ll go back and have to ask Congress for more?

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: So, look, $12 billion, as you know, is part of his — what this — in the supplemental fund — supplemental request. And, you know, Criswell, the Administrator, has been here for the past several days. I think today is the only day that she hasn’t been here.

And so, she explained the — the reasoning behind the $12 billion. It is incredibly important. I do want to make very clear that FEMA will continue to do its job and to — to — continue to do the incredible work that they have been doing — dealing with extreme weather, dealing with these kinds of disastrous storms that we’ve been seeing.

But it’s important — we think and we believe that it’s important for Congress to do its job and to really — to really move forward with the supplemental request.

Look, that is something that FEMA certainly asked for and requested. And we believe that this is needed. You heard directly from the President when he was asked about this just moments ago.

And so, I will leave it there. I’m not going to get ahead of — of the request that we c- — that is currently in front of Congress at this time.

What’s your second question?

Q: Well, picking up with that: You know, the White House also asked Congress today for a short-term funding resolution. Can you elaborate why that’s not necessary not just for natural disaster response, but on social programs like WIC?

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: So it’s — what we — what we asked for today is basically anomalies. That’s what they’re called. They’re called CR anomalies, just to be very clear about that.

And just to give you a little bit of rundown: On August 10th, we sent Congress a supplemental request for critical emergency funding. As you just asked, William, that includes funding for disaster relief — the $12 billion, as you’ve heard from the Administrator, and also from — from Liz just moments ago — supporting the people of Ukraine and combating the fentanyl crisis, which is all incredibly important.

Today, OMB sent a technical package to Congress called anomalies to avoid a disrupt- –disruptions to government programs during a continuing resolution. So that included an adjustment to WIC, the supplemental nutrition program for women, infants, and children.

Without this adjustment, states would be forced to implement wait- — waiting lists, causing women and children to go hungry and pushing vulnerable families into poverty.

So, just for some clarity, this is what Congress should pass. They should pass both the supplemental requests and the technical packages I just laid out with a continuing resolution to prevent a government shutdown.

This is something that Congress can do. They can prevent a government shutdown. They need to prevent a government shutdown. What I just listed out are critical, critical programs that Americans across the country — American families across the country certainly need.

Go ahead, Selina.

Q: President Biden had campaigned on fully decriminalizing marijuana. Even if the DEA request goes through, marijuana would still be illegal at the federal level. Could you provide some more information on exactly what impact that would have on Americans?

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: So, just — I don’t want to get ahead of the process. I was asked this question before. So just so that everybody is clear: The President asked the Secretary of HHS and also the Attorney General to initiate the administrative process to review how marijuana is scheduled, as you just kind of laid out.

The administration’s process is an independent process — want to be very clear on that — that is led by HHS and DOJ. It’s going to be very much guided by evidence. And it — so I’m not going to comment on that. I want to also be clear on — on that piece. So, I would refer you all to HHS.

As it — as it — as we speak to legalization and the legal piece of it, as you’re asking me in your — in part of your question: So, look, the President has always supported legalization of marijuana for medical purposes — he’s been very clear about that — where appropriate, consistent with medical and scientific evidence. That is why it is important for this review — this independent review that is going to be, again, guided by evidence to go — to go through.

And so, I’m just not going to get ahead of what HHS is going to — the decision that they’ve made or get ahead of eventually what the DOJ is going to move forward with.

Go ahead.

Q: Thank you. Three months ago, the President struck a deal with Congress that set spending limits, guardrails on federal spending that were supposed to allow negotiators to reach a deal on full-year government spending. Why does the White House believe that — that the two sides couldn’t reach that deal for full-year funding in the last three months now that the White House is suggesting that a continuing resolution will be needed to keep the government open?

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: I mean, look, we have said — this is — let’s not forget: This deal that was made — right? — in early June was a bipartisan – a bipartisan decision — right? – bi- –bipartisan deal. And we truly believe, as I have said almost every day this week when I’ve been asked this question, that Congress can avoid a shutdown, right?

We — they need to uphold their part of the deal, right? This is what the country wants to see. They want to see us coming together in a bipartisan way.

And so, here is no reason why this should occur. There’s no reason why Congress cannot do their job, as we’ve been very clear about this. They should keep their word; they should keep their word and do their job.

This is what the American people want to see. We saw that in the midterm election — the results of that. They want to see us coming together and working on these issues in a bipartisan way, which we were able to do, as you just listed.

So, we must fund vital programs for American people and meet emergency needs. And so, that’s what we’re talking about. That’s the anoma — the ano- — the anomalies that I just listed out is about. It’s a technical process here.

But, look, Congress, again, needs to avoid a government shutdown, and they need to do their job.

Q: But what has been the involvement of the White House, the Office of Legislative Affairs, and some of those who are involved in these negotiations more recently to try to work toward that full-year spending deal?

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: Well, I talked about that the last couple of days. I’ve talked about — not even the last couple of days. I’ve talked about this for the last couple of weeks when I’ve been asked.

And I’ve — I’ve talked about the engagement — the Hill engagement that this White House has had with the Office — the OMB director, Shandala Young, right? And she has led this process along with the Legis- — Legislative Affairs folks. And we have had multiple conversations and multiple calls with congressional members on the Hill.

But this does not take away their job and their duty to keep — to keep their word. We’re ask- — all we’re doing is asking them to keep their word, right? We came to an agreement in a bipartisan way. They should keep their word. And they can avoid — Congress — “they” being Congress — can avoid a government shutdown.

And yes, we have been talking to them not just for what led to the agreement going into June when we finally passed a bipartisan agreement, but also these past several months. And I’ve been very clear about that right here from this podium – about our engagement with the Hill, which is going to continue.

Go ahead.

Q: Karine. I asked the President about President Xi from China potentially attending or not attending — we have reports saying that he’s not expected to attend the G20 Summit. Does that complicate the plans to try and facilitate a meeting with — between President Biden and President Xi? Do you now anticipate that that kind of a meeting would more likely take place at the APEC meeting in San Francisco? And have you had any communication with the Chinese government about whether he would be attending that meeting?

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: So, as it relates to his attendance — President Xi’s attendance to G20, I would leave that to, you know, — to his spokesperson to answer that question, not for me to answer.

Look, the President has said multiple times that he is looking forward to continuing his engagement and conversation with President Xi. I don’t have anything to preview as to when that’s going to happen.

But, look this is, you know — I’ll just let the President’s words stand for himself. He spoke about it during his press conference at Camp David. You heard him speak of it just moments ago. He’s looking forward to having that conversation, continuing that ongoing engagement.

As for as President Xi’s participation or attendance, that’s just really for his government to speak to.

Q: Just following up on that, Secretary Raimondo had a longish trip there. She was in multiple cities and spoke multiple times. You know, I know you were asked about this “uninvestable” comment, but like, just looking back, would you — would you assess the — the, you know, outcome of her meetings? She said that, you know, – she has spoke about needing to draw a hard line on some of the issues. I mean, do you feel these visit by Cabinet members has been successful? Or, you know, is — is the U.S.-Chinese relationship still in — in trouble?

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: So, I’ll say this, and she has been speaking to this these last couple of days. I think she’s been doing interviews. I saw her, I believe, just moments ago — on MSNBC doing an interview on this. And so I would certainly — she had the experience so I would certainly let her speak to her trip.

But I’ll say this: No president has put the United States — and you’ve heard me say this many times — in a stronger position to outcompete China than President Biden. And managing — and I think she has said this, too, in her interviews: Managing that intense competition requires intense diplomacy.

That’s what you’ve been seeing from this administration. That’s what you’ve been seeing from these events. And we have never viewed these trips about deliverables or particular policy outcomes.

We see this as an — as it being incredibly important to have those conversations, to make sure we have those diplomatic conversation. And they are going to be intense, and that’s okay. That is part of this — this process.

As far as it relates to her trip, I’m going to let the Department of Commerce speak directly to that. She has been very vocal, as I said — and done a couple of interviews. I know she had a — a media availability, I believe — if not yesterday, the day before — when she was In China. So, certainly would point you to that.

But, again, this is about intense — intense diplomacy. We understand this. That’s what competition requires. That’s what it means to manage these types of relationships. We welcome it, and we think it’s — it has bee important to move forward in that direction.

Q: In the back, Karine?

Q: (Inaudible) on China, Karine?

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: Go ahead. Go ahead, Patsy.

Q: Thank you, Karine. So, still on China. They just published this new map that includes territories of Taiwan, India, Malaysia, Philippines. We know that the President will be in New Delhi and in Hanoi; the Vice President will be in Jakarta meeting with ASEAN leaders. What can we expect from them on this issue of territorial disputes? And how forward-leaning would they be?

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: So, a couple of things on — on his trip in Hanoi. Since day one – look, the administration, we have focused on rebuilding and investing in our allies and partners — right? — throughout the world, and especially within the Indo-Pacific. You saw that most recently wit the trilateral that he held at Camp David — a historic meeting there.

And the United States looks to deepen our ties with the region, Vietnam is going to be a key partner. And so, the deliverables will be announced as part of this visit will reflect both the breadth and also the depth of that relationship.

As you know, we try not to get ahead of this President as we — as these trips are — are upcoming.

As it relates to the Vice President — as you just mentioned, she’s going to be going to Jakarta. Will be a continuation of her work as well. She has been a partner in this, when it comes to strengthening our partnership with ASEAN nations on maritime security in the South China Sea.

The Vice President has spoken extensively throughout the Indo-Pacific about the importance of international rules and norms. And you can expect that conversation and that kind of approach to continue on her trip as well.

She has spent significant time working on these issues with leaders from Southeast Asia. You can expect the Vice President to discuss the South China Sea as well.

Throughout her meetings in Jakarta — a couple of things — she will reaffirm our support for the freedom of the seas, peaceful resolutions of disputes, and adherence of international law, including freedom of navigation. She will advance our work with ASEAN partners to preserve the martial [international] law. And she will make clear, peace and stability in the South China Sea is vital to the entire — to the entire world.

Again, I’m not going to get ahead of those — that specific engagement. But it is consistent, and it is a continuation of what her work has been as she’s, clearly, in partnership with this President as we move forward in the Indo-Pacific.

Q: But can you specifically say whether the President or the Vice President will discuss specifically about this new Chinese map?

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: Look, I’m not going to get into — get ahead of that. I just laid out what we have been working towards — right? — deepening that relationship, which is incredibly vital — that Indo-Pacific relationship.

So, it’s certainly going to be a continuation of that. You know, those trips are upcoming. And so, once we have more to discuss and lay out and read out, we certainly will do that.

But, look, we look forward to these — these types of diplomatic conversations. And, again, deepening — deepening those important, critical relationships that the President has been leading on since the beginning of his administration.

Go ahead, Ed.

Q: Should we anticipate an on-camera briefing with Jake or someone about the trip before hand?

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: Yeas you can anticipate —

Q: Okay. Good.

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: As we normal do —

Q: Yes.

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: –normally do. Ed. That is a – that is something that we do ahead of —

Q: Great.

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: — ahead of the trip. So —

Q: As for something completely different, I have a question —

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: Okay.

Q: — on immigration.

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: Okay.

Q: It’s something that happened here at the White House yesterday. Because the President, justifiably, understandably, was focused on natural disasters.

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: Yeah.

Q: He talked to the four governors of the states affected by the storm.

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: Absolutely. Yep.

Q: He met with the Cabinet on that issue. Also had time for a meeting with Bernie Sanders. But when the governor of New York came by to discuss a very urgent matter in the state of New York and across the country in a lot of big cities, he did not meet with her. Why not?

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: Well, look, as you just stated, there’s a lot going on, and his Chief of Staff met — met — was part of that meeting. I believe Secretary Mayorkas was part of that meeting. Some of his very high-level senior staff participated in the meeting with the governor, which is, as you said, a very important meeting to have.

He has a — has a very good relationship with the governor. We’ve been — every time we’re in New York, the President en- — practically every time, the President engages with the governors. They have a very good relationship.

Look, the President has a lot on his plate. As you said, this is an important — important issue as well. But when you have the Chief of Staff, when you have the Secretary of Homeland Security there meeting with the governor, I think that shows how important the President thought this meeting was to make sure he had his top people speaking with her as well.

Q: Part of why I ask this is because, in a recent New York Times interview, the New York Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez says, quote, “Immigration is arguably this administration’s weakest issue. This is one area where our policy is dictated by politics, arguably more so than any other.”

Your response?

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: Well — (laughs) – I will — I would agree with her, certainly, on the last part, where it is dictated by politics.

This is a president — and you hear me say this over and over, Ed. The first day of his administration, he put forth a comprehensive immigration piece of legislation. The first piece of legislation in his — in his tenure as president was that. And he took it incredibly seriously and wanted to put forth a path to deal with an issue — a system that has been broken for decades upon decades upon decades.

And while he is taking steps on his own, Republicans have made this an incredibly political issue. They have turned this into a — a — into political stunts that we have seen over and over and over again.

And so, the President has asked and has said, “Hey, let’s do this in a bipartisan way. Here’s the funding that we would need to actually try to — to fix wha’s going on in the — on the border.” And they refuse. They want to make it — “they” meaning Republicans in Congress – want to make it a political issue.

Look, the President has done what he can from — from here, from the federal government, from the White House, to put forth and mange our border in a safe and humane way to respect the dignity of every human, as he says all the time, and making sure that our communities are safe. And you have seen him do that.

But the system is broken. We want to do this in a bipartisan way. Republicans refuse to do that.

Q: But to the charge from the congresswoman that the White House hasn’t take up recommendations from fellow Democrats on how to deal with this issue more through executive action or otherwise because of concerns of how Republicans might react, you would say what?

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: I will say this: The President has done more to secure the border and to deal with this issue of immigration than anybody else. He really has.

June saw the single largest month-to-month drop in lawful — unlawful border crossing because of the policies this President put in place.

We’ve got a record number of federal agents and officers — more than 24,000 — working to secure the border because of the funding this President secured.

We brought — we brought 21 world leaders on the West Coast, as you all remember, together for the first time to ever deal with this issue in a — in a regional way because of the alliances that this President has put forth. And we secured record funding for border security and management.

And let’s not forget, we expand — we’ve expanded the pathway to citizenship under this President. And mind you, he’s been doing this on his own. Does he want to do it in a bipartisan way? Absolutely. That’s why he put forth his first piece of legislation to be on immigration to fix this broken system.

We are — we are willing to work with Congress and with Republicans. We need Republicans to do this. We just do. But they keep turning it into a political stunt.

Go ahead.

Q: I just wanted to follow up.

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: Yeah, sure.

Q: You said that this administration has expanded the pathway to citizenship?

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: The pathway of legal — legal pathway — pardon me — the legal pathway for migrants to enter this —

Q: Okay. You were talking about —

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: The legal pathways to mi — to migrants coming. Yes.

Q: From — from the parole program?

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: Right. From the parolee program. That’s —

Q: Which don’t have any — which don’t lead to any sort of permanent legal —

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: Well, it — it’s a legal —

Q: Right — it’s a — it’s a two year program with —

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: I — I agree. You’re right.

Q: Okay.

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: It gives you a legal pathway to come in — and that’s what —

Q: Okay.

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: — that’s what I’m talking about — in trying to prevent the unlawful pathways.

Q: And —

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: So, just to clear it — clear — clear what I was trying to say.

Q: And when the two-year parole for those folks — whether they be the folks from South and Central America or Afghanistan or Ukraine — when the parole ends, does this President intend to renew the two- — two-year paroles for those? Or are they — or is he going to send them back?

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: So, that’s a very good question. That’s why we keep asking for help from Congress to help us fix this bro- — broken system. That is why we’re —

Q: And –

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: — we’re – we – we’re just not there yet. That’s why we keep asking for help from Congress, from Republicans to help actually come together in a bipartisan way to fix this issue.

Q: But if they – but if they don’t —

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: I — like — like I said, we’re going to continue to do what we can, right? This President is going to continue to do what he can to — to deal with it — to deal with a broken system. So, we’re taking the steps today to do that. And that’s where we are today.

Q: Thanks.

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: Go ahead.

Q: In the President’s conversation with Senator McConnell, did he bring up at all the White House supplemental funding request?

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: Look, the President talked about what he – that he had a conversation with Mitch McConnell. He basically said — you heard him; you were there, I believe, at FEMA — that this — he’s an old friend, and — and while they may have disagreements, they try to find ways to work together.

The President was calling to check in on him, to see how he was doing. I don’t have anything further than what the President shared with you — with you directly.

Q: Should we expect any more interactions between Biden and Republicans specifically urging them to pass this package?

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: So, I don’t have any direct conversations or direct engagement with the President and Congress. But the President has been very clear. You heard from him, again, at FEMA; you’ve heard from him multiple times. You have his OMB director, you have his Leg Affairs reaching out, engaging with Congress on a regular level.

This is their job. I’m talking about them doing their job and making sure that the government doesn’t shut down.

It is not a difficult thing. It is very simple This is what they are supposed to do: to make sure that the government works and key — key vital pieces of programs continue to get funded. That’s their job. Pure and simple.

Go ahead.

Q: Thank you, Karine. I have a question on Saudi Arabia. The regime just sentenced to death a man who had been critical of corruption, human rights abuses on social media. Would you have a comment on that? And what role does that play when there is speculation that the President could meet with the Crown Prince at the G20 Summit?

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: So, look, we are aware of those news re- — new reports. Obviously, human rights remain a pillar of our engagement around the world. We’ve been very consistent about that, including, of co- — of course, with our partners in Saudi Arabia. We don’t shy away from — from raising concerns, whether with Saudi Arabi or anyone else. And that is not going to change.

Anything specifically on this particular new — new report, I would defiantly refer you to — to the State Department.

But, again, we’re — we’re aware of this. But we will never shy away — never shy away on talking about human rights, regardless of who — who that leader might be.

Okay. I’m trying to go to the back, because I know folks —

Q: Its been a while Karine, for some of us.

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: (Laughs.) You ju — you got to ask the President a question today.

Q: I haven’t gotten to ask you a question —

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: Go ahead, Alex.

Q: — since May.

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: Go ahead, Alex.

Q: Karine, how — how concerned is the White House by the new COVID wave in the fall? And how are you thinking about, you know, masking, boosters, and just broadly about the state of the pandemic right now?

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: So, a couple of things. So — and I spoke to this on Monday. Happy to — to talk about this now.

So, nationally, the — while CDC is reporting an increase in infections, as you all know, and hospitals’ admissions, overall levels remain low, which is important.

The U.S. has experienced increases in COVID-19 during the last three summers, so it’s not surprising that we’re seeing this uptick. I’d say, you know, it’s been a long — a long period of declining — declining rates.

And so, when updated COVID shots become available in mid- Se — in mid-September — we’ve heard from the FDA and CDC; they announced this last week, that there will be new — new – new vaccines next – this — wow, are we in September? — next month – mid S- mid-September – we will be encouraging all Americans to get updated COVID- COVID vaccines.

And also, let us not forget the RSV. Let’s not forget the influenza shots as well. All are very critical and important, so we’ll be encouraging Americans to do that.

And vaccinations, as we all know, as you’ve heard us say from here, against COVID-19 remains the safest protection for avoiding hospitalization, long-term health outcomes, and death. And so, this is why we’re going to encourage Americans to make sure they keep up to date — up to date with their — with their vaccines.

Look, because of this work that this — this President has done from the beginning of his administration, making sure there was a comprehensive approach with dealing with this pandemic, with dealing with COVID-19, we have tools at our — at our disposal now.

Whether it’s vaccines, whether it’s home tests, whether it’s masks, we do have — and effective treatments, obviously, we do have these tools at our disposal. And I think that’s incredibly important.

And so, you’ll hear more from FDA and CDC.

Any more information about this vaccines, certainly I would refer you to — to CDC.

As it relates to — to masking, n- no protocol has changed — has changed here. That is up to the individual. If the – if an individual wants to wear a mask, they can do that. That is up to them. That is why we made sure we provided different tools.

Again, there will be more to share in mid-September.

All right, guys. Thank you so much. See you next week. Have a great weekend.


September 2023:

September 12: Shandala Young, 43rd Director of the Office of Management and Budget, posted the following:

September 12:

To: Interested Parties

From: Shalanda Young

Date: Tuesday, September 12

Re: House Republicans’ Appropriation Bills Would Devastate the American People — and Break the Bipartisan Budget Agreement

Earlier this year, the President and Congressional leaders reached a bipartisan budget agreement that averted a first-ever default and protected our historic economic progress. In doing so, the President and Speaker McCarthy agreed to a framework for annual appropriations for FY24 and FY25, setting the stage for Congress to pass bipartisan, bicameral bills to keep the government open and protect critical priorities for the American people. The President, House Democrats, Senate Democrats, and Senate Republicans all stand by this promise, and this week, the Senate will begin floor consideration of bipartisan appropriations bills consistent with it. A deal is a deal.

Unfortunately, Speaker McCarthy and House Republicans have taken a very different approach — ignoring the bipartisan budget agreement they passed and advancing extreme, partisan appropriations bills that break their public promise and gut key investments in the American people.

Their appropriations bills violate the bipartisan budget agreement and instead push the same deep cuts the House Freedom Caucus has been demanding since the start of this year. As was outlined in a Statement of Administration Policy, the President would veto these bills because their partisan extremism would endanger critical services for the American people, including killing manufacturing jobs and raising energy costs by rescinding funding from the Inflation Reduction Act and other vital legislation.

The consequences of these bills would be devastating: raising a host of costs for families; hurting students, seniors and rural communities; slashing support for law enforcement; undermining our economy; and more. Also, this effort by House Republicans distracts from other top priorities, like the need to act on the President’s request for more funding to fight the fentanyl crisis.

House Republicans claim these cuts are about fiscal responsibility — but they aren’t. Not only would their bills add at least $100 billion to deficits over 10 year by making it easier for the wealthy and big corporations to cheat on their taxes, but House Republicans are separately pushing corporate tax giveaways that would cost over $500 billion if made permanent — including at least $30 billion in retroactive tax breaks for investments companies made last year. These retroactive tax cuts alone would erase the savings from their deep cuts to eduction, health, and labor programs.

Below are some of the most harmful elements of House Republicans’ appropriations bills that they will begin to consider this week.

Gutting Programs Hardworking Families and Communities Count On

The cuts in the House appropriations bills would:

  • Slash Funding for Schools with Low-Income Students: House Republicans’ 80 percent cut to Title I funding would impact 26 million students in schools that teach low-income students by forcing a reduction of up to 226,000 teachers, aides or other key staff.
  • Eliminate Tens of Thousands of Preschool Slots: House Republicans’ cut to Head Start would mean as many as 82,000 children would lose access to high-quality preschool — undermining their education, leaving fewer children ready to enter kindergarten ready to learn, and making it more difficult for parents to join the workforce and contribute to the economy.
  • Slash Funding for Law Enforcement: The proposed cut to the FBI would eliminate 1,850 personnel, including up to 673 agents, and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives would be forced to eliminate approximately 400 positions, including more than 200 agents. The House bill also cuts funding for U.S. Attorneys by roughly 12 percent, which would eliminate approximately 1,400 positions. With fewer law enforcement officers fighting crime and prosecutors holding people accountable, these cuts will make our communities less safe.
  • Raise Housing Costs for Tens of Thousands: The proposed cuts would raise housing costs by eliminating funding for Housing Choice Vouchers for 20,000 households, including approximately 6,000 households headed by seniors. In addition, a nearly 70 percent cut to the HOME Investment Partnerships Program would result in 20,000 fewer affordable homes being constructed, rehabbed, or purchased in communities across the country.
  • Slash Critical Job Training and Workforce Development Programs: The proposal would result in half a million fewer people receiving job training and employment services. These harmful cuts would deprive businesses of the skilled workforce they need to thrive, and would cut of workers’ pathways to good jobs.
  • Undermine Critical Health Research: House Republicans’ cuts would undermine critical research efforts to find treatments and cures for diseases like cancer and Alzheimer’s by cutting $3.8 billion for the National Institutes of Health. They would also eliminate funding for the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, which would end the Long COVID research at the agency and delay other priority health services research.

Clawing Back Investments in Other Key Priorities

In addition to demanding these draconian cuts, House Republicans are also fighting to rescind vital funding that is helping make our tax code fairer, rebuilding America’s infrastructure, lowering costs for families, and tackling the climate crisis. Their proposals would:

  • Increase Risks of Lead Exposure: The proposal would rescind over $564 million in funding for programs that mitigate housing-related risks of lead poisoning and other illnesses and hazards to lower income families, especially children, resulting in 55,000 fewer homes safe of hazards and adversely impacting approximately 78,000 children.
  • Protect Wealthy Tax Cheats: While House Republicans separately lay the groundwork for more than $3 trillion in tax cuts skewed to the wealthy and big corporations, they are also fighting to make it easier for wealthy tax cheats to avoid paying what they owe — promising to rescind $67 billion dollars in funding for the IRS enacted in the Inflation Reduction Act, which would increase the deficit by more than $100 billion.
  • Increase Energy Costs for Rural Americans: Rescinding $2 billion in funding provided by the Inflation Reduction Act for programs at USDA would undermine programs that help agricultural producers and rural small businesses convert to renewable energy systems, and that help rural Americans to build clean, affordable, and reliable energy by working with approximately 900 electric cooperatives in 47 years.
  • Shortchange Home Electrification Projects: Rescinding $4.5 billion in funding provided by the Inflation Reduction Act for the High-Efficiency Electric Home Rebate Program would impact at least 250,000 home electrification and appliance upgrade projects in low- and medium-income homes across all States, territories, and tribes.
  • Undermine Clean Technology Investments and Pollution Reduction: Rescinding $20 billion in funding provided by the Inflation Reduction Act for programs at EPA would take away funds designed to help communities access grant opportunities to reduce pollution and mobilize private capital into clean technology projects, especially in low-income and disadvantaged communities. These programs will spur investment in clean technology projects and expand economic opportunities in communities, helping to cut harmful pollution and protect people’s health while tackling climate change.
  • Slash Support for Teachers: Rescinding $1.7 billion — or 77 percent — in the Supporting Effective Instruction State Grants (Title II) formula program would severely undermine states’ ability to reduce class sizes and improve the effectiveness of teachers in the classroom.

A deal is a deal. The President and the Speaker already made a bipartisan budget agreement — one that would result in $1 trillion of deficit reduction over the next decade. Every party to that agreement except House Republicans — House Democrats, Senate Democrats, Senate Republicans, and President Biden — are honoring their word. It is a balanced deal that protects critical investments while ensuring fiscal responsibility. We urge House Republicans to follow the law they helped enact and the Senate’s bipartisan approach to funding the government according to the deal.

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 20: The White House posted “State by State Impacts: House Republicans’ Extreme CR Would Decimate the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program As Temperatures Drop”

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 that would have damaging impacts all across the country.

Instead of workin in a bipartisan manner to keep the government open and address emergency needs for the American people, House Republicans introduced a continuing resolution this week that makes an 8%, across-the-board-cuts to programs that millions of hardworking Americans count on – violating the bipartisan budget deal the President and Congress agreed to earlier this year.

On top of these indiscriminate cuts, their continuing resolution makes even deeper cuts to several other key programs including the Low Income Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) – which families depend on to heat their homes during the winter. With colder weather approaching, House Republicans’ extreme CR would cut LIHEAP by over 60%.

September 21: The White House posted: “Press Briefing by Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre and National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan”

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: Good afternoon, everyone.

Q: Good afternoon.

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: As you can see, we have National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan joining us today to talk about — give a little bit of a preview and talk about the President’s visit with President Zelenskyy today. As you know, he’s all in tow- — he’s in town, and he’ll take some of your foreign policy questions as well.

With that, Jake, the podium is yours.

MR. SULLIVAN: Thanks, Karine. And thanks for letting me come back here just a few days after I was last before you at this podium.

President Biden returned from New York last night, where he had a series of engagements and meetings at the U.N. General Assembly. He launched important initiatives, he engage with heads of state from around the world, and he laid out a substantive agenda for effective American leadership at a pivotal moment in the world.

In his remarks to the General Assembly, President Biden highlighted all that is at stake as we continue to rally the world to support Ukraine, including the fate of core principles of the United Nation’s Charter: sovereignty, territorial integrity, and human rights, which are the pillars of peaceful relations among nations.

As you all know, President Biden underscored that it’s not just the future of the people of Ukraine that hangs in the balance as they bravely fight every day to defend their right and their sovereign territory from a brutal Russian invasion. The President spoke about how critical it is that the U.S. and the world send the unmistakable message that in the 21st century, a dictator cannot be allowed to conquer or carve up his neighbor’s territory by force and threaten the fundamental values of freedom and independence that matter to every American.

If we allow that here, it will happen elsewhere in ways that will undermine the fundamental security, not to mention the values that the American people hold so dear.

Following up on that speech at the U.N. earlier this week, today President Biden is hosting President Zelenskyy of Ukraine here at the White House, where he will emphasize the continued need for he American people to step up and support Ukraine as they battle on the frontlines of the free world.

Today’s meeting will be the sixth in-person meeting between President Biden and President Zelenskyy. And it’s President Zelenskyy’s third visit to the White House during the Biden administration.

Of course, they have talked many times over the course of the past year and a half by phone, on video, and our teams are in constant, daily communication.

This meeting comes at a significant moment, as Ukrainian forces continue to make progress in their counteroffensive, and just after Russia launched yet another brutal wave of airstrikes against five cities — five cities in Ukraine that hit critical civilian infrastructure and knocked out power for many people in many different parts of the country.

To help defend agains assaults like this one — assaults from the air — President Biden will announce a new package of military assistance today that includes significant air defense capabilities to help Ukraine protect its people. These capabilities will help Ukraine harden its defenses ahead of what is likely to be a. tough winter filled with renewed Russian attacks on Ukrainian critical infrastructure to try to deprive innocent people of necessities like heat and electricity.

Because President Putin cannot achieve his objectives on the battlefield, he has re- — reduced to and is resorting to attacks that are intended to plunge ordinary people’s lives into cold and darkness. And we are going to do everything wor- –working with Ukrainians to make that task more and more difficult for Russia to be able to pull off.

The package the President will announce today will also include weapons and equipment to help Ukraine maintain its momentum in the counteroffensive. That includes additional ammunition for U.S.-provided HIMARS systems, anti-armor capabilities, artillery, ammunition, and more DPICMs, which have helped Ukraine make gains and crucially also helped Ukraine defend itself against counterattacks.

President Biden and President Zelenskyy will also discuss our joint efforts to support Ukraine’s economic recovery. And he will introduce a special representative for Ukraine’s economic recovery, Penny Pritzker, who will focus on engaging the private sector, partner countries, and Ukrainian counterparts to generate international investment in Ukraine and work with Ukraine to make the reforms necessary to improve Ukraine’s business climate.

President Biden, of course, is also looking forward to hear directly from President Zelenskyy in person — his perspective on the war and the road ahead and all of the more specific operational issues that have been a feature of all of their conversations over the course of the past year and a half.

Above all, though, President Biden wants to use today to reaffirm his commitment, this administration’s commitment, this country’s commitment to continuing to lead the world in support of Ukraine for as long as it takes, and that’s what he intended to do today.

And with that, I look forward to taking your questions.

Yeah.

Q: Thank you. (Inaudible) Canada and India’s relationship?

MR. SULLIVAN: Actually, I was calling on her. But go ahead.

Q: Thank you so much.

MR. SULLIVAN: You can go ahead.

Q: Thank you. Can you give us a sense — your sense of what’s happening between Canada and India? India is fuming at a Canadian allegation that India was involved in the death of a Canadian citizen (inaudible) in India. Canada is saying that they have informed you about the proof they have of those allegations. What’s your sense of it?

MR. SULLIVAN: As soon as we heard from the Canadian Prime Minister publicly about the allegations, we went our publicly ourselves and expressed our deep concern about them, our support for a law enforcement process to get to the bottom of exactly what happened and to ensure that the perpetrators are held accountable.

I’m not going to get into the substance of private diplomatic conversations, but we are in constant contact with our Canadian counterparts. We are consulting with them closely, we support the effort that they are undertaking in this investigation, and we have also been in touch with the Indian government as well.

And I will leave it at that for today, only to say that I have seen in the press some efforts to try and drive a wedge between the United States and Canada on this issue. And I firmly reject the idea that there is a wedge between the U.S. and Canada. We have deep concerns about the allegations, and we would like to see this investigation carried forward and the perpetrators held to account.

That is what the United States has stood for from the moment this emerged in public, and we will continue to stand for that until this fully plays its way out.

So, you can go ahead, sorry.

Q: Hi. So, I know that ATACMS have been on the table, been in consideration by President Biden. I’m wondering if you can talk about what those consideration factors are. Is it a stocks/money issue? Is it a — we’re not ready — they’re not ready at this point in the war to start longer-range fires? Can you tell us about that?

MR. SULLIVAN: So, I can only tell you so much from this podium because operational considerations about any given weapons system — some of that is quite sensitive.

What I would say is that the President is constantly speaking both to his own military and to his counterparts in Europe and to the Ukrainians themselves about what is needed on the battlefield at any given phase of the war and then what the United States can provide while also ensuring that we are able to provide for our own defer- — deterrence and defense needs.

As he’s weighted all that up, to date, he has determined that he would not provide ATACMS, but he has also not taken it off the table in the future. I don’t have anything to announce about that today.

Yes.

Q: Thanks, Jake. House Republican leaders are heavily laying the blame at President Biden’s feet today for the fact that the House has not passed that additional package of Ukraine aid. House Speaker McCarthy saying today that President Biden hasn’t made the case to the American public — what is victory, what does it take to be able to win?

You met with Speaker McCarthy and other Republicans recently. What was your message to them? And then, what is your response to Speaker McCarthy today?

MR. SULLIVAN: I’m not going to get into a debate with Speaker McCarthy from the podium. I would say that Speaker McCarthy has himself been an advocate for the supply of military assistance to Ukraine, has voted for previous packages, and that Republicans in both the House and the Senate in very large numbers have been strong advocates and supporters for this. Haven’t just wanted to hear the case from us — they’ve even going out and themselves making the case to their constituents and to the world for why this is so important.

And that level of bipartisan support that we’ve seen to date that has sustained the immense and impressive levels of assistance that we’ve been able to provide to Ukraine.

We believe that will continue because we believe that there is strong majorities on a bipartisan basis in both the House and the Senate to provide this aid. That’s what we look forward to seeing.

Now, I did have the opportunity to see the — the Democratic and Republican leadership in the Senate and the House and the chairs and ranking member of the key national security committees in two separate sessions.

I thought they were incredibly constructive sessions. They were deeply substantive. The members had excellent questions. They also had a lot of constrictive suggestions for how we most effectively pursue continued assistance to Ukraine and rally the world to help Ukraine defend its territory.

So, on the basis of those conversations and further consultation we’ve had since then, I continue to remain of the view that when all is said and one — after the back-and-forth, and the to-ing and fro-ing, and all the other elements going into these negotiations that have nothing to do with Ukraine to the extent that we believe is necessary to get Ukraine what it needs.

Yeah.

Q: Thanks, Jake. Go back to India for a minute. Does the U.S. have any intelligence or investigative evidence to support Canada’s claims?

And then secondly, Ambassador Garcetti had suggested that President Biden was going to return to India in January to celebrate Republic Day. And I’m wondering if that trip is now in question, given the diplomatic row between two U.S. partners.

MR. SULLIVAN: I’m not going to speak to ether intelligence or law enforcement matters from this podium. I will let that process play out.

We are in, as I said before, continuous communication and consultation with the Canadian government. And we will remain so as we go forward.

And I do not have anything to announce about travel by the President to India in January or at any other time today.

Yes.

Q: Jake, you’ve expressed your confidence that Congress will, in the not-too-distant future, pass the necessary $24 billion in funds that you say is — are necessary going forward in Ukraine. By what date does that need to occur to not have any impact? What is the urgency? And how soon does that need to happen to make sure there is no let-up in the effort to help support Ukrainians?

MR. SULLIVAN: So, just to be clear, the supplemental funding package that we put forward to the Hill was for the period from the end of fiscal year to the end of the calendar year — basically, September 30th to the end of the year.

So, there’s not a single dar — — dollar amount that is necessary for all time. We need funding to keep going, meaning that if, for example, the Congress passed a shorter package, you could have a proportional amount or a longer package, et. cetera.

Q: But at what point does that package — new package need to be passed?

MR. SULLIVAN: We will want to see additional funding for Ukraine after the end of the fiscal year — so, after September 30th — meaning that we would like additional resources from the Congress on October 1st to be able to ensure that there’s no disruption in the supply of funding to Ukraine.

Q: And at what point would there be a disruption if we passed — what date would there be a disruption, given the fears about this not passing.

MR. SULLIVAN: Well, I mean, there’s a sliding scale of disruption. But the day after the funds lapse or run out at the end of the fiscal year, there would be a break if we do not get the funding starting October 1st.

That’s why we are making the case to the Congress that we should see additional funding at that time.

Q: Quick follow-up on the Congress. Speaker McCarthy, as has now been reported, turned down President Zelenskyy’s desire to speak for a joint session of Congress. Obviously, they control Congress; you don’t. But what do you think this says to the American people if Zelenskyy was not given that opportunity, given the stakes that you say exist right now?

MR. SULLIVAN: I’ve read the reports of that. I haven’t heard it directly. So, it’s hard for me to comment or speculate on it.

What I will say is that President Zelenskyy just spent hours up on the Hill with Democrats and Republicans — and not just behind closed doors, but out in public — to be able to explain his case and to stand, frankly, with members who want to also make the case that this should continue.

So, I keep saying basically the same thing, standing up here, that I genuinely believe, which is: There is a vocal, quite small minority of members who are raising questions. There is a very strong, overwhelmingly majority of members, both Democrats and Republicans, who want to see aid continue. And I believe that’s where the American people are as well. So, I believe that will shine through the end.

Yes.

Q: Is the U.S. concerned about Poland’s decision to stop sending arms to Ukraine and whether that signals any sort of broad waning of Western support for Ukraine?

MR. SULLIVAN: When I read the headlines this morning, I was, of course, concerned and had questions. But I’ve subsequently seen the Polish government spokesman come out to clarify that, in fact, Poland’s provision of equipment, including things like Polish manufactured howitzers, is continuing and that Poland continues to stand behind Ukraine.

So, we will stay in consultation with them to ensure that we understand fully what the nature of Poland’s stance is on these issues, but I believe that Poland will continue to be a supporter of Ukraine.

Yes.

Q: Thank you, Jake. What are you telling congressional leaders about how much more aid is needed to ensure that Ukraine can win the war, not just sustain the war? And what timeline are you sharing with them?

MR. SULLIVAN: Well, we’ve put forward a proposal. We’ve actually laid out in some detail every element of assistance that we believe is necessary to get us to the end of this year, and then we have begun talking to them about what the next year looks like as well. But that’s in military support, economic support, humanitarian, energy assistance, and so forth.

War is incredibly unpredictable, of course. So, I can’t look you in the eye and I certainly can’t look them in the eye and predict exactly what’s going to happen on exactly what timetable. And therefore, we need to have a degree of flexibility and adaptability in our approach, as we have since the beginning of this conflict. That will continue.

But what we know is that there are core capabilities — in ammunition, in air defense systems, and in other critical military elements — that Ukariane will continue to need from its partners at NATO and other countries around the world. And we, the United States, are committed to making sure they get those.

In fact, Secretary Austin had the opportunity to host another round of the Ramstein Group, the Ukrainian Defense Contact Group, this week in Germany. And we continue to see a level of urgency and intensity to go to Ukraine from dozens of countries around the world. The United States has got dozens of countries around the world. The United Stats has got to step up and do its part.

Q: And you talk about the bipartisan support, but the issue here is just how does this even get to the floor for a vote. So, what’s the path forward here?

MR. SULLIVAN: In a way, that’s above my paygrade because that involves questions related to the entire budget, much of which goes well beyond the national security remit.

So, I will not handicap, kind of, overall negotiations. What I’m laser-focused on is: When all is said and done, will there be the support and the resources necessary for Ukraine?

I believe, based on my consultations on the Hill with both Republicans and Democrats, that there will be.

Yeah.

Q: Thank you, again, for being here. You are — you expressed confidence that ultimately there will be money provided as requested, if not more or whatever. And that’s the understanding here at the White House.

How do you explain, then, all of this to Zelenskyy or to other world leaders who might be watching this domestic fight and thinking, “Should we really believe that the United States is on board with Ukraine and with this effort?” I mean, how do you explain congressional dysfunction, I guess, to your counterparts?

MR. SULLIVAN: I mean, one thing you definitely do not need to explain to democratically elect leaders in Europe — frankly, even to autocrats — is politics. Okay? Leaders know politics. And President Biden’s counterparts understand that budget negotiations take place and there’s difficult give-and-take in them. And that’s in the nature of a democratic system.

So, President Zelenskyy is not coming here like a babe in the woods not having any understanding that, you know, we have to work through, as we approach the end of the fiscal year, funding for the government going forward. He recognizes that that’s going to be contested, that there are different perspectives.

What he wants to hear from the President is kind of similar to what you are trying to elicit from me, which is what is the degree of confidence we have that we can deliver in the end. And we believe that we can, which doesn’t mean that the road ahead is entirely straight or I can predict to you exactly how all of this is going to play out. What I believe is that when all is said and don, the support will be there.

Q: One — one real quick on — when we talk about Canada, there’s an issue with Mexico today because AMLO suggested he’s not coming to APEC in November amid concerns with its relationship with Peru. Have they given formal notice they’re not coming? And what do you make of this dispute between the two?

MR. SULLIVAN: I actually had not seen him go out publicly and say that. But without going deep into our diplomatic conversations with them, they had raised the possibility that that might happen. We’ll have to talk to them. And I don’t want to comment on it at the podium before I’ve had the chance to talk to them directly.

Yeah.

Q: Thank you so much. I would like to ask you a question about Saudi Arabia. Yesterday, the Crown Prince said that if Iran gets nuclear weapons, then Saudi Arabia would get them too. How do you react to that? And is it a way to put pressure on the administration at a time when the President is trying to broker a deal with Israel?

MR. SULLIVAN: No, I don’t think so. This has been a longstanding position of Saudi Arabia. And, frankly, one of the major reasons that we are working overtime with partners and allies to ensure that Iran never gets a nuclear weapon is that if they did, not only would they be a direct threat to the region and beyond, but it likely would trigger a regional arms race.

So, it has been core to the American principle and policy with respect to ensuring Iran does not get a nuclear weapon, this risk that potentially other countries in the region would seek nuclear weapons. That’s not something that emerged yesterday in an interview. That has been a feature of the landscape going back many years.

Now, from our perspective, we will do all that is necessary — and we have said this repeatedly; the President himself has said it — to ensure that Iran never gets a nuclear weapon so this hypothetical never comes to a pass. And that’s the stance that we take, and nothing about the comments made yesterday change or alter that.

Yeah.

Q: Thank you so much, Jake. Is it me here or Steve?

MR. SULLIVAN: Yeah, go ahead.

Q: Thank you. Just first of all, does the administration support every part of the 10-part piece formulation that President Zelenskyy is promoting? And if the answer to that is now, which parts might you edit?

And then, secondly, when President Xi hosts President Putin in Beijing next month, what does the White House hope he will communicate to President Putin about the need for peace in Ukraine?

MR. SULLIVAN: Each of the individual elements of the peace plan, if you sat them down — sovereignty and territorial integrity, food security, ecological security, nuclear safety — to us, it’s not even a question whether we agree. Of course, we do. These are just basic principles of the international system. They’re consistent with the U.N. Charter.

And we have said that President Zelenskyy’s vision for just peace is fully consistent with the United Nations Charter and with, kind of, decency and common humanity. So, wet ave no concerns about any of that.

What President Biden has said is that at the end of the day, the baseline for peace are the core principles of the U.N. Charter, particularly sovereignty and territorial integrity and human rights. That’s what we’re going to continue to drive at. That’s what President Biden and President Zelenskyy will speak about today.

Yeah.

Q: And on Xi — sorry.

MR. SULLIVAN: Oh, sorry. What was your question?

Q: What do you hope that President Xi will communicate to Putin when they meet in Beijing about the need for peace in Ukraine?

MR. SULLIVAN: The number-one point in — I can’t remember if is 10 or 12 points in the principles that the PRC has laid out with respect to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine is respect for sovereignty, respect for every nation’s sovereignty.

So, I would like to see every leader who goes and speaks to President Putin reinforce that that basic proposition and that every country, including countries that have better relationships than [with] Russia than we do, are going to stand by that principle as we go forward. That’s fundamentally their responsibility.

Yeah.

Q: I had two quick follow-ups. First, with regard to the United Sates’ commitment to Ukraine, there are 26 Republican lawmakers, including 6 senators — a small minority, as you mentioned before — who sent a letter to the OMB director saying that they were unaware of just how much the administration has spent thus far in support of Ukraine. They know how much was appropriated, obviously; hey don’t know how much has been spent thus far. Do you have a general figure you can give us?

MR. SULLIVAN: I’m not going to stand here and give a precise figure. What I will tell you is that we have supplied to the Congress every dollar that has been obligated. So, if they are unaware, it’s because they are not looking at the reports we are submitting to the Hill.

In fact, when I was up on the Hill just a few days ago, I walked through in some detail — and I don’t have the notes in front of me — exactly what we had spent in the military space.

We’ve done 47 presidential drawdown packages. We give the dollar figure for every one of them.

We’ve done USAI packages. We give the dollar figure for every one of them.

We obligate money under economic support funds. That money is notified to the Hill in a public way.

So, you all have access to exactly how much we’ve spent. The Congress has access to exactly how much we’ve spent. We have not hidden a single thing on this, and I find the claim in that letter somewhat bizarre.

Q: And then, you reiterated the importance of territorial sovereignty and you noted that in the 21st century one neighbor cannot be allowed to conquer another. And I think that you — you got to — the point you seemed to say that if we were to allow this to happen to Ukraine, it could happen elsewhere. Were you referring, by chance, to any other particular threat in any other theater towards one of our allies?

MR. SULLIVAN: I’m not referring to a particular threat. I’m referring to the fact that history has taught us this lesson painfully many times that aggression unchecked can be aggression unleashed. That could mean further aggression by Russia or it could be aggression by another autocratic power against its neighbor somewhere else in the world, not specifically zeroing in on a particular threat or conflict.

But we have to be prepared for that if we do not stand up and help defend this — the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Ukraine.

Q: Thanks, Jake.

MR. SULLIVAN: Yeah.

(START HERE!!!!!)

September 22: The White House posted “Press Briefing By Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre and Representative Lucy McBath”

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: Good afternoon, everyone.

Q: Good afternoon.

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: So, President Biden, as you all know, has met with countless survivors of gun violence and families mourning loved ones. And the message he hears most often is: Do something.

Today, President Biden will build on the historic action he’s taken through the Bipartisan Safer Communities Act and the two dozen executives actions he’s taken to date, and announce the establishment of the first-ever White House Office of Gun Violence Prevention.

This new office will be overseen by Vice President Harris, who has been a — who has been a key leader in the Biden-Harris administration’s effort to end our nation’s gun violence epidemic.

The office will be held by Stefanie Feldman, a longtime policy advisor to President Biden on gun violence prevention, and two leading gun violence prevention advocates, Greg Jackson and Rob Wilcox.they will join the administration as deputy directors of the office.

Ahead of this afternoon’s event in the Rose Garden, I am pleased to welcome to the podium someone who has more authority to speak on this issue than nearly anyone else in this town – and I say that sadly: Congresswoman Lucy McBath.

Through her grief and because of her perseverance, she has become a tireless advocate for gun safety reform. For some, this is an abstract debate, but not for Congresswoman McBath. She has lived within — with the awful and tragic reality of the gun violence epidemic in this country. I can think of no better person to share what today’s news means to so many families across the country.

On a personal note, she’s a hero of mine. In 2018, as a — as I was at a previous job I held, we were sitting around deciding who was going to go to the district — districts — different districts across the country, obviously, to organize and knock on doors. I stood up and asked to go to Lucy McBath’s district because she has so inspired me and, I know, so many others out there with her strength, with her smarts, and her vision for this country.

So, I literally went door to door, knocking in what is now your district for your first election.

REPRESENTATIVE MCBATH: Thank you.

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: And it is a — really, truly an honor to have you here today on this important, important historic moment here at the White House.

The podium is yours, Congresswoman.

REPRESENTATIVE MCBATH: Thank you. Thank you. Well, thank you so much, Karine.

And while I serve as a member of Congress today, I am speaking to you first and foremost as a mother. Just over a decade ago, I was living like any other mom in Georgia — in the Georgia suburbs, and I debated my entire life to raising my son, Jordan.

Then, on November 23rd, 2012, within the course of three and a half minutes, a man drove up next to my son and his friends as they were parked in their car at a convenience store gas station, firing 10 rounds into the car and killing my only son.

In an instant, I was robbed of every dream that a mother holds for her child. I would never send Jordan of to college. I would never see him attend his high school events. He would never graduate from high school. I would never see him get married.

Nobody wants to experience what I have, but my story is becoming far too common in the United Sates of America. Every single day, over 100 people are shot and killed in the United States.

Gun violence has no boundaries. From the suburbs, to the cities, to rural America, over 100 families a day are living their worst nightmare.

Our kids are continually trauma- — traumatized by lockdown drills, while their schools teach them how to hide behind their desks and corner themselves to shield themselves from gunfire.

President Bien knows the deep pain of losing a loved one. And today, he is taking decisive action by declaring loudly and clearly; We do not have to live this way.

The historic creation of the gun — of the Office of Gun Violence Prevention marks a new era in the fight to keep us all safe. The office will increase coordination between states and ensure proper implementation of the gun safety legislation that we have already passed in Congress.

President Biden’s actions today truly, truly will save lives.

Thank you.

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: Thank you, Congresswoman.

REPRESENTATIVE MCBATH: Thank you.

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: So, a couple of things before we go into questions. Today, extreme Republicans are voting in a House committee on four destructive appropriation bills as they continue to march toward a shutdown that would hurt our economy and threaten our safety.

House Republicans failed multiple times this week to do their basic duty: keep the government running. Instead, they were pushed to the extremes with increasingly severe cuts to programs Americans rely on, which have no hope of passing the Senate. And having accomplished nothing — having accomplished nothing this week, they have all decided to go home.

That’s not delivering for the American people. It’s chaos. It’s failing. It’s actually failing the American people.

Now, you don’t have to take my words for it. As you know, we like to take it straight from the horses mouth, if you will, and do quotes here. So, House Republicans have said — they said it themselves.

Representative Frank Lucas said there are, quote, “Folks who want to use this as an opportunity to blow the place up.”

Representative Jerry Carl said, quote, “I truly think that they want to shut it down.” End quote.

Representative Matt Gaetz said, “We will have a government shutdown.” “We cannot blame Joe Biden…” “We cannot blame House d — House Democrats.” End quote.

That’s because House Republicans are to blame. And we’ve seen that week after week after week.

So, now the question for House Republicans is very simple: Do they continue to pursue increasingly extreme bills that would hurt their constituents by slashing education, slashing healthcare, Meals on Wheels, and much more, all while barreling toward a needless shutdown that would threaten nutrition assistance for nearly 7 million mothers and children? Is that what they want? That’s a question for them. They have to answer this.

Or do they keep their promise and abide by the bipartisan agreement two thirds — two thirds of House Republicans voted for — for this bipartisan agreement just four months ago, back in May? It’s not complicated here. It’s truly not complicated, because a deal is a deal.

So, another thing before we — we continue. Here at the White House, this afternoon, the President is taking another action to save lives; signing a bipartisan law that will make the ar- — the organ transplant system work better for more than 100,000 people on the waiting list for organs.

Everybody knows the system has been broken for years, with heartbreaking consequences. Now, with the President’s signature, we are taking significant steps to improve it.

The law will break up the current monopoly system, harnessing competition to allow HHS to contract with the best entities to provide a more efficient system for the people it serves. The law will also eliminate the funding cap to allow additional resources to modernize the system, which is a critical lifeline for thousands of Americans. And accountable system that allows more Americans to access the organ transplants that many so desperately need.

And finally, finally, finally – on Monday, the President will host Pacific Islands Forums leaders at the White House during the U.S.-Pacific Island Forum Summit taking place here in Washington D.C.

This is the second summit with Pacific leaders that the President will be doing here. It will reaffirm his support for strengthening ties with the Pacific Islands and discuss how we address complex global challenges, like tackling the existential threat of climate change, advancing economic growth, and promoting sustainable development.

Over the past year, we’ve taken up our engagement with PIF countries to new heights. And we’re looking forward — to continue to deepen our partnerships.

And we’ll have more for all of you later this afternoon. There will be a call that all of you can jump on. I believe it’s at 3:30. And so, stay — stay tuned.

And with that, Will.

Q: Thanks. I have two topics. First, on Senator Menendez, did the White House know that an indictment was coming today? And does the President believe the senator should resign?

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: So, a couple of things. I’m going to be really careful here — this is a — and not comment, because this is an active matter.

We learned about this just like all of you. But again, this is active matter, so I’m not going to comment.

Q: Should he resign?

Q: No comment on a resignation?

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: I — I’m just — active matter. I’m not going to comment.

Q: Okay. On the — on the UAW strike. The UAW has invited President Biden to the picket line. I’m wondering if he’s going to — he has any plans to go.

And also, they — the strike is expanding to 20 states. Is the President going to feel more pressure to move both parties towards a resigna- a resolution —

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: So, a cou- —

Q: –resolution?

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: Yep. On your first question, I don’t have any updates to the President’s schedule at — at this time. Just don’t have anything to share.

But certainly, the President appreciates the — Shawn Fain’s inviting him, certainly, with the — with all the family and friends of the UAW.

And so, the President has been really clear about this. He believes the un- — the union built the middle class. That’s something that he has said for years now. And, of course, he is a union guy who will continue to fight for UAW and also for union workers. So, that will not end. That is something that he has certainly been steadfast about for the past several years.

So, we are, of course, in touch with the parties. And you know, Acting Secretary of Labor Julie Su and also Gene Sperling have been in regular touch for the past several weeks with all parties.

Certainly, parties continue to remain at the negotiation table, which is incredibly important. And so, we’ve communicated to each of them the importance of continuing to work 24/7 to get a win-win agreement, as you’ve heard us say many times.

And look, the auto industry will remain here in America. That’s what the President has been working towards, investing in that in the last two years. And, you know, UAW workers remain at the heart — the heart of a growing industry.

And so, we will do anything — everything that we possibly can to help in any way that the parties would like us to. But again, they are at the negotiating table, and they, — we believe that’s incredibly important.

I know — I know your — your dad had some thoughts about our back-and-forth yesterday, so maybe we sh- — we should try this again.

Q: I – same question.

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: (Laughs.)

Q: Same question as yesterday.

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: Can you repeat the question?

Q: What do you call it when 10,000 people illegally cross the border in a single day?

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: So, here’s what I will say. And you’ve heard us say — you heard me say this a couple of times — and I’ll say it again because it is the facts: On day one, the first day of this President’s administration, he put forth a comprehensive immigration reform that we believe — we believe that was desperately needed for this country. Right?

As we know, and you’ve heard us say this many times before, we are dealing with a broken system. And no action was taken from Congress.

And so, what the President was able to do: He imposed consequences for those who do not have the legal basis to remain. And he has removed more than 250,000 individuals — this administration has done so — since May 12th. And so, we’ve taken action.

The President has secured — he also secured record funding. And — and let’s not forget that the President fought for over the last year or so was — was opposed by the House Republicans. This is something that they opposed and didn’t want to see.

And so, what it allowed us to do is to actually hire about 25,000 more — bring on CBP agent and really do something that was historic, that we hadn’t seen.

And so, a broken system. It’s been broken for the past couple of decades. The last administration certainly gutted the immigration system for four years. That’s what they did.

And you had Speaker McCarthy and the Republicans in Congress who continuously — continuously take step to undermine what is currently happening, trying to undermine getting border security.

We saw that – we saw that this week with the — with the CR, where they put forth another — another piece of legislation to cut — to cut — to propose continuing to cut — cut some important resources that’s needed, whether its CBP — 800 fewer CBP is what they want to do. Fifty thousand pounds of cocaine, that’s what it would — that’s what it would hurt — right? — in — in trying to prevent that from coming in. Right?

When you think about more than 300 pounds of fentanyl, when you think about more than 700 pounds of heroin, more than 6,000 pounds of methamphetamine to enter the country — that’s what they were trying to prevent form the work that we’re trying to do — prevent from coming into the country.

So, we would love to do this in a bipartisan way, but we’re not seeing that. We’re seeing — what we’re seeing from House Republicans is wanting to defend — defu — defund, pardon me, DHS.

Q: But when you spoke last month —

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: Yeah.

Q: – and you said, “We are stopping the flow at the border,” is 10,000 migrants in a single day stopping the flow?

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: What I will say is — I just mentioned 250 [thousand] individuals have been — have been stopped who do not have legal pathway from coming in. that has been since may 12th.

And — as we are, you know, looking at Eagle Pass — and I know this is a — this is a — where — where kind of the issue is at the ti — at the moment. You know, CBP quickly surged resources and personnel to the area. And thanks to their great work — their great work, we’re able to swiftly vet — vetted and processed into custody more than two hun- 2,500 individuals and cleared the area where migrants had congregated.

And that’s the work of our law enforcement. That’s the work of our law enforcement at the border.

Remember, House Republicans are trying to cut that. They’re trying to cut that.

Q: Totally different subject.

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: Sure.

Q: There are some new relaxed standards in town. Would President Biden ever show up to an official meeting wearing shorts and a hoodie?

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: You’ve — you’ve — I’m assuming you’re talking about he Senate who you say “relaxed standards.”

Q: He was in the Senate for a long time.

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: I know, but I’m just —

Q: He used to be the president of the Senate.

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: I just want to make sure we’re clear what you’re talking about here.

Q: Does he think these are appropriate changes?

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: You — you know the President. You’ve seen him. You’ve seen him for the past — as vice president, as senator. He — he dresses better than — than most of us here. (Laughs.) And so, I’ll just leave it at that.

I’m not going to comment on how the Senate is running their business and the decision that they’re — made. That is — that is up to them.

Q: And then —

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: That is not for use to decide or speak to.

Q: — last one. At a fundrai- — at a fundraiser this week, President Biden told donors about how Charlottesville inspired his campaign. And then, according to the pool, a few minutes later, he told the story again, nearly word forward. What’s up with that?

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: What I can tell you is — and I’m going to be careful not to talk about — because this was a campaign event for this upcoming campaign, obviously, in 2024. So, I’m not going to speak to that, put that out there for the Hatch Act.

What I can speak to is — look, the President was making it very clear why he decided to run in 2020 and 2019 He made it very clear as to what he saw in this country and what was going on. And he got 81 million votes — a historic amount of votes — from Americans across the country who believed that the was a president who can help get our — protect our democracy, get our economy back on track. And — and could be a leader and the adult in the room. And so, that’s what you saw.

I’m not going to speak to comments that were made and — during a campaign — campaign event, but I can certainly speak to why the President is president today and why he decided to take on this job.

And it is important for him to continue to deliver for the American people, and that’s what he’s going to do.

Go ahead, Nancy,

Q: (Inaudible.)

Q: Thanks, Karine.

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: Go ahead, Nancy.

Q: I know you don’t want to interfere with an ongoing investigation. But given the unique nature of the charges against Senator Menendez, taking bribes from a foreign country — he’s the chair of the Foreign Relations Committee — what message does it send to other countries if he’s allowed to stay in that role?

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: So, I believe, from some of your reporting, I think there’s discussions happening about his next steps. So, I leave it to the leadership of the Senate and certainly lead it — leave that to the senator’s office.

I have to be really careful because it is, indeed, an ongoing matter. And so, I cannot comment on this.

But a far as his leadership role in the Senate, that is something for Senate leadership to speak to.

Q: Given that this is now the second time that he’s faced really serious federal charges, would the President advise him to step down? Does he want to see him continue in the Senate?

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: We’re going to be very, very clear about this: We’re not going to get involved. It is an ongoing matter. And so, we’re not going to leave it to — to the prosecutors to move forward with however they see fit, but we’re not going to comment.

Q: On the UAW, the initial plan was the President was going to send Julie Su and Gene Sperling to Detroit. They stayed here. Why was that decision made for them to stay here? And now, given that the strike is expanding, are there plans to now go ahead and send them to Detroit? Or are they going to continue to — to make those conversations from here?

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: So, there was a mutually agreed decision that was made the week that we – that was believed to be the most productive way to move forward — was for — for Gene and Julie to stay back and help from Washington in the best way possible. That was a mutually agreed agreement.

And, look, we are in constant — those two are in constant conversation with all parties. They actually spoke to the parties today. And so, that certainly is going to continue. We are going to help and assist in any way that they feel necessary.

But look, I think the most important thing is that they are still at the negotiating table. That is incredibly important. They have done — they have been really focused on this the last — the last 24/7. And so, I think that’s important.

The President has always been a union guy. He — he appreciates being called that by unions and labor leaders out there.

And so, we’re going to do everything that we can to be helpful. But we are encouraged that they are continuing to have that conversation.

Q: Thanks, Karine. Beyond placing blame on Congress, what’s your message to federal employees at risk of going unpaid?

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: Look, our message is: This doesn’t have to happen. The shutdown does not have happen. The Republican shutdown does not have to happen. They can to their — they can do their job and keep these vital programs continuing, keeping the government open. And that’s our message.

Our message is: This should not be happening. We should not be putting American families’ lives in turmoil. We should not be putting their — even their lives at risk, potentially, because of what this could mean for the different programs that these families and Americans need.

And so, all they have to do is do their job. And what they’re doing is putting forth incredibly extreme, partisan — partisan policies forward and — you know, and saying, “Hey, we have to get this done,” in order to keep a deal that they made back in May.

And so, this should not be happening. It should not be happening. And so, look, we’re going to continue to be very clear what we’re — what we’re saying to them privately is what we’re saying to all of you publicly — is that they need to do their job.

Q: Do you know when federal workers would miss their first paycheck?

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: So, I don’t have the specifics on any of that. The OMB director and the OMB more broadly certainly is working — is working on what — on plans of what this could potentially look like if there is a shutdown, talking to the different agencies.

So that is – that is certainly in progress right now. Just don’t have any specifics on payments or what that would — would look like.

Q: And the new announcement today on the gun violence — Office of Prevention of Gun Violence. That has been something advocates have been pushing for years. Why do you think it took this long?

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: Look, here’s the thing. As you know, there was the bipartisan piece of legislation that the President was — signed, and it was the first major piece of legislation on gun violence that was able to be — to move forward in 30 years.

The President did two dozen executive actions, because he took this seriously. He called the gun violence in this country an “epidemic.”

And so, I said yesterday and I’ve said this many times — you’ve heard this from the President: There are people who are sitting at their kitchen table every night who is missing a loved one because of this violence. Because you can’t go — you can’t go to your congregation, you can’t go to your grocery store and not worry about potentially getting shot down.

You have kids who are going to school who are — you heard directly from the congresswoman — what they have to go through now because of this gun violence epidemic.

So, right now is the right moment to establish this office. We want to accelerate — accelerate what the President is — put forward in his two dozen — two dozen executive actions. We want to accelerate the law that he was able to sign – sign into — sign into law — legislation he was able to sign into law — to get — to continue to get the work done.

And so, this was the right time to do that. But let’s not forget the work that the President has done the last two years to get us where we are. But more work needs to be done. He’s not going to stop calling on Congress to continue to do the work that they need to do to protect our families from gun violence.

But this is an opportunity to accelerate what the President has been able to do to — to protect communities, to really deal with gun violence. And that’s what the importance of this office is.

Go ahead.

Q: Thanks, Karine, Did President Biden and other Five Eyes leaders raise their concerns about Canada’s allegations of Indian involvement in the murder of a Canadian citizen at the recent G20 meeting?

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: So, I know that the National Security Advisor spoke to this yesterday, and I know there’s been some new reporting. I don’t have anything to — certainly — and this is something that Jake said himself — you know, I’m not — he was not going to comment about private diplomatic conversations. I’m not going to do that either. You know, if the — just — just following what the National Security Advisor said.

And so, I’m just not going to comment on that. Obviously, you know, we are deeply concerned, as he said as well. And — and so, what — what the Prime Minister has referenced here — the Prime Minister of Canada. And so, we remain in regular contact with the — with the Canadian governor — government and the Canadian partners. But, of course, I’m just not going to comment on diplomatic conversations from here.

Q: Jake did also say that the — that the issue was being raised at the highest levels with the Indian government. Can you tell us if that’s — if you’re staying in regular contact with them about this as well?

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: So, we have engaged, as — as — as Jake said — our National Security Advisor — with — with the Indian government. But, certainly, we’re not going to get into our private diplomatic conversations, as he said as well. But yes, there has been conversations with our partners in the Indian government, as Jake — Jake stated yesterday.

Q: Karine, a follow up?

Q: In another realm of diplomatic conversations, can you say whether or not President Biden promised President Zelenskyy yesterday that the U.S. would provide the weapons known as ATACMS?

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: So, again, with this, I’m just not looking to confirm the reportings that are out there. Look — and Jake said this as well when he was here — the President has long said, in the past, that ATACMS are not — are not off the table. And — but I just don’t have anything new to announce.

But, look, I will say this, more broadly — is that what we saw yesterday, this bilat between the two leaders — between President Zelenskyy and President Biden – was really important.

It sent a strong signal to the world that — that we will continue to support Ukraine. And let’s not forget, we also announced a significant weapons package yesterday to continue to show that support that we have to Ukraine — their counter- — to support their counteroffensive and strengthen their air defense against Russian attacks, which is our fourth package, as you know.

So, we’ll — going to continue to show support for Ukraine with these security assistance. And so, that is our commitment. We will be there as long a they — as long as it takes. I just cannot confirm those reports.

Q: Follow up on Canada?

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: Go ahead.

Q: Back on the auto strike. There’s been some behind-the-scenes talk about a loan or grant program to help the auto suppliers. Is there any movement on that? And if a program would happen, could that be potentially affected by a government shutdown?

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: So, look, there’s negotiations happening right now. I’m not going to get into the — into the details of the negotiations at this time. I’m going to let them have their — we’re going to give them the space and let them have the conversations. We are encouraged that they are — continue to be at the table. I’m just not going to go — I’m just not going to go point to point on what’s being discussed or what’s being put forward.

Q: Is there — is there any discussions in the administration about helping the suppliers as this strike continues?

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: Don’t have anything to share at this time from — from how we’re going to potentially move forward.

What we are encouraged of is that they are continuing to stay at the table, and that’s what we want to see. And so, I’m not going get into hypotheticals at this point.

Go ahead, Karen.

Q: Thanks, Karine. A possible government shutdown would coincide with the restart date for federal student loan payments. That starts on October 1st. Is there any consideration right now to pushing that date back if there were a shutdown?

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: It’s a really good question. We are — right now, OMB is having those discussions with agencies at the moment to see how to move forward if here is a potential shutdown. Don’t have the pa- — specifics of what the different programs like the student loan program that we’ve — the different parts of it that we’ve announced is going to look like because those conversations are just now happening.

Q: Can you say, from the White House, how worried you would be if there were Education Department employees furloughed — who would obviously be a part of this — but if there was a shutdown and those employees weren’t there, how concerned would yo bur that this would not go smoothly then, stating on October 1st?

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: So, look, as you know, the student — student debt relief program the port- the President put forth is incredibly important to him, right? It is something that he believed — the reason he put it out there was to make sure that we give Americans a little bit breathing room, especially coming out of the pandemic. And so, it was a — clearly, part of his economic policy to make sure that we don’t leave anybody behind, especially, again, as we’re coming out of this pandemic.

Don’t have — I don’t want to get too far into the weeds into this, because, again, these conversations are just now starting — that OMB is having — so I don’t want to get ahead of that. But certainly we’re looking into it, and we’re planning accordingly.

Go ahead.

Q: Yes, Karine. Also on the shutdown. You mentioned yesterday that, potentially, food safety would be under threat —

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: Yeah.

Q: — in a shutdown. I understand that in previous years, USDA has considered those sorts of inspections as essential. Is there something else that you think will change that would make it non-essential?

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: So, those conversations are happening, as to what the effects might be – right? – to those certain programs and how these agencies are going to move forward. Don’t have anything more to share.

Certainly, I laid — I laid out what the impacts would be for a shutdown, because it’s important for the American people to know what this means, with this Republican shutdown that they’re certainly seeming to barrel forward with. But just don’t have any specifics on that.

Again, OMB is having these conversations with agencies. And so — to — to look to see — to try and figure out how this is going to affect Americans across the country.

Go ahead.

Q: Karine, thanks. Can you expound on what the President is doing and what he will be doing to avoid a government shutdown? I understand you all have been saying that Congress needs to do is job. But surely, the President must want to do something to avert this.

And is there a possibility that he would alter his travel schedule next week?

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: Look, — look, I don’t have anything to speak to on the President’s travel schedule. But this is — the President did his job. He did. He helped broker a bipartisan agreement back in May to move forward with a budget that, as I mentioned, two thirds of Republicans voted on. He did his part. So, a deal is a deal.

This is not something we can fix. The best plan is to not — is to not have a shutdown. The best plan is for House Republicans to stop their partisan political play and not do this to hurt Americans across the country. That’s the plan. The plan is to — for them to actually do their job.

The President found it so important — right? — to make sure that there was a bipartisan agreement that he did — he — he ma- — he helped brokered that.

And, again, a deal is a deal. And so, there should not be a shutdown. There should not be a shutdown. They should keep their promise not just to the President but to the American people.

And so, you know, this is for them to fix. This is something that House Republicans have to fix.

Go ahead. And then I’ll go to the back. Go ahead.

Q: A couple of things I’d like to follow up on. First of all, when you referenced the signing of the organ donation, if we had coverage of the signing of the organ donation, that would certainly expand attention to that important issue. So, just as an ongoing request that coverage of bill signings —

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: I appreciate that.

Q: — would be — would be appreciated.

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: I appreciate that. Yep.

Q: Following up on the UAW and — and so forth. Isn’t it an acknowledgement that the offer to send Julie Su and Gene Sperling a misstep because they have not gone and you want to give this space?

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: No, ab- — I don’t think it — I wouldn’t have called it a “misstep,” because I said it was mutually agreed upon that they would stay back as they continue to have their conversation. And when I mean “they” — meaning the parties that are — who are a part of this negotiation process: obviously, the Big 3 an UAW.

And so, wouldn’t call it a misstep at all. I mean, again, it was a mutual — mutually agreed that it wold be — it would be more — most productive for Gene and Julie to stay back and do the meetings and — from Washington, D.C.

Now, let’s not forget, this is something that they’ve been doing for the past several weeks; it’s nothing new. And so, we are — you know, we appreciate that — again, mutually agreed.

And so, if there’s travel that needs to happen, we’ll certainly assess that when the time — when the time comes.

But what is the most important thing here — what is the most important thing is that all parties continue to have these — this conversation and to continue to negotiate. And that’s, I think, what is the most important part of this.

Q: And following up on Peter’s comment about the fundraiser. For — you know, we all understand these are off camera. We were not witness to that, except for our pool that was present. But for the President to retell a story we’ve all heard him tell many times —

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: Yeah.

Q: — in full — and stipulating that we often — as human beings, you know, we misspeak. We do things. I’ve done it myself. So, stipulating all of that–

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: Yeah.

Q: — is it any concern that he would fully retell a story in the same space in the same event?

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: Sometimes, I re- — re-speak as well from here and retell a story.

But, look, you know, I think it’s important to note the President was speaking, as you said, at a fundraiser, and he was speaking from his heart. He was speaking about why he decided to do this. And you hear the President talk about this. It’s always incredibly emotional for him, because he didn’t have to. He went through an incredibly difficult time when he was deciding to jump into the race.

And so — but he saw — you know, as somebody who served a senator, as somebody who served as vice president — what was going on in this — in this — in this country under the last president.

Charlottesville —

Q: So, you think knowingly and mindfully that he wants to retell it?

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: You know, I have not spoken to the President about it, certainly.

But what I can’t say is: The passion that he has when he tells that story and how important it is for him to have done something because he believed, you know, our democracy was at stake. You know, and that’s — and — and what he saw.

I mean, you all saw what we saw in Charlottesville. It was devastating. It was a part of our country that was devastating to see.

And so, you know, he spoke to that passionately. And, you know, that’s why he’s in this. He’s in this because he believes that he can — he can help move this country forward in a way that brings it to — to its best — right? — when he talks about possibilities. And that’s why he was speaking to — in an incredibly passionate way.

Okay. Go ahead, Gerren.

Q: Thanks, Karine. While gun violence impacts communities all across the country. Black, Jewish, and marginalized communities often fall at the intersection of gun violence and hate-fueled violence. In many parts of the country, those who commit hate crimes can still have legal access to a gun. How important is it for this office – this new office to address gun violence intersectionally?

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: Oh, it’s — I mean, it is incredibly important. When we talk about gun violence, it’s not one community that’s affecting, as you just laid out; it’s multiple communities. So, this is something that is at their intersection. It is so important that we do not forget a community here.

As you know, tis is going to be overseen by VP Harris — the Vice President, Harris — which is going to be incredibly important. We have Stef Feldman, who’s going to be the director, and she’ll have two deputies.

We’re taking this very seriously, and this is about all communities — all communities. As we hear the horrible stories — right? — we hear story — stories of different brown and Black communities, rural communities, urban communities being affected by gun violence. And enough is enough.

Remember, what I said at the top of this — at the top of the briefing: The President hears from multiple — multiple victims, and the thing that they say to him is, “Do something.” And it doesn’t matter where he is around the country, who he’s comforting during these awful attacks, that’s what he hears, because all of these communities are feeling the same thing. They’re losing loved ones.

And so, it’s going to be incredibly important to make sure that we don’t leave any community behind. This is not a president that does that. This is the president that talks about inclus — being inclusive. And — and so, that’s what you’re going to see from this office.

What this office is going to do — as I said moments ago, it’s going to accelerate the work that the President has already put forth: the bipartisan — the bipartisan law on gun – for gun violence, when you think about the two dozen executive actions that he’s taken. It’s going to help accelerate all of those really critical pieces, so that we can get to a place where we’re in — where we’re not sending our kids — being frightened — to school because there might be — there might be gun violence at their school or going to — or going to a grocery store. Right?

And so, that’s the importance of this office — is to really get to work and accelerate the work that we’ve already been doing.

Go ahead.

Q: Thanks. On Ukraine. After Zelenskyy’s visit yesterday, Biden — Biden said that he was counting on a good judgment of Congress to keep approving aid for Ukraine. How confident is he that Republicans are going to keep approving additional funding in an election year?

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: So, look, this is something that Jake — Jake Sullivan spoke to – our National Security Advisor spoke to yesterday. As you know, he’s been very much involved and having conversations on — on the Hill with congressional members — both Democrat and Republican — sitting down, talking through the importance of continuing the funding.

We have said over and over again how much we appreciate the strong bipartisan support that we have seen for Ukraine in helping them fight — fight in this war, as they’re fighting for their democracy.

So, we’re going to continue to be confident. We’re to have those conversations. And — and we believe — and that’s what I — you know, what I said earlier about how important it was for the two leaders to have this bilateral engagement yesterday, the message that it sends is that we should — that — that we are going to continue to support Ukraine.

So, we’re confident in that support, that bi – — that bipartisan support for Ukraine. And so, we’re just going to continue to have those conversations.

Q: Also, on Israel. Netanyahu said today that he believes Israel and Saudi Arabia can achieve a historic peace deal, and that President Biden can clinch the deal. But he also said that we should not give the Palestinians a veto.

How confident is the White House that Israel and Saudi Arabia will normalize relations? Is it possible – a deal without the Palestinians?

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: So, a couple of things. And this is something that Jake Sullivan spoke to when we — when he spoke to normalization.

So, many o the key elements of a pathway towards normalizations are now on the table, as you just stated, and there is a broad understanding of these elements, which will not — which we’re, of course, not going to discuss publicly.

So, the specifics require an incredible amount of legwork, discipline, rigor, and all of the stakeholders in this are applying — applying that as we speak. This is coming from Jake yesterday.

And that said, we don’t have a formal framework here. We don’t have the — the terms ready to be signed.

There’s certainly a lot of work to do, and we’re going to work through it.

Look, a normalization agreement between Israel and Saudi Arabia will include a serious component dealing with the fundamental issue between Israeli and Palestinian. This is to your question.

But I — I certainly don’t want to get ahead of a process. There’s a lot of legwork to be done. And don’t have a formal framework. And so, we’re going to work through it.

And certainly, I’m not going to get into the specifics from here.

Go ahead.

Q: Thank you, Karine. Just to follow up on the new office on preventing gun violence, I was wondering if there’s an international component to the scope of this new office. For example, will it be able to help curb the trafficking of illegal guns to Mexico from bordering U.S. states?

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: I don’t have anything more to do what the President has shared on this. I think most recently may have been Camp David when he was asked this question. I don’t have anything to share on a potential meeting or details on that.

Surely, if that were to happen, we would share — we would certainly share that with all of you.

Go ahead, Jon.

Q: Thanks a lot, Karine. A follow-up in regards to the gun violence prevention office that the President will announce in a few moments. Why can’t the Domestic Policy Council do the same work that this new office is setting up? Can you explain what the Domestic Policy Council does versus what the new office will do and if there is any overlap between those two offices?

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: So, look, this office is going to implement and expand upon the key — key executive actions. Right? It’s going to zero in and focus on those key executive actions, get that moving, accelerate that, and — and also do the legislative action. That is what it’s going to do.

And, look, I said it, the President has said it — you’re going to hear from him in a moment – — in a few moments — and the Vice President: This is an epidemic. Gun violence is an epidemic in our country. And so, we need to do everything that we can.

And we believe having this office is going to be — is showing — is sh- — continuing to show the President’s commitment. But it’s going to be incredibly important, pushing what the President put forward. And that’s what you’re going to see.

And I think having it separate and apart from D- — DPC shows our commitment, yes, but also shows that we are taking this an extra step — right? — an extra step on how seriously we’re taking it and how important it’s going to be.

So, this is the President saying he wants to — he wants to save more lives. This is what — this is what we’re going to try and do. We’re going to continue to see what we can do to save more lives.

Q: And then a separate question in regards to President Zelenskyy’s visit to Washington yesterday. He was up on Capitol Hill; he met with members of both parties. From what you’ve heard, was he able to change any minds, particularly those House Republicans that are opposed to providing any additional aid to Ukraine?

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: So, I’ll leave that to the House Republicans to speak to their meetings with — with the Pres- — President Zelenskyy.

As you know, he met with them and shared — shared, you know, certainly, his — when he speaks about this, as he’s dealing with this, he speaks about it in a passionate way. And when he — when President Zelenskyy speaks, people listen, because he knows he’s going through every day with his — what his county is going through, the people in his country are going through. And we have said how bravely they are fighting for their democracy and for their freedom.

So, that’s up to House Republicans to speak to, or House — House — House congressional members to speak to.

What we can do is continue to do what we showed yesterday, right? We announced another security assistance. Again we — you saw the bilateral — the bilateral engagement between two leaders, which we believe showed our commitment to Ukraine. You heard from the President at UNGA — speak to this in a very forceful way, what this means if — if we were not to continue to support Ukraine.

And so, we’re going to — the President is going to continue to do — to speak very forcefully, to show how much he supports Ukraine. But that is up to Congress.

But, with all of that said, we appreciate the bipartisan support that we have seen for the funding for Ukraine. And we are going — we are optimistic that that’s going to continue.

AIDE: We can take one more, Karine.

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: One more? Okay.

Q: Karine?

Q: Karine?

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: Go ahead. Go ahead.

Q: Thank you, Karine.

Q: So –

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: It’s been a while.

Q: Yes, it has been. Thank you for taking my question.

Q: If there is so much at stake in case of a government shutdown, is the President willing to support or even broker negotiations between more moderate Republicans and Democrats to help Leader McCarthy avoid the shutdown? Is there any chance for bipartisanship here?

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: So, look — Christina, look, I appreciate the question — really do. And I’m just going to reiterate what I said moments ago: This is something for the House Republicans to deal with. It is their job. It is one of their basic duties to keep the government open. It truly is.

And instead, they’re going in a very bipartisan way — in extreme ways in putting forth policies, and you, CRs that’s going to hurt American families.

We — the President did his job, right? He helped broker a bipartisan legislation that two thirds of that legislation was voted by Republicans.

And so, a deal is a deal. They need to stick to what they agreed upon — what they, themselves, voted on.

And so, that is for Speaker McCarthy to — to figure out — to figure out how he’s going to move forward here. But this is for them to fix. This is for them to fix.

So, I’ll leave it there.

Have a great weekend, y’all. I’ll see you on Monday.

Q: Thanks, Karine.

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: Thank you.

September 25: The White House posted “Press Briefing by Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre and Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack”

Q: Hey, hey.

MS. JEAN PIERRE: Hey, hey.

Q: Hi.

MS. JEAN PIERRE: Hi everybody. Look at all the cameras. Oh my goodness. I’m camera shy.

Okay. Good afternoon, everyone. Happy Monday.

This week, as House Republicans’ chaos continues to march us toward an extreme Republican shutdown, we are calling out how a shutdown would damage our communities, economy, and national security.

And we’re going to hold extreme House Republicans accountable. We’re going to hold them accountable for the reckless cuts they are demanding as a condition — as a condition for keeping the government open.

With that, I’m looking forward to having the Secretary back here again to give you a letdown of the impacts and to talk about what the extreme Republicans — what — what they’re about to do is going to really impact families and Americans across the country.

If you think about it, the risk of vital nutrition assistance for nearly 7 million mothers and young children who count on WIC, prevent farmers from being able to access new loans, and delay housing loans for rural families. And that is why they’re — we’re looking at this shutdown — this Republican shutdown occurs.

With that, Mr. Secretary.

SECRETARY VILSACK: Great. Thank you.

Well, good afternoon, everybody. It’s certainly a pleasure to be here today. I think most of you probably understand and appreciate that the work of the Department of Agriculture (inaudible) a number of mission areas. We are not only responsible for supporting farmers, we also ensure a stable food supply, and we also provide nutrition assistance — vital nutrition assistance to millions of Americans.

That’s why it’s so difficult to face where we are today with an extreme House Republican effort to recklessly steer our government towards a preventable shutdown that would put many of the critical services that we care about deeply at USDA at risk.

I know this firsthand because I was Secretary of Agriculture during 2013 when we had a shutdown, and I remember then the needless challenges and disruption that it caused.

So, today, I thought it would be important to highlight some of the impacts of this extreme Republican shutdown, what impact it would have on rural Americans, farmers, families in need.

Let me start with WIC. WIC is a program that impacts and affects over 50 percent of all the newborns in this country. Nearly 7 million pregnant moms, new mothers, and young children count on WIC every single day to receive support — nutrition assistance support.

With a shutdown, what we would see across the United States is a denial of those benefits and opportunities. In some cases, it would literally be a matter of days after the shutdown. In some cases, it may be — in some states, it may be literally a matter of weeks.

But clearly, during the course of a shutdown, millions of those moms, babes, and young children would see a lack of nutrition assistance.

And it’s not just the WIC program, as important and significant as that is. It’s also about our farm community.

Now is the time when farmers are harvesting their crops and they’re seeking marketing loans, which allow them and assist them in ensuring that they get a decent price for their crop. When we have a shutdown, farm service agency offices in virtually every county in this country shut down and those loans are not available.

It’s not just about farm loans. It’s about newlyweds who have decided to purchase their first home in a rural small town. Perhaps they’re getting a loan guarantee from a bank that is guaranteed by USDA or perhaps they’re getting a direct loan from USDA to be able to purchase that home. With a shutdown, those loans don’t take place. And it’s conceivable in those circumstances not only do that not — are they not able to close the loan, it’s also conceivable that they may lose the deal.

So, this is a matter of real consequences when we are faced with a shutdown.

It’s not just about rural America. It’s also about our natural resources.

As you probably know, the USDA is responsible for maintaining 195 million acres of national forests and grasslands. These are often places where people go to recreate. And when they do, they provide tourism dollars to communities in which they are going and spending time.

When we have a shutdown, those national forests shut down, and they are closed. And so, those family trips don’t take place, and those tourism dollars are not spent, and the jobs they support are at risk.

It’s not just the services that go to the American public. It’s also those who work for USDA.

We anticipate and expect that more than 50,000 of those who work for USDA will be furloughed. And when they’re furloughed, it means they don’t receive a paycheck. Because they don’t receive that paycheck, their local economies get impacted and affected.

And I could go on for some time. But the reality is that when there is a shutdown, we’re looking at a significant disruption of the lives of millions of Americans.

Republicans have called for a CR. And I’ll just say two things about that. It just is basically carrying forward the extreme cuts that we’ve seen and saw in the budget that was proposed in the House Ag appropriations committee.

At the time, I said the budget was pathetic, it was punitive, and it was petty. And I would say that that also continues to be the case.

Not only do we have the WIC initiative that wouldn’t be funded, but we’re also looking at the failure to fund the firefighter fix, which puts at risk the firefighting staff necessary to combat the nearly 44,000 fires that we’ve already experienced in the Western U.S. today.

So, I’m here today to suggest that there are real consequences to real people in a real way when there is a shutdown, especially one that ought not to happen. And – I’m hopeful that, at the end of the day, it doesn’t happen.

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: Thank you, Secretary.

Go ahead.

Q: Once there is a shutdown, how long can you keep nutrition assistance going?

SECRETARY VILSACK: To make sure I answer your question, the SNAP program – the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program — will continue —

Q: Okay.

SECRETARY VILSACK: — at least for the month of October. Now, if the shutdown were to extend longer than that, there would be some serious consequences to SNAP.

The WIC program that I talked about today, which is for nearly 7 million moms and children — that program expires, if you will, or it stops immediately when the shutdown occurs.

We have a contingency fund at USDA that might continue it for a day or two. Some states may have leftover WIC benefits that have not been spent, which could extend it for a week or so in that state. But the vast majority of WIC participants would see an immediate reduction and elimination of those benefits, which means the nutrition assistance that’s provided would not be available.

Q: Thank you, sir.

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: Go ahead, MJ.

Q: Is there any scenario where if there is no deal and there is a government shutdown that the administration could explore the possibility of exercising any authority to extend the funding of the WIC program past the one or two days that you just mentioned?

SECRETARY VILSACK: There is no authority. It’s — it is — unlike the SNAP program, it doesn’t — we don’t have that capability, at least for a period of time, with SNAP for — for a month or so.

So, if we have a shutdown, WIC shuts down. And that means the nutrition assistance to those moms and young children shuts down.

Q: Thank you. You mentioned a government shutdown could harm farmers and prevent them from accessing new loans. Help us put this into perspective for Americans. At the end of the day, what should Americans expect? Could this even lead to higher food prices, for instance?

SECRETARY VILSACK: What it leads to is a tremendous amount of stress for those farm families. Just to give you a sense of this, many farm families require off-farm income to be able to keep the farm. And oftentimes, they need that loan — that marketing assistance loan — to be able to make sure they maintain the farm.

So, it puts at risk the small- and mid-sized farming operations in terms of their ability to get credit when they need credit, their ability to pay their bills when they need to pay their bills, the ability to make sure that they can harvest their crop.

If they can’t harvest their crop or they don’t get the marketing assistance loan, then it’s — they’re in a situation where they — they don’t profit. And if they don’t profit, they risk losing the farm.

So, it creates a tremendous amount of stress. For what reason? There’s no reason for this shutdown. At the end of the day, we had a deal — a deal that the Senate passed with a majority of senators, a deal that passed the House with a majority of not just Democrats but also Republicans voting for it. A deal is a deal.

And, you know, to me, there’s no reason for use to even be having this conversation.

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: Go ahead, Weijia.

Q: Thanks, Karine. Thank you, Mr. Secretary. Over the weekend, the President mentioned that food safety was also at stake. So, can you give us some examples of how, during previous shutdowns, the absence of food and environmental inspections impacted public health?

SECRETARY VILSACK: Well, I think you would want to visit with the folks at FDA. You need to understand that our food safety responsibilities are divided. The USDA has the responsibility for meat, poultry, and processed eggs. FDA has responsibility for everything else.

I can tell you that in terms of meat, poultry, and processed eggs, we will continue to have food inspection. But that may not necessarily be the case with the FDA. So, I think you want to talk — talk to the FDA.

To show you how silly this is: If you order a pepperoni pizza, we’re guaranteeing the safety of it because there’s meat on that pizza. If you order a cheese pizza, you’re looking at FDA. (Laughter.)

Q: So, are not all food inspectors considered essential workers? Just ones affiliated with meat and –

SECRETARY VILSACK: Well, I can’t speak — I can’t speak to what HHS does or what FDA does. That’s why I think you should visit with them. But our inspectors will be on- –onsite.

But here’s — here’s where there is a potential problem. And that is if there is a situation and circumstance that requires lab analysis — well, now, that’s a different story.

So, you know, that may impact and affect our ability to detect animal diseases as quickly as we need to, which, in turn, could affect the supply of food.

So, it’s complicated, but our food inspector will be on the job.

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: (Inaudible)

Q: On the potential 50,000 furloughed workers, do you know where those workers — what programs those would be impacted on? Do you know who we’re looking at right now?

SECRETARY VILSACK: It’s across the board. It’s every county in the country. We have a presence in every county in the country. So, it’s going to impact and affect literally every county in the country.

It’s FSA offices. It’s rural development offices. It’s NRCS conservation employees. It’s some of the Forest Service employees. It’s a lot of the researchers and people who work for the Agricultural Research Service — ARS.

It’s — it’s administrative staff. You can nave people working on the job, but if you don’t have administrative people behind it, the job doesn’t get done.

It’s incredibly disruptive. Incredibly disruptive.

Q: And then, on another deadline in Washington, how confident are you that a new farm bill will be passed by the end of the year? Or is an extension more likely?

SECRETARY VILSACK: Well, I know that — I think that the chair and ranking members of both committees are working hard to get this done.

I would say this: In order to get it done, it’s important for them to understand the importance of using all the tool that would be available for all of the challenges that they face — not just the farm bill, but the budget. When you undercut and underfund the budget as some are proposing, cutting it by as much as, in some cases 20, 30 percent, you under- — undermine the ability of any farm bill, regardless of whether it’s passed or not, to be implemented.

And so our — our challenge at USDA is to provide technical assistance to help them get to — to “yes.” And that’s what we’re doing. We’ll continue to work.

And our hope and belief is that the farm community in rural areas need certainty and — and consistency. And we’ll do everything we can to make sure that this thing gets passed as quickly as it can. But it’s pretty tough to do if there is a shutdown.

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: Go ahead, Niels.

SECRETARY VILSACK: You can’t do it.

Q: Thank you, Mr. Secretary. A follow-up on that is: To what extent would a shutdown affect the ability of your leg affairs folks and — and maybe negotiations with the Hill on the farm bill? Could the farm bill reauthorization be delayed because everyone is — is dealing with the consequences of a shutdown?

SECRETARY VILSACK: So, here is how it works. Some senator or representatives has a great idea bout how they might be able to solve one of the problems they’re trying to solve with the farm bir- –bill. They call our office for technical assistance. The police is not going to get answered because no one is there. Why aren’t they there? Because we’re having a shutdown.

That’s why it’s so ridiculous for us to even talk about this. We — we need to get — the Speaker needs to do his job. He fought for it. He — you know, he — he negotiated for it. He needs to do the job and get the job done.

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: All right. Go ahead, Phil.

Q: Thank you. Switching gears to a slightly different topic. Has the Department of Agriculture seen anything in the purchase of farmland by Chinese corporations or Chinese nationals that would suggest a threat to national security or food security? Or are those concerns that we’ve increasingly been hearing about — are those overblown?

SECRETARY VILSACK: Well, I think there is concern, as there was in the North Dakota circumstance, where the Chinese interest was purchasing a land near a military installation. I think there is legitimate concerns in that space. And I think that’s one of the reasons why, you know, we’ve articulated the need as a department, to be more engaged in the CFIUS process.

I would also say that I think there is work to be done to give us the tools to be able to do an even better job of ensuring that we know when these transactions take place.

It’s complicated. But every country has their county recorder. And on any given day, somebody may walk into that recorder’s offer and file a deed, and there is no way of knowing precisely whether or not that is a Chinese purchaser.

So, we would — you know, we need to work on how we might be able to collect the information and be able to analyze that information in a timely way so that we would determine whether or not a threat exists or not.

Q: So, it sounds like you’re not confident in the current system as it’s set up to necessarily monitor?

SECRETARY VILSACK: Well, it’s not that I’m not confident. It’s that I think — I think we could be – we could do- — I think we’re confident in the job we’re doing today, because we are ba- –able to identify circumstances, as was the case in North Dakota.

I think that — if any — of pe- — if folks are looking for a foolproof system so that nothing gets through the cracks, then I think there are ways in which we can be helpful, and — and we can improve that process. Being part of CFIUS, I think, is part of it. Being – being able to collect information in a way that allows us to go a little bit deeper and a little quicker would be helpful as well.

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: We’re going to wr- — we’re going to wrap it up. Go ahead.

Q: Yeah. How — so how would the shutdown affect the programs that are used by farmers like crop insurance? And, you know, as part of the country is under really extreme drought — drought conditions, do you see a need for kind of a supplemental funding to come in and help folks, you know, plant their crops?

SECRETARY VILSACK: Well, I think there are certain circumstances where, notwithstanding the fact that we have a pretty good safety new, that there are some types of crops that would need a little bit of additional help. Florida and Georgia, in particular, I think of two states that — where there are significant needs and challenges.

Fortunately, the — the shutdown does not impact and affect crop insurance. But a failure to — to extend the farm bill or get a farm bill done could, which is why we don’t want to shut down so they can work on the farm bill to get it done and we don’t have the disruption to the WIC program.

The for — firefighters, the for – the farm loans, the home loans — I could go on. I could spend all of — and she would probably want me to do this — (laughter) — to spend all of your time talking about it.

But the point of this is — it’s very simple — there are real impacts. There are real impacts to real people on a daily basis when — when Congress and the House and House Republicans don’t do their job.

And Americans expect — and this is what drives people crazy outside of Washington: when a deal is not a deal and when the work that you’re supposed to do doesn’t get done and doesn’t get done on time.

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: Thank you, sir.

SECRETARY VILSACK: Thank you.

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: Appreciate it. Thank you.

SECRETARY VILSACK: Yeah.

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: Thank you, Mr. Secretary.

Okay. Just two quick things. I also wanted to say a note of welcome to our new employees starting at the White House today: our new deputy directors of the Office of Gun Violence Prevention, Greg Jackson and Rob Wilcox. This is all on the heels, as you know, of this historic announcement that the President and the Vice President made just on Friday. So, we could not be more thrilled to have them on board here and — and look forward to introducing them to you all very soon as the Office of Gun Violence Prevention gets up and running.

And one last thing before we opening — open it back up for questions. As you all know, today as Jewish communities — Jewish communities in the United States, Israel, and around the world are observing a sacred holiday. So, let me say that the President, the First Lady, and all of us at the White House are extending our best wished for an easy fast and a meaning- — meaningful Yom Kippur.

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

Q: Sure. Thank you. I have two things. Why did the White House choose to have the President take his — his latest COVID booster out of public view? Isn’t this a time when, you know, given the promotion of boosters and how important they are that the public might want to see the President have one?

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: Yeah. So, I think you all are the pr- — the physician’s memo — his report on Saturday. So, certainly if you haven’t, you should take a look at it.

So, the President got his vaccination. And you know, he has an incredibly busy schedule. He’s got — he got his vaccination as — the earliest moment that he could. And that’s what we were able to do — work — that would work in his schedule. So that’s what happened last week.

And certainly, we are — as you just laid out in your question, we are certainly engaged in a robust campaign. And it is incredibly important to use that we encourage the public to get vaccinated. That has been the way that we have moved forward when we have moved forward with the — you know, this comprehensive kind of vaccination program that the President put forward from the beginning.

And so, you know, we – it doesn’t require a photo op of the President to — to be — to be doing that — with a presidential photo op, to be more clear. So we thought that we needed to get that done, get that on his schedule. We did. And we’re going to — doesn’t stop us for having a robust engagement with the public to make sure that we get it across — the importance of folks getting their vaccines — not just the updated COVID vaccine, but also RSV, and — and also the flu shot.

Q: And the second — second one.

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: Oh, I’m sorry.

Q: Changing topics.

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: Yeah. Go ahead.

Q: Is the White House working on — with the Senate on — on a clean CR? And is there any reason for optimism on that front?

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: I — look, I’m going to be very clear, as I was on Friday. As Se- — Vilsack was very clear just — even before he walked out of the briefing room, which is: Look, this is something for House Republic — House Republicans to get done. This is a deal that the President made with — with Republicans back in May. And a deal is a deal, as we’ve been saying. This is something for them to fix.

And so, they have to — they have to get this done — not because of us, not because — even because of the deal with the President, but because of the American people. We just heard the Secretary of — Secretary of Agriculture lay out what will happen to women and children – 7 million women and children who are part of the WIC program across the country – 7 million — if this shutdown happens.

And this is indeed a Republican shutdown. So, they got to get to it. They got to fix it. And they got to stick to the deal that the President made with them early — earlier in the — in the summer.

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: MJ, welcome — welcome back.

Q: Thank you. It’s good to be back. I know that you got a number of questions about Senator Menendez on Friday. But now that the senator himself said that he is not going anywhere and given that President Biden is the leader of the Democratic Party, does the President believe that a person who is facing allegations that are as serious as the allegations confronting the senator that there is any place for somebody like Senator Menendez in the Democratic Party?

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: So, I’m going to be very clear: This is a serious matter. We see this as a serious matter. I think — and we believe the senator stepping down from his chairmanship is the right thing to do — obviously, the right thing to do.

As it related to anything else, any decision that he has to make, that’s certainly going to be up to him and the Senate leadership to decide.

But, of course, we see this as a serious matter. And I’m just going to leave it there for now.

Q: And just — just quickly on the trip to Detroit tomorrow, what changed? Can you give us a sense of what went into the decision for the President to go stand on the picket line and show that kind of solidarity with the workers there?

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: So, as you just laid out, you know, this is something — well, the President is a union guy. Right? You heard him say that many times. He is — he is the most pro-union president in modern times. That is not something that he’s given him that — himself that title. That is something that labor unions have given to him, and he wears that very proudly.

And, as you all know, the president of the U- UAW invited him to — to attend, and he — he accepted.

But, look, this is a president that’s made very, very clear that he believes that corporate profits should lead to record UAW – a record UAW contract.

And, you know, before the strike even occurred, he — he made public announcements about this. He spoke to the parties on both sides of this. He has made it very, very clear that he supports union workers; what you’re going to see is — is historic. Right? This is going to be a historic visit.

And the President is going to continue to show his support, not just from the last couple of years, but as he has been in the public eye — as a senator, as a vice president — his support for — for unions. And — and you’ve seen this in the last two years, with this pro-union policies — making sure that his pro-union policies are indeed pro-workers.

Q: So, should we take from the visit that the President is explicitly taking the side of the union workers as opposed to the companies?

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: Well, he has been very clear. Right? He is pro- –pro-UAW; he is pro-workers. You know, that is — that is the — that is the — this president. Right? He has said the middle class was built — the unions built the middle class. This is something that he said over and over again.

He’s always been in the side of workers. He believes that there is an opportunity here, and he is encouraged and he is pleased by seeing both sides continue to have that conversation. It is there negotiation to make. Right? This is why he says he believes in collective bargaining. And he believes that this — there could be a win-win agreement here.

But, he’s always going to stand on the side of the workers. Always.

All right, go —

Q: So, just to follow up —

Q: Oh —

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: Oh, okay. I’ll come back to you after, Joey.

Go ahead, Steve.

Q: Oh, all right.

Q: Did Trump’s decision to visit UAW workers play into your decision to go?

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: Absolutely not. This is a decision — to visit the picket line was based off his own desire. This is what the President wanted to do to stand — to stand with autoworkers. That’s what you’re going to see the President do tomorrow.

And — and he — as you — as you all know, Shawn Fain’s invitation from last week, he accepted that invitation and was proud — is proud to do so.

Q: And secondly, does the President endorse the pecif- — specific terms of the latest proposal by UAW leadership? Or is there room for further compromise?

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: So, I’m not going to get into negotiations from here. This is for the parties to negotiate. We’re not going to go — we’re not going to speak to what’s being put on the table.

What we have said over and over again is that we believe there’s an opportunity here for a win-win agreement. We believe with corporate record — corporations having record — you know, making record, you know, deals, there should be a — UAW should have a record contract. And that’s what the autoworkers deserve. That’s what workers deserve more broadly.

Go ahead, Joey.

Q: Yeah, did President Biden reach out to the auto companies bef- — to notify them that he would be going to join the picket line with UAW?

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: I don’t have any readouts of any calls to — that was been made regarded to the as it’s related to the companies.

As you know, we have made — we have said many times before that he has — he has spoken to the companies. He’s spoken to all parties.

As you know, you have — we have — we have two — two members of — General Sperling, a member here of the White House — a White House senior advisor and also, as you know, the Acting Secretary Julie Su, have been in touch — in regular touch with all the parties as they are negotiating this process.

But we are — you know, I don’t have anything to read out except that the President was pealed to accept the invite that was given to him, that was provided to him by — by the president of UAW and he is always going to stand by the side of workers.

Q: And can you provide some more information on the details of the format of the event? Is he going to be speaking? Is he going to be — what exactly will he be doing? And where in Wayne County, Michigan is he going to actually be going?

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: So, we don’t have any details — specific details at this time. Look, this is going to be a historic — a historic trip that’s going to underscore the President is the most — indeed — most pro-union president in history. And so, that’s what you’re going to see. He’s going to be standing — going to join the picket line, standing in solidarity with the men and women of UAW. That is important for the President, he believes, to do.

And as they continue to fight for a fair — a fair share of the value of — value of — they helped create, if you think about what the — what the record — record — these corporations, kind of, the — the record profits that they’ve been able to make, you know, they believe and we believe that they are owed a fair share of that.

Go ahead.

Q: Thanks, Karine. Just to clarify: Since President Biden will be making this trip, does this mean he supports the 40 percent pay increase, the 32-hour work week that workers are asking for?

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: I’m not going to get into the details of what’s being negotiated right now — that on the table with — with certainly, with the parties.

What we’re saying is that we support the autoworkers. That’s what you’re going to see with the President tomor- — tomorrow. This is a — a historic event. A historic trip. And this continues — continues to show how, indeed, this President is the most pro-union president in history and he stands by the side of workers. This is what you’re going to see tomorrow.

Q: And, separately, the White House has made it very clear that it’s on Republicans to avoid the government shutdown, not on the White House. But our latest polling shows that a higher percentage of Americans would actually blame the shutdown on the President and the Democrats, not on Republicans. Why do you think that is? And should the President be out there speaking more on this issue?

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: We’re going to be very clear. This is — this is — this will be a Republican shutdown. Right? This is extreme House Republicans who have made it very clear that the chaos that we’re seeing in the — in the House, they are marching us towards a government shutdown that shouldn’t be happening. This shouldn’t be happening.

This is the job of Congress. One of the basic jobs of Congress is to keep the government open.

A deal was made. I mean, I can’t speak to your polling, but what I can speak to is the facts. The facts is: A deal is a deal. It is up to them to keep the government open. This is something they can do. They know how to fix this. And it is an extreme — extreme part of the Republican Party that is holding this — holding this because they want to ram through extreme policies. That’s going to hurt the American people.

So, we’re going to continue to be very clear about this. We’ve talked about the food safety. You’ve heard me talk about education, housing, law enforcement, Meals on Wheels, Head Start. So much more will be affected by — by — will be affected by this if the shutdown — this this Republican shutdown happens.

So, we’re going to continue to be very clear about it. And it is – you know, it is something that they can fix, they can fix this.

Q: But does it show that the President needs to be messaging more to the public about this?

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: I mean, look, the President was very clear early this summer when he put this deal together — a bipartisan deal — that two thirds of Republicans voted on. And that’s what the American people want to see. We saw that in the midterms. Right? That’s what they want. They want to see us continue to work in a bipartisan way. That’s what the President did.

Now, we’re going to continue to be very clear. This is a deal that they all agreed upon not too long ago — just a couple of months ago — and now they can’t stick to the deal.

So, you know, if we’re going to be asked the question, we’re going to answer it straightforward. We’re going to lay out the facts. But this is something for Congress to fix.

Go ahead.

Q: Hi, Karine.

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: You’re up front today.

Q: Yeah, I am.

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: Okay.

Q: First time in the first seat.

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: Yeah. (Laughs.)

Q: Good to see you.

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: Good to see you.

Q: I want to press you a little bit on what you just said. You said that the President supports the autoworkers. Does that mean that the President is siding with the autoworkers over the auto companies?

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: What we’re saying is we’re not going to get into negotiation, right? This is – when it comes to negotiation, that is something for the parties to decide on. That is something for them to discuss.

But me saying that the President supports the autoworkers — that’s not anything new. When we’re talking about a president who is pro- — the most pro-union president in history, it is nothing new for the President to stand by the workers. That is nothing new for the President to say, “I’m going to stand by the men and women of UAW, make sure that they get their fair share, make sure that they get a win-win agreement here.”

We believe this agreement can be a win-win agreement for all. So — but we’re not going to get into the — we’re not going to litigate the specifics of the negotiations.

Q: Following up on that, though, a strike could have potentially huge impacts for the economy. NBC News polling, 37 percent of registered voters — just 37 percent approve of the President’s handling of the economy. He’s at a 56 percent disapproval — the highest of his presidency.

And 74 percent of registered voters say they have major or moderate concerns about the President’s age and mental fitness. How troubling is that?

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: Here’s what we’re going to focus on: We’re going to focus on exactly what you just asked me — right? — with the first question, which is: How do we — how do we continue to support the workers? Right? We’re not going to get into litigation of — of the negotiations here. But what we’re going to do is continue to show how much this President is working for American families.

You just heard from Secretary here, who laid out what it means if there’s a shutdown and why it’s so important for Republicans to keep to their deal. That’s what we’re going to focus on.

You see the Bidenomics. I get it. I get that Americans right now — they’ve been through a lot, right? They’ve been through the pandemic — this global pandemic that we’re coming out of. They have been through what we’ve seen because of Rus – –Russia’s war in Ukraine. And we saw inflation spike. We saw – we say what’s going on with what Americans are feeling every day.

This is why — this is why this President has been so zeroed in, so laser-focused on lowering costs for Americans. And we’ve done that.

A lot of the — a lot of the policies that the President has put forward are indeed popular. I mean, Bidenomics is — has worked so well that you have Republicans in their own districts, in their own states taking credit for the things that the President pushed forward, policies that the President has pushed forward, legislation that they didn’t even vote for, if you think about the American Rescue Plan, the Inflation Reduction Act.

So, I get — I get the — I get the polling that you’re laying out. I get that. But we — we can’t be focused on that. We also have to be focused on really speaking directly to the American people.

The next three days, you’re going to see the President go to three states to do just that.

Q: But 37 percent approve?

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: I hear you. I hear you. But it is — look, our focus is going to be on — on what we can do to continue to deliver for the American people.

Polls are polls — right? — they are going to be all over the place. They are going to — they’re going to — you know, they don’t tell the whole story, actually. And that is just the way a poll is.

What we’re going to focus on is how we can continue to do the job that the President promised that he would do — is make Americans’ lives a little bit better, give them that breathing room.

I’m going to go around. I — I know I always forget to call on this side, so I’m going to call o you. Go ahead.

Q: Thanks, Karine. You just said the President doesn’t want to get into the specifics of the negotiations. But is he perhaps interfering in these negotiations by , you know, visiting the picket line tomorrow?

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: We’re not going to get into — we never get into — you know, into the specifics of negotiations — not in public. We’re not going to do that. That is something — that is something for the parties to decide on. When it comes to negotiations, we’ve always been very clear about that.

They are meeting. They are negotiating. And we – we are pleased to see that.

When it comes to the President going to the picket line, he’s doing it because he wants to stand in sol- — in solidarity with the workers, which is something that this President continues to do and has done for several years is stay — stay on the side of the workers.

And you’ll see that. You see that with his policies, and you’ll see that tomorrow.

Q: And one quick one on COVID. There are a lot of people who are struggling to get appointments. There is confusion about – with insurance companies. Is there some sort of concern at the White House right now that this shift in responsibility to the commercial market form the federal government has not gone as — as smoothly?

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: So, we — so we’re certainly aware of consumers having experienced unexpected — at least with insurance — coverage, denials at the point of service. We’re aware of that.

HHS, and you know, is working with insurance plans and pharmacies to resolve this quickly.

Look, it’s a top priority for this administration to ensure that everyone can access this updated vaccine. And so, HHS is working through that. And so, any k- — any specific additional questions about that, certainly, I would per- — I would refer you to HHS.

But we’re taking this very seriously. And HHS is working through that — through that.

Okay, Akayla.

Q: In the back, Karine.

Q: Thanks, Karine. Moody’s warned today that a government shutdown could have a negative impact on the country’s credit rating. It’s the last major credit grader to assign the U.S. a top rating. Is the President concerned that the political brinksmanship that we’ve seen this year is hurting the country’s reputation, specifically on the economy, on the world stage?

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: So, look, I’m going to leave all of the economic analysis to others. Right? I’m not going to get into it from here.

But we know that — and I’ve said this already a couple of times — that what we’re seeing from Republicans in the House, the — especially the extreme Republicans in the House, what they’re going to do, proten- — potentially leading us to a shutdown is going to hurt American people.

And, as you know, if you think about it, the 3.5 million jobs that have been created under this president, the under-4 percent unemployment rate, I would not understand — we do not understand why they would put our economy at risk. That’s what you’re just laying out. Why would Republicans in the House out our economy at risk when we have seen the improvements over the last two years?

So, I’m going to leave the — the ex- — leave it to the experts to speak about the economy and what it looks like.

But, you know, this is a question for them. This is something that does not have to happen. It odes not have to happen.

Q: And a question on student loans. I know that they’re restarting on October 1st, potentially the same day that the government shutdown could start. Is there any consideration of pushing that date back, or is there any guidance that you have for borrowers about what they should expect if workers from the Department of Education won’t be available to assist them?

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: So, a couple of things. I do want to lay this out.

So, look, when it comes to student loans, it’s obviously a top priority, especially as we talk about the President’s economic plan and giving people a little breathing room, especially on their monthly payments.

So, you know, that’s why the President also launched, as you all know, the most affordable repayment plan ever, which is the SAVE Plan.

So, you know if — if this happens, if Republicans in — in Congress, you know, go down this road of shutting down the government, we anticipate that key activities at Federal Student Aid will continue for a couple of weeks. But, however, if it is a prolonged shutdown lasting more than a few weeks, could substantially disrupt the return to repayment effort and long-term serving — servicing support for borrowers.

So, the Department of Education will do its best to support borrowers as they co- — as they return to repayment, as we have been saying for the past several months. But an extreme Republican shutdown, if this occurs, could be disruptive.

And just to — maybe more — I think about more than 28 million federal — federal student loan borrowers restate [sic] payments. That is what — restart payments.

So, this is something that does not have to happen. These are political games act we see from the other side of Pennsylvania Avenue, and it does not have to happen. It does not have to happen.

And so, that’s how we foresee this — this moving target.

Go ahead.

Q: Thanks. I – I wanted to further understand a little bit about the President’s trip tomorrow.

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: Yeah.

Q: It seems like by going to stand with workers at a picket line, the President is literally standing with them and the terms that they’re seeking in the contract dispute. But when you’re asked about some of the specifics of that, you seem to be saying you guys don’t want to get into the specifics of the dispute.

So, is he not standing with them on the terms with which they’re trying to negotiate with the —

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: I mean, to be very clear: He is standing with them to make sure that they get a fair share. That is what he’s standing with them on. He is standing with them — and we’ve seat this — that — that they — that we — that they get the record — the record profits mean a record contract for UAW. That’s why he’s going. That is what he’s standing for.

Now, they’re going to negotiate what that looks like for them. Right? That’s what they’re doing right now. That’s what collective bargaining is all about. Right? They’re going to talk it through what a win-win agreement looks like.

But what we definitely agree on is that they deserve a fair share. Right? They deserve a fair share of – of the value that they helped create. That’s what the President is saying.

But the details — the specifics of what that looks like, what makes both sides happy or anything in those nego- — at the negotiation table, that is for them to decide.

Q: But it seems like he’s taking away the past — some past presidents have been an arbiter between two sides that are in conflict. It seems like he’s going to the picket line, he — he’s not an arbiter between the two sides. He’s choosing a side by standing —

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: But we have said —

Q: — with the union workers.

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: — we have said over and over again that this is a president that stands with union workers. This is —

Q: Right. That’s why it’s confusing where you’re saying —

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: How — there is no —

Q: — like I — we’re not going to —

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: It’s not – no, no, no.

Q: –talk about the terms of the –

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: I disagree. It is not confusing. What he is saying — and we’ve been very clear — he stands with union workers. He stands with the workers. He has said and they have said he is the pro- — the most pro-union president in history. And that is what he’s doing. He is going to stand in solidarity at the picket like with the workers.

Now, they are — they are at the table. they are at the table trying to figure out what this agreement is going to look like. Right? They are going to decide the specifics of that agreement.

What the President is saying is — and he always says this. This is nothing new. He always says he stands by union workers, and he is going to stand with the men and the women of UAW. That continues to be the case.

Go ahead, Katie,

Q: So – I’m sor- —

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: Oh my goodness. You’re going to ask the same question?

Q: But I – I —

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: I’m not going to change my answer.

Q: — too am seeking clar- — it’s fine. I’m going to ask again.

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: No, feel free.

Q: Is he picketing or —

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: And I’m going to give you the same answer.

Q: — is he visiting the picket line? Is he standing with them? Is he walking in the picket line? What —

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: He’s going to join — he’s going to join the picket line.

Q: So, does the White House see any political risk in — in —

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: What the President —

Q: — doing this?

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: What the President understands is that he is — wants to be on the side and is and has been on the side of workers. That is something that he has said over and over and over and over again.

Q: So, when he asked earlier that — if he’s siding with the workers over the companies, he is indeed siding —

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: He is — he is —

Q: — with the workers? Yes.

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: — standing with the auto workers. He is standing with the workers.

Q: Okay.

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: But he is standing with the auto workers. That’s what the President is doing. He got the invite from the UAW president. He accepted. And he’s going to go and do — and do what he has said that he does all the time — right? — which is stand with the union — stand with union workers. And what you’re going to see is going to be standing with UAW — men and women of the UAW. And that is important to the President.

MS. DALTON: Fifteen minutes.

Q: Karine.

Q: Karine.

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: All right, I just got to go around, guys. I got to go around.

Q: Karine, can I follow on that?

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: Yeah, go ahead.

Q: You had said —

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: I’m trying to call on people I haven’t called on yet.

Q: You said earlier that the President had spoken to the companies. Presumably, you meant the automakers. We know he had spoken to them before his trip to India earlier this month. Has he had any more recent —

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: I don’t have any —

Q: — conversations with them?

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: I don’t have any calls to read out.

Q: Okay. And —

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: I don’t have any calls to read out.

Q: And have any of the auto companies asked to meet with him tomorrow when he’s in Michigan? Would he consider that?

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: I just don’t have any — any more details on what the trip is going to look like tomorrow.

Go ahead, Danny.

Q: Yeah. On the situation in Nagorona-Karabakh, you see thousands of refugees are leaving the territory at the moment. How concerned is — is the President about this? And Armenia has said that this amounts to “ethnic cleansing.” Is that a term that the President would agree with?

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: So, we certainly are — are watching closely the reports. This is something that I would have to refer you to my NSC colleagues to give you any updates on.

Certainly, it is concerning. But this is something that they’re keeping an eye on closer — closer than we are here. And so, they’ll — they’ll give you an update specifically.

Go ahead.

Q: Karine.

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: Go ahead.

Q: (Inaudible.)

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: No, go ahead.

Q: My turn?

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: Yeah.

Q: Thank you, Karine. I just wanted to ask you about the situation of the Southwest border. As we know, some cities are claiming that they are at their breaking point with regards to the humanitarian crisis that is ongoing down there. I know that there was an agreement signed with Mexico over the weekend. I wonder if the administration is in touch with the cities down on the border and if there’s any other actions that the White House is considering to address the issue that is taking place down at the border.

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: So, I’m going to have to point — point you to the readout from CBP. As you just mentioned, they — they issued a readout of their conversation with the Mexican government over the weekend, so — so — regarding their engagement. So, certainly would have you reach out to them, and they could lay out specifically how that — that engagement went. And also refer you to the readouts more specially as well.

Q: Karine.

Q: Can I have a follow-up on that, Karine?

MS. DALTON: We’ve got to pre-set for —

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: Okay. Go ahead.

Q: Thank you. So, in a recent meeting with the prime minister of South Korea, Xi Jinping expressed his support for resuming annual trilateral summits with China, Japan, and South Korea. I was just wondering if the administration has any comment on that development.

And then, additionally, recently, the Japanese prime minister replaced both foreign and defense ministers. Is there any concern that this could impact the U.S. – ROK – Japan partnership, especially given that it’s happening so soon after the trilateral summit —

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: So, I would —

Q: — at Camp David?

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: So, to your first — to your first question, I certainly would refer you to Japan and ROK for specifics of their plan for the trilateral cooperation with the PRC, so that is something I would refer you to.

But we here — certainly, the United States respects the ability of nations to make sovereign decisions in the best interest of their people. just as the United States takes steps to responsibly manage our relationship with the PRC and with our — and also with our other partners and allies.

What was your second question? This is about the — Japan?

Q: Yes, recently, the Japanese prime minister replaced both his foreign defense ministers. I was wondering if there was any concern about the — how that could impact the U.S.-ROK-Japan partnership.

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: So, first, I would refer you to the government of Japan on any personal decisions that they’ve made.

Look, you saw the relationship continue to deepen and grow just a couple of weeks ago now at Camp David, when there was a trilateral summit, which was historic and truly important. And so, we’re going to continue to work closely with our Japanese counterparts to han- — enhance that relationship. So, that certainly has not changed.

MS. DALTON: We have to go.

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: Sorry, we have to go, guys.

MS. DALTON: Got to pre-set.

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: All right, I’ll take — go ahead.

Q: Thank you, Karine.

(Cross-talk.)

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: Go ahead. Go ahead.

Q: Thanks.

Has President Biden had any engagement with House Republicans about the shutdown?

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: I don’t have any engagements to read out to you. As I said last week, we have OMB Director Shalanda Young, who has been in regular touch with members in Congress. We have had our Legislative Affairs Office, who has been in regular touch. I don’t have anything to read out on any — any conversations that the President has had specifically on this.

But as you know, and we say this often, is the President is in regular contact with congressional members on a — on an array if issues.

But, again, when it comes to this — when it comes to this, this is something that they can fix. I mean, when we talk about a Republican shutdown risking the vital nutrition assistance for nearly 7 million mothers and young children who count on WIC, prevent farmers from being able to access new loans, and delay housing loans for rural families. I mean, that is something the Secretary laid out very well and in detail. And he’s been there bef- been at this place before back in 2013, where he had the same — the same role in the O- — Obama-Biden administration.

This would be devastating for American families. This does not have to happen. A deal is a deal. This is a deal that two thirds of Republicans voted on, and they should move forward. They can fix this.

Q: But as you mentioned, the President helped broker this deal, so why doesn’t he do something to help —

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: Because he already brokered the deal.

Q: — put it into place?

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: But he already brokered the deal. He already brokered the deal. He already brokered the deal.

They voted on it. He brokered the deal. They took it back — McCarthy took it back to the House; they voted on it. It went to the Senate; they voted on it. Two thirds of Republicans voted on it. It’s on — it’s — this is for them. This is for them to fix. It was already voted on.

So, a deal is a deal. They have to stick to it.

And also, it is one of their number one jobs. Number one jobs. One of their top jobs — right? — is to keep the government open so that American families don’t have to suffer.

All right guys. Thank you.

September 25: The White House posted “Extreme House Republicans’ Chaos Is Marching America Toward a Shutdown That Would Jeopardize Vital Nutrition Assistance for Nearly 7 Million Moms and Young Children”

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 putting vital nutrition assistance at risk for nearly 7 million women and children who rely on the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) – a program that serves nearly half of babies born in this country.

During an Extreme Republican Shutdown, women and children who count on WIC would soon start being turned away a 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.

And the reason food assistance for these families is at risk is extreme House Republicans’ continued efforts to slash funding for vital programs, including WIC, rather than work in a bipartisan manner to keep the government open and address emergency needs of the American people. House Republicans have turned their backs on the bipartisan budget deal that a large majority of them voted for just a few months ago and proposed a continuing resolution (CR) that makes devastating cuts to programs that millions of hardworking Americans count on.

While House Republicans continue to debate what CR to advance, they have consistently refused to include the Administration’s request for additional WIC funding that’s needed to ensure the program can serve every eligible pregnant woman, new mother, and infant and young child. Without the Administration’s funding request, states could soon be forced to institute waiting lists for WIC, causing mothers and children to lose access to the vital nutrition assistance…

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:

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