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FS23 WH BRFG HEAD ON 1230 CSPAN POOL 125021 PSAKI>> Good afternoon. We have another visitor and guest with us here today. The January jobs report, which we all saw came out this morning, is disappointing and underscores the need to act swiftly to deliver immediate relief to American families. The bottom line is our economy is digging out of a hole worse than the depths of the great recession at a crawling -- and moving at a crawling pace. 125048 Today, we're joined by a member of the council of economic advisers, Gerald Bernstein, who will walk through numbers and how they serve in the emergency of the American rescue plan. [12:51:02 pm] BERNSTEIN>> Thank you to Jen and the team who helped me be here today. This's morning's unemployment report revealed a stall in the American job cremaion machine and underscores how precarious a situation our economy is in. Lack of job growth is a result of our failure to act appropriately in response to this immense dual crisis, and our economy and our families cannot afford to faito act once again. Strong relief is urgently and quickly needed to control the virus, get vacts ine shots in arms, and finally Laun a robust, equitable, and racially inclusive recovery. Getting to the numbers of the report, the economy added 49,000 [12:52:04 pm] jobs in January after losing 227,000 jobs in December. The three-month trend, I find it useful to smooth out these monthly numbers over a few months, and the three-month trend is a weak 29,000 jobs per month. Downward revisions to the data in November and December totaled 160,000, so those are negative sions those months' earlier reports, and the economy, as I mentioned, has averaged 29,000 jobs over the past three months. Now, if you compare that to the trend over the prior three months, that trend was closer to 1 million. So you see a really very significant if downshift in the pace of job creation. Is this pace is far below the rate necessary to pull usut of the pandemic jobs deficit. There are about 10 million fewer jobs now relative to February. The unemployment rate fell to 6.3% which still remains all three points above the rate of 2020 of 3.5% before the [12:53:06 pm] pandemic. Over the same period, more than 4 million workers have dropped out of the labor force. Ouif you drop out of the labor force, you're not counted in the unemployment rate. Those dropouts have been disproportionately women. In januaryjanuary, according to the bureau of labor statistics today, 14 million said, quote, they were unable to work because their employer closed or lost business due to the pandemic. Is number has been about the same since October after falling in the wake of the implementation of the cares act from may to September. Long-term unemployment has risen. This is a great concern of the administration, reflectihe duration of the economic crisis and the fact that E virus was unconstrained during most of last year. Almost 40% of the unemployed in January had been so for half a year, 27 weeks or more. This 40% is an elevated rate, and it represents a shift from from temporary layoffs to permanent. Unemployment. Workers of color have been more likely to lose their jobs than white workers. In January, the unemployment rate for black workers was 9.2% and was 8.6% for Hispanic workers compared to 5.7% for whites and 6.64 Asian workers. While the unemployment rate for men and women is relatively similar women have left the labor force in numbers that are of great concern to us. The [12:54:31 pm] employment rate among what we call Prime age workers. Women 25 to 54 is down 4% points 2.6 million women since February. This larger decrease for women is unusual in recessions and likely reflects both the industries that this pandemic has hit. Tourism services face to face industries, leisure and hospitality restaurants on increased care responsibilities that have been pulling woman out of the labor force. Certain industries have been especially hard hit. As I mentioned the unemployment rate for leisure and hospitality workers is around 16% the elevation and long term unemployment is especially salient since benefits for these workers will expire soon without further congressional action. Today's report is yet another reminder that our economy is still climbing out of the hole deeper than that of the great recession and needs additional relief to ensure that the pandemic can be brought under control. Families and businesses can stay solve it and make it the other side of this crisis and that workers can feed their families and keep a roof over their head. [12:55:34 pm] With that. All right. I'm gonna be the moderator forever. Q&A 125533 Q>> Thanks for that summar. So, a couple questions related to this. First, as far as the $1400 checks, Jerry. Do you think that, I mean, is there any economic argument for why those shouldn't go to a broader group of people? Is there any argument for raising the threshold that you would need to qualify for that? And then I have a follow up as well. 125556 BERNSTEIN>> I think the key argument there is that there are families throughout, not just the lower part of the income scale, but in the middle part of the income scale that have been suffering and trying, doing everything they can to get through this crisis. The president has been very clear on an important point here, which is that if you look at teachers, if you look at folks who are in blue collar professions, if you look at retail workers, health care workers. 125627 If those folks were unemployed, they can get unemployment coverage, and that helps them. But many of those folks have kept their jobs. Many of them are essential workers. [12:56:35 pm] Yet they've lost hours. They've lost wages. They're struggling to make ends meet. They face nutritional constraints. Often they face foreclosure or eviction moratorium, which by the way. For parents when it comes to mortgage does not mean forgiveness. So many of these families are accumulating significant debt that will come due. Now in terms of the parameters. You asked about this, Let's do just a little bit of wonky policy analysis. If that's okay there three parameters and play here When we're talking about the checks, there's the threshold. Where they where they come in. There's the level. The president has been firm on 1400, a zey level, which, you know, plus, the 600 gets you to 2000. And then there's the phase out, and it's the phase out range. That is a that I would say is a variable under discussion in negotiations that are ongoing. There hasn't been a conclusion. But as the president has said [12:57:34 pm] he is open to that discussion. Just as far as what is the economic argument for changing that those phase out of numbers is? I mean, why Why shouldn't you just go with what you originally proposed? 125740 BERNSTEIN>> I think the argument is one that we've heard consistently from some critics, which say that those at the very top of the scale, when you get into the realm of, you know, a $300,000, I think has been mentioned, 125752 You know, I think it's arguable that those folks don't -- don't need the checks. I think what's important to the president is that we don't lose sight of people in the middle of the income scale who continue to struggle with both the health and economic fall out from this crisis, and these checks target them effectively and efficiently. By the way, this is an important thing that comes from some work by the group. [12:58:15 pm] I tap into for taxation neck on the policy. If you look at the distribution, who gets the checks, it actually virtually none of it goes to the very top of the scale and the vast majority goes to the middle of the bottom. Their [12:58:34 pm] percentage gains in income from the checks are double digits compared to those at the top of the scale. So I think, Theo, I think that we have to understand the targeting this case means reaching families at the low end of the middle and families who have been hit and are struggling with this crisis. One more. Do you think that just beyond this bill that there needs to be more reform around automatic stabilizers, unemployment insurance, like do you need to do more so that the next time we hit something like this? Ever since. The president has on occasion talked about this point and said that if our automatic stable or if our automatic stabilizers are key to economic indicators or health indicators, That is a potentially useful policy advance. I know that's ah Treasury Secretary Ellen has talked about that as well. Right now, you know, we're kind of past the stage of thinking about. Uh huh. We're right now. [12:59:37 pm] We're really at a point where we have a package that is calibrated to meet the urgency of the moment and that's the American rescue plan. So that's what we want to focus on there. All kinds of interesting policy discussions we could and should have, and I think that's one of them. But for now, what we need to do is get this package out there on beat the urgency of the moment. Thank you for being here. I want to ask you about some of the criticism by former colleagues Larry Summers, of course. Former top economic. Was working with President Barack Obama, Treasury secretary he has acknowledged to bail out in 2009 by his own admission, he says didn't go far enough. But he says that this $1.9 trillion proposal is so big. That risk Progressive priorities in the future, and Cruz potentially undermine the economy next year. Is the Biden administration going too big? 130026 BERNSTEIN>> No, I firmly would disagree with that contention. By the way, I wouldn't call the other thing a bailout. That was the recovery act, and I think that also was an effective measure. But I think that the idea now is that we have to hit back hard. We have to hit back strong if we're going to finally put this dual crisis of the pandemic and the economic -- the economic pain that it is in engendered behind us. 130059 With respect to Larry's point, I mean, one thing is just wrong, which is that our team is dismissive of inflationary risks. We've constantly argued that the risks of doing too little are far greater than the risk of going big. Providing families and businesses with the relief they need to finally put this virus behind us. 130118 Second, I want to quote Fed chair Jerome Powell, who strongly reiterated this view the other day, I think it was just a week or so ago, that inflationary risks are also asymmetric right now. When asked about this precise trade off that you're asking me about, he said, and I'm quoting, "I'm much more worried about falling short of a complete recovery and losing people's careers and lives that they built because they don't get back to work in time. 130143 I'm more concerned about the damage that will do not just to their lives, but to the United States economy, to the productive capacity of the economy. I'm more concerned about that than about the possibility which exists of higher inflation." So this is risk management. This is balancing risks. And in our view, the risks of doing too little are far greater than the risk of doing too much. 130206 Q>> And just one more question. This Senate moved forward with a measure that did not include an increase in the minimum wage. Has president Biden come to a determination that that's not going to be a part of the final package in order to get this passed, in order to get the Democratic support that he needs? 130221 The president has consistently argued that a minimum wage, $15 an hour, is essential to make sure that people, many of whom, millions of whom, are essential workers are not toiling at a minimum wage of 7.25 per hour, which is the federal minimum wage. 130244 This -- This idea that somehow, and I've heard this in many questions, that this is this idea that the minimum wage is somehow orthogonal to this package makes no sense to me. Because it is a efficient and effective way to raise the pay of people who are in the bottom end of this workforce. [1:03:02 pm] Essential workers in retail trade in health care. Sanitation People who are keeping this economy going, but consistently under compensated for it. The final package. I'm not gonna negotiate that from the podium. Assed They say Wait. I have E Have I have one other point? I wanna make that getting back to the to the argument with Larry. This is this is K. From my perspective is an economist who throughout my career has been motivated [1:03:41 pm] and concerned. I think the theme of my work has always been. Making sure that this economy that our economy American economy provides ample opportunities for people from all walks of life from all parts of the income scale. Men and women, persons of color communities of color have the opportunities they need to realize their potential and right now. There is deep, unused capacity in this con in this economy, which is targeted by the American rescue plan. There are 10 million unemployed people. There are 2.5 fewer women in the labor force than last year as I mentioned black and Hispanic unemployment rates are 9% We've got a job market in stall. The risk is a deflationary risk, which motivates us to go home or to go bigger to go home and the costs of inaction of not addressing these risks are to statement too costly to these vulnerable to these vulnerable groups relative to the likelihood of overheating. That's the way I think about it. Thank you. Q>> Just one more [1:04:42 pm] follow up from the other Christian. Uh he's the White House's economic team. Is there anyone on the team that is concerned that the 1.9 million. It's too big is too much for is everybody in agreement. 130451 BERNSTEIN>> The White House economic team is in complete consensus on the urgency, of the need for this American rescue plan and in complete solidarity on the calibration of this plan, that it's of the magnitude to meet the challenges we face. 130514 Again, the -- with respect to Larry and his piece, it's just flat out wrong that our team is, quote, "dismissive of inflationary risks." Any -- Janet Yellen is our Treasury Secretary. Okay? She knows a little something about inflationary risks and has tracked that kind of, you know, has tracked that that economic issue forever. [1:05:37 pm] you I just quoted from you from drone [1:05:44 pm] pal, whose job is to manage that risk against the risk of slack in the job market against the risk of persistent unemployment against the risk of people getting stuck in joblessness so they can't get back out and get back into the job market against the risk of scarring in the economy meaning not doing enough about current damages so that they become permanent damage is that people can't get back into the labor market. And businesses. That should and would be viable on the other side of this crisis fail because we haven't taken the steps to get them through to the other side of the crisis so that the team has all of our oars in the water, pulling in exactly the same direction on that. Question 130618 MARY BRUCE Q>> One other question on Larry Summers's criticism, not to belabor this point, but he also raises some questions about your future agenda. He notes that you will have committed 15% of GDP with this bill with basically no increase in public investments. Is this a concern going forward? Where will you find the money to build back better as the president has promised? 130637 BERNSTEIN>> You know, I think the way President Biden talks about this is -- is not just resonant, but is also -- follows an economic logic that I think is very strong. Rescue, recovery. The rescue plan, the American rescue plan gets this economy and the families and the businesses in it to the other side of this crisis by finally controlling the virus, producing, distributing the vaccine, and giving people the relief they need to get to the other side. 130706 But simply getting back to where we were is a bar that's far too low for the Biden/Harris administration, and that's where building back better in the recovery plan comes in. These are structural changes, by the way, many of which, as the president has said, permanent programs should be paid for. So, these are structural programs that, not in a cyclical sense dealing with kind of getting to the other side of the crisis, but deal with the structural challenges we face in climate, in education, in care, in poverty, in racial discrimination. 130737 And I am -- infrastructure, I am wholly confident in this president and this administration's ability to go forth and make a strong case for rescue now, get folks -- get the economy to the other side of the crisis, pursue the recovery, the building back better agenda. As I say, I'm confident about that. [1:08:00 pm] one point and then I'll stop. Infrastcture. I was I get asked about this a lot. The implication kind of question is that well, infrastructure is a Democrat thing, and you'll have a hard time with that. Me tell you a little act of, um I was testifying. Sometime year or two ago. In the house, And when I finished my testimony, a couple of Republicans and I won't name them because this was a private moment, pulled me aside and said, Hey, Democrats come here and. They said. We want to do infrastructure, but we can't do it because our boss president Trump doesn't have a plan. The plan was really an asterisk. There are I guess I guarantee you there are politicians on both sides of the aisle. Who are champing at [1:08:47 pm] the bit to Make investments in public goods in this country to do an infrastructure bill that, uh. Prepares not just maintenance but gets into clean energy into broadband in tow, the kinds of investments that you've heard the president talked about, so I am confident that. We work on rescue Now we'll get to recovery next. Thank you. Thank you very much. Thank you. People often ask me what my favorite part of this job is that I get to call Jared Bernstein or Jake Sullivan and talk to them about questions and bring them in here as often as we can, and that's how it should work. I have a couple of items at the top just to Go over and update you all on, um first sorry, C. A 3 P.M. This afternoon, Vice President Harris and Secretary of the Treasury Janet Yellen will hold [1:09:47 pm] a virtual round table with participants from local black chambers of commerce from across the country to discuss the importance of passing the American rescue plan. Local chamber representatives will share on the ground experiences during this crisis. Ask the vice president secretary questions and discuss how small businesses in their community are faring right now and what they need. Brief note on the tragic deaths of two FBI special agents earlier this week. Acting attorney General Money Wilkenson will lead the delegation to both special agent Laura Schwartz and burgers Memorial Service on Saturday, and special Agent Daniel Alphonse Memorial Service on Sunday. At the request of the president, Homeland Security adviser Lesher. Dr Alicia would Randall will accompany the acting attorney general to Sunrise, Florida this weekend to attend both services. Last item tomorrow. The White House. Sorry that I ever week ahead tomorrow, The White House will launch a new effort for the president to regularly communicate directly with the American people. This was a [1:10:48 pm] question one of your colleagues asked earlier this week. There is a time honored tradition in the country of hearing from the president in this way from fdr's fireside chats to Ronald Reagan, establishing the weekly presidential radio address. President Biden will continue that tradition and we expect it to take on a variety of forms. The inaugural edition will be a conversation between the president and Michelle, who lives in Roseville, California and lost her job at a startup clothing company because of the pandemic. Look for that tomorrow on the White House digital channels 131112 Finally, next week, the president will be focused on engaging with bipartisan groups on the American rescue plan and other key priorities, including current vaccine distribution and national security. On Monday, he will virtually tour a vaccination center. On Wednesday, he will visit the Pentagon to meet with the secretary of defense, and on Thursday, President Biden will visit the National Institutes of Health. So with that, Zeke. Q>> Get a couple of assessments for the wise, the president going to Delaware this weekend. Is from [1:11:49 pm] Delaware and has a home there and is going to spend the weekend with his wife and family. They're good. Guidance from the Citizen Z Z hold prevention. As you know, the White House briefing just a couple of hours ago was Big X over airplanes. People should avoid travel. Is there an exception to that policy? 131201 PSAKI>> Well the key, Zeke, is ensuring that people don't take steps to make others vulnerable in our effort to get the pandemic under control. As you know, any president of the United States, Democrat or Republican, obviously takes Air Force one, a private plane when they travel. Delaware is his home, and so he looks forward to spending the weekend there and some time with his family. [1:12:26 pm] Taking a little bit. Well, this presents did vaccinate Has he's been receiving regular tests for the coronavirus. While he's been here at the White House. We haven't seen since the transition sort of not being on his honest testing. I'm happy to get back to you on that would provide you an update. He has, as you know, received two second vaccination, which was [1:12:50 pm] done in public. Little project in coming weeks ago, you were asked about it. The president policies towards federal executions. It is the president plans put in place a blanket federal moratorium again. The president has spoken about his opposition to the death penalty in the past, but I don't have anything to predict for you or preview for you in terms of additional steps. Listen I'm not the speech. It's okay. It's Friday. You gotta get it all out. 131312 Q>> It was a very different tone from the president. So, when did the president recognize that Republicans -- that continuing to negotiate with Republicans wasn't going to lead him anywhere? They sort of have to embrace him proposal and get on board the train before it leaves the station. It seems like the time for negotiation is over. The president is trying to get this thing passed. 131332 PSAKI>> Well, I wouldn't say that's an accurate characterization of his view or the view of any of us. Just to note, even as the package is moving through a reconciliation process, there is a great deal of time. The process enables for time for negotiations through committee work, which will happen next week, and also the majority of reconciliation bills in the past have been bipartisan. 131353 And so we certainly are hopeful that there will be opportunities for amendments from Republicans, amendments from others across the board, to be a part of this process moving forward. Q>> Jen, if I could actually just follow up with you and just read some of what President Biden said today. He said, "If I have to choose between getting help right now to Americans who are hurting so badly and getting bogged down in a lengthy negotiation or compromising on a bill, it's not up to the crisis. That's an easy choice. I'm gonna help the American people who are hurting now." 131427 So has he resigned himself to the fact that he's going to have to use reconciliation and move forward without 60 votes from republicans? 131434 PSAKI>> Well, he wouldn't use reconciliation, right? Congress would use that process. It's a -- It's a parliamentary procedure. And just in a bill becomes a law moment here, if there is a -- an opportunity, to move forward with a bipartisan package at any moment, that can happen, But again, I believe it's 18 of 24, and I can double check this, of reconciliation bills in the past have been bipartisan. 131456 And a bipartisan bill has 52 votes, 54 votes, 56 votes. But his point, the last point, and then we'll go to your next question, is that we are not going to sit here and wait for an ongoing negotiation, where frankly, we haven't received an offer in return. Right? A response offer to what the president has proposed, because the American people need the relief now. 131517 Q>> Understood. But it seems as though he's resigned himself to the fact that there will not be 60 votes in the Senate for whatever passed. 131523 PSAKI>> Well I think the president listens to the American people, who are frankly not too worried about what parliamentary procedure gets them relief, gets shots in people's arms, and reopens schools. And, he is certainly hopeful that there is opportunity for this bill, whatever form it takes, to have bipartisan support, and there's an opportunity to do that. History shows that's precedent. [1;15:56 pm] Q>> If I could ask you on foreign policy [1:15:54 pm] is going to be a principal's meeting on Iran today, President Biden so far has not Accepted. Has not moved forward with negotiations. Overview around nuclear deal. And it is the time frame for that to happen, And does he think he'll be able to get Democrats on board with this general? Quite critical in 2015? Well first and you ask this first this question first and smartly On this meeting today, and I know that inter-agency process is a little foreign in this building and in the government because of the last four years, so this is a principal's committee meeting. We're not going to confirm every one of these, but for the sake of educating everyone, not in this room, but people who are watching. It's the, focuses broadly on the Middle East. I'm sure Iran will be a part of the discussion as it's an important issue an important priority for the president. And for many of our partners and allies around the world. But [1:16:54 pm] this is not a decisional meeting. It's not a meeting where policy will be concluded, and it's not a meeting the president of United States will be attending. So this is a normal part of the inter agency policy process. Just as there are meetings about. Immigration criminal justice, the economy every single day across government. but one the topic of the Roman understood given that you say Iran will be raised in this meeting. Is there a timeline for when President Biden would like to Try to come back to the table and get a deal on. 131720 Well, that's really up to Iran. If Iran comes back into full compliance with the obligations under the jcpoa, the Iran nuclear deal, just for people who don't like acronyms. I personally hate them, but the United States would do the same and then use that as a platform to build the longer and stronger agreement that also addresses other areas of concern, but that will be done in partnership with our P5+1 partners and also through consultation with Congress. I know I keep saying this, but we're still [1:17:54 pm] only 2.5 weeks into the administration. So this is part of how the interagency process should work where senior members of the National Security team are meeting and engaging about a range of issues in the Middle East. but otherwise it's in Iran's court to comply. On. During President Biden's big foreign policy address yesterday. He didn't really mention Afghanistan. Why not? And where is he on the full withdrawal of us troops from that country? Well I appreciate your question because he was it was not meant to be a comprehensive foreign policy speech, and he will have a lot more to say about foreign policy and his approach to national security in the weeks ahead, But there were a lot of topics that weren't discussed because it wasn't designed to give. Overarching Biden doctrine or give his comprehensive view on every issue globally, in part because there are inter agency process is that will be ongoing consultations with our partners [1:18:54 pm] and allies or a key part of our policy development as his consultations with members of Congress, so there's nothing I have in terms of an update as it relates to Afghanistan at this point in time, but he will have more to say. On foreign policy in the weeks ahead, Okay? What is being done about what is being done what could be done to provide covid testing to migrants at the border because right now the U. S Customs and Border Protection is saying that they're having good. Catch and release some migrants with out giving them any kind of covid test before they're entering the community. So what? What is being done what could be done? Are. Are you suggesting they're letting people in across the border without testing them or tell me a little bit more about being released? They're having, too, because of the. Executive order that the president signed earlier this week. Which executive which one sending President Trump's policy which stop catching release. They're saying that. They're having to provide. Ey're having to release some migrants into the [1:19:55 pm] community before they know for sure that they do not have covid and the word that it could. Spread in the community. Is there anything being done at the federal level to make sure that this is not contributing to the spread of coronavirus in this country? Well certainly the reason we've put in a number of protections in terms of traveling otherwise is to keep the American people safe. But. I haven't seen that report. I can't validate the accuracy of it. But I'd certainly point you the Department of Homeland Secity for more specifics about what's happening at the border. Go ahead. 132020 MARY BRUCE Q>> Thank you. You continue to say that you're hopeful that Republicans will still get on board, you can achieve bipartisanship. But we haven't seen any movement on the Republican side. The fundamental differences remain the same. What gives you hope and optimism that Republicans are suddenly gonna come around here? 132035 PSAKI>> Well, I think, one, the vast majority of the American people support this bipartisan -- this package that would bring relief to American families, that would get shots in the arms of the American people, and would help reopen schools. Those are not democratic ideals. They're not Republican ideals. They are American ideals. So we still keep the door open to seek ideas, ideas to make the package stronger from any Republican or other Democrats who want to bring them forward. 132109 MARY BRUCE Q>> And given the president's remarks earlier and his change of tone, it does seem that he is now okay if this does happen just with democratic support, despite those hopes, and despite his calls for unity. 132117 PSAKI>> Well, first of all, the president ran on unifying the country and putting forward ideas that would help address the crises we're facing. He didn't run on a promise to unite the Democratic and Republican Party into one party in Washington. This package has the vast majority of support from the American public. This is something that people want. They want to see it passed. 132140 They want these checks to get into communities. They want this funding to go to schools. They want more money for vaccine distribution. He is certainly not -- I wouldn't draw that conclusion. He is somebody who is keeping the door open. He will remain engaged with Republicans in the days ahead. As you know, from covering the hill, there's still several steps in the process here to move it forward. 132201 We saw even some actions last night in voterama, which is my favorite term of the week, where there was bipartisan support for ensuring the checks were targeted. There was bipartisan -- I know somebody asked a question about minimum wage earlier. There actually was bipartisan support on that, including from Senator Bernie Sanders, for making sure that it wasn't implemented immediately. 132223 There is bipartisan support for helping small businesses. There's disagreement, certainly on the size. But there is a shared view that the American people need relief. And we are -- it is our responsibility to keep the door open to any good ideas that come forward. 132239 MARY BRUCE Q>> And just, and on the minimum wage, do you feel that this bill is your best shot at getting this through, getting through a hike? Does it become more difficult going forward if you can't get it done now? 132247 PSAKI>> You know, I don't want to get ahead of where we are in the process, but the president believes that increasing the minimum wage is something that would help American families, and it is essential to helping people who are struggling and something that workers certainly deserve. 132301 We will leave it to the Democrats and Republicans in Congress to see if this is possible through the parliamentary process of reconciliation. Go ahead, Karen. 132311 KAREN TRAVERS Q>> Jen, to follow up that quote that Kristen read, but I also want to come back to the vaccine question. PSAKI>> Sure. KAREN TRAVERS Q>> The president said, you know, it's an easy choice between getting help to Americans who are hurting or getting bogged down in negotiations. What's his definition of bogged down? What's a timeline looking like? For him, he's been involved in negotiations for many years. What does bogged down mean? 132329 PSAKI>> It means bogged down. It means -- KAREN TRAVERS Q>> [inaud.] PSAKI>> I'm not -- I'm not going to set a timeline. I understand the desire and interest in that. But, urgency means he would -- he is pleased to see that members of Congress, that leader Schumer and that Speaker Pelosi are moving this forward rapidly, that there is a fire under the bellies -- in the bellies of people in Congress to get this package through, move it through the process over the coming days and weeks. 132357 But that's up to them on the timeline. He just is going to continue to argue for urgency, because the American people, until they know when they're going to get checks, until they know when schools we're going to get funding, it's hard for them to plan. We know that there are timelines that are coming up. 132412 One, we're at the brink of, of, you know, spending out the package from December, 600 billion of that has already been spent out. And a lot of it is going to be spent out in the coming weeks. There is going to be a need for additional relief in all of these categories. So, hence the urgency. But I don't have a exact deadline or due date other than let's keep moving. 132436 KAREN TAVERS Q>> And a question on vaccines. PSAKI>> Sure. KAREN TRAVERS Q>> We're hearing so much in our reporting about frustration across the country with people who are trying to navigate the system. They're signing up on multiple websites, through multiple means to hope to win a lottery and get a vaccine appointment. What is the federal government doing right now to address this challenge for so many Americans? And why can't there be a better system so it's easier to just sign up and wait for your turn? 132500 We agree with you completely that it is completely confusing, has been around the country, in states and localities. The American American people who are just trying to do their job, take care of their kids, home school, balance everything everybody's balancing right now, just want to be able to go on a website and sign up for their vaccine. 132518 Now, one of the steps we've taken, we announced earlier this week, is, of course, working with pharmacies to distribute about a million doses in order for Americans to be able to do that, in certain communities. That's -- Obviously, that number is going to be increased over time. That's one way. There are large vacc-- plans, through FEMA, to set up large vaccination sites. That is something that is starting to be underway this week. 132543 But our focus is very much on increasing communication, ensuring, exactly as you said, that the American people know how, when they can get their vaccine. And we fully agree. There's been a lack of communication, confusion, and we are trying to work out of that hole, but we're only 2.5 weeks in here, so we're just -- it's in process. 132604 KAREN TRAVERS Q>> Could there be but for vaccines? Jeffrey Zients obviously has a lot of experience with that. Could you do a federalized system? 132611 PSAKI>> As this Andy Slavitt. Some, some people back from the -- back from the days. Look, I think there are a range of options under consideration. I have not heard them suggest that, but they are very open and discussing everyday ways to make this more accessible, clearer to the American people, and they just want to do it in a way that's effective and efficient and reaches local communities where people are trying to get vaccinated. [1:26:34 pm] Q>> But yeah, I think you just said you little refrain from giving a timeline on covid relief build its passage, But outside an hour ago, Speaker Pelosi. Said. Absolutely when asked covid stimulus would pass by March. 15th is that do you also share that confidence that it would pass by mid March? With this unemployment benefits run out. [1:27:01 pm] Never doubt Speaker Pelosi anything, she says. That's kind of a lesson I've learned in Washington. She's power, a powerful and fierce force up there. You know, we're not going to set a time line from here. It is a bill that would be passed by Congress. Of course, Speaker Pelosi is. You know, the speaker of the house S? Oh, certainly, I would. We would defer to her, and the president looks sort forward to signing the bill when it comes to his desk, urgency to get a pass by the big way. Feel in urgency to move it forward as quickly as possible. And I think what you're referring to is kind of the unemployment cliff that will hit in March. But certainly we would like to see action as quickly as possible as we've been saying, but I'm not going to set a new deadline from here. Obviously we're working closely with Speaker Pelosi and Senator Schumer, Our leader. Schumer, sorry every day. Going on the way back. Thank you. Thank you very much. Jenna Heavy Friday. Happy Friday. You feed your questions you find make sure engaging with China yesterday, President Biden. Safety will work with analyzing ponders, [1:28:02 pm] however, also on yesterday, French president Macedo cold situation to join. All together against China. This is this scenario off the heist. Possible conflict through elope. This one for me is counterproductive. Bankert. So what exactly does President Biden expect from us? From our us allies. Well we're going to work in close consultation, of course, in partnership with our us allies on a range of issues. We talked about Iran a little bit earlier in the briefing, of course. Strategic competition with China is part of that, you know, but I could only really speak for what our policy is here from the this White House and the United States. This administration sees the United States is states has engaged in strategic competition with China. Technology is a central domain of that competition. We should have no illusions about China's objectives, which would [1:29:03 pm] undercut America's longstanding technological advantage and to displace America is the global leader in cutting edge research and development. And the technologies and industries of the future. The national security and economic consequences of allowing that to happen are simply unacceptable. That's certainly what the president conveys in his conversations with our partners and allies. But this is a major reason why the president's committed to making major investments and science and technology research and development as well supply chain security. And we will leverage the full breath of authorities available to us to protect us national and economic security interests. That's our position here, and obviously he will communicate that to allies and partners as he's having engagements with him. Did you have a second question? Actually Asian American woman's actually have. Highs chapter this rates for the past six months, and our reports indicates that because of racism during them pandemic. I can't stand S O other than find the memory. What President [1:30:06 pm] Biden can do to refuse the racism against Agent Americans and help them. Protection. They find a job or This deal is the current situation. Well, certainly one of the things that he can do is speak out against racism of it any form but also how it impacts a range of communities. Ancient Asian Americans, of course, communities of color and one of the factors we've seen in data about covid, of course, is that. The pandemic has had an undue impact on many communities on community, including. I'm sorry. Many communities of color. I don't have the exact date on Asian American community. Specifically, though, I'm happy to check on that. But you know, his focus is on getting the pandemic under control in order to help provide a bridge to economic relief and recovery on that's one of the ways he can help address that. Go ahead. Thank you. I have two rather [1:31:06 pm] quick questions than a little bit more meeting. That's okay. I like this set up so I can prepare for go ahead. Okay, so quick one I afraid that? Yes Nowhere, baby. Perhaps I never liked those questions. But go ahead. Will President Biden used the power of the bully pulpit to help cajole teachers who are unwilling to go back to schools to go back? Well what I'm just going to reject the premise of the question, I will say, um, I have teachers in my family as I'm sure many of you do. They're the first people to tell you that. Being a teaching in the classroom and being able to engage withsids in the classroom or middle schoolers are high schoolers in the classroom. It makes their job more enjoyable makes them more effective at what they do. 133147 The president is absolutely committed to reopening schools. He wants them not just to reopen, but to stay open, and he wants to do that in a safe way. And we're going to rely on CDC guidance, which again is not officially out yet, to determine the best way to do it. But there are several mitigating factors that we've seen in data to date that will help make it safe. 133208 Of course, vaccines are part of that, but so is masking, so is social distancing, so is ensuring that schools have the ventilation and the facilities that they need in order to do it safely. That's our focus. So the president's focus is on -- And that's one of the reasons why he's out advocating for the American rescue plan. Part of that is funding so that schools can do exactly that. [1:32:29 pm] Q>> Kind of like it. Yes, Within astronauts. PSAKI>> I you If you are the spokesperson for the White House. You could certainly say that big or not, but you can ask me another question by something quick question is last year. Would be in the Justice Department needed so that three cities New York, Seattle and Portland could be disfavored for federal grants. They were deemed quote anarchist jurisdictions. Allegedly tolerating rice and crying. Their violent protests has Biden White House decided to reverse those policies disfavoring grants to those three cities. This is an O. M B [1:33:08 pm] action from the Trump Administration. You're asking about your sister. Okay We're a new administration. We of course, are reviewing a range of policies and charting our own path. But I don't think I'm gonna have any comment on policies from a year ago from the prior administration. Third more questions. I could just call upon a quote from the president in December. He said, Quote My son. My family will not be involved in any business is any business any enterprise that is in conflict with there appears to be in conflict with where there's appropriate distance from the presidency in government. But just recently, there were reports that the president's son still owns a 10% stake in the Chinese investment world. Warm with state owned entities do have an update on the investment from that investment. Hey has been working to unwind his investment, but I would certainly point he's a private citizen. I would point you to him or his lawyers on the outside on any other day. Go ahead. Exact two questions. But Jared Bernstein was talking about the threshold of the stimulus checks and when they should phase out, he said, people who make over $300,000. [1:34:09 pm] Our families should not get those checks. You seen Susan Collins and some other Republicans talk about having the checks phase out for $50,000. What is the White House's position today on when those checks should start to phase out and who should not be eligible for them? There's an ongoing discussion about it, and it is an active discussion, and the decision has a final conclusion has not been made, as Jared was saying. Those conversations are happening with Democrats and Republicans and a Zay said kind of the other day, But it still is the saddest today the president is firm on the necessity that four people receive who are eligible $1400 checks. He's not movable on becoming smaller, but there is a discussion. As Jared said about the phase out and what that looks like. Now. That doesn't mean that somebody making that that it Zey dead cut off. It means that it will be phased out to slightly less than that amount at whatever the cut off is, but those are ongoing discussions in a final decision hasn't been made. Secondly, there's been a lot of discussion today. President [1:35:11 pm] Biden talked about the 2000 and stimulus package lessons that he and other people learn from it. What are some other points of economic crisis that the Obama administration dealt with that? President Biden has drawn lessons from is it from the auto bailout? You know, there was so much that people were dealing with at that time. What other economic crises to teach her a lesson from And what are those? And how is he applying those two? Situation today. Well I haven't had. It's a very interesting question. I have not had this in depth discussion with him about the impacts of the Obama administration policies on his thinking, I could say broadly speaking, because there are people who, of course, a number of us who had served in the prior administration. Of course, there are lessons about ensuring we act swiftly when the American people need relief. Looking for bipartisan support, which is something certainly the former administration also did. There's also lessons we've learned about how we sell the packages that were putting out there to the public, and that's [1:36:12 pm] one of the reasons why we bring in some of our economic officials or policy experts so that they can help lay out for all of you and hopefully for the public the thinking behind how packages are designed. And also that we need Tomo continue to think about how we break down these packages for the public to ensure we're explaining why we're doing what we're doing. It's not just a $1.9 trillion package right? It is a package that has. Funding to reopen schools, it has is a package that it has funding to help ensure cops and firefighters can stay in their jobs. It's a package that will get vaccines in the arms of Americans, and it will. It's a package that will ensure that the one in seven Americans who don't have enough are concerned about putting food on the table are able to do that. So those are some of the lessons but, uh, you know, I don't have anything more about his specific what he's specifically drawn from it. I heard that lesson is to not wait for Republicans forever. It seems like you want to move quickly. The president wants to move quickly as he talked about back on the campaign trail, too, because [1:37:12 pm] the American people need relief now on then we don't have the luxury of waiting months to deliver that relief to them. So that is about right, reacting and being risked responding to the needs of the American public at this moment in time, and the crisis we're facing. Christian Thanks. I'd like to follow up on the issue of schooling opening Dr Willis, he had said a previous briefing. There is increasing data to suggest that schools can safely. We open and they could safely Roeber without teachers getting vaccinated. You then, said the official CDC guidance is not out yet, but there are some urgency to this because schools are making the decisions right now about how and when to reopen. So does the five administration. Haven't assessment today about whether schools can reopen. With or without teachers getting vaccinated. 133758 PSAKI>> Well, first, the guidance will come officially from the CDC, as Dr. Walensky, who leads the CDC would certainly convey to you. And what we are all conveying, and what I just did a few minutes ago, is convey that there's a lot of data that shows that it is -- of course, we're looking at vaccines. That's an important part of keeping teachers and the American public safe. 133819 But we also need to look at, and other mitigation steps, I should say, including masking, social distancing, proper ventilation in schools. And the urgency should prompt Democrats and Republicans, many Democrats are, to come together to support the American rescue plan so we can get schools the funding they need. 133838 Schools are planning, but many of them don't have the funding they need to take the steps necessary to reopen. Q>> Do you know when the CDC specifically is gonna put out that guidance? 133846 PSAKI>> I would certainly point you to the CDC for more specifics on that. Go ahead, Anita. [1:38:51 pm] Thank you. Have a sense of this point of when the Cabinet nominations will go through. Obviously we're right up against the impeachment trial. This is what you all didn't want to happen. Which is this this delay. We don't know how long the trial will last. Simply curious about the attorney general. I know you're [1:39:14 pm] eager to get him into any sense of that, and I assume that president has spoken toe. Senate leaders about that. Is there anything that can be done? We're certainly hopeful that there are more of our Cabinet nominees can move forward. We have seen a number of the move forward. In the last couple of weeks, many with bipartisan support with bipartisan votes. But you're right that getting the attorney general through Merrick Garland eyes vital not only to the president but should be vital to Democrats and Republicans in Congress in order to have a leader at the head of the department who can oversee an independent Justice Department on Do you know, ongoing effort reviewing the ongoing efforts or investigations that are happening there? This is an issue. Broadly the confirmations in general he has raised in the past with members of Congress on Certainly there's an understanding about the importance of having his people in place leading agencies, but I don't have anything specific for you to update. On the attorney on the timeline of an attorney general being confirmed. Generally there's sort of no specific [1:40:14 pm] timeline on when these might be done. Just assume it's possible. No time life. Certainly Anita as soon as possible, you know, we're confident that the Senate can walk into come in the same time as you well know, there was a delay, in part because of the need to agree on a power sharing agreement. Obviously, we're past that. Ondas Certainly given many of the comments, including from many Senate Republicans about the qualifications of our attorney general, the president's attorney general nominee and the value that I think and hope we all share to have an independent Justice Department were certainly hopeful they could move forward as quickly as possible. Quick Housekeeping sees me sure, good about next week. You mentioned a couple things that he's doing next week, One on the Pentagon visit. Well should we be expecting speeches like we saw yesterday at these? I think Jake mentioned that he'll be doing around them. Visit So should we be expecting a speech of that event next week? That's a great question. I don't think we're fully They're fully cooked yet in the process, certainly part of his effort is to thank civil [1:41:15 pm] servants and members of the military, of course for their. The work they do every day protecting the American people, but in terms of what format that event will take, we're not quite there. Yet in our planning process, the other thing about next week you mentioned a couple things. But you didn't mention meeting with. Members of Congress on the bill. I soon some of those meetings were gonna happen next week. Can you tell us about any of those specific things will look come over here. Well, they will be many of them will be on recess S O, but he will be engaged, of course, continue to be engaged with members of Congress. Often those come together the day before the night before, And we will, Of course, keep you updated as those engagements happen or planned for next week. Good um, yeah, I'm certainly not the president's doing an interview before the Super Bowl on Sunday. I mean, I'm guessing that's gonna be a opportunity to reach a huge audience with your recovery. Is that gonna be what he's gonna use it for? I guess also, I'd like to know. How will the president be watching the game on D here, helping reaching for Who will be [1:42:17 pm] rooting for. Oh boy, um, like that? That's the my first way to get hate mail from one part of the country. There's a division among our senior staff. I will admit on this particular question, but I won't name names. The president will be watching the game and Delaware with his family, Of course. His wife, Dr Biden. In terms of the interview, and as you know, CBS is hosting the Super Bowl this year, and there's a long tradition of. Of networks doing interview with the president S O. That will certainly be part of what you will see. On Sunday. He of course, will you that The anchor who is doing the interview? Will ask whatever the anchor wants to ask. That's how these things occur, but his objective is certainly to convey to the American people that. He knows this time is difficult. He knows it requires a great deal of sacrifice. He's incredibly grateful to the health care workers to the frontline workers to people who are working every day to keep us safe. And hopefully he will [1:43:19 pm] have the opportunity to reiterate the measures that we can take masking. Uh social distancing, of course, ensuring that people are getting the vaccine when they're eligible to get the vaccine and update the public on his efforts to do exactly that. Don't you start the second one for a colleague. You can't be here. Sure Bankert restrictions from Brown Karan Playboy way Sort of break with Saudi policy yesterday in the Middle East, say. Over there by the administration openly condemn or implement sanctions against the Saudi government for the death of Washington Place. Right, Serge America, Shorty. S O first. Let me say in reiterate that murderer Jamal Kiesch. Oh, she was a horrific crime. We're prepared to release an unclassified report with full transparency for Congress. This is the long will follow the law. Of course, the office of the director of National Intelligence would have further details and I would have afraid to them for additional specifics. We've course expect Saudi Arabia to improve its record on human [1:44:20 pm] rights that includes releasing political prisoners, suchs women's rights advocates for Saudi jails were encouraged by the released yesterday of two dual national American Saudi citizens. We hope to see further progress over the next coming months and, as noted in a couple of areas we've talked about, there's an ongoing review. Of course of our policies you saw the president make an announcement yesterday about. Our engagement in Yemen, which, of course, is directly connected. But again, they will be ongoing discussions and reviews by our national security team, and I'll have any any policy decisions to read out for you predict for you at this point in time. Living in the back. Thanks Dan on our two questions as well, sure, keeping with the economic theme of the day. My first question. I'm given the most recent job numbers and to continued unemployment and what you have to stay today about, particularly how minority communities have been affected. Is this the right time to increase the number of refugees coming into the country, and [1:45:20 pm] also he's immigration and border restrictions. Well, the president fundamentally believes that having a humane and moral immigration system in place strengthens our country strengthens our economy. And many, many business leaders across the country have said actly the same thing with the most powerful step that could be taken now is to pass the American rescue plan. Because that is a step that economists across the board have said would help expedite economic recovery. Help expedite getting people back to work, and without it, we will be years behind by, according to a lot of economic data where we need to be For the public. How. Aspect of it, considering the coronavirus numbers are still where they are. The president is enacted more restrictions on travel restrictions, including South Africa. How does that play into it with Refugee policy. Sorry I'm not trying [1:46:23 pm] understand your question. I mean, considering the coronavirus numbers where they are, and that we're doing more restrictions on travel. Is that not also then effect, refugee policy and immigration, bringing more people to country sort of following up on Kristen's, Well, the refugee policy is increasing the cap. It doesn't change what our travel restrictions or travel policies are and of course, those were put in place to keep the American people safe. But. Those were not meant to do anything other than take necessary steps at this moment in time, based on the advice of health and medical experts on where we need to restrict travel from, obviously when it's safe to Undo those restrictions are health and medical team will advise us on exactly that. Then my second question this is going to the Pentagon this week, The secretary defense announced day stand down for the military to discuss. Extremism and extremism. Extremist ideology. Why would the military need to [1:47:24 pm] stand down from. Enemies foreign and abroad to have these discussions. Well, my bet is that Secretary Austin and my friends, John Kirby would disagree with your assessment there, but the president has tasked a overview in a review of domestic violent extremism in the country that's coming directly from him happening in the White House. I know that my friend John Kirby has a briefing later this afternoon, and I'd certainly encourage people to Ask him more about those plans further on that there was Jake Sullivan mentioned the focus on domestic terrorism Yesterday administration. I think a lot of people want to know. How does this administration to find Term domestic terrorist. In what way? Well it does that include Antifa specifically. What How do you set the parameters for domestic terrorist? Especially as we see, you know, a lot of focus on the January 6. Maybe not as much focused on some of the extremism of violence and. [1:48:26 pm] North northwest. Well I've answered a version of this question a couple times before, but I know everybody's not in the briefing. Remember day. The reason we have the review, which is not a political review, but is a review done by our national security team. Something test again to take a review of domestic violent extremism will cover. Uh incidents across the board when they have concluded that review I'm sure they'll have more to say on it. Okay, Go ahead. Trevor Just I think I've been skipping unintentionally. I'm sorry. Just one quick foreign policy question. Um. You know, just talking about Iran and China and the need to have allies that are willing to go into you into those kind of thorny issues with you. There's been some reporting that the eu commissioner is going to have a phone call with President Biden. Proposed a six month truce on trade tariffs, but I'm just wondering if he's open to that. And whether that would give you a united Fauci going into some of these issues. I know there's a lot of interest in trade tariffs, and that's also a nerve. You now I don't [1:49:27 pm] have any thing to preview for you. I can follow up with our team on plans for a call with the eu commissioner and. That's being planned. We will, of course, provide you with a readout. Okay? Yeah. Following up on the several questions about school reopens. Does the White House believe school for contemplating this right now? Where did you go back? Real for their schoolsatthat's the White House believes that they should hold off on reopening until the CDC guy legs are out until the American rescue players past. Well, I think some schools are looking for that guidance and also looking for funding, obviously different jurisdictions make decisions, but we're hopeful that when the CDC guidelines, a route that will provide some. Advice or from a medical more than that specific guidance from our health and medical team, the expertise of Dr Wolinsky and her team on exactly what mitigation steps can and should be taken to reopen school safely. For schools in the moment right now. I mean, [1:50:27 pm] whether they should react when you don't have a recommendation one way or the other. Just wait for the guidelines just trying to clear but we'll have that. I'm not gonna get ahead of what the guidelines are. I think they're different Jurisdictions that make different decisions. A lot of school district's are certainly waiting for those guidelines, but alswaiting for additional funding so that they can reopen school safely. Make sure teachers were safe. Students are safe and families can feel confident in their kids being at school. All right. Thank you. Pulling up on one of the questions from earlier and then I have Ah foreign policy question, too. But is there any update on the state of a large scale public? Sort of pr media campaign supporting the vaccination effort, or is it difficult to do that, without knowing whether or not the inventory is sufficient enough? Actually tell people to go toe CVS or Walgreen's or wherever they may be supposed to go. Well certainly part of our commitment is till launch a massive public affairs campaign, [1:51:28 pm] which is something we talked about a little bit in here. It takes a little bit of time. Tonto get all your ducks in a row to get that going, but part of what we're also trying to do is utilize our experts to be out there publicly do these briefings three times a week, too. As Karen was asking about earlier provide more accurate and clear information to governors so that they can also communicate with communities and power. Local medical experts and doctors so that they can communicate more clearly with their communities, which are some of the most trusted sources. We've had a lot of officials out on local television doing local television interviews. So even as we're preparing for more of a. What widespread or broad scale? I should say public campaign. We've also had a number of members of our team doing everything we can to communicate effectively and efficiently on this particular issue, and the foreign policy questions sometime overnight during the. Vote a Rama in the Senate. There was a you just wanted to use that word. I know [1:52:28 pm] it. There was a there was a 97 to 3 vote in favor of. Supporting the location of the U. S embassy in Jerusalem. All right. Is there a position in terms of the fighting administration as to whether or not. The Trump administration's actually implementation of the Jerusalem Embassy Act should be maintained or whether it might move back to Tel Aviv. Degree question. I have not talked to our national security tea about it. I will venture to do that and circle back with you directly. Thank you. Everyone [END]
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