Autism Program Staffer Resigns
At Queens Park, staffer Bruce McIntosh resigns from his position as head of the Ontario Autism Coalition in a clash with provincial Minister of Children, Community, and Social Services Lisa MacLeod over changes to the provincial autism policy. PLEASE NOTE News anchor and reporter image and audio, along with any commercial production excerpts, are for reference purposes only and are not clearable and cannot be used within your project.
Aleppo: the ordeal and the shame
France 5
SPEECH: Playmate of The Year Hope Dworaczyk (L), Bruce McMahan and
SPEECH: Playmate of The Year Hope Dworaczyk (L), Bruce McMahan and Marlon Kirby at the New And Improved Maxximus G Force, The World's Fastest Car, Unveiled at Beverly Hills CA. (Footage by WireImage Video/GettyImages)
SPEIER/ASSAULT IN THE MILITARY PRESSER
12:54:58:12 FIELD DISK // Rep Jackie Speier (D-CA) introduces legislation to strip military commanders of their power to overturn legal decisions or lessen sentences handed down by judges and juries a ...
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THE PAINTED LADY
STATE DEPARTMENT BRIEFING WITH JOHN KIRBY
THE REGULAR STATE DEPARTMENT BRIEFING WITH JOHN KIRBY FS32X72 State Department Spokesman John Kirby - Briefing KIRBY: Hello everybody. I don't have anything to start with today. So we'll just get right to it. QUESTION: I think there's various questions regarding American citizens but I guess we'll get to them later. I wanted to ask first about this good ISIS report, the Institute for Science and International Security. Specifically on various changes that were made to the JCPOA by the Joint Commission.QUESTION: I gather you've had a chance to read it. Can I just ask you one, has there been any loosening to the low enriched uranium stock pile rule as written down in the agreement? KIRBY: No. QUESTION: No. So 300 kilograms that's defined in the agreement remains the stockpile limit for Iran and they have never crossed that? KIRBY: It does and yes they've never crossed that. QUESTION: So do you -- do you agree with the report and also I think there was (ph) a media report by Reuters that these amount to secret agreements that have changed the nature of the JCPOA in any way? KIRBY: No we wouldn't agree with that characterization at all. I think as many of you know, it's written right in the JCPOA which established the Joint Commission that the work of the Joint Commission would be confidential. Unless the Joint Commission decided otherwise and it's right there in the JCPOA itself. And it's designed that way. QUESTION: Do you consider -- and I'll let my colleague ask some follow-up questions. But did the LEU that's in the system as it were, do you not -- do you not count that as part of the stockpile? KIRBY: Well, what I would tell you is that -- that according to the JCPOA, Iran is limited to a stockpile of 300 kilograms of low enriched uranium that is usable for the making of fissile material or useable to -- to be able to obtain a nuclear weapon. And that limit hasn't changed; they've not exceeded that limit. And you know, beyond that I'm just not able to get into additional details. QUESTION: Why don't we step back a second and just ask, what is your broad reaction to this report? KIRBY: Well, we've read the report, we -- I've looked at is myself. What I can tell you is that Iran's nuclear commitments under the JCPOA have not changed. There's been no moving of the gold posts as it were. The Joint Commission has always been intended to address implementation issues when they arise. That's the whole purpose for it. And as I said, the work of the JC -- of the Joint Commission as stipulated in the agreement itself is to be confidential. I also would assert that the Joint Commission has not and will not loosen any of the commitments and has not provide any exceptions that would allow Iran to retain or process material in excess of its JCPOA limits that it could use in a breakout scenario.KIRBY: And as I think I answered in Brad's questions the notion which I've seen in the report mentioned several times, the beginning middle and end, that there was -- that there was some untowardness here about the confidentiality of the work of the joint commissions is not founded. And any suggestion to the contrary is just false and you can read it right in the JCPOA. QUESTION: Putting aside whether it would require an exemption from the English language to use an alleged word like untowardness, the question it seems to me, is if the work of the joint commission is by definition confidential, how then is appropriate oversight over the joint commission ever to be exercised by the U.S. Congress or any other interested party? KIRBY: Well, the Congress has been fully briefed on the JCPOA and has been -- and we have maintained the regular content with members of Congress about the work of the joint commission. QUESTION: In other words, to put it plainly, the joint commission has not provided any exemptions for Iran's requirements under the JCPOA or anything that could be construed as an exemption? That's your position? KIRBY: Well, OK you don't like the way I used untoward, I'm not going to quibble with you on what construes or who construes what. What I can tell you is, James, as I said in the past, and I'll be happy to repeat it. The joint commission has not and will not loosen those commitments and no loosening of the commitments that Iran is responsible for under the JCPOA. And it has not provided any exceptions that would allow Iran to retain or process material, in excess of its JCPOA limits, that it could use in a breakout scenario. And I will just remind you if you will allow me, that as you and I sit here today, that breakout timeline is about a year long. And before the JCPOA, we were talking about a few months. QUESTION: Have there been any briefings to members of Congress on the work of the joint commission? KIRBY: Yes, as I said. The Congress has been kept informed and we have briefed... (CROSSTALK) QUESTION: You said on the JCPOA. KIRBY: No I did not. I said both. But I'll say it again, the administration has briefed Congress frequently and comprehensively on all the joint commission's work. QUESTION: When was the last such briefing? KIRBY: I'd have to get a date for you, I don't know. And I would also add that the members of Congress that continue to have questions and may have questions in light of this report, we are more than happy to continue to conduct those kinds of briefings. QUESTION: Last one from me. The White House issued a background statement to Fox News earlier today referring to the allegations in this report that have to do with Iran's production of heavy water and that statement noted that Iran had swiftly addressed its overproduction of heavy water and to the satisfaction of the IAEA. When was Iran not in compliance with its overproduction of heavy water? KIRBY: I think I addressed this back in March and I don't know the exact date but we were very open about it at the time and in fact I know I was from the podium that they had exceeded the -- I think it's 130 ton limit, the IAEA caught it and Iran corrected it. They corrected it fairly expeditiously. QUESTION: You know I don't want to play semantics with you but I am concerned that I ask you a question of whether or not the joint commission has enacted any exemptions for Iran or anything that a reasonable observer would conclude to be an exemption and by way of answers, you talk about the loosening of commitments. And so I just wondered if you could address my question on its own terms? KIRBY: I'm not going to talk about the specific work of the joint commission, James. I'm not going to do that. And I can't do that because by the agreement itself, it's confidential. I'm not going to get into it. QUESTION: So what permits you to - KIRBY: Now wait a second. I understand where you are going there. I'm not going to talk about it. But what I can assure you and everyone else is that there has been no loosening of Iran's commitments and there have been no exceptions given that would allow them to exceed the limits, whether it's the limits of LEU or the limits of heavy water, that would allow them to have a usable amount of material in excess of what they're supposed to have towards the production of fissile material. QUESTION: So if you can say there's been no loosening, and there's been no exceptions, what is it that prevents you from using the word "exemptions"? There have been no exemptions granted. KIRBY: The Joint Commission has provided guidance in implementing the JCPOA. That's what it's for. It's designed to do that. None of that guidance allows Iran to have more than 300 kilograms of LEU that it can use to enrich further and as the IAEA has said themselves, Iran is implementing on that commitment. QUESTION: Do you regard David ISIS as a reputable figure? KIRBY: David Albright? QUESTION: Excuse me, David Albright of the good ISIS. Do you regard David Albright as a reputable figure in this kind of analysis? KIRBY: I'm not going to characterize the - Mr. Albright can speak for his own work and we certainly respect his intelligence and respect the position that he holds. We certainly respect the work of ISIS. This isn't about - I'm not going to get into characterizing him one way or another. QUESTION: He's not some partisan foe of the Iran deal, correct? KIRBY: I don't know. You'd have to ask Mr. Albright what his views are about the Iran deal. I'm not going to characterize his own proclivities with respect the deal. QUESTION: Could we - I'd like to return to the exception exemption issue as James points out every time he asks you about exemptions and whether or not the Joint Commission has issued any exemptions, you say there's no loosening and they did not provide any exceptions. Can you tell us, well - not can you tell us - did they provide any exemptions? KIRBY: What I can tell you is the work of the Joint Commission is confidential and I'm not privy to it, as I shouldn't be, and even if I was, I wouldn't be at liberty to discuss it. What I can assure you is the same thing I assured your colleague of, is that there's been no loosening of the commitments. Iran has not and will not under the JCPOA be allowed to exceed the limits that are spelled out in the JCPOA. QUESTION: So just for the last time, you're not going to address the question or not exemptions were issued? KIRBY: I'm not going to address the work of the Joint Commission because I cannot address the work of the Joint Commission. QUESTION: Second - QUESTION: You're standing there and telling us there was no loosening, there were no exceptions made, so you are very materially discussing their work in those sentences, aren't you? KIRBY: I'm telling you what is not happening, which is Iran is not being permitted under JCPOA to exceed. Look I understand the wordplay here too, OK? And I get what you're trying to do. But I'm not going to speak for the work of the Joint Commission and deliberations that they have worked through in order to QUESTION: What I'm saying is -- KIRBY: -- make sure that they are properly supervising Iran and the JCPOA. QUESTION: But you expose yourself to this, John, because by telling us what is not happening, and here is x and y is not happening with the Joint Commission, and then declining to do so on the specific question we keep asking you, in essence you appear to be confirming that it is what is being done (ph). KIRBY: I don't think I'm exposing myself. I think I'm trying to do the best I can to answer your questions.KIRBY: And I think again, if I might, what's important here for people to remember is that Iran is meeting it's commitments of the JCPOA. Iran under this deal cannot possess a nuclear weapon, cannot threaten its neighbors with nuclear bombs. And the breakout as you and I talk here is one year. Before this deal it was a few months. Before this deal Iran had 12,000 kilograms of low enriched uranium. Now they have less than 300. That's the most important fact to remember about all of this, not whether or not I'm going to go into detail in describing for you, and getting into the definition of exceptions versus exemptions -- (CROSSTALK) QUESTION: Consistent with your practices from the podium, John, I'm just trying to get you to be consistent -- (CROSSTALK) KIRBY: I appreciate all the help I can, my mom also gives me great advice everyday. I'm telling you everything I can tell you and I am not able to go into the work (ph) of (ph) the commission (ph). QUESTION: I'd like to go back to the issue of the 300 kilograms of low enriched uranium. In JCPOA in point seven it explicitly states that Iran quote, "will keep its uranium stockpile under 300 kilograms of up to 3.67 percent enriched uranium hexafluoride or the equivalent in other chemical forms." The Albright report says that one of the exemptions that it says was in effect on implementation day allowed Iran to have more than 300 kilograms of low enriched uranium in the following forms - low level solid waste, low level liquid waste, sludge waste. KIRBY: I've seen the report, I've seen the report. QUESTION: Do you - can you state unequivocally that Iran never had more than 300 kilograms of LEU in uranium hexafluoride or any other chemical forms including the three that I just named. KIRBY: What I said and I'll say it again, Iran is allowed under the JCPOA to have no more than 300 kilograms of LEU in its stockpile. Material that it could enrich further if it were not for the JCPOA and they are not above that limit and they have not exceeded that limit of 300 kilograms of useable LEU which can be used to enrich further. They have not exceeded that limit. QUESTION: But the agreement says, and I just read it, it doesn't say useable. The word useable ain't in there. It's point seven. It's explicit in the agreement. It's in black and white, and it doesn't say useable. It says, "will keep its uranium stockpile under 300 kilograms of up to 3.67 percent enriched uranium hexafluoride (UF6) or the equivalent in other chemical forms." No word, useable, in there. So that's the question, did it ever go above it? KIRBY: I answered the question Arshad (ph). Iran - QUESTION: You said useable, you didn't say that - which caveat it. It's quite possible they can go above 300 if it's not in useable forms. KIRBY: Iran has not exceeded its stockpile limit of 300 kilograms of LEU. QUESTION: Okay (ph), in any form? KIRBY: Do you want me to put the punctuation point on the end of that? QUESTION: I did. KIRBY: Oh, you did, OK. QUESTION: You asked if I did and I told you I... QUESTION: So that's - so that's in any form including those forms that Arshad's spelled out? KIRBY: Chase (ph), I've answered this question. I've answered the question. They have not exceeded the stockpile limit stipulated under JCPOA of 300 kilograms of LEU. QUESTION: Just in any form? (CROSSTALK) KIRBY: I answered the question. QUESTION: When you say the JCPOA, you mean the original text of it, not anything that's been adumbrated or modified later, correct? KIRBY: I don't know that there's been any modifications later. The Joint Commission's work goes on as supervisory in terms of ensuring implementation but the text hasn't changed. QUESTION: The guidance that you referenced the joint commission providing on implementation, is that guidance conceivably of a nature that could be decisive in how the deal gets implemented in one respect or another? KIRBY: Well (ph), we (ph) -- QUESTION: Could it conceivably change the actual understanding (ph) of the original deal (ph)? KIRBY: The joint commission's job is not to change the text of the agreement. You can't -- you can't do that. It is designed to regularly consult and provide guidance on implementation, but it can't change -- it does not change the agreement itself. QUESTION: You know for -- QUESTION: (OFF-MIKE). QUESTION: You know for example that -- (CROSSTALK) KIRBY: I don't know if you can, actually. I -- I'm not sure -- QUESTION: Okay. Go ahead. QUESTION: Quick -- yes (ph), I just wanted -- just to clarify, you said that Iran has not exceeded its limits on the POA. But are you saying at -- at no time have they exceeded it or you're saying that they're not exceeding it currently. KIRBY: No. I think Brad (ph) asked this. Since implementation day, they have not exceeded the 300 kilogram limit of LEU. Now, as I said, we did note and we were open about the fact that for a short period of time they exceeded the quantity of heavy water they were allowed to have and they corrected that. IAEA caught it, addressed it with them and they got it back to within limits. But as far as LEU is concerned, since implementation day they have been in compliance. QUESTION: Can I -- can I just ask this term you're using about usable for fissile material creation. What substances -- do you have like a codification of what forms are usable? Is this -- this was not agreed to in the JCPOA, where is this determination being made? KIRBY: I'm now a nuclear expert, Brad. QUESTION: Well you said it, not me. I mean -- KIRBY: I know I said it, but that -- QUESTION: -- so where is it coming from? KIRBY: -- doesn't make me an expert on nuclear energy. There are obviously forms of the material that are -- cannot be further enriched and made into fissile material for a bomb. That's -- as I understand it, that's a fact. QUESTION: And the U.S. and Iran are in agreement on these as well as the entire P5+1? KIRBY: I believe that this makes it very clear that the P5+1 is in agreement on the commitments that Iran must make. QUESTION: On the -- because you're using this term that's not in the document. I'm just trying to figure out how we can actually check that or understand what it means. If you say, some things are usable, but some things aren't, but I don't know which are which-- You -- you're supposed to -- that's not spelled out in the document. That seems to be a new idea here. KIRBY: I -- I -- it's not a new idea. I don't -- look, I don't -- (CROSSTALK) QUESTION: Okay, then show me where it is if it's not a new idea. KIRBY: No. I'm not going to go through this with you at the press conference here on chapter and verse in here. QUESTION: You don't have too, he (ph) already did -- KIRBY: The point is -- the point is, that there is a limit of 300 kilograms of low-enriched uranium that can be further enriched for fissile material to produce a nuclear bomb. That's the limit that they're allowed to possess. QUESTION: Well that's what -- KIRBY: They are -- they are -- they have not -- QUESTION: That is not the limit, he just read it out. KIRBY: They have -- QUESTION: It doesn't say that. You just changed it again. It does not say that in the agreement. This sentence that you just said does not exist in the JCPOA. You've (ph) just invented it. KIRBY: I -- I don't know how to address it any further, Brad (ph). QUESTION: For the -- for the joint commission -- QUESTION: Think about it after the -- (CROSSTALK) KIRBY: No. I'm not going to think about it, Brad (ph) -- QUESTION: Well you should. KIRBY: -- I've answered the question (ph) as best as I can.QUESTION: For the joint commission to issue its guidance, do the various members of that commission have to agree unanimously on that guidance? KIRBY: The work of the joint commission is very collaborative and the deliberations are, obviously, shared with all the members. And it is a -- their oversight duties are done as a acts of consensus, meaning, they deliberate and talk and come to conclusions amongst themselves. QUESTION: My concern about the guidance -- if I could make a rough analogy -- is that no judge here in the United States after the fact, can change the text of a law that is brought before the judge for interpretation. But the way the judge interprets the law can have a very significant impact on how that law is administered, correct? KIRBY: I don't know. I'd defer to your superior knowledge of the law. QUESTION: And so, perhaps the Joint Commission can't change the text or the agreement, but the guidance they issue can potentially have a very serious impact on how the implementation is actually administered, correct? KIRBY: It's a complicated agreement. I think it would be -- it would've been foolhardy to not set up a process by which the P5+1 could implement this very complicated agreement. There is a lot of good sense in having a commission to supervise -- provide guidance on implementation. But that doesn't change the fact that they can't change the agreement itself, and the tenets of it. QUESTION: John, just a big picture kind of question on this, I mean, part of the criticism here is that perhaps you feel as if Iran has -- you know, adhered to the spirit of the agreement. But the question is, are they adhering to the letter of the agreement in all it's points? And that some critics are charging that -- even if you feel that they're adhering -- that it's enough for them to adhere to the spirit of the agreement and you're willing to cut them some slack on a few kilometers here or a few kilometers there to make sure that they're adhering in general to the agreement. KIRBY: There's been no cutting of slack, Elise. And the IAEA has certified -- I'm aware of at least once, probably more than once, that Iran has been in full compliance of JCPOA commitments. Hopefully, they refer to it as the spirit of their commitments. They talk very explicitly about Iran being in compliance with it's commitments. And the Secretary himself has certified that to the congress. QUESTION: So this issue of what exactly constitutes -- you know, the low-enriched uranium that is -- that they are now allowed -- that they are only allowed to keep up to 300 kilograms, is kind of important. Because there have been -- you know through this process of negotiating this deal, there were these issues of Iran being able to change -- to convert this material to other forms, but that conversion process could be reversed? So when you -- I guess caveat or describe it as say, "300 kilograms of material that can be further enriched," I think we are all trying to understand whether there's other forms of LEU that they can -- low-enriched uranium that they can keep in some other kind of form that would be allowed. KIRBY: I'm simply not enough of a nuclear powered energy expert to address that specific question. What I can tell you is, is that the JCPOA has set the limit for low-enriched uranium to 300 kilograms. And that since implementation day, Iran has been in compliance with holding to that limit. And as I said, before the deal, they had 12,000 -- now they've got less than 300. They went from having a few months breakout time to a bomb to now having now have about a year --QUESTION: Moving -- KIRBY: And -- oh by the way -- -- oh by the way -- and this is something that we're I think forgetting -- that as a result of this, there is now in place the most stringent, strident inspection regimen ever put in place in a deal such as this on a nation that has nuclear power capabilities. The IAEA themselves, have said that they're comfortable with the access that they have, the information that they have, to make their certifications and thus far, they have made clear that Iran is in compliance. QUESTION: (OFF-MIKE) KIRBY: Sure. QUESTION: Do you have anything on the second (ph) please? KIRBY: I don't think we're done with this right now. Go ahead. QUESTION: Kenny Burgurga (ph) from The Guardian. What about these 19 extra hot cells that were bigger than the limits prescribed by the JCPOA. The significance being that you can separate plutonium at least, if you line up these hot cells together. KIRBY: Yes. Again, not an expert here but regarding hot cells and without getting into specific discussions which I'm not able to do, JCPOA specifically permits the possibility of larger hot cells approved by the Joint Commission. I quote right here from the JCPOA, "Iran will develop, acquire, build or operate hot cells with dimensions beyond 6 cubic meters in volume, and specifications set out in Annex 1 of the Additional Protocol, only after approval by the Joint Commission." So, if the Joint Commission approves larger hot cells, it's possible for them to have larger hot cells. QUESTION: (OFF-MIKE) KIRBY: I can not speak to -- as I said at the top of my answer to you, I'm not going to speak to specifics here, I can't. QUESTION: And on the question of the Joint Commission's (inaudible)... KIRBY: Around the what? QUESTION: On the question of confidentiality, can you explain the rationale for that confidentiality other than it's in the agreement? I know one of the virtues of JCPOA was that it was a public document. Is there a rationale why these -- this interpretation should be confidential? KIRBY: I'd say in general, diplomatic discussions are confidential in nature unless all the parties agree otherwise. QUESTION: Last question maybe (ph) taking this from a different approach, is it the position of the Department that Iran can only have been judged to be in compliance by Implementation Day by virtue of guidance that was in fact issued by the Joint Commission? KIRBY: Again, you're asking me about the deliberative discussions that I'm not privy to and I couldn't answer. What I can tell you is that since Implementation Day, they've been in compliance with the exception of that one time when there was an excess of heavy water. All right, we done with this? QUESTION: One follow-up on this. In -- I think it was Annex 4, not Annex 1- - where it describes in detail how it is that the Joint Commission can permit larger hot cells if it wishes. It also says that the Joint and it describes that the Joint Commissions deliberations and decisions are confidential, but it says that they can be made public. Why didn't the Joint Commission -- and I fully acknowledging that the under the agreement, it has the right to keep things confidential. Why not make its decisions public so that the public at large and the nuclear specialists community can understand precisely what is being decided and agreed to and permitted here?QUESTION: Why not make those things public -- KIRBY: Well, as I said, in diplomatic discussions, particularly multilateral diplomatic discussions, they're confidential in nature unless all of the parties agree otherwise. And the joint commission continues to work under the practice that these will be -- that these deliberations, these discussions, their work will be maintained at confidential. QUESTION: And has the United States government, as a member of the joint commission, believe that all such things should be confidential of (ph) its deliberations? KIRBY: I'm not going to speak for specific. QUESTION: I'm not asking anything specific, I'm just saying, do you think their deliberations should be confidential or not? I'm not asking you... KIRBY: We respect the consensus view of the joint commission of which we're a member, and that consensus view, thus far has been to keep their work confidential. QUESTION: So consensus as you know means unanimous. In diplomatic terms, every member of the joint commission has opposed making public its work? KIRBY: I'm not going to -- I don't know the answer. QUESTION: You just said consensus, that was a consensus position. The word consensus means everybody agrees to it. Does that -- I want to make sure you're saying something accurate here. That every member of the joint commission has decided it's better to keep its deliberations and decisions secret or if you're using the word consensus in some of other non-precise way? KIRBY: Arshad, don't insult me. And don't stand up there and try to lecture me on English, OK? Let's get beyond that, let's be grown-ups here. In diplomatic discussions, particularly multilateral ones, as I said, those discussions are confidential unless all parties agree otherwise. So the joint commission and I don't know who voted for what, and frankly it's irrelevant. The joint commission has decided to keep their work confidential as they are expected to do unless they choose otherwise in accordance with the JCPOA and that's where we are. And I understand that you may not appreciate that or may not like that but that's the decision of the joint commission and the information has been shared and briefed to members of Congress, as it has been shared and briefed to members of other legislative bodies in other members of the P5+1. QUESTION: In a classified setting, correct? KIRBY: As far as I know, yes. QUESTION: Yes, so it's not a consensus decision, it's not a unanimous decision, you can't say it was a unanimous decision? KIRBY: I do not know. I do not know. QUESTION: OK, fine thanks. KIRBY: I can tell you that again, they're confidential unless all other -- unless all parties agree otherwise. Are we off this? QUESTION: Yes, change this (ph)? KIRBY: Yes, go ahead. QUESTION: Do you have something (inaudible)? I read one news report about Al Arabiya English that he met the Egyptian president. Did he had any other official meetings in Delhi today? KIRBY: I don't know of any. He attended the senior staff meeting this morning by VTC and he's made some phone calls but I don't have a readout of that meeting. QUESTION: About 65 House lawmakers wrote to President Obama calling on him to withdraw his request for Congressional approval for more than $1 billion in arms sale to Saudi Arabia until Congress can more fully debate American military support for the Saudis. They cited increasing reports of civilian casualties in Yemen. I'm wondering if you're aware of this letter, are you in discussions with the White House about delaying the sale and is there concerns that U.S. weapons to Saudi Arabia are increasingly being used in the war (ph)? KIRBY: I'm only recently aware of the letter, Elise and I can't, wouldn't speak to Congressional correspondents, certainly not that go said, to the president of the United States.KIRBY: That's really for my colleagues at the White House to speak to. What I can tell you is that Saudi Arabia remains a key ally and partner in the region. The United States continues to support a defense -- a strong defense and security relationship with Saudi Arabia. The secretary talked about this a little bit when we were in Jeddah a week or so ago. And -- and we obviously understand and share concerns by members of Congress about the damage to civilian infrastructure and to innocent civilian lives in Yemen as a result of Saudi-led coalition operations. And that is also something that the secretary raised with counterparts in Jeddah when we were there. But we -- but we will -- we will obviously respond to their concerns in kind, and that means responding appropriately to their correspondence. QUESTION: But particularly if there's a -- you know, concern about you know, civilian -- damage to civilian infrastructure and civilian casualties, there must be also a concern that that could be being done in the hands of U.S. weapons. (CROSSTALK) KIRBY: I can't speak to the specifics of every tactical strike or mission that the Saudis take and what equipment and material they're using. Obviously, we have a strong defense relationship with Saudi Arabia which results in foreign military sales of -- of quite a bit of articles of defense-related equipment. There's no question about that. And there are, as you well know, there are what we call end-use agreements on these kinds of things and we do -- we stipulate. And when we have concerns, we express those concerns. And we have had concerns with the -- the conduct of some coalition operations in Yemen and we've not been bashful about expressing those privately or publicly. And as I said, I can assure you that the secretary raised those concerns with Saudi leaders when we were in Jeddah. But this is, you know, we're aware of the concerns. Actually, we share some of those concerns. But I couldn't speak for the exact manner in which there will be or won't be any changes to the defense relationship. That's something that we have to work out. QUESTION: (inaudible) American citizens in various trouble around the world. I'll try to go through some of them quickly. KIRBY: Just going to have to give me time to move around in the book. QUESTION: Yes, that's fine. KIRBY: Because... QUESTION: Firstly, on these reports that the Kurds have returned some remains to the United States of three Americans who apparently were killed in the last two months. Can you confirm that and any other details? KIRBY: All I can say is I don't have anything more additional to what I said earlier. We -- we have been working to help facilitate the return of the reported remains of private U.S. citizens killed in Syria. We remain in close contact with local authorities and we stand ready to provide all appropriate consular assistance. But I'm just afraid I don't have any more information at this time. QUESTION: And I've missed a couple days because I was away, but so if -- if there's no update on some of these from what you've already said, just tell me that. On the American citizen in Turkey who is in custody? Do you have an update on that? KIRBY: I don't, and I did talk about that individual yesterday. QUESTION: OK. And then on the individual Mr. Holt (ph) in Venezuela. KIRBY: No update. QUESTION: No update. And then on the... KIRBY: But we did address that. We can point you to the transcript. QUESTION: OK. And then there was the latest video of the Coleman family. Do you have a comment on that?KIRBY: All I can tell you is that we're still examining -- we're still examining that video and I don't have additional information on that case right now. QUESTION: So you -- you're checking its veracity and... KIRBY: Yeah, I mean we're examining it, as you would expect that -- that we would. (CROSSTALK) QUESTION: Can you just do one more American citizen? Do you have anything new to say about Sandy Phan-Gillis? Her husband today said -- accused China of suppressing evidence that weakens its case. KIRBY: I don't really have much in terms of an update for you. We remain deeply concerned about Ms. Phan-Gillis's welfare. We continue to monitor her case closely. Consular officers from the consulate there have visited her on a monthly basis since she was detained back in March of last year. We have repeatedly pressed Chinese authorities to provide further details of the case and to give our consular officers full and unrestricted access to her as required by the Vienna Convention. We urge the government of China to review and consider seriously the views expressed by the U.N. Working Group on Arbitrary Detention, including its recommendation to release Ms. Phan-Gillis. QUESTION: (inaudible) not have anything else, but I've got to ask. Her husband has asked for President Obama to ask President Xi for her release. Obviously, that's a White House question, but to your knowledge has her husband asked the State Department or Secretary Kerry to directly seek her release? KIRBY: I'm not aware of any such request. QUESTION: Thank you. QUESTION: Yesterday you expressed concern for the results of the vote in Gabon. Since you expressed concern, the parliament has burned down. There's been 1,000 arrests. Opposition headquarters has been raided and Ban Ki Moon has called for the release of political prisoners. Have you got any update (inaudible) position? And are U.S. citizens in Libreville safe? KIRBY: Well, we've issued, as you might expect, our embassy in Libreville sent a security message out today to inform U.S. citizens of the widespread violent demonstrations throughout Gabon in the aftermath of the presidential election. The embassy urges Americans there to remain at home and off the streets. I don't have any information specifically about the welfare of individual Americans, obviously. QUESTION: Are you in touch with the government or the electoral commission about the (inaudible) results? I noticed in your statement yesterday you called for more transparency in polling station by polling station results. Obviously, you haven't received that. KIRBY: We are certainly in touch with the government of Gabon in the wake of the elections. And I do want to stress that we deplore the escalation of violence following the release of those results. It's provisional election results by the government. We urge all parties to come together peacefully at this critical time to halt the slide towards further unrest. We call upon the security forces to respect the constitutionally guaranteed rights of all Gabonese citizens and of all residents of Gabon. The international community is watching these events closely and will consider appropriate actions going forward. QUESTION: The U.N. specifically asked for the release of some of the prisoners. Is that something the U.S. associates itself with here? KIRBY: I don't have -- I don't think we have a position on necessarily that. Obviously, we don't want to see -- we've been very clear, we don't want to see anybody illegally or unjustifiably detained. But I'm not familiar with this particular call. Clearly, we would want the release of anybody who was being illegally detained or jailed for freedom of assembly, freedom of speech, or being part of a political discourse. (CROSSTALK) KIRBY: More on Gabon? Let me stay on Gabon and then we'll come around. Go ahead. QUESTION: Does the United States agree with France or -- and E.U. by calling the results of election of all polling districts should be announced before an official winner is declared? And whether United States asked for a recount of the ballots? KIRBY: As I understand it, no permanent results have been declared. What was released yesterday were provisional results that still need to be certified by the Constitutional Accord. And as I said to Dave's answer, we are encouraging the government of Gabon to release the individual polling station of results. We are asking that the legal procedures for certification of the results be followed according to Gabonese law in a fair and transparent manner. QUESTION: But it doesn't mean that a recount will be asked? KIRBY: What we are asking for is that the legal procedures for certification be followed according to Gabonese law. QUESTION: Given the close cooperation between the United States and Gabon -- because in the effort to fight against terrorism, how will this election affect the future of cooperation? KIRBY: I think it's too soon to say. We are obviously closely watching this situation unfold. We have made our concerns known. We will continue to do that. And I'm not going to get ahead of any decisions on bilateral cooperation on way or another. North Korea? QUESTION: Thank you. QUESTION: Two on North Korea. I'll be fairly quickly. First, one of the world's most renown academic experts on North Korea, Dr. Bruce Bechtol of the Arizona State University (sic), has suggested that the recent ballistic missile testing by North Korea indicates -- or at least the weight of the evidence -- indicates that China may have supplied a submarine launched ballistic missile to the DPRK. Is that your understanding? KIRBY: James, I think you know the -- I'm not able to speak to intelligence matters here from the podium. QUESTION: Nothing further on that subject? KIRBY: I'm afraid not. QUESTION: And secondly, the South Korean Ambassador has given an interview to VOA in which he stated that, "further provocations by the North would lead the ROK to seek restrictions on North Korea's membership at the United Nations." Is the United States planning to seek any restrictions on North Korea's membership at the U.N.? KIRBY I haven't seen the interview of those comments. And I'm not aware of any such move or desire by the United States at this time. QUESTION: And lastly, wouldn't the provision of a submarine launched ballistic missile to North Korea violate relevant U.S. Security Council Resolutions? KIRBY: To the best to my knowledge, yes, but I'm not an expert on all of the resolutions. That certainly would seem to me to be -- be a, yes. Obviously, we've got in place pretty stringent -- more strident now in the last 20 years or so -- sanctions on the North and the kinds of things that they are able to procure or obtain. QUESTION: Allow me just to say for the record, and to take the liberty of speaking for Arshad, when I say that I think everyone in this room respects your intelligence and would never seek to lecture you on English or anything else. And that reflects not only your work in this room to date, but also you're entire career as a public servant. KIRBY: I appreciate that. Thank you. QUESTION: John, can I get one more on -- KIRBY: I've already gotten you -- QUESTION: Do you have any information about the U.S. citizen David Sneddon who reported disappeared in 2004 in China? There are some reports that he has disappeared in North Korea. KIRBY: Yes, the embassy in Beijing, and the consulate -- and I can't quite pronounce this correctly -- Chengdu -- have been in regular ongoing contact with local authorities since David Sneddon was reported missing in China in August of 2004. KIRBY: As you know, and I've said many times, one of the highest priorities of the U.S. Department of State is the welfare of U.S. citizens overseas. This includes providing all appropriate assistance in welfare and whereabouts cases for U.S. citizens. When a citizen is believed to be missing abroad, we work with local authorities who are charged with investigating disappearances within that - their country. In June of 2012, the Department invoked the health and safety exception to the privacy act and released to the Stens (ph) all information that we had regarding his case. We continue to closely monitor this matter and we continue to raise it with Chinese authorities. I can not speculate for the reasons of his disappearance, however I can tell you that you that we have seen no verifiable evidence to indicate that Mr. Sneddon was abducted by North Korean officials. (Inaudible) or Turkey, what else? QUESTION: A few questions, if I may. KIRBY: It's OK, I'm going to get to you. (LAUGHTER) KIRBY: I can see the exasperation on your face. We will work ourselves around here, it's all right. Go ahead. QUESTION: Earlier this week -- KIRBY: Your face - you can hold your cards pretty close -- (LAUGHTER) KIRBY: It's hard to tell what you're thinking James (ph). QUESTION: (OFF-MIKE) (LAUGHTER) KIRBY: I didn't want to say that. I can just smell the smoke. (LAUGHTER) QUESTION: Earlier this week, U.S. Centcom Spokesman Colonel John Thomas said there was a loose agreement between Turkish and Kurdish forces to stop fighting each other in Syria. Turkey summoned the U.S. Ambassador to criticize the U.S. for making such a statement, and Turkey's E.U. Affairs Minister said they do not accept any compromise or a cease-fire with the Kurds. Was there or was there not an agreement? KIRBY: I think we've dealt with this before -- QUESTION: That was my question yesterday -- (CROSSTALK) QUESTION: --in the media, but was there an agreement or was there not? KIRBY: Well, I mean I don't think I can give you any better answer then I did earlier on this. First of all, I want to correct the record. Our Ambassador was not summoned in over this, so the press reporting on that was false and I checked that with Ambassador Bass myself. QUESTION: (Inaudible). KIRBY: You said he was summoned in. He -- (CROSSTALK) QUESTION: That is what Turkey reported and here's what the Turkish Foreign Minister said -- KIRBY: I don't want to get dealt into this. I'm just telling you that the reports that he got summoned were wrong. He talks to his counterparts in the Turkish government pretty much every day, so I'm not going to say that he isn't on the phone with them. I have no problem believing the fact that Turkish Officials might have expressed, as they continue to express, various concerns about the situation in Syria with Ambassador Bass. But the reporting that he was summoned was just wrong. Now in the agreement, I would refer you again as I said, to our counterparts in the Defense Department. QUESTION: (OFF-MIKE) KIRBY: You'd have to talk to the parties about whether there was a quote-on-quote agreement, and I'm not even sure I understand what you mean by agreement. What I did say and what I'll say again today is that we saw a calm, we continue to see that calm persists. That's welcome, that's good. We continue to call on everybody to focus their efforts on Daesh inside Syria. Now Turkey is inside Syria for a purpose, a purpose we talked about, which is to secure that stretch of border which has remained a major avenue for foreign fighters and for material to reach Daesh inside Syria. We're obviously supportive of that effort by Turkey to secure that stretch of border and those are the conversations that we're having with them. QUESTION: Just to clarify, it was the U.S. Centcom's Spokesman who said -- KIRBY: So -- (CROSSTALK) QUESTION: -- ceasefire agreement -- KIRBY: You're asking me to confirm something that the Pentagon confirmed themselves on the record. I'm in no position to say whether that's right or wrong. They should speak for their own comments and if they're comfortable saying that on the record, then you can take it or accept it or not. QUESTION: They speak for the U.S. and you do, too. Isn't that right? (LAUGHTER) KIRBY: A lot of people speak for the U.S -- (CROSSTALK) QUESTION: Actually, so to your response, do you think the fact that the clashes between Turkish and Kurdish forces diminished in the past few days -- KIRBY: Yes. QUESTION: -- relative to the event (ph) speaks to the U.S. being right about this loose ceasefire agreement and Turkey being misleading. KIRBY: Being right about it in what way? QUESTION: That there has been a loose, I'm quoting the U.S. -- KIRBY: I can appreciate -- I do appreciate the effort to try to get me to confirm something that the Pentagon's already confirmed themselves on the record. I'll let them speak to whether there was an agreement and what form it took. From the State Department perspective, we're much less worried about whether something was inked on paper or not and much more concerned about the fact that those clashes have ceased. Because as we said at the time, it was doing nothing to help us focus our efforts against Daesh so that those clashes stopped and have remained -- that there's been no renewal of that violence between Turkish forces and Kurdish fighters, is a good thing. But it's only half of a good thing, right? The rest is we need everybody, and continue to focus on fighting Daesh. QUESTION: So from the State Department perspective, there is a ceasefire in place? KIRBY: No I didn't -- Diane, I didn't say that. I'm not -- I don't know what led to the -- what specifically led to the end of the clashes. But we're glad to see that. Now whether, and frankly... (CROSSTALK) KIRBY: I'm not sure how relevant it is whether there was an agreement, as your couching it, or not. Clearly somebody agreed to stop the fighting and that's a good thing so I'm not walking away from the fact that there was some meeting of the minds here to stop fighting one another, that's a good thing. And I'm also not saying we were just passive bystanders here. We obviously have been trying to -- and we have stayed in contact and dialogue with everybody on this. And as I said yesterday, looking for ways to keep the channels of the communication open so that that dialogue can persist so that we don't see a renewal of these clashes. QUESTION: About the dialogue, do you think that U.S. and Turkish officials, leaders understand each other well? Because it is one event that they're commenting on and one side says one thing and the other says, that's not what happened. KIRBY: I can't speak for the level of understanding of another individual, much less another nation. I can just tell you that our focus has not changed. Our understanding of concerns that the Turkish government has about terrorism and about their views of fighters on the other side of the border with Syria are well known and we continue to have these discussions with them. Do we agree on everything? No. But I don't know of another nation in the world where the United States agrees on every possible thing. So I mean we're going to continue to work through these issues and we want the focus to be on Daesh. QUESTION: Can we move on? QUESTION: Could I just ask about a suggestion from David Ignatius, the Washington Post columnist about the need for political strategy to accompany the military strategy in fighting Daesh, particularly in Syria. And he highlighted two elements.QUESTION: One was the need to reconcile Ankara with its own Kurdish population by having negotiations between the PKK and Ankara, which KRG president, Massoud Barzani has also called for. And the second part of this suggestion was a political vision for Syria. He suggested federalism but something that addresses Kurdish political aspirations there, otherwise their motive to keep on fighting against ISIS is limited. QUESTION: Do you have any comment on those two points? KIRBY: Well, I would just say this, that we do have a strategy. We do have a political view of the future for Syria. That's why Secretary Kerry has been working so hard inside the International Syria Support Group to get us to a point where the opposition and the regime can renew talks to work on a transitional governing structure for the future of Syria. We've long said -- nothing's changed that. We believe in a whole, unified, pluralistic Syria that has in place a government that represents the voices of all Syrians and can be responsive to them and to their needs so that this civil war can end. Now, the issue of federalism is something that the Syrian people would have to determine. What we've said, the large umbrella of what we want is a whole, unified, pluralistic Syria. QUESTION: Would something like the Iraqi model be something the United States would consider? KIRBY: I'm not -- that is for the Syrian people to determine not the United States. QUESTION: (Inaudible) whole, pluralistic, unified Syria. What country in the world do you not want to see whole, pluralistic and unified? That's not a vision of anything. That just means you want a country. I mean, that's nothing. KIRBY: That -- no, I disagree. QUESTION: There's 193 countries in the world. You don't think any of them should be divided or disunited or at civil war. Is that correct? Which ones do you want in civil war? (CROSSTALK) KIRBY: Oh, come on, Brad. But I absolutely take -- I take real issue with your statement that it's nothing. It's not nothing, and it's not nothing to the millions of Syrians that have been suffering over the last five years. QUESTION: It's nothing to the 500,000 who died. KIRBY: It's an awful lot. QUESTION: It isn't. KIRBY: I couldn't disagree with you more. I couldn't disagree with you more. A whole, unified, pluralistic Syria that's not at war with itself, that doesn't have a government that's barrel-bombing and gassing their own people. QUESTION: Which doesn't exist. KIRBY: It doesn't exist now and that's why we're working so hard -- (CROSSTALK) KIRBY: -- on trying to reach it. QUESTION: Anyway. KIRBY: I could not disagree with you more about that. I absolutely, stridently think that that is a -- QUESTION: That is a bold and progressive agenda. OK, fine. KIRBY: I didn't say that. I said --- I said it is a vision for Syria. And I take great issue with the fact that it wouldn't be. QUESTION: Well, it's shared by everybody. So great. QUESTION: (inaudible) what about (inaudible) Kurds and some kind of lessening of the conflict there; negotiations between the PKK and (inaudible)? KIRBY: Well, look, I mean, we have long called on the PKK to renounce violence and terrorism and return to negotiations. I mean, we've -- I've said that many, many times. There's nothing changed about our position on that. QUESTION: So you would support an initiative for negotiations between the Turkish government and the PKK? KIRBY: We have long said that we want the PKK to renounce terrorism, stop the violent attacks against innocent Turkish citizens, and renew talks. I mean, we've been very honest about that, but they've got to stop the violence. They've got to renounce terrorism. QUESTION: Change of topic? (CROSSTALK) QUESTION: (inaudible) accusations that because you supported the YPG in Syria it has emboldened the Kurdish movement, and that's one of the reasons why the PKK feels it has cover to engage in -- KIRBY: You'd have to ask PKK terrorists, you know, whether they feel emboldened or not and why. They're a designated foreign terrorist organization. Yes? QUESTION: Just one more on the subject. KIRBY: No, I want to move on. Go ahead. QUESTION: This is a different topic. But the Russians are talking about the possibility of hosting the Israeli and Palestinian leaders in October with an attempt to kind of give a revival of some kind to a peace process. How would the U.S. view that?KIRBY: I think the secretary has said many times that he welcomes all ideas and all initiatives that can explore and hopefully get us closer to a viable two-state solution. QUESTION: This would be a different scenario or one that hasn't happened so far? It would be another world power mediating in the Israel-Palestinian peace process (ph), which is something that the Americans have done until now. You always talk about direct negotiations in an American sponsored peace process -- (CROSSTALK) KIRBY: The Secretary's view is that any new idea, initiatives, or option that can get us close to a viable two-state solution is worth exploring. QUESTION: Question? KIRBY: Yes? QUESTION: One on Afghanistan, this -- have you seen this news report about the Chaman border -- on the Af-Pak border being closed for some time. And now, Pakistan has said this, they are going to re- open it. How do you see this developing? KIRBY: We've seen those reports and those statements, and of course, we welcome that. QUESTION: Quick one, John? KIRBY: Let me work around and then come back. Abby, did you have something? QUESTION: It's on Syria. KIRBY: OK. QUESTION: Kerry and Lavrov spoke today, and the Russian read-out says that they -- Lavrov urged the need of separating the Syrian opposition from terrorists. Is there any progress on that point since the two of them met? KIRBY: They did talk today and they did talk about Syria, and the work that our two teams are doing in Geneva this week to try to work out some of the technicalities on these proposals for a better cessation of hostilities. The issue of marbling if you will of opposition groups or opposition fighters that co-locate themselves for whatever reason with groups like Al-Nusra and Daesh remains a problem. It certainly remains an issue that the Secretary and the Foreign Minister have talked about -- will continue to talk about. And certainly, it's part of the context of the discussion between the two teams that are working out these technicalities. QUESTION: One more. The U.N. Envoy and the U.N. Advisor on Humanitarian Aid gave a press conference today. It was a fairly impassioned speech by the Humanitarian Advisor saying that, "he felt that we had all failed the people of Darayya." I wondered if you had any comment on that -- on that? KIRBY: I haven't seen those comments, but again, I can tell you that everybody continues to be extraordinarily frustrated by the situation on the ground in Syria. The Secretary no less among them -- and that's why we are working so hard to try to get a cessation of hostilities. But let's be honest here, while the international community certainly continues to have obligations and commitments to try to end this war, to try to create a home for the Syrian people that can live in peacefully -- it is Bashar Al-Assad who is -- with support from Russia and Iran -- I understand that -- but it is he who is the one killing his own people. He is the one gassing them. He is the one barrel bombing them. He is the one who is sieging their cities. He is the one who's his ordering forces to take out medical supplies when those few humanitarian conveys can get into places like Darayya or even Aleppo on the rare occasion. It is Bashar Al-Assad who has failed the people of Syria. Yes? QUESTION: Can you please take a question regarding North Korea? QUESTION: Article 25 of the U.N. Charter said that old members are implementing United Nations Security Council Resolutions -- are duties of old members. Given North Korea continues to violate the resolution -- and it's been six months after 2270 was inducted -- does the United States believe the DPRK should be kicked out of the U.N. or at least there should be some restrictions? KIRBY: I don't need to take that question, Nike (ph). I know of no such effort by the United States. These -- this last resolution is the most -- represents the most stringent sanctions on the regime and as I said then, and I recognize we're six months into it, but sanctions do take time. They take time to have an effect and each and every time that the North Korean regime behaves provocatively, it really only galvanizes the international community that much more. QUESTION: If South Korea were to present a proposal for revoking DPRK membership in the U.N., would the U.S. consider that positively? KIRBY: It's a great hypothetical question that I'm not going to entertain. Yes? QUESTION: I want to follow up on a statement the State Department made last month regarding security trainings for Former Secretary Clinton. The statement was the secretary and senior staff in the office of the secretary received in person orientation on handling classified information and then worked daily with qualified professional staff. So my question is, who are the people who actually would brief someone like Secretary Clinton when one of those in person briefings happened and do you have any dates of when those briefings happened? KIRBY: I don't. I don't have the dates on when those briefings might have happened or if they happened but that is not an uncommon practice, particularly for somebody at that level. And it's usually people that work inside the administrative bureau here at the State Department. QUESTION: So they're State Department employees that would -- KIRBY: By -- QUESTION: Do you have any more specifics, I guess? KIRBY: I don't, I don't. Yes? QUESTION: Just one question, last week about 10 days ago, a State Department with the DOJ sent a team Turkey for extradition request to work with Turkey in Ankara. I was wondering if you have any feedback on those meetings from Ankara? KIRBY: They did have a meeting, a joint team of State and Justice Department employees did go visit Ankara to talk through the process and process issues. I'm told that those were constructive meetings, I don't have a specific readout for you. As I said at the time, issues of extradition can often be lengthy in terms of the process and how long it takes and I just don't have an update for you. Yes? QUESTION: Do you have any comment on the treasury sanctions that were issued today in relation to Ukraine and also did that come up in the call with Foreign Minister Lavrov? KIRBY: The call with Foreign Minister Lavrov was about Syria. I don't know -- let's see here. OK, sanctions. The text on these pages is not -- I still find I'm using my glasses even when the front is big. The U.S. Department of the Treasury's Office of Foreign Assets controlled designated and identified, a range of individuals and entities today under three executive orders to maintain the integrity of the current sanctions imposed on Russia. The sanction's maintenance action is designed to check attempts to circumvent existing sanctions, strengthen sanctions implementation and provide additional information to assist the private sector with compliance.KIRBY: It also demonstrates the United States commitment to link sanctions to Russia's complete implementation of the Minsk Agreements and an end to the occupation of Crimea as well as our solidarity with the European Union's decision to extend its sectoral sanctions through January 31, 2017. But any further details on this, you'd have to go to the Department of Treasury. These are their sanctions. I'll take one more. (CROSSTALK) QUESTION: (OFF-MIKE) maintenance on the current (ph) regime or are you toughening your stance? KIRBY: More maintenance. QUESTION: (OFF-MIKE) could you make sure that we get updates on Super (ph) UK's (ph) engagements in Delhi and any read-outs of the meetings? KIRBY: We'll pass that on to the traveling team. We'd be happy to do what we can. QUESTION: One final one. The Secretary has gotten a little bit of criticism online for the comment he made the other day about - it was kind of an off-hand comment about how it'd be nice if reporters maybe didn't report as much about terrorism. I don't know if you -- KIRBY: I did and I addressed this the other day. QUESTION: Okay. KIRBY: I mean I did address it, I'm happy to restate it today. He was simply referring to the fact that there are often more than one purpose for acts of terrorism, that the violence and destruction and death and fear itself that they can instill, but also the notoriety that can come with the press coverage of them. QUESTION: (Inaudible) KIRBY: I mean obviously, I think you all know the Secretary well enough to know how much he values the work of a strong, independent press and having you ask the tough questions and cover the tough issues. QUESTION: I was personally, greatly dismayed by - no, I wasn't. (LAUGHTER) QUESTION: I just didn't know it had come up already. KIRBY: But I did -- QUESTION: Thank (ph) -- (CROSSTALK) KIRBY: I said the same thing just a few days ago. QUESTION: Thank you. KIRBY: Okay, thanks everybody. << Go Back Print this page Print this page Save this pageSave this page CALENDAR FNS Coverage Schedule Subscriber only line Seperator Daybook Subscriber only line Seperator Today in Washington Free
1973 Cinderella Liberty
Cinderella Liberty trailer - w/ Spanish V.O. - 1973 - sailor falls in love with brash prostitute and son - James Caan, Marsha Mason, Eli Wallach, Kirk Calloway, Burt Young, Bruce Kirby, Dabney Coleman, Sally Kirkland - directed by Mark Rydell - Navyman exits ship - pool table action - man and kid shadowbox, catch fish - billiards
(VARIETY CLUB GOLDEN AWARDS)
Unissued / Unused material -<br/><br/>London. <br/><br/>VS The motor coach and minibus that is to be presented to the Sunshine Home by the Variety Club standing outside Dorchester Hotel. MS Yul Brynner and wife looking at the coach. CU The small lift on coach for raising wheelchairs etc. VS Handing over of the buses. VS Inside hotel and the Variety Club Golden Award starts to get under way. Adam Faith and Joe Brown talking to Yul Brynner and guest of Honour, Bruce Forsyth with Ann Shelton, Dickie Valentine talking to Melvyn Hayes, Teddie and Babs of the Beverley Sisters, Acker Bilk, Alma Cogan, Kathy Kirby talking to Winnie Atwell and CJ Latta (Managing Director of ABPC - Associated British Picture Corporation) talking to the Duke of Bedford. MS Yul Brynner presents Golden Award to Ann Shelton. <br/><br/>(Orig.Neg.) Old record suggests material dates from around 12/05/1964.
Entertainment The Hulk trailer - Muscular, green superhero turned into feature film star
TAPE: EF03/0378 IN_TIME: 14:09:43 DURATION: 1:00 SOURCES: UIP RESTRICTIONS: No re-use/re-sale of film clips without clearance DATELINE: n/a SHOTLIST SOUND AS INCOMING UIP 1. Trailer 'The Hulk' THE HULK IS APPROACHING Following the blockbusters 'X-Men' and last year's 'Spiderman', the latest Stan Lee incarnation to hit the big screen is 'The Hulk' and Universal have released another taster of the comic book hero in action. Directed by 'Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon''s acclaimed Ang Lee, 'The Hulk' brings the muscular green superhero to life for the first time since the hugely successful television series of the 1970s, 'The Incredible Hulk'. Adapted from the classic Marvel Comics series, 'The Hulk', aims to combine all the elements of a blockbuster visual effects-intensive superhero movie with the brooding romance and tragedy of Universal's classic horror films. In depicting The Hulk as both a superhero and a monster, a wish fulfillment and a nightmare, Lee and his team have stayed true to the early subversive spirit of the character created by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby, while completely updating The Hulk and projecting it into the dangers and aspirations of contemporary times. Australian actor Eric Bana ('Black Hawk Down') takes the coveted title role of scientist Bruce Banner, whose inner demons transform him in the aftermath of a catastrophic experiment. Academy Award' winner Jennifer Connelly ('A Beautiful Mind') portrays Betty Ross, whose scientific genius unwittingly helps unleash The Hulk; Nick Nolte ('The Thin Red Line') plays Banner's brilliant father, who passes on a tragic legacy to his son; and Sam Elliott ('The Contender') portrays the commander of a top-secret military research centre. 'The Hulk' is due to hit US cinema screens later this year on 20th June. CLEARANCE DETAILS The Hulk UIP 1 818 777 1000 44 (0) 20 8741 9602
LABOUR AND TORY CHIEFS ON BATTLES AHEAD
Title reads: "Labour and Tory Chiefs on battle ahead". <br/> <br/>Westminster, London. <br/> <br/>Parliament reassembles. Panning shot of Big Ben and Westminster Palace. Various shots of MPs (members of Parliament) arriving for first session. We see Commander Douglas Marshall of Bodmin (Conservative), Sir Peter Macdonald of Isle of Wight (Cons), Challen of Hampstead (Cons), Captain J.F.E. Crowder of Finchley (Cons) and Captain B. V. Kirby of Liverpool (Liberal). <br/> <br/>C/U of Conservative Party chairman Lord Woolton. He gives a speech into microphone. He believes a great Conservative revival has begun and restoration of individual freedom. <br/> <br/>Various shots of Labour MPs entering Houses of Parliament. We see C. Royle of Salford, Alderman P. Shurmer of Sparkbrook, Flight Lieutenant B. T. Parkin of Stroud, Major D.W.T. Bruce of Portsmouth North, Sidney Silverman of Nelson and Colne, Alice Bacon of Leeds North, C. R. Hobson of Wembley and atom-expert Raymond Blackburn of Kings Norton, Birmingham and H. Hynd of Hackney and Shackleton of Preston. <br/> <br/>M/S of Pathe reporter John Parsons interviews new Labour War Minister, Fred J. Bellenger. He says with the experience of two wars behind mean he can assure ex-servicemen will get a fair deal. <br/> <br/>L/S of Westminster Palace, looking across River Thames.
Syria: Putin’s coup de force
France 5
Marlon Kirby (L), Bruce McMahan and Playmate of The Year Hope Dworaczyk at the New And Improved Maxximus G Force, The World's Fastest Car, Unveiled at Beverly Hills CA. (Footage by WireImage Video/GettyImages)
Marlon Kirby (L), Bruce McMahan and Playmate of The Year Hope Dworaczyk at the New And Improved Maxximus G Force, The World's Fastest Car, Unveiled at Beverly Hills CA. (Footage by WireImage Video/GettyImages)
[USA: train accident in Hoboken]
TF1 News (Private - August 1982 ->)
Falling global oil prices might be welcome news for consumers - but those working in the industry say if it continues it could put them out of business.
VOICED: Exterior shots of Petrol Station sign showing 1.99 per gallon, woman using pumps and filling car with gasoline, voxpops, car driving along dirt road and arriving at Nodding Donkey Oil Pump, Crude Oil being poured from inspection valve into class jar, Interview with Paul Kenworthy a Texas Oilman, exterior shots of Pat Kirby showing Sky News Reporter Dominic Waghorn valves from boot of car, Interview with Pat Kirby Oil Equipment Supplier, Exterior shots of Oil Fracking drill platforms, Interview with Bruce Bundock, Oil Analyst, Exterior shots of Oil Pumpjack at dusk (also called Oil Horse, Donkey Pumper, Nodding Donkey, Pumping Unit, Horsehead Pump,Rocking Horse, Beam Pump Sucker Rod Pump SRP, Grasshopper Pump, Jack Pump) on December 19, 2014 in Dallas, Texas.
Entertainment: Hulk Trailer - Sneak preview of cartoon classic brought to life on big screen
TAPE: EF03/0114 IN_TIME: 21:31:25 DURATION: 1:00 SOURCES: Universal RESTRICTIONS: No re-use/re-sale of film clips without clearance DATELINE: Recent SHOTLIST 1. Film Trailer - 'The Hulk' THE HULK COMES TO THE BIG SCREEN Following the blockbusters 'X-Men' and last year's 'Spiderman', the latest Stan Lee incarnation to hit the big screen is 'The Hulk' and Universal have released a second glimpse of the comic book hero in action. Directed by 'Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon''s acclaimed Ang Lee, 'The Hulk' brings the muscular green superhero to life for the first time since the hugely successful television series of the 1970s, 'The Incredible Hulk'. Adapted from the classic Marvel Comics series, 'The Hulk', aims to combine all the elements of a blockbuster visual effects-intensive superhero movie with the brooding romance and tragedy of Universal's classic horror films. In depicting The Hulk as both a superhero and a monster, a wish fulfillment and a nightmare, Lee and his team have stayed true to the early subversive spirit of the character created by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby, while completely updating The Hulk and projecting it into the dangers and aspirations of contemporary times. Australian actor Eric Bana ('Black Hawk Down') takes the coveted title role of scientist Bruce Banner, whose inner demons transform him in the aftermath of a catastrophic experiment. Academy Award' winner Jennifer Connelly ('A Beautiful Mind') portrays Betty Ross, whose scientific genius unwittingly helps unleash The Hulk; Nick Nolte ('The Thin Red Line') plays Banner's brilliant father, who passes on a tragic legacy to his son; and Sam Elliott ('The Contender') portrays the commander of a top-secret military research centre. 'The Hulk' is due to hit US cinema screens later this year on 20th June. CLEARANCE DETAILS The Hulk Universal Pictures 1 818 777 1000
Entertainment: The Hulk - Sneak preview of cartoon classic brought to life on big screen
TAPE: EF03/0083 IN_TIME: 14:45:19 DURATION: 0:37 SOURCES: Universal RESTRICTIONS: No re-use/re-sale of film clips without clearance DATELINE: Recent SHOTLIST 1. Film Trailer - 'The Hulk' THE HULK COMES TO THE BIG SCREEN Following the blockbusters 'X-Men' and last year's 'Spiderman', the latest Stan Lee incarnation to hit the big screen is 'The Hulk' and Universal have released a second glimpse of the comic book hero in action. Directed by 'Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon''s acclaimed Ang Lee, 'The Hulk' brings the muscular green superhero to life for the first time since the hugely successful television series of the 1970s, 'The Incredible Hulk'. Adapted from the classic Marvel Comics series, 'The Hulk', aims to combine all the elements of a blockbuster visual effects-intensive superhero movie with the brooding romance and tragedy of Universal's classic horror films. In depicting The Hulk as both a superhero and a monster, a wish fulfillment and a nightmare, Lee and his team have stayed true to the early subversive spirit of the character created by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby, while completely updating The Hulk and projecting it into the dangers and aspirations of contemporary times. Australian actor Eric Bana ('Black Hawk Down') takes the coveted title role of scientist Bruce Banner, whose inner demons transform him in the aftermath of a catastrophic experiment. Academy Award' winner Jennifer Connelly ('A Beautiful Mind') portrays Betty Ross, whose scientific genius unwittingly helps unleash The Hulk; Nick Nolte ('The Thin Red Line') plays Banner's brilliant father, who passes on a tragic legacy to his son; and Sam Elliott ('The Contender') portrays the commander of a top-secret military research centre. 'The Hulk' is due to hit US cinema screens later this year on 20th June. CLEARANCE DETAILS The Hulk Universal Pictures 1 818 777 1000
WHITE HOUSE BRIEFING WITH JOSH EARNEST STIX
THE REGULAR WHITE HOUSE BRIEFING WITH JOSH EARNEST STIX / HEADON White House Briefing with Josh Earnest DC Slugs: 1230 WH BRIEF STIX FS37 73 & 1230 WH BRIEF CUTS FS38 74 AR: 16x9 Disc #722/077 & 756/078 NYFS: WASH3 (4523) / WASH4 (4524) EARNEST: Good afternoon, everybody. Nice to see you. I don't have any comments at the top, so we can go straight to your questions. Josh, you want to start? QUESTION: Sure. I wanted to get the president's reaction to the Iowa caucuses last night. Was he glad to see Donald Trump defeated? Was he concerned to see the amount of support that Ted Cruz garnered in the Republican primary caucus? 12:52:33 EARNEST: Josh, I did not have a chance to talk to the president about the -- about the caucus results last night. So, sorry to disappoint you on that front. I think in general what I can share with you is that for at least a generation, Republican candidates aspiring to work in this building have tried to claim the mantel of President Reagan. While they've sought to claim his mantel, they have utterly failed in trying to claim his message of sunny optimism, at least this year. You know, we've seen a campaign that's been characterized by candidates trying to exploit people's fears and anxieties and insecurities about the future. And those candidates ended up doing pretty well last night. And I think it's why a lot Democrats woke up this morning, at least at this point, not particularly concerned about the potential matchup that we would face in a general election when you consider that, you know, all of the candidates have -- are now under more pressure than ever to sort of adopt this pessimism and darkness in terms of assessing the future of the greatest country on planet Earth. The Democrats, on the other hand, have been pretty forward- leaning, talking about the opportunity that exists for middle-class families and the need to put in place policies in Washington, D.C. that actually will do more for the middle class. And that's -- that draws the outlines of a general election whose outcomes bodes quite well for Democrats. QUESTION: A lot of people here at the White House are obviously very interested and engaged in seeing a Democratic successor to this president. Looking at the results of the Democratic caucuses last night, is there a concern here at the White House that a drawn-out, slugfest between Hillary Clinton and an upstart candidate whose doing very well with young people, you know, could be difficult for the party or weaken the party's eventual nominee going into the general election? 12:54:53 EARNEST: Well, I think, Josh, you've been framing your question here sort of noting some of the echoes to 2008. I think that's -- while it's not a perfect analogy, I think it's an apt comparison. And many people worried about the same thing in 2008, about Senator Obama and Senator Clinton getting sucked into a long, bloody, drawn-out primary campaign that could hurt the general election candidate, or hurt the Democrats in a general election. It turned out that the opposite was true, that the drawn-out primary campaign in 2008 had the effect of sharpening and improving the skills of both candidates on the stump and on the debate stage. It had the effect of forcing Democratic campaigns in just about all 50 states to build up a turnout operation that yielded important benefits in the general election. KIRBY: There are a lot of my colleagues who are focused on the ground operation that said that the aggressively competitive Democratic primary in the state of Indiana, I believe, election day in -- in 2008 and the primary in Indiana was in May, to serve something that was basically unprecedented in at least the modern political schedule, led directly to our -- the president's ability to win Indiana in the general election. So I don't know if that's going to be the case in 2016, but those concerns in 2008 were unfounded and I think there is certainly the potential that you could find in 2016 that a message that has -- a campaign and a debate that has clearly energized Democrats in Iowa, and I think we'll see energized Democrats in New Hampshire too, that having this campaign go to some other states would have the effect of energizing some Democrats in other states that eventually would be beneficial to whichever candidate emerges as the Democratic nominee. QUESTION: Turning to the meetings here today at the White House, president and congressional leaders, I know that the -- at least the lunch portion of the agenda is probably still going on, but... EARNEST: It is. QUESTION: ... from the earlier portion with McConnell and Ryan, do you have any -- early readout you can give us or sense of what the leaders spoke about? EARNEST: I can give you a sort of brief overview of -- of their discussion. The president spent some time sort of highlighting five of the -- of the priorities that he's hopeful that we can work with Congress on this year. The first of those is addressing the crisis in Puerto Rico. Both -- I know that Speaker Ryan and other leaders in the House of Representatives have committed to taking action in the first quarter of this year to try to give government authorities in Puerto Rico more tools that they can use to address the financial challenges that are facing Puerto Rico. The second topic of discussion was ratifying the Trans-Pacific Partnership. Both Speaker Ryan and Leader McConnell Rob are obviously committed supporters of an agreement that would cut taxes on 18,000 American goods that are imposed by other countries. So, you know, there is an opportunity to discuss the path forward there, and obviously, the president is eager to see Congress take that action as soon as possible this year so that the U.S. economy and U.S. businesses and American workers can start enjoying the benefits of -- of that agreement. There was also a discussion of the -- of additional steps that the administration and Congress can take to fight the opioid epidemic. Heroin abuse is actually something that has gotten a lot of discussion on the campaign trail. And you know, you may have seen the announcement from the White House earlier today about the additional resources that we would like to commit to fighting heroin abuse in committees large and small across the country. We've certainly been pleased to see this issue get a lot of bipartisan attention in the context of the presidential race, particularly in New Hampshire, so today seemed like an appropriate day for us to talk about some of the administration's plans for confronting that significant challenge. Just two other things that I'll mentioned. You know, yesterday, there was the meeting with administration officials to discuss the cancer moonshot initiative that the vice president's leading. There has been interest expressed by Republicans in Congress to supporting that effort, and that was discussed today. And then of course, they talked about criminal justice reform, and we've seen a lot of bipartisan discussions take place on that issue, frankly, for more than a year now. So it shouldn't be surprising that that came up in the meeting as well. QUESTION: Just before he came over here this morning, Speaker Ryan was saying that, you know, basically the best thing about the Iowa caucuses last night was that it signaled the start at the end of the Barack Obama presidency. And I was wondering, you know, with an outlook from a lot of Republicans that they're basically trying to run out the clock on this administration, does that bode well for compromise or some progress on the issues that you just mentioned? 13:00:00 EARNEST: Yeah, Josh, I think that's an appropriate question when you consider that the president's not going to be the ballot in 2016, but all the Republicans in the House of Representatives are going to be, and a third of the United States Senate is going to be on the ballot too. And there will be a lot of voters who are asking those members of Congress exactly what they've been doing for the last two years and what they've done to earn their vote, particularly when you consider that Republicans with a lot of fanfare, captured strong majorities in both houses of Congress in the last election. And I think a lot of voters are going to be asking incumbents what exactly they've done with that privilege. And, you know, so this goes to something that I mentioned a little bit last week, there's a lot of coverage lately of some Republicans on Capitol Hill -- not a majority, but some Republicans on Capitol Hill -- signaling a desire to undermine bipartisan -- potential bipartisan cooperation between Republicans on Capitol Hill and Democrats in the White House, you know. And whether that is approving TPP or working on criminal justice reform, and that's, you know, understandably covered by many in the news media as a rejection of the president's legislative agenda. We obviously would like to see those two things advance, and we're certainly going to be invested in trying to advance those two priorities in our legislative agenda, but it begs the question about what exactly is on the Republican legislative agenda. The only thing that we can reliably count on appearing on the Republican legislative agenda are repeated attempts to repeal Obamacare. And, you know, we're pleased -- you know, Republicans poised to host another vote in the United States Congress today for, you know, the 60th time to repeal Obamacare. It's almost like it's Groundhog Day, except that today it actually is Groundhog Day and they're doing it again. (LAUGHTER) So I'm not really sure that qualifies as the contours of a proactive legislative agenda, but it does put some pressure on Speaker Ryan, Leader McConnell and other Republicans in Congress to lay out what it is exactly they support and try to find some common ground with the administration. We certainly have done that, and we've made clear that some of the items that we have prioritized are things that they strongly support in their own right, and hopefully, we're going to find willing partners on Capitol Hill to advance those measures. I think that is certainly the expectation of most voters across the country. OK, Ayeesha. QUESTION: So moving onto another topic. Today. some top U.S. generals told lawmakers at the Senate Armed Services Committee hearing that women should be required to register for the draft. I was wondering, is that an official White House position at this point? Does the president believe that women should be required to register for the draft? 13:02:58 EARNEST: It is not an official administration position. I believe that those military leaders were asked their personal opinion on that. I didn't see the exchange firsthand, but that -- there is no policy change to announce from here today. QUESTION: Are you considering it, or... EARNEST: I'm not aware of how seriously this is being studied by the Department of Defense. I know that there have been some members of Congress that have advocated for expanding Selective Service to include women registering as well. So I've seen those kinds of proposals floated, but I don't know how seriously that is being considered. You might check with the Department of Defense to get a (inaudible) on that. QUESTION: OK, thank you. On North Korea, they've -- they've notified some U.N. agencies that the country plans to launch a satellite later this month, and this could be an attempt to advance the country's development of long-range missile technology. How concerned is the White House about this latest announcement? And does the international community -- does the U.S. need -- need to move faster to get more sanctions on North Korea, to kind of stop these actions that could be considered provocative? Or is -- is something more than sanctions needed? 13:04:19 EARNEST: Well, the -- I think the international community -- I feel confident in telling you that the international community would regard a step like that by the North Koreans as just another irresponsible provocation, and a clear violation of their international obligations. We have been working with the international community, both at the U.N. and with our allies and partners in the region, to confront North Korea for their destabilizing activities. Just a few weeks ago, they conducted a nuclear test that violated -- you know, sort of their -- their basic international obligations. And -- you know, carrying out a satellite launch like the one that has been discussed publicly would just be another destabilizing provocation on the part of North -- on the part of the North Koreans. And that's not just the view of the United States. I feel confident in telling you that is a view that is shared by -- you know, by our partners at the United Nations Security Council, and by our allies and partners in the region that have been seeking to stabilize and denuclearize the Korean peninsula. QUESTION: But is there anything that can be done to stop these actions? EARNEST: Well, the United States has worked closely, not just with our allies in South Korea and Japan, but also with our partners in China and Russia, to convey to the North Koreans the need to end their provocative actions. And there are a range of options that have been on the table. And we certainly have, in our conversations at the diplomatic level with the Chinese in particular, encouraged them to -- you know, continue to work with us to develop potential options. And obviously China is in a unique position. They have unique influence over the North Korean regime, and we are -- certainly are pleased to be able to work cooperatively and effectively with the Chinese to counter this threat. And -- you know, that -- that work will -- will continue. We haven't, at this point, announced any specific response to the North Korean nuclear test, but that -- that certainly has been the subject of intense diplomacy over the last several weeks. And once we have developed an appropriate response and are prepared to implement it with our allies and partners, then we'll be prepared to talk about it with you at that point. QUESTION: Thank you. EARNEST: OK. Mark? QUESTION: Josh, were you in the meeting with Ryan and McConnell? EARNEST: I was not. QUESTION: So the readout you gave us was just based on what the agenda -- you knew the agenda to be? 13:06:51 EARNEST: And based on a conversation that somebody on my staff had with somebody who was in the meeting. QUESTION: Do you expect to be able to give us any more about the tone of the talks today? EARNEST: Not at this point, but if there's more detail that we can dig out for you, we'll look to do that. QUESTION: OK. On another subject, yesterday, the Treasury Department posted the -- that the national debt topped $19 trillion. $8.3 trillion of that was -- soared during President Obama's watch. Is this something that the president's concerned about, as part of his legacy? EARNEST: Mark, the measure that we are focused on is the percentage of debt to GDP, and the best way for us to confront that is to actually start driving down the deficit as a percentage of GDP. EARNEST: And under the president's leadership, we have actually reduced that measure 75 percent because of this president's commitment to fiscal responsibility. And we have, at least in fiscal year 2015, and in the last couple of years, succeeded in driving the deficit-to- GDP ratio below three percent. That is the measure that economists tell us over the long term will stabilize the debt-to-GDP ratio, which is the statistic that we follow most closely. And I think in the budget proposal that we'll put forward, the longer-term vision that we -- the president has is to continue to keep the debt at a relatively stable level as a percentage of our GDP. QUESTION: My understanding is the debt is over 100 percent of GDP; that gross total debt at $19 trillion. I mean, that's an enormous amount. Do you believe that is sustainable? EARNEST: Well, again, I think what we're seeking to do is to try to limit the growth of the debt as a percentage of GDP. And that's why we've been so focused on driving down the deficit. And that's why, frankly, the president's pretty proud of the success that we've had in reducing the deficit by 75 percent since he took office. But this is certainly a measure that we're mindful of, and look, the -- it is -- to understand the long-term trends here, we have to sort of take a look at what exactly happened when the last Democratic president was leaving office. He was passing off budget surpluses as far as the eye could see to his successor. His successor inherited that strong fiscal position and proceeded to put in place tax cuts that predominantly benefit the wealthy and the well-connected, and launched a ground war in the Middle East, all without paying for it. And that also led to -- the worst economic downturn since the Great Depression that put enormous pressure on the federal budget. And digging out of that economic downturn, leading our economy to recovery, and doing it all in a fiscally responsible way, will be a hallmark of the president's legacy. QUESTION: The Congressional Budget Office projects $100 billion increase in the deficit for F.Y. '17. Is that something that corresponds with OMB's projection? 13:10:19 EARNEST: I haven't seen what OMB's projections are, but we can certainly check with you on that. QUESTION: We get it Tuesday anyway. 13:43:55 EARNEST: OK. Yeah, I think it will be a part of the budget proposal that we'll put forward. OK. Ron? QUESTION: Back to the Iowa. You said how the winners of that were pessimistic, dark, all negative, so on and so forth. EARNEST: I think others have made that observation, but I have, too. QUESTION: It also marked the rise of another candidate who is a young person who represents a different generation, who arguably has not been as dark and has been optimistic and sunny (inaudible). What's the administration's reaction to that -- to Senator Rubio? EARNEST: Well, you know, Mr. Rubio finished third and did so on the back of television ads saying that he no longer recognized his country; that he no longer recognized his country. So, look, it is difficult to differentiate among the messages from all of the candidates. I think that people like Senator Rubio have felt intense pressure to try to parrot the pessimism and darkness of the leading candidates on the Republican side. And that does not position the party or the -- the Republican Party or the Republican Party nominee very well for a general election matchup in which they'll be squaring off against a Democratic candidate that's committed to building on the progress that this country has made under President Obama's leadership. The Republicans will be offering up a candidate that is pessimistic about the future and committed to taking our country back to exactly the kinds of policies that got us into the worst economic downturn since the Great Depression in the first place. So you know, I think that's why -- again, I think that's why a lot of Democrats wake up feeling pretty good about our presidential prospects this morning. QUESTION: With the -- the meeting -- the Ryan-McConnell meeting, you said the president had five things he wanted to highlight. Did they have five things they wanted to highlight? EARNEST: Well... QUESTION: (inaudible) or 10 things or... EARNEST: For a readout of -- of what they came to present, you should check with them. The five things that I noted that were on the president's agenda and that the president brought up in the meeting are things that Republicans themselves say that they support. It doesn't mean we agree on every -- on every single aspect of them, but surely there is opportunity to find common ground when -- you know, when trying to fight heroin addiction or trying to cure cancer. So you'd have to ask Republicans about -- about what their agenda is. I -- you know, this is -- was part of my response to Josh's question. It's not really clear right now what their agenda is. We certainly know what they're against. We know they're against a health reform bill that has driven down the uninsured rate and driven down the growth in healthcare costs. To say nothing of the fact -- sort of alluding to Mark's question, repealing the Affordable Care Act would actually have a disastrous impact on the fiscal situation in this country. So again, you'd have to talk Republicans about what exactly it is they're trying to advance. QUESTION: So at this early read, you -- it's really -- you can't say anything more about where there might be some cooperation, an idea that they had that the president would run with... (CROSSTALK) EARNEST: Yes. So all five of these are things that they say that they agree with. All five of these are ideas that they had. QUESTION: (inaudible) but did they -- was that -- was there agreement on that? EARNEST: Well, just -- just to be blunt, out of respect for them, I'll let them describe what they said in the meeting. I -- I'm not the spokesperson for Speaker Ryan or for Leader McConnell, and if they want to characterize their conversation with the president, then I'll defer to them to do that. All I can tell you is that the proactive agenda that the president put forward included these five things, which are five things that they say that they support. These are -- many of these are things that right now, you know, some of these Republican candidates who are on the campaign trail are actually trying to run to advance. So you know, for example, fighting heroin addiction. Why don't we lay the ground work so that the next president has a -- has a running start in trying to address that -- that specific challenge? QUESTION: On TPP, what -- where are we technically in terms of -- can they bring it up at any time or are we still on a waiting -- (inaudible)... EARNEST: Yeah. There's a -- it's a complicated process. We are not yet at a place where the president has forwarded the agreement to Congress for their ratification. The signing ceremony for the Trans- Pacific Partnership, I believe, is actually scheduled for tomorrow in New Zealand. This will be at the ministerial level. The United States will officially agree to the agreement. Part of the committee that the president made was that we would give the American public ample opportunity to review the agreement before we signed it, and so that is -- that will be taking place in New Zealand tomorrow. After there, there are a couple of other steps before Congress has an opportunity to consider it. So I'm not standing up here and suggesting that Congress should act tomorrow to pass the Trans-Pacific Partnership. What I am saying is that once we go through this process and that there has been opportunity for the public to carefully consider what's included in the agreement, we'd like to see Congress act quickly on it. QUESTION: Can you estimate where the time -- where the -- where the line is that they have to act before there's not enough time? EARNEST: I don't, at this point, have a specific timeframe to lay out. Once -- as this process moves farther, we'll be able to characterize a little bit more clearly for you what the calendar would look like in terms of what sort of -- legislative steps would be required to ratify the -- the agreement. OK? KIRBY: Margaret? QUESTION: Josh, do you have any more detail you can share with us about the president's visit to this Islamic Society in Baltimore tomorrow? EARNEST: Well, the president's certainly looking forward to his visit to this mosque in Baltimore. The president will begin his visit by sitting down for a roundtable discussion with some leaders in the Muslim community, and, you know, the president is looking for the opportunity to have some dialogue, to talk to leaders in the community about what's on their minds, what their concerns are, and the president's certainly looking forward to that discussion. After that, the president will have an opportunity to speak to those -- to a broader audience at the mosque, and it will be an opportunity to do a couple of things. The first is to affirm the important role that Muslim Americans play in our society and to affirm our conviction in the principle of religious liberty, that law-abiding Americans should be able to worship God in the manner that they see -- that they see fit, consistent with their religious heritage and traditions in a way that doesn't subject them to either interference from the government or, frankly, divisive rhetoric on the campaign trail. And this is an important message, and the president's looking forward to delivering it. QUESTION: Is this -- in this message, is it a recognition that the president thinks profiling and discrimination against Muslims is a problem right now? It's not theoretical, it's a reality? EARNEST: Well again, I'll let the president's words speak for themselves tomorrow. I think the president has talked a lot about how important it is for the government to have an effective partnership with leaders in the Muslim community. We know that there are extremist organizations like ISIL that are seeking to use social media to radicalize vulnerable members of the population, and certainly the leaders in the Muslim community have a strong interest in preventing that from happening. And the -- we will have more success in our efforts to prevent that if we work effectively with the Muslim community to confront that threat as opposed to branding everybody who attends a mosque as a potential enemy of the United States of America. A, it's not true; and B, it's going to be counterproductive to our efforts to fight extremists. QUESTION: So is this a personal appeal by the president to get Muslim leaders to help root out extremism when they see it in their own communities? I mean, is that a specific request from the president? 13:18:38 EARNEST: Look, I think the point that the -- that I'm making and I've made before and you'll hear the president make again tomorrow is that we already see that that's what Muslim -- leaders in Muslim communities are doing, that we do see that there are Muslim leaders in communities all across the country who are concerned about the pernicious influence of the radical ISIL ideology, and they are looking to protect their community from that. And the U.S. government should work with them to do that. But look, I also don't want to leave you with the impression that the president's remarks at the mosque are going to be focused on national security, I think the president is quite interested in making sure that we're affirming the important role that Muslims play in our diverse American society and certainly affirming their right to worship God in the -- in a way that's consistent with their heritage. And they shouldn't be subject to ridicule or targeting by anybody, let alone somebody who aspires to leading the country. QUESTION: But is this -- this is the president's first visit. I mean, do you expect anything to come out of it? Are there proposals that the president is bringing, or is this just a conversation? EARNEST: No, I wouldn't expect any policy proposals tomorrow. But I'd -- I would suspect that -- that the president's activities tomorrow will prompt exactly the kind of the discussion and debate that the president thinks is worth having. OK? Mike. QUESTION: A few topics. EARNEST: OK. QUESTION: On this one first, can -- can you talk a little bit about the build-up of kind of anger or frustration that the president has seemed to have on this topic of the rhetoric against Muslims, dating back -- I don't know, at least to when he was on the trip to Turkey and all of the stuff came up with the Syrian refugees, and he seemed very eager to repeatedly come back to this topic again. Does it -- does it go back further than that? And -- and can you talk a little bit about what -- you know, sort of how this appears to be kind of a culmination of that sort of, like, finger-wagging at -- at the Republicans, at the candidates, about the kind of rhetoric that he just feels very strongly about? 13:20:47 EARNEST: I -- I think is certainly true that we have seen an alarming willingness on the part of some Republicans to try to marginalize law- abiding, patriotic Muslim Americans, and it is offensive. It's not just offensive to the president. I think it's -- it's certainly offensive to a lot of Muslim Americans. I think it's just offensive to a lot of Americans who recognize that those kinds of cynical political tactics run directly contrary to the values that we hold dear in this country. And the president is looking forward to the opportunity to make that point. And again, we have seen a willingness on the part of leading Republican presidential candidates to try to appeal to people's fears and anxieties. And they capitalized on terrorist attacks to do exactly that, and it's -- it's unfortunate, and I don't think that most Americans have had a particularly positive reaction about that. But -- and I -- I think the president is looking forward to the opportunity to affirm the kinds of values that are broadly held in this country. QUESTION: And so -- just quickly, a follow-up on that. In -- in Turkey, when we were there, he -- he didn't limit it to a partisan attack against Republicans. He was very frustrated with Democrats in -- on Capitol Hill and in this country that were questioning the Syrian refugee program. Is -- is tomorrow's -- are tomorrow's comments limited just to Republicans? Is it essentially a partisan critique that he's preparing to make? EARNEST: Well, I -- there's no doubt that the -- that there are people in both parties who have gotten swept up -- or at least at the time, sort of got swept up in the furor around all of this. But I think you'd be hard-pressed to make the case that Democrats have -- well, let me just say it this way. It has been a transparent strategy on the part of Republicans to play on people's anxieties, to target religious minorities, to advance their political ambition. And there have been some people who are not Republicans who have gotten a little swept up in that, and the president was frustrated by that. But there's no doubt that there was -- that the cynical strategy that's been employed by some leading Republican candidates is -- is the violation of our values that the president's most concerned about. QUESTION: And then just on the -- Paul Ryan and the meeting with Leader McConnell -- I understand you want to talk about the things that were on the president's agenda, and you want to leave the reactions from the Republicans to their folks. QUESTION: What was the president's reaction to the things that they brought to the meeting? What did he say? What were the topics of conversation that were beyond the five things that he talked -- that he wanted to talk about? And what did he say about them? EARNEST: Yeah, well, again... (CROSSTALK) QUESTION: Which isn't a question about what... (CROSSTALK) EARNEST: You're being very clever. (LAUGHTER) So I'll give you that up front. I'm not going to have a whole lot more detail than this. I can tell you that... (CROSSTALK) QUESTION: ... talk about the topics that you -- that -- the other topics that were discussed... (CROSSTALK) EARNEST: Well, because I want to be deferential to -- to Leader McConnell and Speaker Ryan to describe their contribution to the meeting. But I also didn't sit in on the meeting, so the level of granular detail I can provide to you is limited. The other thing that I can say that I didn't mention in the first run at this is the president was pleased with the opportunity to sit down with them. And he was, you know, again, for all of the divisiveness and hateful rhetoric and pessimism and partisanship that we see on the campaign trail, it actually is possible for leading Republicans to sit down in the same office with a leading Democrat and have a conversation about the priorities of the country. And it's not treasonous to do that. In fact, it's part of the responsibility that goes along with leadership. And it certainly doesn't mean they agreed on everything. They didn't. But where there are areas of agreement... (CROSSTALK) QUESTION: Such as? Do you want to give an example of where they didn't agree? (LAUGHTER) EARNEST: I don't. But where they did agree, there is an -- there is an obligation that both sides have to try to find that common ground. And the president in his -- the year that remains in office is certainly committed to doing that. And, you know, maybe it's easier for Republicans to do that knowing that the president's not on the ballot. Speaker Ryan said he was reminded of that today. If that makes it easier for us to get some business done in Congress that's going to benefit the American people, then maybe we should hold the Iowa caucus every day. Mary? MARY BRUCE QUESTION: On the list of the (inaudible) for this meeting, you mentioned several times that trying to fight the heroin epidemic is something that seems to be an area of possible compromise. Are there any signs that Congress is willing to allocate these new resources that the president is calling for? 13:26:08 EARNEST: I didn't see what sort of Republican reaction there has been to the budget proposal that we put forward today. But I'm confident that as the Congress undertakes the serious work that they have to undertake to pass a budget, that the proposal that we've put forward will be carefully considered. You know, again, oftentimes budgetary debates sort of break down along party lines and I would acknowledge that, you know, things like investing in education is something that Democrats have traditionally supported and Republicans have been traditionally skeptical of that. And we can have a debate about that, but that's sort of a traditionally partisan thing. I do think that most Americans agree with Democrats on that, but that's another matter. My point is is there's nothing inherently partisan about dedicating the kinds of resources that we have proposed to helping people who are suffering from heroin addiction. And both parties recognize that there are long-term consequences not just for those individuals and not just for their families, but for the broader community. And trying to address the root causes of some of that is an area where we're hopeful we can find some common ground. MARY BRUCE QUESTION: And back on Iowa, it now being official, the A.P. has just declared Hillary Clinton the winner of the caucuses. Any reaction? EARNEST: That's a lot of responsibility, Josh, that the A.P. has. (LAUGHTER) This is an election that's conducted by the Iowa Democratic Party, but yet it is the Associated Press who determines whether or not (inaudible). (CROSSTALK) EARNEST: Oh, I was going to say... (CROSSTALK) (LAUGHTER) 13:27:30 EARNEST: An impressive show of multitasking, to sit there in the front row and count votes at the same time. Listen, I would -- you know, this is the first contest in what I expect will be a series of competitive ones. And it was a spirited and close race in Iowa and I suspect it's not the last state where we say that. MARY BRUCE QUESTION: So -- but no kind of congratulatory message or... EARNEST: Well -- I mean, obviously, you know, Secretary Clinton has won, so congratulations to her. But look, the -- and I'm sure they feel about that; they should. But, you know, this is a -- Secretary Clinton, based on her 2008 experience, knows better than anybody that, you know, that these kinds of contests -- or that the -- that the path to the Democratic nomination is a long one, and, you know, she can -- again, based on her 2008 experience, she would tell you that the outcome in Iowa is not indicative of the outcome in New Hampshire. So whether or not she, you know, came out on top in Iowa, I'm confident that she would be campaigning like an underdog in New Hampshire. 13:28:40 MARY BRUCE QUESTION: But what do you make of how close it was? I mean, it came down to three-tenths of a point. EARNEST: Yeah, yeah. Look, it's a spirited debate, and she clearly had a very sophisticated and effective turnout operation. And, you know, her field staff and her staff in Iowa I think should feel very good about the way their operation performed last night. At the same time, it's clear that Senator Sanders has just in the space of a few months inspired a passionate following, and I think that's a testament to his skills as a candidate, it's also a testament to the power of his message. And he should feel pretty good about that. I guess the one advantage I would say that he has is it's easier to take that message to other states, and Secretary Clinton's team are going to have to do the hard work of building a grassroots infrastructure in the states ahead. So look, it's going to be a spirited competition. I think all of that is good for -- good for the country, it's good for the Democratic process. I also think, as I mentioned to Josh, I do expect it'll eventually be good for the Democratic nominee. OK, Michelle. QUESTION: Secretary Clinton got lots of attention from one of her emails where she called the caucus process a creature of the extremes of both parties. So would you say that the results last night exemplified that? 13:30:02 EARNEST: Well I -- I think -- it's a difficult thing for me to comment on because I, based on my own experience, I have a different sort of assessment of the -- of the caucus process. There's no denying that because of the impediments to participating in the caucus -- you don't just sort of show up in a -- in a 12-hour window and cast a secret ballot, at least on the Democratic side -- it requires more of a sustained commitment to the process and to the party. So does that mean that you're much more likely to have partisans participating in the process? It definitely does. But look, everybody knows the rules on the front end, it's not as if it was -- you know, that it was a surprise to anybody who was participating in the caucuses exactly what the rules were going to be, and, you know, this is the kind of competition, again, that serves to hone the organizing skills of a particular campaign, it certainly hones the skills of candidates who are put to the test of participating in town hall meetings and forums and living room conversations for months on end. It's a grueling process. But ultimately, it's one that reflects something important about our democracy. These are -- these are Iowans in both parties who are participating in essentially community- run, self-run events to organize, cast ballots and have them counted. So, you know, there are parts of it that are a little anachronistic, but it also is a pretty pure form of the kind of democratic ideals that are pretty important to the strength of our democracy. QUESTION: To the extreme closeness of the Democratic race and Ted Cruz coming out on top. Is that surprising to the White House? EARNEST: I wasn't particularly surprised. Traditionally, in Iowa - I mean, again, I don't know what everybody at the White House thought. But traditionally, you know, at least in recent history, those on the Republican side, those candidates that had demonstrated the most success in building support in the Evangelical community in Iowa had ended up winning the Iowa caucuses. That was true of Senator Santorum in 2012, it was certainly true of Governor Huckabee in 2008. And knowing how hard Senator Cruz had worked to build support in that community in Iowa? I know that wasn't what the polls say, but I wasn't particularly surprised by the outcome. QUESTION: When you look at each of the - you know, each side, isn't this kind of a perfect example though of the extremes of both parties in this particular contest? EARNEST: I don't know. I think it's hard to say. I don't think that - you know, I did have a chance to watch some of the C-SPAN coverage of a couple of the polling locations - sorry, caucus locations yesterday. And, it was - the process is not always clean and efficient. But, I don't think everybody that, I saw on camera at least, was an extremist. (LAUGHTER) Well, you know, I think most of these are... QUESTION: You can tell by looking? EARNEST: Well, you know. It seemed to me that most people were committed to participating in a democratic process, both on the Republican and Democratic sides. And again, I've seen some news coverage of that email from Secretary Clinton. My experiences in the caucuses has just been different. QUESTION: OK. And do you know if the president watched any of the results coming in last night? EARNEST: I haven't spoken to him this morning so I don't know how much he watched. I'm confident that he's read a lot of the coverage of the results though. QUESTION: OK. Speaker Ryan did put out - his office put out a note this morning criticizing what the president wants to do with his budget. You know, it's not that that was unexpected. But what does that mean for somebody who is really specific, elements that the president wants to find for the upcoming year. Even some of the ones where you say there is a lot of bipartisan support, but hearing that from Speaker Ryan doesn't exactly sound too optimistic overall. EARNEST: Well, listen, budgets are always, particularly in an Arab-divided government, are always an exercise in compromise. And, that's certainly been true the last couple of years and I would anticipate that if we can reach a budget agreement this year, that the same will be true. There will be some budget priorities that Speaker Ryan is able to advance in the context of the budget and hopefully there will be some priorities that we'll be able to advance to. And if we strike that compromise in the right place, I think it will be a good thing for the country and I think it will attract the support that's necessary to be passed by the Congress and signed into law by the president. QUESTION: Among those priorities, even when the president met with the democratic leadership and afterwards, you laid out what those priorities were. Gitmo is never mentioned even though in other venues you talk about that being the major priority. And you've laid out, you know, the plan is going to save money. All of the virtues that this plan you've laid out. But by never mentioning that is something that the president can work with Republicans on. Are you essentially saying that there's no chance of that going anywhere? EARNEST: No, I think what I've tried to do is to lay out the areas where bipartisan agreement is likely and in some cases, blatantly obvious. And that's a good thing. When it comes down to closing the prison at Guantanamo Bay, not many members of Congress share that priority. And that's unfortunate, but it's certainly not going to stop us from making the case that doing so would be good for our national security and would be good for our country's fiscal situation. QUESTION: Thanks Josh. EARNEST: OK, Isaac. QUESTION: So did the president lay out any desire for the TPP vote to happen before the lame-duck session? Was that part of the conversation at all? You talked about the calendar in the immediate, but what's the -- what's at stake in the meeting or what's the White House's take on that? EARNEST: I think there was a general discussion about timing for considering Congressional votes on the Transpacific Partnership. We're obviously not there yet because there are some additional steps that have to go -- that this agreement has to go through before it can be presented to Congress. But I -- you know, we have -- we haven't laid out any firm deadlines at this point, we have just made the case that it would be good for the country and our economy for the Transpacific Partnership to be approved by Congress as soon as possible. The good news is it's not just the White House that shares that view, there are, you know, organizations like the Chamber of Commerce and the Farm Bureau who are strong supporters of Republican causes who share that view. QUESTION: So ideally, would you want this passed before the lame duck session before the election, or a vote to happen (OFF-MIKE) EARNEST: I mean, we're obviously going to have to work with Speaker Ryan and Leader McConnell on that. We haven't set out any firm timing deadlines at this point. But we certainly would have a bias toward earlier action from Congress. QUESTION: The Republicans would say that what's going on with this meeting, the stuff that you've laid out, is that it's an old game from you guys, that you sort of beat them up for being obstructionists and then use it to -- for political gain. EARNEST: Prove us wrong. Prove us wrong. QUESTION: So -- EARNEST: Do it. Just do the five things then. Take that argument off the table. QUESTION: So if the Republicans were to pass TPP and criminal justice reform, then you think that a Republican majority should be re-elected? EARNEST: No! I -- we -- certainly not. (LAUGHTER) But I think what -- but I think Republicans would certainly be -- have a stronger case to make to the American electorate that they should be able to retain the majority if they can actually point to something that they've done in the last year other than vote to repeal Obamacare. They'll probably queue up four or five more of those votes. But that's not doing anybody any good. That's not helping any Republicans do anything. It's not helping anybody find a job, it's not strengthening our economy, it certainly isn't strengthening the security of the country, it's not helping anybody get access to health care, it's not improving our fiscal situation. So what are Republicans doing to address those challenges? The president's got some good ideas where we can work with Republicans to do that, but we haven't actually seen anything from Republicans about that. If anything, we see comments from people like Tom Cotton who suggests that even bipartisan agreements should be torpedoed somehow. QUESTION: But you don't think the Republican should be voted out of office, whatever they do on these agenda items, right? EARNEST: Well ultimately what we believe is that Republicans should work with the president on at least these five areas because it's good for the country for them to do so and because they say that they support these things. So if you accept that being elected to Congress means that you have some sort of responsibility to try to make the country a better, stronger, healthier, more prosperous place, then this should be a good place to start. We can have vigorous debates about a bunch of other things that Republicans should do, we believe they should vote to raise the minimum wage. But we can at least start as a practical matter by focusing on areas where we know there is agreement and where there is bipartisan agreement that this kind of progress would be good for the country. KIRBY: Again, I'm not suggesting that Republicans need any sort of electoral advice from me, Republicans in Congress have done just fine in elections by ignoring me. But my point is that in November, incumbents are going to be on the campaign trail making the case to their constituents about why they should be re-elected. Why not go on the campaign trail and say that you should be re-elected because you are helping communities across the country fight heroin addiction because we're going to approve the Trans-Pacific Partnership and cut taxes on 18,000 American goods that are imposed by other countries. Or that we're going to make a historic investment in curing cancer. Those are the kinds of things that, again, whether you're a Democrat or a Republican, those are the kinds of credentials that are going to enhance anybody's prospects for reelection. OK? Scott. QUESTION: Josh, you had previously listed seven things where they might be on the ground. EARNEST: Yes. QUESTION: AUMF and EITC. Did the president take those off the list today? EARNEST: No, those are -- those continue to be strong priorities that we support. QUESTION: Thank you so much. (LAUGHTER) EARNEST: Yes. Exactly. We'll save those for a follow-up meeting maybe? Those continue to be items on our agenda. Obviously the deal with the AUMF is that this is something they've actually talked about on a number of other meetings. So, and there have been -- and it's no secret that there have been some staff-level discussions about this as well. And it might -- the truth is it also might be a little harder to find some bipartisan common ground on this one. So, they didn't spend a lot of time on that in the meeting. The EITC thing. Our view on the EITC proposal is pretty well known. So I don't think it's a surprise to either lead or assuming that the president advocates, it just wasn't on the agenda today. QUESTION: Just to be clear on selective service. Is the administration against expanding it to women, or are you just going to wait and see till the Pentagon... EARNEST: Well, I'm just -- I'll be honest. I was informed of this Congressional exchange shortly before I walked out here. I'm not aware of any rigorous policy process that's underway to consider changing that policy. But let me take a look at and see if there is additional information on this that I can provide to you. I can just tell you that right now, our policy on this has not changed. OK? Tolu? QUESTION: Thanks Josh. You mentioned Puerto Rico for the ordering if this -- the ordering of this or what's of the agenda is an indication of how important and how much the president pushed those things? EARNEST: It's not. They're not in any order. The reason I noted Puerto Rico first is just to underscore the commitment that the House had made, that Speaker Ryan had made to take action on giving the leaders of Puerto Rico greater restructuring authority earlier in this calendar year. And so, I guess in some ways, it's in chronological order in which we hope they take action, but it's not a reflection of our priorities. All of these things are important. QUESTION: And, did you get any sense from Peter McConnell that he also would move on this quickly. It does seems like a very good timeline with Puerto Rico sort of having the clock ticking on them in terms of their finances. EARNEST: Well, the situation in Puerto Rico is certainly urgent and you know, obviously Secretary Lew has spent quite a bit of time working on this, even traveling down to Puerto Rico just a couple of weeks ago to have additional conversations on this. You'd have to ask Leader McConnell about any commitments he's prepared to make about timing for Senate consideration of that kind of legislation. QUESTION: And Speaker Ryan on a number of different occasions -- it came up at the meeting, that said that one of the top things he wants from the president is for the president to lay out a plan for how to defeat ISIS. I know you guys have talked about this regularly but it doesn't seem like he's satisfied with whatever plan that you all put out, so I'm wondering... EARNEST: But he hasn't proposed an alternative. And he actually hasn't demonstrated yet a willingness to actually have members of Congress to do the one thing that they're supposed to do, which is to vote to authorize the use of military force against ISIL. So, I that's why I guess I'm not particularly compelled by his rhetoric on this. QUESTION: And the defense secretary today laid out some information about how much more money they want to spend on the budget for this upcoming year on counterterrorism and on defeating ISIS. I'm wondering if you could about specifically what you hope to achieve with the extra money. EARNEST: We'll have -- that will be part of the -- of the budget rollout that we'll do next well. So we'll have more details on that. The one component of the -- of the Defense budget that the Defense Department talked about in a -- in a little bit more detail was the European Reassurance Initiative funding that we're seeking in this budget, and this would be money that would be used to strengthen and deepen our coordination with our NATO allies. And, you know, we have asked our NATO allies to ramp up the kind of financial commitment that they make to their national security and to our collective defense as NATO allies, and one way I think we can signal that being a priority is to ramp up our own commitment to those efforts. And that's exactly what this budget proposal would do. But, you know, Secretary Carter, I think, talked about that in a little bit more detail today. As it relates to ISIL, we'll have more on that next week. QUESTION: Just one more on Afghanistan. I think a suicide bomber -- in a suicide bomb attack either this morning or yesterday killed about 20 different policemen, and we've been hearing about increasingly growing numbers of casualties among the Afghan security forces. The president's plan says that he would draw down U.S. troops from 9,800 to about 5,500 by the end of this year, but it does seem like the Afghan security forces are really struggling and taking on more casualties. So I'm wondering if the White House is reconsidering that timeline and whether or not you may end up having to change that timeline once again. EARNEST: Well Tolu, let me start by just condemning in no uncertain terms this act of violence that occurred in Afghanistan yesterday. It did target police officers who -- or it appeared to target police officers who are just trying to keep the peace in their city and in their country. And, you know, obviously, our thoughts and prayers are with the families of those who were killed in this attack. More generally, I think this is just the latest illustration of how Afghanistan continues to be a dangerous place, and the security challenges in that country are significant, you know, particularly when, you know, considering an attack like this on police officers. What the administration, what the United States and our NATO allies have committed to do is to standing with the Afghan people and the Afghan national security forces as they take full responsibility for the security situation in their own country. That is a responsibility that they assumed a little over a year ago, and it has proved to be a challenging task. Afghanistan is a big country and there are extremists with a lot of skill that have sought to take the fight to those security forces. But what we have seen is a willingness on the part of those security forces, even when sustaining losses, to fight for their country. And, you know, I cited the example of Konduz last week, I believe, where you saw extremists overrun Afghan national security forces that were protecting the city of Konduz, and, you know, Afghan forces were forced to flee the city. But what they did was they re- organized and acted quickly with the support of the United States and our NATO allies to within a couple of weeks re-take the city. So that is an indication of a couple of things. One is it's an indication that additional training and equipping of Afghan national security forces is needed, and that is the first pillar of the ongoing mission of U.S. troops and NATO troops that are still in Afghanistan. But the second thing it illustrates is that it illustrates the commitment that the Afghan national security forces have to fighting for their country, and that's a good thing and that bodes well for their long-term ability to fight extremists and eventually secure their country. QUESTION: It sounds like you think that the timeline for now is the same. No plans to change that? EARNEST: At this point, I don't have any policy changes to announce. OK? Kevin. QUESTION: Thanks Josh. To the best of your knowledge, has the president ever had a 50 point lead in a poll, in a race? 13:48:09 EARNEST: Off the top of my head, no. QUESTION: Ever lost a 50 point lead in a race to the best of your knowledge? EARNEST: Yes, not that I know of. QUESTION: Has he ever, in your memory, been involved in a race where he led the group by 50 points plus and then finally on election day, in this case caucus day, squeaks by less than one percent. EARNEST: Well, now that we're talking about this. I do think that there -- I don't know if it's 50 points, but I know that there was something pretty pessimistic polling the first time the president decided to run for the United States Senate. He was mired at the bottom in the very low single digits in that race and he did eventually prevail. Obviously he faced some long odds the first time that he ran for president in 2007 and 2008. But, it's -- you know, even at that time, we had encouraged on people to not focus on the national polls but actually to consider the president's prospects in the early states because that was going to be part and parcel of our strategy. QUESTION: So you hadn't been national public service for more than two decades when this happened. So does it not speak to the weakness of the Clinton campaign to have barely squeaked by against a Socialist in the caucuses? 13:49:21 EARNEST: Kevin, I think what is clear is that there is a robust and vigorous campaign in store for Democrats in this presidential campaign. And that's a good thing for our Democracy, it's a good thing for our country and it's ultimately going to be good for the Democratic Party. The skills of the Democratic nominees are going to be honed and improved in the context of a vigorous debate. We're going to see Democratic campaigns go from state to state, building up operations and exciting and inspiring and energizing their supporters. And, as we saw in 2008, that is going to have benefits for Democrats in the general election in 2016. So, I don't know how long this Democratic nomination process is going to take, but I think everybody has always expected that it would go beyond the early states. How far beyond I think is the key question, but if it goes far beyond those early states, that's not necessarily a bad thing for Democrats. In fact, it was a really good thing for Democrats in 2008. QUESTION: OK. Broadly, maybe for Democrats. But if you're in Clinton camp today are you doing a dance, are you worried, looking over your shoulder, that objects in the mirror maybe closer than they appear? 13:50:31 EARNEST: Well, I think -- you know, Secretary Clinton herself said last night that she was breathing a sigh of relief. So, it generally means that they're feeling pretty good. And again, I think the other thing that remember well is that New Hampshire primary from 2008 where even after sustaining a pretty significant defeat in Iowa in 2008... QUESTION: Third place finish. EARNEST: Third place finish, that Secretary Clinton emerged victorious in New Hampshire. Now, I'm not following the race close enough to know whether or not something like that is possible this time around. But I think it is an indication that both candidates are going to be campaigning hard in New Hampshire. And if they don't, there's some risk associated with that. QUESTION: Just a couple more. On women in the military, you would agree and acknowledge that they serve honorably and well. You would agree that they are entitled to every opportunity that any other service member should be entitled to? EARNEST: Yes, and the Secretary of Defense has recently announced a policy decision that would open up combat positions to women inside the military too. So this is certainly is a principle that is on display, not just in terms of the president's rhetoric but in terms of some the policies that we've implemented that we believe will enhance and strengthen our national security. QUESTION: Then why not equal treatment in selective service? EARNEST: Well I just don't know if this is a policy decision that's been carefully... QUESTION: Broadly thinking, is it a good idea do you think? Do you think the president might back something like this? EARNEST: Yeah, I'll acknowledge I don't know the -- sort of the pros and cons of a -- of advancing a policy like this. But we can look into it for you. QUESTION: OK. Lastly on the economy and the deficit, you mentioned -- or Mark mentioned the debt earlier... EARNEST: Yeah. QUESTION: ... an enormous number, and then you came back and talked about the deficit and how you cut it down. I think 75 was the number you used. EARNEST: Correct. QUESTION: And yet you've also acknowledged, or at least the CBO is suggesting that the deficit will, in fact, increase in 2016. Do you acknowledge that that is what will likely happen, and if that is the case, is the president's economic plan still working? 13:52:30 EARNEST: Well let's go through a couple of these things. I'm wary of conceding that the early projections of the deficit are going to be right because they're usually wrong. So I think that's the first thing. The second thing is we'll have some updated data that we'll be able to produce in the context of our budget rollout next Tuesday, a week from today, where we'll be able to discuss some of the projections that we see as most likely in the future. The third thing is the reason that the CBO made the change in their deficit projection was principally driven by the agreement to cut so many taxes at the end of last year and to make permanent some of those business tax cuts, not all of which we supported but is part and parcel of a compromise budget agreement. So I certainly do think that it merits asking Republicans who do believe with such conviction that the size of the debt and the deficit is a problem why they believe it is appropriate to pass and make permanent business tax cuts without paying for them. QUESTION: OK, last one then. On the meetings today -- and I know we'll probably get a bit of a readout from the Leader hopefully and from the Speaker as well -- did the president go into this meeting expecting something substantive to come out of it other than the exchange of ideas, or should we all expect that sometime in the next, say, week or so, even shorter time period, that something concrete will be announced? 13:53:55 EARNEST: I wouldn't expect -- our expectation going into this meeting was not that any specific policy announcements would be made coming out of it, but I do think that the hope is by having conversations at -- you know, among these three leaders in government that it can lay the groundwork for effective progress on shared priorities in the future. And, you know, hopefully a discussion about, for example, investing in a cure for cancer, among the Speaker of the House, the leader of the Senate and the president of the United States that that can lay the groundwork for effective bipartisan discussions moving forward to try to find a budget compromise around those kinds of investments. And so no, I wouldn't expect any sort of immediate announcement, but we are hopeful that it can lay the groundwork for some progress in the future. OK? QUESTION: Thanks Josh. EARNEST: All right, George. QUESTION: All right. Two follows on the Baltimore visit. You put it in the context of the ongoing political campaign. Is it fair to say that the scheduling of it for now, after seven years of requests by the community, is driven by the president's desire to partake in that debate? EARNEST: Well, again, I think as Mike pointed out, the president was a pretty robust participant in that debate over the fall, but I certainly think this is an opportunity in the eyes of the president to send a clear signal to the Muslim American community that the president of the United States is going to firmly defend your right in this country to worship God consistent with your tradition and your heritage. That is a founding principle of our democracy. It is part of what makes America the greatest country in the world, and it's unfortunate that -- that -- that some people might perceive our commitment to those values cheapened by cynical political tactics from some Republicans. The president's not gonna stand for that, and I think his appearance at the mosque tomorrow will make clear his commitment to our nation's founding principles. QUESTION: So -- but he's not just sending a message to Muslim Americans. He's sending a message to other Americans, too. 13:56:20 EARNEST: I -- I -- I would anticipate that other Americans will make note of his visit, and I'm -- won't be surprised if that arouses some controversy. But this -- look, this is a debate that the president welcomes. And so tune in tomorrow. It'll be interesting. QUESTION: Can we expect him to specifically mention the -- the Republican debate? EARNEST: I wouldn't -- I wouldn't expect any -- any of the candidates tomorrow to be -- to enjoy the benefit of being singled out by the president of the United States. But I think the president will -- look, the -- I think the fact that this visit is taking place in the current political context is obvious to everyone. So even -- even a subtle reference will be immediately recognizable to all of you that are such close observers of the President's speeches. OK? Dave. QUESTION: Josh, thanks. The European reassurance fund that you mentioned a little while ago -- first of all, did the president bring that up today in the meeting? EARNEST: I don't know if that was something that -- that came up. It certainly was not the focus of a lot of discussion in the meeting. But -- but it may -- you'd have to ask Speaker Ryan and Leader McConnell. I would hazard a guess that this would be the kind of investment that -- that those two gentlemen would support. But you should check with them to confirm that. QUESTION: And I know you've been pretty up-front over the last several months about the fact that sanctions against Russia have not been changing Putin's mind about Ukraine and so on. EARNEST: Certainly not to the greed that we -- the -- the degree that we would like to see. QUESTION: So is this proposal to quadruple the funding in this -- in this program to reassure NATO allies -- is that another indication that diplomacy is not working with Putin? EARNEST: No, I wouldn't read that way. I -- I think it is an indication that the United States values deeply the strength of our alliance in NATO, and we are investing in that alliance in a way that will have important national security benefits, not just for the United States, but also for our allies in Europe. And we're doing that in part to send a clear signal to our NATO allies that we're committed to their defense, but also as a signal that they should make a -- be making a similarly serious commitment to enhancing their national security and investing in their national security capacity, both because it will enhance the national security of -- of that country, but also of our alliance. And there's no better way to do that and to send the clear signal that we believe that those kinds of investments should be a priority than to go ahead and make that kind of investment ourselves. And that's -- that's the signal that we're hoping to send. QUESTION: What does the White House expect that Putin's response will be? 13:59:09 EARNEST: I have no idea what his response will be. He -- I think he prides himself on being a little unpredictable, and so I'm not even sure if he will determine that -- that such an announcement merits a response. But if he does, I'm sure he will make sure that we're all aware of it. OK? Yes, ma'am, in the back -- I'll give you the last one. Yes? QUESTION: Hi, Josh, thanks. EARNEST: Hi, there. QUESTION: So -- hi. Just a couple quick questions. One, I just want to go through the TPP tomorrow. It's being signed in New Zealand tomorrow... EARNEST: That's correct. QUESTION: ... and yet it still has to go through its process here, which of course is not fully understood in New Zealand and the -- the countries outside of America. EARNEST: There are plenty of people in America that don't entirely understand that process. You might even include me in that category. QUESTION: Worst case scenario, Congress doesn't pass it, the public throws your arms up in the air. What then happen to that agreement that they've signed in New Zealand? EARNEST: Yeah. Well, listen, we -- I don't expect that that's what's going to happen. The -- there is strong bipartisan support in the United States Congress for a Trans-Pacific Partnership agreement that achieves the goals that we achieved in the context of this agreement. So we're bullish about the prospects for completing this agreement, and we're certainly going to make the case to Congress that they should act as quickly as possible on this. But the good news is is it's not just going to be the Democratic president trying to appeal to Republicans in Congress to support this agreement, we're going to be relying on the United States Chamber of Commerce, the American Farm Bureau, National Association of Manufacturers and other Republican-friendly organizations to make a strong case to the Republicans that -- that they work closely with to support this agreement. So we've got a strong case and -- and we'll be making it pretty aggressively. I'll also note that because of the successful passage of the trade promotion authority legislation last year, we see a couple of things. One is, there's a clear sort of outline for a strategy for getting this passed. The trade promotion authority legislation was designed around this idea of giving the -- getting Republicans to vote for authority that the Democratic president could to negotiate the agreement. It's a pretty tough sell among Republicans. Our sell this time is much clearer. Right now, we've got 18,000 American goods that are facing taxes that are imposed by other countries, and we believe we should cut those taxes. Republicans like cutting taxes. They surely like cutting taxes that other countries unfairly put on American products. So we've got a stronger case. The other thing is that because of trade promotion authority, at least in the United States Senate, we don't have to worry about the 60 vote filibuster threshold. And that should also make it -- at least lower the bar for congressional passage of this approval legislation. QUESTION: Right. So Asia and Australia (inaudible) and New Zealand can be confident that this is actually going to go through at some point... 14:02:08 EARNEST: Well, we are confident that we'll get it done and -- so hopefully, they will be too. Alright? Thanks. You had one more? QUESTION: One more question... EARNEST: OK. QUESTION: ... on the Zika virus -- Zika virus. It's been discovered that this is possibly as a result of 500,000 mosquitoes being -- genetically engineered mosquitoes being released in the Amazon as a result of actually American (inaudible) and experimentations by a company such as (inaudible). Would there ever be any accountability in that situation? Does the White House think there should be any accountability to organizations who are releasing genetically modified insects without -- in this case, failing to observe or acknowledge what could happen without antibiotics and... 14:03:00 EARNEST: I have to admit, I have not seen the news report that you're citing. I -- what is -- I think what I can say about this is it's -- it is clear there is a lot more that needs to be learned about the science behind this disease. There are still questions that are being raised about the precise linkage between the Zika virus in this particular birth defect. There are questions that are raised about -- about how closely those two things are actually related. And that will have consequences for what steps we can take to try to fight this disease. So there is a lot more that needs to be learned. In fact, this is why the CDC and others have devoted so many resources to trying to study this disease, to try to interview those individuals that have -- that have suffered sort of the worst impacts that we're quite -- most concerned about. And -- so the more that we learn will inform our ability both to protect the American people here at home, but also to make sure that something like this, if we can prevent it, keep it from happening again. QUESTION: (inaudible) report that (inaudible) director of commission in Brazil, I think. EARNEST: OK. QUESTION: They did a study that they released in 2015 and it was directly related to genetically engineered... 14:04:19 EARNEST: OK. Well, we're obviously -- you know, the president spoke to President Rousseff earlier this week, where they talked about -- maybe it was the end of last week -- where they talked about how we could coordinate our efforts to fight this disease. And so we're certainly going to stay in touch with them moving forward. OK? 14:04:33 Thanks a lot, everybody.
JEN PSAKI HOLDS PRESS BRIEFING - ROBO HEAD ON
FS36 WH BRFG ROBO 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 healthcare.gov 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 healthcare.gov 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]
WHITE HOUSE BRIEFING WITH JEN PSAKI ROBO CUTS
FS37 WH BRFG ROBO CUTS 1200 ABC UNI WHITE HOUSE BRIEFING WITH PRESS SECRETARY JEN PSAKI ROBO CUTS 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 healthcare.gov 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 healthcare.gov 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]
WHITE HOUSE BRIEFING WITH JEN PSAKI ROBO STIX
FS36 WH BRFG ROBO HEAD ON 1200 ABC UNI WHITE HOUSE BRIEFING WITH PRESS SECRETARY JEN PSAKI ROBO STIX 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 healthcare.gov 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 healthcare.gov 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]
WHITE HOUSE BRIEFING WITH JEN PSAKI POOL STIX
FS23 WH BRFG HEAD ON POOL 3 1200 CBS POOL WHITE HOUSE BRIEFING WITH PRESS SECRETARY JEN PSAKI POOL STIX 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 healthcare.gov 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 healthcare.gov 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]
WHITE HOUSE BRIEFING WITH JEN PSAKI POOL CUTS
FS24 WH BRFG CUTS POOL 4 1200 CBS POOL WHITE HOUSE BRIEFING WITH PRESS SECRETARY JEN PSAKI POOL CUTS 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 healthcare.gov 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 healthcare.gov 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]
JEN PSAKI HOLDS PRESS BRIEFING - HEAD ON
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 healthcare.gov 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 healthcare.gov 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]
JEN PSAKI HOLDS PRESS BRIEFING - ROBO CUTS
FS37 WH BRFG ROBO CUTS 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 healthcare.gov 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 healthcare.gov 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]