Congress building by Maxim Kaptkya on Pexels.

Here is everything you need to know about the Government Shutdown that took place during the Biden-Harris Administration. This is not the first time the U.S. government has faced a shutdown. In this blog post, I provided as much as I could find about the government 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:


January 2023:

January 27, 2023: Key Republicans oppose House GOP bill to abolish tax code (The Hill)

Republican supporters of a bill aimed at abolishing the tax code as we know it are running into an early barrier in the House: their own leadership.

The Fair Tax Act was thrust into the spotlight earlier this month as reports emerged that it was part of a deal made by Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) with his GOP detractors during the days-long process to elect him Speaker.

But as the bill becomes fodder for growing Democratic attacks from the White House down, some Republican are distancing themselves from the legislation.

McCarthy made clear his opposition to the bill when pressed by reporters earlier this week. He said the bill “would have to go through committee” when asked on Wednesday if he planned to bring it up for a floor vote.

House Majority Leader Steve Scalise (R) said Thursday that he didn’t support the bill, instead telling The Hill that he backs making permanent the tax cuts in former President Trump’s signature 2017 tax bill.

“We made the code more simplified and got rid of a lot of loopholes, and so I want to see us continue focusing on the fairness and simplicity of a tax code,” Scalise argued.

The Fair Tax Act, introduced by Rep. Buddy Carter (R-Ga.), would constitute the largest change in the U.S. system in decades – maybe ever- and would all but abolish the tax code.

It would eliminate all income taxes, payroll taxes, estate taxes and gift taxes in favor of an outsized 30-percent sales tax that would be collected by states and then remitted to the federal Treasury. The new method of taxation would render the IRS, as it currently exists, all but obsolete.

Some Republicans have expressed interest in the idea of a national sales tax but have yet to sign onto the legislative effort….

…However, the push has not gone without criticism from others in the conference…

…Rep. Jason Smith (R-Mo.), who chairs the Ways and Means Committee, has said the bill will get a hearing, telling Axios earlier this week that McCarthy “believes everything should work in regular order.”

“We’re going to have a public, transparent hearing on that issue and we’ll see where it goes from there,” he said.

Whether the bill will ever make it out of the House, or even survive in committee, is far from certain…

…The bill has about 30 GOP co-sponsors and faces overwhelming opposition from Democrats, who have been taking hits at the novel legislation like it were a piñata…

“This ‘Fair Tax Act’ is truly foul stuff,” Senate Majority Leader Charles Schumer (D- N.Y) said on the Senate floor Thursday. “The Republican tax plan would raise the cost of buying a house by $125,000. It would raise the cost of buying a car by $10,000. It would raise your average grocery bill by $3,500 a year at a time when people are already worried about the high price of groceries. How can they do this?

“Things like eggs are already too expensive, but Republicans want to slap another $1.50 to that price. The plan would make a gallon of milk cost another $1.70 more,” Schumer added.

Democrats have been keen to ignore the fact that the bill cancels income and payroll taxes, focusing instead on the sticker shock of the cost increases in consumer goods that flat sales tax would bring, in light of recent inflation.

“Eggs, gas, rent, child care, health insurance, cars, formula, diapers, urgent care visits, clothes, shoes, insulin, tampons, utilities, milk, bread, school supplies, life-saving medication, and more. All of this will cost 30 percent more if Republicans get their way,” Democrats on the chief tax-writing Ways and Means Committee wrote online on Thursday…

…The tax is so regressive that the legislation includes a “prebate” – a cash transfer program that would send out monthly checks to families to make sure the tax doesn’t eat too much into their monthly income…


March 2023:

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.

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;
  • 41 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

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.

The Extreme MAGA Republican House Freedom Caucus proposal will be a five-alarm fire for families – including by hurting seniors. As the President has made clear, if Extreme MAGA 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:

Dear Mr. President:

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 American 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 19, 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 of 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 assistance 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’s 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 hight with initial estimate civilian deaths of more than 270. Access to hospitals and vital medical services have ben 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 – its – 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 sine the Dobbs decision came down 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 feel that the law is on our side here. And clearly, we’re going to wait and 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 very 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 that we are willing to have, that we will continue to have, and that we have ben having. And that’s what the women – millions of 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 talking.

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 all as we 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 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 the Treasure has spoken to, soI would refer to the U.S. Treasury on any – any comments on deadlines that – that relates to this.

I’m just not going to comment from here.

Q: Okay. And the just some more on the dollar. So yesterday, Jared Bernstein, during the confirmation hearing, said there was some evidence that China wants to see the, you know, dollar displaced or dislodged as the world’s reserve currency. We’ve had some comments from Brazil in the recent ays about the dollar – the Chinese currency instead. I mean, how – how concerned are you that debt ceiling or a U.S. default could led 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 includes credible and longstanding commitments for – to transparency and sound government – governance, rule of law, and 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 that 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, 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 need 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 effort and what they were trying to do in the statehouse and how important those type of voices out there to continue to call on an issue that he’s been talking about not just for the past several months, but for years, which is to ban assault weapons. Right?

And that’s what we know is killing our communities. We see them in our schools. We see them in our churches. 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’s invited them to 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 way with three kids and three – three administrators being murdered in the school. And now they want speak out.

And now they’re going to come here, and the President is going to have the 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 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 else 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 a 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 put. 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 – very close to the senator’s husband as well – late husband, Richard. And they had 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 a 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 that 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 heath 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 unnecessary 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 this is having a profound impact o 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 Seante. 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 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 a partisan issue. Make it bout the – you know, make it about the people. Make it bout 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 Mae 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 wakening 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 not going to get ahead of having that conversation with the French. Bu 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 ceiling 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 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 tone not negotia- negotiate over default. This is something that tis the responsibility and 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’ 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 very 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 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 a 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 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 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 that this is just some messaging – a political battle. No, this is the right thing to do. This is their 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 announcing his candidacy for president, potentially challenging the president for renomination.

I’m wondering – obviously, from 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 pole.

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

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: 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 debt 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 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 I 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. The did it three times in the last administration.

Q: And just 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 as well to support Ukraine, the Ukrainian government.

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

And, as 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 truing 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 what $192 billion.

Do you know when President Biden went to India as the Vice President of this country, he had a goal of setting 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 the he’s – that is policies that he’s out forward that have shown that he’s building an economy that doesn’t leave anybody behind; it builds an economy from the bottom up, middle out.

And he also talks about the economy. And when you hear him talk about the economy, 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 the 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 more 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 out to read to you at this time.

Look – and we’ve said it before – we – we believe it is 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 don’t have anything to read out to you about any invite.

Q: Why?

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

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 a 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 bringing these legislators here to have that conversation and to see what else can be done and to highlight that. That’s what 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 brining him here to continue that conversation.

All right. Go ahead, April.

Q: Karine, three topic. 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 on 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 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 — 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 jut 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 children. And it’s only going up.

We should be doing – as adults, we should doing everything we can to protect our children. That is on us to do. This is a President that has take action after 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 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 thoughts 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 education access- –accessible to all Americans.

As the Department of Justice argues 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 has 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 we saw that – that type of diversity that – that was – that was – we were leading with diversity in our different agencies and departments. And that is the executive order that he – one of the first executive orders that he signed: make sure that the federal government was leading with that lens and was 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 time about his in- –his economic policies. He does that. And any other policies that he’s put forward 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 he does.

I got 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 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 that this President has taken. They have gone down by $1.30 since the 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 will 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 them 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 the CHIPS and Science act is so important.

All of this 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 10, 2023:

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.)

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 fix the long-term fiscal health of this nation. A debate with an enormous implication for the American economy 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 here 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 the “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 their 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 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 life 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 Americans – 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 what – 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 have only one truly sacred obligation. We have many obligations, but one sacred obligation, and that’s to equip those who 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 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 Republicans 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 these folks – the number of – you know, more veterans are committing suicide than 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 proposals 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: Why do so may 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 here 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 that show that if we sent – no matter what the background of a child, if we sent that child to 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 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 mine 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 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.

It 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, again, 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 a 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, it 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 subsides 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 to 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 Medicare’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 it 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 in good health.

Well, guess what? The price of insulin when from 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 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 in the beginning in 2025 – (applause) – in 2025, they’re only – they pay 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 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 executives pay a lower tax rate than the middle-class worker who works of them.

No one earning less than $400,000 is going to see single penny in increase in 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 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 tax rate than a schoolteacher or a firefighter.

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 now we 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 partisan office, they estimate that just that alone would raise another $200 billion a year.

Larry Summers, who’s not what you call a “wacko liberal” out there, right? Former president of Harvard. He says it’s more like —

Audience member: Wooo! (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 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, w’re spending and whether it’s going where it’s 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 billion of dollars in stolen funds that we haven’t gotten back yet.

It strengthens inspector generals and watchdogs for taxpayers’ 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 rater 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 was 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 automobile 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 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 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 – in all of 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 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.

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 rid of all of 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? You know where we rank now? Thirteen. Thirteen.

New 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 Winchester 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 gelt 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 were all being made in Asia. And when the pandemic hit, they shut down, so we were in trouble.

Folks, this are the 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 went 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’ve 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’re 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 folks I know 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.

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 drug 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. Million neee 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 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.

Why would they want to repeal a law that’s cutting American jobs and lowering costs for American families?

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 front page. Texas now is 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 thought 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 left to do.

We’re on the cusp of a major change. We’re creating jobs again. American manufactures 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 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 al though 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 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 keep going and finish the job. I’ve long said it’s never, ever, ever ben good bet to bet against American. Never. (Applause.)

And I can optimistically 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:

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 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 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 the 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 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 lat 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 G7. And I’ll be in close touch with Speaker McCathy and other leader 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 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 the 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 for 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:

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 D.C., the Speaker’s team put an offer on the table 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 limit 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 only Republican leadership beholden to its MAGA wing – not the President or Democratic leadership – who are threatening our nation into default for the first time in our history unless extreme partisan demands are met.


May 22, 2023:

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 – 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 trajectory, that our debt is too large. And I think, at the end of the day, we can find this debt, but, more importantly, get this government moving again to curb inflation, make us less dependent upon China, and make our appropriations system work when we get done, right?

The President: I’m all for making appropriation 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: Statement from President Joe Biden on Budget Negotiations

I just concluded a productive meeting with Speaker McCarthy about the need 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, and our staffs will continue to discuss the path forward.


June 2, 2023:

June 2, 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 it’s 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 that 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, 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 America 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 state’s 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 – noting would have been more irresponsible. Nothing would hav been more catastrophic.

Our economy would’ve been thrown into recession. Retirement accounts for millions of Americans would’ve been 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 good news for the American people.

No one got everything they wanted, but the American people got what they needed. We averted an economic crisis, an economic collapse.

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, and respectful with one another. Both sides operated in good faith. Both sides kept their word.

I also want to commend other 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 was 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 10 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.

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 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 used 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 heart of this debate: What do we value?

Protecting seniors. You may remember, during my first State of the Union Address there was 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 them that night took exception, and they said very loudly 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 single 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 wold 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 harms’ 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 meant 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 cellphones to having – building automobiles, to 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.

This law has already dramatically cut the cost of insulin for seniors from as much as $400 a month to just $35 a month for insulin.

Negotiating lower drug prices not only saves seniors a lot of money, it 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 industrialized 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 this 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 us 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 their 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 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 ones 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 policies 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.

As 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, talking the time tonight to listen to me.

May God bless you all. And may God protect our troops.

Thank you.


August 30, 2023:

August 30, 2023: The White House posted: “Press Briefing by 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 is 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 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 they are staying safe.

If you are experiencing hurricane winds, storm surge, and flooding, don’t venture outside. Listen to warnings of flood 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 to 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 in 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 store 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 over the long term.

The whole-of- gov- — this whole-of-government approach is what is 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 bit 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 this 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 in 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 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.

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?

ADMINISTRATOR CRISWELL: Yeah. My biggest concern is those people who chose not to evacuate. And I know that our local responders, the heroes that are out there in those local communities, are doing an amazing job already of going into the areas where people did not evacuate and helping to get them to safety. I think that is our priority through the day today — is to make sure that everybody is safe after the storm has passed.

As we go into the next few days, we’re going to want to assess what the total amount of damage is and see what immediate needs need to be put forth in order to help support and start the recovery process.

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: Go ahead, Jeremy.

Q: Thanks. Administrator Criswell, thank you so much. Could you just take us a little bit into that briefing that you had with the President today? What is he most concerned about? What was he most focused on? Any other direction that he gave to you other than to fly down to Florida?

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 of 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 have over 1,500 personnel there in the area to support. And the governor currently has no unmet needs. But as we begin to asses — right? — as the governor assesses and as I get on the ground tomorrow to assess, we’ll see what additional needs might 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 as a cause of this storm and the other weather events that we’re seeing over the last weeks and months?

AMBASSADOR 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 of 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 or is it too early 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 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 is 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 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 do 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 personal 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 storm 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 in Florida?

ADMINISTRATOR CRISWELL: I mean, we always want to take into 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 though 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 those in Maui — $700 in payments to individuals there. Given the cost of living in Hawaii, specifically in the Lahaina community, is anything being done right now? Are there considerations or efforts 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 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 it 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 they 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 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 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 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 the greatest impact. They have experienced the greatest amounts 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 could 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 not 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 that we’ve experienced over the year. The obligation of 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. It’s the funding that 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 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 well?

ADMINISTRATOR CRISWELL: Again, I was not there during the response, 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, 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?

ADMINISTATOR 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.

ADMINISTRATOR CRISWELL: All right, thank you.

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 tenets of Bidenomics: that a hards day [hard day’s] work should lead to a fair day’s pay.

This proposed rule would deliver on the tenet 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 politics [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 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 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 for — 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 then 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 the 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, 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 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 they have what they need on the ground — the resources that they need to deal with the impacts, the — certainly the aftermath of this particular hurricane when — when we are able to asses 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 it 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 — 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 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, regarding 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 in 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, if 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 not 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 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. I 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.

As 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 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, and 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 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 — his foreign policy advisors on all of — any dynamic or any situations globally. Clearly, that is something that the President — is kept — kept abreast.

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

And so, just 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 at least awareness of the UAW labor situation. How about the Writers 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 if 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 called by many labor folks — right? — that he is the — the most pro-union president ever. And so, this is a president that believes in collective bargaining. 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, 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. Multiple- — 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 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?

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

Here’s what we know, and here’s what I have said when I’ve been asked the question: It is that there’s no reason — there’s absolutely no reason at all for the 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 can 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, through, 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 have to reach out to Congress, whatever it is that they’re doing on that side. That is something for the Department of Justice to speak to. That is not something 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’s the — whether it is government funding or any kind of legislative process. Look, we have our OMB Director, Shalanda 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 the Presidential Citizens Medal to two Fulton County election workers, Ruby Freeman and Shaye Moss, in the past.

A federal judge ruled in favor of those women, who had sued Rudy Giuliani 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 Minority 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 to 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 that 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 that — that there 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 has 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 Chief of Staff Jeff Zeints today to discuss migration. Can you tell us a little bit about that meeting? And then I have a follow-up to that.

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: Yeah. So, as 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 has supported communities who are 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 too 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 the 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 the 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 would be a CR in the December — kind of a shorter-term deal. Is that acceptible 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 som- — 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 American’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 can 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 about 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 is 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 not 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 the 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 about 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 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.

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 one 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 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 dealt 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 actions to work on this issue on his own without 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 at 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 to 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 how 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 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 our 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 been forced to turn 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.

Today, as my colleagues shared, we shared new information that arms negotiations between Russia and DPRK are actively advancing. Russia’s Minister of Defense recently traveled to the DPRK to try and convince Pyongyang to sell artillery ammunition to Russia. And our information indicates that, following that visit, another group of Russian officials traved [sic] — traveled there for follow-up on discussions about important potential arms deals.

Any arms deal between the DPRK and Russia would directly violate a number of U.N. Security Council res- — resolutions. We urge the 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 — 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 [ironclan].

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: I just don’t have a meeting to — to speak to at this time. But look, we are —

Q: Would he consider one?

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

What I can say is that we are — we — our lines of o- — communication is open. We’ve been very clear on that.

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, 2023:

August 31, 2023: 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 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 we;; as to 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 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 to support 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 and rebuilding 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 do to accelerate recovery wherever people are impacted by extreme weather, whether it 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 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 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 can we 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 other 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 taking 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 these 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- — Chriswell 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 assessment 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 currently approximately 1,500 federal responders 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 early on 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 Corps of Engineers was pre-positioned before this storm to provide power restoration. It brought in more than 30 large generators that are pre-staged if needed to support critical infrastructure assets in particular, like hospital or water treatment plants.

There’s also a great deal of work that goes on behind the scenes to ensure that the electrical 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 stronger power poles and smart meters on those power poles — something the President referenced yesterday – which has enabled Florida to recover 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 there 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 some people may be able to go back to their homes.

We also have 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 the hurricane has passed but that doesn’t mean 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 in Florida 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 of 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 effects of 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 that 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 that’s 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 a 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 Ron DeSantis at this point based on how much they’ve been speaking. Should we expect the President to be meeting 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 provided to 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 it’s 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 the 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 that road to recovery will be for the hardest areas?

DR. SHERWOOD-RANDALL: So, we’re just getting the initial assessments. The President heard from Deanne 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 arial 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 a 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, just 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 talking 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. 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 other 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 at FEMA — that this week he also announced Overdose Awareness Week to focus the nation’s attention on the devastation caused by the illicit fentanyl and other illicit drugs and recognize the pe– — and recognize the people who have lost their lives or a loved one to drug overdose.

This is an issue that affects red states and blue states. And its 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 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 beat the crisis.

And today, as you all saw from the P- –the PCA — PCE — pardon me — report came out. It showed 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 — is in the supplemental fund — supplement 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 kind of disastrous storms that we’re 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 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 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 while 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 this would have in 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 — I want to be very clear on that — that is led by HHS and DOJ. It is going to be very much guided by evidence. And it — so I’m not going to comment on that. I want to be also clear on — on that piece. So, I would refer you all to HHS.

As it — as it — as we speak to legislation and the legal piece of it, as you’re always asking me in your — in part of your question: So, look, the President has always supported the 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-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 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, there 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.

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, Shalanda 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 and to keep — 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 not just for what led to the agreement going into June when we finally had 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 to facilitate a meeting with — between President Biden and President Xi? Do you now anticipate that that kind of 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 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 far as President Xi’s participation or attendance, that’s just really for his government to speak to.

Q: Just following on from 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 like these visits by Cabinet members have 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 — 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 us say this many times — in a stronger position to outcompete China than President Biden. And managing — 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 as about deliverables or particular policy outcomes.

We see this 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. This is part of this — of 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 — has 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 been 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 this 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 with the trilateral that he held at Camp David — a historic meeting there.

As the United States looks to deepen our ties with the region, Vietnam is going to be a key partner. And so, the deliverables that 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 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 Southwest 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 resolution of disputes, and adherence of international law, including freedom of navigation. She will advance our work with ASEAN partners to preserve martial [international] law. And she will make clear, peace and stability in the Shout 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 beforehand?

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: Yes, you can anticipate —

Q: Okay. Good.

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: As we normal do —

Q: Yes.

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

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

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 good relationship with the governor. We’ve been — every time we’re in New York, 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 though 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 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 what’s going on and to work what’s going on — work with — work on what’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 manage 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 taken 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?

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

June say 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 to deal with this issue in a — 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 expanded — 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: — 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 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: 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 do to — to deal with it — to deal with a broken system. So, we’re taking these steps to do that. And that’s where were 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 Leg Affairs reaching out, talking, 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: make sure 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 about 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 those concerns, whether with Saudi Arabia or anyone else. And that is not going to change.

Anything specifically on this particular new — new report, I would definitely refer you to the – 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 ack, because I know folks —

Q: It’s 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: 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 the CDC is reporting an increase in infections, as you all know, and hospital’s 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’s 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’re 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 those 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 these 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 6, 2023:The White House posted: Press Briefing by Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: Good afternoon. Hey, hey.

All right. A couple of things for – for you all at the top, and then we’ll get going.

So, in an hour, President Biden will meet with leaders of the International Longshore and Warehouse Union, which represents 22,000 workers of – at – at West coast ports, and the Pacific Maritime Association whi- which represents shipping companies.

The President will congratulate them on finalizing a new contract, which was ratified with overwhelming support from union members.

He will also recognize the work of Acting Labor Secretary Julie Su, who helped reach an agreement

The contract covers 29 ports, including the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach, which handles 40 percent of our nation’s cargo containers. It guarantees a 32 percent pay increase over six years.

The President will also discuss his administration’s pro- –progress strengthening America’s port and supply chains.

Thanks in part of the work of the President’s Supply Chain Distribution [Disruptions] Task Force, we’ve suppli- we – we’ve seen supply chains unsnarl.

Our port moved record cargo levels over the last two years. We have overcome the massive supply chain problems that increased prices around the world, and East-West ocean shipping prices have plunged nearly 90 percent. That’s all helped lower inflation.

And thanks to Bidenomics, we are working our infrastructure and supply chains even stronger.

The Bipartisan Infrastructure Legislation Law – or, I should say, Law – is making significant investments to modernize our ports. The Ocean Shipping Reform Act is cracking down on foreign shipping companies to lower prices for goods. And the CHIPS Act and Inflation Reduction Act are strengthening our supply chains for things Americans use every day.

Today, Russia launched a new wave of air strikes against the people of Ukraine, killing at least 16 people and wounding dozens more.

These brutal Russian attacks underscore the importance of continuing to support the people of Ukraine as they defend their territory against unprovoked, unjustified Russian aggression.

That’s the message that the Secretary sent. Secretary Blinken, as you all know, is carrying that message with him on his trip to Ukraine today. And its esp- –and it’s a message the United States is sending today by announcing a new security assistance pa- package, which includes more ammunition for artillery and HIMARS systems, Javelin, and anti-armor systems as well; tank ammunitions for our Abram tanks, which will be arriving in Ukraine soon; and air defense system to help Ukraine protect its people from air strikes like those faced today.

The Kremlin could end this war at any time by withdrawing its forces from Ukraine and stopping its brutal attacks. Until it does, the United States and our allies and our partners will stand united with Ukraine as long as it takes.

Earlier this year, when we made our bipartisan budget agreement, we made promises to the American people, along with congressional Republicans and congressional Democrats. Unfortunately, House Republicans, unlike Senate Republicans, are considering breaking that explicit promise due to demands from extreme members of their party.

Breaking this promise would inflict painful costs on the country, making troops and Border Patrol agents work without paychecks, hurting our economy, and undermining our ability to fight for high-stakes, real-life crisis like fentanyl and natural disasters.

As part of this Unity Agenda, the President – President Biden is urging Congress to provide $800 million in emergency funding to fight fentanyl trafficking and counter the deadly substance being illegally imported from China.

Congressional Republicans are – are on a – on record talking – talking about the urgency of fighting fentanyl. Now is not the time to set us back; it is time to fight that and to keep their promises.

We should all work together to give the DEA, the Border Patrol, and Department of Homeland Security the anti-fentanyl funding President Biden is seeking so that we can save lives. Remember, real lives are at stake here.

And finally, too – I know folks are having – have this question, so I’m going to preempt the questions, hopefully – your first question on this. The President tested negative for COVID-19 this morning, following negative tests on Monday night and also yesterday. He is not experiencing any symptoms, which, of course, is a good thing.

The First Lady is doing well, as well. And she remains in Delaware, which is also a good thing.

The CDC guidelines recommend, as I said before, as you all know, a combination of masking, testing, and monitoring for symptoms. The President is doing all he can, of course, in consultation with the – with his physician. And so, he’s keeping – keeping with the CDC guide- — guidelines, as you all know.

Go ahead.

Q: Thank you. You did preempt my first question.

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: Oh, good. That’s good.

Q: But, on that, will he be testing again tomorrow before he boards the flight? And will he be testing in India and Vietnam?

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: So, I don’t have any timeline on his test – on his testing cadence. I can tell you that he’ll be doing that in – regularly, as – in consultation, as I’ve said before, with his physician, as you – as – and we’ve been, you know pretty – pretty – pretty transparent on letting you all know when he’s tested. We shared that on Monday. We shared on Tuesday, and certainly, we shared that today.

And so, we will, certainly, let you know what that will – what that will be.

But we’ve been very clear: All travelers who are going to India will be tested, including the President. As I mentioned, the President was tested today and tested negative, which is a good thing. We’re happy to hear that.

Q: Secondly, the Vice President gave an interview to my AP colleague, Chris Megerian, today. And she told Chris that all those responsible for the effort to overturn the results of the 2020 presidential election and ensuing violence must be held accountable, even if that means former President Trump.

In short, does the President agree with those sentiments?

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: So, let me just step back for a second – just try to go beyond the past the – the headlines for a moment, because I think it’s really important. You’ll see that the President – the – that he – that the Vice President – Vice President Harris spoke very clearly about how everyone is entitled – everyone is entitled to their rights but that everyone has to follow the rules as well.

So, as you know, she is a former prosecutor. She knows that very well and understands that. She was affirming – certainly, affirming her belief in our systems of laws, which is of – something that, of course, the President shares and believes in.

I’m not going to go beyond that. I think her remarks were very clear, if you go beyond – certainly, beyond the headlines. And so, again, she was re- –reaffirming – or affirming her belief in our system.

Again, this is something that, of course, the President believes in. And we’re going to be – continue to be very mindful – I’m going to continue to be mindful here, and I’m going to let the Department of Justice do – do their job independently. And so, I’m just going to leave it there.

Q: Thanks, Karine. CDC guidelines for people who are exposed to COVID say that you should wear a high-quality mask anytime you are around others inside your home or indoors in public.

The President, of course, did wear that mask in the Medal of Honor ceremony, but then he took it off and didn’t ta- — put it back on. Was that a mistake?

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: So, look, I’m going to be – I’m going to share a couple of things with all of you here and just start with what the ceremony was all about, because it’s incredibly important.

The President took off his mask, as I said he would, to deliver incredibly powerful remarks about this captain – Captain Taylor – and what he did in service to our – our nation. And he wanted to honor the captain.

And for a brief time afterwards, he also didn’t have his mask on, as you just laid out. And as he left, as planned, – as it was planned, he left when there was a pause in the program in order to minimize – to minimize his close contact with attendees who were – who were about to participate in a reception.

And I – you all reported that, noticed that he left when there was a pause in the program, because, again, he wanted to minimize, certainly, his impact on folks who were there.

And so, look, we have to take all of this into context. I think it’s important that we do this. We are in a different phase – right? – as we have said many times with COVID. This is kind of going on the third year of – coming out of this pandemic. We believe we’re in a very strong position to fight – to continue to fight COVID. And this is not new. People – you know, people know what it’s like to have COVID, know what it’s like during this time.

I think what’s most important is: The President tested negative a couple of hours before this event. He tested negative yesterday. As I just mentioned, he tested negative on Monday. He tested negative today. He has no symptoms.

And I think it’s important to also look at the context as well. And for a brief moment afterwards, yes, he did have – his mask was not on, and then when the brief- –when the program paused for a moment, he stepped out.

Q: But he didn’t put it back on. Is he out of practice? Is he, like so many Americans, in a different phase?

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: Look, I – what I can say is: We got to put this all in context. Afterwards, we – we planned for the President to leave when there was a pause in the program so that it would minimize – it would minimize him being in the room. He did just that.

And I also out – would want to add is: Before the – the event even started, the President spent a good amount of time with the captain – Captain Taylor – and his family. And everybody was masked because he wanted to spend that quality, important time hearing from this hero, hearing his stories, and really thanking him one on one – also with his family around him.

And so, the President, in every way that we could, yesterday, followed the CDC guidelines. He, again, he had – yes, he had his – his mask off briefly. And then where – when there was a pause, he walked out.

Q: Just very quickly, should those guidelines still be the same? They’re a year old now.

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: That is –

Q: Do you stand by those recommendations?

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: That is not for me to speak to. It truly isn’t. This is something that CDC decides on. They are the experts. They – they are the ones who – who, certainly, provide the guidelines. It is not for me to speak to.

Go ahead.

Q: So, the trip tomorrow is a go?

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: There is no change. There is no change. I mean, remember, Steve: tested negative on Monday, tested negative on Tuesday, tested negative today. Has no symptoms – the President doesn’t have any symptoms. Nothing has changed with his travel.

Q: And do you have a dollar figure on the new Ukraine package?

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: I don’t have a dollar figure. I would – I would refer you to the State Department and the Department of Defense. I know that the State Department talked about this a little bit, so I would refer you to them.

Q: And the Saudi decision to extend their oil production cuts – what’s your reaction to that? How does that complicate your effort to lower gas prices?

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: So, look, it – it doesn’t complicate our efforts. We’ve been very clear. The President said at the – at the – at the top, or the center, of his economic policy is lowering costs for Americans, right? And – and so, our focus is going to be abou- about American consumers, how we can continue to do that.

If you look at what we’ve been able to do th- from last summer to this summer – lowering gas prices by a – by a dollar twenty cents – that is – that is because of the work that this administration has done. And so, we’re always going to be focused on how – what – you know, what – what steps we can take to continue to lower prices for Americans.

That’s why last week was so important, when the talked about the first 10 drugs – that first tranche of – of drugs – pharmaceutical drugs that Medicare is going to be able now to negotiate, right? Another way, coming out of the Inflation Reduction Act – one of those key provisions to make sure that we continue tp lower – lower costs for Americans. That’s going to be our focus.

Q: And is Brett McGurk going to bring this up while he’s meeting with Saudis this week?

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: So, I’m not – I don’t have anything to share about – about the agenda. I know that Jake Sullivan – clearly, our National Security Advisor – laid out that it was an array of – of items that was going – was going to – was being brought up on his trip. So, I just don’t have anything beyond what Jake shared on that particular piece.

Q: Thanks, Karine. Given the President’s departure is now 24 hours away, have you formulated any sort of contingency plan if he can’t attend? Would the Vice President go in his place? Would he participate virtually? Can you elaborate on that?

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: What I can say: There’s no changes to his travel. I think – again, he tested negative on Monday, tested negative Tuesday, — Tues – on Tuesday, tested negative today, which is very good, right? And he is – he is certainly – doesn’t have any symptoms, as I mentioned at the top. And so, I think that’s a good things, right? And so, the President is going to continue to do his – his job.

We – we are expecting to – to travel tomorrow.

Q: Then on oil. I know the administration is currently trying to refill the Strategic Pe- Petroleum Reserve, but if prices continue to spiral out of control, would you consider tapping it and selling more on the market to lower prices?

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: So, I don’t want to get too much into hypotheticals of what may or may not happen. Just want to be very careful. Clearly, that’s something that the Energy Department focuses on, as it relates to that piece of refilling – refilling.

So, I’m just not going to get ahead of what the Energy Department might do. And so, I’m just going to leave it – kind of leave it here.

Q: And then, lastly, on the auto workers strike – or a potential strike. The President is going to talk today; he’s talked many times about being the pro un- — the most pro-union President in U.S. history. So, would he rule out invoking the Taft-Hartley Act to stop a strike or if the auto workers do decided to invoke a strike on September 14th?

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: Again, not going to get ahead of hypotheticals.

Look, the President truly believes in collective bargaining, right? And one of those things that we – I think, if anything, what this event that we’re about to see the President speak at should show is that it works, right?

You have the West – the West Coast ports – they came together, and they were able to come to an agreement in a good-faith –good-faith way. They came to the table. And that’s what the President wants to see. And so, he’s optimistic that that’s going to be the way forward – that they’re going to come to an agreement.

But again, you know, he believes in collective bargaining.

Not going to get ahead. Not going into hypotheticals from here. But doesn’t – doesn’t take away form the support this President has for the u- — for the union, as he’s had not just as president, but as the vice president and as senator.

Go ahead, Gerren.

Q: Thanks, Karine. Today is the funeral for Angela Carr, one of three victims of the Jacksonville murders. I know the President said that he did not reach out to the family — because one of the family did not want to be contacted. Has that changed? Has there been any additional communication with the family or the community in Jacksonville?

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: So, I don’t have calls to read out to you at this time. I would refer you to the powerful words that the President said when he was in Florida on Saturday. He ended his remarks – while he was there on the ground, of Cours, dealing with another tragedy – right? – of folks who lost so much in a rural area after – after the – after Hurricane Idalia hit – and he – but he wanted to make sure, while he was in Florida, and that he spoke to the people of Jacksonville.

And he talked about where we are as a country and how everybody needs to step up and fight back and speak out against – against what we’re seeing – right? – against- against these hateful attacks. And so, that’s – the President is going to continue to do that. He’s going to continue to be the incredibly forceful and speak – speak agains this type of hate.

And when you’re silent, you’re complicit. You heard that directly from this President.

I don’t have any calls to read out at this time, but if we have – if we make – if those calls do happen, certainly we would share that with all of you.

Q: And just a follow-up?

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: Sure.

Q: During the President and Vice President’s meeting with civil rights leaders on the anniversary of the 60th anniversary of the March on Washington there – there were – there were requests for the United We Stand Summit to be brought back, to be brought to Jacksonville, in particular. Have there been any prelim- preliminary conversations about that?

And, more broadly, does the White House believe that there should be legislation, perhaps an anti-Black hate crime similar to the anti-Asian one that was signed in 2021? Or does the White House believe that the laws on the book, including the Antilynching Act, is sufficient to address the – the rise of Black hate crimes?

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: So, there’s a couple of things that you just asked me there. The first thing is there has been preliminary discussions, conversations with the organizers of the summit and us, clearly – or – or the civil rights leaders, I should say – on the summit. Don’t have anything that – to share at this time on – but we’re looking at when we could have this, as a date.

I can’t speak to Jacksonville. Don’t have a location about Jacksonville. But certainly, there’s – are initial conversations happening.

As it relates to the antilynching bill or any other piece of legislation, don’t have – don’t have anything to announce. But, look, let’s not forget – and I know you’ve reported this – the antilynching bill took decades upon decades to get where it was, where it got passed, and the President was able to move – was able to sign it. It took a long time together that piece of legislation. A lot of hard work was put into getting that done.

And so, as you know, it’s an important piece of legislation. As it relates to – as it relates to anything additional, I just don’t have anything to share at this time.

Go ahead.

Q: If the President continues to test negative, will he wear a mask in India? For how many days? And will he do anything else to change his behavior as he’s around so many world leaders?

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: No, it’s a good question. Look, as you know, there’s about, I believe, a 10-day window – right? – once the person who was in close contact. The President is going to follow CDC guidance. And, as I mentioned at the top, that includes masking; that includes testing – testing is not recommended to – to be every day for a person who was close consultation with his physician. I just don’t have anything else to add.

Q: Sure. So, he would continue to mask up then for 10 days past the exposure point? Is that the plan at this point?

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: What I can say is that the CDC – when it comes to the 10 days, the CDC guidelines recommends a combination of masking, testing, and monitoring for symptoms. And the President is going to do all of that in close consultation with his physician, as he has been doing the last three days. As I mentioned tested negative on Monday, tested negative on Tuesday, tested negative today, and doesn’t have any symptoms.

Q: And then, just really briefly, the White House has obviously been pushing Congress to pass a CR. We are coming closer to that end-of-September deadline. What is the President doing specifically to make sure this happens? Is he speaking with Democratic leaders? Is he speaking with Republican leaders?

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: So, I can say this – and I’ve mentioned many times our Hill engagement from here with OMB Director and also our Legis- Legislative Affairs Office and – and others – senior-level officials here from the White House. And so, those folks, as you can imagine, meet – they meet regularly with the President, and they give – they give him updates on budget negotiation. So, he is constantly being updated by – by those staffers.

And while I don’t have any specific calls to read out, he’s in regular touch with members of Congress, as he has, about a numerous amount of issues, and – and – you know – and also in order to keep up on – on the government-funded – government-funded process that’s going on on the other side of Pennsylvania.

So, I’ll say this: His message in private is the same as it is in public – as it has been, as we have been saying as well – which is there is no reason to – for a government shutdown. It is important for Congress to keep their promise that they made to the American people and do their job. That is it. We’ve been very clear about that.

And, you know, I’ve said this, and he’ll continue to say this as well: When it comes to the government supplemental funding, lives are at stake. The key, important government programs need to continue to be funded.

And so, we’re going to continue to say that. Congress has a job to do. They need to keep the government open.

I’m going to go around. Go ahead.

Q: Thank you. I wanted to ask you about G20. What is the President’s view about the achievement the G20 has done so far under India’s presidency?

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: So, look, we commend the Prime Minister – Prime Minister Modi and his leadership of the G20 this year. And we are committed to helping ensure that India has a successful G20 host – as – as they host it this year. And so, that’s going to be – continue to be our commitment.

During – during Prime Minister Modi’s visit here in June, as you covered very closely, President and Prime Minister shared their determination to deliver on shared priorities at the summit. And so, the President is very much looking forward to continuing that work with the Prime Minister and other leaders later this week as we head out tomorrow.

Q: And when they meet on a bilateral meeting, I think on Friday, what will the main issues to be discussed during that time?

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: So, look, I’m going to – we’re going to have more to share as we get closer. Tomorrow, we’re going to do a gaggle on the plane on our way out – out to – on our way – headed to the G20. And I’ll have someone form NSC join as well and – who will be able to lay out specifically some more – some more meat on the bones, if you will, on what the G- G20 is going to look like, especially the first day.

And so, I’ll, I’ll let that – let that happen. And you’ll hear directly from NSC on that piece.

But look, you know, we are – we’re – again, we’re committed for this to be a successful – a successful summit. We’ll have more to share, certainly, on – on the bilateral with the Prime Minister.

Go ahead.

Q: Hi Karine.

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: I haven’t seen you in a while.

Q: Good to see you.

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: Good to see you.

Q: House Republicans have just sent a letter to National Archives requesting unreacted records from the office of then-Vice President Biden. Does the Whi- –does the White House support transparency on these records?

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: So, look, I’m just going to let – I know the White House – my – my team at the White House Counsel’s Office has responded to this. I’m just going to let them deal with that – that information. I just don’t have more more to share –

Q: Okay. The – the letter –

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: – on that question.

Q: The letter sites email traffic between Kate Bedingfield and Eric Schwerin – who’s a longtime Hunter Biden business associate – in which Bedingfield signed off on quotes that should be used to respond to media inquires about Hunter’s involvement in Burisma. How do you respond to criticism that shows there was no wall between then-Vice President Biden’s work and his family’s business dealings?

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: I understand the question. I appreciate the question. I get the question. I’m just going to let the White House Counsel team answer that question.

Q: I have another question about fact-checking here at the White House. The initial statement from the President about the passing of Governor Bill Richardson included condolences for his wife of 50 years, Barbara, and their daughter. Heather. That line about Heather, the daughter, has been removed because they didn’t have a daughter named Heather – or a daughter. So can you walk us through how these press releases are factchecked; who signs off on them in the end; and then, in this case, how this error was made?

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: So, look, we apologize for the error. Certainly, that is not something that, you know, we want to do, right? We want to make sure that we get this information out clearly and in a straightforward way to the American people. So, that was not done intentionally.

And certainly, when we realized that error, it was removed from the website.

We do have fact checkers here. We do have multiple people who take a look at – at the press releases, especially from the President. This was just a miss, unfortunately. And we apologize for that miss.

And so, again, as soon as we realized it, we removed it from the website.

It is – you know, we do – I just want to reiterate our condolences to the family. And I think the President actually spoke – he was shouted a question over the weekend about – I believe on Saturday – about Bill Richardson. And he spoke to – he – he responded to that. And I know Bill Richardson was a friend to the President.

And so, again, our – we apologize for – for that error. And certainly, that is not something that we want to see happen. And it is not – it is not a common occurrence – right? – that happens from this White House.

Q: Has the source of the error been identified and dealt with to prevent it from happening again?

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: You know, we will do our best. What I can say from here – and committed to saying from here is that we will do our best to make sure that doesn’t happen again.

Again, it was an error. We apologized. I apologized just now. And we certainly removed that, as you just stated, the moment that we realized that that error was made.

Q: Thank you, Karine.

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: Go ahead.

Q: Yeah, thanks, Karine. You mentioned the President’s supplemental request earlier and lives being at stake. Senator Rubi- Rubio, whose sate is recovering from Hurricane Idalia, says the $16 billion in dis – –in additional disaster relief should be decoupled from the additional funding sought for Ukraine. Of course, that’s the part of the request that seems to be opposed by many Republicans.

Is the administrat- is the administration willing to separate these requests and seek the FEMA disaster aid independently to ensure it gets to the hurricane victims and Hawaii wildfire victims as quickly as possible? Or do you see that these things have to be grouped together for the request?

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: So, look, I’ve been asked this question multiple times over the last – I don’t know – 10 days about – your specific question about this – about the supplemental funding for Ukraine and also what has been requested by FEMA, which his the $16 billion.

Look, we see them both as incredibly important. I just laid out at the top what we saw happen in Ukraine: 16 civilians died.

We – we are going to see the President go to the G20, talking about our commitment for Ukraine and making sure that the people of Ukraine – who are bravely fighting for their sovereignty, for their democracy – has what they need to fight against Russia’s aggression.

We have been very clear about that. We believe that has been done in a bipartisan way, and we have said we appreciate the bipartisanship that has come out – out of – out of Congress in getting this done.

It is important. It is important to help a country to continue to fight for their democracy.

And so, we believe, as the United States – this President believes, as a – as a leader, that this is part of our – part of our job – right? – part of our duty to make sure that Ukraine continues to fight, again, for their sovereignty, for their democracy.

And look, $16 billion to make sure – we’ve seen, you all have covered what’s happening the last two years under this administration, specifically on what we’ve seen with extreme weather, extreme temperatures, and what that’s doing to our communities.

We were in a rural community on Saturday. The President was there. You all saw what – what – what happened to these communities. There should – it should be done. It should be – that $16 billion should be moved forward for communities across the country.

We’re not going to get into hypotheticals form here about decoupling anything at this time.

What we believe are these are vital, important government programs that need to be funded, that Congress should act on, that has been done in a bipartisan way. And so, that’s what we’re going to continue to stick to.

Q: But if it could more quickly get that FEMA funding to them –

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: I –

Q: – why not do that?

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: I hear – I hear your question. I just laid out why each are incredibly important to move forward with. And so, our goal here is to get that done. We’re having those conversations here at the White House with folks on the other side of Pennsylvania, as I just mentioned, to get this done.

These are vital programs. These are vital, important government programs that need to be done. And so, that is the message that we are going to be very clear about. As I said, the President says that privately and also publicly.

Go ahead.

Q: On the UAW, as the deadline gets closer, does the stance or the position of the administration change? I know in previous labor disputes, for instance, you know, you’ve invited the negotiators here and tried to hammer out a deal as that deadline approached. Is that something that rises to the level with – with the UAW and the automakers?

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: I mean, look, we’ve – have had conversation – I had mentioned Gene Sperling being the lead on having and – being part of the conversations for us at the White House, which is , I think, incredibly important.

We’ve seen what Julie Su has been able to do – the West port – the West Coast ports, as you’ll see in less than an hour, from – hearing from the President.

Look, we believe in collective bargaining. I don’t have anything else to sha- — to share. Don’t want to get into hypotheticals from here.

We believe that, you know, if both sides come in good faith that, you know, we’re going to continue to be optimistic here. We’re going to be optimistic on moving forward.

So, just going to leave it there. I’m going to let the unions and, certainly, folks who are at the table continues to have the conversations. But I’m just not going to get into hypotheticals from here.

Q: I guess what I’m trying to ask – and apologies for not doing it better the first time – (laughs) is that –

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: (Inaudible.)

Q: – you know, with the ports and with the freight rail – those were seen as very important to keep the economy moving forward – the supply chain. Is that how this is viewed with the automakers? Is this – if there were a strike, does the administration view it in the same kind of harm as the other two situations?

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: Look, we’re going to – I want to be careful. Don’t want to get into hypotheticals about what could or could not happen.

What we are saying is that we know collective bargaining works.

I mentioned the West Coast ports, the Teamsters and the UPS, which we just saw a month or two ago. And that’s important.

The President is going to continue to encourage parties to negotiate in good faith towards an agreement that prevents any kind of shutdown, and that’s what we have done – that’s what we’ll continue to do – many times before this.

And so, we’re going to continue to monitor the negotiations. I just don’t have anything beyond that, besides being very clear in how – and what the President believes and wanting to make – make sure that folks negotiate in good faith.

Go ahead, Karen.

Q: Thank. Is the First Lady the only member of the Biden family that’s tested positive for COVID since this weekend?

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: I would – I would refer you to the First Lady’s office. I don’t have anything further besides, like, you know, if there were close contacts on that side, I just don’t have anything to else to share besides the First Lady.

Q: And to go back to the medal ceremony from yesterday. You said, today, to my colleague that “the President, in every way that we could, followed the CDC guidelines.” And you made a point to say that beforehand, when he was meeting with Captain Taylor, he was masked so he could have that time with him. Then why not wear a mask when he was putting the medal around his neck and he was so close to him like that? Was that an oversight by the President?

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: What I can –

Q: Was he supposed to there?

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: What I can tell you is that the President took off his mask to deliver incredibly powerful remarks about the captain.

That was done, certainly, on – I think, on purpose – right? – wanting to give him that Medal of Honor. And it’s important. He – it was important of him to speak to – to speak to the heroics of – of the captain, and that’s what you saw.

And afterwards, obviously, he still – he didn’t have his mask on. But afterwards, as we planned – as it was planned, we made sure that when the program paused, that he was able to leave right after. We wanted to make sure there was a short amount of time that the President was there. And so, that’s what you saw.

And, look, their, the CDC guidelines, as you know is – is masking; is testing; and is, certainly, having close con- –monitoring – monitoring any symptoms. The President doesn’t have symptoms. He tested negative a couple of hours before the event. He tested negative today.

I think what’s really important is that the President – to put this all in context – that the President doesn’t have any symptoms, and he’s been testing negative.

Q: And you’ve emphas- emphasized the pause and that he got out of the room to minimize that. But yesterday, you said that he would remove his mask when “sufficiently distances from others indoors.” That was not sufficiently distanced when he was next to Taylor yesterday.

So, going forward, if he is that close to people, over the next couple of days – as he goes to these meetings at the G20 – should we expect him masked if he is engaging with world leaders like that?

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: So, the President is going to be masking in the next – in this 10-day period. He is going to be masking. He’s going to be making sure that he is getting tested regularly, in consultation with – certainly in consultation with his physician. And – and so, we will keep those CDC guidelines.

Again, he wanted to make sure he had those really important remarks to share about the heroics and what the captain – Captain Taylor did on behalf of his country. So, yes, he took off his mask.

And then – but what we made sure to happen is that there was a brief pause – when there was a pause in the program, the President left, so to minimize his – his impact or his – in his impact towards the attendees who were there. And so, that was done on purpose. That was done very purposefully so that, again, he wasn’t – he wasn’t there for too long.

Again, before – and he reason why I mentioned the before piece: Because the President saw this to be so important that he did take some time with the captain and his family – and everyone was masked – and wanted to make sure that he did his part as well and was protecting – being protective of – of – of the family and the captain.

Go ahead.

Q: Thank you, Karine. We’ve asked a lot about the President’s use of a mask and CDC guidelines. But I want to ask about CDC guidance specifically, because there is – you know, going into the fall, kids going back to school, CDC still recommends universal indoor masking for kids in school, students, staff. And that seems out of step with some of the studies around the usefulness of masks for kids.

There was a piece in the Atlantic, and I’ll just read you a quote from it. It says, “We reviewed a variety of studies – some conducted by the CDC itself, some cited by the CDC as evidence of masking effectiveness in a school setting – to try and find evidence that would justify the CDC’s no-end-in sight mask guidance for the very-low-risk pediatric population, particularly post-vaccination. We came up empty handed.”

So, especially with the President going to Congress to ask for more money and a new vaccine and more money for the CDC, should we keep funding these studies if the CDC is not making guidance that follows the results of those studies?

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: Here’s what I’ll say: We did something that the last administration was incapable of doing, which is putting forth a strategy to really, truly deal with COVID-19 and this pandemic. They were incapable of doing that.

We put forth a comprehensive plan, and we are now in a different place than we were two years ago, a year ago. We are in much better place to fight COVID-19. And we have the tools, and that includes masking, that includes vaccinations.

And as you know, CDC and FDA said they’re going to have vaccine by mid-September. And we’re going to make sure – –continue to do what we have done in the past couple of years – is inform folks – let them know that these new vaccines are here, that they have to make sure to take the – and their flu vaccine and also the RSV.

All of these things are incredibly important because we know what works. We do. I mean we know what works. We are in a different place than we were two, three years ago.

Q: Do – do we know what works though?

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: But let me –

Q: I mean, the CDC does not –

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: But –

Q: – seem to be responding to the data.

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: I’ll say this – and you’re taking about schools?

Q: Yes.

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: CDC – they’re the experts. They’re – they use science to come to – to come forward with their guidelines. And it is important that we allow them to do their work.

And we believe that we are in a different place. And all you got to do is look around. Look around to where we are today and where we were when we first started in this administration. And that’s because we put forward an – an – a comprehensive plan with tools to make sure that we dealt with the pandemic, that we dealt with COVID in a real way.

Let’s not forget where we were when the President started off: Thousands of people were dying a day. A day. A day.

And so, that is – that is, like, the reality. So, clearly, something that we have done, from the moment that we stepped into this administration to now, has worked. And that’s because we followed the guidance of the CDC. We let FDA do their work. That’s the scientists. That’s the experts. And that’s why we are in a much better place than we are today.

I know you’re asking me about data, but all you got to do is look at where we are as a country.

Q: I – I know, and I – I am looking around. And you know, 16 states don’t have any mask mandates – or, sorry, 16 states follow CDC guidance closely for schools. Nine states have banned school mask mandates. There’s a patchwork, basically, of – of –

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: Yeah, but here’s the thing –

Q: – protocols. And – and so, when the CDC is saying one thing and people are obviously –

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: These are –

Q: – in a better place –

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: Here’s the thing, these are guidelines by CDC. These are not mandates –

Q: Should they be revised?

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: Hold on. These are not mandates. They are guidelines by CDC – what they recommend, what they believe would work.

It is up – is it up to the schools. It is the decisions of the districts at – level – right? – to decide what they want to do with the guidelines that they’ve been provided by CDC. That’s why we always say: Go to CDC.gov, where you’ll get information on how that works.

But I do want to say: CDC advice for individual and community actions – you know, they’re – they’re tied to hospital admissions level. And want to be really clear: When you look at that, they are about 93 percent of the country. And so, they – they have the best information for us.

These are guidelines. To be very, very, clear: These are guidelines. And it is up to local officials and local – local leaders to decide how they want to move forward. That’s why what you just laid out – it’s different. There’s a reason why it’s different: because they make the decision.

I’m going to keep going.

(Cross-talk.)

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: Oh, we – oh, okay. All right. We’ve got to go. We’ve got to go. Sorry guys.

Q: Catch you next time.

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: Next time, my friend.

Q: Thank you, Karine.

September 12, 2023: STATE FACT SHEETS: House Republicans’ Funding Bills Would Have Devastating Impacts for Hard-Working Families Across America

House Republicans’ bills would raise a host of costs for families, hurt students, seniors, and rural communities, slash support for law enforcement, and undermine our economy – while Congressional Republicans fight separately for multi-millionaires and big corporations to get massive tax cuts.

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. The President, House Democrats, Senate Democrats, and Senate Republicans all stand by this promise. Unfortunately, Speaker McCarthy and House Republicans are ignoring the bipartisan budget agreement they passed and instead advancing extreme, partisan appropriations bills that break their public promise and gut key investments in the American people.

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 years 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 saving from their deep cuts to education, health, and labor programs. (1)

(1) The House Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education bill cuts these programs by a total of $30.7 billion, not counting recessions included in the bill.

Today, the Office of Management and Budget released 51 fact sheets highlighting the devastating impacts of these extreme cuts on states and the District of Columbia. Below are some of the most harmful elements of House Republicans’ appropriations bills that they will begin to consider this week.

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.
  • Slash Funding for Law Enforcement: The proposed cut to the FBI would eliminate up to 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 position
  • 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, 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 off 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.

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 clime 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 – proposing 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 to convert renewable energy systems, and that help rural Americans to build clean, affordable, and reliable energy by working with approximately 900 electric cooperatives in 47 states.
  • 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 programed at EPA would take away funds designed to help committees 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 produces and expand economic opportunities in communities, helping to cut harmful pollution and protect people’s health whole tackling the climate crisis.
  • Slash Support for Teachers: Rescinding $1.7 billion – or 77 percent – in the Supporting Effective Instruction State Grants (Title II) program would severely undermine the program’s ability to 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, 2023: Center on Budget and Policy Priorities posted a Statement titled: “House Republican Budget Reflects Disturbing Vision for the Country” From the Statement:

Statement of Sharon Parrott, CBPP President, on House Budget Committee Chair Arrington’s budget resolution released today:

It’s tempting to ignore a budget resolution released just days before the start of the fiscal year that it’s meant to guide, and amid the chaotic debate around a short-term extension of government funding to avoid a shutdown. But House Budget Committee Chair Jodey Arrington’s proposed budget is important for the country: health care stripped away from millions of people, higher poverty and hunger, capitulation to climate change, and more tax cheating by high-income people, and large-scale disinvestment from the building blocks of opportunity and economic growth – from medical research to educational child care. It would narrow opportunity, worsen racial inequities, and make it harder for people to afford the basics. It reflects the wrong priorities for the country and should be soundly rejected.

Chair Arrington made clear in his remarks the intent to extend the expiring tax cuts from the 2017 tax law, which included large tax cuts for the wealthy. In addition, the budget resolution itself would pave the way for unlimited, unpaid-for tax cuts that could go well beyond those extensions. The extensions alone would give annual tax breaks averaging $41,000 to tax filers in the top 1 percent and cost more than $350 billion a year, the Congressional Budget Office estimates. The budget reflects none of these costs and fails to explain how – or whether – they will be offset.

A shocking share of the spending cuts Chair Arrington specifies target people with low and moderate incomes, including $1.9 trillion in Medicaid cuts and hundreds of billions in cuts to economic security programs, such as cuts to assistance that helps people afford food and other basic needs. Just last week the Census Bureau released data showing that poverty spiked last year, more than doubling for children. Rather than proposing policies that could reverse this deeply troubling trend, the budget proposal would deepen poverty and increase hardship.

The budget would also make deep cuts in the part of the budget that is funded annually through appropriation bills. Disingenuously, the budget resolution shows that these cuts total more than $4 trillion over ten years – but hides the program areas that would be cut, labeling them “government-wide savings.” But this year’s House Appropriations bills – which include substantial cuts – make clear that the cuts would fall on a wide range of basic functions and services that support families, communities, and the broader economy, including services that support families, communities, and the broader economy, including Social Security customer service, support for K-12 and college education, funding for national parks and clean air and water, rental housing assistance for families with low incomes, and more.

Chair Arrington claims the budget’s deep and damaging program cuts are in the name of deficit reduction. But the failure to identify a single revenue increase for high-income people or corporations – and in fact, to potentially shower them with more unpaid-for tax cuts – is an extreme and misguided approach. Moreover, calling for a balanced budget in ten years is merely a slogan that has little to do with addressing our nation’s needs – and the budget resolution resorts to gimmicks and games to even appear to get there, including $3 trillion in deficit reduction it claims would accrue from higher economic growth it assumes would be achieved by budget policies.

A budget plan should focus on the nation’s needs and lay out an agenda that broadens opportunity, invests in people and families, reduces the too-high levels of hardship and financial stress faced by households across the country, and raises revenues for those investments. But the Arrington budget blueprint would shortchange much-needed investments and lock in wasteful tax cuts to the already wealthy for the next decade.

House Republicans are pursuing a damaging agenda at every turn – first threatening the nation with default, and now demanding deep cuts in an array of priorities in this year’s appropriations debate, risking a government shutdown, and proposing a budget blueprint that would take the country in the wrong direction.

September 19, 2023: 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 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 the entire year?

IMPACT OF HOUSE REPUBLICANS’ EXTREME CR:

  • 800 fewer Customs and Border Protections (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.
  • 100,000 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 like Meals on Wheels
  • 2.1 million women, infants, and children would be waitlisted for the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Woman, 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 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 a greater risk of homelessness
  • A roughly $500 reduction to the maximum Pell Grant for 6.6 million students
  • 4,000 fewer FBI personnel, including agents who investigate crimes
  • 250,000 American workers would be denied job training and employment services – resulting 35,000 fewer workers gaining the opportunity of a Registered Apprenticeship
  • 50,000 workers would lose an average of $1,000 in back wages they are owed
  • People applying for disability benefits would have to wait 2 months longer

September 20, 2023: The White House posted: Extreme House Republicans’ Chaos Is Marching Us Toward A Government Shutdown

While President Biden continuous 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 Start and child care, Meals on Wheels, and more- it also fails to provide the urgent funding President Biden requested to support disaster-struck communities, counter fentanyl trafficking, support Ukraine, provide critical food assistance for pregnant and post-partum women and young children, and avoid disruptions to FAA air traffic operations.

And here’s what’s clear: if extreme 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 the impacts of a Republican shutdown:

  • Threaten Vital Nutrition Assistance for Nearly 7 Million Vulnerable Moms and 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 soon start being turned away at grocery store counter, 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 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 as drinking water and chemical facilities would stop. EPA would halt oversight and review of permits and plans to ensure safe water and clean air in communities. Additionally, efforts to address dangerous contaminants, like PFAS – which are linked severe health effects, 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 due to 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 their 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, 2023: 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 people’s lives an marching our country toward a government shutdown that would have damaging impacts all across the country.

Instead of working in a bipartisan manner to keep the government open and address emergency needs for the American people, House Republicans introduced continuing resolution this week that makes an 8%, across-the-board cut 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 Home 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%.

Here is what House Republicans’ draconian over 60% cut to LIHEAP would look like across all 50 states and the District of Columbia:

Cut To LIHEAP Households served by LIHEAP (FY 2022)

  • Alabama: $40 Million 59,725
  • Alaska: $7 Million 4,117
  • Arizona: $21 Million 6,377
  • Arkansas: $22 Million 45,711
  • California: $159 Million 98,075
  • Colorado: $36 Million 84,096
  • Connecticut: $49 Million 92,180
  • Delaware: $9 Million 8,445
  • Dist. of Columbia: $8 Million 8,035
  • Florida: $72 Million 36,141
  • Georgia: $57 Million 81,558
  • Hawaii: $4 Million 6,337
  • Idaho: $14 Million 36,969
  • Illinois: $118 Million 258,424
  • Indiana: $53 Million 109,750
  • Iowa: $38 Million 112,451
  • Kansas: $25 Million 33,688
  • Kentucky: $38 Million 62,668
  • Louisiana: $37 Million 17,437
  • Maine: $26 Million 36,688
  • Maryland: $52 Million 82,046
  • Massachusetts: $90 Million 133,635
  • Mississippi: $24 Million 28,891
  • Missouri: $55 Million 117,891
  • Montana: $14 Million 16,418
  • Nebraska: $22 Million 41,587
  • Nevada: $10 Million 22,753
  • New Hampshire: $19 Million 24,425
  • New Jersey: $87 Million 236,094
  • New Mexico: $13 Million 34,123
  • New York: $246 Million 1,166,291
  • North Carolina: $72 Million 14,020
  • North Dakota: $14 Million 14,020
  • Ohio: $106 Million 231,446
  • Oklahoma: $26 Million 58,421
  • Oregon: $27 Million 60,070
  • Pennsylvania: $137 Million 342,419
  • Rhode Island: $16 Million 25,481
  • South Carolina: $34 Million 13,921
  • South Dakota: $13 Million 23,966
  • Tennessee: $47 Million 62,373
  • Texas: $120 Million 76,572
  • Utah: $18 Million 18,912
  • Vermont: $14 Million 26,854
  • Virginia: $67 Million 106,279
  • Washington: $42 Million 89,121
  • West Virginia: $22 Million 59,194
  • Wisconsin: $72 Million 194,705
  • Wyoming: $7 Million 8,260

September 21, 2023: 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 the National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan joining use today to talk about – give a little bit of a preview and talk abotu 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 held a series of engagements and meetings at the U.N. General Assembly. He launched important initiatives, he engaged 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 rights 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 the 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 against 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 defense 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- workin with Ukranians 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 helped Ukraine defend 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 their conversations over the course of the past year and a half.

Above all, though, President Biden wants to us 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 they have informed you about the proof of these 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 out 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 efforts 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 to drive a wedge between the United States and Canada on this issue. And I firmly reject the idea that there is a wedge between 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 to both 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 the House and 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 been going out and themselves making the case to their constituents and to the world for what this is so important.

And it is 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 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 members 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 constructive suggestions for how we most effectively pursue continued 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 done – after all 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 – that there will be strong bipartisan support to continue funding Ukraine to the extent 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 this diplomatic row between two U.S. partners.

MR. SULLIVAN: I am not going to speak to either 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 any thing 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 doe that need to occur to not have an impact? What is the urgency? And how soon does that need to happen to make sure that there is no let-up in the effort to help support the 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 the 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 passes a shorter package, you could have a proportional amount or a longer package, et. cetera.

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 that 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, overwhelming majority of members, both Democrats and Republicans, who want to see the aid continue. And I believe that’s where the American people are as well. So, I believe that will shine through in 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 issue, but I believe that Poland will continue to be a supporter of Ukraine.

Yeah.

Q: Thank you, Jake. What are you telling congressional leaders about how much more aid is needed to ensure 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 next year looks like as well. But that’s in military support, economic support, humanitarian, energy assistance, and so forth.

War is inherently 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 sine the beginning of this conflict. That will continue.

But what we know is that there is core capabilities – in ammunition, in air defense systems, and in other critical military elements – that Ukraine will continue to need from its partners in NATO and other countries around the world.

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 in the support to – for this kind of assistance to go to Ukraine from dozens of countries around the world. The United States 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 is the path forward here?

MR. SULLIVAN: In a way, that’s above my paygrade because it 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 budget 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.

Yes.

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 elected 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 means that the road ahead is entirely straight or I can predict to you exactly how this is all going to play out. What I believe is that when all is said and done, 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 a chance to talk to them directly.

Yes.

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 insure that Iran never gets a nuclear weapon is that if they did, not only would it be a direct threat to the region and beyond, but it would likely 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 an nuclear weapon so this hypothetical never comes to 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 peace formulation that President Zelenskyy is promoting? And if the answer to that question is no, 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 one of them down – sovereignty and territorial integrity, food security, ecological security, nuclear safety – to us, it’s not even a question of 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 of a just peace is fully consistent with the United Nations Charter and with, kind of, decency and common humanity. So, we have 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 in 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 its 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 is inviolable 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 States’ 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 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 that 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, neighbor cannot be allowed to conquer another. And I think that you – you got to – the point seemed to say that if we were to allow this to happen in Ukraine, it could happen elsewhere. Where 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.

Q: Yeah, thanks, Jake. I appreciate you doing this. So, you’ve laid out how the President is standing up to Russia through action, but largely giving China and India a pass on their aggressions, as well as economic support for Russia. Why is that?

MR. SULLIVAN: What – what do you mean by “aggression”?

Q: Well, so, for instance, India – they’ve made a deal with – well, economic aggression, I guess – eight- –they made a deal with 18 countries to not use dollars to trade in. India has – is on a U.S. watchlist for intellectual property theft of U.S. companies. India has been – is part of BRICS. And so, that’s what I’m talking about with India.

With China, the aggressions – the hacking that they’ve done, the spy balloons, as well as their intellectual property issues.

MR. SULLIVAN: I mean, first of all, we’ve stood up over – I – I’m not sure if your question is about Ukraine or just about things generically –

Q: It’s about China and India.

MR. SULLIVAN: – and so forth.

Q: I mean, why – why aren’t we seeing the same kind of actions standing up against China and India?

MR. SULLIVAN: I mean, we’ve taken a variety of actions to protect American’s national security vis-à-vis threats from the PRC. You know, we have an entire strategy with respect to our technology export controls to make sure that American technology cannot be used against us.

President Biden, in fact, is the first person to take some of those steps. No previous administration has done so.

And where we have concerns with India, whether it comes to issues related to the very watchlist that you’re describing or otherwise, we make those concerns clear. And we defend U.S. interests, as we do with every country in the world.

Now, India is not Russia and China has its own set of challenges that we deal with in its own context. So, of course, there is going to be differences in how we deal with countries one by one.

But the idea – the North Star of this administration is: If you represent a threat to the American people’s security, prosperity, or basic sense of fairness, we will take action to defend that. I think our record on that – across multiple countries, including the ones that you’ve mentioned – is quite clear over the last two and a half years.

Yeah.

Q: Just back on India quickly. Do you – do you know whether President Biden intends to speak to Modi about this – these allegations from the Canadians? And do you see that this incident and – and that this concern could drive a wedge between the United States and India at this very moment when you’re trying to sort of rebuild that relationship?

MR. SULLIVAN: I’m – I’m not going to get into private diplomatic conversations that have either already happened or are going to happen on this topic, only to say that we have been and will be in contact with the Indians at high levels on this issue.

It – it is a matter of concern for us. It is something we take seriously. It’s something we will keep working on, and we will do that regardless of the country. There is not some special exemption you get for actions like this. Regardless of the country, we will stand up and defend our basic principles. And we will also consult closely with allies like Canada as they pursue their law enforcement and diplomatic process.

Yeah.

Q: On – on Ukraine – I’m sorry, just on Ukraine. You – you’ve talked about the, sort of, need for, you know, kind of, discussions about what weapons will go and what – when they will go. There are some members of – of Congress, some senators who say that there is some sort of equivalency, like, you know, you’re not sending ATAC – you shouldn’t send ATACMS, for instance, or weapons to Ukraine because you should preserve them to send them to Taiwan.

Can you unpack that for us in terms of what the store of weapons that are available, the weapons that can be produced, and whether there are sufficient weapons to respond to eventual needs in other places besides Ukraine?

MR. SULLIVAN: So, when we think about our obligations under the Taiwan Relations Act to continue to provide defensive articles to Taiwan, we take a look at our – what we have in our inventory and what they put on contract to purchase. Most of what we require, of course, is through foreign military sales, which they put on contract to purchase and don’t take out of our stocks. So, we look at that.

We obviously look at both what we provide through drawdown to Ukraine and also what we put on contract for purchase to Ukraine through the Ukraine Security Assistance Initiative.

And then we look at what we need – what we need for any contingency anywhere in the world. And not just in the Indo-Pacific, but in Europe and the Middle East, elsewhere.

And we lay those three considerations out on the table, and we make a determination about whether there are, in fact, trade-offs that – that would make our life difficult in some way or whether we feel we can manage and balance everything while doing the needful for all of the major contingencies we might face.

We do not think right now that the notion of one-for-one trade-offs in any context is really a rate limiter on us being able to provide support for Ukraine. We think we can provide support for Ukraine and also be in a position to deter aggression elsewhere or respond to it if it takes place.

Q: Does the U.S. –

MR. SULLIVAN: So, we have confidence in that.

Q: Does the U.S. industry need to increase productions?

MR. SULLIVAN: Yes. Our view – just for example, I’ve stood at this podium before and talked about artillery ammunition. We want to see a dramatic increase in artillery ammunition production. That is underway. It will take some time. We think there are other munitions where additional production additional capability, and – and not just for munitions, but critical platforms as well.

We inherited a defense industrial base that – from a supply chain and workforce and overall capacity perspective – was not operating at the level we believe it should be operating at. President Biden has given direction, Secretary Austin has given direction to remedy that, and we are actively doing so.

Yeah.

Q: Thank you, Jake. CNN asked Zelenskyy earlier this week if a military breakthrough is possible this year, and his answer was “I think nobody knows, really.” What is the U.S.’s assessment of whether the provision of all this aid can actually ensure success on the battlefield?

MR. SULLIVAN: Well, let’s define “success,” kind of stepping back for a moment. Number one: Kyiv stands, Kharkiv stands, Kherson stands. Major cities of Ukraine are not under Russian dom- –domination and occupation today because, first and foremost, of the bravery of the Ukrainian soldiers on the frontlines and the people – the Ukrainian people who are supporting them but also, in on small part, because of the material assistance we have provided. And that is a significant fact.

Second, Ukraine is, in fact, taking back territory. It is doing so methodically, step by step. And the weapons that we have provided have allowed them to de-occupy more territory in the last three months than the Russians were able to take in eight months over the course of its fall and winter offensive last year.

So, we will keep at this. And we believe that the weapons we are providing are helping Ukraine not only make forward progress, but also critically defend the territory that they continue to hold against Russian efforts to overrun it and occupy it, because Putin has not given up on his fundamental goal, which is to subjugate the country of Ukraine.

And we will not permit that to happen, and the Ukrainian people will not permit that to happen.

I’ll do one more. Yeah.

Q: Thanks, Jake. When President Zelenskyy was here last December, he and President Biden had a joint press conference after their meetings. That’s not on the agenda for today. Why was that not scheduled for this visit?

MR. SULLIVAN: So, President Zelenskyy came in from New York. He’s going off to other destinations tonight. He has a limited number of hours here. We wanted to make sure that he spent plenty of time on Hill engaging with Democratic and Republican members, answering their questions making his case.

And then, President Biden wants plenty of time to sit with him one-on-one in a small group and then with his Cabinet to be able to work through everything. They will have the opportunity to make, I think, two statements to the press during that time.

But we chose how to allocate the time based on what we think is going to generate the best possible results for Ukraine. And – and President Biden is looking forward to the set of engagements this afternoon.

I’ll just say one more thing to the – the question of how much assistance that we’ve provided lest anyone say, “Oh, Jake doesn’t know how much assistance we’ve provided.”

This is just off the top of my head, so you can confirm these numbers, but roughly $47 billion in military assistance between PDA and USAI; roughly $1- to $1.5 billion per month in direct budget support that is sent not directly to Ukraine, but to the World Bank so that the World Bank can ensure every amount – all the amounts of that aid, those doctors are being appropriately spent; and then in the range of 10-or-so billions dollars being spent for a range of humanitarian, energy, and other purposes to ensure that the basic livelihoods of Ukrainians, their humanitarian needs, basic food security needs, and otherwise are being taken care of.

That’s not a precise estimate, because I didn’t come bringing this. But I spend my days making sure that we know that every dollar that we’re spending is being accounted for effectively and is being shared very much with the Hill and is bearing – being shared with you all.

And, of course, we will make sure that the members that you’ve referred to who don’t seem to know what we’re doing with the aid to Ukraine get the same information that has long been available to everybody else.

And with that, I’ll let you guys have a good day.

Q: Jake, one on the (inaudible)-

Q: Thank you, sir.

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: Thanks, Jake.

Q: Thank you, Jake.

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: Thank you so much, Jake. Okay.

Just one thing at the top, and then we’ll continue.

Today, extreme House Republicans showed yet again that their chaos is marching us toward a reckless and damaging government shutdown. Extreme House Republicans can’t even get an agreement among themselves to keep the government running or to fund the military. They keep demanding more extreme policies as a condition to do their job and keep the government open – from a fact-free impeachment that their own members – their own members say isn’t supported by the evidence, to severe cuts to food safety, Meals on Wheels, Head Start, education, law enforcement, and much more.

And they’re failing to deliver needed funding for communities recovering from disasters, to countering fentanyl trafficking, for food assistance for pregnant mothers and babies, and to support Ukraine.

All this while pushing for more trickle-down tax cuts for billionaires and big corporations, which they did again yesterday in their budget markup.

And they’re failing to deliver needed funding for communities recovering from disasters, to countering fentanyl trafficking, for food assistance for pregnant mothers and babies, and to support Ukraine.

All this while pushing for more trickle-down tax cuts for billionaires and big corporations, which they did again yesterday in their budget markup.

The solution is very, very simple. Extreme House Republicans need to stop playing political games with people’s lives. There’s so much at stake here. They should abide by the par- — bipartisan deal we made May, which two thirds – two thirds of House Republicans voted for.

A deal is a deal. House Republicans need to do their job, keep the government open, and work with us to deliver – to deliver for the American people.

With that, Seung Min.

Q: Thanks. Two quick topics. Has OMB given guidance yet to federal agencies on what they can and can’t doin case of a government shutdown?

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: So, don’t have any specific – what that – what that would look like. But certainly, agencies are looking at how to move forward in case there is a shutdown.

But I will say this, I mean, very plainly: The best plan – the best plan right now is to not have one – is to not have a shutdown. House Republicans know exactly what they need to do, which is do their jobs.

Q: Will OMB be sending like guidance this week? I think typically it’s sent seven or so days before a shutdown.

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: Yeah, again, I told you that, as I mentioned, agencies are looking at how to move forward in case there is one, but we want to be very clear – we want to be very clear here – the ble- — the best plan is for there to not be a shutdown. This is something that can be avoided here. This is something that can be avoided here. This is something that House Republicans know very well – that they have to do their jobs. They’re the ones – they’re the ones to fix this problem.

Q: And will the White House send an administration official to the picket lines with those striking UAW workers or would President Biden himself go?

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: So, don’t have anything to – to lay out on – on any – as regards to the President’s schedule. What I can say is the President is – is very, I guess – seeing – seeing the continue to be at the negotiating table. All parties continuing to be at the negotiating table is a positive. That is important. They’ve been certainly doing that for the pack 24/7.

It is important to have that collective bargaining. The President has been very clear about that. And – and so, we are going to assist – the White House, along with the Department of Labor with the – with the leadership of Acting Secretary Su – to make sure that they – we provide assistance or any guidance or any guidance as it is requested to all parties.

But certainly, we appreciate the fact that they are still at the negotiating table having this this conversation. It is important that we result in a win-win agreement. It is important that UAW workers are certainly being able to have a deal where they could take care of their family, raise their family.

The President is, as you know, pro-union. The President is pro-workers, pro-UAW workers, and that’s what we’ve going to continue to make clear.

Go ahead.

Q: Let me just ask you: On the UAW strike, what – to what extent do you have any kind of leverage to, sort of, lean in with companies? Is the President picking up the phone and speaking with the company executives? And, you know, is there a limit to how much he can – he can do on that?

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: Well, you heard from the President – Andrea, you heard from the President last Friday, where he said – he said that record corporate profits should lead you to record UAW contracts. He was very clear about that. You’ve heard that from me and you’ve heard that from others here in the administration. And he’s going to obviously continue to get daily briefings from his – from his team on what is going – where – what’s going on or where the negotiations are.

And the President has spoken to all parties in the past couple of weeks. And so, he has stayed in touch. He’s had those conversations.

But again, the parties are negotiating at the table. That is a positive thing. That is important. They are working 24/7 to get a win-win agreement.

And so, look, I’ll just add this. The President fought and won the type of major investment needed – really, truly needed to ensure that we have an EV future with – with EVs that are made in America. That is something that the President was able to do.

And let’s not forget: The folks who want to repeal this or what we saw in the administration was certainly not about investments. They – if anything, they tried to – to push sending American jobs to China. That’s what we’ve seen them do.

The President is a pro-union president. That’s what labor – labor and – labor and union have called him and called – called him as a – the most pro-union president in this – ever in this – in any administration

And so, we’re going to continue to – continue to be helpful in any way possible as these negotiations continue.

Q: And could you just say a word about the, kind of, negotiations on that to stop the shutdown or, you know prevent a shutdown?

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: You’re talking about the government shutdown?

Q: Yeah.

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: So, look –

Q: Yeah, I was going to ask you – I know you’ve got people working on this, but, you know how severe, how significant do you think the impact would be if there is a shutdown? You know, in the past, these things have been resolved in a few days. So, you know, do you expect that it would have a significant impact or do you think that it would have a significant impact or do you think it would be something that could be rolled over?

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: No, I appreciate this question. Because what House Republicans are doing is – would hurt Americans, American families. And we’ve been very clear: Here are a couple of things that we think that might hurt American families and hurt military families:

Force active-duty military personnel, law enforcement officers to work without pay.

Endanger disaster response, as I said at the top, which will risk FEMA’s Disaster Relief Fund and complicate new emergency responses. As we know FEMA has been very busy these past couple of months dealing with extreme weather, dealing with responses.

Undermine cancer and Alzheimer’s research that will delay new clinical trials. That’s what we’ll see.

If you think about eliminated Head Start slots for 10,000 kids.

Risk significant delays for travels that we – that we’ll see across the country with air traffic controllers and TSA officers, who would have to work without pay.

Undermine public health. Most EPA hazardous waste and drinking water inspection would stop.

Hurt small businesses. We’re talking about SRA would not be able to approve new loans.

And undermine food safety.

So, this is what we think the impacts of the shutdown might be. And look, again, this is something that they can fix. This is something that House Republicans – these extreme House Republicans, they can fix this. All they have to do is their jobs.

And let’s not forget, we had a deal. We had a bipartisan deal the President led on back in May. A deal is a deal.

Go ahead.

Q: Thanks, Karine. Speaker McCarthy said today he would be, quote, “more than willing” to look at the $24 billion request for Ukraine aid if the President first looks at their Republican border bill that they put forward. What’s your response to that?

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: You know, there is no conversation to be had because the deal was made already back in May, as I just stated to Andrea. There was a deal that the – that the Speaker and the President came together on to move forward on behalf of the American people, that Republicans voted on, that Democrats voted on.

You know, a deal is a deal. There is no discussion to be had. There’s no discussion to be had. And I just am not going to negotiate from here, obviously. But we made a deal in May. We did. Something that the American people want to see – they want to see both sides coming together, actually – actually delivering on matters that – that are important to them. So, this could be fixed by them – by them, not by us. WE made a deal already, and that was back in May.

Go ahead.

Q: Maybe you can tell is about tomorrow’s schedule?

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: I don’t have – I don’t have anything to share at this moment on tomorrow’s schedule. Certainly, we’ll have that out for all of you later today.

Go head, Peter.

Q: Karine, the –

Q: Thank –

Q: – the administration said yesterday it was granting temporary legal status to hundreds of thousands of Venezuelans. At the same time, the city of Eagle Pass in the Rio Grande has announced a state of emergency because of immigrants surge. Is there any concern that the timing of the Venezuelan TPS announcement might exacerbate what’s happening in Eagle Pass right now? And – and, you know, essentially, is this going to make the situation In Eagle Pass worse?

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: So, look, we have worked very hard – the President have worked very – very hard to pleme- implement a strategy, when it comes to the border, that is humane, safe, and orderly enforcement. That is something we have tried to do and worked really hard to do these last two years.

I do want to add a couple of things that we also announced yesterday, as you – just to note – I’m sure you know – which is escalating the fight against smuggling and smugglers as well as non-citizens who are violating our laws, Right? This is an announcement we made yesterday.

Also, in deploying 800 new active-duty military personnel to support border efforts and get CBP agents and office out in the field. This is up to – up to – this on top of the 2,500 National Guard personnel also deployed.

And expanding the Fentanyl [Family] Expedited Removal Management.

So, those are three other pieces that we announced, as well as the Venezuela TPS yesterday.

Let’s not forget the 24,000 CBP agents and officers along the southwest border.

So, we have taken steps without the help of – of Republicans inCongress to do everything that we can to deal with this issue.

And let’s not forget what the Republicans proposed. Their continuing resolution would lead 800 CBP agents and officers being fired and (inaudible) 50,000 pounds of cocaine, more than 300 pounds of fentanyl, more than 700 pounds of heroin, and more than 6,000 pounds of – of other drugs to – to enter the country.

That is what they proposed just a day – a day ago. And that’s what that would do to the – to the border; it would hurt and harm and not deal with the issue.

So, they are doing the opposite of what the President is trying to do – is actually move forward in a way that is humane, safe, and has an orderly enforcement pathway process here.

Go ahead.

Q: Thanks, Karine. So what do you call it here at the White House when 10,000 people illegally cross the border in a single day?

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: So, what do you call it, Peter, when GOP puts forth a – wait, no –

Q: Asking are you –

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: No, no, no, no, no, no, you can’t –

Q: Karine –

MS JEAN-PIERRE: I’m answering.

Okay, we’re going to move on.

Q: You’re answering a question –

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: No no, no, no, –

Q: – with a question.

Q: Okay.

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: No, no, no – no, no, no. We’re moving on.

Q: Karine, please –

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: We’re moving. In the back. Go ahead.

Q: You said he was stopping the –

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: Go ahead. Go ahead, in the back.

Q: – flow at the border.

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: No, no –

Q: Ten thousand migrants –

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: – I tried to answer. Peter –

Q: Okay.

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: – I tried to answer the question, and you stopped me.

Let’s go. Go ahead (inaudible).

Q: So, there was footage yesterday of Border Patrol cutting some of the razor wire that Texas had installed. Governor Abbott has vowed to reinstall it. They have pic – –his border czar has picture of people taking fresh razor wire out to the border to reinstall it.

Is there now a federal policy of removing the barriers that Texas is installing?

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: So, here’s – here’s —

Q: And why?

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: Here’s what I – I’ll say: I would have to look into that. I did so – see those reports yesterday.

But as it relates to Governor Abbott, we know what he has done this past – these past couple of years while this President has been in office. He’s – he’s turned this – when it comes to the border, he’s turned this into a political stunt. And that’s what he’s done over and over again. That’s what I can speak to.

I did see those reports. I would have to go back and get a sense from the team to give you an answer on that.

Q: And there’s an enormous amount of concern. The mayor of Eagle Pass tells us at least 5,000 people crossed probably yesterday or in the last two days – maybe a lot more.

What – I mean, you’ve already talked a little bit, but what –

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: Yeah.

Q: – resources, specific to this surge, are being –

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: I just laid out three additional announcement that we did to deal with – to deal with the border that we announced yesterday. We announce the TPS Venezuela announcement as well, yesterday.

And so, this is a president, again that has taken – that has taken action without the help of – of Republicans in Congress. He has taken action over and over again to deal with this issue.

But, let’s not forget – and you know this very well, having – having – as you’ve covered that region – that this is an issue that has been around for decades. This is a broken immigration system. This is why the President, on his first day, put forth a comprehensive piece of legislation to try to deal with this immigration system.

We’ve put more – we’ve put CBP 25 – –24-, 25,000 CBP agents out there. We try to make sure that we deal with the smuggling that’s happening. We’ve tried to make sure that we continue to deal with this in a humane, orderly way, and that’s what we’re going to continue to promise to do.

Again, we just announced three more additional enforcement pathways or ways to move forward on this.

And so, the President is going to continue to do what he can from – from the – from – from this administration.

Go ahead.

Q: Thanks, Karine. I’m going to stay, actually, with the border. How many people coming into the country illegally is enough for President Biden?

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: Say that last part?

Q: How many people come – how many people illegally coming into the United States is enough for President Biden’s administra- —

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: I don’t what that – what do you –

Q: Well, five point –

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: Enough for what?

Q: Five point nine million people have – have been encountered –

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: I know –

Q: – illegally at –

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: I know the numbers, but enough for what?

Q: Enough – just to stop the flood.

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: As I mentioned, this is a problem that’s been around for some time now – for decades – a broken system. The President has done everything and is going to continue to do what he can, without the help of some Republicans on – in – in Congress to deal with this issue.

And I just laid out what he has done over the past two years – right? – 24,000 CBP agents and officers along the southwest border. This is more – a historic number – more than any other – any other president has been able to do. We’re – and that’s 26- –2,600 additional civilian personnel, those who are going to be helpful in dealing with the issue – increase border-holding capacity by 3,750 to 22,700.

And so, we’re going to deal – we’re trying to deal with the smuggling issues that we’re seeing as well at – on the border. So, the President is going to continue to do the work. He made some announcement on – as well yesterday, as I just mentioned.

And so, look. we’re going to continue to implement a strategy that is humane, that is safe, and that is orderly as it relates to enforcement. And so, that is a promise that you can see from this president.

Again, GOP – the Republicans put up a continuing resolution that actually reverses the work that the President is trying to do – makes it – the situation worse. That’s what they were trying to push.

And so, look, we would love to do it in a bipartisan way and really fix this issue that’s been around for some time now. But right now, the President is doing it on his own.

Go ahead.

Q: Thanks, Karine. Will we see the President try and get directly involved in trying to avert this possible government shutdown? And will he be speaking with Speaker McCarthy? And if so, what’s his message?

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: So, look, the President talks often to members of Congress. That is something that he does pretty regularly – that is – and something that he will continue to do. I don’t have any conversations to lay out.

But I said this moments ago – right? – which is the President and the Speaker came to a deal in May. this is not for us to fix. This is for House Republicans to fix – the extreme House Republicans. This is on them.

There is a deal – a deal is a deal – they voted on in a bipartisan way. It is up to them to fix this.

The message is very clear. What he says in private is certainly what – what he says in private is the same as what he says publicly, which is there is no reason for Republicans to shut down the government. House Republicans should stop playing partisan games and keep their promises and also do their jobs. That’s the message that the President is sending.

Q: Given everything you’ve laid out, why is there so much confidence from Jake Sullivan and other members of the Biden administration that this additional funding to Ukraine will get approved?

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: Well, look, I mean, you’ve heard us say this before: We truly appreciate the – the strong bipartisan support that we have seen over the – over the past several months for – for Ukraine.

And it’s not just us. It’s coming – it came from our allies and our partners – right? – which has been able to give Ukrainian – the Ukrainian people the – the opportunity to fight and – and be successful in the battlefield.

And so, this is important – we think it’s incredibly important that we continue to give them the support that they need. You heard from the President in the halls of the U.N., at UNGA, just a day or two ago, speaking about the stakes, the importance of making sure that we continue to help the Ukrainians as they fight for their democracy.

That hasn’t changed; the stakes are still very high. It’s important to continue that support. We’ve made that very clear. Again, you heard directly from the President on – just a day or so ago. And so, we’re going to continue to make that very clear.

And so, look, there was strong bipartisan support. Jake actually laid out some of his conversation and what he – the feedback that he was getting when he was on the Hill.

And so, we’re going to continue to be optimistic about this because it is incredibly important. We’re talking about democracy here.

I’ll call on – go ahead, Gabe. Welcome to the briefing room.

Q: Good to be here, Karine. Thanks so much. I want to go back to immigration. In addition to Eagle Pass, El Paso is also seeing a new influx as well. I understand your comments about being a broken immigration system, but the administration also took credit following the end of Title 42 for the drop in border crossing numbers. It it now taking responsibility for the rise in numbers?

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: So, here –

Q: And –

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: Oh, I’m sorry.

Q: Go –

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: Go ahead, Gabe. I’m so sorry. Finish – finish your – finish your –

Q: Yeah, and then, secondly, you mentioned those 800 new troops that are going down to the border. Do you think that’ll be enough?

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: Look, every year, as you know, Gabe – I know you follow this very closely – US. sees ebbs and flows of migrants arriving, fueled by seasonal trends, as you know, and efforts of smugglers to encourage – encourage migration. That is something that we see over and over again. And – and so, certainly that plays into this.

And so – and I – and I understand your question, but here’s the thing: As you know, the President has taken action upon action to try and deal with what is happening at the border – historic action, without the help of Congress.

And so, we have asked over and over again to do this in a bipartisan way, which is why the President – his first piece of legislation was to deal with the immigration system and he want – and understanding how critical that is – it was to do that.

And so, we have taken actions. We have taken multiple actions.

But again, this happens. It ebbs and flows. That’s what we see at the border, for different trends, for different reasons.

And so, we made – I think – we think, three important enforcement – enforcement announcement yesterday. It’s on top of what we’ve been able to do.

And, you know – you know, and then you see – and you see it for yourself what Congress has tried to do: put forth a piece of legislation – a CR, a resolution – that does the opposite of what we’re trying to fight fentanyl – right? – when we’re truing to deal with smugglers, when we’re trying to put more – more legal – legal enforcement at the border. They’re trying to reverse that. And so, that is the reality that we’re dealing with.

And so, the President is going to continue to be committed, make sure we do this in a humane way, make sure that we do this is a safe and orderly fashion. And that’s the commitment that the President has to the American people.

Go ahead.

Q: You – there’s a lot of focus in here about what’s happening at the border and what the White House can do with Congress to solve that problem. The one thing the White House can do on its own is foreign policy.

Who’s talking to Venezuela about why these people are still coming? Who’s talking to Panama about the Darién Gap and who’s allowing them to come in?

And whatever happened to those State Department and Spain and Canada centers that were going to be set up along the route –

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: So on the last –

Q: – to make sure that people would have options?

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: All very good questions. Clearly, the centers, I would – we would get more information for you on that.

But, look, these diplomatic conversations are incredibly important. You heard from the National Security Advisor. These are conversations that Blinken is having – the Secretary of State is having.

The President, let’s not forget, just last fall, brought – brought 20, 21-22 countries together to talk about what’s — how migration is affecting the region. And remember, they signed a declaration.

Look, these diplomatic conversations will continue. It is not an easy – easy issue to deal with. Right? But they’re going to continue what – the point that I’m making and the point that I think you all have – some of you have reported on: This is a president that has taken historic action on an issue, on a system, that has been broken for some time.

And we have been very clear: We would like to do this in a bipartisan way. We’d like to do it with the help of Republicans. But right now we are doing it in the best way that we can: diplomatic – taking diplomatic actions, as you just laid out, right?; having those conversations; seeing how we can work with this issue. Because it’s a regional issue. This is a West Hemisphere issue, right?

And so, we’re going to do tho- –to do that, and also make announcements like we did yesterday to deal with what’s going on at the border.

All right. I’ll get –

AIDE: (Inaudible.)

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: Okay. All right. I’ll take one more question for some – go ahead.

Q: Thanks, Karine. The President is expected to announce a new Office for Gun Violence Prevention to coordinate the administration’s efforts. This obviously has been a proposal that’s been on the table for years from advocates. And this White House has always maintained that this falls under the Domestic Policy Council.

I’m wondering if you could tell us why the White House has agreed to accept this proposal now since advocates have been pushing for it since the transition.

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: So I’m going to be very careful here. And certainly, as you know, we are going to give – the President and the Vice President are going to give remarks on gun safety tomorrow. So I’m going to let them speak to this. So, don’t have anything to share on this at this time. So, I would tell you to stay tuned.

But, you know, look, in a much broader sense here, the President has said, “Gun violence is an epidemic.” There are many people who are sitting around their kitchen table every night who are missing loved ones because of gun violence, because of what it’s doing to their community.

It is – you know, when you hear stats of guns being the number-one killer of kids, that is something that we really should be mindful to and do something about that. That’s why the President has taken the actions – to deal with this issue. That’s why it was important that we saw bipartisan support to deal with gun violence.

But that’s the reality. That’s the reality that communities are dealing with. And the President is going to try to do everything that he can do deal with this epidemic.

I’m certainly not going to get ahead of the President. You will all hear from the President and the Vice President tomorrow on their gun – on their gun safety announcement, and we’ll see you all tomorrow.

Thanks, everybody.

September 22, 2023: The White House posted: “Press Briefing by Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre and Representative Lucy McBath”

James S. Brady Press Briefing Room

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 upon the historic actions he’s taken through the Bipartisan Safer Communities Act and the two dozen executive 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 efforts to end our national 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 welcome 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 other 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 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. I 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 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 dedicated 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 convince 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 off 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 States 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 rural America, over 100 families a day are living their worst nightmare.

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

President Biden 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 and 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 word for it. As you know, we like to take it straight from the horse’s mouth, if you will, and do the quotes here. So, House Republicans have said — they said it themselves.

Representative Frank Lucas 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 this will save live by creating a more transparent 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 Forum 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 our engagement with PIF countries to new heights. And we’re looking toward – to continue to deepen our partnerships.

And we’ll have more for 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 what 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 an 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 toward 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, including 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 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 aware, of course, in touch with the parties. As 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, the 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 to 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 negotiation 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 me 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: This record funding that the President fought for over the last year or so was — opposed by the House Republicans. This is something that they opposed and didn’t want to see.

And so, what allowed us to do is actually hire more – bring on CBP agents and really do something 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 — some important resources that’s needed, whether it CBP — 800 fewer CBP is what they wanted to do. Fifth 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 from 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 defund –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 the legal pathway from coming in. That has been since May 12th.

And — and as we are, you know, looking at Eagle Pass — and I know this is a — this is a — where — where kind of the — 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 — voted and processed into custody more than two hun- –2,500 individuals and cleared the area where the migrants had congregated.

And 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 the Senate when 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: Do you 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’l just leave it as that.

I’m not going to comment on how 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 for word. 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, out that out there for the Hatch Act.

What I can speak to is — look, the President was making 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 this was a president who can help us 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 that 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 – the senator’s 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 as 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 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 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 this week that we – that was believed be the most productive way to move forward – was for – for Gene and Julie to swayback and to help from Washington in the best way possible. That was a mutually agreed agreement.

And look, we are in constant conversations 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 negotiation 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 said he’s 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: Thank, Karine. Beyond placing the blame on Congress, what’s your message to federal employees at risk of going unpaid?

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: Look, our – our message is: This doesn’t have to happen. The shutdown does not have to happen. The Republican shutdown does not have to happen. They can do 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 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 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 – what that 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 for years. why do you think it took so 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 this 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 potential 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 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 in 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 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 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 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 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 going 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 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 defenses against Russian attacks, which is our fourth package, as you know.

So, well – going to continue to show our support for Ukraine with these security assistance. And so, that is our commitment. We will be there as long as 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 workers 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, there’s negotiations happening right now. I’m not 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 point by 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 to 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 there 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 you be that this would not go smoothly then, starting on October 1st?

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: So, look, as you know, the student – student debt relief program to 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 its 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 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 the 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 budget agreement that he did – 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 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 was 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 call 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 and UAW.

And so, I wouldn’t call it a misstep at all. I mean, again, it was a mutual — mutually agreed that it would 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 that these are off camera. We were not witnesses 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 that the 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 as 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 wanted 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 wen 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 intersectional?

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, this 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 a 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 Democratic 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 — we’re going to continue to be confident. We’re going to continue 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 two leaders to have this bilateral engagement yesterday, the message it sends is that we should — 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? Would Biden still like it — I mean, if it doesn’t include 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 of 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 incredibly 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 — 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 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 curb of the trafficking of illegal guns to Mexico from bordering U.S. states?

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: So, our – our gun policy has always been comprehensive. And – and, of course, this is – this office is going to continue to talk to in regu- — be regular contact with NSC and Homeland Security team.

And, so we’re going to do everything that we can to combat international trafficking and smuggling, as well.

And so, this is a comprehensive approach and – that we’re going to certainly move forward with.

Q: Okay, and just really quickly, a quick conformation, if I may. Our sources say that U.S. and Chinese officials are still working toward a Biden-Xi meeting in San Francisco on the sidelines of APEC in November. Can you confirm that?

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: I don’t have anything more to 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 else 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 this 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 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 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 has 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 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 to 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 such a passionate way. And when he – when President Zelensky speaks, people listen, because he knows what he’s going through every day with his – what his country 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.

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: Good to see you, Cristina.

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: It’s been a while.

Q: Yes, it has been. Thank you for taking my question.

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: Absolutely.

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 – Cristina, look, I appreciate the question — really do. And I’m just going to reiterate what I said moments ago: This is something for 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 know, 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: Roll Call posted an article titled: “Military pay, typically exempted during shutdowns, is at risk” From the article:

Why is this shutdown, if one occurs, not like the others in recent history? U.S. military servicemembers, who have to report for duty anyway because of the critical nature of their jobs, wouldn’t get paid.

During the prolonged partial government shutdowns in late 1995-early 1996, 2013 and the late 2018-early 2019 – the longest in modern history at 21, 16 and 34 days, respectively, – active-duty military and reservists received their salaries during the funding lapses.

That’s because the full-year Defense appropriations bill had already become law or, in the case of the October 2013 shutdown, Congress preemptively passed legislation guaranteeing military pay. With no enacted Defense bill even close, the only chance for military servicemembers to still get their paychecks if there’s a shutdown is for lawmakers to go the 2013 route…

…Big numbers

There are currently almost 2.1 million active-duty military servicemembers and reservists who would e forced to report for duty without pay.

Of the roughly 804,000 civilian Pentagon employees, about 199,000 would be required to work without pay given their “excepted” roles considered “necessary to protect life and property,” while 439,000 would be required to work without pay given their “excepted” roles considered “necessary to protect life and property,” while 439,000 would stay home without pay, according to the department’s contingency plan. The remainder are compensated outside of annual appropriations and wouldn’t be affected…

…The Coast Guard’s roughly 50,000 employees, including nearly 42,000 active-duty military, fell completely through the cracks during the 2018-19 shutdown because the Homeland Security spending bill didn’t become law in advance as the Defense bill did. So they didn’t get paid until the shutdown ended…

…When the shutdown ends, all federal workers who went without their paychecks would receive retroactive compensation, thanks to a law signed shortly after the 2018-19 shutdown…

…But employees working on contract providing services for the federal government aren’t covered by that law. After the last shutdown, estimates were upward of 1 million contractors, many of them lower-paid employees, never got paid for over one month of lost work.

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 have the Secretary back here again to give you a laydown 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 what they’re – we’re looking at if 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 about this firsthand because I was Secretary of Agriculture during the 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 may be – in some states, it may be literally in 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 of 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 they not – are they not able to close on 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 for those who work for the 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 that 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’s 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 WIC initiative that wouldn’t be funded, but we’re also looking at the failure to fund the firefighter fix, which put the risk of firefighting staff necessary to combat 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 – 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 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 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 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 of 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 families. Just to give you a sense of this, many farm families require of-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 that they maintain the farm.

So, it puts at risk the small- and mid-sized farming operation in terms of their ability to get credit when they need credit, their ability to pay bills when they need to pay bills, the ability to make sure that they can harvest their crop.

If they can’t harvest the 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 us to be even having this conversation.

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: Go ahead, Weija.

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 responsibility for meat, poultry, and processed eggs. FDA has the 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 all food inspector 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, not, 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 food supply.

So, it’s complicated, but our food inspectors 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. 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 a lot of the researchers and people who work for the Agricultural Research Service – ARS.

It’s – it’s administrative staff. You can have people working on the job, but if you don’t have the 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 likely 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 for it to get done, it’s important for them to understand the importance of using all the tools that would be available for the challenge 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 and help to get them to – to “yes.” And that’s what we’re doing. We’ll continue to work.

And so, 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’s how it works. Some senator or representative 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 phone is not going to get answered because no one is there. Why aren’t they there? Because we’re in 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? Are those concerns that we’ve increasingly been hearing about – are those overblown?

SECRETARY VILSACK: Well, I think there is concern, as the was in the North Dakota circumstance, where the Chinese interest was producing a land near a military installation. I think there is legitimate concerns on 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 use 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 county has their county recorder. And on any given day, somebody may walk into that recorder’s office 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 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 were 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 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 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 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 failed 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 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 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 wishes 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 saw 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. As 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 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 we needed to get that done, get that on his schedule. We did. And we’re going to – doesn’t stop us from having a robust engagement with the public and 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 – 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- –Secretary Viksack 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 – 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 here 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 was the right thing to do – obviously, the right thing to do.

As it relates 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 it 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; he supports the UAW workers. And tomorrow, 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 his 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 – 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 on the side of workers. He believes the 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 a follow up –

Q: Oh –

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: Oh, okay. I’ll come to you after, Joey.

Go ahead, Steve.

Q: Oh, all right.

Q: Did Trump’s decision to visit the UAW workers play into your decision to go?

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: Absolutely not. This is a decision – to visit the picket line was based on 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 at 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 regards to this as it’s related to the companies.

As you know, we have made – we have said many times before 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 – Gene Sperling, a member here of the White House – a White House senior advisor, and also, as you know, the Acting Secretary, Julie Su, have also been in touch – in regular touch with all parties as they are negotiating this process.

But we are – you know, I don’t have anything to read out expect that the President was – was pleased to accept the invite that was given to him, that was provided to him by – by the president of the UAW and he is always going to stand by the side of workers.

Q: And can you provide some more information on 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 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 if , 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 it 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 tomorrow – tomorrow – This is a – a historic event, a historic trip. And this 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 hat 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 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 to 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 clear about this. We’ve talked today 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.

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 the 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 for 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 the 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 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. According to NBC News polling, 37 percent of registered voters – just 37 percent approve of the President’s handling of the economy. He’s ata 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 the 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 is 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 a pandemic – this global pandemic that we’re coming out of. They have ben through what we’ve seen because of Rus- –Russia’s war in Ukraine. And we saw inflation spike. We saw – we saw 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.

And 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 things that the President pushed forward, policies 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 – 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 on 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 – and 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 the past several years is stay – stay on the side of workers.

And you 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. 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 from 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, as 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, 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 put our economy at risk when we have seen the improvements over the last two years?

So, I’m going to leave – the ex – leave it to the experts to speak about the economy and what that looks like.

But, you know, this is a question for them. This is something that does not have to happen. It does 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 a government shutdown could start. Is there any consideration of pushing that date back, or 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 at the Department of Education won’t be available to assist them?

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: So, a couple of things. I do want to lay 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’ll 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 that 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 forward.

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 tone 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 they get a fair share. That is what he is standing with them on. He is standing with them – and we’ve said this – that – that they – that we – that they get the record – the record profits mean a record contract for UAW. That is 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 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. 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 by 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 its confusing where your 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 line 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 has been on the side of the workers. That is something that he has said over and over and over again.

Q: So, when he asked that earlier – 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 auto workers.

Q: Okay.

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: We are not involved in negotiations. That is something for them to decide: what is going to work for the parties that are involved.

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 had said earlier that the President had spoken to the companies. Presumably, you meant the automakers. We know he has 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: 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 Nagorno-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 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 update 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 a 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 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, you 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 specifically 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 are 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 take steps to responsibly manager 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 personnel 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.

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 or Legislative Affairs Office, who has been in regular touch. I don’t have anything to read out on any – any conversation 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 of 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 ben there bef- Benn at – been in this place before back in 2013 when 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.

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 American Toward a Shutdown That Would Jeopardize Vital Nutrition Assistance for Nearly 7 Million Vulnerable 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 vital nutrition 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 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.

And the reason food assistance for these families are 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 for 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.

Below is a state-by-state breakdown of the number of women and children at risk of losing critical nutrition assistance under an Extreme Republican Shutdown:

  • Alabama: Total WIC Recipients: 111,999 Women: 25,295 Children: 57,863 Infants: 28,841
  • Alaska: Total WIC Recipients: 18,484 Women: 4,000 Children: 10,492 Infants: 3,992
  • Arizona: Total WIC Recipients: 139,764 Women: 28,879 Children: 79,639 Infants: 31,247
  • Arkansas: Total WIC Recipients: 65,272 Women: 65,272 Children: 15,798 Infants: 17,289
  • California: Total WIC Recipients: 972,418 Women: 206,282 Children: 587,139 Infants: 178,997
  • Colorado: Total WIC Recipients: 87,752 Women: 19,916 Children: 49,214 Infants: 18,622
  • Connecticut: Total WIC Recipients: 9,990 Women: 25,609 Children: 25,609 Infants: 11,637
  • Delaware: Total WIC Recipients: 20,313 Women: 4,169 Children: 5,669 Infants: 4,664
  • District of Columbia: Total WIC Recipients: 11,718 – Women: 2,959 Children: 5,668 Infants: 4,664
  • Florida: Total WIC Recipients: 421,294 – Women: 97,869 Children: 225,544 Infants: 97,881
  • Georgia: Total WIC Recipients: 220,842 – Women: 50,801 Children: 112,601 Infants: 57,440
  • Hawaii: Total WIC Recipients: 26,205 – Women: 5,692 Children: 15,027 Infants: 5,486
  • Idaho: Total WIC Recipients: 30,766 – Women: 6,718 Children: 17,607 Infants: 6,441
  • Illinois: Total WIC Recipients: 167,903 – Women: 38,009 Children: 85,775 Infants: 44,119
  • Indiana: Total WIC Recipients: 148,179 – Women: 33,280 Children: 80,497 Infants: 34,402
  • Iowa: Total WIC Recipients: 58,126 – Women: 12,274 Children: 32,493 Infants: 13,359
  • Kansas: Total WIC Recipients: 47,399 – Women: 10,481 Children: 26,197 Infants: 10,731
  • Kentucky: Total WIC Recipients: 119,884 – Women: 24,169 Children: 68,821 Infants: 26,894
  • Louisiana: Total WIC Recipients: 96,890 – Women: 26,232 Children: 42,030 Infants: 28,638
  • Maine: Total WIC Recipients: 18,356 – Women: 3,693 Children: 10,605 Infants: 4,058
  • Maryland: Total WIC Recipients: 123,101 – Women: 28,417 Children: 66,963 – Infants: 27,721
  • Massachusetts: Total WIC Recipients: 125,921 – Women: 25,995 Children: 76,851 Infants: 24,075
  • Michigan: Total WIC Recipients: 207,720 Women: 41,194 Children: 122,044 Infants: 44,489
  • Minnesota: Total WIC Recipients: 108,420 Women: 23,009 Children: 63,057 Infants: 22,354
  • Mississippi: Total WIC Recipients: 62,777 Women: 14,119 Children: 30,750 Infants: 17,839
  • Missouri: Total WIC Recipients: 90,913 Women: 14,199 Children: 44,317 Infants: 24,046
  • Montana: Total WIC Recipients: 14,107 Women: 3,010 Children: 8,035 Infants: 3,062
  • Nebraska: Total WIC Recipients: 36,949 Women: 7,703 Children: 21,699 Infants: 7,547
  • Nevada: Total WIC Recipients: 52,976 Women: 11,584 Children: 29,239 Infants: 12,495
  • New Hampshire: Total WIC Recipients: 13,599 Women: 2,554 Children: 8,550 Infants 2,395
  • New Jersey: Total WIC Recipients: 166,841 Women: 36,534 Children: 95,921 Infants: 34,386
  • New York: Total WIC Recipients: 418,084 Women: 89,717 Children: 241,198 Infants: 87,169
  • North Carolina: Total WIC Recipients: 268,687 Women: 59,030 Children: 151,473 Infants: 58,184
  • North Dakota: Total WIC Recipients: 10,229 Women: 2,093 Children: 6,086 Infants: 2,120
  • Ohio: Total WIC Recipients: 178,262 Women: 42,341 Children: 93,119 Infants: 43,803
  • Oklahoma: Total WIC Recipients: 72,703 Women: 17,548 Children: 36,384 Infants: 18,770
  • Oregon: Total WIC Recipients 78,764 Women: 16,941 Children: 47,164 Infants: 14,649
  • Pennsylvania: Total WIC Recipients: 177,334 Women: 39,331 Children: 97,269 Infants: 40,735
  • Puerto Rico: Total WIC Recipients: 92,752 Women: 19,050 Children: 51,837 Infants: 20,885
  • Rhode Island: Total WIC Recipients: 17,866 Women: 3,999 Children: 9,897 Infants: 3,970
  • South Carolina: Total WIC Recipients: 94,370 Women: 20,887 Children: 50,341 Infants: 23,142
  • South Dakota: Total WIC Recipients: 13,939 Women: 2,846 Children: 7,929 Infants: 3,154
  • Tennessee: Total WIC Recipients: 133,283 Women: 33,278 Children: 66,219 Infants: 33,799
  • Texas: Total WIC Recipients: 786,686 Women: 215,305 Children: 392,817 Infants: 188,564
  • Utah: Total WIC Recipients: 41,382 Women: 9,427 Children: 22,551 Infants: 9,405
  • Vermont: Total WIC Recipients: 10,975 Women: 2,168 Children: 6,904 Infants: 1,902
  • Virginia: Total WIC Recipients: 127,124 Women: 26,170 Children: 72,470 Infants: 8,387
  • Washington: Total WIC Recipients: 130,961 Women: 28,584 Children: 76,470 Infants: 28,908
  • West Virginia: Total WIC Recipients: 37,292 Women: 7,592 Children: 21,313 Infants: 8,387
  • Wisconsin: Total WIC Recipients: 91,070 Women: 18,466 Children: 53,500 Infants: 19,104
  • Wyoming: Total WIC Recipients: 7,484 Women: 1,745 Children: 4,028 Infants: 1,711

September 26: The White House posted a Statement titled: “Extreme Republican Shutdown Would Force Troops To Work Without Getting Paid and Undermine Our National Security” From the Statement:

With less than one week before the end of the fiscal year, extreme House Republicans are playing games with peoples’ lives and marching our country toward a government shutdown that would have damaging impacts across the country – including undermining our national security and forcing service members 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. 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:

  • Alabama – 8,200
  • Alaska – 20,200
  • Arizona – 17,400
  • Arkansas – 3,700
  • California – 163,300
  • Colorado – 37,900
  • Connecticut – 6,200
  • Delaware – 3,400
  • District of Columbia – 11,000
  • Florida – 66,900
  • Georgia – 63,800
  • Hawaii – 40,400
  • Idaho – 3,500
  • Illinois – 22,600
  • Indiana – 1,000
  • Iowa -200
  • Kansas – 20,500
  • Kentucky – 34,600
  • Louisiana – 14,900
  • Maine – 700
  • Maryland – 29,500
  • Michigan – 1,900
  • Minnesota – 50
  • Missouri – 14,400
  • Montana – 3,200
  • Nebraska – 6,400
  • Nevada – 12,200
  • New Hampshire – 1,100
  • New Jersey – 7,900
  • New Mexico – 13,400
  • New York – 19,300
  • North Carolina – 94,900
  • North Dakota – 7,200
  • Ohio – 6,800
  • Oklahoma – 21,100
  • Oregon – 1,500
  • Pennsylvania – 2,400
  • Rhode Island – 3,700
  • South Carolina – 38,300
  • South Dakota – 3,300
  • Tennessee – 2,300
  • Texas – 114,200
  • Utah – 4,500
  • Vermont – 100
  • Virginia – 129,400
  • Washington – 62,100
  • West Virginia – 100
  • Wisconsin – 900
  • Wyoming – 3,100
  • Abroad – 171,700

September 26: The White House posted a Statement from Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre on the Senate Bipartisan Bill to Prevent an Extreme Republican Shutdown” From the Statement:

The Senate’s bipartisan continuing resolution will keep the government open, make a down payment on disaster relief, and is an important show of support for Ukraine. House Republicans should join the Senate in doing their job, stop playing political games with peoples’ lives, and abide by the bipartisan deal two-thirds of them voted for in May.

September 26: The U.S. Department of Defense posted news titled: “Key Official Says Shutdown Would Damage National Defense” From the news:

The Chinese army is not facing a shutdown nor is Russia shutting down its efforts to conquer Ukraine, and the U.S. Congress must take steps to avoid a government shutdown, Deputy Defense Secretary Kathleen Hicks said.

Congress must fund the government or pass a continuing resolution by the end of the fiscal year on Saturday to avoid a government shutdown Oct. 1.

“We need to avert any kind of effect that a shutdown could have, not just on the Defense Department but throughout the federal government,” Hicks said last week.

DOD leaders would like to see a full-funding bill passed, but Hicks said a continuing resolution would be preferable if a government shutdown could be avoided. A continuing resolution continues appropriations at the same level as the previous fiscal year for a certain amount of time.

“As bad as it could be to have a CR [continuing resolution] – which we always want to avoid – it would be even worse for the defense of the nation to have a shutdown,” Hicks said.

The government must close is there is a lapse in appropriations, but there are exceptions to that rule. During a government shutdown, DOD still must continue to defend and protect the United States and conduct on-going military operations.

DOD would continue activities funded by the Defense Working Capital Fund, a revolving fund that funds businesses-like DOD activities. These activities are in the Defense Logistics Agency, the Defense Information Systems Agency and the Defense Finance and Accounting Agency.

There are also excepted activities mostly centered around duties necessary for the safety of human life and the protection of government property.

“A shutdown would degrade and impact our operational planning and coordination, impact our more than 800,000 civilians, and severely diminish our ability to recruit and retain quality individuals for military service,” DOD officials said.

On a strategic level, a shutdown would play into the hands of U.S. competitors. A shutdown requires money, and it also requires money when the government starts up again – not to mention the lost time. “No amount of funding can make up for lost time,” the official said. “A shutdown impacts our ability to outcompete the PRC [People’s Republic of China] – it costs us time as well as money, and money can’t buy back time, especially for lost training events.”

On a practical level, a shutdown would have significant repercussions for military members and their families. Military personnel on active duty – including reserve component service members on active duty – will continue to report for duty and carry out assigned duties without pay. Most military permanent change of station moves will be halted.

Post and base services would be closed or limited. Elective surgeries and procedures in DOD medical and dental facilities are not excepted activities and these would have to be postponed.

The Defense Commissary Agency would close commissaries in the United States but would keep overseas facilities open.

DOD civilians, including military technicians, who are not necessary to carry out or support excepted activities would be furloughed. “Permanent change of station for civilian personnel will continue only to the extent expenses are chargeable to a funded PCS order issued prior to the funds lapse,” officials said.

Once a continuing resolution or appropriations act is signed, employed will be paid retroactively for unpaid hours worked and time charged as furlough as soon as feasible, officials said.

Active and reserve component service members will receive September’s end-of-month paychecks on Sept. 29. Military members cannot be paid during the lapse unless legislation is passed appropriating funds. “October[‘s] mid-month, military pay will be delayed if a continuing resolution or appropriation is not passed by Oct. 11,” officials said. “Leave and earnings statements will not be released.”

Military retirees and annuitants are not paid from appropriations, so their payments will continue as scheduled, officials said.

September 26, 2023: The White House posted: “Press Gaggle by Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre en Route Wayne County, Michigan

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: Hello. Hi, hi, hi, hi. Sorry for the delay. Okay, I got one thing at the top, and then we can get going.

So, today President Biden will – will punctuate his vocal support for autoworkers by joining UAW members on the picket line in Wayne County, Michigan,

President Biden is fighting to ensure that the cars of the future will be built in America by unionized American workers in good-paying jobs instead of being built in China.

And he is succeeding: Car companies are making record profits, and since President Biden took office, the U.S. economy has added 235,000 auto jobs. That’s over four times as many auto jobs per month and over five times as many auto manufacturing jobs per month as under the previous presi- — administration.

So, as American auto- — automakers have earned record corporate profits, the President believes the American autoworkers responsible for creating the value should get a record contract. That’s why we’re headed to Michigan today.

And while President Biden is no strange to a picket line – in fact, he joined a UAW picket in Kansas City back in 2019 — today will mark the first time as a sitting president has visited a picket line in modern times.

This is an important message to America’s autoworkers and to every hardworking American across — across the country.

And with that, go ahead, Seung Min.

Q: Can you tell us where specifically in Wayne County he will be – which plant?

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: So, I don’t have any specific details to share with you for secur- —

Q: Why not?

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: I’m going to answer.

Q: Oh, sorry.

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: For security reasons and given the unprecedented nature of this visit. As I just mentioned, it is an historic visit. And this is an active picket line. And so, we’re not able to provide the exact location in advance, again, as I mentioned, for security purposes. And so, as you know, when the President makes public stops, we don’t advertise exact street – right? – and corner.

He’s visiting this one – again, an active picket line — so we want to be incredibly mindful. But because of those precau- –precautions, we have expanded both the print and the local press pool to give additional media the opportunity to cover the President on the ground.

But again, because this is an active — an active picket line, we — we just have to be incredibly careful. And so, there are security concerns.

Q: And on another topic. As far as the U.S. is aware, is the Russian Black Sea – Sea fleet Commander Viktor Sokolov dead or alive? Has the U.S. made a determination? Ukraine claimed that he was killed yesterday.

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: So, we’ve seen the reports, and certainly we are — we are aware of the video. I just don’t have anything to confirm at this time. But obviously, we’re aware of the reports.

Q: You said, just now, he’s the first president in modern U.S. history. Are you aware of any other president who has –

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: I am not.

Q: — ever been on —

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: We’re just – we’re just being careful here. (Laughter.)

Q: You’re being careful?

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: Yeah, as we like to do when we use modern history.

But no, I’m not aware of any — I mean, you guys — I think I’ve seen reporting that some of you have tried to figure out if there has been another sitting pres- –president that has done this. And so, I don’t think anybody has a — have been able to find that.

So, this is – I mean, guys, this is really a historic — a historic event, a historic day — what the President is going to be doing.

And, look, I’ve said this many times, you know, over and over again: This is the most pro-union president in modern times.

And — and so, you know, he is continuing to show his — his support. This president — President Joe Biden – he has continued to do so — show his support for union workers — in this case, autoworkers. This is something he believes.

And you see that in his economic policy and his — in the big pieces of legislation that he’s gotten to — to pass and also sign — that he puts workers at the center of it, right?

When he talks about the middle class, he says the — the middle — the unions built the middle class. That is something that he has said for years. So, what you’re going to see is this president continuing to — to stay in — in line or in — in the same vein as what he’s been saying for — for some time now.

And so, again, a historic trip – he’s looking forward to it. And you all will be able to experience that history.

Q: Does this undermine his ability, potentially, and the administration’s ability, potentially, to be a deal breaker — or not a deal breaker — a deal broker, I should say, between the two sides? I mean, he’s also had lots of meetings with car company CEOs —

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: Yeah.

Q: — over the last couple of years, and he’s pushing the agenda for EVs. Does it undermine that at all, do you think?

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: No, I don’t think so. Look, he also has spoken to all the parties, as you all know. He spoke to the — the automakers, certainly, before he left for India, as we have stated before.

And look, you know, you hear the President talk a lot about dignity — right? — and making sure that American families, American households have the dignity. And this is part of it: being able to sit at — around the kitchen table and be able to — be able to deliver for your family, be able to pay your bills, and do it in a way that’s –you know, that has that dignity that – that should — that should be — you know, that should be presented to you.

So, look, this is an opportunity that he took. As you know, Shawn Fain invited him today. He had — he — he gladly accepted. It’s about standing in solidarity with the union – union members.

Q: On Senator Menendez. Does the President think Senator Menendez should resign?

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: So, I — I was asked this question yesterday. Look, this is a — a serious matter. We take this very seriously, as I said yesterday. We — we think the senator did the right thing by stepping down from his chairmanship.

As it relates to – as it relates to resigning, that is something that — that’s up to him and the leadership in the Senate.

But look, we take this very seriously.

Q: It’s just that there’s a — there’s more than a — you know, there’s a handful of senators who are now calling for him to resign. So did — does the President think that he can still be a good public servant in the face of these allegations?

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: That is up to the Senate body, that is up to the Senate leadership, and that is up to Senator Menendez.

But, again, we see this, indeed, as a serious matter.

Q: Does the President have any concerns that public trust in the Senate as a body would be impacted if someone like Senator Menendez stayed in office?

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: Look, I can’t speak to — I can’t speak to the public trust.

What I can speak to is this president — as least as it relates to the Senate, you know, that — again, that’s for the Senate leadership to speak to. That’s for the Senator — Senator Menendez to speak about, you know, how — how the public views the work that they’re doing and – and how they’re moving forward.

What I can say is that we have been able to secure some incredibly recor- — important record — you know, record pieces of legislation that is going to change the lives of Americans, when you think about the Bipartisan Infrastructure — Infrastructure Law, which was a joke in the last administration.

By — you know, as you know, Infrastructure Week — now it’s Infrastructure Decade, as the President said. That’s going to change Americans’ lives and their livelihood and creating good-paying job — good–paying union jobs. That matters. When you think about the CHIPS and Science Act, when you think about the Inflation Reduction Act.

So, we have worked with this — with senators and House members to get this done, to get really important legislation through. And so, that’s what’s going to be our focus. And so, that’s what we’re going to be zeroed in on.

Q: And on the decision to come to the strike — I mean, this is really historic. It is unprecedented. Could you give us any more detail on how the President came to this decision? I know he got an invitation and he accepted the invitation. But did he have any other conversations? How did he get to this point?

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: Look, I mean, I’m not going to go to – blow by blow to the President’s decision. As you know, I mentioned — and you all know and reported on it – Shawn Fain sent an invite, the — the president of UAW — and he gladly accepted.

But from the beginning of this — right? — the President has always said for — for — for almost his entire career — right? — that he stands by the side of union workers.

And so, he sees this as an important moment. It’s not the first time he’s done and — been at an active picket line, especially for UAW. I just mentioned how he did that in 2019, so it’s not uncommon for him.

And he thinks and he believes, as someone who is seen by labor – by union – and he believes this – as the most pro-union president that — and — and he shows it with his policies that he wanted to stand in solidarity of the workers.

Today is about the workers. That is what today is about.

Go ahead.

Q: So, just to clarify: Today is about the workers. But will he be meeting with the auto executives while he’s in town? And why not?

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: I don’t have any other — besides going to see a — going to be part of an active picket line, I don’t have any other meetings to read out at this time.

Q: When was the last time —

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: This is really about autoworkers.

Yeah.

Q: When was the last time the President spoke to Speaker McCarthy about the shutdown or — or —

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: No, go ahead. I’m sorry. Sorry.

Q: And he is willing to let the Speaker kind of twist in the wind and let the government shut down for — until something was — something is resolved?

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: I mean, to be very clear: It’s up to the Speaker to twist in the wind.

I mean, seriously, this is — a deal is a deal. The President made a deal with the Speaker and — a bipartisan deal that was voted by two thirds of House — House Republicans back in – back in June — May/June. And this is something that they — they know how to fix this – right? — which is doing their job — their basic job, which is getting this done.

And so, I think the President was asked this question, if he’s spoken to Speaker McCarthy recently, and he answered that question. It is — he — I believe he said, “No.”

Q: Is it still “no”?

Q: Still “no,” yeah?

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: I just don’t have anything to read out. It’s — you know, what the Pres- — I mean, that was less than 24 hours ago. But as you – as you know, a lot of things happen in – in 24 hours. I just don’t have any — any readouts to share with you at this time.

Look, I mean, when it comes to a potential shutdown, which does not have to happen, it would be a Republican shutdown. This is something that they can avoid. We made a deal very early on in the summer.

And, you know, it was, again, a bipartisan deal. This is something that – that Americans want us to do — right? — to work in a bipartisan deal. The President was able to deliver on that.

They have to fix it. It is up to them to fix whatever chaos is going on right now with these extreme Republicans in the House. It is up for them to fix.

Q: Does the President think he can do anything to help avert a shutdown?

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: It is up to Republicans to avert this shutdown. It really is.

I just want to — I really want to just lay out a couple of — a couple of quotes, right?

Speaker McCarthy: Some individuals “just want to burn the whole place down.”

Representative Frank Lucas: There are “folks who want to use this — this as an opportunity to blow up the place.”

Representative Garret Graves: The arsonists [here] lit their house on fire.”

Representative Matt Gaetz: And I actually said this quote on Friday, and I’ll say it again. “We will have a government shutdown and… we cannot blame Joe Biden. “We cannot blame House Republicans [Democrats].” end quote.

Representative Jerry Carl: “I truly think that they want it shut to — they want it shut down.”

And then the last two are actually Republicans – extreme Republicans in the House who have said – this is Representative George – Representative George San- — Santos and Anna Paulina Luna who have tweeted, “Shut it down.” Another representative, Ralph Norman, said, “Let’s shut it down.”

So, it is – you know, it is – it is these extreme House Republicans and some other Republicans who are calling out these extreme House Republicans who are saying that they want to shut it down.

And they’re doing this — let’s not forget — because there is a — they are providing a long laundry list of extreme provisions or extreme — extreme asks that’s actually going to hurt the American people.

That’s what they are saying. This is what they’re holding, saying that this has to be rammed through in order to – in order to keep the government open.

We have a deal. We have a deal.

Q: Karine —

Q: Today is all about the solidarity with workers. Would the President support a renewed push to get the PRO Act passed? And has he communicated that at all with the Senate leadership?

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: I don’t have anything — I don’t have any policy pieces or anything like that to announce. What the President is going to do is stand in solidarity with — with UAW — clearly autoworkers today, as they are going through their process — it is their process — as they’re going through this negotiation.

The President believes record profits should lead to a record contract. He’s been very clear about that.

And he believes that, you know, this is — when it comes to automakers, when it comes to UAW, they are – you know, this is the future. Right? This is the future of cars. Cars need to be made in America. This is what — something that the President has been working on with his policies the last two years.

And so, I just don’t have any policy announcement or agreement that the President is going to make today. He’s going to stand in solidarity with the workers.

Q: Has the White House made a determination as to which of its staff are essential versus nonessential? I know the OMB had conversations with Cabinet agencies, but I’m wondering if the White House has had those internal discussions.

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: Yeah. We’re moving through – we’re having those internal discussions. I don’t have anything to – you know, to lay out as to what that’s going to look like.

As I mentioned on Friday, OMB was starting to have those conversations with agencies. Certainly, we’re having these internal conversations as well. So, those are happening.

Don’t have anything to share at this time.

But, look, this doesn’t need to happen. The shutdown does not have to happen. This Republican shutdown can be avoided if extreme House Republicans would just do their job and do the work that Americans expect them to do, which is keep the government open, which would fund — right? — really important, critical programs that the American people need.

You heard directly from Secretary Vilsack yesterday when he laid out, for example, the WIC program, which would hurt 7 million Americans across the country. Right? We’re talking about women and children. We’re talking about nutrition.

And so, it is — it is unfortunate if this happens. But this is the chaos – this is the chaos that we’re seeing from House Republicans.

Q: Does the President support the UAW using this visit as a — as a way to encourage others who are not necessarily UAW members to also stop working?

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: I mean, I can’t — I really can’t speak to — to the actions of what UAW is going to do.

All I can say is, this is why the President is coming: to stand in solidarity with workers. This is what this visit is about.

I don’t know any — anything really specific about the question that you’re asking. I get — I get the question that you’re asking.

Q: They’re encouraging others to join in solidarity, and they’re citing the President’s visit.

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: I mean, look, the President is joining the workers in solidarity, right? That’s what he’s doing.

He’s — he is, you know, clearly doing this and showing example — what it looks like to stand with women — the women and the man of the UA — of UAW who are asking for what he believes is a fair share —

Q: And look —

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: — a fair share of —

Q: Which politicians —

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: — of a profit.

Q: – will join with him on the picket line?

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: So, there will be — when he lands, there will be some politicians from Michigan that will certainly be greeting him. And so, we’ll have a list —

Q: The lieutenant governor?

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: I believe so, but we’ll have a list to share with you as we do — as we do every time we — we land in a — in a state. I just don’t have — I don’t have — I just don’t have the names in front of me right now.

But, again, this is not about anybody else but the union workers, the autoworkers today. That’s what this is about.

Q: Michigan is an important swing state. If this strike goes on for a while, it could hurt the economy in Michigan, and that could come back and hurt the President’s chances of reelection. Does the White House have any plans for how to bolster the economy if this strike goes on for a long time?

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: So, look, you know, I’m going to be very careful — 2024 Hatch Act. So, I’m not going to speak to any political outcomes or how this plays into next year’s election.

What I can say is the — is this: You know, obviously, we always look at any potential impacts – right? — these types of situations may lead to, especially this — this particular strike. Don’t have anything specific to share at this time.

But look, you know, the negotiations are happening. They are talking, which is really important.

And we’re going to leave it to the – we leave it to the UAW and the Big Three and continue to have that conversation. We are — certainly, we’re not part of that. We’re not part of the negotiations.

But certainly, we are here to help in any way. I just don’t have anything else to share beyond that.

Q: One more on government funding, if I may. If — if the — is the White House preparing for the possibility that in the Senate fallback CR that the administration is talking to Senate leadership about — is the administration prepared for the possibility that there will be no or very little Ukraine supplemental money in that CR?

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: So, look, we’re very — and we’ve said this many times: We’re very proud of what we’ve been able to get in a bipartisan way as it relates to the funding for Ukraine. It is important that continues.

And so, you know, we believe a bipartisan majority in Congress is — are committed to supporting Ukraine.

And as you mentioned, the Senate — you’ve heard that from Leader Schumer, you’ve heard that from McConnell multiple times in just the past couple of weeks – how they are both — they are both supporting making sure that we continue that funding.

So, we’re going to work with members of both parties in the Senate. You heard from Jake — say that. He was at — Jake Sullivan, our National Security Advisor, was in the — was at — was at the podium recently saying how he’s had conversation with both – both sides, talking about the importance of securing that supplemental funding as part of the continuing resolution.

And so, you know, that — that — that funding, let’s not forget, will — will ensure the support for the Ukrainian people as they are bravely fighting for — for their freedom, fighting for democracy, which is important.

That’s why the President has shown this leadership for almost — you know — almo- — clearly more than a year, a year and a half with — with our allies and parters — partners, with NATO so that we can shore up that support.

So, that support is not just from us. It’s from our allies and our partners as well.

Look, we’re — we’re committed to continuing these conversations. We are grateful for the bipartisan support that we’ve seen.

And so, those conversations are going to continue.

Q: Karine, if the government shuts down, will the President remain in town until it’s resolved?

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: What can I say — look, the President could be a President anywhere — right? — anywhere he is.

I can say that the President is going to be here this weekend in Washington, D.C. – yeah “here,” meaning – we’re on a plane. Be in –

Q: He will be in the air? (Laughter.)

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: — Washington – he’ll be in Washington, D.C. this weekend.

Look, again, the shutdown — this Republican shutdown does not have to happen. It does not have to happen, and it’s going to hurt the American people.

I just don’t have anything else on his travel, but I can say that he’ll be here this weekend.

Q: Will anybody else be joining — any — anybody else from the administration be joining the picket line? The Labor Secretary —

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: So, yeah —

Q: — anyone else?

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: So, as you know, there is a — the President, you know, normally travels with a — you know, with the senior staff. There is a senior staff here on the plane.

You know, this is something — this is historic, because this is a sitting president who’s going to be joining an active picket line. And he — it is going to be about his support for the auto — autoworkers, for the — for the union members.

I don’t have anything else besides that.

Q: Any estimates on when the President’s executive order on artificial intelligence will be coming out?

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: I don’t have anything new to share on that. As you know, that’s something that the President certainly committed to. I just don’t have anything to share on that.

Q: Would you invite him to come back and chat with us on the way back on — or on the way to California?

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: (Laughs.) I will — I will — I will do my best.

Q: He’s welcome anytime. (Laughter.)

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: I know. I know.

Okay, guys, thank you so much.

Q: Thank you, Karine.

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: Enjoy this historic stop.

September 27: The White House posted a Statement: “Extreme Republican Shutdown Would Risk Delays for Travelers and Force Air Traffic Controllers and TSA Officers to Work Without Getting Paid” From the Statement:

With less than one week before the end of the fiscal year, extreme House Republicans are playing games with peoples’ live 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 critical progress filling a backlog of controllers.

The reason 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:

  • Alabama: 309 TSA Officers | 93 Air Traffic Controllers
  • Alaska: 532 TSA Officers | 201 Air Traffic Controllers
  • Arizona: 1,399 TSA Officers | 194 Air Traffic Controllers
  • Arkansas: 212 TSA Officers | 56 Air Traffic Controllers
  • California: 5,469 TSA Officers | 1,418 Air Traffic Controllers
  • Colorado: 1,338 TSA Officers 451 Air Traffic Controllers
  • Connecticut: 271 TSA Officers | 39 Air Traffic Controllers
  • Delaware: 1 TSA Officer | 13 Air Traffic Controllers
  • Florida: 6,109 TSA Officers | 1,157 Air Traffic Controllers
  • Georgia: 1,727 TSA Officers | 577 Air Traffic Controllers
  • Hawaii: 1,199 TSA Officers | 113 Air Traffic Controllers
  • Idaho: 268 TSA Officers | 39 Air Traffic Controllers
  • Kansas: 157 TSA Officers | 289 Air Traffic Controllers
  • Kentucky: 519 TSA Officers | 123 Air Traffic Controllers
  • Louisiana: 563 TSA Officers | 142 Air Traffic Controllers
  • Maine: 186 TSA Officers | 45 Air Traffic Controllers
  • Maryland: 683 TSA Officers | 34 Air Traffic Controllers
  • Massachusetts: 1,182 TSA Officers | 64 Air Traffic Controllers
  • Michigan: 1,142 TSA Officers | 245 Air Traffic Controllers
  • Minnesota: 748 TSA Officers | 445 Air Traffic Controllers
  • Missouri: 554 TSA Officers | 159 Air Traffic Controllers
  • Montana: 153 TSA Officers | 50 Air Traffic Controllers
  • Nebraska: 277 TSA Officers | 46 Air Traffic Controllers
  • Nevada: 1,504 TSA Officers | 104 Air Traffic Controllers
  • New Hampshire: 120 TSA Officers | 303 Air Traffic Controllers
  • New Jersey: 1, 457 TSA Officers | 104 Air Traffic Controllers
  • New Mexico: 216 TSA Officers | 254 Air Traffic Controllers
  • New York: 3,444 TSA Officers | 766 Air Traffic Controllers
  • North Carolina: 1,391 TSA Officers | 221 Air Traffic Controllers
  • North Dakota: 166 TSA Officers | 51 Air Traffic Controllers
  • Ohio: 769 TSA Officers | 498 Air Traffic Controllers
  • Oklahoma: 300 TSA Officers | 78 Air Traffic Controllers
  • Oregon: 612 TSA Officers | 89 Air Traffic Controllers
  • Pennsylvania: 1,487 TSA Officers | 271 Air Traffic Controllers
  • Rhode Island: 162 TSA Officers | 32 Air Traffic Controllers
  • South Carolina: 515 TSA Officers | 97 Air Traffic Controllers
  • South Dakota: 67 TSA Officers | 17 Air Traffic Controllers
  • Tennessee: 931 TSA Officers | 445 Air Traffic Controllers
  • Texas: 4,720 TSA Officers | 1,264 Air Traffic Controllers
  • Utah: 550 TSA Officers | 221 Air Traffic Controllers
  • Vermont: 86 TSA Officers | 22 Air Traffic Controllers
  • Virginia: 1,913 TSA Officers | 633 Air Traffic Controllers
  • West Virginia: 122 TSA Officers | 54 Air Traffic Controllers
  • Wisconsin: 122 TSA Officers | 74 Air Traffic Controllers
  • Wyoming: 103 TSA Officers | 12 Air Traffic Controllers

September 27: ABC News posted an article titled: “Military families brace for a loss of paycheck, services under a government shutdown” From the article:

As the nation nears another government shutdown, military families face an uncertain financial future where they may not receive a paycheck unless a spending deal passes in time…

…A government shutdown appears increasingly likely with just a few days until the funding expires.Lawmakers have until the end of the day Sept. 30 to pass a spending deal to avert the shutdown.

As many as 4 million workers could lose pay as a result of the shutdown — about half of whom are military troops and personnel…

…For some military families, that may mean losing services they have come to rely on: everything from nutrition assistance to health care, mental health care, after-school activities for their kids, and even childcare centers…

…A recent “Pulse Check” survey that Blue Star Families conducted of its members found that most active-duty families — 54% — said they would be “greatly impacted” by a government shutdown. In open-ended responses from the more than 600 respondents, many cited the pay as the most common concern…

September 27: NPR posted an article titled: “What a government shutdown would mean for the U.S. military – and national security” From the article:

The federal government will shut down on October 1 if Congress doesn’t pass funding legislation for the next fiscal year before then – which is looking extremely likely.

That raises plenty of questions. Among them: What happens to the military?

Service members will continue to report for duty, though they will not get paid during a shutdown. And many of the hundreds of thousands of civilians who work for the Department of Defense will likely be furloughed, said White House National Security Council spokesperson John Kirby.

“And they do vital, critical work on a daily basis to keep the department going,” Kirby told Morning Edition.

Separately, the Department of Defense says post and base services would be closed or limited, while elective surgeries and procedures would be closed or limited, while its medical and dental facilities would have to be postponed. Commissaries would remain open overseas but close in the U.S.

And certain Pentagon activities, like operational planning and military recruitment, will be paused…

…Kirby agrees that a prolonged shutdown could harm national security, especially when it comes to delayed management of DOD contracts for things like maintenance, logistics and procurement.

He says the White House is working to make sure employees understand what a shutdown could mean for them and to make plans in case they are affected. It’s also urging Congress to do its job. Though, Kirby notes, the issue is really between House Speaker Kevin McCarthy and the small group of hardline House Republicans demanding steps budget cuts…

September 27, 2023: The White House posted: “Remarks by President Biden Before Meeting with the President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology San Francisco, CA

THE PRESIDENT: This is a 14-hour meeting. (Laughter.)

Look, let me begin by saying that one of the things that disturbed me — being involved in elective office for a long time — is how, over the last 30 years, the federal government has paid less and less attention to investments in science and technology.

And we’re in a situation where we used to have a significant portion of our GDP going into research and development. And it got down to 0.7 percent from 2 percent. We used to lead the world.

And I don’t know how we can be the safest, most secure, and healthiest nation in the world without significant investment in – in science and technology, and I mean that. And so, you’ve all really stepped up.

And one of the things that I also – it doesn’t directly relate today, but Arati and I talked a little bit about it earlier this morning — is that: What leaders say matter, in terms of people’s confidence in things they’re not sure about.

And one of those areas — you saw what happened with regard to the crisis — health crisis that we had that cost us — we lost well over a million people. And as time began to move on, you had more voices saying, “No, no, no. You don’t need to get that shot. You don’t need to be — get –you don’t need to.”

And we have a new strain of COVID now, and we have answers for it. But I just would urge those in public life and both political parties or no political party to be cautious about the ac- — the sometimes inflammatory things you say about this, because people’s lives are at stake.

And the last piece was: When I was vice president, for a slightly different reason, I spent a lot of time going between rural areas and urban areas. And one of the things that we – you’re going to talk about here is the – — the healthcare workers reflecting the community. We need not only to have more focus on rural communities and rural hospitals in order to get the kind of care and — and attention they need, but we need to have people from those communities to be the ones who are trained and engaged in that effort. And I think that – again, Arati raised that with me this morning.

I — I can’t tell you how certain I am that that is necessary, and I’m not a scientists. It matters. It matters who you go to and do you trust what they’re doing. Do you think they know what they’re talking about?

And so, Dr. Zuber, thank you. I’m really looking forward to this discussion.

And this group represents some of the top minds in America. And that’s, again, not hyperbole. That’s a fact.

I’ve often said, America is the only nation in the world that can be defined by one word. I spent a lot of time with Xi Jinping when I was vice president and subsequent to that. And he once asked me, on the Tibetan Plateau, could I define America for him? And I mean this sincerely — not a joke. I said, “Yes. One word: possibilities.”

We’ve always believed that anything is possible if we set our mind to it. Possibilities.

And science and technology is allowing us to unlock the potential as a nation to meet the challenges of our time with some sense of urgency and purpose. I can’t emphasize the word “urgency” too much.

I’d hate like hell if three generations from now, them to look back on this period where we had the potential tools to explore and increase significantly our ability to help, and we somehow mes- — messed it up. No, no, I mean it sincerely. I’m sorry to talk so plainly, but I think that’s what it gets down to in many cases.

So, I’m looking forward to discussing actions that we’re taking on two priorities: AI — artificial intelligence — and expanding our high-quality healthcare for every American no matter where they’re quartered, where they live, what their background is.

You know, as we just heard, AI has the potential to transform research, and I’m looking forward to learning much more today.

And, by the way, I’m not joking. My latest two trips around the world — and not figuratively; literally around the world — to meet with other world leaders, ev- –well, I wouldn’t say “everyone.” I can think of — I can’t think of anybody who didn’t, but I’m sure I will — there was some world leader who didn’t ask me.

They wanted to talk about our leadership on artificial intelligence and what the meetings — what we — I’ve conducted already around tables similar to this with the 10, 12 major, major initiators within AI – and the vast differences that exist among them in terms of what potential it has, what dangers there are.

And so, you know, I’ve been keen — I have a keen interest in AI and convened key experts on how to harness the power of artificial intelligence for good while protecting people from the profound risk it also presents — we can’t kid ourselves — the profound risk if we don’t do it well.

And the United States is committed to that goal. And we’re going to work with world leaders to achieve it, including British Prime Minister Su — Sunak and others that I’ve been — they want to do more together with us.

And I want to thank — thanks to our administrations, 15 American technology companies have already begun to implement voluntary commitments that help ensure that AI technology is safe, secure, and trustworthy before it’s released to the public. That includes extensive independent safety testing. That includes watermarking and identifying images that have been generated by AI.

And – and to state the obvious: AI – AI extends beyond health and security issues. I applaud the tentative resolution from the writers strike, for example, here — not here — in California, in Los Angeles, including insurances on how the use of AI will occur.

This fall, I’m going to take executive action, and my administration is going to continue to work with bipartisan legislation so America leads the way toward responsible AI innovation.

We’re also taking action to ensure or loved ones have access to high-quality healthcare, starting with the PCAST release – report you released on strengthening patient safety. I made very brief reference to it at the beginning, but it is really, really critical.

And today, I’m announcing major investments in patient safety from ARPA-H to develop antibiotics and to fight deadly drug-resistant bacteria and save lives. Think of that. We’re talking about the potential for antibiotics to be used to deal with ca- –anyway, it just —

When I start reading your reports, I think to myself, “My, Lord, what an incredible era we’re about to go through.” But it has to be done well.

And so, finding and implementing solutions to reduce medical errors and other problems for patients’ experiences when hospitalized is going to improve health outcomes and protect our loved ones as well.

And Joe Kiani knows a lot about that — been working with it a long, long time.

My administration is committed to ensuring every American receives high-quality care they deserve in every community – urban, rural, suburban, Tribal — I — and — and it varies as to who — think about your — I — I say to the public who might be listening: Think about whether or not – who you go to and how much you follow the instructions. No, I – I mean it. It is a very basic human nature element. And that’s why having people from, quote, “the neighborhood” makes a big difference, I think.

And – and so, it’s going to reduce medical errors and other problems patients fac- — face when they’re hospitalized. And I believe it’s going to improve outcomes and protect the people we love.

My administration is committed to ensuring every American receives high-quality care they deserve in every community, as I said. And ultimately, it’s all about dignity — it’s all about dignity.

The actions we take together are going to help protect people’s health. They’re going to promote innovation. And we’re going to win the economic competition of the 21st century, in my humble opinion.

And I’ll just say: If we have a government shutdown, a lot of vital work in science and health could be impacted, from cancer research to food safety. So, the American people need our Republican friends in the House of Representatives to do their job: fund the government.

We’ve got a lot to discuss, so let’s get this meeting started. I’d rather hear from you than me. Thank you.

Q: Mr. President, do you think the government shutdown is inevitable at this point? Over here, sir. Do you —

THE PRESIDENT: I don’t think anything is inevitable in politics.

Q: What — what can be done now to make sure it doesn’t happen?

THE PRESIDENT: If I knew that, I would have done it already. (Laughter.)

September 28: The White House posted a Statement titled: “Extreme Republican Shutdown Would Delay Nearly 2,000 Long-term Disaster Recovery Projects and Undermine Community Preparedness” From the Statement:

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 impacts across the country – including delaying long-term disaster recovery and undermining preparedness in communities across the country. Their bipartisan approach stands in start 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 life sustaining operations. An Extreme Republican Shutdown would leave the 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 remain 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 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, DC, an Puerto Rico that would be further delayed during an Extreme Republican Shutdown:

State – Total Projects Delayed

  • Alabama – 35
  • Alaska – 14
  • Arizona – 8
  • Arkansas – 17
  • California -78
  • Colorado – 8
  • Connecticut – 14
  • Delaware – 2
  • District of Columbia – 12
  • Florida – 272
  • Georgia – 10
  • Hawaii – 12
  • Idaho – 1
  • Illinois – 19
  • Indiana – 24
  • Iowa – 25
  • Kansas – 7
  • Kentucky – 122
  • Louisiana – 222
  • Maine – 26
  • Maryland – 11
  • Massachusetts – 58
  • Michigan – 8
  • Minnesota – 11
  • Mississippi – 27
  • Missouri – 15
  • Montana – 7
  • Nebraska – 4
  • Nevada – 3
  • New Hampshire – 17
  • New Jersey – 35
  • New Mexico – 6
  • New York – 214
  • North Carolina – 48
  • North Dakota – 17
  • Ohio – 13
  • Oklahoma – 13
  • Oregon – 80
  • Pennsylvania – 30
  • Puerto Rico – 188
  • Rhode Island – 3
  • South Carolina – 11
  • South Dakota – 17
  • Tennessee – 34
  • Texas – 60
  • Utah – 2
  • Vermont – 12
  • Washington – 47
  • West Virginia – 8
  • Wisconsin – 3
  • Wyoming – N/A

September 28: Politico posted an article titled: “It’s not just a shutdown – Congress has no plan for the FAA either” From the article:

It’s not just a broader government shutdown. By Sunday, the aviation system could also have almost all of its funding cut off if Congress can’t stop squabbling.

And House Republicans don’t seem to have a plan to avoid that, either.

It’s a crucial moment for the Federal Aviation Administration, which is faced with a possible lapse in its statutory authorization for the first time since 2011, as well as a possible gap in funding if the entire government shuts down this weekend. The funding cliff comes as the powerful agency has been without a Senate-confirmed leader since April 2022 at a time when near-misses have spiked and air travel surged.

If Congress can’t act to head off a shutdown and FAA lapse by Sunday, most air traffic controllers will continue working without pay, but some 2,600 controllers in training – including 1,000 that are already working in FAA centers nationwide – will be forced to go home, putting significant strain on an already stressed system. Grant money for important safety improvements will stop and some regulations in process, such as ones intended to shore up passenger protections, will grind to a halt. And the country’s aviation system will lose an estimated $54 million a day in fuel and fare tax revenues…

…There is bipartisan support in both chambers for sparing the FAA the brunt of a lapse. But how to get that result while also threading the needle of the fractious House Republican conference, portions of which are spoiling for a shutdown, has remained elusive. Meanwhile, the FAA is estimating that travel will reach its peak for the year heading into Indigenous People’s Day weekend, which will begin in a week.

Speaker Kevin McCarthy’s office did not respond to a request for comment…

September 28: The Keystone posted an article titled: “Food Banks Brace for Government Shutdown” From the article:

Millions of Pennsylvanians could have trouble finding a hot meal if the federal government shuts down next week. A shutdown could compound food shortage problems that food banks are facing around the country.

With the possibility of a federal government shutdown looming, food banks in the Pittsburg area are bracing for the impact it will have on the community.

A government shutdown threatens the well-being for the millions of Americans who struggle to pay for groceries and sometimes have to rely on food banks. It will also impact government workers and contractors who will miss paychecks, which could jeopardize their ability to put food on their families table.

“Any level of government shutdown will have adverse effects across our 11-county service area, including potential impacts to SNAP payments and reduced food supply,” Lisa Scales, president and CEO of Greater Pittsburgh Community Food Bank said.

“We have also learned from past experience that federal employees, active-duty military members and federal contractor employees will face a new reality of needing help to feed their families.”

A shutdown could hit food banks at one of the worst possible moments. Food banks around the country facing a food supply crisis and many are struggling to meet sustained and heightened needs. A Feeding America survey found that around 70% of responding food banks reported seeing demand for food assistance increase or stay the same in July 2023 compared to June.

Close to 2 million residents across the commonwealth are at risk of feeling pain even if the shutdown doesn’t last very long. A brief shutdown has the potential to disrupt Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits for families if there’s a lack of funding or a delay in processing benefits, or both…

September 28: Politico posted an article titled: “House GOP leaders plan to scrap vote on agriculture spending bill. From the article:

House GOP leaders are planning to abandon efforts to hold a stand-alone vote on their troubled agriculture spending bill and will pivot Friday to move on a House GOP stop-gap measure that could avoid a government shutdown, according to three House GOP lawmakers…

Senior Republicans are instead pushing hard to amend and pass three other spending bills to fund the Departments of State, Defense and Homeland Security.

GOP leaders are not pushing to fix abortion police and agriculture spending issues that complicated the passage of the legislation, according to the three Republican lawmakers…

…Many opposed are rural Republicans angry about steep spending cuts to key agriculture programs. About 10 of the opposed GOP members are livid about the inclusion of a controversial GOP ban on mail delivery of abortion pills, which they believed last week would be addressed in order to secure their support, according to another Republican lawmaker and a GOP aide.

Several House Republicans had expected Rep. Nancy Mace (R-S.C.) to offer an amendment to strip the GOP’s controversial ban on mail delivery of abortion pills from the agriculture spending bill.

But, according to the three House Republican lawmakers, GOP leaders blocked that move…

…Despite the likelihood of the agriculture spending bill being abandoned, there haven’t been any changes to the floor schedule and GOP leaders are planning to vote on all four spending bills Thursday night, according to a senior GOP aide.

If they don’t flip several dozen votes, though, the bill will fail on the floor. That would allow GOP leaders to show they have exhausted all options to fund the government, giving more urgency to a passage of a stop-gap measure ahead of the Oct. 1 shutdown.

September 28: Congress of the United States sent a letter to House Speaker Kevin McCarthy. From the letter:

As the U.S. House of Representatives continues to consider appropriations in the run-up to the expiration of government funding on October 1, 2023, we urgently request that the following information be provided to Members of the House Republican Conference.

  1. What is the plan to address the public and widely reported issues threatening final passage of the four appropriations bills being considered on the House floor?
  2. What is the schedule for the other five bills reported by the House Appropriations Committee to come to the floor?
  3. When will the House Appropriations Committee mark up and report the last two appropriations bills?
  4. What is the plan to implement additional spending reductions in the remaining appropriations bills to reach the topline discretionally level of $1.526 trillion, which largely was agreed upon by the House Republican Conference last week?
  5. Will the House of Representatives remain in session to continue working until all 12 individual regular appropriations bills have passed?
  6. Will you publicly refute and reject the Schumer-McConnell Continuing Resolution, and what is being done to proactively oppose and defeat this “Omnibus Preparation Act?”

No Member of Congress can or should be expected to consider supporting a stop-gap funding measure without answers to these reasonable questions. We remain ready to continue working in good faith with our colleagues across the Republican Conference to advance appropriations; likewise, we expect you to take every step necessary to pass these bills – starting with the four bills now under consideration to fund approximately two-thirds of the federal government.

Mr. Speaker, we need leadership and a clear plan on spending to get to an end game here – most importantly, with wins for the American People.

September 28: Politico posted an article titled: “The House Freedom Caucus wants answers from Kevin McCarthy on the path forward on government funding – and a rebuke of the Senate stopgap” From the article:

More than two dozen members of the House Freedom Caucus are demanding Speaker Kevin McCarthy answer questions about the path forward on government funding while also publicly denouncing a bipartisan Senate stopgap proposal.

“No Member of Congress can or should be expected to consider supporting a stop-gap funding measure without answers to these reasonable questions,” the letter, signed by 27 members the conservative caucus, reads.

The letter is just the latest data point for how hard it will prove for McCarthy to round up sufficient GOP support for any short-term spending measure. He can lose but a handful off votes without the support of Democrats.

McCarthy has indicated he’ll consider a CR with additional border security funding and policy changes. However, a bloc off far-right Republicans are dug in against any sort of government funding patch.

September 28: The Augusta Chronicle posted an article titled: “Pay, services may be altered for Georgia military bases if federal government shuts down” From the article:

With the threat of a looming government shutdown, many federal employees could be furloughed, or may have to report for work without pay – including military service members.

Georgia has the fifth highest number of Department of Defense employees in the country, according to the Georgia Department of Economic Development, with at least eight military installations across the Army, Air Force, Navy, and Marines. Even if a government shutdown does occur, however, military bases will carry on with their essential duties.

In the event of a shutdown, the Fort Stewart-Hunter Army Airfield U.S. Army Garrison team will continue to deliver life, health, and safety services for those working and living on the installation,” wrote Kevin Larson, chief of public communications for Fort Stewart near Savannah. “We remain in communication with our team and will continue to provide specific information as events unfold.”

Other than that, Larson said they are still awaiting official guidance.

According to the Department of Defense, services on bases could be limited, including postponing elective and closing commissaries in the U.S. (although not overseas). At the end of the shutdown, people who worked unpaid hours will receive backpay…

September 28: Politico posted an article titled: “House GOP’s spending gambit flops” From the article:

House Republicans failed late Thursday night to pass one of their party’s slimmed-down spending measures, another fumble by GOP leaders just days before an impending government shutdown.

Speaker Kevin McCarthy plans to move Friday to a narrower GOP stopgap funding patch that’s loaded up with spending cuts and border policies, though that measure currently lacks the votes from his own party that it needs to pass. House and Senate leaders are still not coordinating on a deal to stave off the funding lapse that’s set to take effect midnight Sunday.

In the end, Republicans faltered on one out of the four full-year measures bills, only the bill that funds the Department of Agriculture. A separate measure on Ukraine aid, which was stripped out of GOP’s Pentagon funding bill earlier this week, was also approved overwhelmingly, with all Democrats joining to back the bill.

Still, none of those measures – to fund the Pentagon, the State Department or the Homeland Security department – would help Congress deal with a funding deadline just two days away. McCarthy and his team will now pivot to rounding up the votes for a GOP-drafted short-term funding bill, which includes billions of spending cuts and new border security provisions. That measure is seen as a path to negotiating with the Senate and, perhaps, ultimately striking a deal…

…So far though, McCarthy and his allies remain short on the votes for any stopgap – even loaded up with GOP policies. McCarthy plans to hold a press conference Friday morning to discuss next steps…

…The Senate, meanwhile, has begun working on its own stopgap bill, which lawmakers on that side of the Capitol hope to pass on Saturday – hours before funding would expire – though the timing remains fluid. That bill could include a possible side deal on border policy, as dealmakers such as Sen. Kyrsten Sinema (I-Ariz.) and John Cornwyn (R-Texas) work toward a multi-billion dollar proposal to win support from the House GOP.

It’s unclear how Republicans will proceed if they are unable to lock down the votes for a short-term bill before Saturday.

But what is unlikely: Finding agreement to pass the GOP’s own agriculture bill, which has been stalled for weeks. Dozens of Republicans have privately said they would oppose the bill, thanks to abortion policy and steep cuts to farm programs…

September 28: Politico posted an article titled: “Senate advances shutdown-averting bill as GOP discusses changes” From the article:

The Senate voted Thursday to advance its bipartisan stopgap spending bill, though GOP senators are actively discussing changes to make the measure more palatable for House Republicans.

The upper chamber voted 76-22 to proceed on the stopgap. Before the vote, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer said another key procedural vote could be held Saturday, “if not sooner.” But without consent from all 100 senators, the timing would all but guarantee that a shutdown kicks in Sunday before the Senate can vote on final passage of the bill, which would extend government funding through Nov. 17.

Key context: The Senate’s addition of $6 billion in Ukraine aid has made an already unpopular stopgap essentially off the table in the House, where a handful of Republicans say they’re outright opposed to passing any continuing resolution to keep the government open.

Senators are now considering a possible amendment that would deliver as much as $6 billion in border funding to appease House Republicans, according to a GOP aide granted anonymity to discuss planning.

Asked if that amendment would include possible policy changes, requiring 60 votes for passage in the upper chamber, Senate Minority Whip John Thune (R-S.D.) said, “We’ll see. There are still a couple of issues that are up in the air about how we might actually get this attached to the bill.”

Some Republican senators have also pushed to strip out Ukraine aid, with Speaker Kevin McCarthy’s right flank vehemently opposed to providing more money to the allied country. That funding is a major priority for Senate GOP Leader Mitch McConnell, however.

Across the Capitol: At this point, it is unclear if McCarthy would even put a Senate-passed bill on the floor…

September 28: ABC News posted an article titled: “Could a government shutdown affect Fat Bear Week? From the article:

If funding runs out, many government agencies are not permitted to update social media.

Call it potentially “unbearable” — at least for wildlife fans.

The looming government shutdown would affect Fat Bear Week, the annual celebration of wild bears who put on weight to prepare for hibernation.

From Oct 4. through Oct. 10, the bears of Alaska’s Katami National Park face off March Madness-style on the Fat Bear Week website, where people can vote to crown the best and chunkiest bear.

But timing-wise, there could be some complications.

The House and Senate have until the end of the day Saturday to pass a spending deal to avert a partial government shutdown, which would have rippling consequences for numerous workers, recipients of social services, and more.

During a shutdown, many agencies such as the National Park Service are also not permitted to update websites and social media pages. That means the viral park service social media promotions of Fat Bear Week would halt.

And those posts are paw-pular: The post last month on X (formerly Twitter) announcing Fat Bear Week’s return has been viewed more than 943,000 times, retweeted more than 2,000 times and has more than 11,000 comments.

The Fat Bear Week voting occurs on an outside platform — the livecam site Explore.org, so voting may not go dark if a shutdown happens…

September 28: ABC News posted an article titled: “As government shutdown approaches, agencies tell workers that furloughs are coming” From the article:

OMB gave agencies the official heads up of a looming shutdown, officials said.

Government agencies began warning their workers Thursday that they are preparing for a government shutdown — and that they might have to go without pay.

Lawmakers have until the end of the day Sept. 30 to reach a deal to fund the federal government. If Congress doesn’t act, the government will shut down at 12:01 a.m. ET on Sunday — a situation that appears increasingly likely.

On Wednesday, the Office of Management and Budget gave the agencies the official heads up of a looming shutdown, according to two officials.

Then on Thursday, the top officials at each agency began sending out official notices to their workforce.

The Department of Homeland Security, a federal agency created in the aftermath of 9/11 terror attacks, told workers Thursday that it’s preparing for a shutdown, but didn’t say how long it expects the shutdown to last.

In a memo obtained by ABC News, a senior official told the workforce that “prudent management” requires that the DHS prepare for the possibility that a lapse in funding could occur…

…At the Department of Veterans Affairs, employees were told that much of their work would be paid for with money already passed by Congress, including relying on leftover funds.

Of the 440,437 employees, only 15,620 were at risk of being furloughed if those funds ran out.

Payments from Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid, as well as health benefits for service members and veterans are not expected to be impacted by the shutdown because of their status as “mandatory” programs.

Many employees were told to wait for further instructions on whether they will be furloughed or required to come to work without pay…

…The union for the United States Capitol Police warned its members that it believes the shutdown could last two to four weeks. The union note tells personnel to await an email and mailed letter advising them of their work status.

The Capitol Police, which protect members of Congress, as well as other law enforcement agencies are considered “excepted” services and would still report to work during a shutdown. They would receive back pay once the spending deal is passed. Other federal employees are furloughed and sent home without pay.

All federal workers would receive back pay once the spending deal is passed, although union officials say it’s not a good solution. In the last shutdown in 2018, many essential employees called in sick because they struggled to pay for child care, gas and other expenses to work…

September 28: The Hill posted an article titled: “House overwhelmingly approves Ukraine Aid” From the article”:

The House late Thursday night overwhelmingly approved $300 million in new aid to Ukraine.

The 311-117 vote came after House GOP leaders on Wednesday stripped the Ukraine assistance from a Pentagon funding bill. All “no” votes came from Republicans.

Though it drew broad support, the funding has been a source of controversy for the past week.

The $300 million was initially included in legislation funding the Department of Defense for fiscal 2024, which drew opposition from hard-line Republicans.

Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) told reporters last week that he would remove the $300 million from the defense bill and hold a separate vote on the funding after Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-Ga.) joined a band of conservatives in sinking a procedural vote to advance the Pentagon measure…

…The House went ahead and adopted a combined rule – which governs debate on legislation – for the two measures and two other appropriations bills. Greene was the lone “no” vote.

An amendment sponsored by Andy Biggs (R -Ariz.) that would strip the $300 million from the legislation was voted down Wednesday in a 330-104 vote, with all support coming from Republicans.

House Republicans also soundly rejected an amendment from Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-Fla.) to prohibit security assistance for Ukraine in a 339-93 vote.

But late Wednesday night, amid uncertainty over whether the legislation had enough support to pass, the House Rules Committee convened a last-minute hearing to strip the $300 billion from the Pentagon bill and hold a separate vote on the funding…

September 28: NBC News posted an article titled: “Government shutdown poised to halt federal flood insurance program” From the article:

A looming government shutdown could delay hundreds of real estate transactions each day and cause a shock to the industry because some home buyers will be unable to secure flood insurance, industry and flood experts said.

The authorization of the National Flood Insurance Program expires alongside the government’s funding at 12:01 a.m. Sunday. If lawmakers do not reauthorize the program, about 1,300 property closings each day could be delayed, according to estimates from the National Association of Home Builders.

“Closings are going to stop,” in flood-prone areas, said Jim Tobin, the organization’s chief executive officer. “It’s going to have some lasting effects, really putting a lot of real estate transactions on hold for some time.”

That could force builders to hold on to properties longer than expected and also leave buyers in the lurch and waiting on Congress…

…When a person wants to purchase property in an area with a significant flood risk – called a special flood hazard area – flood insurance must be secured to get a mortgage loan. The National Flood Insurance Program provides that insurance.

If the program expires, the Federal Emergency Management Agency and its partners won’t be able to issue new policies until it is reauthorized by Congress…

…About 4.7 million flood insurance policies in the United States are from the National Flood Insurance Program, according to the Congressional Research Service.

Existing policies would remain in effect and FEMA would still be able to pay out claims until the program’s funding runs out. Last month, the program had about $3.8 billion in its funds, including reserves, according to the research service.

A prolonged shutdown and lapse to the program could strain FEMA’s ability to pay out claims after multiple disasters. Atlantic hurricane season ends Nov. 30. (Several months after Hurricane Ian in 2022, the program paid out almost $4 billion for that flooding event, according to a FEMA news release.)…

September 29: Kevin McCarthy (@SpeakerMcCarthy) posted on X “The Republican House has already done what many in the media said was impossible – we voted to fund more than 70% of government spending. To date, the Senate has done zero.

Join me live in a few minutes with @RepMarkGreen, @RepMonicaDLC and @RepDesposito speaker.gov/live”

The White House account on X (@TheWhiteHouse) responded: “So close! The government needs to be funded 100% to stay open. Hope this helps.”

September 29: The White House posted “Statement from Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre on House Republicans’ Extreme 30% Cuts” From the Statement:

Extreme House Republicans are now tripling down on their demands to eviscerate programs millions of hardworking families count on – proposing a devastating 30% cut to law enforcement, Meals on Wheels, Head Start, and more. They are breaking their word, abandoning the bipartisan deal that two-thirds of them voted for just four months ago, and marching our country toward an Extreme Republican Shutdown that will damage our economy and national security. The path forward to fund the government has been laid out by the Senate with bipartisan support – House Republicans just need to take it.

September 29: The Hill posted an article titled: “The Hill’s Morning Report – Weekend forecast: A shutdown is very likely” From the article:

A government shutdown is looking inevitable as Congress heads into the weekend without a funding plan lined up.

Ahead of the Sept. 30 deadline, GOP opponents of the Senate’s bipartisan stopgap bill -which the chamber voted 76-22 to advance – are seeing to drag out the process beyond Sunday. Critics of the measure want to delay vote to give the House a chance to pass its own temporary funding bill, spearheaded by Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.), which would give conservatives in both chambers more leverage.

Even with changes – like stripping out Ukraine aid and adding more border security funding – it’s unlikely the fractious House GOP conference would support the Senate bill, as House leaders have been unable to rally members around their own spending measures.

September 29: NBC News posted an article titled: “House passes spending bills and Ukraine aid, but still no deal” From the article:

Late yesterday, the House passed three of four spending bills that the Republican leadership put on the floor this week in an attempt to move forward on funding the government.

While money for State, Defense and Homeland Security was passed, a bill to fund the Agriculture Department and the Food and Drug Administration failed by a 46-vote margin, with 27 Republicans voting against it; sticking points for some GOP members included the level of spending cuts to the department and a provision to block the FDA’s decision to let pharmacies mail the abortion pill mifepristone, Rep. Dusty Johnson R-S.D., told reporters before the vote.

The House also passed $300 million in aid for Ukraine in a 311-117 vote – money that had been stripped from the defense spending bill to boost support for that measure. All the votes against the aid bill came from Republicans.

The Senate is not expected to pass the bills in their current form, meaning a shutdown at 12:01 a.m. Sunday is no less likely. House GOP leadership and other negotiators had hoped progress on the bills would pave the way for a Republican-authored stopgap spending measure, called a continuing resolution, to prevent a government shutdown, but at least nine Republicans have said they won’t vote in favor of such a measure. Still, McCarthy has said he will put a short-term spending bill to a vote today…

September 29: The White House posted a Statement titled: “By the Numbers: Impacts on Extreme House Republicans’ 30% Cuts” From the Statement:

With one day before the end of the fiscal year, instead of following the bipartisan lead of the Senate to keep the government open, 90% of House Republicans just voted for a partisan bill to eviscerate programs millions of hardworking families count on – with a devastating 30% cut to law enforcement, Meals on Wheels, Head Start, and more. They are breaking their word, abandoning the bipartisan deal that two-thirds of them voted for just four months ago, and marching our country toward an Extreme Republican Shutdown that will damage our economy, our communities, and national security. Here’s what it would mean for the American people if extreme House Republicans’ 30% cuts were extended for the entire year.

IMPACTS OF EXTREME REPUBLICANS’ 30% CUTS:

  • 12,500 fewer FBI personnel, including agents who investigate crimes and keep guns out of the hands of felons and domestic abusers
  • Nearly 1,000 fewer agents at the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF). 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
  • 500 fewer members of local law enforcement
  • 2,215 fewer prosecutors fighting to keep America safe
  • 250,000 children would lose access to child care
  • 290,000 children would lose access to Head Start slots
  • 1 million seniors would be robbed of nutrition services like Meals on Wheels
  • 3.2 million women, infants, and children would lose vital nutrition assistance through the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC)
  • 13,000 fewer National Institutes of Health research project grants, stalling research progress cancer and Alzheimer’s
  • Up to 145,000 teachers and staff could be removed from classrooms and school
  • 100,000 students would lose access to Pell Grants
  • 10,000 fewer rail safety inspection days next year alone, and roughly 44,000 few miles of track inspected annually – enough track to cross the United States nearly 15 times
  • 850,000 households could lose access to Housing Choice Vouchers
  • 1 million American workers would be denied job training and employment services, with 135,000 fewer workers gaining the opportunity of a Registered Apprenticeship
  • 180,000 workers would lose an average of $1,000 in back wages that they are owed
  • 240 Social Security field offices could be forced to close or shorten the hours they are open to the public
  • 37,000 fewer Americans would receive substance use treatment services.

September 29: The Hill posted an article titled: “White House warns about hit on small business loans if government shuts down” From the article:

The White House warned Friday that small businesses would miss out on $100 million per day in loans if there is a shutdown because Congress is unable to fund the government before a weekend deadline.

Administration officials argued in a memo that a shutdown would have “devastating consequences for small businesses and needlessly undermine America’s economic progress.”

A shutdown, according to the White House, would force the Small Business Administration (SBA) to stop processing new loans for small businesses, and small business loan applications wouldn’t move forward each weekday the government is shut down. The White House said a shutdown would deny more than $100 million in financing to small businesses every weekday during a shutdown.

“These delays can have devastating consequences for small business owners and the communities 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 loan,” the memo states.

Congress faces a late Saturday deadline to pass legislation to fund the government and prevent a shutdown, but House Republicans have been unable to agree to a plan to fund the government despite a deal that set ceilings on spending for the next fiscal year…

September 29: American Battle Monuments Commission posted “ABMC policy to continue operations during a lapse in appropriations” From the post:

AMBC policy is to continue operations during a lapse in appropriations if sufficient prior year funds are available. ABMC sites both in the U.S. and overseas remain open to the public. Additionally, guests are welcome to access and experience AMBC’s sites any time online through the ABMC Virtual 360s platform.

September 29: ABC News posted an article titled: “House Republicans fail to pass short-term funding bill as shutdown deadline looms” From the article:

House Republicans on Friday failed to pass a short-term funding bill to keep the government open until Oct. 31.

Earlier in the day, a procedural vote to start debate on the bill advanced 218-210, prompting Republican applause in the chamber.

However, more than a dozen Republican hard-liners voted against final passage — a blow to House Speaker Kevin McCarthy as Saturday night’s shutdown deadline looms.

The final vote was 198 for, 232 against.

McCarthy, earlier Friday, tried to make the case for the bill by playing up the border security provisions being added to the stopgap measure.

“Every member will have to go on record on where they stand,” McCarthy said at a press conference. “Are they willing to secure the border or do they side with President Biden on an open border And vote against a measure to keep the government open?”

Border provisions were from Republicans’ major legislation passed earlier this year, such as a restart of border wall construction and tougher penalties for visa overstays.

The proposal also included keeping government spending to a lower level while maintaining Veterans Affairs and military spending, which would result in dramatic cuts to social spending programs and other areas across the government.

But it still wasn’t enough to appease Republican hard-liners, who’ve previously threatened to oust McCarthy as speaker of the spending battle…

…Even if the House measure were to pass, it is out of step with the Senate’s bipartisan 45-day stopgap proposal, meaning that passage is no guarantee to keep the government from running out of money over the weekend…

September 29: The Executive Office of the President – Office of Management and Budget posted a “Statement Of Administration Policy – H.R. 5525 – Spending Reduction and Border Security Act of 2024” From the statement: (written by Rep. Donalds, R-FL)

The Administration strongly opposes House passage of H.R. 5525, making continuing appropriations for fiscal year 2024, and for other purposes. Hours before a Government shutdown, House Republicans are playing partisan games instead of working in a bipartisan manner to fund the Government and address emergency needs.

In a blatant violation of the funding agreement the Speaker and the President reached just a few months ago, the bill endangers vital programs Americans rely on by making reckless cuts to programs, regardless of the consequences for critical services from education to food safety to law enforcement to housing to public health. It also failed to address key emergency funding needs where lives are at stake, ignoring the Administration’s request for resource to combat the fentanyl crisis and effectively manage the border, support the people of Ukraine as they defend their homeland from Russia’s illegal war, and stand with the communities across America as they recover from natural disasters.

In addition, H.R. 5525 fails to provide the resources needed to avoid severe disruptions to Government services – risking unnecessary delays for travelers by underfunding the Federal Aviation Administration; loss of access to nutritious food for pregnant and postpartum women and children by underfunding the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children; and deterioration in service for the over 71 million Americans who rely on the income support Social Security programs provide.

The bill also includes harmful, partisan border legislation that would further exacerbate the challenges at the border. It would cut off most access to humanitarian protections in ways that are inconsistent with the Nation’s values and international obligations. In addition, the bill would make processing less efficient by prohibiting the CBP One mobile application to process noncitizens and restricting the Department of Homeland Security’s parole authority, such that successful programs like “Uniting for Ukraine” would be prohibited. House Republicans propose these harmful policies while providing none of the supplemental funding needed to manage the border; we need real actions to secure the border.

The Administration urges House Republicans to follow the Senate’s lead and engage in a bipartisan, appropriations process that funds the Federal Government in a responsible manner, consistent with the bipartisan agreement earlier this year.

If the President were presented with H.R. 5525, he would veto it.

September 29: NBC News posted an article titled: “Craft beer, marriages, and air travel: The collateral damage of a government shutdown” From the article:

The federal government does an almost unfathomable number of things, so a shutdown would likely affect everyday Americans more than they realize.

While the 4 million people who work for the federal government would be most affected, their lost wages and halted operations would reduce overall economic growth forecasts by 0.1% or 0.2% each week, a range of economists, including the White House Council of Economic Advisers, estimate.

Those employees would eventually get paid, meaning taxpayers could be on the hook for billions of dollars in wages for millions of hours not worked, according to the Office of Management and Budget. And during a shutdown, the government ends up having to pay late fees and interest on bills it had to delay as it loses revenue that would otherwise be generated by furloughed IRS workers…

Here’s what might happen if the government shuts down again:

The National Park Service plans to close its parks and furlough park rangers if the government shuts down on Sunday. In that event, a senior official with the Department of Interior said the park service intends to restrict access to parks as much as possible, including shuttering visitor centers, locking gates and bolting bathrooms.

Areas where its difficult to restrict access – like the National Mall in Washington, trailheads or a campground without a gate – will remain accessible to the public, but those areas may not have services such as trash collection and emergency response…

Smithsonian and other federal museums

According to the Smithsonian’s plan, the institution would use “available prior-year appropriations” so that it’s museums can remain open to the public “as long as funding permits,” that includes the National Zoo, which could see an interruption in planned commemorations of the departure of the zoo’s remaining pandas.

Smithsonian museums are free, but they lost an estimated $4 million in revenue from food and other sales during the 2013 shutdown.

The U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington would remain open, since it can tap a different pot of money, the museum said. Some presidential libraries would remain open as long as they have sufficient funds, but others would close and research services be reduced.

Military cemeteries

The American Battle Monuments Commission would be forced to close the two dozen overseas military cemeteries it manages, mostly in Europe and Southeast Asia, where more than 200,000 Americans killed in World War I and World War II are buried.

The commission said the closures could cause “families of the war dead, veterans’ groups, and others to miss what may be once-in-a-lifetime opportunities to visit these overseas commemorative sites” during the shutdown.

Arlington National Cemetery would continue normal operations, at least for a while, thanks to funds that have already been appropriated…

September 29: The Hill posted an article titled: “Conservative opposition imperils GOP bill to avoid shutdown” From the article:

The House on Friday is poised to vote on a measure to prevent a government shutdown, but opposition from within the GOP puts its passage at risk.

The conservative pushback also undercuts Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) as he seeks to fund the ggovermentn and unite his party after weeks of turmoil.

At least eight House Republicans are against or are leaning against the short-term funding stopgap.

With Democrats expected to universally oppose it, Republicans can afford to lose only four votes, assuming full attendance…

…GOP Reps. Tim Burchette (Tenn.), Eli Crane (Ariz.), Matt Gaetz (Fla.) Cory Mills (Fla.), Andy Ogles (Tenn.) and Matt Rosendale (Mont.) have said they are against any kind of short-term stopgap bill, insisting that Congress focuses instead on passing regular appropriations bills…

…The opponents of the measure voted Friday to advance it past a procedural hurdle, but Gaetz said he voted in favor of the rule “so I can vote against this bad CR,” and that the bill “does not have the votes to pass.”…

…The opposition comes despite looming peril. Government funding is set to expire Saturday night, and discord in the House GOP and the gulf between the House and Senate – which is also yet to pass any sort of short-term funding patch – is all but assuring a government shutdown when the clock strikes midnight to end Saturday.

Friday’s House GOP stopgap bill would extend government funding until Oct. 31 with deep spending cuts for the duration, along with a swath of border policy changes and the creation of a commission to examine the national debt.

McCarthy is hoping that passing a House GOP funding bill would set up his conference to negotiate border policy concessions on a compromise bill with the Senate.

Instead, Friday’s vote could continue a long headache for McCarthy and GOP leaders, who were forced to pull a previous version of the stopgap last week due to the opposition…

September 29: The U.S. Department of the Interior posted a press release titled: “Government Shutdown Will Close America’s National Parks, Impede Visitor Access” From the press release:

The Department of the Interior is committed to upholding the highest standards of public access to and maintenance of America’s national parks and public lands. Our national parks reflect who we are as a country and unite us in our common purpose to not only enjoy their beauty, but also to preserve them for all Americans to enjoy.

However, in the event of a lapse in annual government appropriations, National Park Service (NPS) sites will be closed. This means that the majority of national parks will be closed completely to public access. Areas that, by their nature, are physically accessible to the public will face significantly reduced visitor services.

At NPS sites across the country, gates will be locked, visitor centers will be closed, and thousands of park rangers will be furloughed. Accordingly, the public will be encouraged not to visit sits during the period of lapse in appropriations out of consideration for protection and natural and cultural resources, as well as visitor safety.

Services and Sites Impacted by Lapse in Appropriations

Visitors should expect that many of the services and facilities they depend on at national parks will be closed or largely unavailable during a shutdown.

Due to the dramatic differences in accessibility, operations, size, visitation, location and infrastructure represented in NPS sites, the number of employees on site will vary. As a general rule, if a facility or are is locked, secured or otherwise inaccessible during non-business hours (buildings, gated parking lots, bathrooms, etc.) or is closed regularly for safety or resource protection, it will be locked or secured for the duration of the lapse in appropriations. Parks will not provide regular road or trail conditions updates. As a part of their orderly shutdown activities, park staff will post signs as appropriate to notify visitors that services, maintenance or other non-emergency management activities will not be conducted.

At parks with areas that are physically accessible to the public – meaning that due to their physical characteristics it is impossible or impractical to restrict public access, including park roads, lookouts, trails, campgrounds and open-air memorials – these areas will remain physically accessible to the public. This would include the National Mall and Memorial Parks in Washington D.C. However, staffing levels and services including restroom and sanitation maintenance, trash collection, road maintenance, campground operations, and emergency operations will vary and are not guaranteed.

Concessions located in areas that are accessible to the public may continue to operate during a lapse in appropriations if no NPS resources are required to support concession operations beyond excepted services and critical health, safety and protection services.

Subject to the approval of the NPS Director, parks may enter into non-reimbursable arrangements with state, local or Tribal governments, cooperating associations, and/or other third parties for donations to fund the full operation of an individual park site or of specified services that clearly benefit the park and public by providing enhanced visitor health, protection and safety. The NPS is not authorized to reimburse third parties that provide donations for such services.

Activities to Protect Life and Property Will Remain Ongoing

During a potential lapse in government funding, the NPS will continue activities necessary to protect life and property, expressly authorized by law, and necessarily implied by law, including:

  • Law enforcement and emergency response
  • Border and coastal protection and surveillance
  • Fire suppression for active fires or monitoring areas currently under a fire watch
  • Protection of federal lands, buildings, waterways, equipment, and other property within the National Park system, including research property
  • Activities that ensure production of power and maintenance of the power distribution system
  • And other services and activities designated in the National Park Service’s contingency plan.

Additional contingency plans for bureaus and offices across the Department can be found online at doi.gov/shutdown.

September 29: Taxpayer Advocate Services (IRS.Gov) posted an article titled: “NTA Blog: If There Is a Government Shutdown, the Taxpayer Advocate Service Will Not Be Permitted To Assist Taxpayers” From the article:

As of today, it appears Congress may not approve appropriations legislation to fund parts of the government, including the IRS, by the start of the fiscal year that begins on Sunday, October 1st. As a result, today is the last workday I can post a blog before a potential shutdown.

Taxpayers and their representatives should be aware that if there is a lapse in appropriations, the Taxpayer Advocate Services (TAS) will not be permitted to assist taxpayers until the government reopens.

That means that if the IRS has already issued a notice requiring an employer to garnish a taxpayer’s paycheck or requiring a bank to levy a taxpayer’s bank account and those collections actions cause an economic hardship for the taxpayer, the taxpayer will have no way to get help from TAS.

This is a terrible result for taxpayers who are experiencing economic hardships and will not be able to obtain relief from TAS.

Here is a quick primer on why this is so: Article I of the Constitution provides that “No Money shall be drawn from the Treasury, but in Consequences of Appropriations made by Law.” To implement this requirement, Congress has passed several statutes, most notably the Antideficiency Act (ADA). The ADA generally prohibits the U.S. government from making or authorizing an expenditure or obligation unless funding has previously been made available through an appropriation or other funding mechanism. The ADA contains a general prohibition against the acceptance of voluntary services (i.e., services for which compensation has not yet been paid or obligated), except for “emergencies involving the safety of human life or the protection of property.” (Emphasis added.)…

...Question: What if a taxpayer is experiencing an economic hardship as a result of an IRS levy and stands to be evicted due to nonpayment of rent? Or if the IRS was simply mistaken in taking the collection action?

Answer: TAS won’t be able to help because the taxpayer’s abode is not government property…

…Not only will taxpayers be harmed by collection actions taken during a shutdown, but they may also be harmed by collection actions taken in the weeks preceding a shutdown. For example, a bank usually has up to 21 days to remit levied bank proceeds to the IRS. Therefore, at a minimum, taxpayers will continue to be affected by levies issued before September 11 if the government shuts down on Sunday. And if a taxpayer is facing an economic hardship, the Revenue Officer who issued the levy will probably not be in the office on Monday to assist the taxpayer, nor will my TAS Case Advocates…

As the National Taxpayer Advocate, I am beyond frustrated that TAS cannot help taxpayers who are experiencing economic hardships during a government shutdown. Helping vulnerable taxpayers is a big part of our mission…

September 29: The Hill posted an article titled: “House GOP tanks its own funding bill, edging closer to shutdown” From the article:

A band of House conservatives Friday voted down a GOP bill to avoid a government shutdown.

The vote marked a significant – and embarrassing – defeat for Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) as a shutdown this weekend appears increasingly inevitable.

More than 20 Republicans joined Democrats in opposing the legislation, bringing the final tally to 232-198.

The 20 GOP lawmakers who voted against the bill were: Reps. Andy Biggs (Ariz.), Dan Bishop (N.C.), Lauren Boebert (Colo.), Ken Buck (Colo.), Tim Burchette (Tenn.), Eric Burlison (Mo.), Michael Cloud (Texas), Eli Crane (Ariz.), Matt Gaetz (Fla.), Paul Gosar (Ariz.), Marjorie Taylor Green, (Ga.), Wesley Hunt (Texas), Nancy Mace, (S.C.), Mary Miller (Ill.), Cory Mills (Fla.), Alex Mooney (W. Va.), Barry Moore, (Ala.), Troy Nehls (Texas), Andy Ogles (Tenn.) Matt Rosendale (Mont.), and Keith Self (Texas)…

…The bill did not stand a chance in the Senate, where Democrats were sure to line up against it. And the White House Friday morning issued a veto threat for the bill.

The tally was largely expected after a handful of conservatives – more than McCarthy could afford to lose in his narrow majority – lined up against the measure.

But the failed vote, nonetheless, marks a setback for McCarthy, who has pushed his GOP colleagues to clear a partisan stopgap bill so his conference could have greater leverage in funding negotiations with Democrats in the Senate and White House.

And it increases the odds of a government shutdown, which will go into effect Saturday night unless Congress passes a short-term funding bill by then…

September 29: NBC News posted an article titled: “Why Biden is taking a hands-off approach to the looming shutdown” From the article:

…Biden’s hands-off approach to the looming shutdown is intended to project an image of him out in the country executing on what he considered key accomplishments as House Republicans fight over how to fund the government, White House officials say.

But a shutdown could scramble Biden’s strategy by grinding his travels to a halt.

The White House has been planning an aggressive travel schedule for Biden in October to tout his economic agenda, including a long-teased trip to the Georgia district of one of his loudest House Republican critics – Marjorie Taylor Greene. Vice President Kamala Harris and other top administrations officials are also set to crisscross the country next month amplifying his message.

But White House officials say they’re now looking at other ways to execute what they’ve dubbed a “split-screen” strategy, acknowledging that one of the impacts of a shutdown would be to curtail Biden’s ability to hit the road. Events that have already been scheduled for the coming weeks, such as Harris’ tour of college campuses, are expected to be postponed, an administration official said.

The contrasting White House approaches to a potential shutdown and the debt limit crisis in May are by design. While White House officials are deeply concerned about the political and economic fallout from a debt default, they say Republicans alone are responsible for the latest round of brinkmanship…

September 29: The Hill posted an article titled: “House GOP passes Pentagon funding bill after failed tries” From the article:

House Republicans late Thursday night approved legislation to fund the Department of Defense for fiscal year 2024, a success for GOP leaders after they decided to strip Ukraine funding from the legislation following two failed procedural votes.

The chamber cleared the measure in a 218-210 vote.

Approving the measure will not help Congress avert a shutdown before the September 30 government funding deadline, but House GOP leaders are hopeful that moving the legislation and another full-year funding measure will help convince conservatives to get on board with a short-term funding stopgap.

The Pentagon spending bill – which is the largest of the 12 full-year appropriations measures – has been a source of consternation for Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) and its passage marks an incremental win for the Speaker…

…In an effort to shore up support for the legislation, McCarthy told reporters last week that he would remove the $300 million in Ukraine aid from the Pentagon bill and hold a separate vote on the money. but he reversed on that stance one day later after recognizing that a bill funding the State Department also included aid for Ukraine.

McCarthy said it would be “too difficult” to remove the assistance from the State Department bill, and as a result decided to keep in in both measures. The House ended up advancing both bills, along with two other spending measures, in a largely party-line vote, with [Marjory Taylor] Greene being the only GOP lawmaker to oppose the procedural vote.

The House on Wednesday overwhelmingly rejected an amendment to strip $300 million from the legislation, defeating the measure in a 330-104 vote.

But late Wednesday night, amid concerns that the Pentagon bill did not have enough support to pass, the House Rules Committee convened a last-minute meeting and moved to strip the $300 million from the legislation. The House advanced the separate Ukraine funding bill earlier on Thursday.

House Republicans proposed more than $820 billion in new funding for defense operations in the Pentagon appropriations bill. That includes what negotiators touted earlier this year as historic “investment in security cooperation funding for Taiwan,” pay bumps for military personnel and boosts for the National Guard Counterdrug Program.

The bill also included a spate of riders that Democrats have slammed as diverse and said could hurt recruitment, such as measures targeting efforts aimed at diversity, equity, and inclusion, and others the party says would be potentially harmful to those in the LGBTQ community.

September 29: NBC News posted an article titled: “Conservative rebels tank McCarthy’s funding bill, raising odds of a shutdown” From the article:

A band of conservative rebels on Friday revolted and blocked the House Republicans’ short-term funding bill to keep the government open, delivering a political blow to Speaker Kevin McCarthy and likely cementing the chances of a painful government shutdown that is less than 48 hours away.

Twenty-one rebels, led by Rep. Matt Gaetz, R-Fla., a conservative bomb-thrower and a top Donald Trump ally, voted Friday afternoon to scuttle the 30-day funding bill, leaving Republicans without a game plan to avert a shutdown.

The vote failed, 198-232.

The hard-liners say they are unconcerned if the government shuts down, as it appears likely to do at 12:01 a.m. Sunday. They want the House to pass all 12 appropriations bills, with steep spending cuts, then negotiate funding with the Democratic-controlled Senate.

Moderate Republicans lashed out with fury at the conservatives who voted down the funding bill, with specific criticism reserved for Gaetz, whom they accused of fomenting chaos to oust McCarthy…

…In a bid to reset, House Republicans huddled behind closed doors in the Capitol basement for nearly three hours Friday to try and hash out their differences. But they emerged from that meeting without consensus on how to move forward and keep the government open.

The House will return for a rare Saturday session, but it’s unclear what they will vote on. McCarthy said that after the meeting he’s now eyeing a clean funding bill – with no Ukraine aid – that would originate in the House, but added that Democrats likely would not support it…

September 29: The White House posted a Statement titled: “During an Extreme Republican Shutdown, American Small Businesses Would Lose Out on More Than $100 Million in Critical Financing Every Day” From the Statement:

With just one day before the end of the fiscal year, extreme House Republicans are playing partisan games with people’s lives and livelihoods and marching our country towards 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 action toward keeping the government open and abiding by the bipartisan action toward keeping the government open and abiding by the bipartisan budget deal two-thirds of the House Republicans voted for just four months ago.

An Extreme Republican Shutdown would force the Small Business Administration (SBA) to stop processing 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 communities they support, 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 to 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 a record $163 billion in contracts to small businesses 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 to 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:

  • Alabama – $985,300
  • Alaska – $334,000
  • Arizona – $3,175,300
  • Arkansas – $666,700
  • California – $22,465,000
  • Connecticut – $1,175,000
  • Delaware – $219,100
  • District of Columbia – $245,100
  • Florida – $10,331,700
  • Georgia – $5,494,100
  • Hawaii – $147,600
  • Idaho – $1,136,800
  • Illinois – $5,245,600
  • Iowa – $933,100
  • Kansas – $791,400
  • Kentucky – $766,600
  • Louisiana – $1,163,300
  • Maine – $498,600
  • Maryland – $1,480,300
  • Massachusetts – $2,198,500
  • Michigan – $3,772,900
  • Minnesota – $3,677,600
  • Mississippi – $526,900
  • Missouri – $2,045,600
  • Nebraska – $764,200
  • Nevada – $1,465,200
  • New Hampshire – $715,200
  • New Jersey – $3,433,800
  • New Mexico – $616,100
  • New Jersey – $3,433,800
  • New Mexico – $616,100
  • New York – $5,589,200
  • North Carolina – $3,353,800
  • North Dakota – $382,100
  • Ohio – $4,627,40
  • Oklahoma – $1,304,300
  • Oregon – $1,984,400
  • Pennsylvania – $3,964,500
  • Rhode Island – $392,500
  • South Carolina – $1,631,000
  • South Dakota – $499,100
  • Tennessee – $1,484,100
  • Texas – $12,658,400
  • Utah – $3,069,000
  • Vermont – $200,400
  • Virginia – $2,122,200
  • Washington – $3,780,600
  • West Virginia – $246,300
  • Wisconsin – $246,300
  • Wyoming – $268,800

September 29: The Hill posted an article titled: “In a shift, McCarthy floats a clean stopgap without Ukraine aid” From the article:

Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) on Friday evening floated passing a “clean” continuing resolution without Ukraine aid, marking a clear shift in the possibilities he is willing to consider to avert – or end – a shutdown after being repeatedly undercut by his own party.

The Speaker on Friday did not commit to putting such a measure on the floor, and other Republicans leaving a conference meeting said that lawmakers are still exploring GOP-only possibilities to bring up for a vote on Saturday.

But it is clear that McCarthy has nearly exhausted his options for working exclusively within his own party. Earlier on Friday, 21 House Republicans voted against a 31-day GOP-crafted stopgap bill that included deep spending cuts and conservative border policy changes.

“I think if we had a clean one without Ukraine on it we could probably be able to move that through,” McCarthy said after a lengthy GOP conference meeting on Friday when asked about a clean continuing resolution. “I think if the Senate puts Ukraine on there and focuses Ukraine over America, I think that could cause real problems.”

The Senate is considering a separate, bipartisan continuing resolution that would fund the government until Nov. 17 and includes $5.99 billion for disaster relief and $6.15 billion for Ukraine – a figure that has drawn criticism from Republicans in both chambers.

And Senate leaders appear to have little incentive to strip the Ukraine funding. The Senate bill overwhelmingly cleared to procedural hurdles with support from both sides of the aisle. And in the House, more than two-thirds of the chamber – all Democrats and a little less than half of Republicans – voted in favor of a separate $300 million Ukraine funding measure…

September 29: NBC News posted an article titled: “What will happen to health programs if the government shuts down?” From the article:

The vast majority of what the federal government spends on health care is on big entitlement programs – Medicare and Medicaid. Those are not directly affected by a government shutdown, according to Larry Levitt, executive vice president for health policy at KFF, formerly known as the Kaiser Family Foundation.

However, a prolonged shutdown could hamper the federal government’s oversight of Medicaid, which provides health coverage for people with low incomes. That oversight is particularly important right now as a pandemic-era rule that kept people enrolled in the program ends and millions of people begin to lose coverage. More than 90 million people in the U.S. get their coverage through Medicaid, according to the KFF.

If the shutdown persists, Levitt said, the effects will be felt directly in poor communities as funding for health clinics and other programs dependent on federal grants dries up. These clinics typically offer a wide range of services, including primary and preventative care, dental care and mental health services.

September 29: NBC News posted an article titled: “NASA will maintain people to ‘protect life and property,” including ISS Crew” From the article:

In a statement today, NASA Administrator Bill Nelson said, “If House Republicans force a shutdown, it will have devastating consequences for NASA, families across the country, and America’s global competitiveness.”

NASA will “maintain the people to protect life and property – operational missions, such as satellites, landers, and rovers, as well as the International Space Station and its crew,” according to Nelson.

The agency is still identifying just how many people would need to keep working through a shutdown.

September 29: NBC News posted an article titled: “Lawmakers with babies and toddlers push Congress to stop the ‘child care cliff'” From the article:

Millions of families are at risk of losing child care after this weekend when emergency funding allocated to providers during the coronavirus pandemic expires. Congress faces a Saturday deadline to act before the $24 billion Child Care Stabilization Program ends, putting thousands of day care centers, preschools and other child care centers in jeopardy.

At the forefront of the fight to extend the funding are lawmakers who themselves rely on child care to be able to do their jobs: moms and dads of babies and toddlers. With the government also barreling toward a shutdown this week, some of them are sounding the alarm that time to take action is running out…

…Seventy thousand child care programs are projected to close as a result of the funding loss, and at least 3.2 million young kids could lose their child care, according to an analysis from the Century Foundation, a progressive think tank.

The impact will snowball, the report says, costing families an estimated $9 billion every year in lost earnings. And with more people pushed out of the labor market because of struggles to find or afford child care, the economic ramifications could be huge.

At the center of the lawmakers’ efforts to stave off the crisis is the Child Care Stabilization Act to extend the critical funding. It has the backing of at least 111 House members and 37 senators. But all are Democrats (or caucus with Democrats), and with Republicans in control of the House, it faces a slim chance of passing this year…

…Among those pushing the bill is one of the most prominent new voices for child care funding, Rep. Jimmy Gomez, D-Calif., who co-founded the Congressional Dads Caucus after he took his infant son on the House floor during some of the many rounds of votes to confirm Republican Kevin McCarthy of California as House speaker in January…

September 29: The White House posted “Press Briefing by Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre and Office of Management and Budget Director Shalanda Young”

James S. Brady Press Briefing Room

(Ms. Jean-Pierre steps over a cable on the press dias.)

Q: That was – that was risky.

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: Very risky.

Q: You are feisty today.

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: I am feisty. It’s Friday, folks. It’s Friday. Happy Friday. Good afternoon. We have the amazing Shalanda Young in the house, so this is great.

But before I turn it over to the OMB Director – and I’ll do that in a second – I want to recognize milestone that I know many of you are – are very aware of, which is it has now been about six months since American journalist Evan Gershkovich was wrongfully detained in Russia for doing his job, for reporting the news.

As the world knows, Russia’s claims are baseless. It is clear that Evan is being held for lev- –for leverage because he is an American. That should bother every single one of us – every single one of us.

The President has been clear that we have no higher priority than securing the release of Evan, Paul Whelan, and all Americans wrongfully detained abroad.

Once again, we call for Russia to immediately release Evan and also to release wrongfully detained U.S. citizen Paul Whelan. Our efforts to secure their release are ongoing, and we will not stop until they are home.

I also want to take a minute to echo the President’s sentiments on the legacy of Senator Diane Feinstein. She was a history maker – a history-making trailblazer who dedicated her life to the people of California for over half a century. From the city of San Francisco to the halls of Congress, Senator Feinstein turned her passion into purpose to benefit the lives of all Americans.

As the President said, he had his own close relationship with the Senator, forged over 15 years together in the Senate, and she was a cherished friend.

And finally, before I do turn it over to our guest, I wanted to make one more thing very clear, which is we have been doing as an administration from here for the past couple of days.

Now, as you all know, extreme House Republicans are so – — are solely — solely to blame for marching us toward a shutdown. That is what we’re seeing right now. It is a basic fact and one that many of you have already reported.

I know how much you will love it when I quote, folks, so here we go.

Politico wrote, and I quote, “Speaker Kevin McCarthy’s choice to go back on the deal he made with [the] President is about a plunge – is about to plunge the federal government into chaos,” end quote.

Punchbowl says, and I quote, “McCarthy is the only congressional principal no longer abiding by the agreement,” end quote.

Washington Post writes, quote, “Of course, Biden has played no role in bringing Congress to the brink of shutdown,” end quote.

And it’s not just want you are all reporting. It’s also what Republicans are saying themselves.

Leader McConnell said, and I quote, “Shutting down the government is a choice. And it’s a choice that would make the crisis at our Southern border even worse,” end quote.

Speaker McCarthy said, some individuals, quote, “just want to burn the whole place down,” end quote.

Represen- — Representative Garret Graves said, “The arsonists have li- –have lit their house on fire.”

Representative Matt – Matt Gaetz said, “We will have a government shutdown, and… We cannot blame Joe Biden… We cannot blame House Democrats.”

Representatives George Santos and Ralph Norman admitted in saying — by saying, “Shut it down.” Those are their words.

But no one can explain what House Republicans are shutting down the government over. It’s a serious question, and they don’t have a good answer for it.

As Nich – Newt Gingrich said, and I quote, “I frankly don’t understand it – I think it’s sort of nuts. There are times when people vote yes one day, and then they come back and vote no the next day and can’t explain why they switched,” end quote.

So, here we are today, facing a possible shutdown. Because even after Speaker McCarthy said that the bipartisan budget agreement would help “Congress work again to do their jobs, the appropriation bills,” he chose a different path – an extreme partisan path toward a shutdown – a Republican – extreme Republican shutdown.

So, for more on this, our speaker has – has brok- — has — has broken for —

So, let me step back for now. For more on how the Speaker has broken his word and the impacts of the devastating cuts he is proposing, we have our OMB Director Shalanda Young to talk through those — those impacts.

All right. There you go.

DIRECTOR YOUNG: Hi.

Q: Hello.

DIRECTOR YOUNG: Who all thought I’d be back here so soon? (Laughter.) Maybe you all did. I certainly hoped I would not.

It’s been just four months since President Biden, House Republicans, House Democrats, Senate Republicans, and Senate Democrats all made a bipartisan budget deal. You were all there. I was there. You remember what it took to get to that deal.

We shook hands, two thirds of Congress voted for it, and the President signed it into law – a commitment to the American people that reduced the deficit, protected critical programs, and ensured their government remained open.

Today, four of those five sides I just listed are sticking by that deal. The one side, House Republicans, are refusing to live up to their end of the bargain. They have turned their back on the deal. They are on an island entirely by themselves and entirely of their own making. Their chaos – and their chaos alone – is now threatening to push us into a shutdown.

This is not only a violation of the deal; the President signed this deal into law. And let’s be very clear about what they are demanding as a condition of keeping the government open. It’s all right there in the CR they’re considering now – plain black and white.

Instead of working in a bipartisan fashion to keep the government open, they’re now tripling down on their demands to eviscerate programs that the American people rely on – the exact same ransom they sought for honoring the full faith and credit of the United States.

Their bill includes devastating 30 percent cuts. You heard me: 30 percent cuts.

And listen to what that means. It would eliminate 12,000 FBI agents, almost 1,000 ATF agents, and more than 500 local law enforcement; kick almost 300,000 children out of Head Start; rob more than a million seniors of nutrition services, like Meals on Wheels.

And guess what? If they don’t get their way, if we don’t go along with the devastating cuts I just listed here, they want to force a shutdown that will hurt our economy and national security.

What would a shutdown mean? More than 2 million service members wouldn’t get their paycheck. Long-term disaster recovery would be further delayed. Nutrition assistance for nearly 7 million women and children who rely on WIC would be jeopardized. Small businesses would lose out on more than $100 million a day in loans. What kind of a choice is that?

In addition to the more than 2 million service members who won’t get their paychecks, we’re talking about more than 1.5 million federal civilian employees, by current estimate – roughly a quarter of whom are veterans – missing paychecks. Meat and food inspectors, Border Patrol agents, air traffic controllers, TSA agents – just a small example.

On top of that, federal contractors have no guarantee of back pay. None. The thousands of federal contractors who serve the mission of this country to serve the American people, no guarantee that they’re made whole.

Folks who I see around my office every day, people you see around here cleaning, who can least afford to miss a paycheck, no guarantee they will be made whole.

Our message is simple. House Republicans need to stick to the agreement we already reached and they already voted for, do the job they were elected to do.

And we know it’s not a lot to ask for because just yesterday, an overwhelming 76 senators, Democrats, and Republicans, voted to move forward on a bipartisan bill to keep the government open.

Enough is enough. A deal is a deal. Extreme House Republicans need to stop playing political games with people’s lives, keep their promise, and keep the government open.

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: All right. First question. Go ahead.

Q: Thank you. Thank you, Director.

DIRECTOR YOUNG: Hi.

Q: Hi, how are you?

DIRECTOR YOUNG: Good.

Q: I know you mentioned a couple of workers – cleaning staff, people in your office. Can you give us a bigger picture of who at the White House will be affected? Who will be deemed essential and – and who will be furloughed, including the press team for –

DIRECTOR YOUNG: Yeah, I think –

Q: – our purposes? (Laughter.)

DIRECTOR YOUNG: Yeah, no. (Cross-talk.)

DIRECTOR YOUNG: I’ll let them read out the specifics of who will be here. But just like every federal agency, there are legal definitions about who can work during a time of shutdown. No one, clearly, gets paid, but there are people who will be furloughed, and there are people who will be excepted, who –

And just at the macro level, about 800,000 people would be excepted across the government out of the one and a half million civilians I talked about, and about  700,000 [820,000] would be furloughed.

I don’t want to get into specifics of different agencies and the White House. We can read out – I’m sure you talk to the various offices later. But that is a large amount of people who will be furloughed across the government.

The White House and OMB will feel the same as the rest of the agencies. We will do the best we can to continue to service the American people. Clearly, or men and women in uniform will be at their duty stations – without pay, unfortunately. So, we will keep vital national security things going – life and safety.

But it will be hard to do everything government should do for the American people in a shutdown.

Q: And then, quickly, do you and President Biden regret trusting McCarthy?

DIRECTOR YOUNG: Look, I won’t go there. (Laughter.) And it’s not a trust exercise, right? We passed a law.

Q: Well – well, but you had –

I say 0.1 and 0.2, and that doesn’t sound big. – -0.1 percent of our economy is $26 billion.

Q: I’m sorry if I wasn’t clear. That’s a hit to the economy. But is there an actual cost to, you know shutting down the government and then reopening again, like any kind of logistical admin costs?

DIRECTOR YOUNG: So, it will not cost anything that would be outside our normal – or normal spin rate, like the people in the office on – not the 30th, because that is a Saturday – on the 29th will they do the work they need to do today. They will pr- — be provided, like, four hours on their devices to – to send people – and have out of office, send people last messages.

But there tends not to be – we don’t have to close major infrastructure. There’s not a large spike in spending in order to close down.

What is really expensive is the hit to – to GDP, the inability of people to access service like WIC. And it’s not just new people signing up for things like WIC; it is people who are on WIC currently. They cannot get access to the meals they would normally get. That is the real impact to the American people.

Q: Fundamentally, we’ve been here –

(Cross-talk.)

Q: Oh, I’m sorry – (inaudible), so I got excited.

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: Oh, no –

DIRECTOR YOUNG: Sorry.

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: I’ll come back. I’ve just got to go back a little bit.

DIRECTOR YOUNG: Don’t let me get you in trouble.

Q: No, no –

(Cross-talk.)

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: And I promise I’ll come down. But go ahead, Ed.

Q: Great to be here. Thank you, Shalanda. So, the Treasury Department now says the federal deficit is at $1.5 trillion. You know, that’s more than the CBO projected. The President has pushed the bipartisan infrastructure bill, he’s pushed the Inflation Reduction Act, the American Rescue Plan. He signed into spending $5.8 trillion over the past two years.

Spending is at the heart of this impasse. So, does the President bear any responsibility for a shutdown?

DIRECTOR YOUNG: Yeah, we’re not – we’re not – it –

Sev- –seventy percent of House Republicans voted for a bill. So it’s beyond trust; we have a law. What else are we supposed to do?

This President is committed to governing, committed to doing the right thing. This is who the Republican Conference elected to be their Speaker. He asked to work with us on the budget deal. We did that. We find ourselves here.

Q: Thank you.

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: Go ahead, Colleen.

Q: I wondered if you could talk about the U.S. assistance to Ukraine in the face of a shutdown? What happens to it? How does it work? Do you know?

DIRECTOR YOUNG: Well, just like the rest of defense and our diplomacy efforts, we do as much as we can. Clearly, there is carryover money to keep some things going. But it’s impacted – just like if we don’t get further assistance, that is impacted.

You cannot do more with less when you talk about a wartime effort. It just doesn’t exist. And there are rules for a reason. You must have money to buy things.

So, we also worry about our own stockpiles. So, even if we could continue to deliver, what can we do to ensure American readiness does not suffer?

So, I worry about that in a shutdown. And I worry about that if we don’t keep the – the critical aid going to Ukraine, which is why you saw, on a bipartisan basis, the Senate move forward to keep that going.

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: Go ahead.

Q: Thanks, Karine. Hi, Director.

DIRECTOR YOUNG: Hi.

Q: What do you see as the end game here? Are you willing to make any concessions to the hardline Republicans? And for how long are you expecting this shutdown to last?

DIRECTOR YOUNG: So, one, I think you get into real trouble in this town trying to play crystal-ball maker. I will tell you what the fastest path is to make sure this does not happen. You saw it in the Senate, with bipartisan vote to keep the government running.

I think we have to remember what we’re talking about 47 days. Not a year ago, not two – 47 days. The point of a CR – we call them “stopgaps” – you keep stuff going. What did you do on September 30th as a government? You should keep doing that on October 1.

This is not hard. It is not meant to come back and negotiate and – and redo things we just agreed to do three months ago. It is to keep the government open to give congressional negotiators more time on long-term bills. This is not an exercise in reopening negotiations. We negotiated, at the Speaker’s request, three months ago.

My life is still recovering from it. I remember it very vividly. There are no negotiations left to have on a 47-day bill.

The conversation that needs to happen is with the Speaker and the Republican conference, period.

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: Go ahead, MJ.

Q: Thank you, Director Young. Given that FEMA is already only prioritizing urgent and life-and-death operations, in the event of a shutdown, how long can even just those operations be sustained?

DIRECTOR YOUNG: Look, it depends on – we’re still in hurricane season. People think that it ends in August, September. So, my answers will be assuming no more major disasters happen. Everything is on the – off the table if something really truly catastrophic happens. But on due course, we think we can continue to do life and safety from FEMA.

But you’re right, FEMA is holding over 2,000 projects in abeyance because of their current fiscal situation. When did we till Congress about this? In mid-August. It’s now late September. We told them we cannot pay our disaster relief bills in mid-August. It’s now late September, and they are marching us towards a shutdown where those 2,000 projects just get longer and longer and longer.

So, if you are my home state of Louisiana, if you are Puerto Rico, if you are Texas, anyone who has a major de- declaration in the past who are doing long-term recovery, we have to continue to pay for those – those projects that are needed to continue to rebuild.

Q: But the life-and-death operations, though, they can continue indefinitely?

DIRECTOR YOUNG: They can continue. But I want you to know, that statement applies if there are no more large, large events. You know, I – we will have a different answer if there is a catastrophic event that pushes FEMA past the point of being – having enough money to do life and safety.

Right now, if there are no catastrophic events, we can continue to do life and safety.

Q: But if there are, then that may not be possible?

DIRECTOR YOUNG: I mean, that is always the answer. I’ve done FEMA budgets since I was a baby staffer on Appropriations. All rules, all statements are out the window when you have large, large events. They just skew the numbers needed so greatly.

Q: Thank you.

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: Go ahead, Patsy.

Q: Thanks, Karine. (Inaudible.) Do you have a – and I’m sorry if you mentioned this at the topper. Do you have an estimate of how much does it cost when we have a shutdown and then we reopen the government again – an estimate of, you know, per day or per week or however long it goes?

DIRECTOR YOUNG: Yeah, we’ll say – look, our analysis on a shutdown really is tied to how long it happens. But one can expect, like, a 0.1 to 0.2 percent – I think most economist agree — hit to GDP.

The hope is, though, during a shutdown, if that happened, the economy would be able to pick that GDP loss up in the next quarter. So, it may not be a permanent loss.

But why risk our economy for a manufactured shutdown, all a problem within one conference in Congress?

DIRECTOR YOUNG: Absolutely not. And, by the way, the deal was to ensure that we had a fiscally responsible plan – I think the name of the bill was the Fiscal Responsibility Act – that saved a trillion dollars over a decade.

And, look, if House Republicans want to join us in the Fiscal Reduction Act, I’m happy to talk to them about the tax cuts they have pending in Ways and Means that add to the deficit. I’m also happy to talk to any Republican who voted for two and a half trillion dollars of tax cuts, unpaid.

So, the problem I have is when people vote for that, bust the deficit on tax cuts for the wealthy, and then come and say we’re doing too much for Head Start and childcare and cancer research. Because that’s what we’re talking about.

They’ve taken the smallest amount of spending, do nothing about taxes for the rich, and they want to cut the smallest amount of spending. That’s not serious fiscal conversation. Anybody in D.C. will tell you, you cannot get on a better fiscal path by going after these domestic programs. They’re the smallest portion of our budget. It ain’t going to happen. It’s not serious. Even cutting it 30 percent doesn’t put you on a better fiscal path.

So, let’s just get real. It’s not about that.

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: All right.

Q: (Inaudible)_ – has one more. So the House Speaker Kevin McCarthy says that he’s not long to take a salary during the shutdown. Does the President plan to pause his salary also?

DIRECTOR YOUNG: Look, I’m glad that the Speaker has made that statement. By the way, members of Congress have to get paid, constitutionally, so maybe he’ll put it in a sock drawer. I don’t know. (Laughter.) But they have to get paid during a shutdown. That’s theater. That is theater.

I will tell you, they who picks up the trash in my office won’t get a paycheck. That’s real. And that’s what makes me angry.

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: Go ahead, Peter. Thanks for your patience.

Q: If I can ask you very briefly about – we’ve been – we’ve seen this show before where it goes down to the wire and then, at the last minute, something happens or several days pass before anything happens. Can you just talk about, fundamentally, the impact – even if this were to be resolved – of playing this game where it goes to the last minute before there’s a short-term spending bill, how that sort of impacts the way our country runs? Because a lot of Americans see that, and they know that that’s not the way it can work in their own homes.

DIRECTOR YOUNG: You’re right, and you’re right. I mean, we have time- what did the President say? There’s nothing inevitable in politics. We don’t have to go down this road; House Republicans don’t have to take us down this road.

So, you’re right. There – there is always a chance that people can do the right thing the government remain open or have a quick reopening.

Q: But even getting to this place to this place, there’s already –

DIRECTOR YOUNG: Right.

Q – been a ton of money lost, right?

DIRECTOR YOUNG: Not a ton of money lost. The confidence in government is what I worry about. People watching this – the dysfunction sowed. And I think there are a small amount – small amount of people who will know that. You know, it’s the – it’s the carelessness by which people is like, “Oh, this shutdown is not much of government.” Well, you tell people who live paycheck to paycheck that.

I know it’s not popular to defend federal workers. I know it’s not. But a lot of them live paycheck to paycheck. “They get repaid.” What are they supposed to do in the meantime? What are they supposed to do?

And then people can’t get government services. You go sign up for WIC. You finally convinced this mother it’s the right thing to do, because a lot of families are embarrassed about taking aid from the government. You finally convince this young mother to do that. Not available. Confidence lost in government.

It’s one more knock on democratic institutions. And that worries me.

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: Go ahead, Joey.

Q: Yeah, as we get closer to a shutdown at the end of the week, does it remain the case that President Biden is unwilling to meet with House Speaker Kevin McCarthy, as he’s suggested he would like to do?

DIRECTOR YOUNG: It’s not an unwillingness. We’ve talked. We talked a lot. The President talked a lot to Speaker McCarthy. We got a deal. This is the easy part.

Pe- –the debt deal was two and a half years. Now we’re talking about 47 days to keep the government running, to give Congress time to work on full-year spending bills. This is not hard. This is just not hard.

And, by the way, every day I read some other reason why they can’t vote on the Senate bill – the Senate bipartisan bill. It changes every day.

So, there’s not – not an unwillingness. We’ve had this conversation. The Speaker wanted to set toplines. We set them. Now he needs to talk to whomever he needs to talk to in the Republican conference and live up to that deal.

Q: What will be the engagement from President Biden to lawmakers, particularly as they get, you know, closer, Saturday- tomorrow?

DIRECTOR YOUNG: You’re talking about a president who was a former senator for 36 years. He has close relationships on the Hill. He stays in dialogue with Congress.

Clearly, there’s going to be an uptick in that as we were led down this path by House Republicans. And that’ll continue. The President is constantly updated on what is happening.

But I’ll tell you, we’re at the 29th. We have until midnight tomorrow. What needs to happen is the one corner out of five who is having problems with their votes and their strategies need to find a path to meet the other four – four corners at the deal we all signed up for in early summer.

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: Okay. A couple more. Go ahead, Michael.

Q: Thanks, Karine. Director Young, can you talk a bit more about the impact a shutdown will have on the crisis at the Southern border?

DIRECTOR YOUNG: We asked for $4 billion to help deal with migration challenges at the border. You wouldn’t know that to hear what Republicans talk about. If border is an issue for House Republicans, where’s the dialogue on what the President asked for to help with enforcement, to help with transportation cost, to help with detention capacity?

You know, I’ve done this for a long time. This is just a new – a new, interesting time on our political atmosphere where we can’t get Republicans to really engage us on more money to help control migration issues at the border. Almost no dialogue. No interest in dealing with the fentanyl issues that we asked for more money to deal with to put more equipment to find fentanyl coming through.

So, there is serious, and there is not serious. This president asked for money to help deal with the issues that hurt people: Ukraine, and border. We appreciate the Senate meeting us to make sure Ukraine aid continues, disaster aid continues.

But, let’s not forget: This president asked for money to deal with the situation at the border. And you’re absolutely right. During a shutdown, not only do we not get the $4 billion we asked for to help, we’re asking CBP agents, ICE agents to go without pay. How is that helping?

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: Go ahead.

Q: Thank you, Director. I’ve been speaking to many mothers who rely on WIC for food for their babies, and they don’t follow the ins and outs of politics and whether a shutdown would be the fault of Congress, the White House, the President. They just can’t believe that this country’s leaders would allow babies to go hungry. So, what would you say to them?

DIRECTOR YOUNG: I’d go back to my answer earlier. You know, I worry about people’s engagement and thought about their government. It worries me tremendously that people will show up on Wednesday or Thursday, trying to decide whether they were going to apply for this aid, because a lot of people don’t trust – like, their friends tell them to go get this, and they’re like, “Ah, it’s going to be difficult – a lot of paperwork.” So, it takes convincing for people to seek this aid. And then be told, “Never mind. Never mind, the government is closed, shut down.”

They don’t follow the ins and outs. It’s a pox on all of our houses. That’s why four out of the five corners are trying not to go there. We’re doing everything we can to plead, beg, shame. “House Republicans, do the right thing. Don’t have this happen.”

The cavalier-ness is what gets me. I’ve heard people say in the Republican – in House Conference, “Oh, a shutdown is not that bad. It’s not like the debt ceiling.” Well, you go tell people who cannot pay their daycare bill. You go tell people that. You go tell men and women in uniform that they don’t get a paycheck when they show up to work every day. You go tell that mother that she cannot get formula after having had to be convinced to even give government a try. It’s the cavalier-ness that really gets me.

And you’re right. It’s – it sets an expectation for how people deal with their government throughout their lives. And it’s something we should work really hard to avoid.

Q: And to follow on that, could you clarify the total number of workers that would go without paying next week, and how many of them would still be required to show up to work?

DIRECTOR YOUNG: So, in civilians, 1.5 million – about 800,000 of them would be excepted and have show up to the office.

As you know, depending on how long shutdowns go, people can be called back into work if their job and duties, you know, start to fall into one of the categories that’s excepted. So, there could be – there will be – would be changes in those numbers if a shutdown would continue.

Q: And what about the breakdown for the military’s 1.3 million active-duty troops and the reservists plus DOD personnel?

DIRECTOR YOUNG: Right. It’s a little over $2 million – 2 million people who serve who are all expected to show up to their duty stations.

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: All right. Just the last two. Go ahead, Aurelia.

Q: Thank you so much. Thank you, Director. You said this shutdown could be a knock on democratic institutions. What about the international reputation of this country when it seems like the United States is going from one major fiscal crisis into another?

DIRECTOR YOUNG: I think you just answered it. You know, this country, we owe services to the American people. We talked a lot about one of those in WIC, we talked cancer research. But out diplomatic efforts – this President has worked harder than most to hold alliances together that represents democratic institutions, the Western alliance, and ensure that the world knew America was back.

I do believe we will continue to do most of our missions as best as possible. We will show up where needed. But it certainly makes that more difficult the longer and longer this goes on. But in a very short-term situation, I think we will remain in the same – with the same posture across the world.

Now the question is how we’re viewed. You know, it – it is not the shining example we want to portray that we continue to have fiscal crises because other world leaders look at that.

But I’m still hoping – I’m still remaining an optimist that we have a day and a half to work out in one corner what is needed to take the deal that is laid before them by the United States Senate. So, there’s a chance.

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: Last question.

Q: Thank you, Director. Given that we’ve seen in prior shutdowns that some of these workers have to go to work without pay, including in the travel industry, FAA and others, that they might report – call in sick in greater numbers. Do you have any guidance around that or any estimates as to how that might affect the shutdown period?

DIRECTOR YOUNG: Look, we don’t shut down often.

(A reporter sneezes.)

I know it may feel like it, because we talk about it even if it doesn’t happen.

Q: (Referring to his sneeze.) Negative. Sorry, I’m negative.

DIRECTOR YOUNG: You sure? (Laughter.)

So, it doesn’t happen often, so there aren’t numbers. We certainly have anecdotal evidence that happens on occasion. And that goes back to what I talked about earlier: People make decisions that are best for their families.

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: All right. Thank you so much, director. We appreciate it.

DIRECTOR YOUNG: Thank you. Thank you.

Q: Thank you.

DIRECTOR YOUNG: Have fun. I hope not to see you all for a little bit. (Laughter.)

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: Thank you so much, Director Young.

I do want to add something that the Director said, which I think is really important, about how this affects families. I think I’ve seen on some of the cable news networks this morning – if it was this morning – that you’ve seen, like, federal workers being interviewed and members of the military. And you see people – I think one interview, someone was crying about how this is going to affect this – this shutdown that we’re – that Republicans on the House are barreling – barreling us to is going to affect them.

And we’re – this is real. This is real-life – real-life changes and real-life impact on people across the country.

And there was one military personnel who was interviewed who said that one of the reasons that they went into the military is to have that stability – right? – is to make her that they have stability in their life.

And when you have one of the five groups who are taking away that stability because of a political stunt, because of their chaos within their own – within their own caucus, and they do that to a military member – personnel who is really, truly, putting their lives on the line for this country and making a commitment to this country, and they’re saying that they no longer have the stability that they thought the military would bring them, I think that’s devastating.

And that’s, you know – this should not be partisan. This should not be partisan. This is supposed to be the basic, basic duty of Congress to do this – to do their jobs. And it is going to have – if we do indeed have a shutdown, it is going to truly, truly hurt some of the people that we rely on every day, as well as cutting some key programs that families – that families need.

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

Q: Sure. Can you say anything more about what the President’s plans are going to be this weekend in the face of the shutdown? What’s he going to be up to?

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: So, I can say that the President is going to be in Washington, D.C. And he’s going to continue to remain in touch with congressional – well, our team here is going to continue to remain in touch with congre- –congressional leaders and the members of both parties.

Certainly, he’s going to get updates on what’s – what’s happening – what’s happening on – on the Hill. But again, if – this is an – this is going to be the extreme part of the House Republican – this is going to be their shutdown. So, we do not – I don’t expect any travel outside of D.C. from this president. But of course, if that changes, we certainly would communicate that. But the president will be here.

He’ll be getting updates from his team and the team more broadly. And as you saw, the – the Director was here.

And – and also our office of Leg Affairs is going to stay in close touch with members – with leaders – with congressional leaders on the Hill.

Q: Would he be meeting anybody in person this weekend?

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: I — no, I don’t have any – I don’t have any meetings or – to read out as it relates to – to Congress. But what I can say: This is something – and we’ve said it over and over again, and it needs to be repeated – this is something that Congress can fix. This is something that extreme – those extreme Republicans in the House can fix. They know how to fix this.

We just heard the process that the OMB Director went through – right? – earlier – earlier this summer, late spring on making that – helping to make that bipartisan deal become a law.

And so, this – we should not be here. We should – she shouldn’t have been here at this podium talking about a potential shutdown. It should not have ben this way. And they can fix it.

Q: On the auto workers strike – so, it’s expanded now. And I just wondered if the White House is concerned about the broader economic impact of a strike as it, sort of, wears on – I think it’s two weeks in? Two weeks in?

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: So, a couple of things – and I’ve been asked this question about the potential impacts. Look, we always – we always take a look at what a major economic situation – the potential impacts could have, certainly, in our economic – in our economy more broadly.

But I will just go back to what I’ve said. This does – as it relates to the shutdown, the shutdown doesn’t need – does not need to happen. These programs that families need should be continuing. This – we should not be in this position that we’re in.

This is something that Republicans in Congress – in the House, more specifically – are heading – are heading us towards. And you – you saw there was a – there was a chart that was up when we were speaking. And, you know, Senate – Senate Republicans, Senate Democrats, House Democrats, the President, we’re all on the same page. We’re all on the same page here. And for some reason, extreme House Republicans refused. They refused to get on – to get on board here.

And as it relates to the shutdown: should not be happening. This can be avoided. They can fix this is they choose – if they choose.

Go ahead.

Q: Thank you, Karine. I hear what you’re saying, and –

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: About what?

Q: About Republicans –

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: Yeah.

Q: – and that they have to fix this. “It’s their problem, not ours.” And that’s exactly what the White House said before the deal was struck about raising the debt ceiling. Initially, you guys weren’t going to touch any kind of negotiation because you said it was solely up to House Republicans, up to Congress to raise the debt ceiling.

But then, the President did intervene to avoid the U.S. defaulting. So, I’m just trying to understand at what point would the President intervene to avoid a shutdown?

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: So, I understand your question as well. Here’s the thing. And – and I think Director Young did a really good job of laying this out. What we are talking about is a bill – a bipartisan bill that became law. That’s what we’re talking about. Something that became law that was agreed by the five sides, right? The House Republicans even themselves, two thirds of them voted for this.

This is law. This is an agreement that was already made, that multiple conversations were had about this. This should be simple. This should be easy.

And that’s what we’re talking about. We’re talking about something that already existed not that long ago that they all literally voted for in the House and the Senate, in a bipartisan way – something that I’ve said before – that’s what Americans want us to do here in – in Congress and in the Whi – in the White House – right? – in the federal government: to get things done in a bipartisan way so that it helps American families.

And what they’re doing – they can fix it. There’s no conversation that needs to be had because they literally can fix this. It is their chaos. They can fix this. And what they’re putting at risk is our economy; our national security, as we just talked about the military personnel. It’s a – you know, and –

You know, we have been able – the President in the last two years have been able to get our economy back on track, right? We’ve talked about unemployment being under 4 percent. And what they’re doing is incredibly irresponsible, and it is reckless.

So, that’s the difference. When you’re asking me – you know, you don’t quite understand and are trying to figure out what we’re talking about. We already made the deal. That’s why we keep saying “a deal is a deal.”

And it’s not just – it’s majority of Congress that agrees with us, right? When you think about what the Senate – the Senate actually moved forward and kept their deal. When you think about 77 senators who are moving forward – who voted to move forward with their CR. They are keeping the deal.

We’re talking about a small fraction of Congress. And that’s – and that’s reckless. That’s irresponsible. And that’s why we’re saying it is not for us – for us to – it’s not on us to fix. It’s not on this president to fix it. It is on Congress to fix.

And it’s not just us. You – I started the briefing listing out – listing out quotes from Republicans in Congress themselves.

All right. I’m going to –

Q: All right. Thanks.

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: I’m going to keep on. Go ahead.

Q: Thank you. Thanks, Karine. On China, can you clarify if the administration is stepping up engagement with the goal towards a Biden-Xi meeting on the sidelines of APEC in November, including whether there are any plans for Vice Premier He Lifeng or Prime Minister Wang Yi to come visit in Washington or meet U.S. officials?

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: I don’t have anything to – to lay out for you on any meetings or any potential meetings at is relates to the President and – our President and President Xi. The President spoke about this very recently and his expectations to have a meeting.

Don’t have a location for you. Don’t have a timeline for you at this time. We’re expecting – the President, as he said, is expected to do so. Just don’t have anything to share.

And once we do, we certainly will share that with you.

Q: And can I just follow up on that? Just a few days ago, Wang Yi seems to suggest the the onus of creating the right environment for a Biden-Xi meeting lies in Washington, you know, to promote cooperation – a summit that promotes cooperation rather than provoke confrontation. How would you respond to that?

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: I mean, we’re – I mean, we’ve been very clear. We’re not ha- — we’re not looking to have confrontation with China. We’re looking to have competition, and that’s what the President has shown for the last two years.

The President spoke about this. He’s – he’s looking forward to having that conversation with President Xi. I don’t have anything else to share with you at this time. And I’m just going to leave it there.

Go ahead.

Q: Thank you. Does the President plan to take up McCarthy’s offer to meet, and does the White House see any value in that?

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: Look, I’m going to be very clear. The per- the person that McCarthy – or the people that McCarthy needs to talk to is his own caucus. That’s who he needs to have a conversation with, not the President.

The President had multiple conversations with Speaker McCarthy very early on to get this bipartisan deal. That two thirds of the House – Republican House – Republican House voted on. The conversation is not between the President and McCarthy. He needs to – he needs to –

Q: So, he’s turning it down?

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: He needs – what I’m saying very clearly is the conversation needs to happen between Speaker McCarthy and his – and his caucus. That’s where – that’s the fix. That’s the chaos that we’re seeing. And that’s where he needs to focus on.

Q: And how would you describe the President’s relationship with Senator Feinstein in recent years? When was the last time they spoke to one another?

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: So, I believe the President reached out back in August. They missed each other, and so the President had a conversation with her chief of staff. That is the last time that they were – that the President had reached out.

I mean, the President spoke to this, you know, very – I think very deeply. Right? And – just moments ago, when you all watched his remarks.

And – and they were very close friends. They served together for over a decade. It’d be 15 years in the Senate together – And – and he saw her as a close friend.

They – you know, one of the things that they worked on that is an issue right now across the country was assault ban weapons [assault weapons ban], right? That is something that they worked together on in 1994 and actually saved lines for 10 years before its sunset in 2004. Right?

So, there’s been many things that they’ve been able to work on together. And so, they find – and even as president as well.

And so, they were – he sees her as a dear friend. It is a sad day for – certainly for – for us here and also for her family and, clearly, for the state of California. And – and I’ll just – I’ll just leave it there.

Go ahead, MJ.

Q: We just heard Director Young saying, “This is not hard.” But Speaker McCarthy clearly is finding this difficult. Can you give us any sense of how President Biden sees the situation that Speaker McCarthy is in? Does he think that the Speaker is in a top spot? Have you gotten the sense that, you know, there’s any sense of sort of sympathy towards Speaker McCarthy? Or is it all pure exasperation?

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: Look, I’m – I’m not going to go into just the President’s feeling about Speaker or – or his situation currently as Speaker of the House.

What I can speak to is what we’ve been saying all along, which is: A deal was made. The President has – as you all know and saw happening when – when these conversations were going on in person and trying to get that bipartisan deal very early on in the summer.

And what the President believes is that many Americans are going to be hurt by this. Many families are going to be hurt by this, by something that extreme House Republicans are barreling us down through. Right? They’re heading us down a road that is unfortunate, that is reckless.

And that’s what the President is concerned about. He’s concerned about the American people. And this is something – again, they can fix this. They can.

Q: Can you confirm when the two men last spoke?

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: I don’t have a date or time – a timeline of when they last spoke. What I can say is that, clearly, the OMB Director, congressional – our Office of Leg Affairs has been in regular touch with congressional leaders on this for the past several weeks, several months. And I just don’t have a – I don’t have a conversation to confirm with the Speaker.

Q: And in the coming days, in the event of a government shutdown, does the White House believe that the President has a responsibility to offer any words of reassurance to people in the country who will be affected, will be worried about the situation?

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: So, look, I don’t have any previews of any remarks that the President is going to make. But you can we- –either tomorrow or any upcoming days. But, of course, the American – the President is always – when it comes to situations like this, you can expect to hear from him directly in the days ahead. I just don’t have a date to speak to at this time.

And the President – here’s the thing: The President is not going to stop working. He’s going to continue to work, and he’s not going to stop delivering for the American people in the event of an extreme Republican shutdown.

You’re going to hear from the President. I just don’t have anything to lay out on a specific date or time. But, of course, the American people are going to hear from him.

Go ahead.

Q: Thank you. Just on the auto workers strike, has the President spoken to automakers after he said he supports a 40 percent pay raise for UAW workers or just even broadly after his visit to Michigan? We understand from sources that the chances of a deal in the near term have been complicated by the President’s remarks about him supporting a 40 percent pay raise.

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: So, just want to – just give some clarity. So, first, the President’s senior advisors, they’ve been in touch with all parties. If – I’ll let you know if there’s any conversations that the President has or – to read out with the – with the – the automakers, more specifically.

As it relates to the 40 percent, look, he believes they should get a significant raise. That’s why the President can keep saying, like, a record profit should lead to record contract, right? This is – he believes that the UAW workers should get a fair share for – for profits they helped create. And so, the President has been really, really clear about that.

But as it relates to any negotiations and what they are asking for, he wants to make sure that he leaves up to the UAW leadership. And ultimately, again, members should be able to receive a fair and just deal.

And the President is going to be consistent about that. He has said recently when he was in Michigan, when you saw him on an active picket line, who was – he was very proud to be there in solidarity of the union workers.

And so, that is something that he has said throughout his career, and he’ll continue to be very clear about that.

Q: And so – so, just on the automakers part –

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: Yeah.

Q: You said his team is constantly in touch. We’ve know that. Are there any specific, sort of, conversations after his visit, specifically after those comments that he made?

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: Well, they’ve been in regular touch. I don’t have, like, if they talked today or – or on Tuesday or on Wednesday. But they have been – the senior – senior advisors have – certainly been in touch with all the parties.

They are not – I want to be clear – they’re not part of the negotiations. They’re not convening all sides. They are just there to offer any assistance the parties might need.

We are very – we’ve always been very clear. It’s – it’s up to the UAW leadership, it’s up to the union to have these – and all parties involved – to have these negotiation conversations. But, again, we’ve just offered any helpful assistance that they might need.

Go ahead.

Q: Can I circle back – thank you – to a question that was asked, I think, of the OMB Director, which is, essentially, if we could get a sense of what the White House will look like during the shutdown and who all folks can anticipate will be here specifically from the press side, but broadly what the White House will look like.

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: Yeah. So, look, you know – and – and not going to have much more to share than what the OMB Director said. You know, many people are going to be furloughed. That’s kind of, unfortunately, how this all works.

The process that we are, kind of, dealt with here, as we’re dealing with this potential – potential shutdown. But we will do our best, certainly, to communi- to continue communicating with all of you. We will have a press – a press briefing during – during, you know, next week.

And, look, you know, again, they’re going to be furloughed, and some will be expected and continuing to work, as the – as the Director said, and – and that’s going to be across the government. That’s going to be the same case here at the White House.

And, you know, that’s just kind of the way it is. And we will – we’re going to continue to deliver for the American people, but it’s not going to be as – business as usual when you have a majority of folks furloughed. And- and that’s kind of where we are, sadly, unfortunately, in this – in this time.

But as it relates to the president team, certainly, we’ll be holding press briefings, and we’ll certainly have more to share if this is where we head down to, which is a shutdown.

AIDE: Karine, you can take a couple more.

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: Okay. Go ahead.

Q: Thank you, Karine. Just a follow-up to Aurelia’s earlier question. We know that you say it’s their problems, not ours. From the outside – outside of the U.S., we see the government as more of a “one thing.” With, you know, the tension with China towards Allied – in the war in Ukrai – in Ukraine, what can the President say to reassure leaders who are worried at this – at this moment?

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: So, you know, I think Jake Sullivan got this question a little bit when he was here last week. And I think the question came to him as has he heard any concerns from any leadership. And he had said he wasn’t aware of any conversations to – to that effect.

What I can say is, you know, when you have this type of – this potential chaos and unpre- unpredictability, you know, countries around the world are seeing from this – this Republican House, it’s not something to be proud of. It’s not.

But what the President and our team have done for the past two year is rebuild those relationships with our partners and allies. And – and so, at the same time, trying to carry out the work of the American people.

And that’s something that you’ve seen the President do over the past two years, whether it’s here at the White House or whether it’s at a summit that he’s attended. And you’ve seen the President build that confidence back into the United – back into the world – right? – the confidence that allies and partners had of the United States.

And so, that’s important. We have to rebuilt those relationships. We’ll continue to do so. But obviously. when you see this type of chaos – you know, chaos and potential recklessness – right? – from House Republicans, it doesn’t – it’s nothing to be proud of.

September 30: The Guardian posted an article titled: “The hidden cost of a shutdown: America’s battle with food insecurity” From the article

With 1 October looming, a US government shutdown appears imminent, and the farm bill is set to expire. Members of both the House and Senate have been drafting proposals for its renewal, which happens every five years. The bill is responsible for financing the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) that many Americans rely on to feed their families.

Though hunger prevention advocates are calling for Congress to renew the bill before its expiration, the likelihood of a freshly revised iteration being near completion by the end of the day is low. Yet, food insecurity continues to rise in America.

More than 34 million people, including nine million children, are struggling to put food on the table.

In a recent household survey conducted by the US Census Bureau, more than 26 million Americans said they did not have enough to eat during the 12-day period of the study that concluded this month. That sample represents nearly a 50 percentage increase during a similar window from 2021. This upsurge is due to a number of factors, including the end of pandemic-era aid.

Another study released this month by Feeding America reflected a similar finding, emphasizing the far-reaching consequences of hunger.

That report is underscored how the pandemic reshaped the landscape of food insecurity and its lingering effects, signaling one of America’s gravest growing crises. Approximately 80% of Americans experiencing hunger believe that inflation and rising food costs have worsened the issue of hunger nationwide and 93% of those surveyed expressed concern that the situation will deteriorate even more. They highlighted factors such as rising housing costs, job loss, unemployment, the presence of chronic health conditions or disabilities, and an abundance of low-paying jobs as significant contributors and interconnected root causes of their food vulnerability…

…Another element of the rise in food insecurity, which saw almost 50 million Americans turning to food pantries and soup kitchens in 2022, is cuts to social assistance and fixed-income programs like food stamps, the child tax credit and pensions…

…The pandemic has also particularly aggravated food insecurity among families with children and communities of color, who were already disproportionately affected by hunger before the outbreak. Many of these households don’t meet the eligibility criteria for federal nutrition programs, forcing them to turn to local food banks and other community food assistance programs for additional support. Research shows that there is a higher prevalence of hunger in African American, Latino and Native American communities that can be attributed to systemic racial injustices…

September 30: The Hill posted an article titled: “McConnell announces Senate Republicans will defer to House spending Bill. From the article:

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R.-Ky.) announced Senate Republicans will vote against advancing the chamber’s bipartisan stopgap spending bill, instead of deferring to a bill coming from the House as the main way to avoid a government shutdown.

McConnell told reporters that the House bill, which is a 45-day continuing resolution that includes disaster aid funding but no money for Ukraine, is the preferred option of his members, and that they will overwhelmingly vote against cloture in order to focus on that option.

Shortly after McConnell’s remarks, that bill passed in the House in an overwhelming bipartisan 335-91 vote and heads to the Senate.

“I’m fairly confident that most of my members – our members – are going to vote against cloture,” McConnell said of the Senate-crafted bill. “Not necessarily because they are opposed to the underlying bill. But to see what the House can do on a bipartisan basis, and then bring it over to us.

The Senate is expected to vote on the House’s stopgap bill Saturday evening.

September 30: The Hill posted an article titled: “House Republicans to vote on 45-day clean stopgap funding bill” From the article:

The House will vote Saturday on a 45-day “clean” stopgap funding bill that includes money for disaster relief, a major turn in strategy for Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) ahead of a midnight showdown deadline.

The clean continuing resolution (CR) would require support from two-thirds of the House for passage because it is being considered under a fast-tracked mechanism called suspension of the rules. That means it would rely heavily on Democratic support to pass.

It will not have border policy changes, a non-starter for Democrats, or funds for Ukraine that some Republicans opposed.

McCarthy announced the plan following a nearly two-hour closed-door conference meeting.

“We will put a clean funding stopgap on the floor to keep government open for 45 days for the House and Senate to get their work done,” McCarthy told reporters after the meeting. “We will also, knowing what had transpired, through the summer, the disasters in Florida, the horrendous fire in Hawaii, and also the disasters in California and Vermont. We will put the supplemental portion that the president asked for in disaster there too.”

“Keeping the government open while we continue to do our work to end wasteful spending and the wokeism and most important, secure our border,” he added.

If the bill does not pass, Republicans plan to bring up several measures to mitigate the effects of a government shutdown, multiple members said…

September 30: The Hill posted an article titled: “Embattled Congress lurches toward midnight shutdown” From the article:

Congress is lurching toward a shutdown that would begin early Sunday morning, with House Republicans battling one another and the Senate moving forward with a bipartisan plan that Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) has not committed to bringing to a vote in the House.

Senators are poised to vote Saturday afternoon on a bill to fund the government until Nov. 17. The legislation includes $6.15 billion for Ukraine and $6 billion for disaster relief.

McCarthy has drawn a line in the sand on Ukraine funding, and floated the idea of a “clean” measure that would not include funding for Ukraine.

A number of conservative in McCarthy’s conference would oppose such a measure, and it would need Democratic support to pass.

The Senate bill, if approved by the upper chamber, would likely pass the House if it were given a vote on the floor.

But a majority of the House GOP conference voted against a measure Thursday on Ukraine aid, and bringing the bill to the floor could come with political pain for McCarthy, who is working under the threat of a “motion to vacate” from Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-Fla.) and other opponents that would essentially be a vote to remove him as Speaker.

McCarthy, who refuses to work with House Democrats, hasn’t been able to pass a government funding stopgap with just Republican votes because a small group of conservatives has refused to go along with his spending strategy…

September 30: CNN posted an article titled: “Biden aides are sure Republicans will be blamed for a possible government shutdown” From the article:

As Speaker Kevin McCarthy tries to placate his House Republican conference in the fight over spending, the White House is holding out hope of a bipartisan deal brokered days ago in the Senate can eventually overcome the standoff.

Until then, however, President Joe Biden’s aides are confident that any blame for a government shutdown will land squarely on McCarthy and his fellow Republicans, according to sources familiar with the matter.

“There’s no expectation that McCarthy will be able to pass something on his own” that could clear the Senate, one senior administration official said. How long a potential shutdown lasts “depends on how much pain McCarthy can endure.”

Watching the chaos unfold from the other end of Pennsylvania Ave, Biden and his aides have adopted a mostly hands-off approach, accusing McCarthy of reneging on a spending deal and listing the ways a shutdown would inflict damage on normal Americans.

McCarthy has declined to schedule a House vote on the Senate bill, which includes $12 billion in total aid for Ukraine and domestic disasters and would keep the government open until November 17. Hardline House Republicans have been seeking steep, across-the-board spending cuts to federal agencies and funding for border enforcement – and are waging a battle to remove McCarthy as speaker if they don’t get it.

“I think that the speaker is making a choice between his speakership and American interests,” Biden told Democratic donors in San Francisco this week, highlighting the administration’s view that Republicans will ultimately suffer politically if they fail to avert a shutdown…

…”The people that McCarthy needs to talk to is his own caucus,” White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre told reporters when asked whether Biden would consider meeting with the speaker. “The conversation needs to happen between Speaker McCarthy and his caucus.”…

September 30: The White House (@WhiteHouse) posted on X “With just three hours left, Congress has passed a bipartisan bill to avert a government shutdown – excluding the demands of the Extreme House Republicans.

Now it’s on the way to President Biden’s desk where he will promptly sign it into law.

It never should have been this close.”

September 30: The White House posted a Statement titled: “Statement from President Joe Biden on Passage of the Bipartisan Bill to Keep the Government Open” From the Statement:

Tonight, bipartisan majorities in the House and Senate voted to keep the government open, preventing an unnecessary crisis that would have inflicted needless pain on millions of hardworking Americans. This bill ensures that active-duty troops will continue to get paid, travelers will be spared airport delays, millions of women and children will continue to have access to vital nutrition assistance, and so much more. This is good news for the American people.

But I want to be clear: we should never have been in this position in the first place. Just a few months ago, Speaker McCarthy and I reached budget agreement to avoid precisely this type of manufactured crisis. For weeks, extreme House Republicans tried to walk away from that deal by demanding drastic cuts that would have been devastating for millions of Americans. They failed.

While the Speaker and the overwhelming majority of Congress have been steadfast in their support for Ukraine, there is no new funding in this agreement to continue that support. We cannot under any circumstances allow American support for Ukraine to be interrupted. I fully expect the Speaker will keep his commitment to the people of Ukraine and secure passage of the support needed to help Ukraine at this critical moment.

September 30: The Hill posted an article titled: “Congress votes to avert shutdown” From the article:

Congress averted a shutdown with just hours to spare, capping a dramatic day that started with a lapse in government funding appearing all but inevitable.

The Senate voted 88-9 to pass a “clean” continuing resolution (CR) that funds the government at current levels through Nov. 17 and gives the Biden administration $16 billion it requested to assist victims of natural disasters. The House had earlier passed the measure in a bipartisan 335-91 vote.

The CR notably lacks any funding for Ukraine, spending cuts or border policy changes.

The bill now heads to President Biden’s desk for his signature before midnight, with both sides claiming victory.

“Bipartisanship, which has been the trademark of the Senate, has prevailed. And the American people can breathe a sigh of relief,” Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) said.

The vote âme together after a hectic day on both sides of the Capitol, one Schumer descried as full of “twists and turns.”

House Republicans huddled in the morning and Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) – having exhausted all options to pass a GOP-only stopgap plan – made a sharp shift in strategy and announced the clean CR, dealing a blow to hardline conservatives who have stymied leadership at every turn in recent weeks…

…”Let me tell you, today wasn’t a choice we wanted to have. We tried to pass the most conservative stopgap measure possible,” McCarthy said after Saturday’s vote. “Unfortunately, we didn’t have 218 Republicans.”

But it wasn’t immediately clear the measure would get the Democratic votes it needed to pass.

September 30: The White House posted “Press Release: Bill Signed: H.R. 5860” From the Legislation:

On Saturday, September 30, 2023, the President signed into law:

H.R. 5860, which provides fiscal year appropriations to Federal agencies through November 17, 2023, for continuing projects at the Federal Government and extends several expiring authorities.

September 30: The White House posted a Presidential Action titled: “Message to the Congress on Designation of Funding as an Emergency Requirement in Accordance with Section 114(c) of division A of the Continuing Appropriations Act, 2024 and Other Extensions Act” From the Presidential Action:

In accordance with section 114(c) of division A of the Continuing Appropriations Act, 2024, and Other Extensions Act (H.R. 5860; the “Act”), I hereby designate as emergency requirements all funding (including the transfer and repurposing of funds) so designated by the Congress in the Act pursuant to section 251(b)(2)(A) of the Balanced Budget and Emergency Deficit Control Act of 1985, as outlined in the enclosed list of accounts.

The details of this action are set forth in the enclosed memorandum from the Director of the Office of Management and Budget. – JOSEPH R. BIDEN JR.

September 30: CNN posted an article titled: “READ: The 45-day spending bill that passed the House” You can find an embedded copy of the bill in the CNN article.

September 30: Stars and Stripes posted an article titled: “Government shutdown averted with little time to spare as Biden signs funding before midnight” From the article:

The threat of a federal government shutdown suddenly lifted late Saturday as President Joe Biden signed a temporary funding bill to keep agencies open with little time to spare after Congress rushed to approve the bipartisan deal.

The package drops aid to Ukraine, a White House priority opposed by a growing number of GOP lawmakers, but increases federal disaster assistance by $16 billion, meeting Biden’s full request. The bill funds government until Nov. 17.

After chaotic days of turmoil in the House, Speaker Kevin McCarthy abruptly abandoned demands for steep spending cuts from his right flank and instead relied on Democrats to pass the bill, at risk to his own job. The Senate followed with final passage closing a whirlwind day at the Capitol.

“This is good news for the American people,” Biden said in a statement.

He also said the United States “cannot under any circumstances allow American support for Ukraine to be interrupted” and expected McCarthy “will keep his commitment to the people of Ukraine and secure passage of the support needed to help Ukraine at this critical moment.”

It’s been a sudden head-spinning turn of events in Congress after grueling days in the House pushed the government to the brink of a disruptive federal shutdown.

The outcome ends, for now, the threat of a shutdown, but the reprieve may be short-lived. Congress will again need to fund the government in coming weeks risking a crisis as views are hardening, particularly among the right-flank lawmakers whose demands were ultimately swept aside this time in favor of a more bipartisan approach…

September 30, 2023: The White House posted: Statement from President Joe Biden on Passage of the Bipartisan Bill to Keep the Government Open

Tonight, bipartisan majorities in the House and Senate voted to keep the government open, preventing an unnecessary crisis that would have inflicted needless pain on millions of hardworking Americans. This bill ensures that active-duty troops will continue to get paid, travelers will be spared airport delays, millions of women and children will continue to have access to vital nutrition assistance, and so much more. This is good news for the American people.

But I want to be clear: we should never have been in this position in the first place. Just a few months ago, Speaker McCarthy and I reached a budget agreement to avoid precisely this type of manufactured crisis. For weeks, extreme House Republicans tried to walk away from that deal by demanding drastic cuts that would have been devastating for millions of Americans. They failed.

While the Speaker and the overwhelming majority of Congress have been stedfast in their support for Ukraine, there is no new funding in this agreement to continue that support. We cannot under any circumstances allow American support for Ukraine to be interrupted. I full expect the Speaker will keep his commitment to the people of Ukraine and secure passage of the support needed to help Ukraine at this critical moment.


October 2023

October 1: The White House posted: “Remarks on the Bipartisan Bill to Keep the Government Open

THE PRESIDENT: Good morning folks. How are you?

Q: Good morning.

THE PRESIDENT: Well, I guess we’re actually technically afternoon. (Laughs.)

Last night, Congress passed the spending bill that’s going to keep the government open. And it’s good news for the American people because the government will not shut down and a needless crisis will have been averted, saving millions – millions of Americans needless pain.

And that means more than one hun- –one million three hundred of our troops will continue to get paid and their families will be cared for.

Tens of thousands – tens of thousands of air traffic controllers and transportation security officers are going to stay on the job, get paid – preventing unnecessary delays at airports all across the country.

And millions of families will continue to have access to critical food and nutrition assistance, especially for programs for women and infant children, and so many other programs.

And the vital work in science and health – from cancer research to food safety – is going to continue, as will long-term disaster monies for communities devastated by wildfires, superstorms, and droughts.

The Social Security Administration will be fully funded, which means it will be able to fully serve the needs of the America people and the elderly.

But folks, the truth is: We shouldn’t be here in the first place. We shouldn’t have gotten here in the first place.

It’s time to end governing by crisis and keep your word when you give it in the Congress.

A few months ago, after a long negotiation between myself and the Republican Speaker of the House of Representatives, we came to agree on a budget agreement precisely to avoid a manufactured crisis that we just witnessed.

Bit the last few days and weeks, extreme MAGA Republicans tried to walk away from that deal, voting for deep, drastic spending cuts from 30 to 80 percent that would’ve been devastating for millions of Americans.

They failed again. They failed again, and we stopped them. But I’m under no illusions that they’ll be back again.

You know, where I come from, when you make a deal, you give your word, you keep it. You give your word – you say, “I’m going to do what I said I’m going to do,” and you do it. You keep it. You keep your word.

And I expect the Republican Speaker and Republicans in Congress to honor their word and keep the deal they made months ago when they tried to threaten us with – to almost international bankruptcy by not paying our debts.

That includes comments made for fully funded services for our veterans and fully fund the needs of defense of our nation, you know, and protect the trans- –we have transformational investments we’re already making to deal with the climate crisis. We are – you know, protect Medicare’s ability and power to negotiate lower prescription drug pri- we pay the highest prescription drug prices in the world. We’re finally making progress.

Although the Speaker and the overwhelming majority of the Congress have steadfastly supported Ukraine to defend itself against the aggression and brutality of Russians’ attack on women and children – in addition to the military in Ukraine – there’s no Ukraine funding in this agreement.

Despite that, I did not believe we could let millions of Americans go through the pain of a government shutdown.

But let’s be clear: I hope my friends on the other side keep their word about support for Ukraine. They said they were going to support Ukraine in a separate vote. We cannot under any circumstance allow America’s support for Ukraine to be interrupted.

I fully expect the Speaker of keep his commitment for the secure passage and support needed to help Ukraine as they defend themselves against aggression and brutality. And folks, overwhelmingly – there’s overwhelming number of Republicans and Democrats in both the House and the Senate who support Ukraine. Let’s vote on it.

And I want to assure our American allies and the American people and the people of Ukraine that you can count on our support. We will not walk away.

The vast majority of both parties – I’ll say it again: Democrats and Republicans, Senate and House – support helping Ukraine in the brutal aggression that is being trust upon them by Russia.

Stop playing games. Get this done.

This agreement today, while averting an immediate crisis, ends in – I guess it’s 45 days now, and it’s already moving down – (laughs) just before Thanksgiving.

Quite frankly, I’m sick and tired. I’m sick and tired of the brinksmanship and so are the American people.

I’ve been doing this – you all have pointed out to me a lot – a long time. I’ve never quite seen a Republican Congress or any Congress act like this.

This spring, MAGA Republicans brought us to the brink, threatening to default on America’s debt for the first time in over 200 years. And it would’ve caused a gigantic world crisis, inter- — both at home and abroad.

But we reached an agreement. We shook hands and said, “Here’s the deal.”

Well, now, this fall, the MAGA extremists once again have brought us to the brink – this time, to a government shutdown – in going back on the deal they made months ago, not keeping their word.

Enough is enough is enough. This is not complicated. The brinksmanship has to end.

And there should be another – there shouldn’t be another crisis. There’s no excuse for another crisis.

Consequently, I strong urge my Republican friends in Congress not to wait. Don’t waste time as you did all summer. Pass a yearlong budget agreement. Honor the deal we made a few months ago.

We have the strongest ec- — we have the strongest economy in the world today – the strongest economy in the world today. We have more to do, but we are the indispensable nation in the world, internationally and domestically, in terms of our economy. Let’s act like it. Let’s act like it.

Stop the games. Get to work. Make sure the American people and our allies and friends around the world know what we’re doing.

Thank you.

Q: Mr. President, Speaker McCarthy’s speakership is now at risk. Should Democrats vote to help him keep that job?

THE PRESIDENT: don’t have a vote on that matter. I’ll leave that to the leadership of the House and Senate.

Q: Mr. President, what are your words to U.S. allies and, in particular, Zelenskyy on continued funding for Ukraine? How can you reassure them?

THE PRESIDENT: I can reassure them – look at me – we’re going to get it done. I can’t believe those who voted for U- supporting Ukraine – overwhelmingly majority in the House and Senate, Democrat and Republican – will, for pure political reasons let more people die needlessly in Ukraine.

Q: And, Mr. President, a follow-up on Ukraine. What is your sense of when the current U.S. funding might run out? And what – how much urgency is there? What’s the timeline in the next couple of months?

THE PRESIDENT: We have time. Not much time. And there’s a s- — overwhelmingly sense of urgency.

Q: Mr. –

Aide: Last question.

Q: Mr. President, are you going to be able to trust Speaker McCarthy when the next deal comes around?

THE PRESIDENT: We just made one about Ukraine. So, we’ll find out.

Q: But are you worried that he is going to be forced by fellow Republicans to back away from any deal he cuts with you?

THE PRESIDENT: I hope this experience for the Speaker has been one of a personal revelation. I’m not being facetious. I – anyway –

Q: Are you concerned about America’s reputation on the world stage given the level of brinksmanship we’ve seen this year?

THE PRESIDENT: Based on the MAGA Republicans’ (inaudible), yes. Based on what my administration is doing, no.

Thank you.

Q: Thank you, Mr. President.

October 6, 2023: The White House posted Remarks by President Biden on the September Jobs Report and National Manufacturing Day

THE PRESIDENT: Hey, folks. How are you?

Q: Pretty good. How are you?

THE PRESIDENT: Good news today: This morning we learned that the economy created 336,000 jobs in September alone.

This means, since I’ve taken office, we’ve created 13.9 million new jobs.

You’ve heard me say it before: I’m going to keep saying it: My dad had an expression. He’d say, “Joey, a job is about lot more than a paycheck. It’s about your dignity. It’s about respect. It’s about being able to look your kid in the eye and say, “Honey, it’s going to be okay,” and mean it.”

Well, 336,000 more Americans – if they have children – can say that to their children and mean it.

The unemployment rate has stayed below 4 percent for 20 months in a row – the longest stretch in 50 years.

We’ve achieved a 70-year low in unemployment rate for women, record lows in unemployment for African Americans and Hispanic workers and people with disabilities – folks who hav been left behind in previous recoveries and left behind for too long.

We have the highest share of working-age Americans in the workforce in 20 years.

And it’s no accident. It’s Bidenomics.

We’re growing the economy from the middle out, the bottom up – not the top down.

And inflation is coming down at the same time. It’s down 60 percent since last summer. Core inflation was just 2.2 percent over the past three months. And now we have the lowest inflation of any major economy in the world.

Today, we’re celebrating National Manufacturing Day. We didn’t name it that. It was already National Manufacturing Day, but it seems appropriate.

I can think of no better way to mark the occasion than to thank the 13 million Americans who are manufa- in manufacturing jobs as we speak. They’re restoring our pride, making things in America.

And today, I want to highlight that of those 13 million manufacturing jobs, 815,000 of those jobs were created since I took office – twice as many as the previous administration – and report what we learned earlier this week: that spending on construction for new factories being built to generate more economic growth and jobs hit an all-time high last month.

Folks, Bidenomics is about investing in America and investing in American workers.

And businesses are investing more in manufacturing than ever before and are bringing the supply chains home.

Before the pandemic, “supply chains” was a phrase most people didn’t even associate with, didn’t think much about. And – but today, after a few delays in availability of parts and products everyone has known about, they know why it’s important.

My economic plan is bringing supply chains home and investing in industries of the future so we can make things in America again with American workers.

We’re creating good jobs in communities all across the country – including in places that have been left behind for the last, in some cases, 20 years because the factories they used to work at for years and years shut down, leaving them with no options, no jobs in the community – all over the Midwest and all over the Northeast.

That – under Bidenomics, you won’t have to leave home now to get a good job. I don’t know how many times I heard in – out on the road people saying, “My kid came up to me – got a decent education in the state – came up to me and said, “Mom, I’ve got to leave. No jobs, no jobs.”

Well, you’re going to be able to find a good job close to home more and more all across America.

We’re also making sure the jobs we’re creating offer workers the free and fair right, if they choose, to join a union, to form a union.

Bidenomics is leading the surge in unionized workers exercising their collective bargaining rights.

For example, our s- –our clean school bus program under the Bipartisan Infrastructure Laws is replacing dirty diesel buses with clean electric busses so kids getting on and off those busses can breathe clean air, not diesel fuel.

We’re encouraging the companies building those buses allow their employees to unionize if the employees chose. And it’s working.

We saw it in Georgia when – at Blue – workers at Blue Bird, the electric school bus manufacturing company that’s receiving federal funds voted to unionize because that was their choice.

The Treasury Department laid out recently in a major report that unions and collective bargaining are good for the economy overall. They help raise wages not only for the work in that factory, but for everyone whether or not they’re union – whether or not you belong to a union. And they also increase – excuse me – they – and also increased corporate job growth.

And today’s Job Report is just another example of what it looks like when we focus on building an economy from he middle out and the bottom up, not the top down, while bringing deficits down at the same time.

You know, just this summer, I signed a strong bipartisan law where I shook hands with the former Speaker – and we passed in the House and the Senate as well – to cut spending by $1 trillion over the next 10 years.

Unfortunately, last weekend, Republican House members decided they were going to put progress in jeopardy. Instead of honoring that commitment they made, they once again brought us to the brink of a government shutdown, creating unnecessary instability and risk in order to secure more extreme cuts in programs that help working Americans and seniors – cuts that would have hurt everyone form – hurt U.S. manufacturing. It would have stymied the pay of military people – a whole range of things.

They tried cutting funding by 30 percent for small businesses, which are growing under our administration; for local manufacturers; for Manufacturing Extension Partnership program that – that helps small- and medium-sized manufacturers attract and train workers and grow their businesses. But we stopped them.

Quite frankly, I’m sick and tired of Republicans in the House saying they want to cut the deficit when all they really want to do is once again cut taxes for the very wealthy and big corporations, which will only add to the deficit.

When I was able to cut the federal debt by $1.7 trillion over those first two and a – two years, well, remember what we talked about : Those 50 corporations that made $40 billion weren’t making a penny in taxes. – I – 15 percent in taxes – 15 percent. Nowhere near what they should pay. And guess what? We’re able to pay for everything and we end up with an actual surplus.

You know, it’s not about – it’s not what the economy reas- needs right now – more tax cuts for the wealthy.

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: We’ve cut the deficit by over $1 trillion since we’ve taken office. The laws that I signed will cut by another $1 trillion over the next 10 years. And my budget would cut it by another $2.5 trillion over 10 years.

Here’s the deal: The federal debt went up by 50 percent under my predecessor in part because he passed a $2 trillion tax cut overwhelmingly skewed to the very wealthy and large corporations.

I believe we should be reducing the deficit by making sure that the wealthy and large corporations just pay their fair share. I’m not asking them to pay 90 percent. Just pay their fair share.

By cutting wasteful spending on special interests like Big Oil – all the money made and paid so little taxes. Big Pharma, same thing.

You know, we just gave the American public a real gift in terms of – well, not gift, but fairness – in terms of what they have to pay for insulin and what they’re going to have to pay for other things. Well, guess what? That alw- –that also cut the federal debt. It cut the federal debt.

For example, there are over a thousand billionaires in this country. And I know you’re going to hear me say this until I’m able to change it: You know what their average rate of pay – federal tax rate is? Eight percent. Eight percent.

I think you should be able to be a trillionaire, or a billionaire, or a zillionaire if you want, but pay your taxes, for God’s sake. Pay some fair – and – something approaching a fair tax. That’s less than a teacher or a firefighter or a cop pays in their taxes. It’s just wrong.

Look, House Republicans should put us back in a – shouldn’t put us back in a crisis mode again.

We have only 40 days for Congress to get back to work – they’re on – the same House Republicans on recess now – to fund the government, avoid a shutdown, and protect the tremendous gains American workers have made over the past two and a half years.

A shutdown would mean troops don’t get paid, air traffic controllers wouldn’t get paid. There’d be all kinds of problems at airports. Loans to small businesses would be delayed in closing some of them.

It’s time to stop fooling around. House Republicans, it’s time for you to do your job – continue our progress growing the economy, investing in America, investing in the American people.

So, let’s get to work for the American people. They’re waiting and they’re watching. We got to get to work.

Thank you, all, very much,

Q: Mr. President, what are the – what are the prospects for a meeting between you and President Xi of China in San Francisco next month?

THE PRESIDENT: There has been no such meeting set up, but it is a possibility.

Q: Mr. President, former President Trump endorsed Congressman Jim Jordan for House Speaker. Could you see yourself working with Congresman Jordan if he is the next Speaker? And do you have any concerns about who might fill that position?

THE PRESIDENT: (Laughs.) Look, whomever the House Speaker is, I’m going to try to work with. They control half the – half the Congress, and I’m going to try to work with them.

There’s some people, I imagine, that’s going to be easier to work with than others. But whomever the Speaker is, I’ll try to work with.

Q: Mr. President, can you be specific about what you did to try to reappropriate those border funds, especially when Democrats controlled both chambers of Congress?

THE PRESIDENT: When you – oh, you mean the wall thing? Is that what you’re talking about?

Q: Yes, sir.

THE PRESIDENT: Yeah, they passed – well, I was told that I had no choice. That I – you know, if Congress passes legislation to build something – whether it’s an aircraft carrier, a wall, or provide for a tax cut – I can’t say, “I don’t like it. I’m not going to do it,” if this hadn’t been vetoed, if it’s the law.

Q: But you said yesterday that you tried to reappropriate the funds. So –

THE PRESIDENT: Yeah, we tried to ask the Congress to consider changing the law to reappropriate. Say, “Don’t – use it for other purposes. Give me more Border agents. Give me more technical cu – capabilities to detect fentanyl and like.” That’s what I wanted to do.

Q: Mr. President, you started your remarks here today by saying it was good news today with the economic report. Why do you think most people still don’t feel positive or feel good news about the economy?

THE PRESIDENT: Well, first of all, you just heard the news today, too. They haven’t heard it. I think the people – those 300-plus-thousand people who got jobs feel pretty good about the economy.

I’d – look – I got to choose my words here.

You all are not the happiest people in the world – what you report. And I mean it sincerely. It gets a more little – you get more legs when you’re reporting something that’s negative.

I don’t mean – I don’t mean your picking on me or I’m – just the nature of things.

You turn on the television, and there’s not a whole lot about ‘boy saves dog as he swims in the lake” You know? To say – you know, it’s about, you know “somebody pushed the dog into a lake.”

I mean, I – I get it. But – if you just listen to what’s going on around the world, there’s not reason for people to be concerned. There’s reason for people to be concerned – what’s going on with – in Russia. There’s reason to be concerned about what’s going on in other parts of the world.

I think that the American people are smart as hell in knowing what their interests are. I think they know they’re better off financially than they were before. It’s a fact.

And all the – all that data – all that polling stuff shows they think – they’re more positive about the economy than they’ve been, more positive about their jobs, et. cetera.

I just think if you – let me put it this way: If you just watched what happened last week in the Congress, how excited are you going to be about much of anything?

Anyway. Thanks.

October 25, 2023: The White House posted: “Statement from President Joe Biden on the Election of Mike Johnson as Speaker of the House

Jill and I congratulate Speaker Johnson on his election.

As I said when this process began, whoever the Speaker is, I will seek to work with them in good faith on behalf of the American people.

That’s a principle I have always held to, and that I’ve acted on – delivering major bipartisan legislation on infrastructure, outcompeting China, gun reform, and veterans care.

I restated my willingness to continue working across the aisle after Republicans won the majority in the House last year. By the same token, the American people have made clear that they expect the House Republicans to work with me and with Senate Democrats to govern across the aisle – to protect our urgent national security interests and grow our economy for the middle class.

While House Republicans spent the last 22 days determining who would lead their conference, I have worked on those pressing issues, proposing a historic supplemental funding package that advances our bipartisan national security interests in Israel and Ukraine, secures our border, and invests in the American people. These priorities have been endorsed by leaders in both parties.

We need to move swiftly to address our national security needs and to avoid a shutdown in 22 days.

Even though we have real disagreements about important issues, there should be mutual effort to find common ground wherever we can.

This is a good time for all of us to act responsibly, and to put the good of the American people and the everyday priorities of American families above any partisanship.

October 26, 2023: The White House posted: “Statement from President Joe Biden on Third Quarter 2023 GDP Report

I always say it is a mistake to bet against the American people, and just today we learned that the economy grew 4.9% in the third quarter. I never believed we would need a recession to bring inflation down – and today we saw again that the American economy continues to grow even as inflation has come down. It is a testament to the resilience of American consumers and American workers, supported by Bidenomics – my plan to grow the economy by growing the middle class. The unemployment rate has been below 4% for 20 months in a row, real wages are up over the last year, and median wealth for American families has grown by a record amount for inflation. Just yesterday, the UAW and Ford reached a historic tentative agreement that provides a record raise to auto workers and is a testament to our strategy for a powerful manufacturing future made in America, with good, union jobs. I hope Republicans in Congress will join me in working to build on this progress, rather than reckless threats of a shutdown or proposals to cut taxes for the wealthy and large corporations, while slashing programs that are essential for hard-working families and seniors.


November 2023:

November 7, 2023: The White House Posted: “Press Briefing by Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre and NSC Coordinator for Strategic Communications John Kirby

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: So much excitement out here.

Q: It’s the jacket.

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: All-right, all right. All right, class, everybody — (laughter).

Okay. All right, everyone. It is — it is a serious day indeed.

So, good afternoon. Today, as part of our “10 days of 10 Drugs” series, we’re highlighting Januvia, a drug that treats diabetes and that was selected for Medicare price negotiation as part of President Biden’s Inflation Reduction Act.

Last Year, around 885,000 seniors were prescribed Januvia and spent, on — on average, up to 500 bucks a month for this lifesaving drug.

One of those seniors is Stephen from North Carolina, who wrote to the President that he pays over 500 bucks a month for this lifesaving medicine.

For years, politicians talked about taking on Big Pharma to lower drug prices for seniors. All the while, Big Pharma continued to rake in record profits and spent $400 million on lobbyists to keep prices high for seniors.

President Biden and congressional Democrats finally changed that by passing the Inflation Reduction Act without a single Republican vote.

As a result, for the first time ever, instead of drug companies charging Americans whatever they want to – whatever they want to for — for saving drugs like Januvia, Medicare will be able to negotiate low- — lowering drug prices for Americans like Stephen.

As we announced a short time ago, President Biden will host President Joko Widodo of Indonesia for a bilateral meeting at the White House on Monday, November 13th.

During the visit, President Biden will reaffirm the United State’s commitment to deepening our nearly 75-year-long partnership between the world’s second-and third-largest democracies.

The leaders will explore opportunities to enhance cooperation on the clean energy transition, advance economic prosperity, bolster regional peace and stability, and reinforce our people-to-people ties. The two leaders will also coordinate on efforts to reinforce ASEAN centrality and uphold international law and promote a free and open Indo-Pacific.

With that, my colleague from NSC, Admiral John Kirby, is here to give you any update that we have on Israel and take any of your foreign policy questions.

With that –

MR. KIRBY: Thanks, Karine. Good afternoon, everyone.

Q: Good afternoon.

MR. KIRBY: So, today, obviously, market one month here since the horrific Hamas attacks on October 7th. And we all just want to take a moment to acknowledge all the victims of that horrific act of terror: people slaughtered at a music festival, murdered in front of their kids in their home. Just a — it was a horrible day.

And also, it was a day where dozens and dozens of people were taken hostage — many of them still being held hostage. So, we also want to say that our thoughts continue to be with all of them and — and their families and loved ones.

I can only imagine the anguish that these families are still going through and have now for the past month — the searing pain that they’re feeling, the strong desire to get that seat filled at the dining room table again.

We are going to continue to pursue every possible measure that we can to get those hostage released and to get those folks back with their families where they belong. And again, we continue to keep them in our thoughts and prayers.

We’re also keeping in our thoughts and prayers, this one month in, the many, many thousands of innocent Palestinians who have been killed in the conflict since October 7th and the many more who are injured and wounded in the conduct of this — of these operations and, quite frankly the million and a half that have been displaced internally from their homes. We’re — we’re mindful of that suffering as well.

And one month in, it’s good for everybody to take a knee, take a pause, and remember the scope of the suffering here and the terrible images many of us have seen coming out of both Israel and Gaza.

Now, on the humanitarian side, I can tell you that over the last 24 hours, 93 trucks were able to enter Gaza through the Rafah border. That was as of yesterday. That brings the total to 569 trucks since October 21st. And as we’ve said many times before, we know that’s not enough. It’s a trickle.

I mean, as a matter of fact, before October 7th, that’s about the number that was getting in every day. Now it fluctuated a littlest, but it was several hundred — up to 500 a day.

As you all saw yesterday, the President spoke with Prime Minister Netanyahu, and he certainly discussed the need to continue to try to accelerate and increase the amount of humanitarian assistance that’s going in. He also talked about the importance of pauses in the fighting to allow for aid to get in, people to get out, and for hostages to be released. We’ll keep those — that dialogue going, obviously, with — with the Prime Minister and his War Cabinet.

On the idea of people getting out — so, we do expect more individuals to depart Gaza today via the Rafah crossing. To date, there’s been over 400 U.S. citizens and their families who have been able to depart and have been seeing the assistance of our consular team at the embassy in Cairo.

In just the last 24 hours, about 96 — so, just under a hundred — U.S. citizens and family members were able to — to move across that border.

And as I said, it’s very fluid. We won’t get the final count until the end of the day today, because the day is still going on. But we do expect that there will be more Americans to come out today.

So, keeping that Rafah crossing open for aid to enter and Americans and other foreign nationals to leave has been a major priority for the President and will remain so going forward.

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: All right. Go ahead, Selina.

Q: Thank you, Admiral. The U.N. Gen- — Secretary-General said Gaza is “becoming a graveyard for children.” He said the IDF is hitting civilians, hospitals, refugee camps, mosques, churches, and U.N. facilities, including shelters.

So, if a warzone is “becoming a graveyard for children,” can you still say that Israel is following the laws of war?

MR. KIRBY: What I’ll tell you is that we continue to stress to our Israeli counterparts that they be as discriminant and careful in their targeting as possible. And it is sad to see — it’s horrible to see the images of young kids being pulled out of rubble and — and so many of them not making it.

Hamas is putting those children and their families in greater danger by not letting them go; by encouraging them to stay, by sheltering in their homes; they’re building tunnels under the hospitals; and by holding children hostages.

We know that there’s a portion of the 240-plus that they’re holding as hostage are kids. They’re kids.

And we’ve been trying mightily to get those children released. We’ve had no success so far.

Q: And Israel’s Prime Minister told ABC News that Israel will have, quote, “overall security responsibility [over Gaza] for an indefinite period.” But the President said that it would be a big mistake for Israel to reoccupy Gaza. So, how much daylight is there between what Israel and the U.S. see about the future of Gaza?

MR. KIRBY: We’ve been having active discussions with our Israeli counterparts about what post-conflict Gaza our to look like.

The President maintains his position that a — a reoccupation by Israeli forces is not the right thing to do.

We’ll let them speak to their intentions. But we are definitely having conversations about what the post-conflict environment ought to look like and what governance Gaza ought to look like.

One thing there’s absolutely no daylight on is: Hamas can’t be part of that equation. We can’t go back to October 6th.

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: Go ahead, M.J.

Q: A senior U.S. official told us last week that the U.S.’ expectation is that, in the coming days, we should see a decrease in Israel’s air campaign and more of a tactical ground offensive. Can you tell us a little bit more about what led to that assessment? And have you seen that in the past few days?

MR. KIRBY: I can’t speak for what an anonymous official said about Israeli military operations. I’m not going to get into the habit of speaking of a tactical nature to their intentions, plans, or activities here from the podium.

They have obviously gone in on the ground with the intention of putting pressure on Hamas leadership to find, fix, and finish some of that leadership.

I’ll let them speak to those operations.

Q: And — and, John, you said yesterday that you wouldn’t want to overstate the efforts Israel is making to limit civilian casualties. That’s a change from a week ago when you said that it was obvious that Israel was trying to minimize casualties. Can you just help us understand that shift in the language?

MR. KIRBY: No shift. Both can be true.

They are — we have seen indications that — in certain operational environments, that they are — they are making an effort.

For instance, let’s go back to the ground thing. And again, I don’t want to be an armchair quarterbacking another military, but — but they — they’re — they’re moving into and onto and into Gaza with smaller units than what a lot of people thought they would do. They thought it was going to be this big, massive formation into North Gaza. And that’s not what they’ve been doing.

And when you are on the ground, while you – the risk to your troops gets – is higher, you can be more discriminant. You can be more careful in — in your formations and your targeting and what you’re going after than you can be from the air.

But it’s also true that airstrikes continue. And it’s also true that civilians keep dying from these airstrikes.

Q: Is there any scenario where future aid to Israel would be contingent on how they conduct themselves in terms of minimizing civilian casualties?

MR. KIRBY: We’ve been crystal clear since the very beginning of this conflict — that one of the things that separates us from Hamas, who actually did try and intend to kill innocent civilians, is that democracies like the U.S. and Israel observe the law of armed conflict, that we respect civilian life. And we’ve been clear since the beginning with them that we want to — we want to continue to urge them to do that.

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: Go ahead, Trevor.

Q: There’s hundreds of USAID employees that have signed onto a letter disagreeing with U.S. policy towards Israel. There’s some dissent cables floating around the State Department. Why are so many federal government employees at odds with the policies that you’re talking about?

MR. KIRBY: Well, I — I think one of the great things about, certainly, work – — working at the State Department and at other agencies is that multiple perspectives and multiple opinions are — are respected.

And there’s an avenue, like you said — the dissent channel. And I can’t speak for what it is or isn’t in the dissent channel. But having worked at the State Department, I can tell you that’s a time-honored and tradition — traditional way for employees there at the State Department to voice their concerns. And I think that’s a good thing.

The President understands that there’s strong emotions and feelings here, all around, all across the board. And here inside the administration and in the federal government, that’s certainly the case as well.

And he appreciates the fact that people feel strongly and that there are multiple perspectives. And we’re going to continue to listen to them, Trevor, both inside and outside the government.

And we have been engaging with — with partners and organizations and experts and analysts and people with different perspectives to listen to their concerns, make sure that we understand them as we develop policy.

Q: And is the — the President frustrated at all with — with his inability to prevail upon his Israeli counterpart to engage in these humanitarian pauses?

MR. KIRBY: There have been humanitarian pauses. Already, there’s been some. I mean, one of the ways we were able to get those first few hostages out was a pause in fighting.

And Prime Minister Netanyahu, I believe, in a — in an interview last night, also talked about the fact that he has approved certain pauses throughout the country.

So, there have been. And we are going to continue to work with our Israeli counterparts going forward to make sure that — that we can continue to do them.

But the idea here is, you know, they’re localized in terms of geography, they’re limited in time and duration, and they’re usually for a specific purpose or purposes: getting stuff in, getting people out. And we have every expectation that we’ll be able to continue to have those conversations.

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: Go ahead, Seung Min.

Q: Just to follow up on what you just said about the Prime Minister’s comment about the little pauses. So — so, does the U.S. see that as sort of a satisfactory response to the humanitarian pauses that President Biden has been calling for? He’s talked about, like, an hour here, and an hour there.

MR. KIRBY: In keeping with the conversations that we’ve been having with our Israeli counterparts about the need for humanitarian pauses in the fighting.

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: Seung Min.

Q: I wanted to ask —

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: Asma, sorry.

Q: Oh, sorry.

Q: Oh, no, that’s okay.

Q: I figured. (Laughter.)

In late October, you had referred to the fact that the administration is not drawing any red lines for Israel. As the death toll for civilians in the Gaza Strip has gone up, I wanted to ensure: Is that still the case, that the administration has no red lines at all?

MR. KIRBY: That is still the case.

Q: Okay. And then, also, a follow-up. You all have spoken a number of times about a two-state solution. And I – this is not so tangential to the immediate conflict, but I wanted to understand. Coming in, you all have maintained a policy of recognizing Israel’s control over the Golan Heights. That was a move that your predecessor made, reversing, you know, U.S. policy after half a century. Is that the Biden administration’s policy, that you have — that you believe that Israel has sovereignty over the Golan Heights?

MR. KIRBY: Let me get back to you on that specific policy question. I don’t want to freelance it from here.

But you said something at the beginning that — that — talking about a two-state solution–

Q: Yes.

MR. KIRBY: — seems tangental to what’s going on, and I would respectfully disagree. It’s actually — what’s going on underscores how important it is that we continue to try to make progress towards a two-state solution.

But I will get you a better answer on the Golan Heights.

Q: On the Golan Heights. Okay, thank you.

MR. KIRBY: I’d rather not just spitball that.

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: Nadia.

Q: Thank you. I want to follow up on the previous question, and I have another question.

So, why are you not embracing these dissident voices who calls for a balance between private and public message and criticize Israel when actually it is in violation of International humanitarian law and the Geneva Convention? With due respect, John, some people think that you repeat what the Israeli army spokesman is saying. It’s exactly what they’re saying, you repeat in here.

So, how can you — why not — these dissident voices — not just understanding them and we have a channel because we’re a democracy — why not — what’s wrong with them? What’s wrong with standing here and say, when Israel do something wrong — because your the best friend, you have leverage on them — why not criticizing them?

MR. KIRBY: Your question presupposes that we’ve made some determination that the law of armed conflict has been violated. And I don’t think —

Q: But the U.N. says —

MR. KIRBY: — we’re not at that point.

Q: So, you disagree with the U.N.?

MR. KIRBY: I — I would just tell you that we’re — we’re not going to react in near real time to every event. Israel has a right and responsibility to defend itself, and we’re going to make sure they have the tools and capabilities to do that.

Again, we’re one month after this. And we ought not forget what happened one month ago: 1,400 people slaughtered in their homes, at a music festival. And when Hamas decided to conduct operations, it was with the intent of killing people.

You know, I, he — I heard this word “genocide” toss — tossed around. But Hamas actually does have genocidal intentions against the people of Israel. They’d like to see it wiped off the map. They said so on purpose.

So, that’s what — that’s what’s at stake here. And we’re going to keep making sure that Israel has that ability to do that.

Now, as for the voices, of course we respect all different voices and perspectives on this. And we know that there’s a lot of — there’s a lot of high emotion here when it comes to what’s going on.

We have never shied away from criticizing our friends and partners when we believe it’s warranted. And we’ll continue to do that.

We also believe that — that — that the best diplomacy, the best progress in diplomatic pursuits, is to do it privately and outside the public eye. And we’ll continue to do that as well. We’ll continue to have those tough conversations with our good friend.

Q: I don’t think anybody forgot what happened on October 7th. But regardless —

MR. KIRBY: I’m not saying — I’m not saying you did forget, I’m just saying it’s good for all of us — we should — we should not forget; we should all be reminded of what happened. And it happened a month ago today.

Q: You talked about settlers violence in the West Bank. The President spoke about it. But there’s also violence by the Israeli army. There is many Palestinians who have been shot dead in the West Bank. It’s 163 since October 7th. There’s also been massive arrests. It is 1,350 have been arrested under what the Israeli called an “administrative detention,” i.e. they can arrest a person without a trial.

Is this something that concerns you? Is it something that you convey to the Israelis, considering the sanitation in Gaza?

MR. KIRBY: Yes.

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: Weijia.

Q: Thank you, Karine. Thanks, John. I have a follow-up on M.J’s question because I didn’t hear an answer about the potential suspension of aid. I know that you’ve repeatedly said that you’ve talked to the Israelis, that the U.S. talks to them every day about minimizing civilian casualties. But do those talks include laying out any consequences if they do not, including a suspension of aid?

MR. KIRBY: I’m not going to get into private diplomatic conversations that we’re having with our Israeli counterparts.

I will tell you this: We’re going to continue to make sure that they have the tools and the capabilities that they need to defend themselves against what clearly was an existential threat to their society and to their people.

We’re going to continue to make sure they have what they need. We’re also going to continue to urge them to be as careful and deliberate and discriminant in the targeting as possible.

Q: But Jake Sullivan, Finer, you have all said that anytime the U.S. transfers weapons to another country, it requires assurances that those weapons will be used within the accordance of law.

MR. KIRBY: That’s right.

Q: So, just to be very clear —

MR. KIRBY: That’s right.

Q: — the U.S. does —

MR. KIRBY: That’s different than —

Q: — not believe —

MR. KIRBY: That’s different than what you’re suggesting in your question, which is that we’re going to layer on more restrictions on the security assistance that they’re getting. And that’s not what I’m — that’s not what I’m alluding to.

Q: Right. No, but I’m asking about —

MR. KIRBY: — or we’re not talking about that.

Q: — the — the transfer of weapons that have already happened.

Just to be clear, the U.S. has not determined that Israel has violated any of those boundaries?

MR. KIRBY: No.

Q: And one more point of clarification on what the Prime Minister said about playing a security role in – — indefinitely in Gaza. Does the U.S. see a distinction between that and reoccupation, or is it one and the same?

MR. KIRBY: I’ll let the Prime Minister speak to his comments and what he meant by “indefinite.” President Biden has been very clear: We don’t support a reoccupation of Gaza by the Israeli Defense Forces. We do think that there needs to be a healthy set of conversations about what post-conflict Gaza looks like and what governance looks like. What we absolutely agree with our Israeli counterparts on is what it can’t look like, and it can’t look like it looked on October 6th.

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: Go ahead, Jacqui.

Q: Thank you, Karine, John, on the proxy attacks on U.S. troops, it — we’re now up to 40 since October 17th, with 46 service members being injured or reporting traumatic brain injuries. Does the President think that action that was taken a couple of weeks ago to push back on this was enough?

MR. KIRBY: The President felt like those two legitimate targets directly tied to the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps that supports these militia groups, and they were ammo weapons facilities — certainly, legitimate targets that — that we believe not only had a practical effect on limiting some of their capability but sent a strong signal of how seriously we’re going to look after our troops and facilities.

If and when we decide to respond again in the future, we’ll do it at a time and in a manner of our choosing. We will absolutely take the action that we need to take. The President as Commander-in-Chief will order that action to protect our troops and facilities as he sees fit.

Q: Has there been any additional warning from the President since the last time we responded that this needs to stop? Because, clearly, the attacks on our troops didn’t stop.

MR. KIRBY: I will not get into the decision-making process or options before the Commander-in-Chief. I would just tell you that we will continue to take the action we believe is appropriate to protect our troops and our facilities.

Q: And then on the apparent disagreement between the U.S. and its ally, it — to some of the other questions that you’ve already gotten, it — it is notable that we’re seeing the U.S. more readily acknowledge some space between what we’re advising and what Israel is — doing, like Israel appears to be resisting the humanitarian pauses still.

The President, the administration has been calling that for a couple of weeks, saying that we don’t support indefinite occupation. That was the State Department briefing today after Netanyahu said that Israeli forces could be there for an indefinite period of time. And even in the readout from the call with the Prime Minister, the White House readout, you know, used, again, the language “extremist settlers.”

This is somewhat notably different than the kinds of language we were hearing immediately after October 7th. So, can you characterize the closeness of the relationship right now?

MR. KIRBY: It’s extremely close. And — and —

Q: Any distance?

MR. KIRBY: And we’re — as was transmitted by the President in the call with Prime Minister Netanyahu yesterday, we remain solidly behind Israel as they continue to try to eliminate this threat to their people and to their sovereignty, and they’re going to continue to get security assistance from the United States. There’s no daylight there whatsoever.

Now, look, we’re friends. And friends don’t have to agree on every single nuance and every single word.

The Prime Minister speaks for a sovereign nation and for a sovereign people. And he should, obviously, you know, be queried about the points that he’s making. But it doesn’t mean that we’re somehow backing away from our friend and our ally, Israel — the strongest ally we have in the Middle East — or we’re backing off our support for what they’re trying to do to protect their people.

Q: Or Netanyahu, in particular, given the Politico —

MR. KIRBY: No. Not at all.

Q: — reporting from a little while ago that there — that was a point of discussion, whether he’d be —

MR. KIRBY: I – I’m not going to get into, you know, the — the confirming that kind of — those kinds of press reports.

I would just tell you that these are two men that have known each other a long time. And I don’t think it’s any shock to anybody that, on a political spectrum, they’re not exactly always in the same place on every issue.

But one thing they do agree on is that Israel has a right to exist as a country and they have a right and a responsibility to defend the — that country and their citizens against that threat — the threat that was posed to them, like on October 7th. And in the United States, they will continue to find a true friend that will continue to support their ability to do that.

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: Okay. Then we’ll go — go ahead, Peter, and then we’ll go to the back.

Q: John, we know about the strikes that took place in northeast Syria a matter of weeks ago. Just to b very clear, have there been any additional U.S. strikes against targets — Iranian-backed proxies in Iraq or in Syria — beyond those?

MR. KIRBY: You mean from the United States?

Q: From the United States.

MR. KIRBY: No.

Q: There have not. So, just to be clear then, there have been at least 17 attacks on bases that house Americans since the last set of strikes. Will you agree that those strikes did not deter these Iranian-backed proxies from continuing their assault on American bases?

MR. KIRBY: I would certainly agree that there have been continued attacks. I would also note that none of them have been effective — and, in many cases, thwarted before they could pose any kind of a direct challenge. And that, again, Peter, we’ll — we’ll make the decisions on our own about —

Q: But to be clear, if you agree that there have —

MR. KIRBY: — how and if we’re going to respond.

Q: But to be clear, if you agree that there have been continued attacks — these 17 — isn’t that evidence alone? Do you agree that that’s evidence along that it has not deterred them from continuing?

MR. KIRBY: It’s — it’s certainly evidence that some of the militia groups still believe there’s value in — in continuing to try to strike at our troops and facilities. And our message to them is: you need to be careful because we’re going to do what we have to do to protect our troops and our facilities.

Q: Let me ask about the situation in Gaza then, if I can, very quickly. In Ukraine, the U.S. out restrictions on how some U.S. put restrictions on how some U.S.-provided munitions could be used. There couldn’t be any targeting in Russia, for example. Hast the U.S. put any restrictions on how Israel can use the U.S.-provided munitions in its war with Hamas in Gaza?

MR. KIRBY: As is keeping — in keeping with U.S. law, we — we provide security assistance to any foreign nation, including Israel, with the expectation — the full expectation that those weapons will be used in keeping with the law of armed conflict. That’s no different here for Israel than it is for anybody else.

And I want to go back to what I said before about the –the message to these groups is: Don’t and stop. These attacks are unacceptable.

Q: Then can I ask — just to — to punctuate the last thought that we were just talking about: To be clear, does the U.S. — and they have to be within the laws of war, then, is our position on this armed conflict. So — so does –

MR. KIRBY: All mat- — all security assistance is governed by the law —

Q: Correct.

MR. KIRBY: — and governed by a requirement that it’s be used in keeping with the laws of armed conflict.

Q: So, acknowledging the wide belief and understanding that Hamas has built tunnels underneath a variety of different locations, including hospitals, is the U.S. comfortable in knowing that — that Israel would or continue to target hospitals in Gaza?

MR. KIRBY: I won’t speak to specific targets, Peter. I think you can understand why I won’t do that.

It’s not a military operation that we’re running or leading. The Israeli Defense Forces are conducting these operations —

Q: So, just as — that means we’re okay with the Israelis making their own decision that could include hospitals, right?

MR. KIRBY: As — as I’ve said before, when you’re fighting in urban warfare, you’ve got to make some tough choices about your targets.

Something could be a completely legal target, but because the civilian casualty cr- –count is too high, you — maybe you don’t do it. Maybe you make a policy decision not to do it. These are the kinds of tough decisions that Israeli commanders are going to have to make for themselves.

We’re going to keep urging them to be as discriminant and careful and cautious as possible.

Q: Thank you.

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: Go ahead, April.

Q: Thank you. Thank you very much.

Q: No, I’m sorry. You said —

Q: Oh, I’m sorry.

Q: – you said April.

Q: Okay. Sorry, April.

Q: John, going to the military installations that had these drone attacks. You talk about protections. What are the protections that you can tell us about which are —

MR. KIRBY: I —

Q: Seriously. I mean, because for the United States to have military bases attacked and then military personnel injured —

MR. KIRBY: Yeah.

Q: — is there also a concern that these attacks can spread beyond Syria and Iraq and here and anywhere else in the world?

MR. KIRBY: There’s no indication right now that — that there’s specific threats to specific installations throughout the region.

That said, we do have a sizable force posture in the Middle East Beyond Iraq and Syria. And in the light of what’s been going on in the last month, of course the Defense Department is taking a look at the posture and looking at force protection and making adjustments as necessary, depending on where you live in the region and what the — what the threat level might be. So, I won’t speak for our commanders.

And we never talk about force protection specifically, but we obviously make adjustments as needed.

And then to your first question — again, without getting into too much tactical detail about how we attempts to thwart some of these attacks: There are capabilities that we have that — that permit us to eliminate threats further afield, further away from our bases. And, you know, we — we employ those as — as appropriate.

But that doesn’t mean — and we’ve seen in just the recent weeks that occasionally attack could get through–

Q: Yes.

MR. KIRBY: — and get close to a base or even land on a base.

Q: So, that protection has to be stepped up? Because as you just said, there’s some that have gotten through and this has happened over —

MR. KIRBY: It —

Q: — a three week period over and over.

MR. KIRBY: Yeah, it’s an iterative process, April. We’re constantly looking at the threat streams and constantly trying to adjust force protection measures to deal with it the best we can.

Obviously, in a perfect world, there — you know, we wouldn’t want any attacks on our troops and facilities.

The — the next near-perfect world is that you can eliminate these threats before — you know, (inaudible) you could say, “left of launch” — right? — before they’re launched. And if — if you can’t do that, then as fare away from your people as possible.

It’s called “layered defense” — you know, air and missile defense. And the Defense Department is constantly evaluing — evaluating what — what that looks like.

Q: And last question, on genocide. Let’s go to Africa and the Congo. What is the White House doing — or National Security or State doing about this genocide that’s happening in the DRC?

MR. KIRBY: I — I’ll tell you — well, I’m going to take your question because I don’t have a lot of context for you on that today. I’ll take the question, and we’ll get something back to you.

But, obviously, we’re in close touch with African par- — partners across the continent and mindful of a range of these kinds of security threats. And, certainly, we don’t want to see anybody subjected to — to genocidal intentions or actions by any group.

But I’ll — let me get back to you with more specifics.

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: Anita.

Q: Thank you so much. I have a Russia question and then an East Asia question. Starting with Russia, the U.S. and NATO criticized Russia for pulling out of the CFE. This is the conventional arms treaty.

MR. KIRBY: Yeah. Yeah, yeah.

Q: And now the U.S. and NATO are pulling out of the CFE. How do you —

MR. KIRBY: Right.

Q: — square that? How do you justify that?

And is it the intention of the U.S. and NATO to use that space to expand the footprint of conventional arms, perhaps in Ukraine or elsewhere on the European continent?

MR. KIRBY: My goodness, I — I don’t know how we could justify not pulling out of it. And given that the Russians have decided unilaterally to just — just throw it in the trash heap — I mean, the — technically — not technically — they actually did violate it when they invaded Ukraine.

So, it’s disappointing. I wish I could say it was surprising, but it — but it’s not. And they left the United States and our NATO Allies with no choice but to — but to cease our accommodations and — and compliance with the — with the treaty as well.

As for future force posture, I certainly won’t talk about that from this podium. We’ll do what we need to do to make sure we can meet our Article 5 commitments to our NATO Allies. And that — that could require force posture changes, but I’m not prepared to speak to that today.

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: Go ahead, Jon.

Q: So, on —

Q: Go ahead.

Q: –East Asia. Is it okay on East Asia?

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: Yeah, go ahead. Go ahead.

Q: All right, sorry. Can you just update us and bring us up to speed on this Biden-Xi meeting: when it’s happening, if it’s happening — (laughter) — if the military channel has been reopened? And also, when President Biden meets with President Widodo, is he going to be bringing up the Israel-Hamas conflict and in what context?

MR. KIRBY: No. No. And I don’t know. (Laughter.)

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: Go ahead, Jon.

Q: Thanks a lot, Karine. John, the fact that the Israeli Prime Minister is talking about what the security situation would look like in Gaza right now, would that lead you to believe that this conflict is in the end stages in any way?

MR. KIRBY: Again, I — that would really be up to the Israelis to speak to. This is their operation, so I’m not able to give you a date certain of when things are going to be complete.

And Prime Minister Netanyahu has talked about that, you know, he — he forces potentially lengthy operations here to rid themselves of the threat that Hamas poses.

But I think it just makes good sense, no matter how long you think this conflict is going to go on, for people to be thinking about what post-conflict Gaza needs to look like. And it’s just — it’s the prudent, responsible thing to do.

Q: The Prime Minister has also said definitively: No ceasefire unless there is a return of all hostages. Is that a reasonable position that he’s taken?

MR. KIRBY: You’ll have to talk to the Prime Minister. Again, we’re not going to characterize or armchair quarterback everything he’s saying.

We still believe that a general ceasefire is not appropriate at this time. And by “general ceasefire,” we’re talking about everybody laying down their arms, you know, for an indefinite period of time in the anticipation of peace talks and some sort of a negotiated time for that right now.

We do think it is the time to continue to pursue pauses in the fighting of a temporary nature for specific purposes.

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

Q: Thanks, John. Does the U.S. have a better sense of how many Palestinians have died in Gaza?

MR. KIRBY: We don’t have an exact figure. We don’t — won’t have the capacity or the capability to provide you an exact figure.

We still don’t believe that taking the Ministry of Health’s numbers at face value is — is wise. But we can’t provide you with an alternative number.

We do know that it is in the many, many thousands. I mean, it’s — there’s no question about that. There have been many thousands killed. And each one is a tragedy. And we grieve and mourn for each one of them.

And we want, again, to stress that no civilians should be hurt. These people are victims too of the fighting. They’re certainly victims of Hamas.

Q: The count of 10,000 people over the weekend — would be confident in that estimation?

MR. KIRBY: Again, I’m not going to get into providing some sort of independent verification of those numbers. We’re not able to — to validate those numbers.

But we are not — not walking away from the idea that many, many thousands of innocent people in Gaza — mostly Palestinians — have been killed, injured, displaced. A million and a half displaced from their homes. And all of that tragedy weighs heavily on the President and all of us here.

Q: And just one more question. My colleagues reported that the President has been briefed on a possible military facility from China in Oman. Are you able to confirm that?

MR. KIRBY: I am not able to confirm the veracity of those reports.

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: Go ahead —

MR. KIRBY: I — I would just say that, from the beginning of this administration, we came into office mindful of the fact that the PRC was trying to expand its influence overseas in various ways: militarily, diplomatically, economically. And we have been working hard, through diplomatic channels and diplomatic means, to — to address the challenge of that influence that they’re trying to expand.

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: Go ahead, Aurelia.

Q: Thank you so much. John, you said many, many thousands of civilians dead. Do you gave an estimation of the number of Hamas fighters or officials who have been killed?

MR. KIRBY: No.

Q: And another one on the President’s upcoming international trips I’d like to ask. The President has said he intends to go to Africa this year. Is this still the plan?

MR. KIRBY: I don’t have any updates on his travel schedule.

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: Brian.

Q: Thank you. I – I just want to circle around this — I guess April and Jacqui and Peter kind of touched on it — but circling around back to that — that issue. Is containment working? Because we’ve seen numbers of — of large numbers of — we’ve got — what? – two aircraft carrier groups, nuclear submarine. It would be counterintuitive for some if — with us moving all that in to think that we have it contained. But the idea that not letting it spread — do you feel confident that U.S. military has done that well?

MR. KIRBY: Well, we wouldn’t associate ourselves with the word “containment.” But I think what we’ve been trying to do is send a strong signal, Brian, of deterrence to any other actor in the region, be that a nation state or a terrorist group, that now is not the time to think about widening and escalating — deepening this conflict.

That there have been additional attacks on our troops, that there have been additional rocket launches from southern Lebanon into northern Israel doesn’t necessarily mean that the war is widening and that these other actors have decided to go two feet in, all in, to — to help Hamas out. We — we haven’t seen that happen.

Now, why — I — you have to talk to them about their decision-making process. But we do believe we have sent a strong signal about how seriously we take our national security interests in the region.

You mentioned a couple of carrier strike groups. Got a Ohio-class submarine now that’s in the Central Command area of responsibility. We don’t normally talk about submarines that way. But we felt it was important to lay that out there. We’ve added air and missile defense capabilities to the region, fixed and — fixed-wing fighter aircraft to the region.

I think the President has made it very clear how seriously he takes our interests.

Q: And how — and how would you char- — categorize our diplomatic efforts in that region? W- —

MR. KIRBY: Well, Secretary Blinken just left from yet another whirlwind tour around — around the region, his second in almost as many weeks. And, you know, we’re — we’re — we’ve got officials going in and out of the region all the time. We’re very focused on that. And now we’ve got a brand new ambassador to — to Israel in — in Ja- — Jack Lew.

Q: And do you feel confident in the efforts that have been put forward?

MR. KIRBY: Confident in —

Q: In those efforts that have been put forward with Blinken and — and going forward. Do you feel confident with what’s gone on —

MR. KIRBY: We feel confident that we’re going everything we can to support our ally and partner and to make it clear that we’re going to protect and defend our interests in the Middle East.

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: All right. A couple more. Go ahead.

Q: Thank you. Could you talk about what — what metrics or if the White House does have metrics to — to determine what Israel is accomplishing? You said you don’t know or you can’t — is it that you don’t know or you can’t say how many Hamas leaders have been killed? Do you know — are you — to what extent Israel has destroyed military capabilities of Hamas? What — what are the metrics that the White House is looking at?

MR. KIRBY: We — we can’t independently verify some of these numbers going around on casualties. We’re not on the ground. We don’t have — it’s not like in Iraq and Afghanistan where we had the facility to measure the impact militarily against the outcomes we were trying to achieve.

These are operations being conducted by a sovereign military: the Israeli Defense Forces. And they and only they should be speaking to the outcomes, the results that they’re having. We’re not in the business of — of analyzing and measuring what — what they’re doing in their operation. These are their operations.

Q: So does this White House not then have metrics to — to determine what Israel is accomplishing?

MR. KIRBY: We are not — we are — we are not measuring, analyzing, independently assessing. These are Israeli Defense Force operations. It’s no — you know, not that — I don’t want to make too much of the comparison, but we don’t do that for Ukraine either.

We’re not every day measuring, analyzing, assessing everything that Ukraine is or is not doing on the battlefield. Do we have a sense? Yes. But we let the Ukrainian military speak for what they’re doing.

We – we don’t make it a habit to speak for — for foreign militaries.

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: Go ahead, Annie.

Q: Thank you. I just want to follow up on my colleague’s question here. If the United States is not analyzing the, sort of, impact on the ground, how can you be confident that the laws of war are not being broken?

MR. KIRBY: When I say “analyzing,” I mean — it’s not like we’re creating a stack of PowerPoint slides every day on every operation that the Israelis are conducting. These are their operations. Now, we’re in constant communication with them. And so, the sense we get from how they’re doing is from our — our communications with them.

But — but we aren’t — I couldn’t, you know —

Q: You don’t know how many civilians —

MR. KIRBY: — produce a —

Q: You don’t know how many —

MR. KIRBY: – produce a set of sheets for it.

Q: — civilians have been killed?

MR. KIRBY: We — we can’t independently verify, to a person, how many have been killed. We know that many, many thousands have been.

Q: Then how in the world would you know? Are you sort of assuming that the — what the Israelis —

MR. KIRBY: We have —

Q: — are telling you —

MR. KIRBY: We have ways of collectif – — collecting information. We — we can talk to humanitarian aid organizations that are on the ground. Certainly, we’re talking to our Israeli counterparts.

It’s not like we don’t have an idea. But I — we don’t have a number that I would feel comfortable giving you from this podium with — you know, with some exactitude. But, of course, we have an idea of what — of what’s going on because now that more humanitarian aid is going in, we have the ability to talk to those aid organizations to get a sense of what they’re seeing on the ground.

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: Way in the back.

Q: Thank you, Karine. John, Amos Hochstein is in Lebanon today. He — Amos Hochstein is in Lebanon today.

MR. KIRBY: Yeah.

Q: And you met with the former (inaudible) chief, Abbas Ibrahim, who was invited to the White House in 2020 for mediation for the Americans detained in Syria. So, are you seeking a mediation from the Lebanese on the hostages?

MR. KIRBY: I — I don’t have — I don’t have much more to detail about Amos’s agenda. He — he is in the region. He frequency — frequently travels to the region. And — and we certainly look forward to hearing from him, you know, what he’s learning from — from his — from his discussions.

I would just tell you, on the hostages: We’re working on this every day, if not by the hour, to get, certainly, the American hostages out but also to help get released everybody who’s being held hostage by Hamas, and that’ something that the whole team is working on.

Q: And one second question to follow up on Brian’s question. When, yesterday the Prime Mini- — Israeli Prime Minister contradicted what the — what Secretary Blinken said (inaudible). He said that you don’t see Hamas ruling Gaza, you don’t see Israel ruling Gaza.

Also, we saw this public disagreement between Secretary Blinken and two Arab prime ministers in a press conference in Jordan. We’re seeing also the Iranian not deterred and keep on attacking. As to what is the — does this concern you regarding the leverage of the United States in the region?

MR. KIRBY: People say things publicly that they don’t always say privately. And I’ll let foreign leaders speak for themselves and their countries.

American leadership has been key here since the attacks of October 7th. And American leadership — President Biden’s personal involvement — has led to this humanitarian aid getting in. Obviously not enough, but it wasn’t happening before he personally got involved.

It was President Biden’s leadership and this team’s work here at the National Security Council in the White House that helped get American hostages home as well as those two Israeli citizens and that is continuing to work to get our — our citizens out from Rafah crossing, hopefully more today.

We — we have been at the center of — of trying to make sure people in Gaza are getting the aid they need and getting out those who need to get out and can get out as well as making sure that Israel has the capabilities it needs to defend itself.

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: Go ahead, Jake.

Q: Thank you, Karine. And thank you, Admiral. As we sit here, hundreds of rockets are raining down on Israeli cities, and I’m wondering if — if you would know: Is this all from the original stockpile, or are rockets being smuggled in somehow?

MR. KIRBY: I — I couldn’t answer that question. I don’t have the information or the context to be able to answer that.

Q: Okay. You’ll look into it, right?

MR. KIRBY: (Laughs.) I’ll look into it.

Q: Admiral, on Rafah, you’ve said multiple times that family members of Americans will be able to get out. Could you kindly define “family member,” please?

MR. KIRBY: The State Department is probably a better place to go for whether there’s a textbook definition for “family members.” But — but we do know that family members, spouses, children in particular, are able to get out.

Q: The State Department has been in contact with – with some people through congressional offices, and the understanding that my colleagues have from talking to those people who are trapped in Gaza is that “family member” definition is being used very narrow.

For instance, parents of U.S. citizens may — only one parent may accompany a U.S. citizen if they’re under 21. If they are not a minor, then — if the citizen is not a minor, then they can only go out with a spouse, not siblings, not parents.

What — why such a narrow definition of “family”?

MR. KIRBY: I’d have to refer you to the State Department. They’re — they’re the ones that are handling the list of people that are qualified to get out and making sure that they’re keeping them informed.

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: All right. Ed, last question.

Q: So, on the Iranian proxies, why isn’t the President’s message of “don’t” getting through to them?

MR. KIRBY: You’d have to talk to the — the proxies there. What I would tell you is that they continue to attack American troops and facilities at their own peril. And we will — we will do what we need to do. The President will make decisions on his own terms and in his own way about better protecting those — those troops and facilities. They continue to do this at their own peril.

Q: So, I want to get your take on this. Backing out a little bit, is — do you see — does the President see the new “Axis of Evil”: Russia, Iran, and China?

MR. KIRBY: The President is not slapping bumper stickers on axes of evil. What he’s concerned about is making sure that we can protect and defend our national — our national security interests around the world, and that includes in the Indo-Pacific.

And I don’t want to — Karine will kill me if I stand up here and talk much longer, but I — I mean, there’s a — you and I could have an hour-long discussion about the things this President has done to shore up alliances and partnerships all over the world to look after our national security interests.

We’re not slapping bumper stickers on countries. We know that Russia presents an acute threat, certainly on the European continent. We know that China represents a strategic competing- — competitor challenge in the Indo-Pacific and around the world. And we certainly are not blind to what Iran is doing supporting Putin’s war in Ukraine and supporting these terrorist groups throughout the Middle East.

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: Thank you, Admiral.

MR. KIRBY: Thank you.

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: Appreciate it.

MR. KIRBY: That was- — that wasn’t too long, was it? (Laughter.)

Q: Thank you, John.

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: Thank you. Thank you.

MR. KIRBY: See you, guys.

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: Thanks Admiral. Appreciate it.

All right, Seung Min.

Q: Thank you, Karine. Leader McConnell said moments ago that he spoke with President Biden yesterday and told the President that the national security supplemental has to have what he called a “credible” border solution to be able to pass the Senate.

First of all, do you ha- — does the White House have any readout of that conversation?

(Work in Progress)


November, 2023:

November 9, 2023: The White House Posted: Remarks by President Biden Before Air Force One Departure | Joint Base Andrews, MD

Q: Mr. President, why the delay in getting hostages out?

THE PRESIDENT: We’re hopeful. Things are moving along.

Q: Did you ask for a three-day pause to Netanyahu?

THE PRESIDENT: You know I’ve been asking for a pause for – for a lot more than three days (inaudible.)

Q: Did you ask him to pause for three days to get the hostages out for that length of time?

THE PRESIDENT: Yes. I’ve ask- — asked for even a longer pause for some of them.

Q: Mr. President, we’re eight days from a shutdown – the shutdown – government shutdown. Just eight days. Can you give us an update on what you’re thinking on how to – to move past that?

THE PRESIDENT: I wish the – the House would just get to work. I’m not being facetious. I mean, this is not a political statement. The idea we’re playing games with a shutdown at this moment is just bizarre. And I think that we ought to be able to combine Ukraine and Israel. We ought to be able – and I’m open to discussions on the border, and I’ve already made some proposals. But there’s just no need for any of this.

Q: Will you be bringing up an endorsement, Mr. President, with Shawn Fain?

THE PRESIDENT: Pardon me?

Q: Will you be bringing up the issue of an endorsement with Shawn Fain when you meet him?

THE PRESIDENT: Will I bring up the endorsement?

Q: The issue of an endorsement. He has a – the UAW hasn’t endorsed you yet.

THE PRESIDENT: Oh, no. They’re going to be fine.

Q: Mr. President, were you frustrated with Prime Minister Netanyahu that he has not listened to some of the things you have asked him to do?

THE PRESIDENT: It’s taking a little longer than I hoped.

Q: They’re taking a little bit longer?

Q: Do you support the UAW’s efforts to unionize Tesla and Toyota, Mr. President?

THE PRESIDENT: Absolutely.

Thank you.

November 9, 2023: The White House posted: “Press Gaggle by Principal Deputy Press Secretary Olivia Dalton En Route Belvidere, IL

MS. DALTON: Good af- — good afternoon, everyone. As you know, we are en route to Belvidere, Illinois, where the President will mark the reopening of the Belvidere Assembly Plant, a plant that Stellantis closed indefinitely in March of 2023.

Under President Biden, the plant is reopening, bringing back more than all of the — more than all of the 1,200 jobs lost and at higher wages. And Stellantis is investing in new multibillion-dollar battery manufacturing, which will add over 1,000 more UAW jobs.

Stellantis is also locating a parts distribution center in Belvidere in 2024.

President Biden will celebrate the labor movement and the fights it has led to increase middle-class wages, ensure record corporate profits mean record wages for workers, and build our economy from the middle out and the bottom up.

The reopening is a key result of the historic contract between the UAW and the Big Three. And it’s the latest example of the President’s economic agenda facilitating wins for workers and communities across the country.

This reopening will create thousands of jobs — rehiring and retooling for EV and EV battery manu- — battery jobs in the same communities where auto jobs have created good-paying union jobs for decades.

Thanks to the contract the UAW negotiated, UAW autoworkers will get more wage increases in four and a half years than they did over the past 22 years combined.

President Biden will be joined today by UAW President Shawn Fain, Governor Pritzker, Acting Labor Secretary Su, White House Senior Advisor Gene Sperling, UAW Local 1268 President Matt Frantzen, and Representatives Foster and Sorenson are on the plane with us as well today.

Speaking of collective — effective collective barga- — bargaining, this morning, the President applauded SAG-AFTRA and the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers for working together in good faith towards an agreement that allows our entertainment industry to continue telling the stories of America.

Over the last three years, workers have won historic victories that ensure record pay, record benefits, and an economy that grows from the middle out and bottom up.

SAG-AFTRA members will have the final say on this contract. But President Biden believes the sacrifices they’ve made will ensure a better future for them, for their families, and for workers who deserve a fair share of the value they helped create. Welcome news.

(Representative Foster walks past the press cabin of Air Force One.)

Uh – little congressional cameo there.

As you know, we are also about a week out from an extreme Republican shutdown. Just 40 days ago, extreme House Republicans marched us to the brink of a damaging government shutdown, then they shut down Congress for three weeks because they couldn’t decide who should lead them.

Rather than addressing our urgent needs at home and abroad, House Republicans are now wasting time on radical bills that make extreme cuts to Meals on Wheels and WIC, food and water safety, education, law enforcement, and more.

These partisan bills break the bipartisan agreement that two thirds of the House of Representatives voted for and that they can’t — now they can’t even pass them in the House.

The clock is ticking. We’re just eight days from a shutdown that would undermine our economy and national security, hurting families and businesses across our country in the process.

This is unacceptable. House Republicans should stop playing political games and follow the lead of the Senate by getting to work on bipartisan bills that deliver for the American people – do their jobs to prevent a shutdown.

Finally, yesterday, President Biden directed the U.S. military to carry out a self-defense airstrike in eastern Syria against a facility used by the Iran Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps and affiliated groups.

The precision strike was conducted in response to recent attacks that were directed by the IRGC and affiliated groups against U.S. and Coalition bases in Iraq and Syria.

We took this strike to disrupt and degrade the freedom of action and capabilities of these groups directly responsible for attacking U.S. forces who are in Iraq and Syria as part of our mission to defeat ISIS. We’re making it clear that these attacks are unacceptable and cannot continue.

President Biden and the United States government are fully prepared to take further necessary measures to protect our people and our facilities. And we want to be clear that we continue to urge against any escalation.

Q: Thanks, Olivia. Two subjects for questions. First, Secretary Blinken suggested a unity government of some kind under the Palestinian Authority for the West Bank and Gaza. Why would the people in Gaza want that? What — how would that work?

MS. DALTON: Well, look, I think, you know, you heard Secretary Blinken yesterday talk about the fact that in the — you know, in the future, the Palestinians deserve — deserve self-determination. They deserve a say in what their future government looks like.

And obviously, we know that the Palestinian Authority is the authority in the West Bank. And we would certainly expect to see them play some sort of role in the — in the future here.

Q: And then, secondly, with regard to the supplemental, I just wanted to clarify: Would President Biden sign a supplemental with funding for Israel with no funding for Ukraine, or does he want there to be funding for Israel and Ukraine in anything he signs together as a combo?

MS. DALTON: Look, it’s really hard to get into — too deep into hypotheticals when we haven’t seen a bill yet. But I think we’ve left no ambiguity about our position here, which is that we want to see — we want to see Congress move forward on fundamental critical priorities.

It is critical to America’s national security that Congress support Israel and Ukraine in their fight against terrorism and tyranny. And we’ve got to help millions of innocent civilians by Putin’s war in Ukraine and the conflict between Israel and Hamas.

So, what we have said was: We will not accept a standalone Israel-only bill that abandons Ukraine, fails to stand up to Putin and his brutal aggression, and doesn’t provide urgent humanitarian assistance.

We proposed all of those pieces in our supplemental because each of those is crucial to our national security.

Q: And a follow- — a follow-up on that. The President told us on the tarmac that he’s open to discussions about the border. Has he entertained any members of Congress to talk about that lately, or —

MS. DALTON: So —

Q: — has he reached out to them?

MS. DALTON: So, look – so, what we’ve said about this is President Biden has supported comprehensive immigration reform since day one. That’s why, you know, he put comprehensive immigration reform forward on his first day in office.

And if Republicans want to have a serious conversation about reforms that will improve our immigration system, we are open to that discussion, as the President just said a few moments ago.

What we — we disagree with is many of the policies contained in the Senate Republican border proposal they put forward. And further, we don’t want to see anything in that proposal about creating an earned path to citizenship for DREAMers and others.

And so, we believe that Congress should fund the President’s supplemental request to secure the border now.

But, you know, the President just said a few moments ago, he’s open to serious discussions on border security. Nothing to preview specifically there, though.

Q: Couple of questions on the UAW, Olivia. I just asked the President about a UAW endorsement and whether he will be bringing that up with Shawn Fain. He said they will be “fine.” Does that mean he thinks an endorsement is inevitable at this point?

MS. DALTON: Well, as you know, this is an official White House event, so I’m bound by the Hatch Act not to talk about 2024 political events from here.

What I can just say is that the UAW — the President is proud to have joined the UAW workers on the picket line in Belleville, Michigan, just recently. And he looks forward to joining UAW President Shawn Fain on this visit.

And he’s also really proud of the agenda that he’s delivered, the fact that he has helped support new investment in our workers and communities, inclu- — including the opening of the Belvidere Plant that we’re o- — we’re going to be visiting today.

Q: And then, a quick one. You know, I also asked him about the UAW’s plans to now unionize Tesla and Toyota workers. And he said he “absolutely” supports that. Does that mean the administration plans to offer any resources to the UAW for such unionization efforts?

MS. DALTON: Well, look, I think — without speaking to this specifically, what I would — I would just make two points. One is that the administration is very freq- — frequently in touch with the parties as these kinds of labor issues go on. I would also just point out that the UAW’s agreement – the tentative agreement they have in place with the Big Three had consequences far beyond the – the Big Three. And we already saw that, last week, Toyota announced wage increases for workers in their plants.

So, you know, more to come on that.

Q: Are Iranian proxy groups getting the message after another retaliatory strike? They didn’t stop after the first one. What makes the administration think this one will be effective?

MS. DALTON: Well, they certainly should get the message. We’ve launched strikes on October 26th. We followed through with another precision strike last night on a warehouse in eastern Syria.

And the takeaway from that is that the President is not going to back down when it comes to protecting our troops, protecting our interests in the re- — region.

He won’t — I’m not going to telegraph anything going forward. But he’s been pretty clear that he will be swift and deliberate and decisive in going forward if he sees a need for use to confront additional threats, and we’re not going to tolerate attacks on our troops.

Q: And any more detail you can provide on the four-hour humanitarian pauses that Kirby had mentioned earlier?

MS. DALTON: Yeah, I mean, I think — you know, I think John did a pretty detailed laydown of this earlier. And I would refer you to the IDF for how they plan to implement and operationalize this.

But broad strokes, as we understand it, they’re going to move forward with daily four hours in pauses in the north with three hours of notification in advance. This should hopefully give some room for pe- — civilians — innocent civilians to move out of places where there’s heavy fighting going on, heavy hostilities going on; be able to access the two humanitarian corr- — corridors we also announced this morning; and to move to places that are safer.

We also, in conjunction with that, are continuing to work on stepping up and accelerating the flow of humanitarian aid in from the south to meet these people as they come through those humanitarian corridors.

We were pleased to see that 106 trucks got through yesterday. Now I think we’re over 750 trucks total to date. And obviously, we want to see all of that good work continue. It’s a significant and good step today.

Q: Has Israel announced it officially yet – since we don’t have Internet or Wi-Fi? (Laughs.)

MS. DALTON: I – I can’t speak to that. I actually haven’t seen, myself, but I know that we’ve heard directly from the Israelis that this is (inaudible).

Q: Olivia, when asked on the tarmac whether the President was frustrated with Netanyahu, he said that it’s taking a little bit longer than he hoped. Was he referring to something specific, whether the — the hostage release or the humanitarian pauses? Do you have any context there of what he’s hoping would have happened faster than — than it has?

MS. DALTON: You know, I – far be it from me to go beyond the President. But I’m happy to take that and get back to you.

My assumption that — was that you were — You know, I think your question was a follow-on to the question about humanitarian pauses that was — that he was answering, so –

But I will get clarity on that.

Q: Olivia, on the — the President also said that — when asked about the three-day pause for hostages, he said he asked for “a lot” longer. Can you tell us how much longer he asked for?

MS. DALTON: Far be it from me to go beyond what the President just shared. It’s obviously more than we have shared about the details of those private conversations. So, I’m just not going to go any further at this moment.

Q: Can you give us any details on what the President learned yesterday during his meeting with senators who traveled to Israel, Saudi, and Egypt?

MS. DALTON: So, last night, the President had a good, productive meeting with members — Senators Graham, Cardin, who led that CODEL of senators to Israel, to Saudi Arabia, and to Egypt. They had a conversation about the latest on the situation on the ground in Israel and Gaza.

I can also tell you that the President raised at the end with this group the importance of continuing to fund — provide funding to Ukraine and to make sure that they have everything they need to meet their battlefield needs in the fate of — in the face of Russia’s brutal aggression and to meet the humanitarian needs on the ground there.

So, just wanted to add that he had, you know, also raised that in the context of last night’s discussion.

Q: There’s been suspicious white powder sent to election offices in Washington State. Is the White House tracking that at all or paying attention?

MS. DALTON: This is the first time I’m hearing of it, but that doesn’t mean that our folks are not tracking this. But I would refer you —

Q: Is that something you could circle back with?

MS. DALTON: I’m happy to take the question and follow up.

Q: Olivia, a group of Senate Democrats have sent the White House a letter asking for assurances on the steps Israel is taking to mitigate civilian casualties. They want transparency around the weapons they’re being asked to approve. Is that something the White House is willing to entertain?

MS. DALTON: Well, look, the — what I’ll say is the White House, the President, National Security Advisor, Secretary Blinken, Secretary Austin, members of this administration have continued to have very direct conversations about — with Israeli counterparts at every level to discuss very directly the importance of minimizing civilian casualties and the expectation that are our arms are provi– you know, with the — on the expectation that recipients will comply with international humanitarian law and the rules of war, so – and the laws of war.

So, that is something that we’ve communicated at all levels very directly, and we’ll continue to do so.

Q: Olivia, two quick questions. One, did the President watch the Republican last night – do you know?

MS. DALTON: I know that this meeting with the – you know, the senators who came over ran into the evening. I know he was in the Oval Office until after 9:00 p.m. last night. So, I don’t know if he was able to catch any of it after he finished working.

Happy to find out more, but he was in the — in the Oval Office working pretty late last night.

Q: And then on the decision for the FBI headquarters to move to Greenbelt, Maryland. Can you discuss anything about the President’s involvement in that decision?

MS. DALTON: This was. GSA-led process. The GSA worked to implement their best practices around their site selection process. They also implemented the — you know, came to a final decision based on site selection criteria that — that was in place in consultation between GSA and FBI from the outside with input — outset with input from outside stakeholders.

I can tell you it was a fair and transparent process. The Greenbelt location was determined after reviewing that the loca- — the 61 acres in Greenbelt is both the lowers cost to taxpayers, most transportation options for FBI workers, and we had the most assurances about the expeditiousness with which the project could get underway.

So, a lot of criteria there. For anything further, though, I would refer you to the GSA, which has really been leading the process.

Q: Anything you could say about reports of resumption of military-to-military communication between the U.S. and China?

MS. DALTON: I don’t have anything for you on that right now. Happy to take it, though.

Q: Is there anything you can tell us about Ambassador Jack Lew’s first week, ho- — his role in all these talks, you know, just anything about what’s been going on with the ambassador since he’s been confirmed and sworn in?

MS. DALTON: It’s — I’m sure it’s been a busy first week. I don’t have a — you know, a rundown of everything he’s done this past week. But, I’m also happy to take that and circle back with you.

Q: Anything you can say about the disconnect between the President.s approval ratings and the victories Democrats had earlier this week?

MS. DALTON: Well, look, polls don’t matter; elections matter. You know, and now we’ve seen three resounding outcomes — in 2020, in 2022, and in 2023 — that voters have overwhelmingly marched to the polls, rejected extreme policies that, you know, roll back women’s fundamental reproductive rights; that, you know, sell — sell out middle class Americans to rig the system for the wealthy; and, you know, threaten to cut things like Social Security and Medicare.

Instead, reporter- — voter — not reporters; you guys are a different crew – voters have repeatedly embraced the President’s policies, which put middle-class Americans first and end generations of trickle-down economics that didn’t deliver for the American people.

Just two nights ago, we saw, yet again, evidence that the American people are embracing the President’s policies, are embracing the progress we’re making, and their rejecti- — rejecting the sort of politics of hate and division and fear that we’re continuing to see from Republican lawmakers — continuing to reject these calls for extreme national abortion bans, for cuts to Medicare and Social Security, and the kind of doubling down that we’ve continued to see despite what overwhelmingly Americans have said that they want.

Q: Just a housekeeping question. I see we have a guest stenographer. Will there still be transcripts from —

MS. DALTON: Yes.

Q: — this trip?

MS. DALTON: Yes.

Q: Okay.

MS. DALTON: Okay. Thanks, everybody.

Q: Thank you.

November 11, 2023: The White House posted: Statement from Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre on Extreme Republican Shutdown Proposal

This proposal is just a recipe for more Republican chaos and more shutdowns – full stop. With just days left before an Extreme Republican Shutdown – and after shutting down Congress for three weeks after they ousted their own leader – House Republicans are wasting precious time with an unserious proposal that has been panned by members of both parties. An Extreme Republican Shutdown would put critical national security and domestic priorities at risk, including by forcing service members to work without pay. This comes just days after House Republicans were forced to pull two of their own extreme appropriations bills from the floor – further deepening their dysfunction. House Republicans need to stop wasting time on their own political divisions, do their jobs, and work in a bipartisan way to prevent a shutdown.

November 13, 2023: The White House posted: “Remarks by President Biden and First Lady Jill Biden Establishing the First-Ever White House Initiative on Women’s Health Research”

THE PRESIDENT: Well, folks, I’m going to be signing a presidential memorandum in just a minute here to establish the first-ever White House Initiative on Women’s Health Research.

It’s an effort made possible by Jill, who’s been a long champion of women’s health, and Jen Klein, Dr. Mazure, Maria Shriver, and others.

Because the fact is that it requires all of government – not just NIH, but HHS, the VA, the Defense Department, and every agency in the government having anything to do with health – it requires them to come up with a report to me – for me that lays out what they can do collectively to improve women’s health.

Women make up more than half the population. But for too long, they’ve been underrepresented when it comes to health research and the money spend on that research. That’s going to change today.

So, this – signing this, I’m setting up this group that within 45 days, all the government agencies that have to do with health have to report on exactly what they’re doing now with regard to women’s health and the suggestions they may have on how to deal with it.

So, let me sign now this and make it official, and then yield to Jill.

Well, let – Jill, I’m going to yield to you first.

THE FIRST LADY: Thank you. (Laughter.) I just want to say, Maria, I am so grateful to you for bringing this to our attention. And it’s your leadership that’s really going to make the difference and has made the difference already.

And also, thank you, Carolyn, for, you know, your involvement and your willingness to lead this effort.

And, you know, Maria, after you came a couple of months ago and then I spoke to Joe and – I have to say one of the things I love most about Joe is, you know, you take something to him and he listens. And he did listen to us, and that’s – and it’s resulted in this memorandum.

So, thank you, Joe. I really appreciate this.

THE PRESIDENT: Well – (laughter).

THE FIRST LADY: And women deserve better. And now, we’re going to get it. So, thank you.

THE PRESIDENT: You don’t have to thank me. I didn’t realize how – how much incongruity there was and how imbalanced it was. So, God willing, we’re going to solve that.

All right.

(The presidential memorandum is signed.)

All right. (Applause.) Thank you all very much.

Q: Are you concerned about a shutdown, Mr. President? Are you concerned about a shutdown Mr. President?

(Cross-talk.)

THE PRESIDENT: With regard to a potential shutdown, I understand that the new Speaker of the House has a proposal that’s being negotiated with the Minority Leader of the House and Senator Schumer and – and the Republican Leader also talking about it.

I don’t know what the outcome is going to be. Apparently, there’s a meeting today a four or five o’clock on the Rules Committee. And we’ll see what happens.

Q: Would you veto the laddered CR?

THE PRESIDENT: I’m not going to make a judgement on what I’d veto or what I’d sign. But let’s wait and see what they come up with.

(Cross-talk.)

THE FIRST LADY: The hospital in Gaza, Kelly was asking.

Q: The hospital in Gaza – have you expressed any specific concerns to Israel on that, sir?

THE PRESIDENT: Well, you know, I have not been reluctant in expressing my concerns what’s going on. And it is my hope and expectation that there will be less intrusive action relative to the hospital. We’re in contact, and we’re – with – with the Israelis.

Also, there is an effort to take this pause to deal the release of prisoners, and that’s being negotiated as well with- the Qataris and engaged and –

So,I remain somewhat hopeful. But the hospital must be protected.

November 14, 2023: 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: So, I have one thing at the sto- at the top before I turn it over to our guest.

So, I want to start out by noting that this week we celebrate two years since President Biden signed the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law.

In that short time, this administration has made historic progress in rebuilding America, from breaking ground on major projects to rebuild our roads and bridges, to delivering clean and — clean and safer – safe water to communities across the nation, to cleaning up legacy pollution, expanding access to high-speed Internet, and building a clean energy community here in the United States that supports good-paying jobs.

So far, the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law has enabled us to launch 40,000 infrastructure projects and award 4,500 communities across the country.

This historic investment in America has allowed up to — more than 21 million low-income households with access to free or discounted high-speed Internet service through the Affordable Connectivity Program — that’s what it’s been able to provide — those t- — to 21 million low-income households; start improvements on hundreds of thousands of miles of roads and thousands of bridge repairs; helped purchase more than 3,000 clean transit busses, doubling their number on America’s roadways, as well as 2,400 clean school busses; launched 2,300 projects to help communities build resilience to threats such as the impacts of climate change and cyberattacks. And that is not all.

The Bipartisan Infrastructure Law and the entirety of the President’s Investing in America agenda has spurred more than $614 billion in additional private sector manufacturing and clean energy investments since President Biden took office — not taxpayer dollars, private sector investments.

That is bolstering the President’s work to create millions of to create millions of good-paying jobs, including a record-high number of jobs in the construction – se- — sector.

That’s exactly what Bidenomics is all about: investing in America and in American workers to grow the economy from the middle out and the bottom up.

And with that, we have Jake Sullivan here, our National Security Advisor, to talk through the President’s trip to San Francisco this week and also the bilateral that you all are going to see later today with President Widodo and take any other foreign policy questions that you all may have.

Go ahead, Jake.

MR. SULLIVAN: Thank you, Karine. And thanks, everybody. It’s obviously an extremely busy time, so, I apologize, my opening comments are going to be a little bit longer than usual. But if you bear with me, I’ll be able to answer whatever questions you have.

Today, President Biden kicks off a significant week of high-level diplomacy that will showcase the breadth of America’s strategic and economic engagement in the world and the value we place on deepening our alliances and partnerships.

This afternoon — in fact, very shortly — President Biden will host President Joao Widodo of Indonesia.

On the cusp of celebrating 75 years of diplomatic relations between the United States and Indonesia, our two countries will announce the elevation of our bilateral relationship to a Comprehensive Strategic Partnership, a new chapter that will drive innovation and prosperity and cooperation for both of our countries.

President Biden and President Widodo will have the opportunity to discuss a range of key issues, including the clean energy transition, critical minerals, and deepening our security and defense corporation.

On Wednesday, as you have heard, President Biden and President Xi will meet in the Bay Area for a summit. We anticipate that the leaders will discuss some of the most fundamental elements of the U.S.-PRC bilateral relationship, including the continued importance of strengthening open lines of communication and managing competition responsibly so that it does not veer into conflict.

The way we achieve that is through intense diplomacy. That’s how we clear up misperceptions and avoid surprises. That’s how we work together where and when our interests overlap and deliver on key priorities for the American people.

And that’s why, in recent months, I’ve had the opportunity to meet with Director Wang Yi three times. And it’s why our Secretaries of State, Treasury, and Commerce all went to Beijing. It’s also why China, for its part, sent its Vice President, it’s Foreign Minister, and other senior officials here to the United States in recent months.

President Biden comes into this summit on a solid footing, given the ways in which he has positioned the United States to be able to compete effectively both at home and around the world.

At home, we’ve had the strongest recovery and lowest inflation of any leading economy. We’ve created 14 million jobs — more jobs in two years than any president in a four-year term. And we’ve had 21 straight months of unemployment under 4 percent for the first time in half a century.

Abroad, President Biden has deepened our alliances and partnerships. In just the last year, he’s hosted the leaders from Japan, the ROK, the Philippines, India, and Australia for bilateral meetings here in Washington.

He formally launched AUKUS. He held a historic trilateral summit with the ROK and Japan at Camp David. He upgraded our relations with Vietnam on a historic trip to Hanoi. And he’s hosted two summits at the White House for Pacific Island Leaders as well as a special US.-ASEAN Summit.

Finally, at President Biden’s direction, we’ve taken important steps to protect our national security. We’ve put in place new rules on outbound investment and updated our export controls on semiconductor manufacturing equipment. And we’ve continued to uphold freedom of navigation in the region by flying, sailing, and operating wherever international law allows.

We’re also looking for specific outcomes from the meeting on November 15th. I won’t get too far ahead of the meeting, and I’ll let the President speak for himself after he has the chance to meet with President Xi. But we believe that there are areas where our interests overlap, like our efforts to combat the illicit fentanyl trade.

There are also areas where we can more effectively manage competition — for example, by reestablishing military-to-military communications.

All in all, we’re looking forward to a productive meeting. President Biden has a long history with President Xi. Their conversations are direct; they’re straightforward. And President Biden believes that there is no substitute for leader-to-leader face-to-face diplomacy to manage this complex relationship between the United States and China.

Of course, this week, President Biden will — this coming week will be doing a lot more than just meeting with President Xi. He’ll be welcoming leaders from across the Asia-Pacific for APEC Economic Leaders’ Week at a moment when the most dynamic economic region in the world is looking to the United States as the leading economy in the world.

While in San Francisco, you’ll see President Biden put forward his economic vision for the region. He will speak about how the United States is the preeminent driver of inclusive, sustainable economic growth in the Asia-Pacific and how the Asia-Pacific is critical to growth here at home.

You’ll see the President join leaders from across the region to announce, in record time, clear outcomes on a number of pillars of the Indo-Pacific Economic Framework.

You’ll see him hosting a Partnership for Global Infrastructure and Investment — PGI — event with major CEOs and IPEF governments that will demonstrate how we are identifying new ways of working with the U.S. private sector to drive high standard investment in the Indo-Pacific in infrastructure, in innovation, and in other areas to unlock sustainable long-term growth.

And we’re also hosting an event with major foreign CEOs focused on how President Biden’s economic policies, combined with our strong partnership with Asia-Pacific economies, are driving historic and outsized investments here in the United States in critical and emerging technologies and in other areas and creating good-paying jobs for American workers.

Finally, before I take questions, I want to give a brief update on the Middle East. The United States continues to work round the clock to support efforts to rescue and reunite hostages held by Hamas with their families where they belong. This includes many young children, one of whom is a three-year-old American citizen toddler whose parents were tragically killed by Hamas on October 7th.

This is a top priority for President Biden, for Vice President Harris, for Secretary Blinken, for me personally. We have all spoken with families of U.S. citizens who are being held hostage by Hamas and have raised this issue with all of our counterparts. This remains a paramount priority for us.

Just yesterday, President Biden spoke with the Emir of Qatar to discuss the important negotiations ongoing to try and secure the release of the hostages being held by Hamas. And later today, here at the White House, I’ll be meeting with some of the families of the Americans who are currently being held.

The United States has also been leading efforts to increase the flow of lifesaving, sustained humanitarian assistance – food, water, medicine — into Gaza. While we’ve made some progress, much more is urgently needed to alleviate suffering among the civilian population in Gaza.

We’re glad to see Israel take an important step in this direction last week. And we remain in active discussions with the Israel government about the importance of tactical humanitarian pauses in the fighting, to permit civilians to depart areas of active hostilities, to increase the flow of aid, and to enable hostage releases.

We continue to have discussions at all levels, including President Biden with Prime Minister Netanyahu, to urge Israel to continue taking every possible measure to protect civilians. The loss of a single innocent life is a tragedy, whether it’s a Palestinian civilian, an Israeli civilian, or anyone else. And we grieve for every innocent who is lost.

At the same time, we will continue to stand behind the proposition that Israel has the right to defend itself against terrorist attacks. And with Hamas, as I’ve said, you’re dealing with an organization that has come out publicly since October 7th and that it intends to commit another October 7th and another one and another one until Israel no longer exists.

You have a leading spokesman from Hamas saying that the objective of the organization is a permanent state of war with Israel. That is the reality that Israel is confronting, and it’s a reality that would be unacceptable for any nation.

And with that, I will be happy to take your questions.

Yeah.

Q: Thanks, Jake. You said yesterday and the President said just now in the Oval Office that hospitals in Gaza need to be protected. Do you believe that the Israelis have received that message, and have they had any response?

MR. SULLIVAN: So, first, what the President has just said and what I’ve said is that we do not want to see firefights in hospitals. We want to see patients protected; we want to see hospitals protected.

We have spoken with the Israeli government about this, and they have said they share this view — that they do not want to see firefights in hospitals. And you’ve heard from IDF spokespeople stating things along those lines.

The Israel government has also told us that they are prepared to provide fuel to hospitals to ensure that they can continue to operate and that, for certain hospitals, they actually have not been able to be in communication with the people who are actually running the hospitals. So, that’s something we will continue to work on.

But, the position of the United States on this matter is clear: Hospitals should be protected. Hospitals should be able to run effectively so that medical care should be — can be given to patients.

And finally, to the extent people need to be evacuated from one hospital to another hospital in order to ensure the continuation of care, evacuation routes have to be safe. And the Israeli government has told us as recently as today that there are and will continue to be evacuation routes for people leaving hospital compounds.

So, these are positions that are straightforward. They are clear. We have a constructive discussion with the Israeli government on this. And I believe that they have indicated they hold similar positions on these issues.

Now, as for what happens on the ground, you know, in a given hour on a given day, we can’t react to every individual report. We can simply continue to state our position and continue to consult with the Israeli government to ensure that they are doing their best to fulfill their stated position on this.

Yeah.

Q: And then, more broadly, the U.S. is now focused on two wars – one in the Middle East, and one in Ukraine. What would it mean for this government and, in particular, foreign policy and the military if there were to be a government shutdown come Friday night?

MR. SULLIVAN: This would be a devastating blow, first of all, to our service members at a very human level because it would have an impact on the ability of our troops to — and their families to get all of the benefits and services that they deserve for the service they are performing for our country.

Second, it would send a signal to the world that the United States cannot pull together on a bipartisan basis to sustain government funding and to show a united face to the world at a moment where you see this turbulence around the world.

So, we will do everything in our power to support Congress coming together around a measure that will fund the government and not have a shutdown occur at the end of this week.

Yeah.

Q: Jake, what — the President also said there’s an effort to use the pause to deal with the release of prisoners, and it’s being negotiated with Qatar. Could you amplify on that a little bit?

MR. SULLIVAN: Yes. There have been ongoing discussions with the government of Qatar. And, in fact, President Biden, as I mentioned in my opening statement, spoke by telephone with the Emir of Qatar yesterday.

Qatar has been talking to Hamas. Israel has been talking to Qatar. The United States has been talking to both Israel and Qatar in an effort to try and move forward these negotiations to a point where hostages can be released and reunited with their families.

We’re not there yet. But we are continuing to try and make progress on that day by day, hour by hour. And as I said before, the President has no higher priority, which is why he is personally engaged on this issue.

Q: And secondly, on the trip itself, what does the President plan to tell President Xi in terms of getting Iran to rein in its proxy attacks on U.S. forces in the Middle East?

MR. SULLIVAN: Well, from our perspective, the PRC should share the interest of every responsible country that de-escalation rather than escalation in the broad- — broader Middle East should be the order of the day.

So, President Biden will make the point to President Xi that Iran acting in an escalatory, destabilizing way that undermines stability across the broader Middle East is not in the interests of – of the PRC or any other responsible country.

Yeah.

Q: Hey, Jake. Yesterday, you alluded to Israeli Intelligence. Does the U.S. have any independent intelligence that Hamas has military facilities, a bunker under (inaudible) Al-Shifa Hospital in Gaza?

MR. SULLIVAN: Well, what I said yesterday is that I’m not in a position to comment on intelligence matters — American intelligence matters. I can’t divulge that to you.

What I can tell you is that we see plenty of open-source reporting about Hamas’s use of hospitals and other civilian infrastructure to store weapons, to house fighters, to engage in — in forms of command and control.

But beyond that, I’m not in a position to speak specifically to a report about a specific hospital or a specific bunker.

Q: And so, when the President says that hospitals must be protected, what does the President — what does the United States want to see done with Al-Shifa Hospital, in particular, and the Hamas facilities that you now point to open-source intelligence saying lie under it?

MR. SULLIVAN: Well, your question points up the complexity of this conflict and the added burden that Israel is facing as it goes against murderous terrorists who continue to say their goal is the absolute destruction of the State of Israel.

You’re dealing with a terrorist organization, Hamas, that takes civilian hostages, including little children; that uses civilians as human shields; that uses civilian infrastructure, even hospitals, in the most cynical way possible — that is, as fighting positions, as military operation centers.

And so, Israel has to confront that while, at the same time, not wanting to go assaulting hospitals in firefights that could put innocent people who are getting lifesaving medical case in the crossfire.

So, there are not easy answers to this question. But this is the complexity, this is the burden the Israeli Defense Forces are facing as they conduct their operations.

And our position is that Israel has the right to go after Hamas, but it does face this added burden. And that burden does not lessen its responsibility to act according to the laws of war.

And so, how that plays out in a particular operational dynamic — this tunnel or that bunker — ultimately, those decisions lie within the military fighting. The United States can’t dictate that. But we will continue to stand for the principle that the laws of war must be respected even as Israel goes after Hamas and the tools and infrastructure of its terrorism.

Yeah.

Q: Do you have any proof of life on hostages, especially the Americans? In the negotiations that have been going on, has there been anything that could reassure the negotiators, the President, and you that the hostages remain alive and potentially could be rescued?

MR. SULLIVAN: So, we have been very transparent about the fact that we have limited visibility into both the whereabouts of the hostages within Gaza and their condition.

And — and I said as recently as yesterday that we have nine missing Americans, one missing green card holder, and I cannot look you in the eye and tell you how many of those hostages are still alive.

We do have information — and I’ll be careful about how I characterize that — about some of the hostages and — and a notion that there are a substantial number of hostages who are not just alive, but who could potentially be part of a hostage release.

But I couldn’t give you a number of exactly how many Americans would be included in that. That’s something that we will have to work through as we continue these negotiations.

And, of course, we won’t know for certain until we — we actually get the release of those hostages and they’re safely returned to their families. So, that’s something we’re going to continue to work on.

Yeah.

Q: Thanks. I wanted to ask you about the House spending proposal. It does not include money for national security priorities that the administration has: Israel, Ukraine. Particularly Ukraine, what are the next steps for getting funding if — if the spending proposal is not an option?

MR. SULLIVAN: So, I will leave it to Karine to kind of talk about the congressional dynamics and particular measures that have been put forward in the House.

What I will say is that the — the President — the Biden administration put forward a funding request for Israel, for Ukraine, for the Indo-Pacific, and for the border. We detailed exactly what we needed, including for Ukraine, and we still need that and we need it as soon as we can get it. And we are working actively with both the House and the Senate, both Republicans and Democrats to secure the votes and to get the vote to get that funding.

And I will continue to remain confident that while this has been a winding road since we began the effort to secure additional funding for Ukraine, that there is a strong bipartisan majority in both houses to do it and we will ultimately get it done.

How exactly, through what vehicle and what measure — that’s something that I will defer to the legislative experts on. I will only say that we are continuing to make the case actively. I’m on the phone personally daily with members, both Democrats and Republicans, to make the case. And we are leaning forward in making it clear that the United States’ national interests will be deeply harmed if we are not able to secure and sustain funding for Israel, Ukraine, the Indo-Pacific, and the border.

Yeah.

Q: And if I may ask about the trip, please? What — what is the President’s message going to be regarding Taiwan’s upcoming elections? Will the – will the President warn President Xi directly, for example, against interfering in the elections?

MR. SULLIVAN: I’m not going to preview what exactly President Biden will say to President Xi because I think he should have the opportunity to speak to him directly in person without me proclaiming it from the podium.

I will say that the President, broadly speaking, is going to set out a vision for peace and stability and the maintenance of peace and stability across the Taiwan Strait. And he will do that in his meeting with President Xi. But in terms of the specifics of that conversation, I will leave that to the President to do person to person face to face.

Yeah.

Q: Thank you, Jake. How confident is the U.S. that the U.S. and China can restore military-to-military communications? It’s now been more than a year since China suspended those talks. So, what are the main sticking points from the Chinese side?

MR. SULLIVAN: I’ll defer to — well, not defer to — refer to China on the sticking points because, ultimately, they will have to answer that for themselves.

The United States has been ready, for that entire period, to sustain military-to-military communications because we think it’s the only responsible thing to do.

Having our two militaries in communication is the way you reduce mistake, you avoid escalation, you manage competition so it doesn’t veer into conflict. That, to us, is an absolutely straightforward factor. And no matter what else is happening in the relationship, those military-to-military links should remain intact.

That’s our position going into San Francisco. We believe that the PRC has been constructive in the dialogue we’ve been having with them on this issue. We will see what happens in San Francisco and the President will be able to report after the meeting whether, in fact, we’ve made progress on restoring military-to-military links.

Yeah.

Q: What’s your assessment for why the Chinese has been willing to engage so much more in recent months? How much of it has to do with China’s economic struggles? And if that’s the case, how can you be sure that what comes out of APEC is long-lasting and not just tactical from the Chinese side?

MR. SULLIVAN: Well, look. I’m not going to speculate as to what China’s motives are. Again, that’s a question you should pose to them and — and they can lay it out for you.

I do think your question raises an important point, though, which is: Nothing stands still in the world, as we’ve just seen from the — The October 7th crisis. And there will be, you know, inevitably, things that arise that are unanticipated; there will be turbulence, as there always is. And the question is: Can we create the lines of communication and the broad parameters in the relationship so that, through whatever comes, we can manage competition responsibly so it doesn’t veer into conflict?

That’s what the President has set out to achieve in this summit with President Xi. And so, he sees this not just as a one-off meeting but as an important moment to be able to establish the kind of basis upon which we can proceed out into the future.

Yeah.

Q: Jake, you mentioned that you guys see this as an important meeting on Wednesday, but I’m curious: Will the President, during this time with the Chinese President, try to hold China accountable for the spy balloon this year?

I know, obviously, it seems like it was 20 years ago, but it was this year. The Chinese have said it was still a weather balloon. They said they should get the technology back. What kind of response are we going to see from the President this week on the spy balloon?

MR. SULLIVAN: Well, as I said before, I’m going to let the President be able to sit down with President Xi and speak to him person to person, face to face and, again, not be doing diplomacy from the podium. And we can report to you afterwards, consistent with whatever, you know, is appropriate to share publicly on these issues.

But I will say that President Biden took steps to take down that balloon once it was safe to do so and out of potential harm’s way to civilians. We were able to recover it, to exploit it. And from our perspective, the critical thing is that because we were able to protect ourselves along the way of that path, we do not feel that there was any information gain that was problematic.

And so, the United States, the President is going to focus at this point on how he stands up for and protects American interests going forward across the full range of challenges in this relationship, of which this is one.

Q: Do you want China to apologize?

MR. SULLIVAN: Again, I’m going to let President Biden speak to President Xi. I’m not going to stand here from the podium and, kind of, create threats or raise questions or make particular demands, because I think that will not be the most effective way to secure the diplomatic outcomes the American people are looking for.

Yeah.

Q: Thanks, Jake. How would you rate relations between the U.S. and China since President Biden’s meeting with President Xi last year? And what would you say that the U.S. has been able to achieve in the relationship as a direct result of their last meeting?

MR. SULLIVAN: Well, first, the most important thing is that this is a complex relationship, a competitive relationship that could easily veer into conflict or confrontation if it’s not managed. And so, managing the relationship in an effective way is the single most important responsibility of the President and everyone who works for him on this file.

And then, beyond that, the U.S. and China have to be able to speak directly to one another on all of the critical issues that face our two countries, including issues in moments of crisis, like the Russia-Ukraine crisis. And President Biden has had a number of candid conversations with President Xi about the question of military support to the Russian Federation in the conduct of its war with Ukraine.

President Biden has had the opportunity to engage, and so have the rest of us, on how we effectively manage peace and stability across the Taiwan Strait so we can sustain peace and stability across the Taiwan Strait.

So, those are some of the issues that, through intense diplomacy, we have been able to manage intense competition.

And then we will look for opportunities to actually generate affirmative outcomes that deliver tangible progress for the American people in areas where our interests overlap.

I mentioned, for example, the issue of fentanyl. We’re hoping to see some progress on that issue this coming week. And that could, then, open the door to further corporation on other issues where we aren’t just managing things, but we’re actually delivering tangible results. We’ll continue to work at that as we go forward.

Yeah.

Q: The U.S. yesterday launched its third round of strikes against facilities tied to Iran that were in Syria. I mean, you’ve said that this is, in part, to try to deter other attacks against U.S. servicemembers. But in the hours since that attack, at least four times, U.S. forces were hit in an attack. So, how is this a success if these incidents keep happening over and over?

MR. SULLIVAN: Our goal over time is to ensure that our forces are protected and that we respond if we get hit. That is what we have done; that is what we will continue to do. And this should be measured over the course of time, not over the course of 24 hours.

Now, if Iranian proxies continue to strike American forces, we will continue to respond. President Biden has been straightforward about that. We have followed through on that. We will continue to follow through on that, because the President’s view is, ultimately, he has got to look out and safeguard the security and the physical safety of all our forces in both Iraq and Syria.

We’re going to continue to do that. And we have made clear that, if we continue to get hit, we will respond.

Yeah.

Q: Is there an updated timeline for when the current funding to Ukraine is going to run out?

MR. SULLIVAN: So, I mean, there’s not a literal day on the clock. But each week that passes, our ability to fully fund what we feel is necessary to give Ukraine the tools and capacities it needs to both defend its territory and to continue to make advances, that gets harder and harder.

So, for us, the window is closing. But I cannot point to a date on the calendar because, of course, this is a dynamic situation. And we have to make decisions about drawdown packages, how we size them, what gets sent based on our assessment of the calendar of when we’re actually going to get a bill passed.

So, I can tell you it is already having an effect on our ability to give Ukraine everything it needs, and that effect will only compound over time.

We are still able to supply the military assistance that Ukraine has been asking for. But if we got full funding, we could do so on a much more certain and consistent basis. And that’s what we’re looking for.

Q: And there’s a report that President Biden and President Xi are going to agree to a ban on the use of artificial intelligence in autonomous weapons. Are you able to confirm that or if AI will be part of their discussion at all?

MR. SULLIVAN: Of course, AI will be part of the discussion, but I cannot confirm that report. I saw it this morning, and I’m not exactly sure where it came from.

Yeah.

Q: Thanks a lot, Jake. What’s your level of confidence that China has not provided to Russia any military equipment or munitions or technology as it relates to Russia’s war against Ukraine?

MR. SULLIVAN: Our latest assessment is that Russia ha- — excuse me, China has not provided weapons to Russia as part of the war in Ukraine. But I will come back to you to confirm that that remains our latest assessment as of today, because my information is a few days old.

Q: And then, on Gaza, if I may. What’s your satisfaction level as it relates to what was announced last week, this humanitarian pause? Would you like to see longer pauses beyond just four hours a day? Do you expect that to happen?

MR. SULLIVAN: Well, first, I think there are circumstances where more than four hours a day is going to be necessary. And, in fact, the Israeli government has recognized that. They’ve extended some of these pauses to seven hours, for example, to create the corridor so that people can move around safely.

We believe pauses should not be dictated by a strict timetable. They should be dictated by what is necessary to achieve the objectives. And those objectives are safe passage, the ability to move around humanitarian aid. And then, ultimately, we’d like to see considerable longer pauses — days, not hours – in the context of a hostage release, and that’s being actively worked on as well.

Yeah.

Q: On the five Army special ops forces that were killed in a helicopter crash in the Mediterranean over the weekend. Because they were there as part of the force buildup because of what’s happening in Israel, would you consider their deaths American casualties of that war?

MR. SULLIVAN: I would not. I would refer you to DOD for what the formal assessment would be.

But I would tell you, just as straightforward matter, we have forces deployed around the world in every theater. And, tragically, these training accidents do occur. This accident did not occur in combat. It occurred during a training mission. And that’s why, from my perspective, it would not be from this war.

Yeah.

Q: Thank you, Jake. I have two questions on Gaza. A hundred staff at the State Department and USAID accused the Biden administration of spreading misinformation. The Israelis newspaper (inaudible) said actually some of the Israelis who were killed were killed by Israeli army on October 7th, and the number is 1,200, not 1,400. And that’s not taking away from what happened on October 7th.

But you were adamant that you do not trust the Palestinian sources when it comes to casualties. So, accurate information is vital, especially in fighting antisemitism and Islamophobia. So, does the White House have credibility when it comes to information and accurate information? Can we rely on you when you stand at the podium and tell us certain information and statements?

MR. SULLIVAN: When I know information, I will tell it to you. When I don’t have information, I’m not certain about it – as earlier in this discussion when we were talking about the number of American hostages who are still alive, those who may have been actually killed by Hamas — I will tell that to you. If we get new information that supersedes the information we had before, I will tell that to you.

And we have a track record from day one of this administration to do all of those things. We will continue to do that every day. And I categorically reject the notion that we are peddling any misinformation.

Yeah.

Q: Okay. But an- — another question —

Q: Thanks, Jake. You said today, as you’ve said a number of times, about the importance of the laws of war being upheld. Israel has killed around 11,000 Palestinians. Around two thirds of those are women and children. The situation in the hospitals is dire. Israel has dropped an astronomical amount of ordinance in very built up areas. Is Israel, in your view, abiding by the laws of war? And if it is, how do you come to that conclusion?

MR. SULLIVAN: Well, as I said yesterday, I — Jake Sullivan, standing here – am not in a position to be judge and jury to make that determination. It’s a legal determination.

What I can do is state for you the clear policy of the Biden administration, which we have been unequivocal about from the beginning of this conflict. And that is that even through Hamas is using civilians as human shields, is burrowing into civilian areas with its rocket emplacements that they are continuing to launch every single day at civilian areas in Israel, that puts an added burden on the IDF but it does not lessen the responsibility to act in ways that separate terrorists from civilians and does everything in their power to protect civilian lives.

Q: But the –

MR. SULLIVAN: That is — that was the case. That remains the case today. That is the message that we’ve said publicly and we communicate to our Israeli counterparts privately —

Q: But —

MR. SULLIVAN: — and we do that on a daily basis.

Q: I’m just trying to be clear, though. The administration’s view is that the IDF is doing that?

MR. SULLIVAN: What I have told you is that I am not in a position to give you a legal determination to your question. I am not in a position to do that.

What I’m in a position to do is to state the U.S. government position on how Israeli operations should be conducted. And that is what I have done. This is what I continue to do. That is what I can do from this podium.

Q: Jake?

MR. SULLIVAN: Yeah.

Q: Thanks, Jake. Did Governor Gavin Newsom give the White House a heads up on the meeting with President Xi? And have you guys gotten a readout from his team since? And what did you make of all that?

MR. SULLIVAN: We — we had a heads up. We got a readout. In fact, Ambassador Nick Burns accompanied that delegation on that meeting. So, it was fully coordinated between the governor’s office and the U.S. State Department.

Of course, I won’t get into the details of that because those were private diplomatic conversations. But we’ve had a good opportunity to get a download, and we have from Senator Schumer’s bipartisan delegation. And Senator Schumer and I actually just spoke today about some of the outcomes of that conversation, which are feeding into work the President will do this week and hopefully help result in some tangible process.

Q: Jake?

MR. SULLIVAN: Yeah.

Q: Thank you so much. Do you intend at some stage to provide more details about the kind of military equipment Israel is getting from the United States and the way it’s using it?

MR. SULLIVAN: Yes, the Department of Defense will lay out what we are providing to Israel. I’ve stood up here before and told you about some of the key elements of that, which have included interceptors for Iron Dome, artillery ammunition, precision-guided munitions. And so, the DOD and the State Department will follow normal protocol in laying out the sales and transfers of weapons to Israel.

Yeah.

Q: Thank you, Jake. I have a question on your meeting with Yermak. But first, on the bilat.

As I understand, President Widodo will be bringing the resolution from the Organization of Islamic Cooperation, which includes a demand for immediate ceasefire and rejection of Israel’s justification that it’s actions in Gaza is self-defense. So, clearly on the international stage, President Biden is loosing ground on this issue. We see this at the U.N. every day. My question is: Is he ever at all concerned that he may be on the wrong side of history here? And how does he plan to engage with President Widodo on this issue?

MR. SULLIVAN: President Biden is looking forward to engaging with President Widodo across the full range of issues in the bilateral relationship and global issues.

On many issues, they will agree wholeheartedly. In fact, they’ll make significant progress. On other issues, they will have different perspectives.

President Widow’s position on the conflict in Gaza is well known, so is President Biden’s. They’ll both have the opportunity to respectfully exchange views on that issue.

They will also have the opportunity to elevate the U.S. – Indonesia bilateral relationship to a Comprehensive Strategic Partnership and to make tangible progress on issues like critical minerals, like clean energy cooperation, and like investment.

So, you will see this the — the fullness of this relationship between the United States and Indonesia but also the robustness of that relationship and the way in which it has advanced over the course of the past three years, notwithstanding the fact that there are differences of perspective on certain aspects of the ongoing crisis.

Q: Can I ask you about your meeting with Andriy Yermak —

MR. SULLIVAN: Yeah.

Q: Thanks, Jake. San Francisco has cleaned up their streets ahead of President Biden and President Xi’s meeting. They’ve moved homeless to other parts of the city, cleared tent cities and trash off the street. Is the President embarrassed that an American city needs to go through a total makeover to be presentable for his out-of-town guests?

MR. SULLIVAN: The President is incredibly proud of the record that the United States will bring as host to this summit, and I went through some of it today: the strongest economic record of any developed country, the lowest unemployment over a sustained period in half a century, far-reaching investments in innovation, in CHIPS, rebuilding America’s infrastructure.

So, actually, the — Joe Biden thinks he is walking into the summit on the front foot and able to showcase the United States as the premier destination for investment — good job-creating investment here in the United States — all of which will be on display while he is there.

And the countries of the world who are coming are coming with a recognition that the United States is in a strong — indeed, for a lot of people, an enviable economic position. And that is going to, I think, sustain him very effectively through the course of the week.

Q: But Governor Gavin Newson —

MR. SULLIVAN: Yeah.

Q: — said of the cleanup this: “I know folks are saying ‘Oh, they’re just cleaning up this place because all those fancy leaders are coming to town’ That’s true.” Does President Biden agree it’s more important to impress the leader of China than the American people that live in San Francisco and pay taxes every day?

MR. SULLIVAN: First, I’d completely reject the premise of your question. But secondly, I don’t know what — the context of what Governor Newsom said. So, I — I won’t respond to it.

Last question.

Q: Here in the back?

Q: Secretary Blinken said there were Hamas tunnels under schools, hospitals, and mosques. Does the U.S. have intelligence on this outside of what’s in the public domain to support this claim?

MR. SULLIVAN: So, I can’t speak to intelligence matters, as I’ve said before. And I hamstrung by that because, obviously, we have intelligence sources ourselves, but I’m not in a position today to be able to share that intelligence.

Q: And is it fair to say the conflict in the Middle East is now on at least three fronts — Israel-Hamas, Israel-Hezbollah, and U.S.-Iranian proxies?

MR. SULLIVAN: I think it’s — I wouldn’t necessarily describe it as a three-front conflict. I would accept there is an exchange of fire between Israel and Hezbollah, there’s an obvious ongoing military operation in Gaza, and, yes, we have been struck repeatedly by proxy groups of the IRGC in Iraq and Syria, and we have responded. Those are all — that is all correct.

Thank you, guys.

Q: Thank you for coming.

(Work in Progress)


December 2023:

December 13, 2023: The White House posted: “Statement from President Joe Biden on Baseless House Republican Impeachment Stunt

The American people need their leaders in Congress to take action on important priorities for the nation and world.

On Tuesday, I met with the President of Ukraine, who is leading his people in a battle for freedom against Russian aggression. He came to America to ask us for help. Yet Republicans in Congress won’t act to help.

The people of Israel are in a battle against terrorists, and they are waiting for our help. Yet Republicans in Congress won’t act to help.

We have to address the situation at our southern border, and I am determined to fix the problem. We need funding to strengthen the border security, but Republicans in Congress won’t act to help.

We need to continue our progress on the economy and make sure inflation keeps going down and job growth keeps going up. That means avoiding self-inflicted economic crises like a government shutdown, which Republicans in Congress are driving us toward in just a few weeks because they won’t act now to fund the government and critical priorities to make life better for the American people.

There is a lot of work to be done. But after wasting weeks trying to find a new Speaker of the House and having to expel their own members, Republicans in Congress are leaving for a month without doing anything to address this pressing challenges.

I wake up every day focused on the issues facing the American people – real issues that impact their lives, and the strength and security of our country and the world. Unfortunately, House Republicans are not joining me. Instead of doing anything to help make Americans’ lives better, they are focused on attacking me with lies. Instead of doing their job on the urgent work that needs to be done, they are choosing to waste time on this baseless stunt that even Republicans in Congress admit is not supported by facts.

The American people deserve better. I know what I am going to remain focus on. I would invite the Republicans in Congress to join me.


January 2024

January 5, 2024: As bipartisan talks on a deal linking stricter border security policies with Ukraine aid stretch on with no clear resolution in sight, Speaker Mike Johnson has a new problem: the growing number of House conservatives willing to shut down the government over it. (Politico)

There are just two weeks remaining before the first tranche of federal funding runs out on January 19, with a more high-profile group of agencies set to run dry on Feb. 2. And without a border agreement that Johnson can sell to the majority of the House GOP, he’s facing a growing rebellion among hardliners who want to pick a shutdown fight over surging migration at the nation’s southern border.

The idea began with Rep. Chip Roy (R-Texas), who floated it on social media, and others followed suit. Reps. Andy Biggs (R-Ariz.), Matt Rosendale (R-Mont.), Eli Crane (R-Ariz.), and Matt Gaetz (R-Fla.) reiterated the position during a House GOP trip to the border this week, with Biggs claiming: “No more money for his bureaucracy until you’ve brought this border under control.”

The Conservative House Freedom Caucus is hardly united behind the push to shut down the government over the border — and without a bigger swath of its members vowing to oppose any funding plan without a border deal, the speaker’s headaches may prove somewhat contained. The Louisiana Republican had demanded any Ukraine aid be tied to border changes, but never truly embraced the Senate’s ongoing partisan talks…

…House Republicans have a narrow three-vote majority, which will shrink to two after Rep. Bill Johnson (R-Ohio) leaves office on Jan. 21. That makes the burgeoning demands from his right flank more than enough to sink any spending bill that GOP leadership tries to pass along party lines. If Johnson leans too heavily on Democratic votes to pass a funding agreement, though, he could face fresh threats to his gavel…

…When it comes to government funding, Johnson would be able to sidestep frustration from his hardliners if he can strike a deal with Senate Democrats and the White House. That gets harder if he decides to try to link a GOP border bill to the government funding talks, an idea that’s DOA in the Senate.

“We have seen this failed playbook before, and here’s the bottom line: shutting the government down over extreme partisan policies … doesn’t solve a single problem — instead, it forces the personnel at our southern border to work without pay and seriously undermines the very agencies responding to the uptick in new arrivals,” said Senate Appropriations Committee Chair Patty Murray (D-Wash.)

While House Republicans have also used short-term funding extensions to buy more time since taking over the majority last year, that’s less likely to happen this time — the speaker is wary of turning to another stopgap bill after fierce backlash from his use of one in the fall…

January 7, 2024: The White House posted: “Statement from President Joe Biden on the Bipartisan Funding Framework”

The bipartisan funding framework congressional leaders have reached moves us one step closer to preventing a needless government shutdown and protecting important national priorities. It reflects the funding levels that I negotiated with both parties and signed into law late last spring. It rejects deep cuts to programs hardworking families count on, and provides a path to passing full-year funding bills that deliver for the American people and are free of any extreme policies. I want to thank Leaders Schumer and Jeffries for their leadership in reaching this framework. Now, congressional Republicans must do their job, stop threatening to shut down the government, and fulfill their basic responsibility to fund critical domestic and national security priorities, including my supplemental request. It’s time for them to act.


February 2024:

February 21, 2024: A leader of the Cherokee Nation is warning Speaker Mike Johnson (R-La.) to avoid a government shutdown, saying it would have a “devastating” impact on Indian County and the Cherokee Nation in particular. (The Hill)

A partial shutdown will begin on March 2 unless Congress takes action to extend funding. Appropriations covered by Agriculture, Energy-Water, Military Construction-Veterans Affairs, and Transportation-Housing and Urban Development bills would be the first to expire, with other appropriations running through March 8.

Congress is on recess, and the House is not set to return to Washington, D.C., until just before the first deadline.

“As the Principal Chief of the Cherokee Nation — the largest tribal nation in the United States with citizens in every state across the country, including Louisiana — I write to draw your attention to the devastating impact that a federal government shutdown will have not only on Cherokee Nation in particular, but also for Indian Country as a whole,” Chuck Hoskin Jr., the Cherokee Nation principal chief, write in the letter to Johnson.

The letter was addressed to Johnson on Feb 14, ahead of the annual National Congress of American Indians in Washington. He urged Johnson to “take this danger into account” as the March 1 and March 8 deadlines to pass funding bills approach.

Hoskin emphasized that essential tribal services such as health care, education programs and public safety that are funded by federal money will “be severely curtailed if Congress fails to keep the government open.”…

…If the federal government were to shut down, Hoskin said more than 142,000 Cherokee Nation citizens will not be provided with groceries, nearly 13,000 people will lose access to diabetes medication and cancer treatment and more than 1,000 will not be able to continue workplace training programs. He added that detention agreements “will have to be canceled,” which could release 85,000 “criminals before their sentences are served.”

Hoskin argued that if the federal government shuts down, it disrupts the Cherokee Nation’s ability to exercise sovereignty because it “cannot fully administer the programs that are central to our self-governance.” He added that the same is true for all tribal nations in the country, which will greatly feel the effects of a shutdown.

“I implore you, as Speaker of the House, to consider the broader implications of a government shutdown on Indian Country,” he wrote. “It is critical that the United Stats honor its commitments and responsibilities by finding a resolution that averts this crisis.”

February 21, 2024: The House Freedom Caucus pressed Speaker Mike Johnson (R-La.) to put forward a yearlong stopgap funding bill, which would trigger automatic cuts to government spending, if he can’t win concessions on controversial conservative policy riders. (The Hill)

In a letter to Johnson on Wednesday, the hard-line conservative caucus also asked for an update regarding spending talks with Democrats ahead of a March 1 deadline to prevent a partial government shutdown.

“With the expiration of government funding rapidly approaching, negotiations continue behind closed doors and as a result, we anticipate text for likely omnibus legislation that we fear will be released at the latest moment before being rushed to the floor for a vote,” the caucus stated in the letter. “House Republicans should not be left in the dark on the status of the spending levels and hard-fought policy provisions.”

Johnson has faced pressure from his right flank to hold the line for lower spending in ongoing bipartisan talks and to push for a laundry list of policy riders related to abortion, diversity initiatives, border issues and other GOP priorities…

…The letter comes as some members have already raised concerns that Congress could be headed for another short-term funding patch next week to keep various parts of the government open as bipartisan spending talks heat up…

February 23, 2024: Leaders in both parties are racing to secure a deal on government spending as the negotiation window quickly closes and the fears of a shutdown grow more pronounced. (The Hill)

Congress returns to Washington next week facing a pair of looming funding deadlines — March 1 for a handful of agencies and March 8 for the rest — leaving lawmakers with little time to iron out their differences and get bills to the floor to keep the government open.

While Speaker Mike Johnson (R-La.) has moved deftly to avoid a shutdown since taking the gavel in October, restive conservatives are losing patients with his willingness to cut budget deals across the aisle. And some observers on Capitol Hill are already warning that the current fight is the greatest shutdown threat of Congress.

“I’m worried. Of all the scares we’ve had since the last fiscal year, I think this is going to be the scariest. I think we could be in a world of hurt,” said a Senate GOP aide. “I don’t know if it’ll be a partial or full, but I think the chances of a shutdown are the highest we’ve had this fiscal year.”

Party leaders in both chambers have sought to assure the public — and the markets — that the sides will come together to adopt their appropriations bills and avoid any disruptions to government operations.

But a number of disagreements remain between the parties. And Johnson is facing additional pressure from within his own Republican conference, where conservatives are demanding right-wing policy riders that are a non-starter with Democrats in both Congress and the White House.

“I think the odds are 50-50 at this point,” Rep. Patrick McHenry (R.-N.C.) told CBS’s Major Garrett on “The Takeout” podcast this week.

McHenry, chair of the Financial Services Committee, called the current shutdown threat “a preventable disaster” — one that might have been avoided if party leaders had moved the spending bills late last year instead of kicking the process into an election year.

A deal is expected to be released as early as Sunday.

“All the Speaker has to do is allow the Appropriations Committee to go get a deal,” McHenry said. “If the Speaker wishes to stop it, for whatever reason, we’ll probably have a government shutdown.”

The debate is the latest challenge for Johnson who, less than four months into his Speakership, is facing the same dilemma over government funding that led to the removal of his predecessor. And his options all carry risks.

If Johnson brings bipartisan spending compromises to the floor, he could keep the government open but might face the conservative backlash that toppled former Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R.-Calif.). If he decided to block those spending bills, the government would likely shut down, providing a political gift to President Biden and the Democrats just months before November’s elections…

…Hard-liners are already turning up the heat on Johnson.

Twenty-eight members of the House Freedom Caucus penned a letter to the Speaker on Wednesday requesting an update on their conservative policy demands, which touch on a host of explosive topics that include abortion, immigration, and eliminating the salaries of certain federal officials.

Without those provisions, the hard-liners said, the House will have a difficult time wrangling GOP support for government funding…

…The demand for policy riders has already been squarely rejected by top Democrats, who are warning that any bill with those provisions will never reach Biden’s desk…

…Democrats have their own set of policy demands, including more funding for a federal program — the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children, known as WIC — that helps feed millions of low-income children and their mothers. WIC is facing a shortfall, and DeLauro and Democrats won’t support any spending bill that doesn’t fix it…

…As lawmakers barrel toward their fourth shutdown showdown this Congress — which as been billed the most unproductive in years — some member are openly airing their frustration with being unable to complete the “key” part of their job…

February 24, 2024: Speaker Mike Johnson (R.La.) is looking to prevent a partial government shutdown by moving a set of spending bills as a single package ahead of Friday’s deadline, according to a source familiar with the matter. (The Hill)

Johnson held a private call with GOP lawmakers Friday night and told members his goal is to pass a package of the four bills due Friday, known as a “minibus,” but warned the number of bills included in the package is up in the air, according to the source. Congressional leaders could release the compromise bills as soon as Sunday.

Johnson warned the lawmakers, however, that they will likely be “disappointed” with the final bills if they are expecting “home runs and grand slams” in them, according to a partial transcript of the call. Conservatives have been urging Johnson to insist on a number of controversial policy riders in the appropriations measures.

“I don’t think anybody on this call thinks that we’re going to be able to use the appropriations process to fundamentally remake major areas of policy. If you’re expecting a lot of home runs and grand slams here, I admit you’ll be disappointed,” Johnson said on the call.

“But we will be able to secure a number of policy victories, both in bill text and report language, or other provisions and cuts that severely undermine the administration’s programs and objectives. These bills will be littered with singles and doubles that we should be proud of, especially in our small minority.” he added…

…The House returns to session on Wednesday…

…The Speaker also floated the possibility of a continuing resolution to extend funding for some programs and agencies as negotiations continue, and acknowledge a short shutdown is possible if negotiators need a little more time to come to a consensus, according to the source.

Johnson, though, said he does not want to pass a continuing resolution, according to the lawmaker…

…Moving the spending bills as a package could frustrate conservative members, who have demanded a return to regular order that includes voting on individual appropriations measures. House lawmakers, however, are up against a clock, returing to the Capitol on Wednesday and facing the first deadline Friday…

…The current shutdown showdown marks the fourth time this Congress lawmakers are racing the clock to keep the lights on in Washington.

February 24, 2024: Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) made a plea for House Speaker Mike Johnson (R-La.) to pass aid to Ukraine, during a Friday interview. (The Hill)

“We need Speaker Johnson to make sure that we get that aid,” Schumer said in an interview with CNN’s Wolf Blitzer. “If he put the bill on the floor, it would pass. There are a good number of republicans in the House who know how important it is, and he has to see that history is on his back.”

“He cannot have obeisance to Donald Trump,” Schumer continued. “He has to do the right thing here.”

Schumer visited Ukraine Friday, as part of a congressional delegation set to meet with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky. The Senate Majority Leader also pushed Johnson to pass a national security spending package that the Senate passed last week, which features $60 billion in Ukraine aid…

…For his part, Johnson has pushed back against the Senate’s package, signaling that he won’t bring it to the House floor because it doesn’t have border security measures that the House Republicans want.

“[In] the absence of having received any single border policy change from the Senate, the House will have to continue to work its own will on these important matters,” Johnson said last week in a statement. “America deserves better than the Senate’s status quo.”…

February 25, 2024: House Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries (D-N.Y.) reiterated Sunday that House Democrats are “willing to find common ground” with House Speaker Mike Johnson (R-La.) on legislation, including ways to keep the government funded past the March 2 deadline. (The Hill)

“My view from the very beginning of this Congress is that, as House Democrats, we are ready, we’re willing, we’re able, to find bipartisan common ground on any issue, at anytime, anyplace, in order to make life better for the American people, to address issues related to the economy, public safety, national security,” Jeffries said in an interview on “The Cats Roundtable” on WABC 770 AM with host John Catsimatidis that aired Sunday.

“And we should always be willing to do that, and so, Mike Johnson and I speak regularly, try to figure it out, ‘Where are those places of commonality?” he added…

…The House unveiled their own legislation last week that would combine aid for Ukraine and border provisions that Republicans want. As Russia’s invasion of Ukraine hits two years, a bipartisan group of lawmakers have urged their colleagues to back the bill.

Congress is also dealing with the prospect of another government shutdown. Johnson on Friday said he would move a set of spending bills — as a single package — forward next week, ahead of the deadline, according to sources familiar.

Shutdown drama has divided Congress in the past, but Jeffries noted that while the two parties may not always agree, they should be able to work together professionally…

February 25, 2024: Congressional leaders are trading blame as both sides struggle to strike a bipartisan deal to stave off the threat of a partial government shutdown. (The Hill)

Lawmakers have until March 1. to pass legislation to fund the departments of Agriculture, Energy, Transportation, Housing and Urban Development and other offices for fiscal 2024 or risk their first partial government shutdown in years.

Leaders were expected to announce an announcement this weekend on potential next steps as spending talks continued over the current recess. But leaders on both sides said Sunday that more work is needed for both sides to reach a compromise…

…”We are mere days away from a partial government shutdown on march 1. Unless Repubicans get serious, the extreme Republican shutdown will endanger or economy, raise costs, lower safety, and exact until untold pain on the American people,” Schumer wrote in a letter to lawmakers.

However, Speaker Mike Johnson (R-La.) pushed back on Schumer’s comments shortly after.

“Despite the counterproductive rhetoric in Leader Schumer’s letter, the House has worked nonstop, and is continuing to work in good faith, to reach agreement with the Senate on compromise government funding bills in advance of the deadlines,” Johnson said.

“Leader Schumer’s letter fails to mention that many of the points still being debated come from New Democrat demands that were not previously included in the Senate bills,” He added. “At a time of divided government, Senate Democrats are attempting at this late stage to spend on priorities that are farther left than what their chamber agreed upon.”…

…The back and forth between both sides also comes as the House Freedom Caucus pushed the prospect of a yearlong stopgap funding bill. The legislation would trigger automatic cuts to government spending if the party doesn’t win concessions on controversial policy riders.

Some of the measures the ultraconservative caucus has pressed for include efforts to reduce “Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas’ salary to $0,” targeting the Pentagon’s abortion travel policy and defunding Planned Parenthood…

February 26, 2024: Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell (Ky.) vowed to reporters Monday that Senate Republicans would not let the government shut down, later warning colleagues on the floor that a government shutdown would be a political loser for fellow lawmakers. (The Hill)

“We’re not going to allow the government to shut down,” McConnell told reporters Monday as he walked to the Senate chamber to deliver his opening comments for the week.

The veteran GOP leader doubled down on his message on the Senate floor, urging colleagues to avoid a standoff that could wind up shuttering federal departments and agencies.

“Without action by Friday, the country would face needless disruptions to agriculture, transportation, military construction, and essential services at the VA,” McConnell warned colleagues on the floor in comments that also appeared to be directed at the House.

“So I’ll say at the outset what I’ve said every time Congress has faced this threat: Shutting down the government is harmful to the country. And it never produces positive outcomes — on policy or politics,” he said.

Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine), the vice chair of the Senate Appropriations Committee, said several “substantive” differences remain between Democratic and Republican negotiators in both chambers.

“I think we’re making real progress despite the chatter you may hear. I talked to the Speaker today and I’ve been in touch with the staff and also with my counterparts on the defense subcommittee,” she said, referring to her conversations with Speaker Mike Johnson (R-La.) and fellow members of the Appropriations panels.

She said the negotiations over some of the policy riders that House conservatives want to add to the package have been “elevated to the leadership” level.

“I’m hopeful that we can avoid a government shutdown, which would be a disaster, and actually move some bills this week. What I’m not sure of is what the exact plan for moving the agreed upon conference reports,” she said. “And which bills are in which packages.”

February 26, 2024: Conservatives’ demands for controversial policy additions to spending bills are stalling efforts to fund the government by Friday, nudging the country closer to a partial government shutdown and sparking frustration among lawmakers in both parties. (The Hill)

Congressional leaders failed to unveil the long-awaited compromise appropriations bills over the weekend, blowing through a Sunday target date floated last week and, as a result, leaving members wondering about a path forward just days ahead of the looming deadline.

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D.N.Y) said House Republicans were responsible for the holdup, writing in a letter to colleagues Sunday that conservatives in the lower chamber “need more time to sort themselves out.” Speaker Mike Johnson (R-La.), however, dismissed his “counterproductive rhetoric,” saying that new requests from Democrats had delayed the process.

The blame-game preview comes as hard-liners are pressuring Johnson to use the appropriations process to extract policy concessions from Democrats after the Speaker cut two previous spending deals with lawmakers across the aisle, which incensed members of the right-flank.

At the same time, Democrats, Senate Republicans and the White House are pushing for a bipartisan deal to keep the lights on in Washington, a message that will ring loud and clear for Johnson on Tuesday when President Biden hosts the top four congressional leaders to discuss government funding.

Those dynamics are thrusting the Speaker into a familiar — yet difficult — decision: Cave to conservatives and force a shutdown that would be politically perilous for Republicans, or break from GOP hard-liners and work out a spending deal with Democrats that risks sparking a rebellion on the right/

Prominent lawmakers are imploring him to choose the latter.

“It is my sincere hope that in the face of a disruptive shutdown that would hurt our economy and make American families less safe, Speaker Johnson will step up to once again buck the extremists in his caucus and do the right thing,” Schumer said Sunday.

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R.Ky.) — who on Monday said a shutdown would be “harmful to the country” — called for full cooperation among lawmakers in the sprint to avert a funding lapse.

“We have the means — and just enough time this week — to avoid a shutdown and to make serious headway on annual appropriations. But as always, the task at hand will require that everyone rows in the same direction: toward clean appropriations and away from poison pills.” McConnell said.

Congress enacted a stopgap bill last month that extended funding through March 1 for programs and agencies covered by four of the 12 annual spending bills, including military construction, water development and the departments of Agriculture, Energy, Veterans Affairs, Transportation, and Housing and Urban Development. Funding for the remaining eight bills will run out on March 8.

Senior negotiators in both chambers had been hopeful Congress could meet the March 1 deadline as lawmakers signaled some progress in spending talks in recent weeks. Johnson was also looking to move a package of the first four bills this week to stave off a partial shutdown, a source familiar told The Hill over the weekend.

Concerns, however, are already bubbling up that Congress is headed for another short-term funding patch as hard-liners dial up pressure on the Speaker to secure conservative policy wins in areas like abortion and the border.

Some on the right flank say they are willing to shut down the government absent any conservative wins…

…The House Freedom Caucus sent a warning shot to Johnson last week, demanding an update on their laundry list of policy requests and cautioning that if the priorities are not included in funding measures, he should not count on the bills receiving widespread GOP support in the chamber.

They are demanding policies that would eliminate the salaries of controversial Cabinet officials, target transgender- and abortion-related issues and gut the Biden administration’s climate initiatives, among other hot-button matters…

…Conversations about next steps will come to a head Tuesday, when President Biden is set to host the top four congressional leaders — Johnson, Schumer, McConnell and House Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries (D-N.Y.) — for a meeting at the White House to discuss government funding.

Biden is also expected to press leaders on the need to pass an emergency defense and foreign package that includes assistance for Ukraine and Israel, as well as funding to replenish U.S. weapons and munitions. The Senate approved a $95 billion package earlier this month that has been pushed aside by House Republicans, throwing the future of foreign aid into question.

“We also want to see that the government does not get shut down, it is a basic, basic priority or duty of Congress is to keep the government open,” White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said Monday when asked about the gathering. “So that’s what the president wants to see, he’ll have those conversations.”

February 26, 2024: Lawmakers are racing to avoid a partial shutdown by Friday’s funding deadline, an effort that grew more difficult over the weekend as leaders failed to reach a deal — and traded barbs who is responsible for the holdup. (The Hill)

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) announced Sunday that congressional leaders had not yet reached an agreement on compromise spending bills, blaming House Republicans for the delay. But Speaker Mike Johnson (R.La.) shot back, placing the onus on “new Democrat demands” in negotiations.

The Senate reconvenes Monday, and House lawmakers are back in Washington on Wednesday, leaving lawmakers just a handful of days to hash out their difference and approve appropriations bills — or, if needed, clear another short-term stopgap. Four spending measures are due Friday, and the remaining eight must be approved by March 8.

President Biden is hosting the top four Congressional leaders at the White House on Tuesday to discuss the upcoming government funding deadline and the Senate-passed foreign aid package that is awaiting action in the House…

Sprint to shutdown deadline

Government funding is at the top of the to-do list for Congress this week as lawmakers stare down a Friday deadline to pass four appropriations bills or face a partial shutdown.

It is the fourth time this Congress that members are facing a shutdown cliff.

Appropriators closed out the weekend without releasing the compromise spending bills that have been the subject of negotiations for months, putting lawmakers behind the eight ball as Friday’s deadline quickly approaches.

Funding for military construction, water development and the departments of Agriculture, Energy, Veterans Affairs, Transportation and Housing and Urban Development lapse Friday. Thee remaining eight spending bills expire March 8.

The top four Congressional leaders — Johnson, Schumer, House Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries (D-N.Y.) and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) — will convene at the White House on Tuesday to meet with Biden and discuss government funding and the stalled foreign aid package.

The “four corners” last met at the White House in January to discuss sending additional aid for Ukraine. Johnson, however, has been pushing for a one-on-one meeting with Biden to discuss national security and the border.

This week’s gathering comes after Schumer and Johnson played a round of the blame game over the weekend, holding each other responsible for the delayed announcement of the compromise appropriations bills.

February 26, 2024: President Joe Biden and House Speaker Mike Johnson have virtually no relationship. (Politico)

The two men holding the most powerful positions in the country have rarely talked. They don’t know each other. They are decades apart in age and miles apart in political philosophy.

Their lack of a meaningful relationship — let alone any relationship at all — has contributed to political friction and standstills over the past few months. But it’s putting an additional strain on the nation’s government this week, as both Biden and Johnson barrel toward another government funding deadline on Friday and into a third year of war in Ukraine as the underfunded country fights off Russia.

The White House has not taken Johnson up on his for a one-on-one meeting but the two are likely to square off Tuesday when the four congressional leaders meet at the White House where the president plans to discuss both the supplemental and government funding.

In the lead up to the meeting, there have been few signs of affinity developing between the two.

For Ukraine funding, the Biden administration is engaged in a public pressure campaign to effectively shame Johnson into allowing a vote on the floor. The government funding, the White House is working with Democratic allies who control the Senate ahead of a potential standoff with the GOP House…

…The theory that Washington best works on interpersonal relations is a bit of a glamorized and outdated view of politics. One doesn’t need to have tight friendships with lawmaker in order to win their votes.

But for Biden at least, gladhanding and human connection is core to his identity and one of the ways that he reportedly viewed his presidency as different from Barack Obama’s. He has prided himself on his personal engagement with the Hill, including the Republicans there. That he lacks those variables with the House Speaker is no small matter.

Many senior aides at the White House still feel like they don’t quite know how Johnson will lead his conference or get a major deal done, according to two aides granted anonymity to speak about internal conversations. There is a belief that Johnson’s foremost allegiance is to not get on the wrong side of Donald Trump. That has disappointed but not surprised the White House team. But it’s also frustrated them on occasion, including when the speaker moved to effectively kill border security and Ukraine aid legislation earlier this month.

Over time, the president’s aides have come to see Johnson as a useful political foil — ripe for attacks on the border, Ukraine and his support of “The Big Lie” — that could turn off swing voters and help both Biden and House Democrats this fall…

February 27, 2024: The White House posted: “Remarks by President Biden Before a Meeting With Congressional Leaders

THE PRESIDENT: All right. Well, thank you all for being here.

Look, I want to thank the leaders for being here today. We got a lot of work to do. We got to figure out how we’re going to keep funding the government, which is an important problem, an important solution we need to find. And I think we can do that.

And — and Ukraine — I think the need is urgent. I hope we get to speak to that a little bit. And I think the consequence of inaction every day in Ukraine are dire. I’ve been speaking to some of our — our G7 partners. And you just got back, Chuck.

LEADER SCHUMER: I did. I did. Yeah.

THE PRESIDENT: They’re very concerned.

And — and also, we need to — we — we need to — in terms of the supplemental, we need to deal with the Israeli portion. But that also contains a significant portion having to do with humanitarian assistance into the Palestinian area, which I think is important.

And we have to replenish the air defenses for Israel, and we have to work on making sure they don’t face the threat from — they can face the threat from the — from what’s going on in the Middle East, not just from Hamas but also from Iran

And so — and government funding, I’m sure you guys had all — that all taken care of. But all kidding aside, I think that it’s Congress’s responsibility to fund the government. We got to get about doing it. A shutdown would damage the economy significantly, and I think we all agree to that. And we need bipartisan solutions.

So, I want to hear from the group. And I want to hear from all of you here. So, thank you all for coming. And that’s what we’re going to be talking about. Thank you.

(Cross-talk.)

We’ll get a chance to talk afterwards.

February 27, 2024: The White House posted “Readout of President Biden and Vice President Harris’s Meeting with Congressional Leadership on Government Funding and the Bipartisan National Security Supplemental”

Today, President Biden and Vice President Harris met with Leader Schumer, Leader McConnell, Speaker Johnson, and leader Jeffries in the Oval Office about the urgency of keeping the government open and passing the bipartisan national security supplemental.

The President made clear that Congress must take swift action to fund the government and prevent a shutdown. A shutdown is unacceptable and would cause needless damage to hardworking families, our economy, and our national security. He emphasized that the only path forward is through bipartisan funding bills that deliver for the American people and are free of any extreme policies.

The President also emphasized the urgent need for Congress to continue standing with Ukraine as it defends itself every day against Russia’s brutal invasion. He discussed how Ukraine has lost ground, on the battlefield in recent weeks and is being forced to ration ammunition and supplies due to Congressional inaction. He underscored the importance of the bipartisan national security supplemental, which passed the Senate with overwhelming bipartisan support and would pass in the House if it was brought to a vote. He made clear that in addition to arming Ukraine and investing in America’s defense industrial base, the bill would help Israel defend itself against Hamas, and provide more humanitarian aid for those impacted by conflicts around the world, including Palestinian civilians who are experiencing dire humanitarian conditions.

February 27, 2024: Senate Republicans are trying to wave their House GOP counterparts away from blundering into a partial government shutdown at week’s end, something that looks increasingly likely given Speaker Mike Johnson’s (R-La.) unstable grip on power over a narrow majority. (The Hill)

GOP Senators warn a shutdown for any reason would be a political loser and imperil their prospects in November.

Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell (Ky.) delivered a stern message to his GOP colleagues Monday afternoon, warning them that shutting down the government is not an option.

“Shutting down the government is harmful to the country. And it never produces positive outcomes — on policy or politics,” he warned on the Senate floor.

Congressional leaders failed to release the text over the weekend for legislation to fund military construction and the departments of Veterans Affairs, Agriculture, Energy, Transportation and Housing, and Urban Affairs, setting the stage for a partial government shutdown after March 1.

Senate Republicans expressed frustrations Monday afternoon over the failure to reach an agreement, noting that the funding levels of the bill have already been worked out and that a standoff over controversial policy riders is gumming up the process.

McConnell warned that if lawmakers fail to meet Friday’s deadline, “the country would face needless disruptions” in those areas.

He added that funding the government “will require that everyone rows in the same direction: toward clean appropriations and away from poison pills.”

McConnell’s comments appeared directed at the Speaker and House conservatives who are insisting on adding controversial policy riders to the government funding package, according to Senate aides familiar with the negotiations.

The House Freedom Caucus last week submitted to Johnson a list of more than 20 policy riders they don’t want to add to the annual spending bills, including a proposal to zero out Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas’s salary, block the Pentagon’s ability to reimburse the travel costs of service members who obtain abortions and defund elements of the Biden administration’s climate agenda.

Members of McConnell’s leadership team echoed his warning that stumbling into a government shutdown would boomerang on Republicans eight months before Election Day, which will decide control of the White House, Senate and House…

February 27, 2024: Jousting among House Republicans and the rest of Washington is by now a familiar exercise. Lawmakers who are fresh from a recess will join President Biden today to replay a debate about an imminent shutdown and who might be blamed by voters. (The Hill)

The president will describe Ukraine’s urgent military needs, and he’ll try to deflect criticism about a migrant crisis at the U.S. southern border by pointing to his planned Thursday visit to Brownsville, Texas. His message to Republicans, according to the White House, will be, “Stop playing politics.”

The odds are slim that Congress and the administration will sit down today and hatch a plan to prevent a lapse in funding by Friday while settling immigration differences, including a divide between House and Senate Republicans, as well as an accord that might loosen Congress’s purse strings to bolster allies in Kyiv and Israel.

Biden will meet in the Oval Office this morning with four House and Senate leaders in what is expected to be a group restatement of position and a flurry of finger-pointing.

Speaker Mike Johnson (R-La.) has been criticized within his own party for being a shape-shifting leader who can be slow to make decisions. The conservative House Freedom Caucus wants Johnson to press again for deep spending cuts. House Democrats will not back proposed GOP add-ons to spending measures dealing with abortion, LGBTQ and other cultural touchstones.

February 27, 2024: Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D.N.Y.) ahead of a White House meeting Tuesday called on Speaker Mike Johnson (R.La.) to “reject the MAGA hard right, which wants a shutdown.” (The Hill)

Schumer is ramping up his rhetoric ahead of a Tuesday midday meeting at the White House with Johnson, President Biden, Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell (Ky.) and House Democratic Leader Hakeem Jeffries (D-N.Y.).

The nation faces a partial shutdown this weekend, with the Department of Energy and other agencies closing, unless Congress takes quick action.

“Agriculture, transportation, veteran’s programs and more will be thrown into chaos this Friday if we fail to extend funding,” Schumer warned on the Senate floor. “As I’ve said throughout the 118th Congress, there is no justification — none — for provoking a government shutdown.”

He said Democrats “strongly oppose shutdowns” and many of his Senate Republican colleagues, including McConnell, feel the same way, but he argued that Johnson is under pressure from House conservatives to take a hard line in negotiations over any bills to fund the government past the end of this week.

“Look, we realize the Speaker of the House is in a difficult position, but he must reject the MAGA hard right, which want’s a shutdown,” Schumer said, asserting the view “does not represent a majority of the Republicans in the House.”

Schumer said a small group of House conservatives who have demanded more then 20 controversial policy riders be added to government funding legislation “are trying to bully everyone else into submission to get what they want.”

“And what they want, make no mistake about it, they say it openly is a government shutdown,” he claimed…

…Funding for military construction and the departments of Veterans Affairs, Agriculture, Energy, Transportation and Housing and Urban Development will expire after March 1. Funding for other federal departments and agencies, including the department of Defense, Homeland Security, and Health and Human Services will expire after March 8.

February 27, 2024: The White House posted “Press Briefing by Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre and White House National Security Advisor John Kirby

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: Good afternoon. Hello. Okay, I have a couple of things at the top, and then we’ll get going.

A short time ago, President Biden and Vice President Harris concluded a meeting with congressional leaders on the need to keep the government open and pass the national security supplemental.

In the meeting, the President made clear that Congress must take swift action to fund the government and prevent a shutdown. A shutdown would cause needless damage to hardworking families, our economy, and our national security. The only path forward is through bipartisan bills that are free of extreme politics.

The President also emphasized the urgent need to Congress — for Congress to stand with Ukraine as it defends itself against Russia’s brutal invasion.

Ukraine has lost ground on the battlefield in recent weeks and is being forced to ration ammunition and supplies due to congressional inaction.

The bipartisan national security supplemental passed the Senate with overwhelming bipartisan support — 70 to 29 — and would pass in the House if it was brought to a vote.

It would arm Ukraine, invest in America’s defense industrial base, help Israel defend itself against Hamas, and provide humanitarian aid for people impacted by conflicts, around the world, including Palestinian civilians.

The President called on the House to support of national security and pass the supplemental, and made clear the dire consequences if they failed to act.

Now, today, in the wake of the Alabama Supreme Court decision threatening access to IVF treatment, HHS Becerra — Secretary Becerra is in Alabama today to hear from families and healthcare professionals.

Today’s visit is a critical part of the Biden-Harris administration’s ongoing work to hear directly from families impacted by the Republican elected officials’ extreme agenda.

The Biden-Harris administration will continue to fight back against attacks on reproductive freedoms, whether that’ attacks on abortion care, birth control access, and now IVF access. It is absolutely unacceptable to this administration when women are denied the care they need.

President Biden and Vice President Harris will continue to work to protect access to reproductive healthcare and call on Congress to restore the protections of Roe v. Wade in federal law for all women in every — in every state.

And some news for you today. This Sunday, March 3rd, Vice President Kamala Harris will return to Selma, Alabama, to commemorate the 59th anniversary of Bloody Sunday by joining the march across the Edmund Pettus Bridge.

While there, she will deliver remarks on honoring the legacy of the Civil Rights Movement and the Biden-Harris administration’s continued work to achieve justice for all and encourage Americans to continue the fight for fundamental freedoms.

Ala- — Alabama will be the 12th state the Vice President has traveled to in 2024 after visiting 24 states in 2023.

With that, my colleague, Admiral John Kirby from NSC, is here to give any updates in the Middle East.

Admiral.

MR. KIRBY: Thanks, Karine.

I think — good afternoon.

Q: Good afternoon.

MR. KIRBY: I think as you may know, USAID Administrator Samantha Power is in Israel this week for a series of meetings, including ongoing efforts by the United State to increase the delivery of lifesaving humanitarian assistance to civilians that live in Gaza.

Today, the Administrator announced that the United States will provide an additional $53 million in urgently needed humanitarian assistance, which will include assistance to the World Food Program and other international NGOs providing resources for food, shelter, water, medicine, sanitation, hygiene all to the people of Gaza and the West Bank.

This brings the total amount of funding announced by the United States government since the 7th of October to more than $180 million.

Now, there is no question that much more aid is needed to address the critical and urgent needs on the ground. That’s why President Biden and the entire team will continue to work every day to increase the flow of humanitarian assistance into Gaza while also prioritizing the safety of civilians and aid workers.

That’s also why we are working so hard on a temporary ceasefire to not only get the hostages out and the fighting paused, but all — to get that critical humanitarian assistance in and to increase the flow. There’s just not enough getting in right now.

There was significant progress towards those ends last week following U.S. engagements in the region. We are building on that progress this week, and the President and his team remain engaged around the clock with multiple partners in the region.

But, as the President said in the last 24 hours or so, there is no deal as of yet and there is a lot more work to do.

Speaking of more work to do, the United States took additional action to counter terrorist financing and to disrupt Houthi attacks on international shipping.

In coordination with the United Kingdom, we sanctioned the Deputy Commander of Iran’s IRGC, Mohammad Reza Falazadeh, for his role as a Houthi-affiliated operative and for owning and operating a vessel used to ship Iranian commodities in support of both the Houthis and the IRGC.

We also designated two additional companies that own and operate a vessel involved in shipping more than 100 million dollars’ worth in Iranian commodities on behalf of Iran’s Ministry of Defense.

The Biden administration has now administered over 55 separate Iran sanctions rollouts targeting more than 550 individuals and entities.

All told, we’ve targeted — taken targets with Iran’s involvement in human rights abuses; hostage-taking; missile, drone, and non-pro lifer — proliferation programs.

We have no plans to lift, waive, or provide any new sanctions relief for Iran, and we will continue to look ways — for ways to take action and to hold them accountable.

And with that, I’d take some questions.

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: Go ahead, Josh.

Q: Thanks, Karine. John, two subjects. First, with regard to Israel and the possible ceasefire, a senior official from Egypt told AP that there is a six-week ceasefire that could go into effect, with Hamas agreeing to free up to 40 hostages and Israel would release at least 300 Palestinian prisoners. Would those terms provide sufficient incentives to both sides to find a way to work together?

MR. KIRBY: We’re still negotiating, and I am not going to negotiate from the podium. I’m not going to comment about those particulars.

We’re still working out the modalities of this — of this arrangement and we’re hopeful that we can get there.

Q: And then, secondly, Secretary Yellen said today that she was looking toward unlocking the value of some $300 billion in frozen Russian assets to aid Ukraine. Does she want to spend that money? Or is the U.S. looking to use it as collateral for, like, a debt insurance?

MR. KIRBY: What we’re talking about here is the potential for using frozen assets. Back in 2022, we froze some 300 billion dollars’ worth of Russian assets at the beginning of the war.

What we’re talking about is the potential of using some of those frozen assets to assist Ukraine in their ability to defend themselves but also to potentially assist with reconstruction in Ukraine.

Now, that — that — also, we believe Russia needs to be responsible for the damage they’ve caused in Ukraine. So, it’s not going to let them off the hook for that, but it could be used for that purpose as well.

Q: But — but are you going to spend it, or are you going to use it in an alternative way and keep it intact?

MR. KIRBY: Again, the idea would be exploring the option of being able to use those frozen assets to help Ukraine as they defend themselves and as they try to recover from two years of war.

But I want to make a couple of things clear. Number one, we still need more legislative authorities from Congress for the President to be able to act on that, to, quote, unquote, “spend it” the way you’re talking about.

Number two — and this is not an unimportant thing, and the Secretary said this as well — we’ve got to have coalition — our coalition partners, who also were involved in the freezing of these assets, to come along with us.

And so, the conversations we’re hape- — hap — havining — I’m sorry. The conversations we’re having now are with our allies and partners about — about making sure that they’re on board with the usage of these frozen assets.

Q: Thank you, Karine. John, thank you. “Next Monday” is a very specific date that the President offered up for when this ceasefire could begin, especially, as you mentioned, if negotiations are still ongoing. So, can you provide any insight about why he offered up the date of next Monday and what has to happen between now and then?

MR. KIRBY: He told you himself that he was getting advised by his national security team, particularly our National Security Advisor, about the progress that we were making and the — the direction in which the talks were going. We’re — we’re hopeful and cautiously optimistic that we’ll be able to get this pause in place very, very soon.

Q: And then, secondly, has the President been briefed or seen Israel’s plan to evacuate Rafah?

MR. KIRBY: We have not been presented with such a plan.

Q: Thank you.

Q: Admiral, the President referred to his hopes for a ceasefire. You have used the word “pause.” Previously, he has talked about the “temporary ceasefire.” Is he shifting his sense of what kind of cessation in violence would be? How long it would be? Anything on that that is new, in his view?

MR. KIRBY: I wouldn’t say that there’s anything new, Kelly. I mean, a humanitarian pause, temporary ceasefire, they’re rough – –they’re roughly the same things. We’re not talking about anything different.

Q: There’s a political —

MR. KIRBY: What we’re hoping to d- —

Q: — difference, though. When the President says “ceasefire,” it carries a different sort of weight.

MR. KIRBY: What we’re hoping to do is get an extended pause in the fighting — I’ve just called it a “temporary ceasefire” myself — that would allow for several weeks — hopefully, up to six — where there will be no fighting so that we can get all the hostages out, increase the flow of humanitarian assistance but, just as critically, get the fighting stopped so that there’s no more civilian casualties and there’s no more damage to civilian infrastructure.

Now, the last pause was a week. What we’re hoping for is much more aggressive than that. And as we’ve said before, we also hope that if we can get that in place — and both sides can abide by it for the course of several weeks, maybe up to six — that maybe that could lead to something more in terms of a — a better approach to end the conflict writ large.

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: Go ahead, Selina.

Q: Thanks, Admiral. Just to follow up on Weija’s previous question, though. We’ve learned, according to an Israeli source, that Netanyahu was quite surprised by the President’s comments about his expectations that there would be a ceasefire by Monday. So, that doesn’t bode a lot of optimism that one of the key parties was surprised by that timeline the President had set. So, why did he say Monday?

MR. KIRBY: I can’t speak for the surprise that foreign leaders have or don’t have with regard to things that we’re saying.

The President talked to you all after staying completely up to speed — and he has been kept up to speed — on how these negotiations are going. And he shared with you some context. And he certainly share with you his optimism that we can get in — in, hopefully, a short order.

But he also said, you know, it’s not all done yet. And you don’t — and you don’t have a deal until you have a deal. W