HARRY REID REMARKS AT ACTION FUND EVENT
INT BROLL SENATOR HARRY REID REMARKS AT CENTER FOR AMERICAN PROGRESS ACTION FUND EVENT Monday, July 15, 2013 Senator Harry Reid remarks at Center for American Progress Action Fund DC Slug: 1205 REID CAPAF RS15 75 AR: 16x9 Disc #429 SENATOR HARRY REID (D-NV): Thank you all very much for being here this morning. I know it's always appropriate to start your presentation by saying something funny. And I am about the most unfunny person you've ever known. But I thought I would tell you something that happened to my family not long ago. 12:08:58 As you know, I have five children. My youngest boy has five little -- oh, I'm sorry -- four little girls. And they are beautiful little children. He was a gifted athlete. He was our entertainment till he was 22 years old, played on three national championship teams and -- at University of Virginia. And he was so looking forward to coaching his boys so they'd be just like him, but he's got four girls. So he's coaching them. They are all very athletic. 12:09:28 But his lovely wife and he decided it would be a good things if their kids, those four little girls, had some responsibilities around the house. And so they sat down with all four of them and said, OK, we're going to give you this much money every week, but you're doing to have to do -- you know, outlined what they had to do: help with the dishes, pick up toys, help with the beds, make up the beds; just do a list of things that kids are always required to do. 12:09:57 And it went just fine for three or four months. But Ella, the next -- the oldest, for a while just wouldn't do anything. So her mom talked to my son, and she said, when you get home, you're going to sit down and have a little talk with her. She won't do anything. It's been that way for weeks. 12:10:18 So my son sat down and -- just the two of them alone, and started with -- he thought would be this long conversation with little Ella. And he said, your sisters are doing everything they're asked to do. You are basically not carrying your load. Why? What's the matter? She said, Dad, I don't need the money. (Laughter.) Well, at least a few laughed, anyway. (Laughter.) 12:10:46 Well, I appreciate very much for -- having the opportunity to visit with each of you on something I've worked on for some time now. John, I appreciate very much the work of having this organization for 10 years. Neera, you're doing a great job filling in for John. 12:11:04 Congress is extremely unpopular, for a couple of main reasons. Any poll you look at indicates that they're unpopular, for two reasons: one, gridlock, gridlock, gridlock; two, not getting things done. And that's really true. We -- when I came to Congress -- well, actually the first time I ran for the Senate, we were above 45 percent, approaching 50 percent, the Congress. Not that way anymore. Last Gallup number had us at 10 percent and not going up, going down. So why is that? 12:11:49 Of course, we all know we need to pass legislation that does good things for our country, especially the middle class. Flip on C-Span, as I know some of you do, and what do you see there the vast majority of the time? Nothing. Blank screen. Quorum calls. So we're wasting time hour after hour, day after day. 12:12:19 To kind of give you a picture where we're coming from, me and my caucus, Lyndon Johnson was majority leader for six years. During that period of time, he had to overcome one filibuster. I've been leader about the same time as he has. I don't know the exact number, but it's around 420 filibusters. So things change; yes, they sure have changed. Now, everyone knows that under the Constitution we have a responsibility to give advice and consent to the president on his nominations, but all we have from the Republicans is not advise and consent; we have obstruct and delay. And that's really the truth. Now, remember my conservative friends always talk about the Constitution, so let's use that as a frame for my presentation to you here today. The Constitution is very, very specific as to what requires a supermajority. Vetoes, impeachments, treaties. And that same paragraph where the founding fathers talked about supermajority, they mentioned presidential nominations; majority. Majority. 12:13:49 The founding fathers want an up-or-down vote, and that's basically what we've been crying for now for years. And I believe this whether it's one of the new Bushes to be president, maybe Jeb or maybe a new Clinton, maybe Hillary or maybe even the daughter. But whoever is -- whoever is president, they should have the ability to pick their team. There is -- I feel very strongly about that. 12:14:26 Many here follow the Washington Nationals. Great we have a team here. I've had a number of opportunities to visit with Davey Johnson. He's one of the great baseball's heroes of all time, played on three or four national champion teams, second baseman of Baltimore Orioles, won a pennant, won a World Series. He's now here. Been -- he had been selected as manager of the year many times. Let's assume that this year, Davey Johnson has his team together. And he gets a call from Major League Baseball. And they say, Davey, I know you've worked hard to put this team together. I'm glad to see that Zimmerman's back, he's had the surgery, we hope he can throw better, we know he's been a golden glover, we know he's been a silver slugger. And you can have him, but not until sometime the first part of June. And that contract you signed very recently, for LaRoche to get him for a year, first base, you can have him, but it's going to be after the all-star break. What -- how would that be for his team? Well, multiply that a hundred times, and you find out what's going on here in Washington. 12:15:46 We have a situation where Republicans have created gridlock, gridlock, gridlock. And it has consequences. It's not only bad for President Obama; it's bad for the country. The status quo won't work. 12:16:07 Now, during the time we've been a country -- during the time we've been a country, until Barack Obama became president, 20 executive nominees were filibustered. During the four years that President Obama has been president, he's already had -- I'm sorry, he's already had 16 of his nominees filibustered. Think about that. What they have done is just really unbelievable. And my Republican colleague Senator McConnell, on "Meet the Press" yesterday, they ask him the logical question. They said, what are you going to do with Napolitano's replacement? And rather than say, we'll move forward on that, have some questions, but we'll move forward on it, he refused to tell David Gregory whether or not they would -- he would allow an up- or-down vote. Think about that. (Chuckles.) 12:17:07 What they have done is really untoward. American people need to feel that we as a Senate are responsive to their challenges. They've carried this to the extreme. 12:17:22 I don't do committee work anymore, but I've sat for hours during committees. And during those committee hearings for a nominee, what we do is you ask questions. Sometimes it goes for a day or two, three days sometimes. But it's been traditional, after those questions have been asked -- there may be -- one senator say, you know, could I -- could I send you a couple questions in writing? Sure. And you'll get the answers back as soon as you can? Yes. Well, that has been carried to the extreme. Perez wants to be secretary of labor, put his way through school as a garbage man, hauling garbage. They submitted to him about 300 questions in writing. He had to respond back in writing. But the champion of this -- Gina McCarthy. Long hearing on this. She had to respond to 1,100 questions -- 1,100 questions. 12:18:30 Now, my friend the Republican leader and others come to floor and say, yeah, but everything's going great; we approved this person 97 to nothing, one person 98 to nothing, another a hundred to nothing. But that's the whole point. They don't have anything -- there's nothing wrong with these people. There's nothing wrong with their qualifications. They simply want to stall what goes on. Those people that they voted 97 to nothing -- some of them, we've waited months. The NLRB folks we talked -- Neera talked about today -- they've been waiting for more than two years. I -- the 15 that are on the calendar today -- their average waiting time has been nine months. Do they have an objection against Richard Cordray, his qualification? Of course not. Cordray was a clerk for Judge Bork. Cordray was a clerk for Justice Kennedy. He was attorney general for the state of Ohio. They have nothing wrong with his qualifications. They just don't like his job. They don't like someone whose job, based on legislation that we've passed and is signed into law, who takes a look for the consumer against the greed that happens on occasion in Wall Street. Do they have anything personally against the two NLRB nominees? No. One of them was Senator Kennedy's counsel. The other was the attorney for the Operating Engineers. These are good people. They don't challenge their qualifications, they challenge their jobs. NLRB has been in existence since the Great Depression. It works. It protects workers. Not union workers; workers. 12:20:18 Isn't it interesting the focal point has been the last few months on all these people, on the secretary of labor and two NLRB folks? Do you think there's something in that message to the American people? We're going to do everything we can to make sure business is OK, but we're not going to make sure that everything is OK with American workers. Now, there have been hues and cries that what I and my caucus are trying to do is going to really hurt the Senate. In the last 18 years -- I'm sorry, the last 36 years, we've changed the rules by a simple majority 18 times. I've done it. We always do it, simple majority, when things don't work. If you look at what those changes were, people just trying to be vexatious and create problems. We did this just a little over a year ago. What had happened is, after cloture had been evoked -- invoked on one of those rare occasions to stop filibuster, some of the Republican senators came up with this big, great idea: Cloture is over with, and they would file motions to set aside the rules. Well, it took a two-thirds majority. They knew none of them would pass. But they wanted my folks to have to vote on amendments that had nothing to do with the bill that cloture had been evoked (sic) on. Now I put up with this for a while. They had two or three of them. Finally -- I don't remember the exact number; they had 15 or so they filed -- takes huge amounts of time and was a waste of Senate's time. So we changed the rules. We said you can't do that anymore. That was done by a simple majority. And that's all we're doing here. We're -- this does not affect lifetime appointments. It doesn't affect substantive legislation. It allows the president to have his team -- this president and those in the future. And that's the way it should be. 12:22:29 My friend Senator McConnell -- and this is not -- this is not McConnell versus Reid; this is -- my caucus is concerned about where this country is headed. But Mitch has said -- said; I'm not making this up -- he is the "proud guardian of gridlock." Those are his words. So I took action last week to force Republicans to either allow these people to go through that and stop the filibuster, or we're going to have to change the rule. 12:23:07 There is -- there isn't, as I've indicated, a single objection to the qualifications of any one of these people. And we need to move forward. We need to stop blocking this president and the future presidents from having a qualified team that he thinks is what he needs. This is in the Constitution. This isn't about Democrats versus Republicans. It's about making Washington work, regardless of who's in the White House. I also think that it's clear that we should all understand that the Senate is a unique institution. It was created that way by the Founding Fathers. 12:23:47 Its traditions are important, but also, it's an evolving institution. It's always been that way. That's why the -- that's why we changed the rules 18 times for the last three decades. Among those traditions is protection for the minority, and that's the way it should be. The power of an extreme minority now threatens our integrity of this institution. As we know, Frank Lautenberg passed away very recently. He was a fine man. He loved the Senate. Gina McCarthy, after her 1,100 questions were answered, Republicans refused to have a single Republican attend. So the only way to overcome that is all Democratic senators of the committee had to be there. Frank Lautenberg was dying. I called Bonnie, I said, we have to have him here. And he literally on his deathbed came down here, unhooked the stuff that is keeping him alive, came down here from New Jersey and walked in to make a caucus out. Everybody was there for the Democrats in the EPA committee. And we shouldn't be doing stuff like that. That isn't what it's all about. You can't reward bad behavior over and over and over again. For the first time in the history of the country, they filibustered the secretary of defense, this wild-eyed liberal from Nebraska, a war hero, literally a war hero who was commended for his heroism, who among other things on the battlefield saved his brother's life. I went to his office when he was here as a senator. He has a picture there of he and his brother on an armored personnel carrier in Vietnam. And not only that, one of the senators questioned his loyalty to our country. In a public hearing, they did that. John Brennan -- filibustered the director of the CIA. 12:26:19 So my efforts are directed to save the Senate from becoming obsolete, to remain relevant and effective as an institution. And to do that, the Senate must evolve to meet the challenges of modern-day America. This is really a moment in history when circumstances dictate the need for change -- minor change, no big deal. Remember, all we want to do is what the Constitution says we should do. Filibusters are not part of the Constitution. That's something that senators developed on their own to get legislation to pass. Now it's being used not only to get legislation to stop from passing but to stop nominees. It's in a totally different place than where it should be. There's a moment in history when circumstances dictate the need for change. It's time for course correction that compels the two parties to work with each other instead of against each other. The gravity of the challenges facing our country demands that we do what's necessary to save this storied institution, the United States Senate. I love the Senate. But right now the Senate is broken and needs to be fixed. I have a vision of a Senate that works again, a Senate that's once again a responsive and effective advocate for middle-class families. 12:27:46 It really troubles me when my Republican colleagues stand and say, but we passed the farm bill; we passed an immigration bill. Keep going. Keep going. Not much else. Those are not things we should be saying, oh, we were able to do that. I mean, I am really proud of the eight Democrats and Republicans who worked together to help us find a pathway to do immigration. But that's what we used to do all the time. That's what we do. Compromise is what we're all about. Legislation is the art of compromise. That's what it's all about. So I want the Senate to work again. With your support, I'm prepared to take whatever action is necessary to make that happen. Thank you very much. (Applause.) NEERA TANDEN (president, Center for American Progress Action Fund): So I am just going to ask a few questions, and then we'll turn it over to the audience. So you referenced, Senator Reid, the issue -- the fact that what's tying a lot of these blocked nominees together, from the Consumer Financial Protection Board to the National Labor Relations Board to the Environmental Protection Agency, Labor, is that these are agencies that protect consumers, and they face great opposition. There's also the issue, which is -- which is sort of new with the Consumer Financial Protection Board, which is that, you know, over 40 senators basically said they would not confirm -- they were opposed to basically any confirmation. So do you think in some sense what we're facing is a new issue in which the Senate minority is using the power of the filibuster to basically nullify the effect of laws themselves, because with the National Labor Relations Board, Consumer Financial Protection Board, it's hard to actually get them to operate properly when they don't have nominees or they don't have commissioners or directors? 12:30:11 SEN. REID: There are a lot of things that have happened since I've been here that have been pushed forward by Republican presidents, Republican Congresses, that I didn't like. But we have not the ability -- we shouldn't have, at least -- that just because we don't like a law, we don't fill the positions to see if it will work. Dodd-Frank, Republicans, not a one of them voted for it, hated the bill. But we did it because Wall Street had ruined -- temporarily -- thank goodness we're making our way back, but not as much as I'd like -- Las Vegas, Nevada. They don't like this. Elizabeth Warren came up with the idea that we need someone to protect the consumer. That's not an outrageous idea, but they don't like it because the consumer, I believe, needs protection against Wall Street. And that's what this would do, and they don't like it and they've done everything they can to stop it. I got a letter from -- I can't remember, 44, I think, senators -- Republican senators. And it's the same -- you know, we're having the same issue with health care, with many other -- and, you know, the Cordray issue is really we solved a big problem, because it's so important we protect the consumer. It is -- we don't have to appropriate the money for that. That also drives them crazy. That happens automatically. Federal Reserve. MS. TANDEN: And so do you -- obviously, a lot of progressive groups have been pushing for filibuster reform for a long time, and broadly speaking. Why focus on nominees, and why now, essentially? 12:32:00 SEN. REID: Because that's now where the big plug is. I mean, you can look at many different pieces of legislation and look at how the 60-vote threshold, whether 60 is -- could be changed to a lower number; that's something when could deal with later. But right now the 60 protects progressive groups and conservative groups. And look at the gun thing as an example. The gun legislation I so believe in for background checks to stop people who have serious mental problems and are criminals from buying a gun, I believe in that very strongly. But I didn't believe in the fact that because they have some -- trying to be as nice as I can about this -- some crazy, absurd rule in Idaho and Utah that basically, you can carry a gun anyplace you want, I don't think that would be good to have somebody fly into Las Vegas armed to the hilt because of some law that they have in Idaho or flying into St. -- I mean, so it protect (also ?) women who are very concerned about protecting their rights with a simple majority. So I'm not anxious to change that. On judges, I'm comfortable with our doing what we're doing. We have -- we'll see what happens, but I am very comfortable with where we are now, and I'm not trying to spread this to other places. MS. TANDEN: All right. So let's -- I think that we have a few minutes for questions. I think we'll start with the press. And if you could just identify yourself and your organization, that would be great. Q: Chuck Babington, with the AP. Senator Reid, as you know, Republicans have raised the specter of possibly using a simple majority vote when they have the majority, which, as you know, could come fairly soon, to open up Yucca Mountain for nuclear waste. Is that something that you're willing to accept or -- 12:33:58 SEN. REID: How silly, but I'll answer it. I mean, how silly. They are not about to have a 50-vote majority if they're in power, anybody else is in power. That is just a -- that bothered me about as much as the color of your tie today -- (laughter) -- which doesn't bother me at all, OK? (Laughter.) So Yucca Mountain's not -- Q: To be clear, you're saying that even if they had a majority, that they could not come up with 51 votes for that issue -- SEN. REID: But that's not the issue. If they get in -- if they want to change the rules by simple majority, more power to them. I think they would be -- they would rue the day they did it. They're not -- they're not going to do that. We're not going to do that. It's all -- you know, the sky is falling. As they asked Barbara Mikulski, who is as quick-witted as anybody I've ever know -- they asked ask her last week -- they said, this is a slippery slope, and she said that's why they call them slopes. MS. TANDEN: (Inaudible) -- and then (Chris ?). 12:35:09 Q: Hi, Senator Reid. Jeff Zeleny with ABC News. In 2005 you said that changing these rules would be a black chapter in the history of the country, it would ruin our country, and that you should not be able to willy-nilly change the rules of the Senate. Isn't this being a little hypocritical by changing the rules now? 12:35:22 SEN. REID: No, what it is, is you don't understand the right question. Q: No -- SEN. REID: I wasn't talking about changing the rules for nominees. I was talking about changing the rules for judges, OK? It's a new era. I mean, we have now, since then, as I've indicated, 400 and -- approximately 420 we've been filibustered. We have a situation where we have people who have been waiting -- 15 on the calendar -- for nine months. The two nominees for the NLRB have been waiting for two years. Cordray's been waiting for two years. So it's a totally different world we live in, and I don't -- I -- of course, I wasn't the leader at that time, but anyway, that's what I said. Here's how I feel now. Different situation. MS. TANDEN: Chris. Q: Senator Reid, Chris Frates, National Journal. I wanted to ask, are you concerned at all if -- by putting these in place, that when the next president comes that you'll be able to create a situation where there's no need for any kind of bipartisan Cabinets, where the FEC could be stacked with Republicans who are -- you know, who are pro-campaign finance reform if you're a Democrat or Democrats who are anti-campaign finance reform if you're a Republican, basically making it difficult for of the government to function? 12:36:45 SEN. REID: Why don't you look at what's going on today rather than have some hypothetical in the future? The problem today is the president of the United States cannot get the people to work for him that he wants. That's what we should focus on. I mean, when it's gone so far that you -- for the first time in the history of the country, you filibuster a secretary of defense, you -- instead of submitting, as used to happen, six or seven questions, you now do 1,100 -- Jack Lew is one -- he's secretary of Treasury. We're -- we had to file cloture on him so he could be part of the International Monetary Fund. Let's talk about the problems today, not some hypothetical in the future. And if people really have concern about that, let them go change the Constitution. That's what the Constitution says, that for a presidential nominee, it should be a simple majority. It's worked for a long, long time. And that's why during the time from George Washington to Barack Obama, you only had 20 filibusters of presidential nominations. MS. TANDEN: A few more questions over here -- over here, and we'll go over there, and -- (inaudible). Q: Hi, Senator. Jonathan Weisman, from The New York Times. You're having this meeting tonight in the old Senate chamber, but it sounds like you've made your decision. So what is this meeting about tonight, and are you open to any kind of compromises that would let some of these or all of these nominees go forward with some proviso that the so-called constitutional option be taken off the table, at least for now? 12:38:18 SEN. REID: Simple solution. I mentioned it in my remarks. So easy. If the sky is falling and they think it's falling, let them stop the filibusters on the seven that I filed cloture on, and we will have up-or-down votes on these people and go on to the business for the day. That seems pretty simple to me. And it's also quite fascinating here, we're having a joint caucus. I tried to do that in the past. McConnell wouldn't let us do it. The only time we've been able to do it is when I came up with the idea to have John McCain in a closed session with (our senators ?), talk about his experiences in Vietnam, and it was stunningly interesting. But we've tried to do joint caucuses. Now, no matter what reason there is for having one, we're having one. I mean, that's good. Hope that sets a tone for the future. But I repeat for The New York Times: If they want to -- if they want to stop what's going on, don't filibuster, don't filibuster Cordray, don't filibuster Griffin, Block, Hochberg, Gina McCarthy, Perez. That's a good way to stop all this. MS. TANDEN: There was someone (over there ?). OK. Yes. Go ahead. Q: (Off mic) -- Wall Street Journal. Are you open to -- assuming that this rule change goes forward, to going further later in the year? You mentioned gun control earlier. Are you open to potentially making this change for legislation as well? 12:39:55 SEN. REID: When you come here, I'm sorry you can't hear all the answers. I answered that question. I have no intent of changing the rule -- (inaudible) -- legislation, zero, just like I told this man from the National Journal. Same answer. Same question, same answer. MS. TANDEN: (Inaudible) -- are there questions from the public? Over here? Right there. Q: Hello. James Bradbury (sp), University of Colorado. So Senator, if this nuclear option is supposed to mitigate gridlock in the Senate, what other rules would you like to see changed in order to make the Senate more effective? SEN. REID: Nothing right now. Q: Nothing right now. 12:40:30 SEN. REID: But remember, the Senate is an evolving body. We've changed the rules in recent years 18 times. I gave you one example. I went back and studied the other reasons that we changed -- same thing as this. Somebody gets the bright idea -- I don't know if it was a Democrat or Republican. I really don't know this. The other 17 times -- something just to bring the Senate to a standstill like we are now. And so the rules were changed. I'm sure it'll change in the future. MS. TANDEN: Other questions? Is that a -- (chuckles) -- the person -- (inaudible) -- and then we'll come back to Brad (sp). We only have a few more minutes. Q: Senator, I think another interesting idea that's been proposed is -- SEN. REID: Tell us where you're from and what's your -- Q: I'm sorry. I'm Alex Loman (sp) from the University of Southern California. I think an -- SEN. REID: Oh. Hope you have a better football team than last year. That was a disaster. (Laughter.) That may -- that proves you can't buy college football players. (Laughter.) Q: Senator, you're almost making me want to switch to the other team. (Laughter.) SEN. REID: I'm sorry, what's that? Q: You're almost making me want to switch to the other party. But -- (laughter) -- I'm -- one of the more interlaying ideas that I've seen proposed is to shift the burden to the minority to over -- to sustain a filibuster rather than the majority to overcome a filibuster. I'm interested in your views on that proposal. 12:41:50 SEN. REID: All right. Jeff Merkley and Tom Udall have suggested that, and that's something we can look at in the future. It's harder to implement than people think. But remember we have deep traditions here in the Senate, and maybe sometime in the distant future we could take a look at that. Merkley and Udall have spent untoward (sic) hours and hours working on this. I admire what they've done. And remember -- I want to say this, young man, to everybody here -- this is not me marching down the road on this. My caucus is supportive of me because that's where they want to go, to change this rule. MS. TANDEN: I just also want to say, as a UCLA Bruin, I appreciate your remarks. (Laughter.) We have time for two more questions. Right there. There's a mic coming to you. Q: Laura Lipthen (ph) with Bloomberg News. McConnell has made clear that the recess appointments are what he's most concerned about, and you have the votes set up to start with Cordray, with a procedural vote tomorrow. Are there any circumstances under which you would see delaying that, maybe to have additional talks? How ironclad is a vote tomorrow? 12:42:53 SEN. REID: Talks on what? Talks on what? Talks on what? If they have a proposal, bring it to me. But otherwise, we're going to have a vote in the morning. If they have a proposal, bring it to me. The easiest way to do away with this is to simply get rid of these filibusters. I mean, what -- logically, why would they hold up -- this is one of the most interesting things. They created these recess appointments, we didn't. They created them. They wouldn't allow us to have these people. What is -- what is Barack Obama supposed to do? The NLRB goes out of business August 1st. It's gone. It's over with. And they're using -- I've heard it, oh, you're doing this illegally. Well, it's only happened because of them. We -- the president wouldn't have recess-appointed these people. Now with these courts, what we've done -- they said, you cannot have a recess appointment, basically, period, is -- that's it. It's gone to the Supreme Court. We don't have time to wait and see what Justice Kennedy's going to do. Maybe we should just call him. (Laughter.) MS. TANDEN: One last question. Right here. Q: Thanks. Thank you, Senator. Todd Zwillich with Public Radio (International). Can you give us, just on Jonathan's question, a little more specificity on how this might go this week? Cordray is first. Maybe you don't get all seven. Maybe Republicans let three go or three with an agreement for four. Is there -- is there wiggle room between seven and zero where this might be averted? And secondly, are you supportive or not supportive of the possibility of a gang forming which would essentially circumvent you on this? That could easily happen with eight senators. And would you be supportive of that? 12:44:45 SEN. REID: There have been gangs forming on this issue for a while. Where we are -- my caucus supports where we are. I'm not concerned about gangs. That's gotten a little passe, frankly. Q: Is there wiggle room between seven and zero, where, if McConnell gives you three of these nominees or four, but not seven -- SEN. REID: No. Q: It's seven or nothing? 12:45:18 SEN. REID: Yeah. I mean, we'll -- there's -- they -- no one questions -- (coughs) -- excuse me -- their capabilities, their credentials, their integrity. They're doing it because they're trying to hold up things. It's obstruct and delay. That's what's going on around here. And we want to make a simple, simple change. As I said, it will apply to whoever is the next president. It'll -- Democrat or Republican. It'll apply to Barack Obama. They should be able to have a team aboard -- now does that mean they are going to approved automatically? Of course not. In the past Democrats and Republicans have worked together to stop nominees from going forward. Didn't have to be a filibuster. MS. TANDEN: All right, I think that is unfortunately all the time we have today. And thank you so much, Senator Reid, for being here, and for a great discussion this morning. SEN. REID: Thanks, everybody. (Applause.)
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PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE FORMER VERMONT GOVERNOR HOWARD DEAN TOWN HALL MEETING / RS 171
[PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE FORMER VERMONT GOVERNOR HOWARD DEAN TOWN HALL MEETING / RS 171] [ROYAL OAK, MICH USA] [Dean at Town Hall, Jack and Patti Salter Community Ctr, Royal Oak, MI] Dean at Town Hall, Jack and Patti Salter Community Ctr, 1545 E Lincoln Ave, Royal Oak, MI 11:33:02 country divided badly, middle class people have very little say in country and folks in wash serving interests 11:33:19 president signed medicare prescription benefit bill, if you are a senior it will coast you 1170 for benefit, if 1500 drugs, but if you pay 200 dollars you are cut off. people who need help don't get it. Bill cost 1/2 trillion, majority goes to HMO's, well over 100 billion to pharmaceutical companies, bans people going to Canada and bans using purchasing power to get a better deal for seniors. Nothing to do with seniors but 2004 election.... i think seniors should rise up and send bush back to Crawford where he belongs 11:34:56 2/3's of money goes to big farms, 16 billion of our money going to oil and gas, government by and for corporations and we can do better 11:35:22 i maintain not enough to change president, anyone on ticket better than bush but i don't' think it's enough to replace one Washington insider with another. One person senate for 19 years, taken more special interest, this campaign is about real change and real accomplishments. 11:36:04 three reasons i want you to vote for me, first is I'll stand up for what i believe in, first one to stand up to war in Iraq 11:36:27 everybody voted for it and president want' truthful, if he wasn't truthful now, he wasn't truthful then, how come he couldn't figure it out then. 11:36:52 we want someone with good judgement and patience. 11:36:57 i stood up for no child left behind, school systems have bigger classes, because of unfunded mandated i don't' think the president should run schools i think local school board should 11:37:23 we are night going to beat bush with bush light, only way is to stand up for what we belive in and take America back for the people who built it and that's us. 11:37:43 let me ask you to vote for me for another reason, in us senate people think that sitting on a committee for 19 years means you have some experience... here's my record everyone under 18 has health insurance 1/3 of seniors have benefits, balance budgets 12 in a row, i think we need a do-er not a talker to take on bush. 11:38:39 if we want change we are not going to get change from people who've been inside system. every industrialized country in the world (countries) have health insurance, we don't. 56 years ago trauma put health insurance on democratic platform because so many special interest have killed it for 56 years. I won't owe it to anybody because you are the one's financing our campaign. 11:39:40 we need fundamental change in country, been here before, when mckinley president when large companies got larger and squeezed people out of interests. Roosevelt, trust buster, in 1920's allowed business control lives of ordinary working people, depression didn't start in 1929, it started before that, and then Roosevelt came along and made it possible for people to control government again 11:40:35 we need someone to change America, change it in the way the constitution was written 200 years ago. 11:40:58 what i want to do is talk about specific health care and then open up to questions. 11:41:12 in 1992, we put together a health care plan that covered Vermont, failed b/c it was complicated, so we kept pushing and got it for everyone under 18, cost 60 a month to cover every kid in house. If you are under 25 years old, you get a government program, you don't have to have it but it's dirt cheap to take care of kids under 25 years old, no one under 25 doesn't think they'll get sick so vouchers don't' work, i was governor for so long i lived through both bush recession, it doesn't much to take care of young people, maybe you work, maybe you have 3 or 4 part times jobs, things like McDonalds, why not just cover them and let it be 11:42:59 next, if you make less than 33K a year you have same program, you can keep what you got, but the biggest proportion of under insured people, let them have government program if they want to. suppose you are over 65 you want a real program, medicade, now the people who are left are the people over 35 to 65, or buy same plan congress has for 7% of income. You buy the same program for 300 a month, if you make 80K you pay 600 a month. Congress plan important, it's called guaranteed issue and community rating 11:44:31 in my state you cannot be turned down no matter what you have wrong with you, if you are 58 and have hypertension, you cannot be refused insurance other than refusing to pay. And some states have that and charge you 2500 for insurance. You cannot be charged more than a healthy 27 year old. 11:45:13 point of insurance is to have insurance, we drove insurance companies out of state, she was 35 years old and turned out to have diabetes, insurance co said it's not going to renew policy, that's not insurance that's psychological well being, we don't' want them in our state we don't want them in America let them go to cayman islands. 11:46:00 so that's it, it covers everybody and it costs some money. We are spending exact amount of money today in Iraq for the same to have health insurance 11:46:32 i don't' plan to be in second place in novemeber and i don't want a second class health system in America. we can do better than that. 11:46:49 two other things, directly health related. Senior long term care. they talk i have to balance budgets, that's a tough thing to do, I'm the only one running who balanced budgets. Texas governship weakest in America, so i have to make tough choices. 11:47:32 we knew we didn't have money to guarantee, cut beds, paid them a little more, and passed pay increases onto workers, and we took that money and spent it on keeping seniors in own home. A lot of seniors in nursing homes that don't need to be there. too disabled to help them in homes but need support, but family lives (far), what we did is take that money spending on care givers and able to take care of twice as many seniors in own home, and that's the kind of thing we need to do in this country that Washington needs to do 11:49:02 one more thing, kids. when i first become governor, father couldn't' manage money better than son, prison budget went up 14%, prison's most expensive and least effective social servant. Any teacher can tell you who will most likely end up in prison, I'd like to ask why is it we aren't investing in small children rather than investing on prisons later. So we do, we visit every mom in hospital and ask if they would like a home visit, so we visit 91% of own newborns. But the ones who do need help have child care, health care, job training, in 10 years our child abuse went down 42% and those kids are going to college not prison 11:51:01 we have got to stop thinking in terms of 2 and 4 year increments. In terms of environment 100 year increments. 11:51:30 our whole health care based on illness problem. we have to change health care to wellness. prevention, education, we are not going to eliminate every illness. People talk about costs, hospitals, doctors, drug companies, insurance companies and lawyers. They left out most important one, and that is us. When I was governor last year, my son had an emergency.. instantly transformed from governor to health care and not one person who wouldn't act the same way. reason America is greatest is the same reason health care out of control. 11:52:56 American believes if every problem can be overcome if we spend or work hard enough, we have whole system fixing about what we done, but not if we drink, smoke or genetic screening. If those are taken care of early it makes an enormous difference. 11:53:41 life expectancy is significantly lower when born to moms who drank and smoked through pregnancy. WE ought to make special efforts not to drink or smoke. Burger king and McDonalds are putting up low carb... that's positive but essence of it is prevention and not too soon to start ever. need to spend money on kids 1 to 3. I so tired of republicans blaming system. It doesn't work that way, kid get hard wired by 3 years old you better stop the damage and fix what needs to be fixed. 11:55:09 and the same is true of health care, enormous amount is preset by 3 years old. WE need to fundamentally change system, Washington, and i need your help Saturday in order to be able to do that Q&A 11:56:07 i forgot i broke rules with microphone, but I'll answer question. Let me just say, one of things i started out was because democrats timid in Washington, bush got 500 lower we're going to change that. Unions are helpful force.... globilization... right of labor unions... if you do that 11:57:36 no new trade agreements until ones we got straightens out. i want to go back open up nafta and wto and say they don't' help anybody. it helps corporations, so heres' what we should do, go back and make it possible to make unfair trade complaint, if they don't allow independent trade standards and child labor laws, 11:58:46 what i want is same labor conditions and environmental rules, first i give you bad news, all products made in china from wal-mart will go up, but good news is cost of production high so our jobs stay here. Illegal immigration disappears, people leave home countries because they want to do better and now they work in factory instead of living in cardboard shack and aspire to middle class in own country. And now you have a middle class who can afford our countries, and it gets better than that, when you establish a middle class you have a stable democracy they do not go to war with each other and do not harbor groups like al Qaeda. 12:00:34 unfair trade is bad trade, trade can be good but it must be fair 12:01:08 I'm going to get rid of every dime of bush tax cuts. We got senators saying we must preserve middle class tax cut, there was no middle class tax cut. Bush is not dumb, if you make million 112K off taxes, 60% got 304, way he paid for that was cut services, college tuition gone up, cut pellgrants to give money to enron. Health care premiums up 304? cut childrens and adults, so they charge your insurance company which charges you. Property taxes, or funding cops or no child left behind, there was no middle class tax cut and so hard for me to believe that anyone would defend any part of tax cut, there was no middle class tax cut. 12:03:05 there are three trillion dollars we can get our hands on, balancing budget, god knows president doesn't want to talk about it, your standard living drops, numbers look great but no jobs because people don't invest in companies with deficit. Don't just go in front row. 12:04:10 well we have plan that will work, to make sure tom delay goes back to Texas. We are going to allow congressional leadership to identify 25 close races, close grassroots employers, last Dec tried this in Iowa, we plan to look at close marginal races to use supporters to get rid of tom delay, the senate i think we can work with, the senate has been able to work on bi-partisen, when democratic president will .... doctor in the house... 12:05:50 because I'll s stand up to him when nobody else did and if I'm willing to stand up to him and nobody else will, what guarantees they'll be able to for you. 12:06:19 democratic candidates offering free college, ... take a collection and give him trip to mars, budget deficit, anyone who tells you all these things arent' telling truth. These folks all fine people, if any of them accomplished anything don't you think you'd have health insurance. I know all about being front runner cause i was for a long time, everyone pelts you and sooner or later people will get to know and see candidate, say what they think and not owned by anybody, only people i owe is 89% of contributors who gave less than 200. Only other argument is that I'm only candidate bringing new people into party. We won't beat bush w/o bringing new and young people, 1/4 of people with money under 30. That's my argument, I'll bring new people into party and i have record no one else has and i don't promise things i can't deliver 12:08:57 nice thing about getting rid of tax cut, people would pay same taxes when Clinton president, if we had same economy. once you get rid of tax cuts, bush kept two presidents, promised to go to war in Iraq and give wealthy. I'll quadruple the americore. when i was state legislature, put people to work in forest, parks and recreational area, taught kids how to run parks, accounting, wood chopping, i belive in americore, i think it's great and much better for people to go to college after a few years because i worked for three years and i was older between what was different. 12:10:36 i think there is a lot of advantages to americore, and undo damage president has done when we undo the tax cuts he gave to enron 12:11:32 it is not constitutional holding American citizens w/o seeing a lawyer, most Americans think it's fine so long as criminals are gotten, right now, justice dept using patriot act against ordinary criminals, problem is it leads to ordinary Americans getting caught up in criminal justice system. Senator Joseph McCarthy found it expedient to call them communists, so McCarthy built career by accusing people communist and as he began to accuse more and more people we found out that they weren't communist at all, 75 people communist, they weren't, hauled into congress and asked a lot of questions and careers over. that is what happens... that's what the constitution is for, protect every one of us against Ashcroft and McCarthy who are twins. 12:15:21 i supported first gulf war because i don't believe an ally can get run over by other nation, i didn't support this war because he wasn't being truthful. Al Qaeda, Iraq buying uranium, secretary of defense about wmd, that wasn't true. I don't think you send any of us to war w/o first telling the truth. I think there is very much a connection between now and first gulf war. I don't know why we went to war, i suspect it's unfinished business, problem with that kind of thinking is the same with the patriot act. The problem is that there are a long list of people committing genocide, if that's our role than we should talk to American people about it. If bush said I'm going to get rid of him because he's a bad person, people would never support that 12:17:24 halliburton... paying dick Cheney in neighborhood of 100K, violation of federal ethics code, no bid contract and bilked government out of money, those things do happen but this administration has been far worse than any other in lifetime, and i think bush grew up in way that he didn't understand what ordinary people did to make living, whole focus is on corporation, we are not meant to be cogs in a corporate machine we need community and connectiveness. 12:19:10 actually in our state we have farthest reaching mental health, introduced it in 1983 and signed it as governor in 1997 includes substance abuse. The question about made in America good place to stop be/c where we started. i favor domestic content legislation, defense dept made anywhere but in the USA, why would we make defense components in which one day we may be in conflict with. Even our defense gets shunted to the side. ABC news smuggled uranium just to see if they could do it, they did. More focused on tax cuts than inspection. No money in budget to buy enriched uranium stocks. More interested in tax cuts than defending the us by buying uranium, we need a different president who will defend united states. 12:21:06 saying in Texas, he's all hat and no cattle. Let me close this out by what we are doing here. Biggest loss is the sense of community. When i was 21 years old, end of civil rights unit, king dead, bobby Kennedy dead, 4 little girls Birmingham, medicare passed, head start passed civil rights act, voting rights act, justice, all in it together, one person left behind not as strong or as good. when we say we want our country back, we want the country when all of us were 21 when we had hope, president appeal to best not worst, like Kennedy about passing torch. What we need is hope again, and we aren't going to do it by a president who rules by fear, yellow orange but we won't tell you why, we can do better than this, terrorist have already won if Ashcroft can imprison people w/o telling them why they're there. 12:23:33 *Dean signs* 12:23:43 on Saturday you can have a choice to make, i think any democrat will beat George bush, which one you want, real change or to shift around decks. Biggest lie... fix problems... truth is power to change this country is in your hands no mine. Lincoln, of by for people shall not perish from this earth, this Saturday you have the power to take back party and reach out to Americans who quit voting because they can't tell the difference. Take back party and stand up, no disgrace in having what every other country have, no disgrace to investing in early childhood, and supporting kids through college. you have power to take back country so flag is no longer purported of ... belongs to every one of us again. And on Saturday you have the power to take back the white house in 2004, and that is exactly what we are going to do. Thank you very much 12:25:50 (u2 - beautiful day song playing)
DN-LB-405 Beta SP
UNIVERSAL NEWSREELS
SEN. SCHUMER PC ON CAMP. FINANCE / SEN. BOEHNER WEEKLY PC
1. Senators Schumer, Feingold, Wyden, Bayh Unveil 'Citizens United' Legislation; Will Announce Plans To Pass Bill By July 4. Senators Chuck Schumer, Evan Bayh, Russ Feingold, and Ron Wyden Press Conference outside the Supreme Court unveiling 'Citizens United' Legislation 03:52:05 group walks to mics SEN. SCHUMER: Okay. Everyone ready? Good morning, everybody. And I am so proud to be joined by my colleagues Senator Feingold, who has been a true inspiration and leader on the issue of campaign- finance reform; Senator Wyden, who contributed parts of this bill and has been working on this area for a long time; Senator Bayh, who has been a beacon in terms of reform and cares very much about this. Senator Franken couldn't join us today, but he too worked on this bill, particularly the parts on foreign control. And it's a beautiful day, and I think that's one of the most beautiful sights, and I was going to say that 03:52:33 the beauty of this building can't even be defaced by the ugliness of the recent ruling in Citizens United. SEN. : (Laughs.) SEN. SCHUMER: Anyway, I also want to thank Chris Van Hollen, who's been my partner in this effort. And he along with several of his colleagues will be unveiling their bill later today. And our bills are very, very, very similar. 03:52:53 Now the Supreme Court's ruling in Citizens United threatens to allow special interests, including even foreign-controlled corporations, to flood our democracy with unlimited dollars and overtake our elections. The ruling will be remembered as a low moment for the court for a very long time into the future. At a time when the public's fears about the influence of special interests were already high, this decision stacks the deck against the average American even more. 03:53:29 This court decision and the effort that begins today to blunt its impact will certainly factor into President Obama's next choice for the Supreme Court. While there shouldn't be any litmus test, the next nominee must be someone who will understand how the court's decisions affect people in the real world, because in the Citizens United case, the current court didn't understand that. The court's decision allows corporations and other special interests to spend more money and operate more secretly than ever before. Money can be transferred and spent in the shadows, and advertisements can be run without revealing who is behind them. We must stop this. So today my colleagues and I are introducing the DISCLOSE Act, because democracy is strengthened by casting light on spending in elections. Democracy Is Strengthened by Casting Light On Spending in Elections, DISCLOSE. Get it? (Laughter.) SEN./MR. : Very good. (Off mike.) SEN. SCHUMER: I would like to particularly thank Jason Abel for thinking that up. (Laughter.) 03:54:38 Decades ago, his -- decades ago, Judge Louis Brandeis boldly said, "Sunlight is said to be the best of disinfectants." That's exactly what our bill will do: shine a light on the flood of spending unleashed by the Citizens United decision. Our legislation will drill down and give the public information they have a right to know. No longer will groups be able to live and spend in the shadows. While the court's ruling was an activist overreach, our proposed remedy is not. The court spoke. And while we disagree with its ruling, it did give us room to maneuver. So our approach does not circumvent the court by reimposing a backdoor ban on corporate spending. Instead it closes certain loopholes and relies on enhanced disclosure, in an idea endorsed by the court itself, so we know our bill meets the test of constitutionality. 03:55:41 This should not be a partisan issue. In fact, outrage over the court's decision is decidedly bipartisan. According to the Washington ABC News poll, eight of 10 Americans oppose the ruling, including seven of 10 registered Republicans. And the bill assiduously does not pick political winners and losers among either Democrats or Republicans. It simply levels the playing field, so that special interests do not drown out the voice of the average voter. The legislation merely applies -- to corporations, labor unions and advocacy organizations -- the same rules that candidates already have to abide by. 03:56:23 And it applies these rules equally across the board. It covers corporations and labor unions alike as well as 527s, social welfare organizations and trade organizations. There are some organizations on the right and on the left, who oppose this legislation because they say they are special, they don't have to disclose. Everyone, if you're going to run these ads, you should have to disclose, no matter who you are. 03:56:54 Here's what the DISCLOSE Act will do. And then I'm going to turn it over to my colleagues. First, we require new disclaimers on all television advertisements funded by special interests. And we drill down so to really uncover who's behind the ad. You will not be able to just be "Citizens for Good Government" and have some paid lobbyist get up there who no one knows. If the corporation or the interest group has paid the money, we find out who actually paid the money, and they have to stand up and say who it is. So for instance, if a corporation is running the ad, the CEO will have to appear at the end of the ad and say that he or she approved the message, just like any candidate must do. If an advocacy organization is running the ad, both the head of the organization running the ad and the top outside funder of the ad will have to appear on camera. And additionally, a list of the five top funders to that organization or corporation will have to be displayed on the screen. This ensures the legislation will stop the funneling of big money through shadow groups in order to fund ads that are virtually anonymous. We will, for the first time, follow the money -- follow the money back to its origin and make its sourcing public. Second, we mandate an unprecedented level of disclosure not only of an organization's spending but of its donors. In disclosing their donors, organizations will have a choice. They can disclose all of their donors that have given in excess of a thousand (dollars), or they can disclose only those donors who contribute to the group's campaign-related activities account if they solely use that account for their spending. So if an organization doesn't want to do these ads, or wants to only have one or two people fund these ads, we're respecting that. But we're saying who paid for the ad is made public. All spending intended to influence an election -- be it radio, TV, print, mailers, robocalls, billboards -- would flow through the account. Every donor who contributes more than a thousand dollars would have to be disclosed. Organizations must not only disclose these donors to the FEC, but also to the public on their websites and to their shareholders and members through their annual and quarterly reports. 03:59:21 This is sunshine at its brightest. Next, we'll fill three loopholes created by the court decision. First, we'll prevent foreign-controlled entities from spending unlimited sums in our elections through their U.S.-based subsidiaries. This was a loophole especially mentioned by Justice Stevens in his dissent. Fixing it's a no-brainer. We don't want people like Hugo Chavez, who have no American interests in mind -- the ability to influence our elections. And we believe that colleagues from both sides of the aisle will want to stand up for this fact. I'd like to -- specifically, again to thank Senator Franken, whose own legislation on this issue served as a guidepost here. And Senators Menendez and Brown also introduced legislation on this issue. To fill a second loophole, we banned companies with government contracts in excess of $50,000 from making unlimited expenditures. No pay to play, in terms of these ads. Third -- sorry. Third, we ban expenditures by companies that receive government assistance, such as TARP. Taxpayer money should not be used to help corporations influence elections. And lastly, in an attempt to allow all candidates and parties to respond to ads funded by special interests, we expand on current law granting lowest unit rate to candidates, by giving those same rights to the parties on a limited geographic basis. Our goal is to enact this measure in time to limit fallout from the court's decisions on the 2001 elections. Leader Reid has pledged that this legislation will be on the floor before July 4th. It is written so that the FEC does not have to promulgate regulations. It is self-implementing and will be implemented 30 days after enactment. 04:01:15 If we don't quickly confront this ruling, we will have to let the Supreme Court predetermine the outcome of the next -- of November's next elections. It won't be Republicans or Democrats who are determining who is elected, it will be corporate America and other special interests. We must prevent this. We must pass the DISCLOSE Act. And again, I'd now like to turn to one of the fathers of campaign finance reform, a great leader here, and I'm proud to have him join us in this effort, Senator Russ Feingold. 04:01:49 SEN. FEINGOLD: Thank you, Chuck. I am extremely proud to be here with these three great reformers in the United States Senate. Chuck Schumer responded to this outrageous ruling not only quickly but also thoughtfully, and put a ton of work into it. He has so many other responsibilities. But his dedication to this shows his deep understanding of what a threat the Citizens United decision is to our democracy. Evan Bayh is one of the great advocates for fiscal responsibility and reform of the Senate institution that I've ever worked with, and I'm so pleased he's part of this effort. And Ron Wyden and I have worked on issues of reform and civil liberties day after day for many years, and he's the reason that we have in American culture the stand- by-your-ad requirement, the ones that says, "I approve this message," because it was his amendment to the McCain Feingold bill that this body has not had the nerve to strike down. That was a very good provision. So I'm pleased to be part of this and supporting the DISCLOSE Act. I just want to say a word about the context. As I've done my town meetings around the state of Wisconsin, as I always do, people say to me, Russ, they struck down McCain-Feingold. I said, actually it's just the opposite. There are people out here, some of them with pens and so on, who seem to have misunderstood at the beginning that it was just the opposite. All that is basically left is McCain-Feingold, which is the direct prohibition on money coming from corporations, unions and wealthy individuals -- to political parties directly -- or more seriously members of Congress being able to raise that. They have not yet upended that decision. But what they did do was basically knock out all the other campaign finance laws for the last 100 years, including Teddy Roosevelt's Tillman Act, the provisions of the Taft-Hartley Act that relate to labor unions, and all the court decisions to this date. 04:03:38 And it's very timely to realize that the person who led the dissent was Justice Stevens, who has now decided to retire, a 90-year- old man who wrote an 87-page dissent and made them listen to every word of it. That tells you how significant this decision was and how threatening it is to our democracy. And so as he indicated in the dissent, people don't want corporations to have the same powers as all of us. The underlying rationale for the court's decision, the corporations must have First Amendment rights in the political process like those of citizens, makes no sense. Corporations can't run for office. They don't have feelings or thoughts. They don't speak or make decisions, except through individuals, their corporate officers, their board of directors and their lobbyists. What they do have though is the ability to make huge amounts of money, thanks in part to laws passed by the people representatives. Now they can spend that money, without any restrictions, to buy elections. And I think this decision is going to have far greater consequences for the Supreme Court itself than just campaign finance. 04:04:48 This is going to be a central part of some of the discussions in the upcoming confirmation hearings, because it calls into question exactly what attitude these justices have about precedent, after having promised us under oath that they would respect precedent. This is an absurd approach to well-settled law. But we as senators have a responsibility in the immediate future to limit or mitigate the damage that this decision makes. And that's what this is all about. This is about doing what we can. This is about disclosure. We always hear our friends who oppose fundamental campaign finance reform say, well, what we really need is disclosure. Well, this bill is about real disclosure. It's about doing what we can within the context of the ruling to make sure that foreign money does not infect or destroy our political process. It's also about making sure that we have whatever rights that are permitted under the decision for those who question the receipt of government money for government contracts and still running ads like this. 04:05:48 Finally, just as a side note, Senator Schumer did include legislation that we've been working on for years that's being blocked by a secret hold to at least make members of the Senate file with the FEC electronically, just as everybody else has to do. And that is included in the legislation as well. So I'm excited about the prospects of this as being the platform for what I hope will be another series of reforms over the years, both legislatively and hopefully ultimately overturning this decision, which is, no question in my mind, one of the worst decisions in the history of this distinguished body. SEN. SCHUMER: Senator Wyden. Good job, Russ. 04:06:29 SEN. WYDEN: With its ruling, the Supreme Court has ripped open the floodgates of our democracy, letting in a sea of special-interest cash. We are here today to make sure that the typical citizen voice is not drowned out. Now, Senator Schumer and Senator Feingold and Senator Bayh, in my view, have put together an opportunity for us to go to the country and say, "Let us come together, Democrats and Republicans and independents, Americans across the political spectrum. And let's make sure that for the 2010 election, all our voices are going to have an opportunity to be heard." They have outlined a number of very important provisions. And I just want to take a quick moment to talk about a provision that Susan Collins and I wrote together in 2001 that I believe ought to be applied as part this legislation to all of the special interests in our country. My view is that when we enact this particular provision, it will arguably be the most visible part of reform in 2010. We called it then, on a bipartisan basis, "stand by your ad." It was enacted in March of 2001. And it was built around a very simple proposition: Candidates for federal office ought to take personal responsibility for the content of their advertisements. And it has brought a new measure of accountability to American elections. You probably could also call it "say it to my face" politics, because instead of all those grainy advertisements where the music makes you take your children out of the room, a candidate has to think about the consequences of what they're doing. And Chuck Schumer and Russ Feingold and Evan Bayh all gave me the opportunity to join with them, after all of their hard work, to say that this principle that has worked well since 2001 ought to apply to corporate CEOs, labor leaders, political consultants -- everybody in America who wants to influence a federal election. Like political candidates, these powerful voices, these powerful leaders, would also have to stand by their ads, too. This is a measure that is overdue. I believe the American people, on a bipartisan basis, will support it. They saw what Susan Collins and I and others sought to do in 2001. And because of the leadership of these three outstanding Democratic Party leaders, we are kicking off this campaign. And I particularly want to thank my colleagues for making me a part of it. SEN. SCHUMER: Well, you made yourself a part of it. Senator Bayh. 04:09:51 SEN. BAYH: Thank you. I'd like to express my appreciation to my colleagues this morning. All three of them are real reformers. And our effort here is to take this democracy back for the people of our country. So, Chuck, for your leadership, and Russ, for your long-time devotion to this, and Ron, for your friendship and your leadership, particularly in the interest of disclosure, I'm very, very grateful. They've pretty much said it all, so let me just summarize very briefly. 04:10:11 We face major challenges in this nation that will define our democracy for a generation; and yet too many of these issues are going unaddressed by the majoritarian branches of government. As a result, the reputation of the Congress and of our political process has sunk to near an all-time low in the minds of our fellow citizens. If this decision is allowed to stand, we have a real risk, shockingly enough, of the process becoming even worse. And we cannot allow that to happen. The prospect of secret, unlimited, possibly foreign piles of campaign cash flooding into our democracy is something that should alarm every American. This has to be a priority this year, because if this money is allowed to flood into the political process this November, we run the risk of this becoming a self-fulfilling prophecy. 04:10:59 Members who are beholden to the special interests will be elected to defend the special interests. We've had too much of that already. There are many reasons for the dysfunction in our political process. But among them is the importance of campaign cash. It wraps itself around the tentacle -- its tentacles wrap themselves around the spinal columns of too many members and influence their thoughts to too great a degree. So we've gathered here today to literally begin the process of taking our democracy back, for the people of this country, and in so doing take up the business of the people of this nation once again, so that our country can be a greater place and a more noble place. It is yet not too late. SEN. SCHUMER: Thanks, Evan. Great job. We're ready for your questions, any of us, to any of us. Q Senator Schumer, if this bill is going to succeed this year, then why are there no Republican senators here to support it? SEN. SCHUMER: Well, we've talked to a number of Republicans. 04:11:57 None of them in the Senate are willing to co-sponsor. But a good number have told us that they are very favorably disposed to the legislation. And we believe when we put it on the floor, we will have Republican votes. And we expect -- Q How many do you expect? SEN. SCHUMER: Well, I wouldn't go into numbers now. But I believe we will have them. And in the House -- in a more bipartisan show, I guess, than the Senate -- when Congressman Van Hollen introduces, he will be standing with a bipartisan group. Q Senator, Justice Kennedy's opinion said that one of the problems with the prior legislation they struck down was that you couldn't distinguish between news media organizations and other corporations. Does this legislation make any distinction between news media corporations and/or interest in other organizations? Or are they treated exactly the same? SEN. SCHUMER: Well, in this legislation, it's -- whoever puts up the ad and pays for the ad is affected. Q Well, I guess it's how you define an ad. I mean, that's what he was getting at. If you publish a book or an article or an editorial statement, is that considered an ad? Or -- SEN. SCHUMER: We have in our definition what a political ad is. And we think it covers political ads without covering anything else. Q Senator, this includes -- SEN. SCHUMER: You guys -- any of you guys want to chime in, go ahead. SEN. : (Off mike.) (Laughter.) Q Does this include, besides the express advocacy both for a vote, again, will this include, as with Wisconsin Right to Life, those ads that are clearly political ads, even if they don't have the magic words? SEN. SCHUMER: Yes. Q Do you expect opposition from union -- from labor and from some of the Democratic groups that have been your allies on -- SEN. SCHUMER: No. Look, we have -- we have -- some of our allies are not happy with this legislation. The -- we've told our friends in the unions that they should be treated the same as corporations, no more, no less. I think most of them are going along with that idea. There are some of the advocacy groups on both the right and the left who say they should be exempt. If you're doing these ads, you shouldn't be exempt, no matter who you are. We don't have a test as to who's a good guy and who's a bad guy. There should be disclosure, and let the public decide. Q Senator, is part of the idea that, by disclosure -- the CEOs and the fundraisers and all -- that the result will be fewer ads? I mean, is that -- 04:14:14 SEN. SCHUMER: Yes. My view is that many CEOs of major organizations will do this if they don't have to disclose. But once they have to come up front and disclose, they will not do it. So, yes, I think it will -- anyone who wants to hide will not do an ad after this legislation passes. And I think there are a lot of people who like to hide. Maybe Russ would like to say something, with his long history in this. 04:14:44 SEN. FEINGOLD: Yeah, I just -- you know, as I talk to people about it, basically what this decision means is, you're -- buy some toothpaste and the money can go directly into an ad. So if a group -- if a tooth -- a toothpaste company can hide behind the ad, that's good for them, but otherwise people are going to start buying Republican or Democrat toothpaste because there's money that's going to be used against their own views. So disclosure is critical to -- to require there be some economic reality for their decision to try to distort the political process using consumers' money. 04:15:16 SEN. WYDEN: Charlie, what we found in the "stand by your ad" debate is that people couldn't even figure out who to hold personally accountable. What you would do is you'd see these ads, somebody would be getting ripped, but there were no consequences for the person who ran the ad, because you couldn't actually hold a specific individual accountable. And I share the view of Senator Schumer that once in corporate boardrooms or in the offices of any other special interest group people have to think about how they are going to have to explain what they've done, you get a whole different attitude with respect to running ads. And we saw that in "stand by your ad." (Cross talk.) SEN. SCHUMER: And just one other thing I want -- wait, wait -- one other thing that I wanted to mention, just to make it clear, because Evan mentioned that I ought to bring this up: You will not have - 04:16:05 it will not be the Chamber of Commerce getting up and saying they paid for this ad. If a large drug company, for instance, had paid the chamber to put on an ad, it'll be the head of that large drug company. Wherever the money started, whoever gave the most has to do the disclosure, and the next four have to be on the ad. So there will be no hiding. There will be no hiding. And as both Ron and Russ said, I think that lots of these ads -- the people who put them forward are happy to do it if they can do it in the dark of night. But once sunlight occurs, they shrivel up and don't do them. So I think there will be many fewer of them. Go ahead, Paul. Q You served as the DSCC chair for four years. Would you apply that standard to them? Would you want -- SEN. SCHUMER: We do already. Q -- your face, saying, "I, Chuck Schumer, chairman" -- SEN. SCHUMER: Oh, I mean for the Senate Campaign Committee and things like that? You know, that's not in the bill. But -- SEN. : Schumer would like that. (Laughter.) SEN. SCHUMER: Yeah, probably true. (Laughter.) No, but it's something -- it's something we'd think about. Q On another issue that you're front and center on -- SEN. SCHUMER: Well, let's just finish this issue first. Q Senator, y'all are talking about the urgency of doing this in time for this cycle. Court challenges. Why isn't it going to -- (off mike)-- the court? 04:17:28 SEN. SCHUMER: Well, we would hope that if there's a court challenge, they would let the law go through and debate it as it goes through. You know, it will be up to the court whether they would stay the law, should it become law, or let it go forward. We believe, again, we've designed it so they will let it go forward. We have designed this proposal so it can take effect by 2010, in every way. Q (Off mike) -- the chamber of commerce, and certainly they've come out very strongly against this legislation. Do you think that there would be corporations, companies that would increase their giving to the chamber or just give exclusively to the chamber for the purpose of having them run ads -- SEN. SCHUMER: But again, no, I think this -- again, this will -- Q Without this legislation. SEN. SCHUMER: Oh, without this legislation? Well, that's what they do now. They want to hide, so they give the money to the chamber of commerce. They want to hide, so they set up a group called Citizens for Good Government, and it has some talking head who has nothing to do with who's paying for the ad in it. We're going to stop all of that. 04:18:24 And we think, based on Ron Wyden's original idea, that we're increasing sunlight in the right way, motivated by this decision, but it will go beyond the penumbra of this decision. Q Would a chamber and other similar trade groups raise more money for ads without this legislation? Do you think we'd see more money to those types of groups? 04:18:46 SEN. SCHUMER: I couldn't answer that. There's plenty right now. And it's been going up, whether this passes or not. SEN. BAYH: You can -- you can count on huge sums of nontransparent money flooding into the political process if this legislation didn't pass. And the bottom line that we're seeking to accomplish here is that the special interests can still run the ads, but they can no longer hide. 04:19:08 And we trust the public to make the best decisions, if fully informed. Listen to the ads. See if there's truth to them. But also know if there's an agenda behind the people who are running the ad that may affect your evaluation of the facts and the truth. Sunshine democracy: That's what this is all about. But to get to your question directly: You can count on it. If they can hide who they are, you bet there will be huge sums of money flooding into these kinds of third-party ads. And that's not right for democracy. Q Senator Schumer, the steps of the Court here is a pretty unique spot to have a press conference. Is this part of an overall attempt to demonize the people on the right in the Court? Are you opening yourself up to the same kind of criticisms that President Obama -- 04:19:42 SEN. SCHUMER: (Jack ?), look, bottom line is, we are here because we think this decision was a terrible decision. We're not casting personal aspersions. We are saying that this was a terrible decision, one of the worst decisions that has come along in the Supreme Court, I think in its history. And the people who -- the five people who signed that decision, obviously they should be accountable for it. There's nothing you can do, because it's a lifetime appointment, in the wisdom of the Founding Fathers. 04:20:10 But, you know, is your idea, "If you disagree with it, you should be quiet?" SEN. FEINGOLD: (Off mike.) Yeah, as a matter of fact, after the oral argument in McCain-Feingold, I stood in this spot with Senator McCain, and we talked. And then after the oral arguments, Citizens United, we did the same thing. 04:20:26 And so this is an entirely appropriate place to talk about what we can do to minimize the negative impacts of a very bad decision. This is the right spot. Q Senator Feingold, you said that that would play into the forthcoming confirmation hearings for the -- for Justice Steven's successor. How do you intend to raise it? Because the nominee probably will not say he or she disagrees with whatever the court -- SEN. FEINGOLD: Well, it has to do with the much broader issue of, when a person comes before you, puts his hand up, and swears under oath that he's going to follow precedent, then does the complete opposite, what does that mean? How are we supposed to understand their understanding of precedent and following previous decisions of the Supreme Court? I think that will be very central. And it's a very difficult thing to do, if people are willing to say one thing under oath and then do the complete opposite, as I believe was done in this case. Q Senator Feingold, what does it say about the current political climate that Senator McCain isn't here? And you know -- you know -- SEN. FEINGOLD: Well, Senator McCain is obviously very busy with a situation in his state, a state that is in incredible turmoil. But Senator McCain has always been a strong advocate of disclosure. And I am confident, after he's had the chance to review this and think about it -- I can't speak for him, but I believe these are just the kinds of things that he and I have always fought for together. And I suspect he'll be an ally. SEN. WYDEN: Let me add a point on that, because bipartisanship at this point in American government is just about the most heavy lifting you can possibly do. And I probably spend more of my time on that than anything else in my duties as a senator. I want first of all people to know how hard Senator Schumer has worked to reach out, to try to make this possible. And we are going to work every single day to prosecute this cause, making sure that everybody can be heard as a bipartisan cause. That's why I mentioned Susan Collins several time, because Stand by Your Ad, which has made a difference in American elections, could not have come about without the support of Susan Collins. So we're not there yet. We understand that. But we are going to make sure that the American people see this as a cause we want to make bipartisan. 04:22:48 This is not going to be about demonizing the Supreme Court. At this point, given the blizzard of campaign rules and regulations, people aren't completely sure even what the effects of the ruling are. So now we've got a chance to explain the ruling, talk about why what we're doing is in the public interest. And we are going to work every single day on the heavy lifting that's needed to bring this country together and make this cause bipartisan. SEN. SCHUMER: And we've looked at -- we'll take one final question -- but on the -- on this aspect that both Ron and Russ addressed, we've looked at what our Republican colleagues have said they agree with and disagree with in terms of campaign finance. And in this legislation are only things they agree with. We've also been assiduous to balance it, so it's -- this treats corporations and labor unions the same; groups on the right, groups on the left the same -- to have it go right down the middle, in an effort to win Republican support. Q Senator Schumer, President Obama said yesterday that there may not be an appetite in Congress for immigration reform. He also said he doesn't want to push it just for the sale of politics. You're taking the lead on this. Can you give us an update on where things stand? 04:23:59 SEN. SCHUMER: Yeah. I believe that we can and should do down- the-middle immigration reform. The bottom line is that the system is broken. Thousands and thousands of illegals come across the border. We reject people who should legally be here because they're needed. And we need to fix this system. And I am meeting -- I'm meeting with Republicans right now to try and still come up with a bipartisan bill that can pass. Thank you, everybody. 04:24:37 END 2. SENATOR JOHN BOEHNER WEEKLY PRESS AVAILABILITY House Minority Leader John Boehner Weekly Press Conference BOEHNER: Good morning, everyone. 04:25:11 The world is growing more dangerous, not less so. That's why Republicans have consistently supported our troops in harm's way, advocated better solutions to deal with the national security threats that America faces and reaffirmed our commitment to our allies. 04:25:27 When the president has made responsible decisions, like he did with regard to Iraq and Afghanistan, Republicans have stood with him and supported his efforts. However, when he has advocated policies that make America less safe, such as importing terrorists into the United States, alienating our closest allies and undermining missile defense, we have listened the American people, taken principled stands, and offered better solutions. 04:25:55 Peter King is uniquely qualified to chair this new National Security Solutions (ph) group. And I'm pleased that he'll be working with Kevin McCarthy in the weeks and months ahead to engage the 04:26:15 The American people don't believe that Washington is listening to them or that even cares what they think. That's why Washington Democrats face a continuing credibility gap. It's also why the agenda project that Kevin is heading is going to be very different. It's a process that's driven by listening and 04:26:37 giving the American people a voice in the development of our agenda. 04:26:42 Also, as you know, when I handed Speaker Pelosi the gavel at the beginning of this Congress, I said that, if we have to oppose our colleagues across the aisle, or our new president, it was also our obligation to be the party of better solutions. We've offered better solutions on the stimulus bill, better solutions on the budget, better solutions on cap-and-trade, and clearly, I think, better solutions on health care and a number of other issues. 04:27:09 And we're -- we'll continue to offer better solutions. And I think this National Security Solutions (ph) will be an important step in the development of solutions that we will advocate in this coming election. We're going to continue to build on the hard work of our members in the development of this agenda, but it's important for us, as we do this, to show the American people that not only are we listening but that they have an opportunity to participate in this project as well. And with that, let me turn it over to Pete. 04:27:46 REPRESENTATIVE PETER KING: Thank you very much, Leader Boehner. And let me thank you for appointing me to this position. I look forward to working with you and the members of the Republican conference as we forge a Republican policy which will be an American policy on national security, homeland security. And I particularly look forward to working with Kevin McCarthy as we go forward over the next several months. Because our country does face tremendous issues and challenges on national security, homeland security, which really are one and the same. 04:28:14 And as Leader Boehner said, on issues where the president has clearly been wrong, we believe -- such as bringing the 9/11 terrorists to trial in New York City, such as needlessly confronting and creating crises with the Israeli government in the Middle East, turning his back on allies throughout the world in an attempt to reach out to those who are just rejecting our hand of friendship, putting aside proven allies, we will be speaking with one voice. We are going to work together on this. Again, though, when we believe the president is right -- and we support his policies thus far in Iraq and Afghanistan, we will not be afraid to say that. 04:28:48 This should be an American issue, not a partisan issue, but on the issues that we are particularly concerned about, we believe the president and the administration have gone the wrong way and we will do all that we can to ensure that our country is righted and put on the right track because, literally, our very survival is at stake. And as ranking member of the Homeland Security Committee and bring a member of the Intelligence Committee, I certainly will use whatever knowledge and information that I get, which I believe has to be used to forge a policy which is going to protect our people and protect our nation. And so, again, John Boehner, I thank you. And, Kevin McCarthy, I certainly look forward to working with you in the months ahead. Thank you. 04:29:29 REPRESENTATIVE MCCARTHY: Well, I'd like to thank both. I'd like to thank the leader, from early on, setting the tone that this Republican conference will have solutions to problems. And Congressman King -- his knowledge, his skill set to put together this project to make America stronger and safer at the same time. There's very few challenges that are greater than making sure of the national safety of America, not only when you look to North Korea, when you look to Iran but you look to the terrorist throughout, that we make sure America's safe and strong. Our Project of the Agenda (ph) is going to go forward, where we're finding solutions to the biggest challenges that America faces. This is going to be an integral part of that, and I imagine this -- this project, when we go forward, is going to be much different than people have seen from a Washington controlled by Democrats. First and foremost, we will listen. When you go across this country, you find, time and time again, that no one realizes anybody in Washington is listening. We will not only engage the best and brightest minds throughout this country; we will come to an agreement where we find the policy based not for political benefits but for America's benefit. 04:30:41 Most importantly, we want America to do well, and that's what this project is all about. Thank you. BOEHNER: Questions? QUESTION: Mr. Leader, what is listening to the public on national security mean? Isn't national security about command-and-control and the commander-in-chief? And hasn't President Obama largely continued a lot of the national security policies of the previous administration? BOEHNER: Are you referring to things like missile defense? QUESTION: No. BOEHNER: Are you referring to things like our relationship with Israel? Are you referring to things like reaching out to our enemies who vowed to kill us? 04:31:15 Come on. There's -- there's a big difference. And the American people feel strongly about many of these issues. And we want to invite them to participate in this process. QUESTION: Mr. Leader, the House and Senate are going to be introducing legislation to try to deal with the Citizens United case in the Supreme Court. Do you think the Supreme Court made the right decision in that? Will there be bipartisan support for such a bill? And do you think it can get done by the July 4th recess? BOEHNER: I find it interesting that -- that Democrats here in Congress have chosen the 04:31:46 heads of their two campaign committee to drive this process to stifle speech in America, while carving out labor bosses in their bill. This is not serious attempt. QUESTION: Leader Boehner, earlier this week, you said that the Arizona law had -- immigration law had 70 percent support and that the people of Arizona should be able to pass whatever laws they support. What do you think of the policy of requiring people who look like they're from foreign countries to show... 04:32:16 BOEHNER: I think the people of Arizona have a right to pass their laws under the 10th amendment. I think it's clearly a result of the federal government's failure to secure our border and to enforce our laws. QUESTION: Would you support such a law... 04:32:31 BOEHNER: And I think that it's important that, as we look at this issue of immigration reform, that we take the steps that we know we have to take first, and that's security the border and enforcing the law. QUESTION: But at the same time... QUESTION: The Arizona law deals with illegal immigrants already in this country. They've already passed -- they've already crossed the border. What at the national level can you do to address that issue in the way Arizona... 04:32:54 BOEHNER: Well, I think that we ought to have an immigration reform plan move through Congress. But you can't do immigration reform in the middle of a boiling political pot here in Washington, D.C. And secondly, you can't do it without serious, bipartisan conversations and bipartisan discussions. 04:33:16 But let me tell you, the American people are asking me, where are the jobs? When you look at survey after survey, more than half the American people want to get the economy moving again and they want to get back to work. And these other issues that -- that people want to pop up and turn them into some issue -- it's not where the American people are. QUESTION: But I still don't -- I still don't understand what the -- the House Republican proposal would be to deal with illegal immigrants already in this country. 04:33:51 BOEHNER: As I said, I think what we need to do is to have a bipartisan conversation in a -- in an orderly way that produces a -- a fair result for all Americans. QUESTION: On the issue of bipartisan negotiation about immigration, Senator Schumer said this morning he's doing that; he's reaching out to Republicans. And he does think that, this year, there could be a down-the-middle immigration bill. Are you saying... BOEHNER: There is not a chance that immigration is going to move through the Congress. Even the president, last night, admitted that this wasn't going to happen. I've been around here for a little while and know that, in the middle of an election year, after we've had bills like health care shoved down our throats and the process twisted, tortured, pressured, bribed, you cannot do a serious piece of legislation of this size, with this difficulty, in this environment. And it's nothing more than a cynical ploy to try to engage voters, some segment of voters, to show up in this November's elections. QUESTION: Well, how do you know... (CROSSTALK) BOEHNER: Thank you. QUESTION: ... if you don't have a bill?
WHITE HOUSE BRIEFING WITH JEN PSAKI - POOL STIX
FS23 WH PSAKI PRESS BRIEF HEAD ON POOL 3 1215 NBC POOL White House briefing with Press Secretary Jen Psaki, Special Presidential Envoy for Climate John Kerry, and National Climate Advisor Gina McCarthy 123147 PSAKI>> Hi, everyone! I have to give you a fancy introduction. [laughter] Good afternoon. President Biden is continuing to follow through on his key promise to take swift and bold action that addresses the climate crisis, building on his Day 1 actions of rejoining the Paris Agreement, and strengthening our clean air and water protections and to -- and holding polluters accountable. 123218 Today, he will take executive action to tackle the climate crisis at home and abroad while creating good paying, union jobs, building sustainable infrastructure and delivering environmental justice. I'm thrilled today, as a part of our effort to bring policy experts into the briefing room, we're joined by two very special guests who are going to take you -- talk to you all about today's executive orders and take a few questions as well. And I will always -- as always play the role of bad cop when they have to go. 123248 National climate adviser Gina McCarthy and special presidential envoy for climate and my former boss, former secretary of state John Kerry. And a big day for Boston in the briefing room, so. [laughter] With that, go ahead. GINA MCCARTHY 123300 MCCARTHY>> Thank you. It's a big day for Boston every day. Thank you, everybody. Today, president Biden will build on the actions he took on day one, and he'll take more steps to fulfill commitments he made to tackle the climate crisis while creating good paying, union jobs and achieving environmental justice. 123324 In his campaign, he and vice president Harris put forward the most ambitious climate vision that any presidential ticket had ever embraced. And he spent more time campaigning on climate than we have ever seen. The president also has consistently identified the climate crisis as one of four interrelated existential crises that are gripping our nation all at once. And he's demanding answers that can address all four. And he's not waiting to take action, getting us started on his first day in office because science is telling us that we don't have a moment to lose to fight against all four of these crises in a way that recognizes their intersectionality. 123412 He's always committed the U.S to renter. -- I'm sorry, he's already committed the US to re-enter the Paris climate agreement. And he committed us, as well, to start undoing the assault on our environment that has occurred over the past four years. And he is now taking additional action to really target the challenge of climate change. So, today, for me is a very good day. Just one week into his administration, president Biden is continuing to move us forward, at the breadth and the pace that climate science demands. 123449 Today's executive order starts by saying, "it is the policy of this administration that climate considerations shall be an essential element of US foreign policy and national security." That's where the big guy comes in. It gives my colleague John Kerry, the first ever international climate envoy, the authority to really drive forward a process that will restore American leadership on climate throughout the world, and you will see and hear more about that from Secretary Kerry. 123523 But here at home, we have to do our part or we will not be able to make the kind of worldwide change that climate change demands. So this executive order establishes a White House Office of Domestic Climate Policy, and it directs everyone who works for the President to use every tool available at our disposal to solve the climate crisis. 123548 Because we're going to take a whole of government approach. We're going to power our economy with clean energy. We're going to do that in a way that will produce millions of American jobs that are going to be good paying, that are going to be jobs that have the opportunity for workers to join a union because, as President Biden has often told us, when he thinks of climate change, his first thought is about jobs. 123618 And it should be. Because people in this country need a job, and this is about making that happen in the most creative and significant way that the federal government can move forward. And we're going to make sure that nobody is left behind. And I'm not just talking about communities in terms of environmental justice, but workers as well. 123639 This order takes historic strides to address environmental injustice. It creates both a White House Interagency Task Force to address environmental justice, as well as an Advisory Council. It directs the Department of Health and Human Services to create an office of Climate Change and Health Equity because, after all, climate change is the most significant public health challenge of our time. 123706 And it tasks the department of justice with establishing an office of Climate Justice. Because we know that communities who are being hurt, and we know we have to start enforcing the standards today and ensuring that they are part of the solution, and in places that we can invest. In fact, it commits 40% of our investment in clean energy towards disadvantaged communities so they can benefit from the new jobs that are available, and see that better future. 123737 President Biden's order establishes a working group on coal and power plant communities because we have to make sure that, in this transition, every agency in government is using every tool at their disposal to drive resources to those communities. And it fulfills long-standing commitments to leverage our vast resources to contribute to our clean energy future. It places a pause and review on new oil and gas leases on federal public lands and waters, consistent with the promise president Biden has repeatedly made and has been very clear in the face of efforts to distort his promise. 123822 And it sets a goal of doubling offshore wind production by 2030. In addition, he plans to sign a presidential memorandum that aims to restore scientific integrity across the federal government and earn back the public's trust, making a commitment to base solutions on the best available science and data. So, today is a very big day for science and for our efforts to power our economy with good paying union jobs. Thank you very much. JOHN KERRY 123903 KERRY>>> Good afternoon, everybody. It's great to be here. Let me say, first of all, what a pleasure it is to be here with Gina. I'm a big fan of Gina's. Gina and I worked very, very closely together during the campaign, when we sat down to -- to bring the Bernie Sanders folks together around the Biden climate plan. 123927 And she is the perfect person to be tackling the domestic side of this equation, which is complicated. And nobody knows the details better than she does, and nobody is going to be more effective at corralling everybody to move in the same direction. It's also an enormous pleasure for me to be here with Jen Psaki. 123950 She mentioned that -- nobody was her boss, but I had the privilege of working with her. And she, seven years ago, we gathered in the State Department briefing room -- she's traded up, obviously. But she has not given away any of her fundamental principles in commitment to telling you all the truth, telling the American people the truth and doing so with great candor and transparency. 124020 And I'm very happy to be here with her. The stakes -- the stakes on climate change just simply couldn't be any higher than they are right now. It is existential. We use that word too easily and we throw it away, but we have a big agenda in front of us on a global basis. 124041 And President Biden is deeply committed, totally seized by this issue as you can tell by this executive order and, and by the other -- the initiative of getting back into Paris immediately. That's why he rejoined the Paris agreement so quickly because he knows it is urgent. He also knows that Paris alone is not enough, not when almost 90% of all of the planet's emissions, global emissions, come from outside of US borders. 124110 We could go to zero tomorrow, and the problem isn't solved. So that's why today, one week into the job, President Biden will sign this additional executive set of orders to help move us down the road, ensuring that ambitious climate action is global in scope and scale, as well as national -- here at home. 124136 Today, in the order that he will sign that Gina has described to you, he makes climate central to foreign policy planning, to diplomacy, and to national security preparedness. It creates new platforms to coordinate climate action across the federal agencies and departments, sorely needed. And most importantly, it commissions a National Intelligence estimate on the security implications of climate change to give all of us an even deeper understanding of the challenge. 124211 This is the first time a President has ever done that. And our 17 intelligence agencies are going to come together and assess exactly what the danger and damage and potential risks are. The order directs the State department to prepare a transmittal package, seeking Senate advice and consent, on the Kigali Amendment on the Montreal protocol, an amendment that by itself, if ratified and fully enforced globally, could hold the Earth's temperature by .5 of an entire degree, not insignificant. 124247 And it sets forth a process for us to develop a new ambitious Paris target, as well as a U.S. Climate Finance plan, both of which are essential to our being able to bring countries of the world together, to raise ambition, and meet this moment when we go to Glasgow for the follow-on agreement to Paris. 124309 So that's the only way for the world to succeed together, my friends. It's -- again, this is an issue where failure literally is not an option. 124318 As he committed to doing on the campaign trail, the President is announcing that he will host a leaders' summit on climate change less than three months from now on April 22nd, Earth Day, which will include a leader-level reconvening of the major economies forum. We'll have specifics to lay out over time, but the convening of this -- of this summit, is essential to ensuring that the -- that 2021 is going to be the year that really makes up for the lost time of the last four years. 124355 And that the U.N. Climate conference COP26, as it's called, which the UK is hosting in November to make sure that it's an unqualified success. The road to Glasgow will be marked not just by promises, but by progress at a pace that we can all be proud of. And Gina is going to be putting her efforts into making concern that that is true. The world will measure us by what we can do here at home. So with these executive actions today, we believe we're steps further down that journey. Thank you. Q&A 124433 PSAKI>> All right. Let's start with Nancy. Q>> Thank you so much. Secretary Kerry, a question for you and then for administrator McCarthy. You talked about the fact that it won't really matter what we do very much if the rest of the world doesn't do the same thing. But the US Has had a fairly rocky relationship with China recently. How do you plan to try to bring both China and India to the table on this issue? 124457 KERRY>> Wel, before I -- before I answer that, let me just say that the issue of making a difference -- i.e, what we do at home -- what I'm saying is: you can't solve the problem alone, but our doing things makes an enormous difference. What Gina succeeds in pulling together is essential to our ability to have credibility in the world. Now -- 124524 With respect to China, obviously, we have serious differences with China on some very, very important issues. And I am as mindful of that as anybody, having served as Secretary of State and in the Senate. The issues of theft of intellectual property and access to market, South China Sea -- I mean, you run the list. We all know them. 124528 Those issues will never be treated for anything that has to do with climate. That's not going to happen, but climate is a critical stand alone issue that we have to deal on, in the sense that China is 30% of the emissions in the world. We're about 15% of the emissions in the world. 124609 You add the EU to that, and you've got three entities that are more than -- than 55% or so. So it's urgent that we find a way to compartmentalize, to move forward, and we'll wait and see. But President Biden is very, very clear about the need to address the other issues with China. And I know some people have been concerned. Nothing is going to be siphoned off into one area from another. 124638 Q>> And then, a question for either of you on coal. Your executive order talks about oil and gas on federal lands, but it doesn't really say much about coal. What is this administration's policy when it comes to coal? 124650 MCCARTHY>> Well, in terms of the oil and gas decision, it was -- is to make sure that we take a little pause, and review the entire strategy of how we're looking at public lands. So it will include looking at what new leases ought to be approved and sold. It's looking at our ability, also, to look at coal in that mix. So the program review is going to look at how we manage public lands, consistent with climate. 124715 But also consistent with the marriage between climate and, really, growing jobs of the future. So, it will be in the mix to be looked at, but it is -- it is not at this point included. It was not part of the commitments on the campaign, but we're going to take a close look at all of it. And can I just add on your comment about China, which I'm not going to speak to the international dynamic, but I am going to say that: part of the challenge that we face here is a challenge that president Biden has already started to address with his Buy America pledge. 124748 We have to start not just shifting to clean energy, but it has to be manufactured in the United States of America. You know, not in other countries, and there is going to be a large discussion about how we make sure that a lot of the investment is -- is about building up our manufacturing base again. That's great jobs. That's often, hopefully, union jobs. But it is also a wonderful opportunity for us to recoup the benefits of that manufacturing, and lower the cost of clean energy. 124820 Part of the way we're going to get there is by making sure the federal government buys American, and that the federal government looks at its procurement across every agency, so that the breadth of what we spend is spent designed to advance job growth in the United States, to advance health benefits for environmental justice communities, and to begin to tackle the very challenged -- the existential challenge of climate change. PSAKI>> Jeff Mason. 124849 Q>> Thank you. Jeff Mason with Reuters. Question for both of you. Can you give us a sense of when you expect to have the so-called NDC or the US Target for cutting greenhouse gas emissions as part of the Paris accord? And can you also give us a sense of how ambitious you plan to make that number? Will it be 40%, 50%, higher than that? 124914 MCCARTHY>> Well -- KERRY>> We're united in this, so. MCCARTHY>> Yeah, I'm -- I'm the dude who's supposed to deliver this in a timely way, and he sets the timing. So that basically -- 124923 We want to make sure that the NDC is something that can be announced before the summit on Earth Day. And so we're going to be, out of the gate, working with the agencies to see what kind of reductions and mitigation opportunities there are. 124938 And also, again, to look at our public lands to make sure that we can continue to store carbon in our soil, to work with agriculture and others, to look at how we better manage our forests so we're not seeing the devastating forest fires that we've been having before. So all across the federal government, every agency, and you'll see many of them specifically tasked in this executive order, will participate in the task force that we're going to have to actually develop the most aggressive NDC that we can to deliver the kind of boost that Secretary Kerry is looking for, to be able to ensure that our international efforts are robust and -- and sufficient to address the challenge internationally. 125025 Q>> Just follow-up for that, for Secretary Kerry, how do you assert to our international partners that the US will stick to whatever you propose after having seen the Trump administration take the U.S. out of the Paris accord? KERRY>> Well, that's precisely why we're going to stick by it. And I think our word is strong. 125045 I've been on the phone for the last few days, talking to our allies in Europe, elsewhere around the world, and they are welcoming us back. They know that this administration already had a significant part of what has brought us to -- will bring us to Glasgow, which was the Paris Agreement. The Obama-Biden administration had great credibility on this issue, and having President Biden be the person now who is driving this forward is enormously meaningful to -- to the folks there. 125117 And they also know that I was deeply involved in the negotiations in Paris. And am now asked by the President, by President Biden, to make certain that we do the same at Glasgow, if not more. So, I have had no one question our credibility at this point in time. Someone probably will. And the answer will be that I think we can achieve things in the course of the next four years that will move the marketplace, the private sector, global finance, innovation and research, that, in fact, no -- no one, no political person in the future will be able to undo what the planet is going to be organizing over the next months and years. 125203 This is the start of something new. I don't know if you read Larry Fink's letter of BlackRock the other day, yesterday. But there's a new awareness among major asset managers, commercial banks and others about the need to be putting resources into this endeavor, because it is -- it is major in investment demand. So, I think the proof will be in what we do. Neither Gina nor I are going to start, you know, throwing around a lot of big promises. 125237 But you heard what she just said, and we will work very closely. Because we're going to try to bring to the table to help inform her and the folks she's working with what we're picking up abroad, and what people are doing abroad and the steps they're taking and how we now have to measure ourselves against them, and they will measure themselves against us. We are well aware of that. 125257 MCCARTHY>> Can I just add something? I just want to call attention to the fact that cities and states have really picked up the initiative to move forward on clean energy because the solutions are cheap. The solutions compete effectively against fossil fuels. 125316 We are talking about solutions that we're not asking anybody to sacrifice but are to their advantage, and if you look at the record over the past four years, while the prior administration might have wanted energy -- clean energy to head in a different direction, it's gone faster and farther than anyone ever expected. 125335 And the idea that we could, with this new work that we're doing together, send signals to the marketplace through our purchasing at the federal level and our re-looking at different ways of having on-the-ground change, we can build that demand. We actually grow significantly millions of clean energy jobs. And all of a sudden, the question won't be whether the private sector is going to buy into it. The private sector is going to drive it. 125405 And so, this is going to be a signal setter, the way the federal government ought to set, on what our values are, what we think the future needs to be and that's -- it's -- this is a value-lading -- laden effort that President Biden has undertaken with full knowledge that it's going to benefit jobs, it's going to benefit our health, and is going to lead to that future we want to hand to our children. PSAKI>> Let's do these two in the front. Then, they will come back. I promise. So go ahead. 125434 VEGA Q>> Thank you. Mr. Secretary, if you would, there certainly are oil and gas industry workers who are watching you both right now who will hear the message, that's -- the takeaway to them is that they're seeing an end to their livelihoods. What do you say to them, particularly those people who President Trump struck a chord with on the campaign trail when he promised to save their jobs? What is your message to them right now? And also, to the oil industry executives who are listening, are you putting them on notice today? 125507 KERRY>> Well, we didn't come here to put anybody on notice except to the seriousness of President Biden's intent to do what needs to be done to deal with this crisis, and it is a crisis. With respect to those workers, no -- no two people are more, in this room, more concerned about it. 125528 And the President of the United States has expressed in every comment he's made about climate the need to grow the new jobs that pay better, that are cleaner, that -- I mean, you know, you look at the consequences of black lung for a miner, for instance, and measure that against the fastest growing job in the United States before Covid was solar-powered technician. 125551 The same people can do those jobs, but the choice of doing the solar-power one now is a better choice. And similarly, you have the second fastest growing job pre-Covid was wind turbine technician. This is happening. 75%, 70% of all the electricity that's come online in the United States in the last few years came from renewables, not -- you know, coal plants have been closing over the last 20 years. 125620 So what President Biden wants to do is make sure those folks have better choices, that they have alternatives, that they can be the people who go to work to make the solar panels. That we're (?) making them here at home, that is going to be a particular focus of the Build Back Better agenda. And I think that, unfortunately, workers have been fed a false narrative -- no surprise, right? -- for the last few years. 125650 They've been fed the notion that, somehow, dealing with climate is coming at their expense. No, it's not. What's happening to them is happening because other market forces are already taking place. 125703 And what the -- what the fiananceres, the big banks, the asset managers, private investors, ventures capital are all discovering is there's a lot of money to be made in the creation of these news jobs in these sectors. So whether it's green hydrogen that is going to come, whether it's geothermal heat, or whether it -- whatever it's going to be, those are jobs. The same worker who works in South Carolina today, putting together a BMW which happens to be made there, and -- and is currently an internal combustion can put together a car, but it's electric. 125743 So this is not a choice between having jobs, having good jobs, having the quality of life. Quality of life will be better when Gina has put her team together that produces choices for us that are healthier -- less cancer, cleaner air. The greatest -- the greatest cost to America, the greatest cause of children being hospitalized every summer in the United states, we spend $55 million a year on it, is environmental induced asthma. 125813 That will change as we begin to rein in what we used to call "pollution" in this country, because it is pollution. And I think that workers are going to see that, with the efforts of the Biden administration, they're going to have a much better set of choices and, frankly, it will create more jobs than stuck where we were. 125833 MCCARTHY>> Can I just add, by pointing out a couple of things in the executive order that I want you to just call to your attention? We talked about the civilian conservation corp. That is an opportunity to put younger people into work in vitally important efforts. But if you look at this, it also has set up a task force that is looking at these coal communities, communities that are really reliant on their local energy and utility, and it talks about how do we revitalize those economies? 125907 And it talks about how we can put people to work using the skills they currently have where they are to start looking at those old abandoned oil and gas wells that are spewing out methane, or all of the coal that is -- mines that haven't been properly closed that are doing the same. That has great impact on climate, but also will keep an opportunity for those -- for those individual workers to have work in their own communities. We're not going to ask people to go from the middle of Ohio, or Pennsylvania and ship out to the coast to have solar jobs. You know, solar jobs will be everywhere. But -- 125950 We need to put people to work in their own communities. That's where their home is. That's where their vision is. So we're creatively looking at those opportunities for investment, so that we can get people understanding that we are not trying to take away jobs. Remember, when -- when we say "climate change," eventually, people are going to think "jobs" just like President Biden when he hears the words "climate change." 130016 And so, we'll do everything we can to recognize that revitalization is necessary in these communities to find creative ways to put them to work. And then, we're going to do, as secretary Kerry says, and start investing in new technologies and new manufacturing. And that includes the large manufacturing like cement and steel. That's work that we should be doing here. That's work that inevitably is going to be necessary to rebuild our infrastructure which is also one of the biggest opportunities we have for job growth moving forward. 130052 Q>> Two quick questions? PSAKI>> Peter. Q>> Sure. Administrator, one to you and one to the secretary, if I may. What you may hear from some corners of the criticism is why are we doing this now when we're already in an economic crisis? You look at the state of New Mexico where one-third of the state's budget is funded by oil and gas. So, why not let the country get back on its feet before we do this? 130115 MCCARTHY>> Well, the issue in New Mexico is that somebody reported a bit incorrectly -- well, maybe not as precisely enough -- that this wasn't about impacting existing permits and fracking. This was about new leases on federal lands. So I think that the opportunity for the states to continue to accrue the royalties from -- from, from both coal and oil and natural gas that is properly done on federal lands is going to continue. And there's even an opportunity in the review of that program to look at the royalty issues, look at the job growth opportunities, look at a variety of things to make sure that public lands are being properly managed. 130158 Now, in terms of the job issue, we're explicitly doing this because our economy is right now stagnant. We have people -- millions of people out of work, out of jobs, millions of people that are afraid they can't feed their families. If you're faced with that, what do you do? You boost the economy and you grow jobs. 130219 But why, at the same time, aren't we thinking about the weaknesses of our current economy in terms of the number of environmental injustice communities that have been left behind? 130230 The number of people breathing dirty air and their kids are getting asthma. So instead, let's think about it all of it at the same time. I know it's a crazy idea in a bureaucracy. You're only supposed to do one thing, but we're going to do and think about all of it. Because people need to have jobs. This is all about building the jobs of the future we want, not continuing needle (?) at an economy that is no longer going to be where our future lies. 130259 Q>> Mr. Secretary, to you, right now, over the course of this first week, there are a lot of big priorities here. There's Covid, the economy, immigration, racial justice, aow climate change. As a veteran of Congress, of the Senate, what is the priority? And how quickly do you need legislation to make this permanent? 130317 KERRY>> Well, the -- Peter, the priority is precisely what the president has set out. All of them, all six of the major crises that he faces. And he's addressing every single one of them, and he knows that the United States, all of us, have the ability to be able to do that. And the reason that has to be done is every single one of them are life and death. Every single one of them represent a challenge to the very fiber of our society. 130347 And the other reason, obviously, everything -- I agree with everything Gina said. But I'd simply add that the other reason for doing it now is the science tells us we have to. And that's one of the things the president is restoring today, in the executive order, is respect for science and the science office. So, I mean -- Q>> 2 trillion price tag. $2 trillion for Covid. $2 trillion for this. It's a lot of money to a lot of Americans. 130414 KERRY>> It is real money. And yes, it's a lot of money. But you know what? It costs a lot more if you don't do the things we need to do. It costs a lot more. There are countless economic analyses now that show that it is now cheaper to deal with the crisis of climate than it is to ignore it. We spent $265 billion, two years ago on three -- three storms, Irma, Harvey and Maria. Maria destroyed Puerto Rico. Harvey dropped more water on Houston in five days than goes over Niagara Falls in a year. 130448 And Irma had the first recorded winds of 185 miles an hour for 24 sustained hours. That -- last year, we had one storm, $55 billion. So we're spending the money, folks. We're just not doing it smart. We're not doing it in the way that would actually sustain us for the long term. So this is critical. We're -- the goal of the Paris Agreement was to hold the Earth's temperature increase to 2 degrees centigrade. Even if you did everything that was in Paris, we're going up 3.7 or 4. That's catastrophic. 130524 What president Biden is trying to do is listen to science, listen to facts, and make tough decisions about what we need to do to take the world to a better place. And particularly, our own country. And that is what he is committed to doing. So, yes, there are a lot of challenges right now which, sadly, all of them were exacerbated by the last four years. Now, we have to try to make up for that. And that is a hard pull, but this president is capable of doing it. And he's putting together a great team that I think can help him that. Q>> Thank you, sir. PSAKI>> Thank you. MCCARTHY>> Thank you. JEN PSAKI 130601 PSAKI>> Thank you, Gina McCarthy. Thank you Secretary Kerry for joining us. You're free to go-- MCCARTHY>> Thank you. PSAKI>> -- to go see the President. So you can all see, they're both experienced and passionate and tenacious, having worked with -- with both of them in the past. So, the crisis is in good hands. I know we have a short period of time here. But I just wanted to provide an update on a question that you all have been asking a bit about which is what some of the outreach our teams are doing, as it relates to the covid package. 130632 That is a top priority for President Biden. As we have talked about almost everyday in here, probably every day, our team continues to build support for the American Rescue Plan as more and more across the country recognize the urgent need to get American families the help they need. We've obviously seen a broad coalition of support emerge from the chamber of commerce to Senator Sanders and organized labor to hundreds of mayors and local public health officials. 130702 The President and Vice President are engaged directly with members, and have had a number productive conversations. That will continue during the course of the week and will only pick up in the days ahead. Senior White House officials are also engaging with not just Congressional leaders, but also state and local officials, key constituency groups and others, to gather feedback on the proposal and move the package forward. So let me give you a couple of examples from just yesterday. 130728 Chief of Staff Ron Klain engaged with members directly throughout the day, as did Senior Adviser Anita Dunn which they will both continue to do moving forward. Counselor to the President Steve Fraschetti and office of Legislative Affairs Director Louisa Terrell are quarterbacking the teams' broader legislative outreach, and have had dozens of conversations with individual members to understand their priorities and receive their feedback. 130751 In addition to ongoing conversations with leadership on both sides of the aisle, already this week, members of the national economic council and domestic policy council and staff from treasury have met with the relevant committees, including Senate Banking committee, senate finance committee, House ways and mean, House financial services, House education and labor, and the bicameral small business committee. NEC Director Brian Deese is doing one-on-one briefings with members of the Congress and meetings with caucuses including yesterday's meeting, which I believe has been reported, with the problem-solvers caucus to discuss the proposal. 130824 Hill engagement will continue with Jeff Zients and Brian Deese meeting with the new Dem coalition, along with several other briefings that are scheduled. Also, our outreach isn't limited to Congress which is vitally important. This isn't just about speaking to elected officials. This is also about speaking to the country and building support, and educating and engaging with leaders across the country. So yesterday, Jeff Zients and his team spoke with bipartisan governors, as you all know. They talked about the Covid package by the national governors association -- organized by then. 130856 And administration officials briefed tribal leaders and a number of mayors yesterday as well. And the office of Public Engagement led by Cedric Richmond briefed civil rights groups yesterday including the NAACP, the National Action Network, Justice Action Network, Urban league coalition of Black Civic Participation, and Black women's roundtable. Today, they have meetings with labor leaders, advocates for young people as well as organizations dedicated to building wealth in the Black community. 130921 On Friday, OP will also -- the Office of Public Engagement, I should say. I hate acronyms -- will convene 100 presidents of historically Black colleges and universities also to discuss this proposal. And the only other thing I wanted to mention before we get to your questions is that, as you all know, treasury secretary Janet Yellen was just confirmed. 130940 The President will be meeting with his economic team on Friday including secretary Yellen for a briefing on impact of delay, and moving forward with the additional economic relief. With that, let's get to your questions. Alex, your first day in the white house briefing room. And Alex's first days. Two Alexes first days. Q>> It's good to be here. PSAKI>> There's an initiation afterwards that the press corp will conduct. PSAKI Q&A Q>> [inaud] PSAKI>> Yes, go ahead. Q>> I'll make it quick because you have a pretty hard out in a few minutes. PSAKI>> I think you all have a hard out, too but yes-- 131009 Q>> I wanted to ask about one of your favorite topics: impeachment. Nearly every Republican senator last night voted to throw out the impeachment trial of president Trump. Does president Biden have a reaction to that? Does he trust congress to hold president Trump accountable for the insurrection against the Capitol? And does see censure against former president trump as a viable alternative to convictions, since it looks unlikely at this point? 131034 PSAKI>> Well, the President certainly respects the role that Congress has. Senators, of course, the Senate, as they're overseeing the trial moving forward, in determining the pace and the path forward for holding the former president accountable. That continues to be his belief. In all of his conversations that he's been having with members about the recovery plan, he has -- they have said they expect from him that his focus will be on Covid relief. That's how he will use the bully pulpit. 131104 That's how he will speak to the American people. And they are eager to work with him on that so that's where his focus remains, and what steps they take to hold the former president accountable, he'll leave it to them. Q>> Why the resistance on weighing in on the issue? 131117 PSAKI>> We've weighed in many times. The president has been asked about the issue. We put out a statement when the House put out a vote -- voted on impeachment, I should say. But his focus is on doing -- delivering on what the American people elected him to do, which to get relief to the -- to the American people, to get the pandemic under control, to ensure working families can put food on the table. And that's where he feels his efforts should be -- should remain. Okay. Go ahead. 131144 VEGA Q>> Thanks, Jen. Does the White House have a comment on the social media profile that has emerged of Representative Marjorie Taylor Green. And is there a response to whether any disciplinary action should be taken against her, given everything that's come out? 131158 PSAKI>> We don't, and I'm not going to speak further about her, I think, in this briefing room. VEGA>> Okay, and -- PSAKI>> Oh, go ahead. VEGA>> Okay. One more, if you don't mind, it's just kind of a little bit of a house keeping -- PSAKI>> Sure. 131207 VEGA Q>> The last administration has suggested that -- on the origins on the Covid-19 virus -- that it may have originated in a lab in China. It was never definitive. Do you have an update on that, on the origin, where we are in that investigation? 131222 PSAKI>> Well, first, obviously, the -- the misinformation, of course, that has -- we've seen also come out of -- of some sources in China is of great concern to us. It's imperative that we get to the bottom of the early days of the pandemic in China. And we've been supportive of an international investigation that we feel should be robust and clear. 131248 We -- our view is that we must prepare to draw on information collected and analyzed by our intelligence community, which is something that is ongoing, and to work -- and also to continue to work with our allies to evaluate the report's credibility on the investigation, once it's done. 131304 In addition, as you all know, secretary of state was just -- Tony Blinken was just sworn in yesterday, and one of his priorities, of course, is ensuring that our staffing on the ground in Beijing, which is something that fell back in the last administration, is returned to what it was prio, which means we want to have science experts, policy experts on the ground, in the roles that they should be serving in to ensure that, you know, we're also there representing, you know, our interests from the United States on the ground in China. Go ahead. 131334 Q>> Couple quick ones that I still don't think I fully understand. I know the executive order was signed, but has this white house invoked the DPA? And how soon will we actually see companies be compelled to produce supplies or vaccines or whatever else impacts Americans? PSAKI>> We -- It was invoked, the day it was signed, within 24 hours of it being signed. Q>> I know that jump-started the process. So I guess that meant it was invoked? PSAKI>> Yes, and I confirmed that when it was -- the next day, the following day in the briefing room which I realize everybody can't be here every day because of Covid. 131402 But it was invoked and it means that our work is ongoing with companies to ensure that we are expediting the manufacturing of materials to ensure that we can get 100 million shots in the arms of Americans. And I know there's been some confusion about this, and what exactly it is. What does the DPA mean? 131422 There are a few examples that our team has cited including vaccine -- on vaccine supply, low-dead space syringes which means it allows for the ability to get an extra dose into the Pfizer vial which is important to getting more doses out there, help -- additional N-95, the production of additional N-95 masks, isolation gowns, gloves, pipette tips and high absorbancy foam swabs. So we're really talking about very specific materials that can be used by vaccinators to get these shots in the arms of Americans. 131454 Q>> Thanks for clarifying. There was some confusion on the earlier call which is why I repeated here. Let me ask one other question. Yesterday, you deflected this to the USOC (?) but my question is a little bit different today. We're now hearing from the organizers of this year's summer games in Japan. The head of Japan's olympic committee is seeking public reassurances from President Biden himself given that the U.S., of course, Is the largest contingent of athletes, that the games should be able to go on. As the world's -- as the world is dealing with this pandemic right now, based on where we are right now with the vaccine, does president Biden believe the games in Japan can safely go on? 131529 PSAKI>> Well, the president -- and I'm not sure if this readout had gone out yet, but he had spoken with the prime minister of Japan earlier this morning. And a readout was going out as we were coming out to the briefing. I'm not sure if they spoke about the Olympics. I'm happy to check with our national security team on that, to follow up with, but I don't have any more assessment of the olympics at this point in time. Q>> So it hasn't been discussed whether he has a position on whether it will safely be able to go ahead? 131555 PSAKI>> I don't have anything more than -- I haven't had much on it. But I don't have anything more than I've had on other days on it. Q>> -- so, we asked. So we'll follow up. PSAKI>> Understood. And they just had a call this morning. but I haven't had a chance to talk to him specifically about it. Go ahead. Q>> Thank you, Jen. Q>> Thanks, Jen. Two vaccine questions. First of all, this came up on the Covid call earlier but how seriously is the White House considering using the defense protection act to compel other pharmaceutical companies to produce the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines to resupply? 131624 PSAKI>> Well, I didn't hear the entirety of the call because we were doing some preparation for the event this afternoon. But from listening to our team talk about it, there are obviously manufacturing facilities that have the capacity and ability to get these vaccine doses out. And we don't want to get our -- behind the pace, and start from scratch, I should say, in ensuring that they're ready to do that. I don't think our concern at this point is whether or not we're going to have the vaccine doses. 131653 Obviously, the president announced yesterday the intention to purchase dosed -- additional doses, the -- our confidence in the manufacturers to have those doses available, the concerns we have are, one, contingency planning and all of the different things that can happen because this is a herculean task that has never been done before, but also ensuring we have vaccinators, vaccine sites, et cetera, available. So I have not heard from our team of plans to seek other manufacturers at this point in time. And I'm happy to follow up with them and see if there's anything additional. 131728 Q>> On the 200 million doses, the president said he's ordering them. What is the status of that order? Have Pfizer and Moderna agreed to produce 100 million doses each? And how quickly do they say they can do it? PSAKI>> Well, we expect to get the doses by mid-to-late summer. The majority of doses by mid-to late-summer, some earlier than that so we are confident that we'll be able to get those from the manufacturers, yes. Go ahead, Karen. 131757 TRAVERS Q>> Jen, a couple questions on schools. Does the administration plan to develop metrics or standards for what a safe reopening of schools will look like? 131804 PSAKI>> We do. And -- and our CDC director, and I'm not sure, again, if she was asked about this important question, I know as a fellow mother. But we will have specifics that we'll defer to the CDC on, on the safe reopening of schools. As you know, the President talked about -- has talked about his commitment and his goal of reopening most K through 8 schools within 100 days. There are obviously a number of steps that will need to be taken in order for that to be possible. 131834 But he's directed the Department of Education, the Department of Health and Human Services to provide guidance on safe reopening and operating for schools, child care providers and institutions of higher education. But as our Covid team has outlined, that's going to require testing materials, support for contact tracing, vaccinations for teachers, and ensuring they're equitably provided. But our, the -- our CDC director and team will be looking into putting together some specific guidelines so there can be clarity on that front -- TRAVERS>> And to follow up on that -- PSAKI>> -- which I know a lot of districts are looking for. Go ahead 131905 TRAVERS Q>> Those things you mentioned all cost a lot of money, and a big part of the Covid relief package is a lot of money to go to school reopening. If Congress doesn't approve the money you want, and schools don't have what they need to pay for things to open safely, would the President support teachers staying at home and support virtual learning continuing through this entire school year? 131923 PSAKI>> Well, I think the President recognizes, as we all do, the value of having children in schools and doing that in a safe way, which is one of the reasons he's set this ambitious goal of reopening most K through 8 schools within 100 days, but one of the reasons that this -- the funding for safe reopening for getting schools the equipment, the testing, the ventilation in some cases that they need is because nobody wants to be having a conversation in May or June about why schools are not reopened. 131954 So, this goes back to the argument that our team has been making, and all of these calls and engagements and meetings that I outlined about the importance and vital nature of each component of the package. So, we won't get into a hypothetical. We are confident that Congress will move forward with a package. 132010 Let me just go-- we gotta wrap up soon. Okay. I'm sorry. We'll do more questions tomorrow. But we had two such great guests. Jen, go ahead. Q>> Thank you...one on the climate actions today, they leave out treasury's financial stability and oversight council, which the experts say could play an influential role in addressing climate risks. Does the administration have plans to take action on climate finance, and should FSOC direct agencies and regulators to address climate change? 132037 PSAKI>> Well, I'm going to use a reference that my friend and colleague Ambassador Susan Rice used yesterday which is "there are 1,453 days left in this administration." And addressing climate and the crisis of climate is an issue that the President has conveyed to members of his cabinet, members of his senior team is an absolute priority. So Secretary Yellen has been in her role for one day, but certainly, I'd send you to them for any more specifics. But this is the beginning, not the end of our work on climate. Nadia? Oh, go ahead. 132108 Q>> Is the white house concerned about the stock market activity we're seeing around Gamestop, now with some other stocks as well including the...company that was Blockbuster? And have there been any conversations with the FCC on how to proceed? 132127 PSAKI>> Well, I'm also happy to repeat that we have the first female treasury secretary and a team that's surrounding her, and often questions about market we'll send to them. But our team is, of course, our economic team including secretary Yellen and others are monitoring the situation. It's a good reminder, though, that the stock market isn't the only measure of the health of our econom-- of our economy. It doesn't reflect how working and middle class families are doing. As you all know, from covering this, we're in the midst of a K-shaped recovery. America's are struggling to make ends meet, which is why the President has introduced this urgent package to get immediate relief to families. Alright I'm going to go Nadia, and then, we'll be totally done 'cause everybody has to go. Okay. Go ahead. 132205 Q>> [inaud] I have two questions. PSAKI>> Sure. Q>> One about covid and one about China. Regarding Covid, the president promised to increase supplies to states by 10 million doses, yet statistically 47% of Americans are hesitant to take the vaccine, despite that the President and vice president took it publicly. What is the administration doing to convince Americans to take it, to reach the herd immunity by say 70% by the fall? 132235 PSAKI>> You're absolutely right, Nadia, that this is one of the biggest challenges we face. And for anyone who tuned into the briefing that our health team led this morning, it was one of the first issues that CDC director Dr. Walensky raised. And one of the things we're doing is prioritizing providing correct information about it -- the vaccine -- and -- so I'll take the opportunity, the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines are safe and effective. That's one of the things she said today. 132301 They were tested in large clinical trials to make sure they meet safety standards. About 30% of US participants in those trials were Hispanic, African American, Asian or Native american. About half were adults. And so, we want to provide clear data as I just did, but also we want to meet people where they are, communicate directly with communities of color, people who have concerns, and use medical and health professionals to do exactly that. Okay, you had a China question, and then you really have to go. But go ahead. 132328 Q>> And second, many welcomed your rejoining of the WHO, yet some want to push for a transparent investigation into the relationship between China and WHO. And also yesterday in the hearing in the senate, governor Raimondo declined to black list Huawei technology in the US. Is this some kind of caving in to China or is it a nuanced way to deal with China? 132354 PSAKI>> So, I think your -- the second reference I think was to Huawei, right? And then, come -- yes. Q>> [inaud] PSAKI>> So let me just convey clearly our position on this. Let us be clear: telecommunications equipment made by untrusted vendors including Huawei is a threat to the security of the US and our allies. 132413 We'll ensure that the American telecommunications network do not use equipment from untrusted venues, and will work with allies to secure their telecommunications networks. And make investments to expand the production of telecommunications equipment by trusted US and allied companies. Again, we'll take many more questions tomorrow. Thank you all. Have a great rest of your day. ##
WHITE HOUSE BRIEFING WITH JEN PSAKI - POOL CUTS
FS24 WH PSAKI PRESS BRIEF CUTS POOL 4 1215 CBS POOL White House briefing with Press Secretary Jen Psaki, Special Presidential Envoy for Climate John Kerry, and National Climate Advisor Gina McCarthy 123147 PSAKI>> Hi, everyone! I have to give you a fancy introduction. [laughter] Good afternoon. President Biden is continuing to follow through on his key promise to take swift and bold action that addresses the climate crisis, building on his Day 1 actions of rejoining the Paris Agreement, and strengthening our clean air and water protections and to -- and holding polluters accountable. 123218 Today, he will take executive action to tackle the climate crisis at home and abroad while creating good paying, union jobs, building sustainable infrastructure and delivering environmental justice. I'm thrilled today, as a part of our effort to bring policy experts into the briefing room, we're joined by two very special guests who are going to take you -- talk to you all about today's executive orders and take a few questions as well. And I will always -- as always play the role of bad cop when they have to go. 123248 National climate adviser Gina McCarthy and special presidential envoy for climate and my former boss, former secretary of state John Kerry. And a big day for Boston in the briefing room, so. [laughter] With that, go ahead. GINA MCCARTHY 123300 MCCARTHY>> Thank you. It's a big day for Boston every day. Thank you, everybody. Today, president Biden will build on the actions he took on day one, and he'll take more steps to fulfill commitments he made to tackle the climate crisis while creating good paying, union jobs and achieving environmental justice. 123324 In his campaign, he and vice president Harris put forward the most ambitious climate vision that any presidential ticket had ever embraced. And he spent more time campaigning on climate than we have ever seen. The president also has consistently identified the climate crisis as one of four interrelated existential crises that are gripping our nation all at once. And he's demanding answers that can address all four. And he's not waiting to take action, getting us started on his first day in office because science is telling us that we don't have a moment to lose to fight against all four of these crises in a way that recognizes their intersectionality. 123412 He's always committed the U.S to renter. -- I'm sorry, he's already committed the US to re-enter the Paris climate agreement. And he committed us, as well, to start undoing the assault on our environment that has occurred over the past four years. And he is now taking additional action to really target the challenge of climate change. So, today, for me is a very good day. Just one week into his administration, president Biden is continuing to move us forward, at the breadth and the pace that climate science demands. 123449 Today's executive order starts by saying, "it is the policy of this administration that climate considerations shall be an essential element of US foreign policy and national security." That's where the big guy comes in. It gives my colleague John Kerry, the first ever international climate envoy, the authority to really drive forward a process that will restore American leadership on climate throughout the world, and you will see and hear more about that from Secretary Kerry. 123523 But here at home, we have to do our part or we will not be able to make the kind of worldwide change that climate change demands. So this executive order establishes a White House Office of Domestic Climate Policy, and it directs everyone who works for the President to use every tool available at our disposal to solve the climate crisis. 123548 Because we're going to take a whole of government approach. We're going to power our economy with clean energy. We're going to do that in a way that will produce millions of American jobs that are going to be good paying, that are going to be jobs that have the opportunity for workers to join a union because, as President Biden has often told us, when he thinks of climate change, his first thought is about jobs. 123618 And it should be. Because people in this country need a job, and this is about making that happen in the most creative and significant way that the federal government can move forward. And we're going to make sure that nobody is left behind. And I'm not just talking about communities in terms of environmental justice, but workers as well. 123639 This order takes historic strides to address environmental injustice. It creates both a White House Interagency Task Force to address environmental justice, as well as an Advisory Council. It directs the Department of Health and Human Services to create an office of Climate Change and Health Equity because, after all, climate change is the most significant public health challenge of our time. 123706 And it tasks the department of justice with establishing an office of Climate Justice. Because we know that communities who are being hurt, and we know we have to start enforcing the standards today and ensuring that they are part of the solution, and in places that we can invest. In fact, it commits 40% of our investment in clean energy towards disadvantaged communities so they can benefit from the new jobs that are available, and see that better future. 123737 President Biden's order establishes a working group on coal and power plant communities because we have to make sure that, in this transition, every agency in government is using every tool at their disposal to drive resources to those communities. And it fulfills long-standing commitments to leverage our vast resources to contribute to our clean energy future. It places a pause and review on new oil and gas leases on federal public lands and waters, consistent with the promise president Biden has repeatedly made and has been very clear in the face of efforts to distort his promise. 123822 And it sets a goal of doubling offshore wind production by 2030. In addition, he plans to sign a presidential memorandum that aims to restore scientific integrity across the federal government and earn back the public's trust, making a commitment to base solutions on the best available science and data. So, today is a very big day for science and for our efforts to power our economy with good paying union jobs. Thank you very much. JOHN KERRY 123903 KERRY>>> Good afternoon, everybody. It's great to be here. Let me say, first of all, what a pleasure it is to be here with Gina. I'm a big fan of Gina's. Gina and I worked very, very closely together during the campaign, when we sat down to -- to bring the Bernie Sanders folks together around the Biden climate plan. 123927 And she is the perfect person to be tackling the domestic side of this equation, which is complicated. And nobody knows the details better than she does, and nobody is going to be more effective at corralling everybody to move in the same direction. It's also an enormous pleasure for me to be here with Jen Psaki. 123950 She mentioned that -- nobody was her boss, but I had the privilege of working with her. And she, seven years ago, we gathered in the State Department briefing room -- she's traded up, obviously. But she has not given away any of her fundamental principles in commitment to telling you all the truth, telling the American people the truth and doing so with great candor and transparency. 124020 And I'm very happy to be here with her. The stakes -- the stakes on climate change just simply couldn't be any higher than they are right now. It is existential. We use that word too easily and we throw it away, but we have a big agenda in front of us on a global basis. 124041 And President Biden is deeply committed, totally seized by this issue as you can tell by this executive order and, and by the other -- the initiative of getting back into Paris immediately. That's why he rejoined the Paris agreement so quickly because he knows it is urgent. He also knows that Paris alone is not enough, not when almost 90% of all of the planet's emissions, global emissions, come from outside of US borders. 124110 We could go to zero tomorrow, and the problem isn't solved. So that's why today, one week into the job, President Biden will sign this additional executive set of orders to help move us down the road, ensuring that ambitious climate action is global in scope and scale, as well as national -- here at home. 124136 Today, in the order that he will sign that Gina has described to you, he makes climate central to foreign policy planning, to diplomacy, and to national security preparedness. It creates new platforms to coordinate climate action across the federal agencies and departments, sorely needed. And most importantly, it commissions a National Intelligence estimate on the security implications of climate change to give all of us an even deeper understanding of the challenge. 124211 This is the first time a President has ever done that. And our 17 intelligence agencies are going to come together and assess exactly what the danger and damage and potential risks are. The order directs the State department to prepare a transmittal package, seeking Senate advice and consent, on the Kigali Amendment on the Montreal protocol, an amendment that by itself, if ratified and fully enforced globally, could hold the Earth's temperature by .5 of an entire degree, not insignificant. 124247 And it sets forth a process for us to develop a new ambitious Paris target, as well as a U.S. Climate Finance plan, both of which are essential to our being able to bring countries of the world together, to raise ambition, and meet this moment when we go to Glasgow for the follow-on agreement to Paris. 124309 So that's the only way for the world to succeed together, my friends. It's -- again, this is an issue where failure literally is not an option. 124318 As he committed to doing on the campaign trail, the President is announcing that he will host a leaders' summit on climate change less than three months from now on April 22nd, Earth Day, which will include a leader-level reconvening of the major economies forum. We'll have specifics to lay out over time, but the convening of this -- of this summit, is essential to ensuring that the -- that 2021 is going to be the year that really makes up for the lost time of the last four years. 124355 And that the U.N. Climate conference COP26, as it's called, which the UK is hosting in November to make sure that it's an unqualified success. The road to Glasgow will be marked not just by promises, but by progress at a pace that we can all be proud of. And Gina is going to be putting her efforts into making concern that that is true. The world will measure us by what we can do here at home. So with these executive actions today, we believe we're steps further down that journey. Thank you. Q&A 124433 PSAKI>> All right. Let's start with Nancy. Q>> Thank you so much. Secretary Kerry, a question for you and then for administrator McCarthy. You talked about the fact that it won't really matter what we do very much if the rest of the world doesn't do the same thing. But the US Has had a fairly rocky relationship with China recently. How do you plan to try to bring both China and India to the table on this issue? 124457 KERRY>> Wel, before I -- before I answer that, let me just say that the issue of making a difference -- i.e, what we do at home -- what I'm saying is: you can't solve the problem alone, but our doing things makes an enormous difference. What Gina succeeds in pulling together is essential to our ability to have credibility in the world. Now -- 124524 With respect to China, obviously, we have serious differences with China on some very, very important issues. And I am as mindful of that as anybody, having served as Secretary of State and in the Senate. The issues of theft of intellectual property and access to market, South China Sea -- I mean, you run the list. We all know them. 124528 Those issues will never be treated for anything that has to do with climate. That's not going to happen, but climate is a critical stand alone issue that we have to deal on, in the sense that China is 30% of the emissions in the world. We're about 15% of the emissions in the world. 124609 You add the EU to that, and you've got three entities that are more than -- than 55% or so. So it's urgent that we find a way to compartmentalize, to move forward, and we'll wait and see. But President Biden is very, very clear about the need to address the other issues with China. And I know some people have been concerned. Nothing is going to be siphoned off into one area from another. 124638 Q>> And then, a question for either of you on coal. Your executive order talks about oil and gas on federal lands, but it doesn't really say much about coal. What is this administration's policy when it comes to coal? 124650 MCCARTHY>> Well, in terms of the oil and gas decision, it was -- is to make sure that we take a little pause, and review the entire strategy of how we're looking at public lands. So it will include looking at what new leases ought to be approved and sold. It's looking at our ability, also, to look at coal in that mix. So the program review is going to look at how we manage public lands, consistent with climate. 124715 But also consistent with the marriage between climate and, really, growing jobs of the future. So, it will be in the mix to be looked at, but it is -- it is not at this point included. It was not part of the commitments on the campaign, but we're going to take a close look at all of it. And can I just add on your comment about China, which I'm not going to speak to the international dynamic, but I am going to say that: part of the challenge that we face here is a challenge that president Biden has already started to address with his Buy America pledge. 124748 We have to start not just shifting to clean energy, but it has to be manufactured in the United States of America. You know, not in other countries, and there is going to be a large discussion about how we make sure that a lot of the investment is -- is about building up our manufacturing base again. That's great jobs. That's often, hopefully, union jobs. But it is also a wonderful opportunity for us to recoup the benefits of that manufacturing, and lower the cost of clean energy. 124820 Part of the way we're going to get there is by making sure the federal government buys American, and that the federal government looks at its procurement across every agency, so that the breadth of what we spend is spent designed to advance job growth in the United States, to advance health benefits for environmental justice communities, and to begin to tackle the very challenged -- the existential challenge of climate change. PSAKI>> Jeff Mason. 124849 Q>> Thank you. Jeff Mason with Reuters. Question for both of you. Can you give us a sense of when you expect to have the so-called NDC or the US Target for cutting greenhouse gas emissions as part of the Paris accord? And can you also give us a sense of how ambitious you plan to make that number? Will it be 40%, 50%, higher than that? 124914 MCCARTHY>> Well -- KERRY>> We're united in this, so. MCCARTHY>> Yeah, I'm -- I'm the dude who's supposed to deliver this in a timely way, and he sets the timing. So that basically -- 124923 We want to make sure that the NDC is something that can be announced before the summit on Earth Day. And so we're going to be, out of the gate, working with the agencies to see what kind of reductions and mitigation opportunities there are. 124938 And also, again, to look at our public lands to make sure that we can continue to store carbon in our soil, to work with agriculture and others, to look at how we better manage our forests so we're not seeing the devastating forest fires that we've been having before. So all across the federal government, every agency, and you'll see many of them specifically tasked in this executive order, will participate in the task force that we're going to have to actually develop the most aggressive NDC that we can to deliver the kind of boost that Secretary Kerry is looking for, to be able to ensure that our international efforts are robust and -- and sufficient to address the challenge internationally. 125025 Q>> Just follow-up for that, for Secretary Kerry, how do you assert to our international partners that the US will stick to whatever you propose after having seen the Trump administration take the U.S. out of the Paris accord? KERRY>> Well, that's precisely why we're going to stick by it. And I think our word is strong. 125045 I've been on the phone for the last few days, talking to our allies in Europe, elsewhere around the world, and they are welcoming us back. They know that this administration already had a significant part of what has brought us to -- will bring us to Glasgow, which was the Paris Agreement. The Obama-Biden administration had great credibility on this issue, and having President Biden be the person now who is driving this forward is enormously meaningful to -- to the folks there. 125117 And they also know that I was deeply involved in the negotiations in Paris. And am now asked by the President, by President Biden, to make certain that we do the same at Glasgow, if not more. So, I have had no one question our credibility at this point in time. Someone probably will. And the answer will be that I think we can achieve things in the course of the next four years that will move the marketplace, the private sector, global finance, innovation and research, that, in fact, no -- no one, no political person in the future will be able to undo what the planet is going to be organizing over the next months and years. 125203 This is the start of something new. I don't know if you read Larry Fink's letter of BlackRock the other day, yesterday. But there's a new awareness among major asset managers, commercial banks and others about the need to be putting resources into this endeavor, because it is -- it is major in investment demand. So, I think the proof will be in what we do. Neither Gina nor I are going to start, you know, throwing around a lot of big promises. 125237 But you heard what she just said, and we will work very closely. Because we're going to try to bring to the table to help inform her and the folks she's working with what we're picking up abroad, and what people are doing abroad and the steps they're taking and how we now have to measure ourselves against them, and they will measure themselves against us. We are well aware of that. 125257 MCCARTHY>> Can I just add something? I just want to call attention to the fact that cities and states have really picked up the initiative to move forward on clean energy because the solutions are cheap. The solutions compete effectively against fossil fuels. 125316 We are talking about solutions that we're not asking anybody to sacrifice but are to their advantage, and if you look at the record over the past four years, while the prior administration might have wanted energy -- clean energy to head in a different direction, it's gone faster and farther than anyone ever expected. 125335 And the idea that we could, with this new work that we're doing together, send signals to the marketplace through our purchasing at the federal level and our re-looking at different ways of having on-the-ground change, we can build that demand. We actually grow significantly millions of clean energy jobs. And all of a sudden, the question won't be whether the private sector is going to buy into it. The private sector is going to drive it. 125405 And so, this is going to be a signal setter, the way the federal government ought to set, on what our values are, what we think the future needs to be and that's -- it's -- this is a value-lading -- laden effort that President Biden has undertaken with full knowledge that it's going to benefit jobs, it's going to benefit our health, and is going to lead to that future we want to hand to our children. PSAKI>> Let's do these two in the front. Then, they will come back. I promise. So go ahead. 125434 VEGA Q>> Thank you. Mr. Secretary, if you would, there certainly are oil and gas industry workers who are watching you both right now who will hear the message, that's -- the takeaway to them is that they're seeing an end to their livelihoods. What do you say to them, particularly those people who President Trump struck a chord with on the campaign trail when he promised to save their jobs? What is your message to them right now? And also, to the oil industry executives who are listening, are you putting them on notice today? 125507 KERRY>> Well, we didn't come here to put anybody on notice except to the seriousness of President Biden's intent to do what needs to be done to deal with this crisis, and it is a crisis. With respect to those workers, no -- no two people are more, in this room, more concerned about it. 125528 And the President of the United States has expressed in every comment he's made about climate the need to grow the new jobs that pay better, that are cleaner, that -- I mean, you know, you look at the consequences of black lung for a miner, for instance, and measure that against the fastest growing job in the United States before Covid was solar-powered technician. 125551 The same people can do those jobs, but the choice of doing the solar-power one now is a better choice. And similarly, you have the second fastest growing job pre-Covid was wind turbine technician. This is happening. 75%, 70% of all the electricity that's come online in the United States in the last few years came from renewables, not -- you know, coal plants have been closing over the last 20 years. 125620 So what President Biden wants to do is make sure those folks have better choices, that they have alternatives, that they can be the people who go to work to make the solar panels. That we're (?) making them here at home, that is going to be a particular focus of the Build Back Better agenda. And I think that, unfortunately, workers have been fed a false narrative -- no surprise, right? -- for the last few years. 125650 They've been fed the notion that, somehow, dealing with climate is coming at their expense. No, it's not. What's happening to them is happening because other market forces are already taking place. 125703 And what the -- what the fiananceres, the big banks, the asset managers, private investors, ventures capital are all discovering is there's a lot of money to be made in the creation of these news jobs in these sectors. So whether it's green hydrogen that is going to come, whether it's geothermal heat, or whether it -- whatever it's going to be, those are jobs. The same worker who works in South Carolina today, putting together a BMW which happens to be made there, and -- and is currently an internal combustion can put together a car, but it's electric. 125743 So this is not a choice between having jobs, having good jobs, having the quality of life. Quality of life will be better when Gina has put her team together that produces choices for us that are healthier -- less cancer, cleaner air. The greatest -- the greatest cost to America, the greatest cause of children being hospitalized every summer in the United states, we spend $55 million a year on it, is environmental induced asthma. 125813 That will change as we begin to rein in what we used to call "pollution" in this country, because it is pollution. And I think that workers are going to see that, with the efforts of the Biden administration, they're going to have a much better set of choices and, frankly, it will create more jobs than stuck where we were. 125833 MCCARTHY>> Can I just add, by pointing out a couple of things in the executive order that I want you to just call to your attention? We talked about the civilian conservation corp. That is an opportunity to put younger people into work in vitally important efforts. But if you look at this, it also has set up a task force that is looking at these coal communities, communities that are really reliant on their local energy and utility, and it talks about how do we revitalize those economies? 125907 And it talks about how we can put people to work using the skills they currently have where they are to start looking at those old abandoned oil and gas wells that are spewing out methane, or all of the coal that is -- mines that haven't been properly closed that are doing the same. That has great impact on climate, but also will keep an opportunity for those -- for those individual workers to have work in their own communities. We're not going to ask people to go from the middle of Ohio, or Pennsylvania and ship out to the coast to have solar jobs. You know, solar jobs will be everywhere. But -- 125950 We need to put people to work in their own communities. That's where their home is. That's where their vision is. So we're creatively looking at those opportunities for investment, so that we can get people understanding that we are not trying to take away jobs. Remember, when -- when we say "climate change," eventually, people are going to think "jobs" just like President Biden when he hears the words "climate change." 130016 And so, we'll do everything we can to recognize that revitalization is necessary in these communities to find creative ways to put them to work. And then, we're going to do, as secretary Kerry says, and start investing in new technologies and new manufacturing. And that includes the large manufacturing like cement and steel. That's work that we should be doing here. That's work that inevitably is going to be necessary to rebuild our infrastructure which is also one of the biggest opportunities we have for job growth moving forward. 130052 Q>> Two quick questions? PSAKI>> Peter. Q>> Sure. Administrator, one to you and one to the secretary, if I may. What you may hear from some corners of the criticism is why are we doing this now when we're already in an economic crisis? You look at the state of New Mexico where one-third of the state's budget is funded by oil and gas. So, why not let the country get back on its feet before we do this? 130115 MCCARTHY>> Well, the issue in New Mexico is that somebody reported a bit incorrectly -- well, maybe not as precisely enough -- that this wasn't about impacting existing permits and fracking. This was about new leases on federal lands. So I think that the opportunity for the states to continue to accrue the royalties from -- from, from both coal and oil and natural gas that is properly done on federal lands is going to continue. And there's even an opportunity in the review of that program to look at the royalty issues, look at the job growth opportunities, look at a variety of things to make sure that public lands are being properly managed. 130158 Now, in terms of the job issue, we're explicitly doing this because our economy is right now stagnant. We have people -- millions of people out of work, out of jobs, millions of people that are afraid they can't feed their families. If you're faced with that, what do you do? You boost the economy and you grow jobs. 130219 But why, at the same time, aren't we thinking about the weaknesses of our current economy in terms of the number of environmental injustice communities that have been left behind? 130230 The number of people breathing dirty air and their kids are getting asthma. So instead, let's think about it all of it at the same time. I know it's a crazy idea in a bureaucracy. You're only supposed to do one thing, but we're going to do and think about all of it. Because people need to have jobs. This is all about building the jobs of the future we want, not continuing needle (?) at an economy that is no longer going to be where our future lies. 130259 Q>> Mr. Secretary, to you, right now, over the course of this first week, there are a lot of big priorities here. There's Covid, the economy, immigration, racial justice, aow climate change. As a veteran of Congress, of the Senate, what is the priority? And how quickly do you need legislation to make this permanent? 130317 KERRY>> Well, the -- Peter, the priority is precisely what the president has set out. All of them, all six of the major crises that he faces. And he's addressing every single one of them, and he knows that the United States, all of us, have the ability to be able to do that. And the reason that has to be done is every single one of them are life and death. Every single one of them represent a challenge to the very fiber of our society. 130347 And the other reason, obviously, everything -- I agree with everything Gina said. But I'd simply add that the other reason for doing it now is the science tells us we have to. And that's one of the things the president is restoring today, in the executive order, is respect for science and the science office. So, I mean -- Q>> 2 trillion price tag. $2 trillion for Covid. $2 trillion for this. It's a lot of money to a lot of Americans. 130414 KERRY>> It is real money. And yes, it's a lot of money. But you know what? It costs a lot more if you don't do the things we need to do. It costs a lot more. There are countless economic analyses now that show that it is now cheaper to deal with the crisis of climate than it is to ignore it. We spent $265 billion, two years ago on three -- three storms, Irma, Harvey and Maria. Maria destroyed Puerto Rico. Harvey dropped more water on Houston in five days than goes over Niagara Falls in a year. 130448 And Irma had the first recorded winds of 185 miles an hour for 24 sustained hours. That -- last year, we had one storm, $55 billion. So we're spending the money, folks. We're just not doing it smart. We're not doing it in the way that would actually sustain us for the long term. So this is critical. We're -- the goal of the Paris Agreement was to hold the Earth's temperature increase to 2 degrees centigrade. Even if you did everything that was in Paris, we're going up 3.7 or 4. That's catastrophic. 130524 What president Biden is trying to do is listen to science, listen to facts, and make tough decisions about what we need to do to take the world to a better place. And particularly, our own country. And that is what he is committed to doing. So, yes, there are a lot of challenges right now which, sadly, all of them were exacerbated by the last four years. Now, we have to try to make up for that. And that is a hard pull, but this president is capable of doing it. And he's putting together a great team that I think can help him that. Q>> Thank you, sir. PSAKI>> Thank you. MCCARTHY>> Thank you. JEN PSAKI 130601 PSAKI>> Thank you, Gina McCarthy. Thank you Secretary Kerry for joining us. You're free to go-- MCCARTHY>> Thank you. PSAKI>> -- to go see the President. So you can all see, they're both experienced and passionate and tenacious, having worked with -- with both of them in the past. So, the crisis is in good hands. I know we have a short period of time here. But I just wanted to provide an update on a question that you all have been asking a bit about which is what some of the outreach our teams are doing, as it relates to the covid package. 130632 That is a top priority for President Biden. As we have talked about almost everyday in here, probably every day, our team continues to build support for the American Rescue Plan as more and more across the country recognize the urgent need to get American families the help they need. We've obviously seen a broad coalition of support emerge from the chamber of commerce to Senator Sanders and organized labor to hundreds of mayors and local public health officials. 130702 The President and Vice President are engaged directly with members, and have had a number productive conversations. That will continue during the course of the week and will only pick up in the days ahead. Senior White House officials are also engaging with not just Congressional leaders, but also state and local officials, key constituency groups and others, to gather feedback on the proposal and move the package forward. So let me give you a couple of examples from just yesterday. 130728 Chief of Staff Ron Klain engaged with members directly throughout the day, as did Senior Adviser Anita Dunn which they will both continue to do moving forward. Counselor to the President Steve Fraschetti and office of Legislative Affairs Director Louisa Terrell are quarterbacking the teams' broader legislative outreach, and have had dozens of conversations with individual members to understand their priorities and receive their feedback. 130751 In addition to ongoing conversations with leadership on both sides of the aisle, already this week, members of the national economic council and domestic policy council and staff from treasury have met with the relevant committees, including Senate Banking committee, senate finance committee, House ways and mean, House financial services, House education and labor, and the bicameral small business committee. NEC Director Brian Deese is doing one-on-one briefings with members of the Congress and meetings with caucuses including yesterday's meeting, which I believe has been reported, with the problem-solvers caucus to discuss the proposal. 130824 Hill engagement will continue with Jeff Zients and Brian Deese meeting with the new Dem coalition, along with several other briefings that are scheduled. Also, our outreach isn't limited to Congress which is vitally important. This isn't just about speaking to elected officials. This is also about speaking to the country and building support, and educating and engaging with leaders across the country. So yesterday, Jeff Zients and his team spoke with bipartisan governors, as you all know. They talked about the Covid package by the national governors association -- organized by then. 130856 And administration officials briefed tribal leaders and a number of mayors yesterday as well. And the office of Public Engagement led by Cedric Richmond briefed civil rights groups yesterday including the NAACP, the National Action Network, Justice Action Network, Urban league coalition of Black Civic Participation, and Black women's roundtable. Today, they have meetings with labor leaders, advocates for young people as well as organizations dedicated to building wealth in the Black community. 130921 On Friday, OP will also -- the Office of Public Engagement, I should say. I hate acronyms -- will convene 100 presidents of historically Black colleges and universities also to discuss this proposal. And the only other thing I wanted to mention before we get to your questions is that, as you all know, treasury secretary Janet Yellen was just confirmed. 130940 The President will be meeting with his economic team on Friday including secretary Yellen for a briefing on impact of delay, and moving forward with the additional economic relief. With that, let's get to your questions. Alex, your first day in the white house briefing room. And Alex's first days. Two Alexes first days. Q>> It's good to be here. PSAKI>> There's an initiation afterwards that the press corp will conduct. PSAKI Q&A Q>> [inaud] PSAKI>> Yes, go ahead. Q>> I'll make it quick because you have a pretty hard out in a few minutes. PSAKI>> I think you all have a hard out, too but yes-- 131009 Q>> I wanted to ask about one of your favorite topics: impeachment. Nearly every Republican senator last night voted to throw out the impeachment trial of president Trump. Does president Biden have a reaction to that? Does he trust congress to hold president Trump accountable for the insurrection against the Capitol? And does see censure against former president trump as a viable alternative to convictions, since it looks unlikely at this point? 131034 PSAKI>> Well, the President certainly respects the role that Congress has. Senators, of course, the Senate, as they're overseeing the trial moving forward, in determining the pace and the path forward for holding the former president accountable. That continues to be his belief. In all of his conversations that he's been having with members about the recovery plan, he has -- they have said they expect from him that his focus will be on Covid relief. That's how he will use the bully pulpit. 131104 That's how he will speak to the American people. And they are eager to work with him on that so that's where his focus remains, and what steps they take to hold the former president accountable, he'll leave it to them. Q>> Why the resistance on weighing in on the issue? 131117 PSAKI>> We've weighed in many times. The president has been asked about the issue. We put out a statement when the House put out a vote -- voted on impeachment, I should say. But his focus is on doing -- delivering on what the American people elected him to do, which to get relief to the -- to the American people, to get the pandemic under control, to ensure working families can put food on the table. And that's where he feels his efforts should be -- should remain. Okay. Go ahead. 131144 VEGA Q>> Thanks, Jen. Does the White House have a comment on the social media profile that has emerged of Representative Marjorie Taylor Green. And is there a response to whether any disciplinary action should be taken against her, given everything that's come out? 131158 PSAKI>> We don't, and I'm not going to speak further about her, I think, in this briefing room. VEGA>> Okay, and -- PSAKI>> Oh, go ahead. VEGA>> Okay. One more, if you don't mind, it's just kind of a little bit of a house keeping -- PSAKI>> Sure. 131207 VEGA Q>> The last administration has suggested that -- on the origins on the Covid-19 virus -- that it may have originated in a lab in China. It was never definitive. Do you have an update on that, on the origin, where we are in that investigation? 131222 PSAKI>> Well, first, obviously, the -- the misinformation, of course, that has -- we've seen also come out of -- of some sources in China is of great concern to us. It's imperative that we get to the bottom of the early days of the pandemic in China. And we've been supportive of an international investigation that we feel should be robust and clear. 131248 We -- our view is that we must prepare to draw on information collected and analyzed by our intelligence community, which is something that is ongoing, and to work -- and also to continue to work with our allies to evaluate the report's credibility on the investigation, once it's done. 131304 In addition, as you all know, secretary of state was just -- Tony Blinken was just sworn in yesterday, and one of his priorities, of course, is ensuring that our staffing on the ground in Beijing, which is something that fell back in the last administration, is returned to what it was prio, which means we want to have science experts, policy experts on the ground, in the roles that they should be serving in to ensure that, you know, we're also there representing, you know, our interests from the United States on the ground in China. Go ahead. 131334 Q>> Couple quick ones that I still don't think I fully understand. I know the executive order was signed, but has this white house invoked the DPA? And how soon will we actually see companies be compelled to produce supplies or vaccines or whatever else impacts Americans? PSAKI>> We -- It was invoked, the day it was signed, within 24 hours of it being signed. Q>> I know that jump-started the process. So I guess that meant it was invoked? PSAKI>> Yes, and I confirmed that when it was -- the next day, the following day in the briefing room which I realize everybody can't be here every day because of Covid. 131402 But it was invoked and it means that our work is ongoing with companies to ensure that we are expediting the manufacturing of materials to ensure that we can get 100 million shots in the arms of Americans. And I know there's been some confusion about this, and what exactly it is. What does the DPA mean? 131422 There are a few examples that our team has cited including vaccine -- on vaccine supply, low-dead space syringes which means it allows for the ability to get an extra dose into the Pfizer vial which is important to getting more doses out there, help -- additional N-95, the production of additional N-95 masks, isolation gowns, gloves, pipette tips and high absorbancy foam swabs. So we're really talking about very specific materials that can be used by vaccinators to get these shots in the arms of Americans. 131454 Q>> Thanks for clarifying. There was some confusion on the earlier call which is why I repeated here. Let me ask one other question. Yesterday, you deflected this to the USOC (?) but my question is a little bit different today. We're now hearing from the organizers of this year's summer games in Japan. The head of Japan's olympic committee is seeking public reassurances from President Biden himself given that the U.S., of course, Is the largest contingent of athletes, that the games should be able to go on. As the world's -- as the world is dealing with this pandemic right now, based on where we are right now with the vaccine, does president Biden believe the games in Japan can safely go on? 131529 PSAKI>> Well, the president -- and I'm not sure if this readout had gone out yet, but he had spoken with the prime minister of Japan earlier this morning. And a readout was going out as we were coming out to the briefing. I'm not sure if they spoke about the Olympics. I'm happy to check with our national security team on that, to follow up with, but I don't have any more assessment of the olympics at this point in time. Q>> So it hasn't been discussed whether he has a position on whether it will safely be able to go ahead? 131555 PSAKI>> I don't have anything more than -- I haven't had much on it. But I don't have anything more than I've had on other days on it. Q>> -- so, we asked. So we'll follow up. PSAKI>> Understood. And they just had a call this morning. but I haven't had a chance to talk to him specifically about it. Go ahead. Q>> Thank you, Jen. Q>> Thanks, Jen. Two vaccine questions. First of all, this came up on the Covid call earlier but how seriously is the White House considering using the defense protection act to compel other pharmaceutical companies to produce the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines to resupply? 131624 PSAKI>> Well, I didn't hear the entirety of the call because we were doing some preparation for the event this afternoon. But from listening to our team talk about it, there are obviously manufacturing facilities that have the capacity and ability to get these vaccine doses out. And we don't want to get our -- behind the pace, and start from scratch, I should say, in ensuring that they're ready to do that. I don't think our concern at this point is whether or not we're going to have the vaccine doses. 131653 Obviously, the president announced yesterday the intention to purchase dosed -- additional doses, the -- our confidence in the manufacturers to have those doses available, the concerns we have are, one, contingency planning and all of the different things that can happen because this is a herculean task that has never been done before, but also ensuring we have vaccinators, vaccine sites, et cetera, available. So I have not heard from our team of plans to seek other manufacturers at this point in time. And I'm happy to follow up with them and see if there's anything additional. 131728 Q>> On the 200 million doses, the president said he's ordering them. What is the status of that order? Have Pfizer and Moderna agreed to produce 100 million doses each? And how quickly do they say they can do it? PSAKI>> Well, we expect to get the doses by mid-to-late summer. The majority of doses by mid-to late-summer, some earlier than that so we are confident that we'll be able to get those from the manufacturers, yes. Go ahead, Karen. 131757 TRAVERS Q>> Jen, a couple questions on schools. Does the administration plan to develop metrics or standards for what a safe reopening of schools will look like? 131804 PSAKI>> We do. And -- and our CDC director, and I'm not sure, again, if she was asked about this important question, I know as a fellow mother. But we will have specifics that we'll defer to the CDC on, on the safe reopening of schools. As you know, the President talked about -- has talked about his commitment and his goal of reopening most K through 8 schools within 100 days. There are obviously a number of steps that will need to be taken in order for that to be possible. 131834 But he's directed the Department of Education, the Department of Health and Human Services to provide guidance on safe reopening and operating for schools, child care providers and institutions of higher education. But as our Covid team has outlined, that's going to require testing materials, support for contact tracing, vaccinations for teachers, and ensuring they're equitably provided. But our, the -- our CDC director and team will be looking into putting together some specific guidelines so there can be clarity on that front -- TRAVERS>> And to follow up on that -- PSAKI>> -- which I know a lot of districts are looking for. Go ahead 131905 TRAVERS Q>> Those things you mentioned all cost a lot of money, and a big part of the Covid relief package is a lot of money to go to school reopening. If Congress doesn't approve the money you want, and schools don't have what they need to pay for things to open safely, would the President support teachers staying at home and support virtual learning continuing through this entire school year? 131923 PSAKI>> Well, I think the President recognizes, as we all do, the value of having children in schools and doing that in a safe way, which is one of the reasons he's set this ambitious goal of reopening most K through 8 schools within 100 days, but one of the reasons that this -- the funding for safe reopening for getting schools the equipment, the testing, the ventilation in some cases that they need is because nobody wants to be having a conversation in May or June about why schools are not reopened. 131954 So, this goes back to the argument that our team has been making, and all of these calls and engagements and meetings that I outlined about the importance and vital nature of each component of the package. So, we won't get into a hypothetical. We are confident that Congress will move forward with a package. 132010 Let me just go-- we gotta wrap up soon. Okay. I'm sorry. We'll do more questions tomorrow. But we had two such great guests. Jen, go ahead. Q>> Thank you...one on the climate actions today, they leave out treasury's financial stability and oversight council, which the experts say could play an influential role in addressing climate risks. Does the administration have plans to take action on climate finance, and should FSOC direct agencies and regulators to address climate change? 132037 PSAKI>> Well, I'm going to use a reference that my friend and colleague Ambassador Susan Rice used yesterday which is "there are 1,453 days left in this administration." And addressing climate and the crisis of climate is an issue that the President has conveyed to members of his cabinet, members of his senior team is an absolute priority. So Secretary Yellen has been in her role for one day, but certainly, I'd send you to them for any more specifics. But this is the beginning, not the end of our work on climate. Nadia? Oh, go ahead. 132108 Q>> Is the white house concerned about the stock market activity we're seeing around Gamestop, now with some other stocks as well including the...company that was Blockbuster? And have there been any conversations with the FCC on how to proceed? 132127 PSAKI>> Well, I'm also happy to repeat that we have the first female treasury secretary and a team that's surrounding her, and often questions about market we'll send to them. But our team is, of course, our economic team including secretary Yellen and others are monitoring the situation. It's a good reminder, though, that the stock market isn't the only measure of the health of our econom-- of our economy. It doesn't reflect how working and middle class families are doing. As you all know, from covering this, we're in the midst of a K-shaped recovery. America's are struggling to make ends meet, which is why the President has introduced this urgent package to get immediate relief to families. Alright I'm going to go Nadia, and then, we'll be totally done 'cause everybody has to go. Okay. Go ahead. 132205 Q>> [inaud] I have two questions. PSAKI>> Sure. Q>> One about covid and one about China. Regarding Covid, the president promised to increase supplies to states by 10 million doses, yet statistically 47% of Americans are hesitant to take the vaccine, despite that the President and vice president took it publicly. What is the administration doing to convince Americans to take it, to reach the herd immunity by say 70% by the fall? 132235 PSAKI>> You're absolutely right, Nadia, that this is one of the biggest challenges we face. And for anyone who tuned into the briefing that our health team led this morning, it was one of the first issues that CDC director Dr. Walensky raised. And one of the things we're doing is prioritizing providing correct information about it -- the vaccine -- and -- so I'll take the opportunity, the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines are safe and effective. That's one of the things she said today. 132301 They were tested in large clinical trials to make sure they meet safety standards. About 30% of US participants in those trials were Hispanic, African American, Asian or Native american. About half were adults. And so, we want to provide clear data as I just did, but also we want to meet people where they are, communicate directly with communities of color, people who have concerns, and use medical and health professionals to do exactly that. Okay, you had a China question, and then you really have to go. But go ahead. 132328 Q>> And second, many welcomed your rejoining of the WHO, yet some want to push for a transparent investigation into the relationship between China and WHO. And also yesterday in the hearing in the senate, governor Raimondo declined to black list Huawei technology in the US. Is this some kind of caving in to China or is it a nuanced way to deal with China? 132354 PSAKI>> So, I think your -- the second reference I think was to Huawei, right? And then, come -- yes. Q>> [inaud] PSAKI>> So let me just convey clearly our position on this. Let us be clear: telecommunications equipment made by untrusted vendors including Huawei is a threat to the security of the US and our allies. 132413 We'll ensure that the American telecommunications network do not use equipment from untrusted venues, and will work with allies to secure their telecommunications networks. And make investments to expand the production of telecommunications equipment by trusted US and allied companies. Again, we'll take many more questions tomorrow. Thank you all. Have a great rest of your day. ##
WHITE HOUSE BRIEFING WITH JEN PSAKI - ROBO STIX
FS36 WH PSAKI PRESS BRIEF ROBO HEAD ON 1215 White House briefing with Press Secretary Jen Psaki, Special Presidential Envoy for Climate John Kerry, and National Climate Advisor Gina McCarthy 123147 PSAKI>> Hi, everyone! I have to give you a fancy introduction. [laughter] Good afternoon. President Biden is continuing to follow through on his key promise to take swift and bold action that addresses the climate crisis, building on his Day 1 actions of rejoining the Paris Agreement, and strengthening our clean air and water protections and to -- and holding polluters accountable. 123218 Today, he will take executive action to tackle the climate crisis at home and abroad while creating good paying, union jobs, building sustainable infrastructure and delivering environmental justice. I'm thrilled today, as a part of our effort to bring policy experts into the briefing room, we're joined by two very special guests who are going to take you -- talk to you all about today's executive orders and take a few questions as well. And I will always -- as always play the role of bad cop when they have to go. 123248 National climate adviser Gina McCarthy and special presidential envoy for climate and my former boss, former secretary of state John Kerry. And a big day for Boston in the briefing room, so. [laughter] With that, go ahead. GINA MCCARTHY 123300 MCCARTHY>> Thank you. It's a big day for Boston every day. Thank you, everybody. Today, president Biden will build on the actions he took on day one, and he'll take more steps to fulfill commitments he made to tackle the climate crisis while creating good paying, union jobs and achieving environmental justice. 123324 In his campaign, he and vice president Harris put forward the most ambitious climate vision that any presidential ticket had ever embraced. And he spent more time campaigning on climate than we have ever seen. The president also has consistently identified the climate crisis as one of four interrelated existential crises that are gripping our nation all at once. And he's demanding answers that can address all four. And he's not waiting to take action, getting us started on his first day in office because science is telling us that we don't have a moment to lose to fight against all four of these crises in a way that recognizes their intersectionality. 123412 He's always committed the U.S to renter. -- I'm sorry, he's already committed the US to re-enter the Paris climate agreement. And he committed us, as well, to start undoing the assault on our environment that has occurred over the past four years. And he is now taking additional action to really target the challenge of climate change. So, today, for me is a very good day. Just one week into his administration, president Biden is continuing to move us forward, at the breadth and the pace that climate science demands. 123449 Today's executive order starts by saying, "it is the policy of this administration that climate considerations shall be an essential element of US foreign policy and national security." That's where the big guy comes in. It gives my colleague John Kerry, the first ever international climate envoy, the authority to really drive forward a process that will restore American leadership on climate throughout the world, and you will see and hear more about that from Secretary Kerry. 123523 But here at home, we have to do our part or we will not be able to make the kind of worldwide change that climate change demands. So this executive order establishes a White House Office of Domestic Climate Policy, and it directs everyone who works for the President to use every tool available at our disposal to solve the climate crisis. 123548 Because we're going to take a whole of government approach. We're going to power our economy with clean energy. We're going to do that in a way that will produce millions of American jobs that are going to be good paying, that are going to be jobs that have the opportunity for workers to join a union because, as President Biden has often told us, when he thinks of climate change, his first thought is about jobs. 123618 And it should be. Because people in this country need a job, and this is about making that happen in the most creative and significant way that the federal government can move forward. And we're going to make sure that nobody is left behind. And I'm not just talking about communities in terms of environmental justice, but workers as well. 123639 This order takes historic strides to address environmental injustice. It creates both a White House Interagency Task Force to address environmental justice, as well as an Advisory Council. It directs the Department of Health and Human Services to create an office of Climate Change and Health Equity because, after all, climate change is the most significant public health challenge of our time. 123706 And it tasks the department of justice with establishing an office of Climate Justice. Because we know that communities who are being hurt, and we know we have to start enforcing the standards today and ensuring that they are part of the solution, and in places that we can invest. In fact, it commits 40% of our investment in clean energy towards disadvantaged communities so they can benefit from the new jobs that are available, and see that better future. 123737 President Biden's order establishes a working group on coal and power plant communities because we have to make sure that, in this transition, every agency in government is using every tool at their disposal to drive resources to those communities. And it fulfills long-standing commitments to leverage our vast resources to contribute to our clean energy future. It places a pause and review on new oil and gas leases on federal public lands and waters, consistent with the promise president Biden has repeatedly made and has been very clear in the face of efforts to distort his promise. 123822 And it sets a goal of doubling offshore wind production by 2030. In addition, he plans to sign a presidential memorandum that aims to restore scientific integrity across the federal government and earn back the public's trust, making a commitment to base solutions on the best available science and data. So, today is a very big day for science and for our efforts to power our economy with good paying union jobs. Thank you very much. JOHN KERRY 123903 KERRY>>> Good afternoon, everybody. It's great to be here. Let me say, first of all, what a pleasure it is to be here with Gina. I'm a big fan of Gina's. Gina and I worked very, very closely together during the campaign, when we sat down to -- to bring the Bernie Sanders folks together around the Biden climate plan. 123927 And she is the perfect person to be tackling the domestic side of this equation, which is complicated. And nobody knows the details better than she does, and nobody is going to be more effective at corralling everybody to move in the same direction. It's also an enormous pleasure for me to be here with Jen Psaki. 123950 She mentioned that -- nobody was her boss, but I had the privilege of working with her. And she, seven years ago, we gathered in the State Department briefing room -- she's traded up, obviously. But she has not given away any of her fundamental principles in commitment to telling you all the truth, telling the American people the truth and doing so with great candor and transparency. 124020 And I'm very happy to be here with her. The stakes -- the stakes on climate change just simply couldn't be any higher than they are right now. It is existential. We use that word too easily and we throw it away, but we have a big agenda in front of us on a global basis. 124041 And President Biden is deeply committed, totally seized by this issue as you can tell by this executive order and, and by the other -- the initiative of getting back into Paris immediately. That's why he rejoined the Paris agreement so quickly because he knows it is urgent. He also knows that Paris alone is not enough, not when almost 90% of all of the planet's emissions, global emissions, come from outside of US borders. 124110 We could go to zero tomorrow, and the problem isn't solved. So that's why today, one week into the job, President Biden will sign this additional executive set of orders to help move us down the road, ensuring that ambitious climate action is global in scope and scale, as well as national -- here at home. 124136 Today, in the order that he will sign that Gina has described to you, he makes climate central to foreign policy planning, to diplomacy, and to national security preparedness. It creates new platforms to coordinate climate action across the federal agencies and departments, sorely needed. And most importantly, it commissions a National Intelligence estimate on the security implications of climate change to give all of us an even deeper understanding of the challenge. 124211 This is the first time a President has ever done that. And our 17 intelligence agencies are going to come together and assess exactly what the danger and damage and potential risks are. The order directs the State department to prepare a transmittal package, seeking Senate advice and consent, on the Kigali Amendment on the Montreal protocol, an amendment that by itself, if ratified and fully enforced globally, could hold the Earth's temperature by .5 of an entire degree, not insignificant. 124247 And it sets forth a process for us to develop a new ambitious Paris target, as well as a U.S. Climate Finance plan, both of which are essential to our being able to bring countries of the world together, to raise ambition, and meet this moment when we go to Glasgow for the follow-on agreement to Paris. 124309 So that's the only way for the world to succeed together, my friends. It's -- again, this is an issue where failure literally is not an option. 124318 As he committed to doing on the campaign trail, the President is announcing that he will host a leaders' summit on climate change less than three months from now on April 22nd, Earth Day, which will include a leader-level reconvening of the major economies forum. We'll have specifics to lay out over time, but the convening of this -- of this summit, is essential to ensuring that the -- that 2021 is going to be the year that really makes up for the lost time of the last four years. 124355 And that the U.N. Climate conference COP26, as it's called, which the UK is hosting in November to make sure that it's an unqualified success. The road to Glasgow will be marked not just by promises, but by progress at a pace that we can all be proud of. And Gina is going to be putting her efforts into making concern that that is true. The world will measure us by what we can do here at home. So with these executive actions today, we believe we're steps further down that journey. Thank you. Q&A 124433 PSAKI>> All right. Let's start with Nancy. Q>> Thank you so much. Secretary Kerry, a question for you and then for administrator McCarthy. You talked about the fact that it won't really matter what we do very much if the rest of the world doesn't do the same thing. But the US Has had a fairly rocky relationship with China recently. How do you plan to try to bring both China and India to the table on this issue? 124457 KERRY>> Wel, before I -- before I answer that, let me just say that the issue of making a difference -- i.e, what we do at home -- what I'm saying is: you can't solve the problem alone, but our doing things makes an enormous difference. What Gina succeeds in pulling together is essential to our ability to have credibility in the world. Now -- 124524 With respect to China, obviously, we have serious differences with China on some very, very important issues. And I am as mindful of that as anybody, having served as Secretary of State and in the Senate. The issues of theft of intellectual property and access to market, South China Sea -- I mean, you run the list. We all know them. 124528 Those issues will never be treated for anything that has to do with climate. That's not going to happen, but climate is a critical stand alone issue that we have to deal on, in the sense that China is 30% of the emissions in the world. We're about 15% of the emissions in the world. 124609 You add the EU to that, and you've got three entities that are more than -- than 55% or so. So it's urgent that we find a way to compartmentalize, to move forward, and we'll wait and see. But President Biden is very, very clear about the need to address the other issues with China. And I know some people have been concerned. Nothing is going to be siphoned off into one area from another. 124638 Q>> And then, a question for either of you on coal. Your executive order talks about oil and gas on federal lands, but it doesn't really say much about coal. What is this administration's policy when it comes to coal? 124650 MCCARTHY>> Well, in terms of the oil and gas decision, it was -- is to make sure that we take a little pause, and review the entire strategy of how we're looking at public lands. So it will include looking at what new leases ought to be approved and sold. It's looking at our ability, also, to look at coal in that mix. So the program review is going to look at how we manage public lands, consistent with climate. 124715 But also consistent with the marriage between climate and, really, growing jobs of the future. So, it will be in the mix to be looked at, but it is -- it is not at this point included. It was not part of the commitments on the campaign, but we're going to take a close look at all of it. And can I just add on your comment about China, which I'm not going to speak to the international dynamic, but I am going to say that: part of the challenge that we face here is a challenge that president Biden has already started to address with his Buy America pledge. 124748 We have to start not just shifting to clean energy, but it has to be manufactured in the United States of America. You know, not in other countries, and there is going to be a large discussion about how we make sure that a lot of the investment is -- is about building up our manufacturing base again. That's great jobs. That's often, hopefully, union jobs. But it is also a wonderful opportunity for us to recoup the benefits of that manufacturing, and lower the cost of clean energy. 124820 Part of the way we're going to get there is by making sure the federal government buys American, and that the federal government looks at its procurement across every agency, so that the breadth of what we spend is spent designed to advance job growth in the United States, to advance health benefits for environmental justice communities, and to begin to tackle the very challenged -- the existential challenge of climate change. PSAKI>> Jeff Mason. 124849 Q>> Thank you. Jeff Mason with Reuters. Question for both of you. Can you give us a sense of when you expect to have the so-called NDC or the US Target for cutting greenhouse gas emissions as part of the Paris accord? And can you also give us a sense of how ambitious you plan to make that number? Will it be 40%, 50%, higher than that? 124914 MCCARTHY>> Well -- KERRY>> We're united in this, so. MCCARTHY>> Yeah, I'm -- I'm the dude who's supposed to deliver this in a timely way, and he sets the timing. So that basically -- 124923 We want to make sure that the NDC is something that can be announced before the summit on Earth Day. And so we're going to be, out of the gate, working with the agencies to see what kind of reductions and mitigation opportunities there are. 124938 And also, again, to look at our public lands to make sure that we can continue to store carbon in our soil, to work with agriculture and others, to look at how we better manage our forests so we're not seeing the devastating forest fires that we've been having before. So all across the federal government, every agency, and you'll see many of them specifically tasked in this executive order, will participate in the task force that we're going to have to actually develop the most aggressive NDC that we can to deliver the kind of boost that Secretary Kerry is looking for, to be able to ensure that our international efforts are robust and -- and sufficient to address the challenge internationally. 125025 Q>> Just follow-up for that, for Secretary Kerry, how do you assert to our international partners that the US will stick to whatever you propose after having seen the Trump administration take the U.S. out of the Paris accord? KERRY>> Well, that's precisely why we're going to stick by it. And I think our word is strong. 125045 I've been on the phone for the last few days, talking to our allies in Europe, elsewhere around the world, and they are welcoming us back. They know that this administration already had a significant part of what has brought us to -- will bring us to Glasgow, which was the Paris Agreement. The Obama-Biden administration had great credibility on this issue, and having President Biden be the person now who is driving this forward is enormously meaningful to -- to the folks there. 125117 And they also know that I was deeply involved in the negotiations in Paris. And am now asked by the President, by President Biden, to make certain that we do the same at Glasgow, if not more. So, I have had no one question our credibility at this point in time. Someone probably will. And the answer will be that I think we can achieve things in the course of the next four years that will move the marketplace, the private sector, global finance, innovation and research, that, in fact, no -- no one, no political person in the future will be able to undo what the planet is going to be organizing over the next months and years. 125203 This is the start of something new. I don't know if you read Larry Fink's letter of BlackRock the other day, yesterday. But there's a new awareness among major asset managers, commercial banks and others about the need to be putting resources into this endeavor, because it is -- it is major in investment demand. So, I think the proof will be in what we do. Neither Gina nor I are going to start, you know, throwing around a lot of big promises. 125237 But you heard what she just said, and we will work very closely. Because we're going to try to bring to the table to help inform her and the folks she's working with what we're picking up abroad, and what people are doing abroad and the steps they're taking and how we now have to measure ourselves against them, and they will measure themselves against us. We are well aware of that. 125257 MCCARTHY>> Can I just add something? I just want to call attention to the fact that cities and states have really picked up the initiative to move forward on clean energy because the solutions are cheap. The solutions compete effectively against fossil fuels. 125316 We are talking about solutions that we're not asking anybody to sacrifice but are to their advantage, and if you look at the record over the past four years, while the prior administration might have wanted energy -- clean energy to head in a different direction, it's gone faster and farther than anyone ever expected. 125335 And the idea that we could, with this new work that we're doing together, send signals to the marketplace through our purchasing at the federal level and our re-looking at different ways of having on-the-ground change, we can build that demand. We actually grow significantly millions of clean energy jobs. And all of a sudden, the question won't be whether the private sector is going to buy into it. The private sector is going to drive it. 125405 And so, this is going to be a signal setter, the way the federal government ought to set, on what our values are, what we think the future needs to be and that's -- it's -- this is a value-lading -- laden effort that President Biden has undertaken with full knowledge that it's going to benefit jobs, it's going to benefit our health, and is going to lead to that future we want to hand to our children. PSAKI>> Let's do these two in the front. Then, they will come back. I promise. So go ahead. 125434 VEGA Q>> Thank you. Mr. Secretary, if you would, there certainly are oil and gas industry workers who are watching you both right now who will hear the message, that's -- the takeaway to them is that they're seeing an end to their livelihoods. What do you say to them, particularly those people who President Trump struck a chord with on the campaign trail when he promised to save their jobs? What is your message to them right now? And also, to the oil industry executives who are listening, are you putting them on notice today? 125507 KERRY>> Well, we didn't come here to put anybody on notice except to the seriousness of President Biden's intent to do what needs to be done to deal with this crisis, and it is a crisis. With respect to those workers, no -- no two people are more, in this room, more concerned about it. 125528 And the President of the United States has expressed in every comment he's made about climate the need to grow the new jobs that pay better, that are cleaner, that -- I mean, you know, you look at the consequences of black lung for a miner, for instance, and measure that against the fastest growing job in the United States before Covid was solar-powered technician. 125551 The same people can do those jobs, but the choice of doing the solar-power one now is a better choice. And similarly, you have the second fastest growing job pre-Covid was wind turbine technician. This is happening. 75%, 70% of all the electricity that's come online in the United States in the last few years came from renewables, not -- you know, coal plants have been closing over the last 20 years. 125620 So what President Biden wants to do is make sure those folks have better choices, that they have alternatives, that they can be the people who go to work to make the solar panels. That we're (?) making them here at home, that is going to be a particular focus of the Build Back Better agenda. And I think that, unfortunately, workers have been fed a false narrative -- no surprise, right? -- for the last few years. 125650 They've been fed the notion that, somehow, dealing with climate is coming at their expense. No, it's not. What's happening to them is happening because other market forces are already taking place. 125703 And what the -- what the fiananceres, the big banks, the asset managers, private investors, ventures capital are all discovering is there's a lot of money to be made in the creation of these news jobs in these sectors. So whether it's green hydrogen that is going to come, whether it's geothermal heat, or whether it -- whatever it's going to be, those are jobs. The same worker who works in South Carolina today, putting together a BMW which happens to be made there, and -- and is currently an internal combustion can put together a car, but it's electric. 125743 So this is not a choice between having jobs, having good jobs, having the quality of life. Quality of life will be better when Gina has put her team together that produces choices for us that are healthier -- less cancer, cleaner air. The greatest -- the greatest cost to America, the greatest cause of children being hospitalized every summer in the United states, we spend $55 million a year on it, is environmental induced asthma. 125813 That will change as we begin to rein in what we used to call "pollution" in this country, because it is pollution. And I think that workers are going to see that, with the efforts of the Biden administration, they're going to have a much better set of choices and, frankly, it will create more jobs than stuck where we were. 125833 MCCARTHY>> Can I just add, by pointing out a couple of things in the executive order that I want you to just call to your attention? We talked about the civilian conservation corp. That is an opportunity to put younger people into work in vitally important efforts. But if you look at this, it also has set up a task force that is looking at these coal communities, communities that are really reliant on their local energy and utility, and it talks about how do we revitalize those economies? 125907 And it talks about how we can put people to work using the skills they currently have where they are to start looking at those old abandoned oil and gas wells that are spewing out methane, or all of the coal that is -- mines that haven't been properly closed that are doing the same. That has great impact on climate, but also will keep an opportunity for those -- for those individual workers to have work in their own communities. We're not going to ask people to go from the middle of Ohio, or Pennsylvania and ship out to the coast to have solar jobs. You know, solar jobs will be everywhere. But -- 125950 We need to put people to work in their own communities. That's where their home is. That's where their vision is. So we're creatively looking at those opportunities for investment, so that we can get people understanding that we are not trying to take away jobs. Remember, when -- when we say "climate change," eventually, people are going to think "jobs" just like President Biden when he hears the words "climate change." 130016 And so, we'll do everything we can to recognize that revitalization is necessary in these communities to find creative ways to put them to work. And then, we're going to do, as secretary Kerry says, and start investing in new technologies and new manufacturing. And that includes the large manufacturing like cement and steel. That's work that we should be doing here. That's work that inevitably is going to be necessary to rebuild our infrastructure which is also one of the biggest opportunities we have for job growth moving forward. 130052 Q>> Two quick questions? PSAKI>> Peter. Q>> Sure. Administrator, one to you and one to the secretary, if I may. What you may hear from some corners of the criticism is why are we doing this now when we're already in an economic crisis? You look at the state of New Mexico where one-third of the state's budget is funded by oil and gas. So, why not let the country get back on its feet before we do this? 130115 MCCARTHY>> Well, the issue in New Mexico is that somebody reported a bit incorrectly -- well, maybe not as precisely enough -- that this wasn't about impacting existing permits and fracking. This was about new leases on federal lands. So I think that the opportunity for the states to continue to accrue the royalties from -- from, from both coal and oil and natural gas that is properly done on federal lands is going to continue. And there's even an opportunity in the review of that program to look at the royalty issues, look at the job growth opportunities, look at a variety of things to make sure that public lands are being properly managed. 130158 Now, in terms of the job issue, we're explicitly doing this because our economy is right now stagnant. We have people -- millions of people out of work, out of jobs, millions of people that are afraid they can't feed their families. If you're faced with that, what do you do? You boost the economy and you grow jobs. 130219 But why, at the same time, aren't we thinking about the weaknesses of our current economy in terms of the number of environmental injustice communities that have been left behind? 130230 The number of people breathing dirty air and their kids are getting asthma. So instead, let's think about it all of it at the same time. I know it's a crazy idea in a bureaucracy. You're only supposed to do one thing, but we're going to do and think about all of it. Because people need to have jobs. This is all about building the jobs of the future we want, not continuing needle (?) at an economy that is no longer going to be where our future lies. 130259 Q>> Mr. Secretary, to you, right now, over the course of this first week, there are a lot of big priorities here. There's Covid, the economy, immigration, racial justice, aow climate change. As a veteran of Congress, of the Senate, what is the priority? And how quickly do you need legislation to make this permanent? 130317 KERRY>> Well, the -- Peter, the priority is precisely what the president has set out. All of them, all six of the major crises that he faces. And he's addressing every single one of them, and he knows that the United States, all of us, have the ability to be able to do that. And the reason that has to be done is every single one of them are life and death. Every single one of them represent a challenge to the very fiber of our society. 130347 And the other reason, obviously, everything -- I agree with everything Gina said. But I'd simply add that the other reason for doing it now is the science tells us we have to. And that's one of the things the president is restoring today, in the executive order, is respect for science and the science office. So, I mean -- Q>> 2 trillion price tag. $2 trillion for Covid. $2 trillion for this. It's a lot of money to a lot of Americans. 130414 KERRY>> It is real money. And yes, it's a lot of money. But you know what? It costs a lot more if you don't do the things we need to do. It costs a lot more. There are countless economic analyses now that show that it is now cheaper to deal with the crisis of climate than it is to ignore it. We spent $265 billion, two years ago on three -- three storms, Irma, Harvey and Maria. Maria destroyed Puerto Rico. Harvey dropped more water on Houston in five days than goes over Niagara Falls in a year. 130448 And Irma had the first recorded winds of 185 miles an hour for 24 sustained hours. That -- last year, we had one storm, $55 billion. So we're spending the money, folks. We're just not doing it smart. We're not doing it in the way that would actually sustain us for the long term. So this is critical. We're -- the goal of the Paris Agreement was to hold the Earth's temperature increase to 2 degrees centigrade. Even if you did everything that was in Paris, we're going up 3.7 or 4. That's catastrophic. 130524 What president Biden is trying to do is listen to science, listen to facts, and make tough decisions about what we need to do to take the world to a better place. And particularly, our own country. And that is what he is committed to doing. So, yes, there are a lot of challenges right now which, sadly, all of them were exacerbated by the last four years. Now, we have to try to make up for that. And that is a hard pull, but this president is capable of doing it. And he's putting together a great team that I think can help him that. Q>> Thank you, sir. PSAKI>> Thank you. MCCARTHY>> Thank you. JEN PSAKI 130601 PSAKI>> Thank you, Gina McCarthy. Thank you Secretary Kerry for joining us. You're free to go-- MCCARTHY>> Thank you. PSAKI>> -- to go see the President. So you can all see, they're both experienced and passionate and tenacious, having worked with -- with both of them in the past. So, the crisis is in good hands. I know we have a short period of time here. But I just wanted to provide an update on a question that you all have been asking a bit about which is what some of the outreach our teams are doing, as it relates to the covid package. 130632 That is a top priority for President Biden. As we have talked about almost everyday in here, probably every day, our team continues to build support for the American Rescue Plan as more and more across the country recognize the urgent need to get American families the help they need. We've obviously seen a broad coalition of support emerge from the chamber of commerce to Senator Sanders and organized labor to hundreds of mayors and local public health officials. 130702 The President and Vice President are engaged directly with members, and have had a number productive conversations. That will continue during the course of the week and will only pick up in the days ahead. Senior White House officials are also engaging with not just Congressional leaders, but also state and local officials, key constituency groups and others, to gather feedback on the proposal and move the package forward. So let me give you a couple of examples from just yesterday. 130728 Chief of Staff Ron Klain engaged with members directly throughout the day, as did Senior Adviser Anita Dunn which they will both continue to do moving forward. Counselor to the President Steve Fraschetti and office of Legislative Affairs Director Louisa Terrell are quarterbacking the teams' broader legislative outreach, and have had dozens of conversations with individual members to understand their priorities and receive their feedback. 130751 In addition to ongoing conversations with leadership on both sides of the aisle, already this week, members of the national economic council and domestic policy council and staff from treasury have met with the relevant committees, including Senate Banking committee, senate finance committee, House ways and mean, House financial services, House education and labor, and the bicameral small business committee. NEC Director Brian Deese is doing one-on-one briefings with members of the Congress and meetings with caucuses including yesterday's meeting, which I believe has been reported, with the problem-solvers caucus to discuss the proposal. 130824 Hill engagement will continue with Jeff Zients and Brian Deese meeting with the new Dem coalition, along with several other briefings that are scheduled. Also, our outreach isn't limited to Congress which is vitally important. This isn't just about speaking to elected officials. This is also about speaking to the country and building support, and educating and engaging with leaders across the country. So yesterday, Jeff Zients and his team spoke with bipartisan governors, as you all know. They talked about the Covid package by the national governors association -- organized by then. 130856 And administration officials briefed tribal leaders and a number of mayors yesterday as well. And the office of Public Engagement led by Cedric Richmond briefed civil rights groups yesterday including the NAACP, the National Action Network, Justice Action Network, Urban league coalition of Black Civic Participation, and Black women's roundtable. Today, they have meetings with labor leaders, advocates for young people as well as organizations dedicated to building wealth in the Black community. 130921 On Friday, OP will also -- the Office of Public Engagement, I should say. I hate acronyms -- will convene 100 presidents of historically Black colleges and universities also to discuss this proposal. And the only other thing I wanted to mention before we get to your questions is that, as you all know, treasury secretary Janet Yellen was just confirmed. 130940 The President will be meeting with his economic team on Friday including secretary Yellen for a briefing on impact of delay, and moving forward with the additional economic relief. With that, let's get to your questions. Alex, your first day in the white house briefing room. And Alex's first days. Two Alexes first days. Q>> It's good to be here. PSAKI>> There's an initiation afterwards that the press corp will conduct. PSAKI Q&A Q>> [inaud] PSAKI>> Yes, go ahead. Q>> I'll make it quick because you have a pretty hard out in a few minutes. PSAKI>> I think you all have a hard out, too but yes-- 131009 Q>> I wanted to ask about one of your favorite topics: impeachment. Nearly every Republican senator last night voted to throw out the impeachment trial of president Trump. Does president Biden have a reaction to that? Does he trust congress to hold president Trump accountable for the insurrection against the Capitol? And does see censure against former president trump as a viable alternative to convictions, since it looks unlikely at this point? 131034 PSAKI>> Well, the President certainly respects the role that Congress has. Senators, of course, the Senate, as they're overseeing the trial moving forward, in determining the pace and the path forward for holding the former president accountable. That continues to be his belief. In all of his conversations that he's been having with members about the recovery plan, he has -- they have said they expect from him that his focus will be on Covid relief. That's how he will use the bully pulpit. 131104 That's how he will speak to the American people. And they are eager to work with him on that so that's where his focus remains, and what steps they take to hold the former president accountable, he'll leave it to them. Q>> Why the resistance on weighing in on the issue? 131117 PSAKI>> We've weighed in many times. The president has been asked about the issue. We put out a statement when the House put out a vote -- voted on impeachment, I should say. But his focus is on doing -- delivering on what the American people elected him to do, which to get relief to the -- to the American people, to get the pandemic under control, to ensure working families can put food on the table. And that's where he feels his efforts should be -- should remain. Okay. Go ahead. 131144 VEGA Q>> Thanks, Jen. Does the White House have a comment on the social media profile that has emerged of Representative Marjorie Taylor Green. And is there a response to whether any disciplinary action should be taken against her, given everything that's come out? 131158 PSAKI>> We don't, and I'm not going to speak further about her, I think, in this briefing room. VEGA>> Okay, and -- PSAKI>> Oh, go ahead. VEGA>> Okay. One more, if you don't mind, it's just kind of a little bit of a house keeping -- PSAKI>> Sure. 131207 VEGA Q>> The last administration has suggested that -- on the origins on the Covid-19 virus -- that it may have originated in a lab in China. It was never definitive. Do you have an update on that, on the origin, where we are in that investigation? 131222 PSAKI>> Well, first, obviously, the -- the misinformation, of course, that has -- we've seen also come out of -- of some sources in China is of great concern to us. It's imperative that we get to the bottom of the early days of the pandemic in China. And we've been supportive of an international investigation that we feel should be robust and clear. 131248 We -- our view is that we must prepare to draw on information collected and analyzed by our intelligence community, which is something that is ongoing, and to work -- and also to continue to work with our allies to evaluate the report's credibility on the investigation, once it's done. 131304 In addition, as you all know, secretary of state was just -- Tony Blinken was just sworn in yesterday, and one of his priorities, of course, is ensuring that our staffing on the ground in Beijing, which is something that fell back in the last administration, is returned to what it was prio, which means we want to have science experts, policy experts on the ground, in the roles that they should be serving in to ensure that, you know, we're also there representing, you know, our interests from the United States on the ground in China. Go ahead. 131334 Q>> Couple quick ones that I still don't think I fully understand. I know the executive order was signed, but has this white house invoked the DPA? And how soon will we actually see companies be compelled to produce supplies or vaccines or whatever else impacts Americans? PSAKI>> We -- It was invoked, the day it was signed, within 24 hours of it being signed. Q>> I know that jump-started the process. So I guess that meant it was invoked? PSAKI>> Yes, and I confirmed that when it was -- the next day, the following day in the briefing room which I realize everybody can't be here every day because of Covid. 131402 But it was invoked and it means that our work is ongoing with companies to ensure that we are expediting the manufacturing of materials to ensure that we can get 100 million shots in the arms of Americans. And I know there's been some confusion about this, and what exactly it is. What does the DPA mean? 131422 There are a few examples that our team has cited including vaccine -- on vaccine supply, low-dead space syringes which means it allows for the ability to get an extra dose into the Pfizer vial which is important to getting more doses out there, help -- additional N-95, the production of additional N-95 masks, isolation gowns, gloves, pipette tips and high absorbancy foam swabs. So we're really talking about very specific materials that can be used by vaccinators to get these shots in the arms of Americans. 131454 Q>> Thanks for clarifying. There was some confusion on the earlier call which is why I repeated here. Let me ask one other question. Yesterday, you deflected this to the USOC (?) but my question is a little bit different today. We're now hearing from the organizers of this year's summer games in Japan. The head of Japan's olympic committee is seeking public reassurances from President Biden himself given that the U.S., of course, Is the largest contingent of athletes, that the games should be able to go on. As the world's -- as the world is dealing with this pandemic right now, based on where we are right now with the vaccine, does president Biden believe the games in Japan can safely go on? 131529 PSAKI>> Well, the president -- and I'm not sure if this readout had gone out yet, but he had spoken with the prime minister of Japan earlier this morning. And a readout was going out as we were coming out to the briefing. I'm not sure if they spoke about the Olympics. I'm happy to check with our national security team on that, to follow up with, but I don't have any more assessment of the olympics at this point in time. Q>> So it hasn't been discussed whether he has a position on whether it will safely be able to go ahead? 131555 PSAKI>> I don't have anything more than -- I haven't had much on it. But I don't have anything more than I've had on other days on it. Q>> -- so, we asked. So we'll follow up. PSAKI>> Understood. And they just had a call this morning. but I haven't had a chance to talk to him specifically about it. Go ahead. Q>> Thank you, Jen. Q>> Thanks, Jen. Two vaccine questions. First of all, this came up on the Covid call earlier but how seriously is the White House considering using the defense protection act to compel other pharmaceutical companies to produce the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines to resupply? 131624 PSAKI>> Well, I didn't hear the entirety of the call because we were doing some preparation for the event this afternoon. But from listening to our team talk about it, there are obviously manufacturing facilities that have the capacity and ability to get these vaccine doses out. And we don't want to get our -- behind the pace, and start from scratch, I should say, in ensuring that they're ready to do that. I don't think our concern at this point is whether or not we're going to have the vaccine doses. 131653 Obviously, the president announced yesterday the intention to purchase dosed -- additional doses, the -- our confidence in the manufacturers to have those doses available, the concerns we have are, one, contingency planning and all of the different things that can happen because this is a herculean task that has never been done before, but also ensuring we have vaccinators, vaccine sites, et cetera, available. So I have not heard from our team of plans to seek other manufacturers at this point in time. And I'm happy to follow up with them and see if there's anything additional. 131728 Q>> On the 200 million doses, the president said he's ordering them. What is the status of that order? Have Pfizer and Moderna agreed to produce 100 million doses each? And how quickly do they say they can do it? PSAKI>> Well, we expect to get the doses by mid-to-late summer. The majority of doses by mid-to late-summer, some earlier than that so we are confident that we'll be able to get those from the manufacturers, yes. Go ahead, Karen. 131757 TRAVERS Q>> Jen, a couple questions on schools. Does the administration plan to develop metrics or standards for what a safe reopening of schools will look like? 131804 PSAKI>> We do. And -- and our CDC director, and I'm not sure, again, if she was asked about this important question, I know as a fellow mother. But we will have specifics that we'll defer to the CDC on, on the safe reopening of schools. As you know, the President talked about -- has talked about his commitment and his goal of reopening most K through 8 schools within 100 days. There are obviously a number of steps that will need to be taken in order for that to be possible. 131834 But he's directed the Department of Education, the Department of Health and Human Services to provide guidance on safe reopening and operating for schools, child care providers and institutions of higher education. But as our Covid team has outlined, that's going to require testing materials, support for contact tracing, vaccinations for teachers, and ensuring they're equitably provided. But our, the -- our CDC director and team will be looking into putting together some specific guidelines so there can be clarity on that front -- TRAVERS>> And to follow up on that -- PSAKI>> -- which I know a lot of districts are looking for. Go ahead 131905 TRAVERS Q>> Those things you mentioned all cost a lot of money, and a big part of the Covid relief package is a lot of money to go to school reopening. If Congress doesn't approve the money you want, and schools don't have what they need to pay for things to open safely, would the President support teachers staying at home and support virtual learning continuing through this entire school year? 131923 PSAKI>> Well, I think the President recognizes, as we all do, the value of having children in schools and doing that in a safe way, which is one of the reasons he's set this ambitious goal of reopening most K through 8 schools within 100 days, but one of the reasons that this -- the funding for safe reopening for getting schools the equipment, the testing, the ventilation in some cases that they need is because nobody wants to be having a conversation in May or June about why schools are not reopened. 131954 So, this goes back to the argument that our team has been making, and all of these calls and engagements and meetings that I outlined about the importance and vital nature of each component of the package. So, we won't get into a hypothetical. We are confident that Congress will move forward with a package. 132010 Let me just go-- we gotta wrap up soon. Okay. I'm sorry. We'll do more questions tomorrow. But we had two such great guests. Jen, go ahead. Q>> Thank you...one on the climate actions today, they leave out treasury's financial stability and oversight council, which the experts say could play an influential role in addressing climate risks. Does the administration have plans to take action on climate finance, and should FSOC direct agencies and regulators to address climate change? 132037 PSAKI>> Well, I'm going to use a reference that my friend and colleague Ambassador Susan Rice used yesterday which is "there are 1,453 days left in this administration." And addressing climate and the crisis of climate is an issue that the President has conveyed to members of his cabinet, members of his senior team is an absolute priority. So Secretary Yellen has been in her role for one day, but certainly, I'd send you to them for any more specifics. But this is the beginning, not the end of our work on climate. Nadia? Oh, go ahead. 132108 Q>> Is the white house concerned about the stock market activity we're seeing around Gamestop, now with some other stocks as well including the...company that was Blockbuster? And have there been any conversations with the FCC on how to proceed? 132127 PSAKI>> Well, I'm also happy to repeat that we have the first female treasury secretary and a team that's surrounding her, and often questions about market we'll send to them. But our team is, of course, our economic team including secretary Yellen and others are monitoring the situation. It's a good reminder, though, that the stock market isn't the only measure of the health of our econom-- of our economy. It doesn't reflect how working and middle class families are doing. As you all know, from covering this, we're in the midst of a K-shaped recovery. America's are struggling to make ends meet, which is why the President has introduced this urgent package to get immediate relief to families. Alright I'm going to go Nadia, and then, we'll be totally done 'cause everybody has to go. Okay. Go ahead. 132205 Q>> [inaud] I have two questions. PSAKI>> Sure. Q>> One about covid and one about China. Regarding Covid, the president promised to increase supplies to states by 10 million doses, yet statistically 47% of Americans are hesitant to take the vaccine, despite that the President and vice president took it publicly. What is the administration doing to convince Americans to take it, to reach the herd immunity by say 70% by the fall? 132235 PSAKI>> You're absolutely right, Nadia, that this is one of the biggest challenges we face. And for anyone who tuned into the briefing that our health team led this morning, it was one of the first issues that CDC director Dr. Walensky raised. And one of the things we're doing is prioritizing providing correct information about it -- the vaccine -- and -- so I'll take the opportunity, the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines are safe and effective. That's one of the things she said today. 132301 They were tested in large clinical trials to make sure they meet safety standards. About 30% of US participants in those trials were Hispanic, African American, Asian or Native american. About half were adults. And so, we want to provide clear data as I just did, but also we want to meet people where they are, communicate directly with communities of color, people who have concerns, and use medical and health professionals to do exactly that. Okay, you had a China question, and then you really have to go. But go ahead. 132328 Q>> And second, many welcomed your rejoining of the WHO, yet some want to push for a transparent investigation into the relationship between China and WHO. And also yesterday in the hearing in the senate, governor Raimondo declined to black list Huawei technology in the US. Is this some kind of caving in to China or is it a nuanced way to deal with China? 132354 PSAKI>> So, I think your -- the second reference I think was to Huawei, right? And then, come -- yes. Q>> [inaud] PSAKI>> So let me just convey clearly our position on this. Let us be clear: telecommunications equipment made by untrusted vendors including Huawei is a threat to the security of the US and our allies. 132413 We'll ensure that the American telecommunications network do not use equipment from untrusted venues, and will work with allies to secure their telecommunications networks. And make investments to expand the production of telecommunications equipment by trusted US and allied companies. Again, we'll take many more questions tomorrow. Thank you all. Have a great rest of your day. ##
WHITE HOUSE BRIEFING WITH JEN PSAKI - ROBO CUTS
FS37 WH PSAKI PRESS BRIEF ROBO CUTS 1215 White House briefing with Press Secretary Jen Psaki, Special Presidential Envoy for Climate John Kerry, and National Climate Advisor Gina McCarthy 123147 PSAKI>> Hi, everyone! I have to give you a fancy introduction. [laughter] Good afternoon. President Biden is continuing to follow through on his key promise to take swift and bold action that addresses the climate crisis, building on his Day 1 actions of rejoining the Paris Agreement, and strengthening our clean air and water protections and to -- and holding polluters accountable. 123218 Today, he will take executive action to tackle the climate crisis at home and abroad while creating good paying, union jobs, building sustainable infrastructure and delivering environmental justice. I'm thrilled today, as a part of our effort to bring policy experts into the briefing room, we're joined by two very special guests who are going to take you -- talk to you all about today's executive orders and take a few questions as well. And I will always -- as always play the role of bad cop when they have to go. 123248 National climate adviser Gina McCarthy and special presidential envoy for climate and my former boss, former secretary of state John Kerry. And a big day for Boston in the briefing room, so. [laughter] With that, go ahead. GINA MCCARTHY 123300 MCCARTHY>> Thank you. It's a big day for Boston every day. Thank you, everybody. Today, president Biden will build on the actions he took on day one, and he'll take more steps to fulfill commitments he made to tackle the climate crisis while creating good paying, union jobs and achieving environmental justice. 123324 In his campaign, he and vice president Harris put forward the most ambitious climate vision that any presidential ticket had ever embraced. And he spent more time campaigning on climate than we have ever seen. The president also has consistently identified the climate crisis as one of four interrelated existential crises that are gripping our nation all at once. And he's demanding answers that can address all four. And he's not waiting to take action, getting us started on his first day in office because science is telling us that we don't have a moment to lose to fight against all four of these crises in a way that recognizes their intersectionality. 123412 He's always committed the U.S to renter. -- I'm sorry, he's already committed the US to re-enter the Paris climate agreement. And he committed us, as well, to start undoing the assault on our environment that has occurred over the past four years. And he is now taking additional action to really target the challenge of climate change. So, today, for me is a very good day. Just one week into his administration, president Biden is continuing to move us forward, at the breadth and the pace that climate science demands. 123449 Today's executive order starts by saying, "it is the policy of this administration that climate considerations shall be an essential element of US foreign policy and national security." That's where the big guy comes in. It gives my colleague John Kerry, the first ever international climate envoy, the authority to really drive forward a process that will restore American leadership on climate throughout the world, and you will see and hear more about that from Secretary Kerry. 123523 But here at home, we have to do our part or we will not be able to make the kind of worldwide change that climate change demands. So this executive order establishes a White House Office of Domestic Climate Policy, and it directs everyone who works for the President to use every tool available at our disposal to solve the climate crisis. 123548 Because we're going to take a whole of government approach. We're going to power our economy with clean energy. We're going to do that in a way that will produce millions of American jobs that are going to be good paying, that are going to be jobs that have the opportunity for workers to join a union because, as President Biden has often told us, when he thinks of climate change, his first thought is about jobs. 123618 And it should be. Because people in this country need a job, and this is about making that happen in the most creative and significant way that the federal government can move forward. And we're going to make sure that nobody is left behind. And I'm not just talking about communities in terms of environmental justice, but workers as well. 123639 This order takes historic strides to address environmental injustice. It creates both a White House Interagency Task Force to address environmental justice, as well as an Advisory Council. It directs the Department of Health and Human Services to create an office of Climate Change and Health Equity because, after all, climate change is the most significant public health challenge of our time. 123706 And it tasks the department of justice with establishing an office of Climate Justice. Because we know that communities who are being hurt, and we know we have to start enforcing the standards today and ensuring that they are part of the solution, and in places that we can invest. In fact, it commits 40% of our investment in clean energy towards disadvantaged communities so they can benefit from the new jobs that are available, and see that better future. 123737 President Biden's order establishes a working group on coal and power plant communities because we have to make sure that, in this transition, every agency in government is using every tool at their disposal to drive resources to those communities. And it fulfills long-standing commitments to leverage our vast resources to contribute to our clean energy future. It places a pause and review on new oil and gas leases on federal public lands and waters, consistent with the promise president Biden has repeatedly made and has been very clear in the face of efforts to distort his promise. 123822 And it sets a goal of doubling offshore wind production by 2030. In addition, he plans to sign a presidential memorandum that aims to restore scientific integrity across the federal government and earn back the public's trust, making a commitment to base solutions on the best available science and data. So, today is a very big day for science and for our efforts to power our economy with good paying union jobs. Thank you very much. JOHN KERRY 123903 KERRY>>> Good afternoon, everybody. It's great to be here. Let me say, first of all, what a pleasure it is to be here with Gina. I'm a big fan of Gina's. Gina and I worked very, very closely together during the campaign, when we sat down to -- to bring the Bernie Sanders folks together around the Biden climate plan. 123927 And she is the perfect person to be tackling the domestic side of this equation, which is complicated. And nobody knows the details better than she does, and nobody is going to be more effective at corralling everybody to move in the same direction. It's also an enormous pleasure for me to be here with Jen Psaki. 123950 She mentioned that -- nobody was her boss, but I had the privilege of working with her. And she, seven years ago, we gathered in the State Department briefing room -- she's traded up, obviously. But she has not given away any of her fundamental principles in commitment to telling you all the truth, telling the American people the truth and doing so with great candor and transparency. 124020 And I'm very happy to be here with her. The stakes -- the stakes on climate change just simply couldn't be any higher than they are right now. It is existential. We use that word too easily and we throw it away, but we have a big agenda in front of us on a global basis. 124041 And President Biden is deeply committed, totally seized by this issue as you can tell by this executive order and, and by the other -- the initiative of getting back into Paris immediately. That's why he rejoined the Paris agreement so quickly because he knows it is urgent. He also knows that Paris alone is not enough, not when almost 90% of all of the planet's emissions, global emissions, come from outside of US borders. 124110 We could go to zero tomorrow, and the problem isn't solved. So that's why today, one week into the job, President Biden will sign this additional executive set of orders to help move us down the road, ensuring that ambitious climate action is global in scope and scale, as well as national -- here at home. 124136 Today, in the order that he will sign that Gina has described to you, he makes climate central to foreign policy planning, to diplomacy, and to national security preparedness. It creates new platforms to coordinate climate action across the federal agencies and departments, sorely needed. And most importantly, it commissions a National Intelligence estimate on the security implications of climate change to give all of us an even deeper understanding of the challenge. 124211 This is the first time a President has ever done that. And our 17 intelligence agencies are going to come together and assess exactly what the danger and damage and potential risks are. The order directs the State department to prepare a transmittal package, seeking Senate advice and consent, on the Kigali Amendment on the Montreal protocol, an amendment that by itself, if ratified and fully enforced globally, could hold the Earth's temperature by .5 of an entire degree, not insignificant. 124247 And it sets forth a process for us to develop a new ambitious Paris target, as well as a U.S. Climate Finance plan, both of which are essential to our being able to bring countries of the world together, to raise ambition, and meet this moment when we go to Glasgow for the follow-on agreement to Paris. 124309 So that's the only way for the world to succeed together, my friends. It's -- again, this is an issue where failure literally is not an option. 124318 As he committed to doing on the campaign trail, the President is announcing that he will host a leaders' summit on climate change less than three months from now on April 22nd, Earth Day, which will include a leader-level reconvening of the major economies forum. We'll have specifics to lay out over time, but the convening of this -- of this summit, is essential to ensuring that the -- that 2021 is going to be the year that really makes up for the lost time of the last four years. 124355 And that the U.N. Climate conference COP26, as it's called, which the UK is hosting in November to make sure that it's an unqualified success. The road to Glasgow will be marked not just by promises, but by progress at a pace that we can all be proud of. And Gina is going to be putting her efforts into making concern that that is true. The world will measure us by what we can do here at home. So with these executive actions today, we believe we're steps further down that journey. Thank you. Q&A 124433 PSAKI>> All right. Let's start with Nancy. Q>> Thank you so much. Secretary Kerry, a question for you and then for administrator McCarthy. You talked about the fact that it won't really matter what we do very much if the rest of the world doesn't do the same thing. But the US Has had a fairly rocky relationship with China recently. How do you plan to try to bring both China and India to the table on this issue? 124457 KERRY>> Wel, before I -- before I answer that, let me just say that the issue of making a difference -- i.e, what we do at home -- what I'm saying is: you can't solve the problem alone, but our doing things makes an enormous difference. What Gina succeeds in pulling together is essential to our ability to have credibility in the world. Now -- 124524 With respect to China, obviously, we have serious differences with China on some very, very important issues. And I am as mindful of that as anybody, having served as Secretary of State and in the Senate. The issues of theft of intellectual property and access to market, South China Sea -- I mean, you run the list. We all know them. 124528 Those issues will never be treated for anything that has to do with climate. That's not going to happen, but climate is a critical stand alone issue that we have to deal on, in the sense that China is 30% of the emissions in the world. We're about 15% of the emissions in the world. 124609 You add the EU to that, and you've got three entities that are more than -- than 55% or so. So it's urgent that we find a way to compartmentalize, to move forward, and we'll wait and see. But President Biden is very, very clear about the need to address the other issues with China. And I know some people have been concerned. Nothing is going to be siphoned off into one area from another. 124638 Q>> And then, a question for either of you on coal. Your executive order talks about oil and gas on federal lands, but it doesn't really say much about coal. What is this administration's policy when it comes to coal? 124650 MCCARTHY>> Well, in terms of the oil and gas decision, it was -- is to make sure that we take a little pause, and review the entire strategy of how we're looking at public lands. So it will include looking at what new leases ought to be approved and sold. It's looking at our ability, also, to look at coal in that mix. So the program review is going to look at how we manage public lands, consistent with climate. 124715 But also consistent with the marriage between climate and, really, growing jobs of the future. So, it will be in the mix to be looked at, but it is -- it is not at this point included. It was not part of the commitments on the campaign, but we're going to take a close look at all of it. And can I just add on your comment about China, which I'm not going to speak to the international dynamic, but I am going to say that: part of the challenge that we face here is a challenge that president Biden has already started to address with his Buy America pledge. 124748 We have to start not just shifting to clean energy, but it has to be manufactured in the United States of America. You know, not in other countries, and there is going to be a large discussion about how we make sure that a lot of the investment is -- is about building up our manufacturing base again. That's great jobs. That's often, hopefully, union jobs. But it is also a wonderful opportunity for us to recoup the benefits of that manufacturing, and lower the cost of clean energy. 124820 Part of the way we're going to get there is by making sure the federal government buys American, and that the federal government looks at its procurement across every agency, so that the breadth of what we spend is spent designed to advance job growth in the United States, to advance health benefits for environmental justice communities, and to begin to tackle the very challenged -- the existential challenge of climate change. PSAKI>> Jeff Mason. 124849 Q>> Thank you. Jeff Mason with Reuters. Question for both of you. Can you give us a sense of when you expect to have the so-called NDC or the US Target for cutting greenhouse gas emissions as part of the Paris accord? And can you also give us a sense of how ambitious you plan to make that number? Will it be 40%, 50%, higher than that? 124914 MCCARTHY>> Well -- KERRY>> We're united in this, so. MCCARTHY>> Yeah, I'm -- I'm the dude who's supposed to deliver this in a timely way, and he sets the timing. So that basically -- 124923 We want to make sure that the NDC is something that can be announced before the summit on Earth Day. And so we're going to be, out of the gate, working with the agencies to see what kind of reductions and mitigation opportunities there are. 124938 And also, again, to look at our public lands to make sure that we can continue to store carbon in our soil, to work with agriculture and others, to look at how we better manage our forests so we're not seeing the devastating forest fires that we've been having before. So all across the federal government, every agency, and you'll see many of them specifically tasked in this executive order, will participate in the task force that we're going to have to actually develop the most aggressive NDC that we can to deliver the kind of boost that Secretary Kerry is looking for, to be able to ensure that our international efforts are robust and -- and sufficient to address the challenge internationally. 125025 Q>> Just follow-up for that, for Secretary Kerry, how do you assert to our international partners that the US will stick to whatever you propose after having seen the Trump administration take the U.S. out of the Paris accord? KERRY>> Well, that's precisely why we're going to stick by it. And I think our word is strong. 125045 I've been on the phone for the last few days, talking to our allies in Europe, elsewhere around the world, and they are welcoming us back. They know that this administration already had a significant part of what has brought us to -- will bring us to Glasgow, which was the Paris Agreement. The Obama-Biden administration had great credibility on this issue, and having President Biden be the person now who is driving this forward is enormously meaningful to -- to the folks there. 125117 And they also know that I was deeply involved in the negotiations in Paris. And am now asked by the President, by President Biden, to make certain that we do the same at Glasgow, if not more. So, I have had no one question our credibility at this point in time. Someone probably will. And the answer will be that I think we can achieve things in the course of the next four years that will move the marketplace, the private sector, global finance, innovation and research, that, in fact, no -- no one, no political person in the future will be able to undo what the planet is going to be organizing over the next months and years. 125203 This is the start of something new. I don't know if you read Larry Fink's letter of BlackRock the other day, yesterday. But there's a new awareness among major asset managers, commercial banks and others about the need to be putting resources into this endeavor, because it is -- it is major in investment demand. So, I think the proof will be in what we do. Neither Gina nor I are going to start, you know, throwing around a lot of big promises. 125237 But you heard what she just said, and we will work very closely. Because we're going to try to bring to the table to help inform her and the folks she's working with what we're picking up abroad, and what people are doing abroad and the steps they're taking and how we now have to measure ourselves against them, and they will measure themselves against us. We are well aware of that. 125257 MCCARTHY>> Can I just add something? I just want to call attention to the fact that cities and states have really picked up the initiative to move forward on clean energy because the solutions are cheap. The solutions compete effectively against fossil fuels. 125316 We are talking about solutions that we're not asking anybody to sacrifice but are to their advantage, and if you look at the record over the past four years, while the prior administration might have wanted energy -- clean energy to head in a different direction, it's gone faster and farther than anyone ever expected. 125335 And the idea that we could, with this new work that we're doing together, send signals to the marketplace through our purchasing at the federal level and our re-looking at different ways of having on-the-ground change, we can build that demand. We actually grow significantly millions of clean energy jobs. And all of a sudden, the question won't be whether the private sector is going to buy into it. The private sector is going to drive it. 125405 And so, this is going to be a signal setter, the way the federal government ought to set, on what our values are, what we think the future needs to be and that's -- it's -- this is a value-lading -- laden effort that President Biden has undertaken with full knowledge that it's going to benefit jobs, it's going to benefit our health, and is going to lead to that future we want to hand to our children. PSAKI>> Let's do these two in the front. Then, they will come back. I promise. So go ahead. 125434 VEGA Q>> Thank you. Mr. Secretary, if you would, there certainly are oil and gas industry workers who are watching you both right now who will hear the message, that's -- the takeaway to them is that they're seeing an end to their livelihoods. What do you say to them, particularly those people who President Trump struck a chord with on the campaign trail when he promised to save their jobs? What is your message to them right now? And also, to the oil industry executives who are listening, are you putting them on notice today? 125507 KERRY>> Well, we didn't come here to put anybody on notice except to the seriousness of President Biden's intent to do what needs to be done to deal with this crisis, and it is a crisis. With respect to those workers, no -- no two people are more, in this room, more concerned about it. 125528 And the President of the United States has expressed in every comment he's made about climate the need to grow the new jobs that pay better, that are cleaner, that -- I mean, you know, you look at the consequences of black lung for a miner, for instance, and measure that against the fastest growing job in the United States before Covid was solar-powered technician. 125551 The same people can do those jobs, but the choice of doing the solar-power one now is a better choice. And similarly, you have the second fastest growing job pre-Covid was wind turbine technician. This is happening. 75%, 70% of all the electricity that's come online in the United States in the last few years came from renewables, not -- you know, coal plants have been closing over the last 20 years. 125620 So what President Biden wants to do is make sure those folks have better choices, that they have alternatives, that they can be the people who go to work to make the solar panels. That we're (?) making them here at home, that is going to be a particular focus of the Build Back Better agenda. And I think that, unfortunately, workers have been fed a false narrative -- no surprise, right? -- for the last few years. 125650 They've been fed the notion that, somehow, dealing with climate is coming at their expense. No, it's not. What's happening to them is happening because other market forces are already taking place. 125703 And what the -- what the fiananceres, the big banks, the asset managers, private investors, ventures capital are all discovering is there's a lot of money to be made in the creation of these news jobs in these sectors. So whether it's green hydrogen that is going to come, whether it's geothermal heat, or whether it -- whatever it's going to be, those are jobs. The same worker who works in South Carolina today, putting together a BMW which happens to be made there, and -- and is currently an internal combustion can put together a car, but it's electric. 125743 So this is not a choice between having jobs, having good jobs, having the quality of life. Quality of life will be better when Gina has put her team together that produces choices for us that are healthier -- less cancer, cleaner air. The greatest -- the greatest cost to America, the greatest cause of children being hospitalized every summer in the United states, we spend $55 million a year on it, is environmental induced asthma. 125813 That will change as we begin to rein in what we used to call "pollution" in this country, because it is pollution. And I think that workers are going to see that, with the efforts of the Biden administration, they're going to have a much better set of choices and, frankly, it will create more jobs than stuck where we were. 125833 MCCARTHY>> Can I just add, by pointing out a couple of things in the executive order that I want you to just call to your attention? We talked about the civilian conservation corp. That is an opportunity to put younger people into work in vitally important efforts. But if you look at this, it also has set up a task force that is looking at these coal communities, communities that are really reliant on their local energy and utility, and it talks about how do we revitalize those economies? 125907 And it talks about how we can put people to work using the skills they currently have where they are to start looking at those old abandoned oil and gas wells that are spewing out methane, or all of the coal that is -- mines that haven't been properly closed that are doing the same. That has great impact on climate, but also will keep an opportunity for those -- for those individual workers to have work in their own communities. We're not going to ask people to go from the middle of Ohio, or Pennsylvania and ship out to the coast to have solar jobs. You know, solar jobs will be everywhere. But -- 125950 We need to put people to work in their own communities. That's where their home is. That's where their vision is. So we're creatively looking at those opportunities for investment, so that we can get people understanding that we are not trying to take away jobs. Remember, when -- when we say "climate change," eventually, people are going to think "jobs" just like President Biden when he hears the words "climate change." 130016 And so, we'll do everything we can to recognize that revitalization is necessary in these communities to find creative ways to put them to work. And then, we're going to do, as secretary Kerry says, and start investing in new technologies and new manufacturing. And that includes the large manufacturing like cement and steel. That's work that we should be doing here. That's work that inevitably is going to be necessary to rebuild our infrastructure which is also one of the biggest opportunities we have for job growth moving forward. 130052 Q>> Two quick questions? PSAKI>> Peter. Q>> Sure. Administrator, one to you and one to the secretary, if I may. What you may hear from some corners of the criticism is why are we doing this now when we're already in an economic crisis? You look at the state of New Mexico where one-third of the state's budget is funded by oil and gas. So, why not let the country get back on its feet before we do this? 130115 MCCARTHY>> Well, the issue in New Mexico is that somebody reported a bit incorrectly -- well, maybe not as precisely enough -- that this wasn't about impacting existing permits and fracking. This was about new leases on federal lands. So I think that the opportunity for the states to continue to accrue the royalties from -- from, from both coal and oil and natural gas that is properly done on federal lands is going to continue. And there's even an opportunity in the review of that program to look at the royalty issues, look at the job growth opportunities, look at a variety of things to make sure that public lands are being properly managed. 130158 Now, in terms of the job issue, we're explicitly doing this because our economy is right now stagnant. We have people -- millions of people out of work, out of jobs, millions of people that are afraid they can't feed their families. If you're faced with that, what do you do? You boost the economy and you grow jobs. 130219 But why, at the same time, aren't we thinking about the weaknesses of our current economy in terms of the number of environmental injustice communities that have been left behind? 130230 The number of people breathing dirty air and their kids are getting asthma. So instead, let's think about it all of it at the same time. I know it's a crazy idea in a bureaucracy. You're only supposed to do one thing, but we're going to do and think about all of it. Because people need to have jobs. This is all about building the jobs of the future we want, not continuing needle (?) at an economy that is no longer going to be where our future lies. 130259 Q>> Mr. Secretary, to you, right now, over the course of this first week, there are a lot of big priorities here. There's Covid, the economy, immigration, racial justice, aow climate change. As a veteran of Congress, of the Senate, what is the priority? And how quickly do you need legislation to make this permanent? 130317 KERRY>> Well, the -- Peter, the priority is precisely what the president has set out. All of them, all six of the major crises that he faces. And he's addressing every single one of them, and he knows that the United States, all of us, have the ability to be able to do that. And the reason that has to be done is every single one of them are life and death. Every single one of them represent a challenge to the very fiber of our society. 130347 And the other reason, obviously, everything -- I agree with everything Gina said. But I'd simply add that the other reason for doing it now is the science tells us we have to. And that's one of the things the president is restoring today, in the executive order, is respect for science and the science office. So, I mean -- Q>> 2 trillion price tag. $2 trillion for Covid. $2 trillion for this. It's a lot of money to a lot of Americans. 130414 KERRY>> It is real money. And yes, it's a lot of money. But you know what? It costs a lot more if you don't do the things we need to do. It costs a lot more. There are countless economic analyses now that show that it is now cheaper to deal with the crisis of climate than it is to ignore it. We spent $265 billion, two years ago on three -- three storms, Irma, Harvey and Maria. Maria destroyed Puerto Rico. Harvey dropped more water on Houston in five days than goes over Niagara Falls in a year. 130448 And Irma had the first recorded winds of 185 miles an hour for 24 sustained hours. That -- last year, we had one storm, $55 billion. So we're spending the money, folks. We're just not doing it smart. We're not doing it in the way that would actually sustain us for the long term. So this is critical. We're -- the goal of the Paris Agreement was to hold the Earth's temperature increase to 2 degrees centigrade. Even if you did everything that was in Paris, we're going up 3.7 or 4. That's catastrophic. 130524 What president Biden is trying to do is listen to science, listen to facts, and make tough decisions about what we need to do to take the world to a better place. And particularly, our own country. And that is what he is committed to doing. So, yes, there are a lot of challenges right now which, sadly, all of them were exacerbated by the last four years. Now, we have to try to make up for that. And that is a hard pull, but this president is capable of doing it. And he's putting together a great team that I think can help him that. Q>> Thank you, sir. PSAKI>> Thank you. MCCARTHY>> Thank you. JEN PSAKI 130601 PSAKI>> Thank you, Gina McCarthy. Thank you Secretary Kerry for joining us. You're free to go-- MCCARTHY>> Thank you. PSAKI>> -- to go see the President. So you can all see, they're both experienced and passionate and tenacious, having worked with -- with both of them in the past. So, the crisis is in good hands. I know we have a short period of time here. But I just wanted to provide an update on a question that you all have been asking a bit about which is what some of the outreach our teams are doing, as it relates to the covid package. 130632 That is a top priority for President Biden. As we have talked about almost everyday in here, probably every day, our team continues to build support for the American Rescue Plan as more and more across the country recognize the urgent need to get American families the help they need. We've obviously seen a broad coalition of support emerge from the chamber of commerce to Senator Sanders and organized labor to hundreds of mayors and local public health officials. 130702 The President and Vice President are engaged directly with members, and have had a number productive conversations. That will continue during the course of the week and will only pick up in the days ahead. Senior White House officials are also engaging with not just Congressional leaders, but also state and local officials, key constituency groups and others, to gather feedback on the proposal and move the package forward. So let me give you a couple of examples from just yesterday. 130728 Chief of Staff Ron Klain engaged with members directly throughout the day, as did Senior Adviser Anita Dunn which they will both continue to do moving forward. Counselor to the President Steve Fraschetti and office of Legislative Affairs Director Louisa Terrell are quarterbacking the teams' broader legislative outreach, and have had dozens of conversations with individual members to understand their priorities and receive their feedback. 130751 In addition to ongoing conversations with leadership on both sides of the aisle, already this week, members of the national economic council and domestic policy council and staff from treasury have met with the relevant committees, including Senate Banking committee, senate finance committee, House ways and mean, House financial services, House education and labor, and the bicameral small business committee. NEC Director Brian Deese is doing one-on-one briefings with members of the Congress and meetings with caucuses including yesterday's meeting, which I believe has been reported, with the problem-solvers caucus to discuss the proposal. 130824 Hill engagement will continue with Jeff Zients and Brian Deese meeting with the new Dem coalition, along with several other briefings that are scheduled. Also, our outreach isn't limited to Congress which is vitally important. This isn't just about speaking to elected officials. This is also about speaking to the country and building support, and educating and engaging with leaders across the country. So yesterday, Jeff Zients and his team spoke with bipartisan governors, as you all know. They talked about the Covid package by the national governors association -- organized by then. 130856 And administration officials briefed tribal leaders and a number of mayors yesterday as well. And the office of Public Engagement led by Cedric Richmond briefed civil rights groups yesterday including the NAACP, the National Action Network, Justice Action Network, Urban league coalition of Black Civic Participation, and Black women's roundtable. Today, they have meetings with labor leaders, advocates for young people as well as organizations dedicated to building wealth in the Black community. 130921 On Friday, OP will also -- the Office of Public Engagement, I should say. I hate acronyms -- will convene 100 presidents of historically Black colleges and universities also to discuss this proposal. And the only other thing I wanted to mention before we get to your questions is that, as you all know, treasury secretary Janet Yellen was just confirmed. 130940 The President will be meeting with his economic team on Friday including secretary Yellen for a briefing on impact of delay, and moving forward with the additional economic relief. With that, let's get to your questions. Alex, your first day in the white house briefing room. And Alex's first days. Two Alexes first days. Q>> It's good to be here. PSAKI>> There's an initiation afterwards that the press corp will conduct. PSAKI Q&A Q>> [inaud] PSAKI>> Yes, go ahead. Q>> I'll make it quick because you have a pretty hard out in a few minutes. PSAKI>> I think you all have a hard out, too but yes-- 131009 Q>> I wanted to ask about one of your favorite topics: impeachment. Nearly every Republican senator last night voted to throw out the impeachment trial of president Trump. Does president Biden have a reaction to that? Does he trust congress to hold president Trump accountable for the insurrection against the Capitol? And does see censure against former president trump as a viable alternative to convictions, since it looks unlikely at this point? 131034 PSAKI>> Well, the President certainly respects the role that Congress has. Senators, of course, the Senate, as they're overseeing the trial moving forward, in determining the pace and the path forward for holding the former president accountable. That continues to be his belief. In all of his conversations that he's been having with members about the recovery plan, he has -- they have said they expect from him that his focus will be on Covid relief. That's how he will use the bully pulpit. 131104 That's how he will speak to the American people. And they are eager to work with him on that so that's where his focus remains, and what steps they take to hold the former president accountable, he'll leave it to them. Q>> Why the resistance on weighing in on the issue? 131117 PSAKI>> We've weighed in many times. The president has been asked about the issue. We put out a statement when the House put out a vote -- voted on impeachment, I should say. But his focus is on doing -- delivering on what the American people elected him to do, which to get relief to the -- to the American people, to get the pandemic under control, to ensure working families can put food on the table. And that's where he feels his efforts should be -- should remain. Okay. Go ahead. 131144 VEGA Q>> Thanks, Jen. Does the White House have a comment on the social media profile that has emerged of Representative Marjorie Taylor Green. And is there a response to whether any disciplinary action should be taken against her, given everything that's come out? 131158 PSAKI>> We don't, and I'm not going to speak further about her, I think, in this briefing room. VEGA>> Okay, and -- PSAKI>> Oh, go ahead. VEGA>> Okay. One more, if you don't mind, it's just kind of a little bit of a house keeping -- PSAKI>> Sure. 131207 VEGA Q>> The last administration has suggested that -- on the origins on the Covid-19 virus -- that it may have originated in a lab in China. It was never definitive. Do you have an update on that, on the origin, where we are in that investigation? 131222 PSAKI>> Well, first, obviously, the -- the misinformation, of course, that has -- we've seen also come out of -- of some sources in China is of great concern to us. It's imperative that we get to the bottom of the early days of the pandemic in China. And we've been supportive of an international investigation that we feel should be robust and clear. 131248 We -- our view is that we must prepare to draw on information collected and analyzed by our intelligence community, which is something that is ongoing, and to work -- and also to continue to work with our allies to evaluate the report's credibility on the investigation, once it's done. 131304 In addition, as you all know, secretary of state was just -- Tony Blinken was just sworn in yesterday, and one of his priorities, of course, is ensuring that our staffing on the ground in Beijing, which is something that fell back in the last administration, is returned to what it was prio, which means we want to have science experts, policy experts on the ground, in the roles that they should be serving in to ensure that, you know, we're also there representing, you know, our interests from the United States on the ground in China. Go ahead. 131334 Q>> Couple quick ones that I still don't think I fully understand. I know the executive order was signed, but has this white house invoked the DPA? And how soon will we actually see companies be compelled to produce supplies or vaccines or whatever else impacts Americans? PSAKI>> We -- It was invoked, the day it was signed, within 24 hours of it being signed. Q>> I know that jump-started the process. So I guess that meant it was invoked? PSAKI>> Yes, and I confirmed that when it was -- the next day, the following day in the briefing room which I realize everybody can't be here every day because of Covid. 131402 But it was invoked and it means that our work is ongoing with companies to ensure that we are expediting the manufacturing of materials to ensure that we can get 100 million shots in the arms of Americans. And I know there's been some confusion about this, and what exactly it is. What does the DPA mean? 131422 There are a few examples that our team has cited including vaccine -- on vaccine supply, low-dead space syringes which means it allows for the ability to get an extra dose into the Pfizer vial which is important to getting more doses out there, help -- additional N-95, the production of additional N-95 masks, isolation gowns, gloves, pipette tips and high absorbancy foam swabs. So we're really talking about very specific materials that can be used by vaccinators to get these shots in the arms of Americans. 131454 Q>> Thanks for clarifying. There was some confusion on the earlier call which is why I repeated here. Let me ask one other question. Yesterday, you deflected this to the USOC (?) but my question is a little bit different today. We're now hearing from the organizers of this year's summer games in Japan. The head of Japan's olympic committee is seeking public reassurances from President Biden himself given that the U.S., of course, Is the largest contingent of athletes, that the games should be able to go on. As the world's -- as the world is dealing with this pandemic right now, based on where we are right now with the vaccine, does president Biden believe the games in Japan can safely go on? 131529 PSAKI>> Well, the president -- and I'm not sure if this readout had gone out yet, but he had spoken with the prime minister of Japan earlier this morning. And a readout was going out as we were coming out to the briefing. I'm not sure if they spoke about the Olympics. I'm happy to check with our national security team on that, to follow up with, but I don't have any more assessment of the olympics at this point in time. Q>> So it hasn't been discussed whether he has a position on whether it will safely be able to go ahead? 131555 PSAKI>> I don't have anything more than -- I haven't had much on it. But I don't have anything more than I've had on other days on it. Q>> -- so, we asked. So we'll follow up. PSAKI>> Understood. And they just had a call this morning. but I haven't had a chance to talk to him specifically about it. Go ahead. Q>> Thank you, Jen. Q>> Thanks, Jen. Two vaccine questions. First of all, this came up on the Covid call earlier but how seriously is the White House considering using the defense protection act to compel other pharmaceutical companies to produce the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines to resupply? 131624 PSAKI>> Well, I didn't hear the entirety of the call because we were doing some preparation for the event this afternoon. But from listening to our team talk about it, there are obviously manufacturing facilities that have the capacity and ability to get these vaccine doses out. And we don't want to get our -- behind the pace, and start from scratch, I should say, in ensuring that they're ready to do that. I don't think our concern at this point is whether or not we're going to have the vaccine doses. 131653 Obviously, the president announced yesterday the intention to purchase dosed -- additional doses, the -- our confidence in the manufacturers to have those doses available, the concerns we have are, one, contingency planning and all of the different things that can happen because this is a herculean task that has never been done before, but also ensuring we have vaccinators, vaccine sites, et cetera, available. So I have not heard from our team of plans to seek other manufacturers at this point in time. And I'm happy to follow up with them and see if there's anything additional. 131728 Q>> On the 200 million doses, the president said he's ordering them. What is the status of that order? Have Pfizer and Moderna agreed to produce 100 million doses each? And how quickly do they say they can do it? PSAKI>> Well, we expect to get the doses by mid-to-late summer. The majority of doses by mid-to late-summer, some earlier than that so we are confident that we'll be able to get those from the manufacturers, yes. Go ahead, Karen. 131757 TRAVERS Q>> Jen, a couple questions on schools. Does the administration plan to develop metrics or standards for what a safe reopening of schools will look like? 131804 PSAKI>> We do. And -- and our CDC director, and I'm not sure, again, if she was asked about this important question, I know as a fellow mother. But we will have specifics that we'll defer to the CDC on, on the safe reopening of schools. As you know, the President talked about -- has talked about his commitment and his goal of reopening most K through 8 schools within 100 days. There are obviously a number of steps that will need to be taken in order for that to be possible. 131834 But he's directed the Department of Education, the Department of Health and Human Services to provide guidance on safe reopening and operating for schools, child care providers and institutions of higher education. But as our Covid team has outlined, that's going to require testing materials, support for contact tracing, vaccinations for teachers, and ensuring they're equitably provided. But our, the -- our CDC director and team will be looking into putting together some specific guidelines so there can be clarity on that front -- TRAVERS>> And to follow up on that -- PSAKI>> -- which I know a lot of districts are looking for. Go ahead 131905 TRAVERS Q>> Those things you mentioned all cost a lot of money, and a big part of the Covid relief package is a lot of money to go to school reopening. If Congress doesn't approve the money you want, and schools don't have what they need to pay for things to open safely, would the President support teachers staying at home and support virtual learning continuing through this entire school year? 131923 PSAKI>> Well, I think the President recognizes, as we all do, the value of having children in schools and doing that in a safe way, which is one of the reasons he's set this ambitious goal of reopening most K through 8 schools within 100 days, but one of the reasons that this -- the funding for safe reopening for getting schools the equipment, the testing, the ventilation in some cases that they need is because nobody wants to be having a conversation in May or June about why schools are not reopened. 131954 So, this goes back to the argument that our team has been making, and all of these calls and engagements and meetings that I outlined about the importance and vital nature of each component of the package. So, we won't get into a hypothetical. We are confident that Congress will move forward with a package. 132010 Let me just go-- we gotta wrap up soon. Okay. I'm sorry. We'll do more questions tomorrow. But we had two such great guests. Jen, go ahead. Q>> Thank you...one on the climate actions today, they leave out treasury's financial stability and oversight council, which the experts say could play an influential role in addressing climate risks. Does the administration have plans to take action on climate finance, and should FSOC direct agencies and regulators to address climate change? 132037 PSAKI>> Well, I'm going to use a reference that my friend and colleague Ambassador Susan Rice used yesterday which is "there are 1,453 days left in this administration." And addressing climate and the crisis of climate is an issue that the President has conveyed to members of his cabinet, members of his senior team is an absolute priority. So Secretary Yellen has been in her role for one day, but certainly, I'd send you to them for any more specifics. But this is the beginning, not the end of our work on climate. Nadia? Oh, go ahead. 132108 Q>> Is the white house concerned about the stock market activity we're seeing around Gamestop, now with some other stocks as well including the...company that was Blockbuster? And have there been any conversations with the FCC on how to proceed? 132127 PSAKI>> Well, I'm also happy to repeat that we have the first female treasury secretary and a team that's surrounding her, and often questions about market we'll send to them. But our team is, of course, our economic team including secretary Yellen and others are monitoring the situation. It's a good reminder, though, that the stock market isn't the only measure of the health of our econom-- of our economy. It doesn't reflect how working and middle class families are doing. As you all know, from covering this, we're in the midst of a K-shaped recovery. America's are struggling to make ends meet, which is why the President has introduced this urgent package to get immediate relief to families. Alright I'm going to go Nadia, and then, we'll be totally done 'cause everybody has to go. Okay. Go ahead. 132205 Q>> [inaud] I have two questions. PSAKI>> Sure. Q>> One about covid and one about China. Regarding Covid, the president promised to increase supplies to states by 10 million doses, yet statistically 47% of Americans are hesitant to take the vaccine, despite that the President and vice president took it publicly. What is the administration doing to convince Americans to take it, to reach the herd immunity by say 70% by the fall? 132235 PSAKI>> You're absolutely right, Nadia, that this is one of the biggest challenges we face. And for anyone who tuned into the briefing that our health team led this morning, it was one of the first issues that CDC director Dr. Walensky raised. And one of the things we're doing is prioritizing providing correct information about it -- the vaccine -- and -- so I'll take the opportunity, the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines are safe and effective. That's one of the things she said today. 132301 They were tested in large clinical trials to make sure they meet safety standards. About 30% of US participants in those trials were Hispanic, African American, Asian or Native american. About half were adults. And so, we want to provide clear data as I just did, but also we want to meet people where they are, communicate directly with communities of color, people who have concerns, and use medical and health professionals to do exactly that. Okay, you had a China question, and then you really have to go. But go ahead. 132328 Q>> And second, many welcomed your rejoining of the WHO, yet some want to push for a transparent investigation into the relationship between China and WHO. And also yesterday in the hearing in the senate, governor Raimondo declined to black list Huawei technology in the US. Is this some kind of caving in to China or is it a nuanced way to deal with China? 132354 PSAKI>> So, I think your -- the second reference I think was to Huawei, right? And then, come -- yes. Q>> [inaud] PSAKI>> So let me just convey clearly our position on this. Let us be clear: telecommunications equipment made by untrusted vendors including Huawei is a threat to the security of the US and our allies. 132413 We'll ensure that the American telecommunications network do not use equipment from untrusted venues, and will work with allies to secure their telecommunications networks. And make investments to expand the production of telecommunications equipment by trusted US and allied companies. Again, we'll take many more questions tomorrow. Thank you all. Have a great rest of your day. ##
GOP SENATE PRESSER ON OBAMACARE (CRUZ)
INT BROLL REPUBLICAN SENATE AND HOUSE LEADERS PRESSER ON OBAMACARE Thursday, September 19, 2013 TRANSCRIPT: Press Conference with House and Senate Republicans SLUG: 1230 SEN REP LEADERSHIP RS15 78 AR: 16X9 12:34:14 REPRESENTATIVE TOM GRAVES (R-GA): Well, let me thank you for being here today. I mean, today's a great day for the American people. Over the last several weeks we have all been in discussions, both House and Senate, as to how best to accomplish the goals that we all believe in, and that is, number one, keeping the government open and protecting our constituents from the harmful effects of "Obamacare." 12:34:48 We want to thank the House leadership, Speaker Boehner, Leader -- Kevin McCarthy, for moving forward in such a bold fashion to put this bill on the floor tomorrow, which we're in full support of. We want to thank them for listening not only to our conferences but also to the voices -- and which we represent -- from our districts, and that's our constituents. I expect that we'll have a very strong showing in the House tomorrow as we vote on this bill, and I encourage all our House Republicans to support the bill. But as we turn to the Senate, make no mistake; it turns to Harry Reid. And the question will be posed to him, and it's a choice he's going to have to make: Will he protect the American people from the harmful effects of "Obamacare" or will he coldly force this upon them? 12:35:25 The other question is -- that he's going to have answer to the American people is, why's he willing to protect big business and special interest from the dangers of this health care law and yet not protect the hardworking families of America? We have made our choice, and we're making it clear today. We are here to protect the American people. Now the question turns to Harry Reid. What will Harry do? Now I'd like to turn it over to senator from Utah. 12:35:56 SENATOR MIKE LEE (R-UT): Thanks, Tom. Yesterday was a great day. It was a day of victory for the many, many millions of Americans who have been speaking with a sustained voice over the last two months on this issue. I want to thank and congratulate Speaker Boehner for making the courageous decision to stand with my friend Representative Graves and my other House colleagues who are up here with me today and, most importantly, for standing with the American people to bring forward this legislation that will keep government funded, keep everything in government funded, while defunding "Obamacare." 12:36:29 This is an important step. It's one supported by the American people. According to one recent poll, some 56 percent of Americans believe that Congress should pass a continuing resolution that funds government while defunding "Obamacare." We look forward to the passage of this resolution, and once that happens, we look forward to that resolution coming over to the Senate, where we demand, we expect, we hope to have an up-or-down vote, so that the people's elected representatives in that body can have an opportunity to weigh in on whether or not they're willing to protect the American people both from a shutdown and from the undue risky consequences of this unwise health care legislation. Thank you. SEN./REP. : Jim. 12:37:15 REPRESENTATIVE JIM JORDAN (R-OH): Everyone knows -- everyone knows the -- this law's not ready. You don't just listen to Republicans, you listen to Democrats. Mack -- Max Baucus called it a train wreck. Howard Dean said it's going to lead to rationing of care. James Hoffa said it's fundamentally going to change the 40-hour work week, going to hurt working Americans. Everyone -- including the president -- the president knows this law;s not ready. That's why he delayed it for big business, said you don't have to comply with the employer mandate. The Chicago Tribune, the president's hometown newspaper, endorsed him twice, said in their editorial three weeks ago, delay the entire law. 12:37:47 So everyone knows this thing is not ready. Frankly, I don't think it'll ever be ready. So let's just do what the American people expect us to do. Let's fund our government and let's delay a bill, delay a law that's not ready, that's bad for the country -- simple as that. And so I just want to commend my colleague Tom Graves for the work he's done and the rest of the folks up here and frankly our leadership for understanding, look, we want to stay on the side of the American people, do what's best for this country and fund our government and make sure this law doesn't happen. 12:38:19 SENATOR TED CRUZ (R-TX): Two months ago, conventional wisdom in Washington said this day wasn't possible. And yet I want to commend House conservatives for sticking their neck out. I want to commend Tom Graves for sticking his neck out. And I want to commend Speaker Boehner for listening to the American people and for leading. For the House of Representatives to stand up and vote to defund "Obamacare" is a tremendous victory to the American people. 12:38:51 And ultimately that is where this battle will be resolved. In just a matter of weeks, over 1.4 million Americans have signed a national petition to defund "Obamacare," because it's the biggest job- killer in this country, and it is hurting Americans, millions of Americans who are losing their jobs, who are forcibly being pushed into part-time work, 29 hours a week, who are seeing skyrocketing health insurance premiums and who are losing their health insurance. "Obamacare" isn't working. 12:39:16 With the House of Representatives' historic leadership, the ball now moves to the Senate and to Harry Reid. 12:39:34 This is a moment for Republicans to unite, for every Senate Republican to stand shoulder to shoulder with the gentlemen here and the Republicans in the House who have been courageous doing the right thing. And this is a moment ultimately for Harry Reid and the Democrats to decide for whom is it they work. In my view, every elected official should listen to the American people. And the American people are united: "Obamacare" isn't working; it's killing jobs. And the people who are hurt the most by "Obamacare" are the most vulnerable among us -- young people, Hispanics, African Americans, single moms. They're the ones losing their jobs. They're the ones being pushed into 29 hours a week. 12:40:03 And so today is a day to celebrate the historic leadership of the House of Representatives, and today is a day to continue to get ready to move forward, for every elected official in Washington to listen to the American people. 12:40:20 REP. : Many of you today will be writing about what happens here in Washington, D.C., but the real story is about what is happening back on Main Street in our districts. That's the real story. Town hall after town hall, I heard real stories about jobs that were lost, health care coverage that was promised but now is not being delivered. 12:40:45 And yet what we see is, is that we focus on the fight here when the fight really is about working with the hard-working American taxpayers back home. 12:40:54 You know, the president has talked that this is a bill that just needs a little bit of tweaking, as if it were an app on an iPhone. But the problem is, is that an app on the iPhone, when it doesn't work, game over has one meaning. Game over has a totally different meaning when we're talking about health care, and it is time that we fight together. And I just want to applaud our leadership, Speaker Boehner, and challenge those in the senate to stand with the American people and make sure that we turn the tide on what shouldn't have been implemented in the first place. 12:41:33 REPRESENTATIVE MATT SALMON (R-AZ): This is the reason that I came to Congress. The reason I came to Congress, after a 12-year hiatus, was because this bill is so oppressive and so hurtful, both to small businesses, individuals and, I believe, the American economy that I decided to come back. I'm proud to be part of this fight. What's more, I'm really proud of my Republican leadership. I'm proud of the speaker for standing up and for listening to the American people. I think it's wonderful. 12:42:06 This really -- I don't know that it's Democrats against Republicans. Sometimes I think it's more Washington establishment against Main Street Americans. And I think that ultimately, Main Street America has to win. 12:42:19 One other thing I'd like to just comment on. The president knows -- he knows that this law isn't ready for prime time. That's why he has postponed 41 out of 82 of the provisions of "Obamacare." They've either postponed them, changed them or altered them. Everybody in this town knows that it's not ready for prime time. The exchanges are supposed to open on October 1st, and none of them are ready. In Arizona we're several months away. And one of our community college districts in Arizona, the Maricopa Community College district, the largest one, has already reclassified 1,300 full-time employees to part-time status. 12:42:52 This is bad stuff. And we have to do everything we can to halt it, stop it. And I hope that the president and Harry Reid care more about the American people and keeping government open, as we do, than their stubborn political pride. And that's all this is about. 12:43:13 REPRESENTATIVE JIM BRIDENSTINE: I can tell you after August it was clear where the public in my district is. They want "Obamacare" repealed. They want it defunded. They want it dismantled. They want it to go away. I talked to businesses. Just recently I talked to a business. They've got 57 employees. They're trying to get down to 49. Other businesses are moving full-time workers to part-time workers. And this is not unique to the 1st District of Oklahoma; this is happening across our country. And if you look at the jobs reports, that's what you'll see, which is why it's so important to our economy that this law be halted. 12:43:47 I'd like to double down on the thank-you to the leadership in the House of Representatives for listening not only to the people but to the members of Congress as they have come and expressed their views. 12:44:00 I would also like to thank Senator Mike Lee, Senator Ted Cruz for their leadership on this. It's been said that first you win the argument, then you win the vote. And these two gentlemen have been out in front on this winning the argument day in and day out. The American people are with them. So are many of us in the United States Congress. And I'm looking forward to tomorrow's vote. 12:44:24 REPRESENTATIVE RON DESANTIS (R-FL): I'm going to be very brief. Most of you have written stories about how important it is for Washington to compromise. I would dare say that every person who's here at this podium who has spoken to you today and who -- and who will speak to you today would want to get rid of "Obamacare" completely. But the reality is that we have realized that the president and his party are not going to get rid of "Obamacare." So we're thinking that the best thing that we can do is delay this flawed law for the American people, just like Obama, President Obama, has done for his friends and the people that have his ear. That's all we're asking for. 12:44:58 I think it's a reasonable approach. You all ask us and the American people ask us to reach a compromise. I think this is a really good compromise. We get to fund the government for an entire year. We get to fund the government at the appropriate levels by only delaying "Obamacare." We're not asking for a shutdown. Nobody here wants to shut down the government. We just want to be reasonable, and we want to give the American people what they're asking for, which is relief from "Obamacare," just like President Obama's friends received relief from "Obamacare." Thank you. 12:45:35 REPRESENTATIVE MARLIN STUTZMAN (R-IN): Good morning. Marlin Stutzman, Indiana's 3rd District. I just want to say thank you to each member up here for their work on this latest proposal. I just want to thank our leadership too because this is what the American people are asking for. As I traveled home throughout the August recess, this was the number one issue until the Syrian issue arose. And now that the Syrian issue is hopefully resolving itself, this is, again, the number one issue. 12:46:07 Americans are feeling the hurt and the pain in the decisions that they have to make regarding "Obamacare." As I talked to a mother of a son who had a (touch of ?) autism, who lost his insurance, she was asking, what do I do now. This is story that we heard over and over and over again as we traveled across the district and around the state. And, you know, and I believe that this is our time. This is when it matters. Yes, we voted to repeal "Obamacare" 30 to 40 times, but this is when it really counts. This is when it's time to put up or shut up because this is going to be a law that is we see already is hurting people, it's affecting families, and it is hurting the American economy. And I think that I appreciate our leadership being willing to put this on the floor for a vote. Let's get it over to the Senate. Let's let our Senate colleagues have this fight because if President Obama and Senator Harry Reid want to force a law that we know by the NBC- Wall Street Journal polling is so unpopular with the American people, if they want to force it on the American people, that's their choice. But as for us, we're going to stand with the American people. And I know that's why we're on the right side today because the American people are with us. Thank you very much for being here. 12:47:29 REPRESENTATIVE RAUL LABRADOR (R-ID): Well, to me, this is just about fairness. On July 3rd the president unilaterally delayed the employer mandate for big businesses. In August the president and the administration through OPM cut a special deal for members of Congress. And even though we had some news on Friday about labor unions, I would bet my bottom dollar that at some point, the administration will cut a special deal for unions. And so what you have is a situation in which the harmful effects are imposed on society. Those who have political connections to the administration or the corridors of powers in Washington relieve those burdens from themselves and leaving the rest of the American people holding the bag. 12:48:11 And so we have the power of the purse in Congress. If we can't use it for this basic principle of fairness, then I don't know what good the power of the purse is. Q: Senator Cruz, just yesterday a senior House Republican aide said it's disappointing to see that Wendy Davis has more guts than Ted Cruz. Now, he used a different word than "guts." (Laughter.) But other Republicans have called you a phony and a joke. How do you respond to that? 12:48:37 SEN. CRUZ: Well, I'm always impressed with the courage of anonymous congressional aides. (Laughter.) You know, it is very easy in Washington to make this about personalities, to make this about people. This is not about any of us. This is about the American people. This is about the people who are struggling because they can't find a job. This is about the people who are having their hours forcibly reduced to 29 hours a week, and they can't feed their kids on 29 hours a week. And so there will always be the back-and-forth of politics, but I can tell you one of the reasons I'm proud to stand with these gentlemen up here is that they're focused on doing our job, which is fixing the problem for the American people and bringing back jobs in the economy. "Obamacare" is the biggest job killer in the entire country. And if you want to understand this issue in one sentence, it comes down to the following: President Obama has granted waivers for giant corporations and members of Congress. Why is President Obama threatening to shut down the federal government to deny those same waivers to hard-working American families? Q: Senator Cruz -- (inaudible) -- we'll give you some names though. Yesterday, Congressman Tim Griffin of Arkansas said: You know, Senate Republicans are good at getting Facebook likes and town halls. Representative Sean Duffy said: Cruz and Lee refuse to fight, raise white flag and surrender. Speaker Boehner this morning: It's time for them to pick up the mantle and get the job done. Will you filibuster this on the House floor, a la Rand Paul and drones? Is that the only choice you have right now? 12:50:16 SEN. CRUZ: I will do everything necessary and anything possible to defund "Obamacare." Q: Filibuster? SEN. CRUZ: I -- yes, and anything else -- any procedural means necessary. Listen, this is the most important fight in the country. And it's easy to focus on the political back and forth. Listen, this is going to be an iterative process. In all likelihood, it's not going to be a single shot CR and everything's resolved and done. As soon as the House passes this into law, it's going to be in Harry Reid's court. And he may well be able to hold his 54 Democrats to not listen to the American people, to threaten to shut down the federal government to deny American families the same special treatment that big corporations and members of Congress are getting. But if that happens, then it's going to go back to the House of Representatives. And what we need to do is we need to be making the case every day and every way to the American people. Not about the petty political bickering -- Americans don't care about petty political bickering in Washington -- but on the substance. And I'll tell you this, if and when we win this fight, it is going to be because House Republicans have stood up and showed the courage that they are showing right now, and that they continue to stand up. The House is the one branch of government that Republicans have a majority. Q: Senator, does that pledge include allowing a default of the Treasury? 12:51:54 SEN. CRUZ: Well, that's a very good question. And it's worth underscoring that the continuing resolution has nothing to do with interest on the debt or a default. Yesterday, the president made a reference to a default. We're not talking about the debt ceiling. Q: Well, the second bill the House is going to pass will allow the debt limit to rise. So I'm asking, is the pledge to filibuster the CR also a pledge to filibuster the second bill if it would defund "Obamacare." 12:52:17 SEN. CRUZ: What I have said from day one, what Mike Lee has said from day one what the gentlemen up here have said from day one is that we will not support a continuing resolution that funds "Obamacare." This is a fight over the continuing resolution. And you know, I thought it was unfortunate that in the president's comments yesterday he tried to distract with an issue of the debt ceiling when this is about the continuing resolution. And this is about Congress using the Constitutional power of the purse to rein in an overreaching executive and to stand up for the American people, to stand up and say: Look, even among those who thought this law might work, we now know it isn't. It's why you've got the labor unions running for the hills because we're seeing in practice that the stated good intentions of "Obamacare" aren't working and the losers are the American people. And we need to focus on the substance of this policy, on bringing back economic growth, bringing back jobs and expanding opportunity for those struggling to achieve the American dream. Q: Senator -- Q: This question is for Congressman Graves. REP. GRAVES: Let's go to Chad real quick here. Go ahead, Chad. And thanks again for this morning. Q: The question is, there was a lot of back and forth, as has been alluded to here, about what the Senate Republicans might or might not do. Can you characterize what House Republicans -- why they were nervous? Why there was this tension between the two sides? And has that been resolved to your satisfaction? 12:53:42 REP. GRAVES: I would hope that today you see unity from the House Republicans and the Senate Republicans. We are unified behind funding the government and stopping the harmful effects of "Obamacare" -- 100 percent unified behind that. Clearly, there's differences in strategies and there's a lot of different personalities, as the senator alluded to. But we are focused. We have 11 days to be laser- like focused on accomplishing this objective. And we will not be distracted. So we will continue pushing forward. Q: What was said -- what was specific -- and I guess is from Senator Cruz's statement last night. What was said in that that, you know, lit a fire under House Republicans and how was this resolved so that we're all here today and everybody's, you know, singing "Kumbayah." What happened? REP. GRAVES: What do you mean, what happened? Q: Well -- REP. GRAVES: I mean, we were unified behind those objectives, there's never been a doubt. Q: Everybody was on a different page last night. What -- REP. GRAVES: You need to ask them. You need to ask them. I thought -- I thought the senator addressed it very well. And as to those who sent out their tweets, I'd recommend that you comment, or have comments for them -- REP. JORDAN: Chad, what happened is that -- Q: Could you speak with the microphone? 12:54:53 REP. JORDAN: Yeah, what happened -- and you know what happened is there wasn't 218 votes for the other -- the other proposals brought forward. This is something that they're -- I believe that you're going to see a strong majority for, and frankly, maybe even you'll see some Democrats. We had 35 Democrats vote with us to delay the employer mandate; we had 22 vote with us to delay the individual mandate. So as I said, Democrats understand how harmful this bill is. Simple truth is, there weren't the votes for the alternative, and this is where the votes are. (Cross talk.) Q: (Off mic) -- be a little more clear, if we can, on -- REP. GRAVES: Well, let's go right here just for a second, yes. Q: Thank you. I was wondering if you could say, after ping-pong from the Senate back to the House, do you believe that Speaker Boehner should abide by the Hastert Rule in this, if this comes around a second time and only have a majority of Republican votes? Do you -- MR. : Yes. (Scattered laughter.) Q: -- (inaudible) -- a sign of hands, maybe? 12:55:34 REP. GRAVES: Well, that's -- I mean, that's clearly a question for the speaker, something that he's been very -- I think, very forthright with in how he is going to operate the House. So I mean, I heard that question asked to him earlier today, and I imagine he was standing right about right here. So I guess you weren't satisfied with his response then, huh? Q: I was wondering if you were -- if you're going to hold him accountable -- if you believe that he should abide by the Hastert Rule. You said yes? MR. : Absolutely. Q: Yes? REP. GRAVES: I mean, that's what he's clearly stated in the past. And I saw yesterday -- I saw yesterday, and I think our colleagues from the House will -- could share this as well -- a resolve in the speaker of the House that was very reminiscent of his early days of being in the House. He is totally committed to keeping the government open and protecting American families from the hardships of "Obamacare." And it was a very powerful resolve with much constitution. Q: So (you don't ?) -- worry at all -- 12:56:42 MR. : I'd like to comment on it. I've been the guy in the House that's been driving the signatures on the letter to get the Hastert Rule codified within the conference, and I will echo what Mr. Graves said. I haven't seen this kind of -- I served with Speaker Boehner before; he was the chairman of the education committee; I sat on that committee. I always thought that he was a firebrand. I saw -- and I said this in conference yesterday, I stood up and I said, I haven't seen this kind of fire in the belly with the speaker since he was part of Gang of Seven. And I do believe this is Boehner 2.0. And I believe -- I take him at face value that this is a fight that he's going to fight. He believes that by year's end, we will have defunded or postponed "Obamacare" for a year, and I think that -- I think he means it. Q: Is there any way, if the government happens to shut down -- I realize that's -- wouldn't be a goal here, you say -- but if it shuts down, do you think there's any way that Republicans can escape big- picture blame from this from the American people, or is there plenty of blame to go around? 12:57:32 MR. : If we're giving the president a bill that keeps government open and his political stubbornness is so intense that he's willing to throw it all away to preserve a bill that's not -- or a law that's not ready for prime time; even he knows that, then I would hope that the American people and the press out there would posture it as it really is. We've all said we want to keep the government open. We want to do everything we can to keep the government open. But ultimately, I would hope that they'd understand that in this kind of a situation, the president has to determine what's more important to him. Q: What happens is -- REP. GRAVES: Go ahead -- let -- (inaudible) -- comment. 12:58:14 MR. : I'd like to weigh in on that one really quickly, as well. First of all, when this -- comes over to the Senate, I do predict that Republicans are going to stand solidly behind it to fund government while defunding "Obamacare." I would hope that maybe a handful of Democrats, perhaps some of those who are up for re-election in red states, might consider joining with us as well, especially in light of recent polling, suggesting that 56 percent of Americans think that something like this is what Congress should, in fact do, and especially considering that a solid majority of Americans now believe that this law will make their family health care situation worse, rather than better. The point is that this will be a real opportunity. We need an up-or-down vote. And with that up-or-down vote, I do think we'll keep all the Republicans, and I hope that we might get some Democrats joining with us. Now, if they reject it, if Democrats in the -- in the Senate reject it, then they've got to come up with a proposal. They don't have a proposal. We haven't seen a proposal from them; we haven't even heard of an outline of a proposal. The onus is on them, at that point. So, yeah, at that point, especially once the House passes something to keep government funded, once the Republicans in the Senate have the opportunity to vote on that -- and any Democrats who might join with us -- if the Democrats in the Senate choose to reject that at that point and and thereby open this grave possibility that you describe, they've got to come up with something. Q: Senator Lee -- MR. : Last question. Q: -- is there a point when -- (off mic) -- consequences of a shutdown are too great for this particular fight? People may have fears. Three may be uncertainty. Is there a point when it's too much? SEN. LEE (?): A shutdown is too much. We don't want a shutdown. We don't need a shutdown. We should avoid a shutdown. And "Obamacare" is a law that's going to harm people, and it certainly is not a good idea to shut down the government in order to force through the implementation of "Obamacare" at a time when the president has said he's not going to follow the law, and he's made substantial changes, without statutory or constitutional authority to do so. So, yeah, look. Shutdowns are bad. Shutdowns are not worth it. This law is not worth causing a shutdown over. Q: Senator Lee -- MR. : Thank you. That's -- we have a 1:00, another press event that we need to get to. Q: (Off mic.) MR. : All right. One more question. You -- all right, all right. You were -- you've been very patient, yes. Q: (Off mic) -- you said a couple times an up-or-down vote. Just for a little more clarity on what's going to happen when it gets to you all in the Senate, most of the time we interpret up-or-down vote as a 50-vote threshold. Now, Senator Reid will probably do that -- not to get down in o the weeds -- but this -- MR. : Oh, yeah. I understand what you're saying. Q: You're going to lose that vote. SO my question is, if it's 50, and Democrats kill it, like you say, and they kill this proposal, the question is, are you all going to line up 12 or 14 deep and talk this thing till September 30? Because if it's a 50-vote threshold, of course Harry Reid could make you lose that. That's an up-or-down vote. That's all you want. MR. : Yeah, I want to be clear. In that setting -- I want to be clear. In that setting, by referring to an up-or-down vote, what I'm talking about is a vote on the merits as opposed to a motion to table -- one -- you know, an nondebatable motion to table that simply comes up and it goes straight into a vote on that 51-vote threshold, not on the merits of it but on the merits of the motion to table. So that's what I'm talking about. MR. : Great. Thank you, everyone. Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX)is flanked by House Repulicans while speaking about Obamacare during a news conference on Capitol Hill, September 19, 2013 in Washington, DC. Sen. Cruz spoke about Republican efforts to repeal Obamacare.
AMY KLOBUCHAR WATERLOO IA TOWN HALL ABC UNI 2020/HD
TVU 21 AMY KLOBUCHAR WATERLOO IA TOWN HALL ABC UNI 012620 2020 ?WATERLOO, Iowa - At the former Black's Department store building, Amy Klobuchar spoke to around 250 people this morning (# according to her campaign.) Notably, there were maybe two people of color were in attendance. Why is this important in a state that is 90% white people? Because in Waterloo, African Americans account for 16% of the population and Latinos make up nearly 7%. According to Pew Research, <https://nam04.safelinks.protection.outlook.com/?url=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.pewresearch.org%2Ffact-tank%2F2016%2F02%2F29%2Fhow-religious-is-your-state%2F%3Fstate%3Diowa&data=02%7C01%7CJenna.X.Levine.-ND%40abc.com%7C67dfcfa826ad42176fbd08d7a28f5453%7C56b731a8a2ac4c32bf6b616810e913c6%7C1%7C0%7C637156608911108035&sdata=tymwMUyw%2Fw7H5xQT5DQsxojW9qHY4Y4Dx7TDUVEMCzw%3D&reserved=0> Iowa is the 19th most religious state in the country- 55% of the adult population are "highly religious" and 36% attending weekly worship services. So, with that said, this event was on a Sunday during prime church-going time and the oldest AME church in Waterloo has service from 9AM - noon, so that could *possibly*be a reason for the lack of diversity, but who really knows. The crowd loudly laughed at every single joke the senator told and it's unclear if they haven't ever heard her stump speech before or if they just think she's really funny, but this level of engagement and excitement is something I haven't seen at a Klobuchar event in Iowa. Anyways, she stuck to her stump speech, but the best impeachment SOTS are below and as always *please check all quotes to tape* TVU 21 AMY KLOBUCHAR WATERLOO IA TOWN HALL ABC UNI 012620 2020 IMPEACHMENT SOTS FOUR WITNESSES Amy Klobuchar: And so, they have to make a decision. Just put aside how they're going to vote on impeachment right now. Put that aside. All we're asking for, here, is a fair trial. (TVU 21 @ 12;21;36) Amy Klobuchar: What are they so afraid of? Are they that afraid of the truth? They can vote how they want to vote but, in America, a trial means witnesses and a trial means evidence." (TVU 21 @ 12;20;20) DID YOU READ THE CONSTITUTION? Amy Klobuchar: And it's also what's at stake with our Constitution. So, I look over at my colleagues and I think, you know, why did you run for this office if you don't read the constitution? We actually have it for this impeachment hearing. It sits on our desk. They gave us a copy of it. (TVU 21 @ 12;21;01) WHY ARE YOU EVEN A SENATOR? Amy Klobuchar: Why do you run for this office? Is it because you just want to like have a title you can use in the future, because you want to have a desk -- by the way, you can buy your desk at the end, you know, and keep it? Is that -- is that why? (TVU 21 @ 12;22;47) Amy Klobuchar: Are they doing it because they want a trophy on the shelf? They have to do their constitutional duty. (TVU 21 @ 12;23;08) HIGHLIGHTS Impeachment Starts the stump on impeachment and has been talking about since like 12;19 121748 I think you know that right now I have to make the best of my time but I'm a mom and I can do two things at once. At 6am tomorrow I will be on the flight out of Des Moines -- it's kind of like you turn into a pumpkin, and then you go back. But I also think that you understand how serious this is right now, this moment in our country and now I have this constitutional duty. 121815 And I say as having been there now and watched this and heard all of the evidence and the stories and wanting to hear more, including the actual testimony of in the words of the Hamilton musical, the people that were in the room where it happened. We would like to hear from them. And just thinking as you hear about this the treatment of Ambassador Yovanovich, who is a personal friend. Impeachment Cont. 122036 And the words said this: it's the last thing he did for me and they said: there is nothing in life more liberating than fighting for a cause larger than yourself. That to me -- That to me, that to me is what is at stake right now, in that jury room, that Senate chamber in Washington DC. 122101 And it's also what's at stake with our Constitution. So I look over at my colleagues and I think, you know, why did you run for this office if you don't read the constitution? We actually have it for this impeachment hearing. It sits on our desk. They gave us a copy of it. And I note that all of our founding documents, they do not say we the ruling party. They say we, the people. And it was not the President that sent them to Washington, they do not serve at the pleasure of the President. They serve for the people that sent them there. 122136 And so, they have to make a decision. Just put aside how they're going to vote on impeachment right now. Put that aside. All we're asking for, here, is a fair trial. And as we go through the week and you see the president's lawyers make their case, I was actually on one of the Sunday shows -- well, I was on two today -- and I heard one--- 122155 [to audience member] You are, you -- you saw both of them? Okay, I gotta find this woman, put her on there. Well, one of the things that one of my colleagues -- a Senate, Senator from Indiana -- had said, he said "well, you know, they just -- the House managers, they had circumstantial evidence." And I'm like "seriously, okay. If you believe that, then why won't you have the evidence that we want," which is at least ask the witnesses we want -- four witnesses. 122220 That is it. Four witnesses: one that was in the room with Trump, Bolton, who wants to testify, who could tell us what happened. We want Mulvaney who's the one that made the decision to hold up the aid and his aide Duffy, and then one other guy named Blair. That is all we're asking for. What are they so afraid of? Are they that afraid of the truth? They can vote how they want to vote but, in America, a trial means witnesses and a trial means evidence. 12;22;47 And the fact that they are hiding [applause] I just think like, why -- why do you run for this office? Is it because you just want to like have a title you can use in the future, because you want to have a desk -- by the way, you can buy your desk at the end, you know, and keep it? Is that -- is that why? 12;23;08 Buy your chair and you can buy your chair and they want to have that chair in their office. Are they doing it because they want a trophy on the shelf? They have to do their constitutional duty. So that's what at stake and it actually bleeds into what you are a jury on. And that is this election, and it is really a concept that is very similar, because what is at stake in this election is our very democracy. 122335 And while we have a lot of debates on that stage about economics and about the best way to reduce health care costs, which I'll get to in a minute and the best way to make it easier for kids to go to college, all of that we're having a very thoughtful debate about all that. TRINT [12:16:04] Wow. Thank you so much. This is an amazing group, came through a little snow because of course I'm here, so it has to snow. [12:16:15] But I wanted to thank, first of all, Vicki for that beautiful introduction and your great leadership here in Blackhawk County. Thank you for that. [12:16:25] And also, I want to thank Nate, the vise chair of the Blackhawk Kony Democrats. Where are you, Nate? [12:16:34] I will say whenever I come here, these guys are around, man. [12:16:38] They show great leadership, though. [12:16:40] Thank you for that. Also, we have with us a former Congressman Nagle and his wife, Debbie. Where are you? [12:16:48] Somewhere. Thank you. Thank you. I also his wife has. [12:16:57] I mean, he's cool, but his wife has a big Twitter feed. So, you know, you got to keep that social media presence. And then also, Bill Wit is with us, the former state representative. [12:17:09] Thank you, Bill. [12:17:12] And then I want to mention our great organizers, Nicole and Matthew. Where are you? All right, over here. They're doing tremendous work. We're just meeting with our precinct captains. You can be one, too. And then I went and mentioned Jamie, our political director here in Iowa. [12:17:33] Doing great work. [12:17:36] And I think Lauren is here somewhere. Our state director. So we are very, very excited. I am excited to be back in Iowa. It is I think you know that right now I have to make the best of my time, but I'm a mom and I can do two things at once. [12:17:57] I 6:00 a.m. tomorrow, I will be on the flight out of Des Moines. It's kind of like you turn into a pumpkin and then you go back. But I also think that you understand how serious this is. Right now, this moment in our country and I have this constitutional duty and I say as having been there now and watched this and heard all of the evidence and the stories and wanting to hear more, including the actual testimony of, in the words of the Hamilton musical, the people that were in the room where it happened, we would like to hear from them. And just thinking, as you hear about this, the treatment of Ambassador Yvonne Jovanovic, who is a personal friend. [12:18:43] I spent days with her in Ukraine when Senator McCain invited me, along with Senator Graham, to go to see the leaders of Ukraine right after Donald Trump got elected, as was Latvia, Lithuania, Estonia and Georgia. And we were there on New Year's Eve on the frontline with the Ukrainian soldiers. And they brought us in there in the dark of night. And of course, there was a blizzard. And it is one of my most amazing memories, one of John McCain, because he knew what was coming. He knew what we had just been through with that election. And he knew what was coming. And he wanted to make very clear to our allies that America stood with Ukraine against Russia aggression. [12:19:27] That was leadership that was not messing around for his own private interests and, you know, holding up meetings. [12:19:37] No, he did the opposite. He went in the middle of winter. And I remember they were so proud of the American support that the former president came out with this Ukrainian made machine gun and handed it to John McCain, and then he handed Lindsey a pistol. And then he was coming at me and I thought, what is this? It's this flat box. And I'm the third one. And I open it up and it's two Ukrainian made daggers. And I'm like, OK. But they actually then gave me a pistol because they decided it was sexist. And so anyway, that happened. And then the Navy confiscated all the weapons. [12:20:15] And then when McCain got sick the very last time I saw him, which I'll never forget at his ranch in Arizona, he was still joking around about that. And he still like, where did the Navy put that machine gun? But the other thing he did that day when we visited him was that he showed me some words from his book because at the end of the meeting, he couldn't talk anymore. And the words said, this is the last thing he did for me. And they said, there is nothing in life more liberating than fighting for a cause larger than yourself. [12:20:46] That to me. [12:20:50] That to me, that to me is what is at stake right now in that jury room, that Senate chamber in Washington, D.C., and it's also what's at stake with our Constitution. So I look over at my colleagues and I think, you know, why did you run for this office? If you don't read the Constitution, we actually have it for this impeachment hearing. It sits on our desk. They gave us a copy of it. And I note that all of our founding documents and they do not say we the ruling party. They say we the people. And it was not the president that sent them to Washington. They do not serve at the pleasure of the president. [12:21:32] They serve for the people that sent them there. And so they have to make a decision. [12:21:38] Just put aside how they're going to vote on impeachment right now. Put that aside. All we're asking for here is a fair trial. And as we go through the week and you see the president's lawyers make their case. I was actually on one of the Sunday shows where I was on to today and I heard one. You are you. [12:21:55] You saw both of them. Oh, OK. I got to find this woman. Put her on there. [12:22:01] Well, one of the things that one of my colleagues, a Senate senator from Indiana, had said. He said, well, you know, they just the House managers, they had circumspect, essential evidence. [12:22:11] And I'm seriously OK. If you believe that, then why won't you have the evidence that we want, which is at least ask the witnesses. We want four witnesses. That is it. Four witnesses. One that was in the room with Trump. Bolton, who wants to testify? Who could tell us what happened? We went Mulvaney, who's the one that made the decision to hold up the aide and his aide, Duffy, and then one other guy named Blair. That is all we're asking for. What are they so afraid of? Are they that afraid of the truth? They can vote how they want to vote. But in America, a trial means witnesses and a trial means evidence. [12:22:46] And the fact that they are hiding. [12:22:50] I just think, like, why why do you run for this office? Is it because you just want to like have a title you can use in the future because you want to have a desk, by the way, you can buy your desk at the end, you know, and keep it. Is that why you are by your chair and you can buy your chair and they want to have that chair in their office? Are they doing it because they want a trophy on the shelf? [12:23:15] They have to do their constitutional duty. So that's what's at stake. And it actually bleeds into what you are a jury on. And that is this election. [12:23:25] And it is really a concept that is very similar because what is at stake in this election is our very democracy. And while we have a lot of debates on that stage about economics and about the best way to reduce health care costs, which I'll get to in a minute, and the best way to make it easier for kids to go to college. All of that. We're having a very thoughtful debate about all that. [12:23:51] But I often think to myself, one, what unites us is bigger than what divides us. And you know that very well. But the second thing is, when there is people watching out there that are maybe from those 31 counties in Iowa that voted for Barack Obama and then turned around and voted for Donald Trump. [12:24:09] Some of those people are watching these debates. Some of the people that stayed home in 2016 because they just felt left out there watching these debates. And so when we get all worked up about different positions of our candidates, we have to remember there's a lot of people that don't agree with every single thing that someone says on the debate stage. [12:24:30] I don't agree with every single thing that people say on the debate stage, but they do agree on one thing. [12:24:36] And that is that the heart of America is bigger than the heart of this guy in the White House. [12:24:43] They agree on that. They know that. They agree. They know they know that this election. [12:24:52] Yes. [12:24:53] It's an economic check because you haven't done anything. I'm looking at our access to insulin shirt in front of me, hasn't done anything like he promised on pharmaceuticals, that the prices keep going up and he hasn't done one thing or that he hasn't done the infrastructure investment that we want to see our housing issue in this community and so many others across Iowa are child care. He hasn't done these things to make this true shared prosperity. We know that that's going to be a major issue in the election. But there is something else going on here. There is something else going on here. We wouldn't have won the governorship in Louisiana, got our guy reelected. [12:25:35] We would not have won in Kentucky, where Mitch McConnell now has a Democratic governor. [12:25:43] You know what those two states have in common the night before those elections, someone went down there and campaigned for their opponents. You know who that was? Donald Trump. So the question is, where can we send him next? So we know, as we know, that those voters and the people in Virginia where with this incredibly diverse group of candidates across that state. We painted the state house and the state Senate blue, the exact same thing we want to do here in the state of Iowa. [12:26:15] We know, as we know, that something else is going on and that's something. [12:26:22] Is this. Yeah, it's an economic check, but it is also a dignity check. It is a decency check. It is a patriotism check. It is a values check. It is a president that stood next to a ruthless dictator, Vladimir Putin, at the G 20. [12:26:40] And when a reporter asked him about Russian interference in our election, he made a joke to Vladimir Putin. The whole world was watching. He was on the world stage. That's what he did. Well, you think about it. Hundreds of thousands of Americans have lost their lives defending democracy. Democracy here, democracy around the world, do you think of the Sullivan brothers right at this town? [12:27:06] That's what their sacrifice was about. You think about those four little girls at the height of the civil rights movement and that church in Birmingham, Alabama, who lost their lives innocence because they were trying to hold on to our democracy, because people were trying to expand it to them and other people were trying to push it away. The very best moment in our country's history and the worst moments have been about democracy and our constitution. And this president, he makes a joke about it. [12:27:39] So for so many Americans out there who maybe don't agree with everything we say, for them this election is that it is the rancher in the middle of my state. And this was my first understanding of this when I was during his cattle ranch on an ATV and we were dodging in and out of these huge cows. [12:27:59] And I thought, this is not how I want to die. [12:28:01] And when it ended when it ended, he had me go into his house and everyone had left. And he said to me, you know, we voted. We voted for Trump. And I said, do you mean the ranch? What do the ranchers, your family? He said, no, I don't like to talk about myself. I meant I voted, but I say we. And I said, OK. He said, well, we voted for Trump because we were mad about health care. [12:28:25] And he said, but then we saw him standing in front of that wall. And I said, well, the wall really hasn't been built. That's that's it. [12:28:32] He said, no, no, no. The day after the inauguration, the CIA wall and this guy remembered when Trump gave this incredibly partisan speech about the size of his inaugural crowd in front of this sacred wall, which is covered in the stars of the deceased CIA agents who lost their lives in the line of duty. [12:28:51] And that's the place that Donald Trump decided to give a political speech. [12:28:56] And this guy, this rancher, he remembered that and he did not like that. And then he said, then we go and fast forward to the Boy Scout rally. And it might not been the first thing you thought of, but for him, that's what he thinks of, because he used to be a Boy Scout. And I talked him about back because my husband was a Boy Scout. My husband actually grew up in Mankato. He has five brothers and. Well, they had four boys living in a trailer home. [12:29:23] And his parents wanted a girl. She got pregnant. He had his mom and they had identical twin boys. [12:29:29] So they had six boys in triple bunk beds in the trailer home. And they. And then then they were scout leaders. And five of the six became Eagle Scouts. And I never want to say which one didn't make it because I don't want to embarrass my husband, but that was them. So I told this guy that and he said, yeah, you know, for me as a scout, when I saw that, when I saw my president standing in front of that huge group, that jamboree of all of those young men giving this really partisan political speech, he said that was it for me. [12:30:03] That was the moment I knew what I'd done. [12:30:05] He said for me, it wasn't patriotic. It was wrong. [12:30:11] Then you go to New Hampshire, the long line of people, and they are all with these little happy stickers on. I'm in Conway, New Hampshire. It's kind of northern part of that state. And they've got these happy stickers that say, I'm a reproductive rights voter, I'm a Supreme Court voter, I'm a climate change voter. And then there is this guy in this brown leather jacket who has no sticker. And I said, sir, where's your sticker? And he leans over. [12:30:36] He said, I don't have a sticker. Hi. I was a Trump voter. [12:30:42] We don't have a sticker, and these guys, my neighbors, they don't know. So don't don't say anything about it right now. And he said, but I am not doing it again. [12:30:54] So I don't want us to forget. [12:30:58] I do not want us to forget in a state like this, that there are those people out there that they see this as something bigger than themselves. [12:31:10] As John McCain would say, that's how they see it. [12:31:14] The probably the best example of that is actually in Iowa, one that I used on that last debate stage. I really like the debates. By the way, when I'm out in the New Hampshire one coming up. [12:31:26] And thank you the and the the there was a guy from a town called Prim Ga, Iowa. [12:31:38] Many of you may have been there. I went there looking for this guy's house. I couldn't find it on Google Maps, but I found a street named after him. His name was Joseph Welch. He grew up there, son of immigrants, big family, humble, humble background. He goes on to become the highest lawyer for the U.S. Army. [12:31:56] He became the Army counsel and he was the one during those McCarthy hearings when Joe McCarthy was going after people because of their political beliefs, because of their supposed political political beliefs, even if they didn't have them getting them blacklisted so that they couldn't work. And then he took it even to a bigger, bigger, bigger stage and had those public hearings. And so many people were afraid to stand up to him. They were afraid that they would lose their jobs or their family members would lose their jobs. [12:32:24] But there was one guy that stood up to him. This guy, Joseph Welch from Prim, Ga, Iowa. And he's the one that looked at him and said, sir, have you no sense of decency at long last? Have you no sense of decency? That's this moment for our country. It's a call. It's a call to stand up and say same those same words. That's what this is about. And I think that's how you bring people in instead of shutting them out. [12:32:54] The other way you bring people in is by talking about things in a commonsense way. I know we think about Donald Trump as a bully and he is. And he goes after people, goes after immigrants, horrible things, people of color. He knows no limits. It's horrible. But there's also people out there that they they know that. But one of the things when you talk about it in a different way, when you talk about the fact that he's a whiner, that they have to work hard every day and just that they got something go wrong in their life. [12:33:22] They just got to take another job or get a loan or their spouse has to take another job. And then they see him have the best job in the world sitting in that nice house and still walking by that helicopter and whining and complaining about everything. I thought about this when I went on this blue wall tour in the middle of our country to the states that he had won, that he shouldn't have won. States like Pennsylvania and Michigan and Wisconsin and Iowa and Ohio and even Minnesota that Hillary won. But just by a bare minimum, she got the lowest percentage of any state that she won in the country, in my state. So my first plan is to build a beautiful blue wall around those states and. [12:34:12] And make and make Donald Trump pay for it. [12:34:16] OK. That is our plan. [12:34:18] The other part of that. [12:34:21] The other part of it, when you talk to carpenters in Pennsylvania. Dock workers in Michigan, dairy farmers in Wisconsin. [12:34:30] They think about how he whines as they work harder and then he messes up a farm policy or he does something or how he handles dealing with the rest of the world. So we lose manufacturing jobs like some of the issues that we've had with John Deere in parts around this state. I know near and dear to your hearts here in Waterloo. And this guy, they know he doesn't really care about him them. Right. They know what I was thinking. This story of FDR, when FDR died, he was put as body was put on a train. [12:35:03] And it goes through the country. And there's a reporter was standing next to a man who would had his head off and he was standing, waiting for the body by the train tracks. And the reporter says to him, because the guy's crying and reporter says, did you know the president's or did you know the president? Because you're so shook up. Did you know him? [12:35:21] And the guy goes, no, I didn't know the president, but he knew me. He knew me. That's the empathy that's missing with this president. [12:35:33] This president was given four hundred thirteen million dollars over the course of his career from his dad. I can't wait to say this on the debate stage to him because my story, my grandpa were 15 hundred feet underground in the mines up in Ely, Minnesota. He couldn't even graduate from high school. He went to be in the Navy, but he had nine brothers and sisters. He was the oldest boy. His parents were dying. [12:35:57] They died very, very young. And he worked his whole life in those underground mines, went down in a cage with a with the lunch that my grandma would pack for him every day. The sirens would go off. Everyone would run because that means someone had died. And they never knew if it was gonna be their brother or their dad or their husband. And it was the unions that made those mines safe. [12:36:18] It was the unions that made those safe. They used to have my dad. [12:36:25] My dad would tell the story of the caskets that would line line the entry way of their Catholic church. He still remembers that when he was growing up. And that changed because of the unions. And so he saved money. My grandma and grandpa saved money in a coffee can. In their basement to send my dad to a two year community college. You cannot fit four hundred thirteen million dollars in a coffee can in the basement. [12:36:52] That is my family trust. That is my family trust. My mom, she grew up in Wisconsin. [12:37:00] She wanted to be a teacher. So she moved to Minnesota because they had a strong teachers union and she taught second grade until she was 70 years old. [12:37:09] So I started. [12:37:13] I stand before you today as the granddaughter of an iron ore miner, of as a daughter of a teacher and a union newspaper man, as the first woman elected to the U.S. Senate from the State of Minnesota and a candidate for president of the United States. That is why. [12:37:58] That is what shared dreams are about, and I figure when you are given that kind of opportunity from someone and you've all had it in your life, it may be a parent or grandparent and maybe a neighbor, maybe a coworker and maybe a teacher when you are given that opportunity. [12:38:17] You don't go into the world with a sense of entitlement. You go into the world with a sense of obligation, obligations to lift people up instead of pushing them down, an obligation to lift people up instead of hoarding it for yourself. And when this guy when things go wrong for him, what does he do? He either blames other people. [12:38:41] By the way, there's a series of things that are unbelievable. He what does he do? He he blames these are some of my favorites. [12:38:47] He blames Barack Obama. That's one of his favorites. He just did it in the last month. He blames the head of the Federal Reserve. He put him in that job. [12:38:58] He's just that guy is just trying to do his job. He blames the city of Baltimore. [12:39:03] Think about the kids waking up that morning in that city to find out that the president of the United States calls your city rat infested. That happen. He blames my favorite one, the country of Denmark. [12:39:15] Who does that? [12:39:17] That's what he does. He he goes to the NATO conference and he is caught the foreign leaders are caught on tape making fun of him some. And honestly, I have heard other senators make more fun of other senators in the Senate, even people they like. [12:39:32] But what does this guy do when this happens? Instead of just laughing it off, he leaves the conference before it is done. He is so thin skin, he quits. America doesn't quit. So when we think about how we. [12:39:53] When we think about how we talk about Donald Trump, we have to think of those workers out there that thought he was going to build all this stuff and they thought that he was going to bring down those costs of pharmaceuticals and it just hasn't happened. [12:40:06] The next thing we need to do is have our own optimistic economic agenda for this country, because you can't just spend all your time talking about him. [12:40:16] You have to have that hope for people, because we may have lost an election in 2016, but we didn't lose hope. [12:40:26] So what does this mean? It means taking on people's everyday challenges, health care. [12:40:31] So let me just be a little practical here. As we look at what's the choices for healthcare, the way I look at it is this way. [12:40:38] The Affordable Care Act is now nearly 10 points more popular than the president of the United States. [12:40:45] OK. So. [12:40:49] That's why I do not think it's a sensible option to blow it up. [12:40:53] When we come to water and you know, I have a lot of water in Minnesota, we build a bridge to get over it. We don't blow one up. So to me, that means building on the Affordable Care Act by bringing premiums down. And the way that Barack Obama from the beginning wanted to bring premiums down is with a non profit public option, a nonprofit public option that has been shown by one study, 12 million people immediately can have health insurance available to them that they wouldn't have before for 13 million people. It could bring the cost of their health care, their premiums down. Other thing I would do, take on pharmaceuticals in a big, big way. [12:41:37] And I come to this not just I come to this not just with the talking points, but with the receipts. [12:41:45] I have been leading the bills to take on pharma since my first years in the Senate. I lead the bill to unleash the power of 43 million seniors who are currently banned because pharma had so much clout that they got before I got there. They got a provision written into the law, into the law that says that Medicare cannot negotiate for less expensive drugs for farmer prices. [12:42:10] And that affects not just seniors, it affects everyone. It is written into law. Medicaid can negotiate. The V.A. can negotiate, but Medicare can't negotiate. I have 34 co-sponsors and as president, I will get this done. And a race. Those words from the law. [12:42:26] We can get this done. [12:42:32] Less expensive drugs from other countries. [12:42:36] In Minnesota, we can see Canada from our porch for the person out there from PolitiFact. That was a metaphor for. OK. Like, I can't really see it from my porch. I just like I mean, it was a joke about the. OK, thank you. I want a fact check. OK. What? No, I saw they signed in. [12:42:56] I have to be very careful with my thing. So. So. Yeah. So I. You can see the prices in Canada. So one way we do this is by bringing in less expensive drugs from other countries. And that is a bill actually that I have with Senator Grassley. I used to have it with Senator McCain, who I miss very much. So we know there's bipartisan support. We really know it because Bernie and I did an amendment in the middle of the night one time. [12:43:22] That was this bill close to our standards. And we got 14 Republican senators to vote for it. They may have been too tired, but they they voted for it. So I know there are votes to do that and better than that. I know I can do it myself without Congress. Why? It's one of the things we discovered that you can apply for a waiver to allow for less expensive drugs to come in from other countries that would create that kind of Kim competition, that would bring down prices. And in fact, if you want to check out maybe you've seen our ad. One hundred thirty seven things the president can do without Congress in the first 100 days that are legal. [12:43:59] And I have I have found these things. [12:44:01] And I think it is the reason that I do that is because I think it's going to be so important to build trust, to put out there exactly what you want to do and to build the trust, of course, introduce the big bills on immigration reform and climate change and the work that we need to done. [12:44:19] But you also have to do the first steps and you have to get that trust back, because right now people have lost trust in their government and they have lost faith. All right. [12:44:28] Other things I mentioned on the debate for that, my colleagues sometimes, even though they say they have the big ideas, I actually don't think they're thinking big enough. Because if you're thinking big enough, when you look at health care, you would be talking about mental health care and addiction all the time, which is what I do, because we have not done anything. [12:44:48] We have not done what we should do to deal with this. [12:44:50] It's personal for me. My dad had three DWI by the time my husband, I got married. [12:44:56] That was when the judge looked at him and they said, look, you know, he said, you've got a choice, treatment or jail. And my dad chose treatment and it changed his life. In his words, he was pursued by grace because of the treatment, because of his family and his friends and his faith. He got through that. And he is now 91 and he has been sober ever since. He's in assisted living. His aid group visits him there. And then it's his words about over a year ago. It's hard to get a drink around here anyway. [12:45:25] So he had his life changed because of that. [12:45:29] And I think everyone should have that same. Right, whether it's opioid addiction, whether it is mental health, where in the state of Iowa, you only have 64 public mental health beds in the state of Iowa that we have to put money into. My proposal you can look at online is to use that opioid settlement money. [12:45:45] And it's going to be big money because they have serious, serious evidence against them and use that money as a lawyer president. I think you could get some really good results here to make sure it goes back to where it should go and also to make sure it also covers other forms of addiction as well as things and mental health. And we can get this done. Last thing I'd mentioned is long term care. [12:46:08] The elephant that doesn't even fit in this room and that is that we are seeing an aging of our population, which is a great thing, but we haven't done one thing to really get at long term care. What does it mean strengthening Social Security, which is actually there is an elegant solution there. It means making sure that Medicare and Medicaid is strong and then creating incentives for people to be able to buy long term care insurance by reducing premiums. You guys are like the perfect students in front. [12:46:38] You are the first person that I ever got excited about that policy point. [12:46:42] But it is that is actually that is a fact. But you can you can do that. [12:46:50] And I found a way to pay for it from a wealthy guy in Boston who told me, you know, wealthy, wealthy people take out trust funds for their kids. I'm not talking about charitable ones. And you can look at ones that are over five hundred thousand dollars. That's a lot of money for a trust fund for your kids. Like for you. [12:47:05] That would be a lot of money. Yeah. She would she would really like. Yeah. OK. So you look at the ones that are over five hundred thousand, you start taxing just the appreciation, which means the gain each year and you would literally bring in over one hundred billion dollars. That to me is a very straightforward, elegant solution. You use that money to help people buy long term care insurance and then also while they're in long term care if they're at home. Help them to defray the expenses because we actually want people to stay at home as long as they can. My story, by the way, this isn't just about seniors. [12:47:40] Everyone knows a sandwich generation, people that have aging parents, people taking care of their own kids. My story, I was just dealing with my dad's care in the middle of the impeachment hearing. I was out there e-mailing about something with it and then I had a run back in. And so but the truth is that he is that long term care insurance, which was really amazing. I didn't know he got that until he went into assisted living. So that's lasting him for just a little bit more. For about a year and a half more. And then after that, we go into his savings. He doesn't have as much as he should. He got married three times, which is a whole nother story. [12:48:21] But he has some savings. [12:48:22] But then after that, he's on Medicaid and the place he lives now doesn't take Medicaid. And so I talked to Catholic elder care and they're going to take him in at that point. But our story is actually so much better than so many others. Family stories that don't have a long term care insurance or don't have savings. And that's what people are dealing with. So that is thinking big. Taking on that big, big issue when it comes to health care, other challenges, making sure our education system is meshed up with our economy. And again, I say to my friends, if you don't look at it that way, you're not thinking big enough because the fastest growing jobs in our country right now, we're gonna have over a million openings for home health care workers because of the aging that I just talked about. [12:49:07] We are going to have we don't know how we're going to fill them in our country right now. We're gonna have over a hundred thousand openings for nursing assistance. We are gonna have over seventy thousand openings for electricians. We are going to have openings for trades workers. We are not we are not going to have a shortage of sports marketing degrees even though people have it. Thank you. We are going to have a shortage of plumbers in this country. So as we look at how we should be meshing our education system with our economy. That to me means investing in K through 12 in a big way. It means making. Making apprenticeships and we have some incredible union apprenticeships programs, making those apprenticeships free. Making one and two year degrees free at our community college. [12:50:00] And then, of course, a lot of these jobs are gonna be four year degrees and above. But I would get at that by doubling the Pell Grant from six thousand to twelve thousand a year. That would make a big difference. Doubling the income levels where you can get them from 50000 to 100000 a year. Pay for it by taking that capital gains rate and putting it closer to the personal income tax rate. That's what we can do. And making it easier to pay back loans. Looking at that loan payback program, I guess the first thing I do in the first 100 days because I could do it in 100 seconds actually is fire. Betsy de Vos. [12:50:46] I do that you expand that program. [12:50:49] You make it work for public service job, but you actually expand it to some of these jobs I'm talking about where you want kids to go into them with whatever degree it would make it so much better. I'm just I'm looking at it bigger. I'm looking at our economy and how you hook that into our education system. And part of this is, of course, child care and retirement and understanding that a third of the workers are in the gig economy and using some of this money or a lot of this money that Donald Trump gave to the top. You know, when he went down to Mara Lago, you've heard this story and he says to his friends after he signed the bill, he says, you just got a lot richer. [12:51:24] That is a documented fact. [12:51:27] Where is anyone in this room there? I just because I didn't want to embarrass you if you were in this room, know no one from Waterloo was in that room. All right. No one was there because he did that for his friend. And we can take a bunch of that money, put it into infrastructure, a promise that he has not kept. Which will mean jobs right here at home. Put it into doing something. Actually, you can put some aside for deficit reduction. No one much talked about that. But he's treating you like poker. Thank you. One person. [12:51:57] My shirt. I you. [12:51:59] He's treating you like poker chips and one of his bankrupt casinos and putting it into money that's going to help people. The they can take the jobs that we want him to take. That's the way I look at this climate change. Another major, major, major challenge for climate change. [12:52:13] As for climate change, that is all about what is happening right now right here in Iowa. Yeah, it's about the Greenland ice sheet and the rising sea levels and the horrible fires in California. But it's also about what's happening right here in Iowa with the unprecedented floods and what we've seen in eastern and western Iowa. [12:52:34] My plan one, get us back into the international climate change agreement to bring back the clean power rules and the gas mileage standards that have been worked out. Actually, a compromise. When Barack Obama was president and then three, putting a price on carbon, but then making sure when we do that, making sure when we do that, that's with legislation. There's about three different ways you can do it. Making sure that that money that we're gonna get in, it's gonna be a lot of money that goes right back to people. [12:53:03] And it's airtight. So the people who are going to see changes to heating bills or things like that get the money back. You've got to do that or you're not going to get the votes. And then it will be bad public policy if you don't do that. But the other piece of it is investing the money in incentives for manufacturing and the like. So I'm actually really excited about this because I know we can develop the technology that's going to get us to the better place, but only if we keep people home. [12:53:27] And for me, this is from my heart, because when I was growing up, my grandpa, those mines would close. They'd open again. You know exactly what I'm talking about in this area. And they got so bad that they took out a billboard outside of Duluth that said the last one to leave, turn off the lights. [12:53:45] Because so much it closed down. No, we came roaring back actually in Duluth. We came roaring back because of investment in infrastructure, because of tourism, because of new businesses that were incentives were put in place to bring them in. [12:53:59] And we did something. The last 10 years about steel dumping from China finally. [12:54:04] And that actually created that incentive using not a meat cleaver or tweak cleaver, but a very focused approach to trade enforcement. And we were able to actually get those mines open again. So those are my stories. So when I look at climate change, I look at it not just from my head, but my heart. I'm making this work for everyone. [12:54:23] I remember the great technology out there. It has not been developed yet. Norman Borlaug. We need a new Norman Borlaug. Right. [12:54:31] We need someone that's going to get that technology and it's gonna figure that out. [12:54:36] Last thing that I will say is just that we want to win. [12:54:46] My profound advice to you is we better not screw this up and we better put someone at the top of the ticket and this is my piece for me. [12:54:57] Someone at the top of the ticket that has the record of bringing people with her and winning big. You have heard my story and you can call anyone in Minnesota. I have five million job references. Many of them voted for me. Some of them didn't. But even those people will most likely tell you that I work hard, that I'm honest with people, that I have people's back. That I get things done. That I go not just where it's comfortable, but where it's uncomfortable that I have one in the reddest of districts. Flipping forty two of the counties that Donald Trump won, I have one in. I have one in the congressional district that borders Iowa. [12:55:40] Many, many times, in fact, every single time I that's a district that will soon be JD district, that district. I have one that cross across the border. I have one in the district. Over and over every single time that border south in North Dakota, I've been one in northern Minnesota where the steelworkers are, which is now represented by a Republican. But I've won it by a sizable margin every single time. And yes, every single time I have one. Michele Bachmann's district. [12:56:14] So I bring those receipts and I also bring a passion for understanding that this is not just a personal victory for me, that this will be a national victory, because if we just win and eke by victory in the presidency at 4:00 in the morning, that'll be great. But if we just do that, we won't have won big and that state won't be Iowa. [12:56:36] I want to win big because if we want to move on infrastructure, we talked about the health care changes, education, gun safety, climate change, all these issues. We actually have to win big and send Mitch McConnell packing. That's the only way we're going to do that. [12:56:58] To do that, we have to bring people with us. [12:57:01] And so I suggest we're very, very happy that we're doing better and better in this state. [12:57:06] I know I don't have the name I.D. of some of my opponents. I know that. I know that I don't have the bank account of some of my opponents. OK, just for the polite effect, people, I will not be running an ad during the Super Bowl. [12:57:19] I just I want to make that very clear in case there was any confusion about what I do have is people in a big way. [12:57:28] And we just had a poll this morning, an NBC poll out of New Hampshire that showed me at 10 percent in double digits. This is we are literally dead. [12:57:37] Two numbers there where we are literally four points away from a few of the other people that maybe you hear about more. I got the endorsement of the Quad City Times, which I'm excited about, a long endorsement along with Elizabeth. We shared the endorsement of The New York Times. I am. [12:57:59] As I point out that The New York Times has one city, but the Quad City Times has four well, really five, as you know. So. And then just last night, I got the endorsement of the biggest newspaper in New Hampshire, the Union Leader. [12:58:13] So there you go. So that is that is the path. [12:58:21] That is the path that we are on. [12:58:22] And I ask you to join me. I believe so much in my heart that this is the election where we want to put someone really different from the guy in the White House on the stage to debate him that we want to have someone that we're not saying, oh, are you richer than him? Well, then you get to be our candidate, that we want to have someone that can actually lead the ticket and bring people with her. And the reason I pick the color green for our campaign is that it is the color of Paul Wellstone, who was a political mentor to me. And we have this green bus. He had this amazing green bus. And his best friend in the U.S. Senate was Tom Harkin. [12:59:05] And the year that he died, right before what would have been his reelection, this tragic plane crash where he died with his daughter and his wife and their beloved campaign workers. That was the year that he gave made this courageous vote against the Iraq war. And he was going to win anyway. Because the state understood that he was the only Democrat running in a tough state that took that vote. It was a year that he was sick. He had told the state that he had M.S. And instead of running back and forth in the parades really fast like you used to do and talking really, really fast in his ads because he didn't have as much money as his opponents. [12:59:43] Instead of running, he could only stand on the back of his green bus and wave. And that year, I spent a good part of my time working with him because I didn't have an opponent. Sounds nice in my reelection for county attorney and I got to watch this amazing thing. And that was this. As he stood on the back of that bus and prays and waved. [13:00:03] You didn't even notice he wasn't running because there were all these people in these green shirts that ran around that bus that he had energized to be part of his campaign that you didn't even notice he wasn't running himself. So that's what I'm asking you to do for me. [13:00:21] I had never envisioned when I started in the middle of that blizzard in the Mississippi River that I wouldn't be able to be here the last two weeks before the caucuses. [13:00:30] That was not my plan. But things happen. And you have duties and you have obligations. So I'm going to ask you to run for me to do what you can to sign those commit to caucus cards. Mike, there's Jamie and all of our crew over there. [13:00:48] We'd love to get those cards we got. My favorite story along these lines of Iowans waiting to make decisions with the former mayor of Cedar Rapids, Kay, who told me after a long breakfast. [13:00:59] Well, she said, I got great news for you. And I said, what's that? She said, I'm 78 percent with you. [13:01:06] So I am asking you, she got to 100 percent. And so can you. [13:01:12] So I am asking you to help me in this critical 10 days. [13:01:18] We have this amazing organization. We always defy expectations. No one thought I was going to beat all these people and be one of five people in the lead in Iowa a year ago. [13:01:30] Let me tell you, they did not think that. But I am and we are in this to the end. [13:01:35] So join our team, sign up and help me. Thank you. Thank you, water. Thank you. In the shop, there's a Chinatown in the. [13:01:55] Linda Chavez, a example. Then she gets into this fight. Welcome and good questions. [13:02:03] I know we wanted a little musical break. That was that was really good when I do some questions here fast so we can do some photos. [13:02:10] Jane from Cedar Falls. Jane, where are you? You somewhere you some are right back there. You want to ask your question or. [13:02:20] Guns. Thank you. OK. So I go way back with this issue because when I was county attorney, I dealt with it all the time. Street violence, domestic homicides. [13:02:31] And back then I actually supported the assault weapon ban and the reauthorization of that bill. [13:02:37] I ran I did a lot on actually enforcing the laws, which is also important for felons in possession of guns and things like that. And then I got to the Senate. I thought, OK, well, we need to do some sensible things here, like universal background checks. And I was stunned at what was going on. [13:02:56] And I look at this in a different way because I'm from a hunting state, a different way than some people on the debate stage. Actually, I'm from a hunting state like Iowa. So I look at these proposals and I say, do they hurt my Uncle Dick in the deer stand? They do not hurt my Uncle Dick in the deer stand. And so then I start stepping back and say, how did we get to this place? And so much of it is the NRA, but a lot of it is Donald Trump and a lot of it is Mitch McConnell, because right now the public is with that's the majority. [13:03:28] If you look back a few months ago, I don't know where it is now, but the majority of Trump voters wanted universal background checks. The majority of hunters few months ago wanted universal background checks. And when Sandy Hook happened and those kids were killed in that school. Those parents came to Washington to try to get universal background checks, even though when a kill wouldn't have saved their babies, they knew it was the best thing to do because it reduces suicides, it reduces domestic homicides. [13:04:00] And they were in my office the day of the vote. And I just talked to Senator Manchin, who is an a rated NRA senator, but he decided it was important to do something on it with center. To me, the two of them had joined forces and I had to tell those families that we didn't have the votes, that they had the courage to come to Washington. But we didn't have the votes in the U.S. Senate. And I remember this mom telling me the story about how her child was autistic and she kissed him goodbye that day. [13:04:28] And he pointed to the picture of his school aide that he loved on the refrigerator. And as she a few hours was waiting in that fire station and all the kids that come in. And pretty soon the parents sitting there knew that they were never gonna see their babies again. She said she's sobbing and she has this momentary thought of that school late because she knew that she would never leave his side. And when they found them both shot through. [13:04:53] That woman had her arms around that little boy. That's courage. And we didn't have the courage to get it done. So since that time, there has been change. Moms Demand Action has done an incredible job of taking this on to every corner of the country. [13:05:10] The kids, after Parkland became icons, people all over the country, kids started watching them and thinking and asking their dads actually in their grandpas, wait a minute, why can't before that? What happens next is there's an election in 2018 in Congress and a bunch of people win who are for things like magazine limitations and background checks and doing something about the Charleston loophole. And my bill, which is sitting on Mitch McConnell's desk because it passed the House to close the boyfriend loophole, to say that domestic abusers, convicted domestic abusers can't get AK 47. [13:05:47] Those bills are sitting on Mitch McConnell's desk. So if we want to get this done, and I sat across from Donald Trump at the White House because of my leadership on these issues, I was invited there and I sat across from him with a bunch of like 15 lawmakers. And it's a video worth looking at because I counted and I had a little piece of paper and I asked about the universal background checks and the boyfriend loophole. Bill and I watched nine times, nine times he said he wanted to get universal background checks done. [13:06:16] And I wrote it down on a piece of paper, a little hash marks that I still had. Next day meets with the NRA and he fold as your president, I will not fold and we'll get the. [13:06:37] Is this maybe you, Janelle? Is that you at the insulin shirt? [13:06:41] Can you believe it that I picked your question out? It wasn't like great or anything. [13:06:47] Let's see. I know you spoke about the insulin crisis and I've worked with Nicole Smith Holt. That's right. In Minnesota. And you're from. Where are you from? Bernard, Iowa. Can you share your ideas on lowering insulin prices? [13:07:02] So actually, Nicole is this incredible woman. Her son was a restaurant owner. A restaurant? No, a restaurant manager, a young guy in the Twin Cities in Bloomington. And he was on his parents health insurance and then he aged off. And then he had health insurance. But he wasn't able to pay the price of insulin because it's gone up so much. He was a diabetic and he needed that insulin. So like so many people that I've seen, this incredibly ridiculous increase in insulin prices, a drug that has saved lives and been around. For how long? For. Almost hundred years I maybe should have her answer this honestly. She's ready to go. And so Nicole son started rationing his insulin and within literally a few weeks of him starting doing it. [13:07:52] He died. He had a job. He was a love or just the best kid. And she lost him. [13:08:00] So she has devoted her life to taking on this issue and the general issue of prescription drugs. And I actually brought her to the State of the Union. So she you know, this story, she looked down at Donald Trump. She's sitting right up there. And again, he's mentioned this. He was on Fox News once and he said he would bring prescription drug prices down so low that it would make your head spin. Yeah. Well, it's made people's heads spin because they go up. So I outlined my plan on that with the. And I'd add one more thing of the plan on prescription drugs in general. [13:08:31] All of this will help the Medicare negotiation less expensive drugs. I'd add to it a cap on prices tied to the international level, which would be very helpful with insulin. [13:08:42] And that would that bill that's been introduced in the House of Representatives would save ready for this 350 billion dollars for taxpayers. [13:08:51] That's not even counting consumers in 10 years by just tying it to the international numbers when it comes to drugs. [13:09:00] And then there are some specific insulin proposals as well that states are adapting that we could also bring out on the national level. So thank you for your advocacy. Thank you. [13:09:17] And by the way, the last thing we want to do is repeal the Affordable Care Act because then people with preexisting conditions. Which is exactly what Donald Trump is trying to do. People with win that lawsuit in Texas, people with preexisting conditions would be kicked off their health insurance. [13:09:33] Let's see. This is from Terry Wright from Cedar Falls. [13:09:40] What policies will you implement as president to return good paying manufacturing jobs to the US? I think a lot of that. I first of all, as you can tell from my heart. Given my grandpa and given my family, my sister, who actually didn't graduate from high school and Iowa saved her. She moved down here and worked in manufacturing. And then after a while, she got enough courage to get her GTD. And from there, she went to a two year community college in the state of Iowa. And from there, she got her degree in accounting and has been gainfully employed ever since. [13:10:16] And that was a story. [13:10:20] Having a job for her at that moment, but it is also a story for so many people about their careers and the way I look at this, when you hold something that's made in America in your hand, you're holding a quality product. You're holding quality. You're holding a quality for workers and you are holding the hopes and dreams of the people of this country. So that means incentives for manufacturing to be in America, which is what we want. And there's incredible stories of manufacturing in America. It means a trade policy that makes sense. And you look at what he has done taking on China. [13:10:55] Yeah. I just told you the story about steel dumping and what we did. I bought Obama's chief of staff up to the Iron Range to make the point so he could see directly why we had to enforce the trade laws. So that is about trade enforcement and actually the people putting the people in place. When we were working on that, I actually went and met in the bowels of the Commerce Department with everyone that worked on trade enforcement. They had never had a senator come to meet with them before. [13:11:20] And I went to thank them for actually all these complex cases they had brought on countercyclical tariffs and all these things. And I brought them petite. So from Iron Range that this thing my grandma used to make the Slovenian treat and they were in shock because we have to remember, it's not just the laws on the books. It's also are you going to put your resources and are you going to put your presidency behind enforcing these trade laws in a big way? Because there there's a lot of that which will keep the jobs in America. [13:11:53] The other piece of it is when you do trade agreements and we just had the recent USMC. Some people liked it. Some people didn't like it. I, on balance, decided to support it. I wouldn't have had in the beginning because it didn't have the labor inspections and some of the things that I thought were necessary in the agreement. Those got added. It was supported by Richard Trumka, the head of the AFL CIO, and Sherrod Brown, who I admire very much. But it's a model going forward. It's not enough, but it's a model going forward that we put these kind of labor standards in a trade agreement. What does that allow us to do, take on China in a bigger way? [13:12:30] Because we have a bigger trading block and then we work on those things because they have been long subsidizing industries and stealing intellectual property and the like. But my approach again is not the meat cleaver or tweet cleaver approach. When you look at what happened with John Deere, you know, this has effects the way he does his trade policy with China. He announces he's going to do tariffs on three hundred billion dollars and then he changes it to having it in a week. [13:12:58] And the Chinese have a long term view of these things. And one of the things about trade policy is you keep your promises, including promises here and you keep your threat. And he has done either of them. So I think that is a lot to do with how we handled this with manufacturing. Then the other piece of it is just everything we can do to keep strong labor laws in place to make it easier for people to organize. We have to remember when you look at the numbers, unions make our economy stronger, they make more people make more money and be a part of this economy. And it makes our manufacturing stronger. [13:13:35] And all this stuff I'm talking about with those one and two year degrees and going into manufacturing, a lot of it has to do with union training and safety and what we need. So I'm actually really excited to work on this manufacturing issue just because I see that we we're just at the tip of the iceberg for what we could be doing to encourage more manufacturing jobs in the US. [13:14:04] Yeah, I think, yeah, this will be the last one, I think I answered. Carol from Hudson and its position on health care. I think we did that and private insurance. And yes, I would. One of the things that we've had these big debates about Medicare for all. [13:14:23] And I actually think that debate is worthy of having. But at some point we have to look at that bill. And on page eight of that bill, it says that one hundred forty nine million Americans would be kicked off their current health insurance. [13:14:39] And I do not think that's the right way to go. [13:14:42] I think we are much better off doing the nonprofit public option, which you could do with Medicare or Medicaid. That that would create that kind of competition that would be consistent with a lot of the policies that we have in place for many of our our workers. And that we also make sure that we have a strong V.A. system, which we haven't really talked about, and that we have the workers to work in the health care field, which, by the way, includes immigration reform, because immigrants don't immigrants. [13:15:16] Immigrants don't diminish America. [13:15:18] They are America. So I think what we're going to do now after you sign those commit to caucus cards. [13:15:24] Just kidding. We're gonna do some photos up here and we will go from there. We have some of our policy staff here. If you write Noah. No one can answer any question in the world. Is that correct? Okay. And Rosa Rose is here somewhere. Where is she? Right over here, the head of our policy team. So you can also talk to them about any questions you have. Thank you, everybody. [13:15:47] We need your help. Let's on with this. Thank you.
AMY KLOBUCHAR PERRY IA TOWN HALL ABC UNI 2020/HD
TVU 22 AMY KKLOBUCHAR PERRY IA ABC UNI 011220 2020 Sen. Amy Klobuchar rounded out her latest pre-debate Iowa swing Sunday afternoon with a 125+ crowd in Perry, Iowa. While she did not sway much from her stump, she did preview the upcoming debate a number of times, including when talking about the need for more dialogue on rural issues. "So when I look at what's happening in this election right now, I think about a few things, so I'm really looking forward to the Iowa debate. I hope we're going to talk about some rural issues for a change. In fact, the -- one of the last times I was in this hotel was for the National Farmers Union, the local, the state Farmers Union event, and I hope we talk about some of those things and the havoc that Donald Trump's policies have wreaked on rural America." [161035] She also sought to connect those rural issues to immigration, making the point that immigration is an important economic issue for Iowa farmers. "This state of all states should understand the need for immigrants in our economy and I talk about this at every single event, and people say "you're talking about immigration in Iowa?" I'm like, "yeah. Just like I talked about it all the time in Minnesota. Just like nearly every negative ad run against me, when I first run to the U.S. Senate, was about immigration." Why? Because I see it as an economic imperative. Immigrants don't diminish America. They are America. [applause] We need workers right now." [163507] "CELEBRITY" CANDIDATES Klobuchar also hammered on the point that there isn't a need for a celebrity candidate for president, rather there is a need for a nominee who can bring voters of different ideologies together. "Having candidates that are people that people believe in. Having a presidential candidate, that is someone who can bring people with her. And I've made the case for that. And I think people need to dismiss this idea that to win, you have to have like the celebrity candidate." [165915] She also made a point of noting on the number of staff being hired in Nevada and South Carolina because of her fundraising bump, although polls show she has dismal support from minority voters "Because of that, have been able to double our field offices in Iowa and in -- double our staff in New Hampshire and we have strong -- I was just in Nevada yesterday where it was like 60 degrees warmer. Just a little aside. And we've been able to put a good staff on the ground there and in South Carolina. And I think we're doing this the right way." [161012] GENDER DYNAMICS Another topic she hit a number of times, something rather out of place for her, was gender, but in the sense that she was not running on being a female candidate. Instead she made the same argument she's made in past debates, that woman face an inherent "double standard." "As I said at one of the debates and sort of defying expectations that the president doesn't have to be the tallest person in the room. We have a tall guy there now, sort of. And I will note that James Madison was only five foot four. That is my height. And that you don't have to be the loudest person in the room, which we've got in the White House. You don't have to be the skinniest person in the room. [164805] There are a lot of expectations of women and there's been a lot of double standards in politics. But I have met every single one of them." [164831] She brought back the topic of gender just one minute later, telling the crowd of a moment in which she convinced a group of tough male miners in Minnesota to voter for her. She says she convinced them on her record, rather than her gender. "I said, you know, last time I checked, half the voters were men. So if I was just running as a woman, I wouldn't win. And they go, yeah. And I think what that was about was about making sure you're running as your record, that you're running for what you are. [164948] So I can tell you, any woman in politics right now, when you get to the highest level, you have to be resilient and you have to be tough, and you have to be so tough that you are definitely tough enough to beat Donald Trump." [165007] PROGRESSIVE ATTACKS Lastly, noting her riff against progressive candidates, given polling showing a Sanders Iowa surge. While all of this is typical Klobuchar stump, the lines seemed to resonate more given the common critiques of the progressive wing of the party. For example, Klobuchar celebrated the ACA, saying while it isn't perfect, at least it wouldn't blow up an already well-liked program. "One of the challenges, health care. I think we should bring down the premiums. I think we should make it easier to afford health care. And to me, when you have a problem -- and by the way, the Affordable Care Act, right now, if you're going to be practical about this because I worked on that bill. I knew it wasn't perfect the day it passed 'cause I didn't think it'd do anything on pharma, but the day it passed, I said "it's a beginning and not an end." So my answer on that one is to build on it with a nonprofit public option, something that Barack Obama wanted to do from the very beginning." [162650] And then also to really take on Pharma in a big way , something I've been doing since I got to the U.S. Senate. But if we want to be practical about this, and I know some of my colleagues have other views with Medicare for all and the like, but the Affordable Care Act is now 10 points more popular than the president of the United States, so I do not think that we should be blowing it up with all of the protections that it gave us." 162723 She later rounded her remarks telling the crowd that unlike some of her opponents, she says how her plans will be paid for. "Everything I tell you, I have ways to pay for it. I think it is really important that we show how we're going to pay for things because we've got a president, right now, that is literally treating you like poker chips in one of his bankrupt casinos. And -- and the debt is going to astronomical levels." [163314] ++ For Nightline needs, here are some stump speech highlights: Winning big: "So, I really end where I began, and that is that we have to win big and to win big, we have to have a candidate at the top of the ticket that can bring people with her. That is what we need to do." [164059] Donald Trump's entitlement: "And when he and my grandma got married and had my dad and my uncle Dick, they saved money, my grandma and grandpa, in a coffee can in their basement to send my dad to a two year community college. You cannot fit 413 million dollars in a coffee can in the basement in this little house in Ely, Minnesota. But when I think of this, that was my family's trust. That gave us this opportunity. [162410] And when people give you an opportunity, whether it's a grandparent or a parent, whether it's a teacher, whether it is a neighbor or whether it is someone you work with, you do not go into the world with a sense of entitlement. You go into the world with a sense of obligation, an obligation to bring people with you instead of pushing them out, an obligation to bring people with you instead of hoarding it all to yourself. That is what we have to remind people about." [162436] HIGHLIGHTS Las Vegas and South Carolina Staffing 161012 We, because of that, have been able to double our field offices in Iowa and in -- double our staff in New Hampshire and we have strong -- I was just in Nevada yesterday where it was like 60 degrees warmer. Just a little aside. And we've been able to put a good staff on the ground there and in South Carolina. And I think we're doing this the right way. Iowa Debate and Rural Issues 161035 So when I look at what's happening in this election right now, I think about a few things, so I'm really looking forward to the Iowa debate. I hope we're going to talk about some rural issues for a change. In fact, the -- one of the last times I was in this hotel was for the National Farmers Union, the local, the state Farmers Union event, and I hope we talk about some of those things and the havoc that Donald Trump's policies have wreaked on rural America. 161102 And it's not just farmers, as you know, it's everything around AG, which is so important in this state. It is AG manufacturing like some of the layoffs at John Deere, it's what's been, what's happening with the biodiesel and soybean plants like the plant I visited in Crawfordsville where the worker who was the last one standing there. Everyone else had been let go. 161126 The plant closed down, but they let one guy stay to maintain the equipment and he takes his coat rack out with the uniforms all nicely pressed of what had been his fellow workers for years. And I remember they had their names embroidered on each uniform. Mark, Derek, Salvador. And he said, these were my friends, and now they're not here anymore. Packers jersey AND Super bowl Joke 161608 He gave me a tour of his cattle ranch on an ATV. We were dodging in and out of these humongous cows. And I remember thinking, "this is not the way I want to die." And then I went inside his house with him and we were, we're standing in there -- I was just distracted by that Green Bay Packers shirt over there. That's OK. The Vikings had a bad day. I'm OK. But it just, it just took me off my game. I don't know if that was the intention, but there you go. So anyway, we go. 161638 But once again -- you know, when the Super Bowl is? It's the night before the Iowa caucuses. So I guess that'll be sadly for me. But a lot of Minnesotans freed up to volunteer now. OK. So in any case, in any case, this guy brings me in his house, the ranch house. The media has left. Entitlement and Coffee Cans 162410 And when he and my grandma got married and had my dad and my uncle Dick, they saved money, my grandma and grandpa, in a coffee can in their basement to send my dad to a two year community college. You cannot fit 413 million dollars in a coffee can in the basement in this little house in Ely, Minnesota. But when I think of this, that was my family's trust. That gave us this opportunity. 162436 And when people give you an opportunity, whether it's a grandparent or a parent, whether it's a teacher, whether it is a neighbor or whether it is someone you work with, you do not go into the world with a sense of entitlement. You go into the world with a sense of obligation, an obligation to bring people with you instead of pushing them out, an obligation to bring people with you instead of hoarding it all to yourself. That is what we have to remind people about. Imperfect ACA 162650 One of the challenges, health care. I think we should bring down the premiums. I think we should make it easier to afford health care. And to me, when you have a problem -- and by the way, the Affordable Care Act, right now, if you're going to be practical about this because I worked on that bill. I knew it wasn't perfect the day it passed 'cause I didn't think it'd do anything on pharma, but the day it passed, I said "it's a beginning and not an end." So my answer on that one is to build on it with a nonprofit public option, something that Barack Obama wanted to do from the very beginning. 162723 And then also to really take on Pharma in a big way , something I've been doing since I got to the U.S. Senate. But if we want to be practical about this, and I know some of my colleagues have other views with Medicare for all and the like, but the Affordable Care Act is now 10 points more popular than the president of the United States, so I do not think that we should be blowing it up with all of the protections that it gave us. Payment/Debt 163314 Everything I tell you, I have ways to pay for it. I think it is really important that we show how we're going to pay for things because we've got a president, right now, that is literally treating you like poker chips in one of his bankrupt casinos. And -- and the debt is going to astronomical levels. Immigration as an Economic Imperative 163507 Immigration reform. This state of all states should understand the need for immigrants in our economy and I talk about this at every single event, and people say "you're talking about immigration in Iowa?" I'm like, "yeah. Just like I talked about it all the time in Minnesota. Just like nearly every negative ad run against me, when I first run to the U.S. Senate, was about immigration." Why? Because I see it as an economic imperative. Immigrants don't diminish America. They are America. [applause] We need workers right now. Winning Big 164059 You go through all of it and you see bill by bill by bill. You see democracy in action in the House, where new people got elected that came in with new ideas and got things done and then, you see that graveyard of legislation, which is Mitch McConnell's desk. So, I really end where I began, and that is that we have to win big and to win big, we have to have a candidate at the top of the ticket that can bring people with her. That is what we need to do. 164127 And when you look at my track record, I am the only one on that debate stage -- the only one that time and time again -- Dave will be my witness -- has one in the reddest of red districts. I have won every single election, including my first one against a sitting congressman in the district that borders Iowa, that is now held by a Republican. I've won the district that borders North and South Dakota. I have won big time northern Minnesota, where the steelworkers are, where my dad was from. 164157 And I have one Michele Bachmann's district every single time. [applause] I have done it by not selling out on our values, but by bringing people with me and getting things done. I have passed over 100 bills more than anyone else that's in Congress, that's running for office right now for the highest office of the land. I have passed more bills, many more bills than any of them. And I have done it because I know how to stand my ground and also find common ground. That is going to matter to voters. Double Standards 164805 As I said at one of the debates and sort of defying expectations that the president doesn't have to be the tallest person in the room. We have a tall guy there now, sort of. And I will note that James Madison was only five foot four. That is my height. And that you don't have to be the loudest person in the room, which we've got in the White House. You don't have to be the skinniest person in the room. 164831 There are a lot of expectations of women and there's been a lot of double standards in politics. But I have met every single one of them. Half the Voters are Men/Tough Enough to Beat Trump 164948 I said, you know, last time I checked, half the voters were men. So if I was just running as a woman, I wouldn't win. And they go, yeah. And I think what that was about was about making sure you're running as your record, that you're running for what you are. 165007 So I can tell you, any woman in politics right now, when you get to the highest level, you have to be resilient and you have to be tough, and you have to be so tough that you are definitely tough enough to beat Donald Trump. Celebrity Candidate 165915 Having candidates that are people that people believe in. Having a presidential candidate, that is someone who can bring people with her. And I've made the case for that. And I think people need to dismiss this idea that to win, you have to have like the celebrity candidate. Looking Forward to Debate 170807 We're looking forward to the debate. Love to have your support. TRINT [16:04:45] All right. Thank you. [16:04:50] Dave is almost selling himself short. Do you actually. When I hired him, when I first got to the U.S. Senate in 2006, he had been the head of the National Farmers Union. And so he did that for years. He was a legislator before that. I did one of the first renewable fuel standards in the country as a legislator in Minnesota. And then he goes to the National Farmers Union. And then I come in. And he'd been retired. And at the time he comes to apply for a job, I go, OK, this is like the state ag person. So you're going to have to do small meetings and put up chairs and things like that. [16:05:26] And he goes, my wife just wants me out of the house. And so anyway, he took and he worked with us and was incredible and a great mentor to our staff. And then when Mark Dayton became governor, he appointed him the commissioner, and he did that for years. And now he's back helping me on the trail. So there you go. I want to thank. I think all of you and mentioned are great team that is here. No, I'm Madison and Aaron, you want to raise your hands and show us where you are. Oh, OK. All right. Well, they're out there somewhere. And Julia is here. Deputy campaign manager standing right over there. Very good. And Lauren, who is our state director from Brooklyn, Iowa. [16:06:16] Yes. [16:06:18] Jamie, right back there, right there in the red is our political director here in Iowa. And we're just really excited about our team and the group that we brought together and our growing momentum we've seen in the state. [16:06:33] I actually got a text from a friend a few weeks ago and she said, congratulations on your. And it had an auto correct problem. Congratulations on your insurgency. [16:06:45] And I think I think that she maybe meant your surge, but that's OK. [16:06:50] And and that's what we're feeling on the ground. We are getting more and more of those commit to caucus cards. And by the way, getting Iowans to commit is one of my hilarious stories that of my life. My favorite was the former mayor of Cedar Rapids, Kaye, who was a mayor during the floods. And she and I had this long, hourlong breakfast. [16:07:13] And at the very end, she said, I've got some really great news for you, Amy. And I go, Yes, Kay. She says, I am 78 percent with you start. [16:07:24] But she got to 100 percent. She did. And you can do. [16:07:32] So we're we've been in great spirits. [16:07:34] And I think part of this campaign is that it is a grassroots campaign. It's one of the reasons I picked the color green and why we have the green bus. It was the color of one of my political mentors, Paul. Well, Stone, who I think all we need to say about him is that he was Tom Harkin's best friend in the Senate, but he was he was more than that. He also was someone that ran against the odds. He ran like actually I have in every one of my races in my first race for county attorney. My first race for U.S. Senate. [16:08:10] I always had less money than my opponent. And so how Paul addressed the whole thing was that he did these ads where he would talk really, really fast, just like this or that number. And he said, I I have to talk twice as fast as everyone else because I don't have as much money. And those were his ads. And his other hallmark was that he would run back and forth in the parades really, really, really fast. Well, the last year of his life, after he'd served two terms in the Senate, after he was going to be up for election, he had taken one of the most courageous votes that I strongly supported, and that was against the war in Iraq. [16:08:47] And yet he was up for election. And I think he was the only one that took that vote that was up in a difficult state in a difficult election. But he knew it was the right thing to do. And that year was the same year that he had told the state that he had M.S. and he could no longer run in those parades. He couldn't even walk in those parades. And it was sadly the same year that that plane went down and that we lost Sheila and Paul and their daughter and a number of staff members right before the election. [16:09:18] And what I remember most about that year, though, was him in the parades because he couldn't run anymore and he would stand on the back of the bus instead and next to Sheila and he would wave. And I had no opponent that year for my reelection for county attorney. Sounds nice. Married now. And so I was always hoping and with him and what I remembered was as he stood on the back of that bus waving, there were so many people in these green shirts running around that bus that he had through the years energized. [16:09:50] You couldn't even tell he wasn't running himself. That is what grassroots politics is about. And I know that there's all kinds of money thrown around in this thing. We I will say after two of the last debate raised one million dollars in 24 hours from regular people online. 161012 We, because of that, have been able to double our field offices in Iowa and in -- double our staff in New Hampshire and we have strong -- I was just in Nevada yesterday where it was like 60 degrees warmer. Just a little aside. And we've been able to put a good staff on the ground there and in South Carolina. And I think we're doing this the right way. 161035 So when I look at what's happening in this election right now, I think about a few things, so I'm really looking forward to the Iowa debate. I hope we're going to talk about some rural issues for a change. In fact, the -- one of the last times I was in this hotel was for the National Farmers Union, the local, the state Farmers Union event, and I hope we talk about some of those things and the havoc that Donald Trump's policies have wreaked on rural America. 161102 And it's not just farmers, as you know, it's everything around AG, which is so important in this state. It is AG manufacturing like some of the layoffs at John Deere, it's what's been, what's happening with the biodiesel and soybean plants like the plant I visited in Crawfordsville where the worker who was the last one standing there. Everyone else had been let go. 161126 The plant closed down, but they let one guy stay to maintain the equipment and he takes his coat rack out with the uniforms all nicely pressed of what had been his fellow workers for years. And I remember they had their names embroidered on each uniform. Mark, Derek, Salvador. And he said, these were my friends, and now they're not here anymore. [16:11:51] And he said, it's all because of the war with the trade war. And it's also because of the secret waivers that Donald Trump has been giving to these oil companies. That's what we're talking about, the effect of these economic policies on rural America. We also know that no really movement have been made on housing, both rural and urban or on child care, where you've got childcare deserts in Iowa, things that would really help people in their everyday lives. Yet this is a guy that goes down tomorrow, Largo, after that tax bill passes that tax bill that no one it even seemed to have read and put all this money at the top. He goes down to Mara Lago to a room of his friends, and he says, this is documented. You all just got a lot richer. Were any of you there? [16:12:41] I don't know, I just I didn't want to embarrass anyone. If you were I kind of thought you weren't. In fact, I bet no one from your whole state was down there, but that is exactly what he did. [16:12:50] And I want to be your president. That comes into a room like this and says, you know what? I've done something for child care for rural America. I've got something done and continued what we've done for years, which is steady farm policy instead of the mess that he has created. I have stood by our teachers to make our schools better. Those are the things that I want to deliver to rooms like this. [16:13:17] So, yeah, this is an economic check. And I think that's what you're gonna hear us debate. It's what you've heard through many debates, but it is more than that. And if we lose this piece of it, well, then shame on us, because this is what it is for so many people out there who maybe don't agree with us on every single policy. We don't even agree with ourselves on every single policy, which is a great thing about the Democratic Party. [16:13:42] But it is for them a decency check. It is a patriotism check. It is a values check. And probably the best way to think about it is an Iowa story, actually, the Army counsel during the McCarthy hearings. He grew up in Prim, Ga, Iowa. He went to Grinnell. He was the son of immigrants, humble, humble background. And he somehow ends up rising to the highest council job in the U.S. Army. And that's the chief counsel. And when the McCarthy hearings are going on where Senator McCarthy had gone after people for their political beliefs, or even if they weren't their political beliefs, what he claimed were their political beliefs when he got people blacklisted so they couldn't work. And then he held these hearings and people were afraid to stand up to him because they thought they were going to lose their jobs. [16:14:38] There was one guy that stood up to them, and that was the guy from Prim, Ga, Iowa, Joseph Welch. [16:14:45] He is the one that said, have you no sense of decency, sir? Have you no sense of decency? So when you think about the election, think about that decency check and also think about the patriotism check. [16:14:59] This is the probably one of the best examples of this is when during the G 20, when the president was standing next to that dictator, Vladimir Putin, and a reporter asked, well, what about interference in our election from Russia? [16:15:12] He made a joke about it. [16:15:15] Think about this, hundreds of thousands of Americans, thousands of Iowans have lost their lives on the battlefield. Standing up for democracy, that's what World War 2 was about. Four little girls innocence lost their lives in that church in Alabama at the height of the civil rights movement simply because people were trying to expand that democracy. They were trying to be part of that democracy and other people were trying to push back at them. So many of the big moments in our country's history has been about democracy. It's been about our constitutional rights. It's that push and pull that happens every single moment in our country's history. [16:15:54] And this guy made a joke about it. So if we forget that, we lose a lot, we lose people like this. [16:16:02] The cattle rancher up in Minnesota was my first glimmer of all of this. 161608 He gave me a tour of his cattle ranch on an ATV. We were dodging in and out of these humongous cows. And I remember thinking, "this is not the way I want to die." And then I went inside his house with him and we were, we're standing in there -- I was just distracted by that Green Bay Packers shirt over there. That's OK. The Vikings had a bad day. I'm OK. But it just, it just took me off my game. I don't know if that was the intention, but there you go. So anyway, we go. 161638 But once again -- you know, when the Super Bowl is? It's the night before the Iowa caucuses. So I guess that'll be sadly for me. But a lot of Minnesotans freed up to volunteer now. OK. So in any case, in any case, this guy brings me in his house, the ranch house. The media has left. [16:16:57] Everyone's left. And he says to me, you know, we voted for Donald Trump. And I said, what do you mean, your family, the ranchers? And he goes, No, no, I don't like to talk about myself. So maybe, you know, if he put this, I don't like to say I so I say we. He said I meant I. And he said because we were mad about health care. [16:17:17] And he said then I saw him standing. The day after the inauguration from that wall. And then I go away. I said, well, the wall's not built. [16:17:25] He said, no, the wall, the CIA wall. And this guy remembers when President Trump made this speech, this highly partisan speech, about the size of his crowd in front of this wall. That's a sacred wall because it has all these anonymous stars. It's covered in stars of CIA agents who lost their lives in the line of duty. [16:17:45] It doesn't even say because of the nature of their work and their patriotism. It doesn't even say their names. And he said, this guy says that was wrong. And then he says, then the last straw for me. He says the Boy Scout rally. So he said, I was a Boy Scout. And by the way, my husband was a Boy Scout. He comes from a family of six kids from Mankato, grew up in a trailer home. [16:18:08] And five of the six boys became Eagle Scouts. But I never like to say which one didn't make it because I don't want to embarrass my husband. [16:18:17] But. [16:18:17] And so this guy says, well, I. He says, I you know, I saw that and that big jamboree. [16:18:25] And there are all those young young men there. And he said and our president gave a political partisan speech. And that was wrong. And he said that was it for me. And that's when I knew I'd done the wrong thing. [16:18:37] Or the guy in a line in New Hampshire, there's a bunch of voters are all really happy shaking hands. And when has they have stickers on like most of them? I'm a reproductive rights voter. I'm a climate change voter. I am a man. I am a Supreme Court voter. And this guy comes up and I said, sir, you're not wearing a sticker. [16:18:58] And he says, Yeah, well, that's because I was a Trump food, her kid. These are my neighbors. They don't know. So don't say anything, but I am not doing it again. [16:19:13] That is what we're talking about. [16:19:15] And I think you well know what I'm talking about, because, one, you know, people in our fired up Democratic base that stayed home in 2016 to, you know, independents, there's a lot of in Minnesota that maybe just voted for. We need a bunch of different people. Three, you know, a bunch of people in this state that voted for Trump. Guess what? Thirty one counties in Iowa went for Barack Obama and then went for Donald Trump. So I don't just want to eke by victory in this presidential race at 4:00 in the morning. That will be sweet. Oh, yes, it will. But I can tell you, if that's how we win at 4:00 in the morning, that state won't be Iowa. I want to get all these things done that we talk about on the debate stage. Bring down those costs of premiums. Finally, do something about pharma, invest in education, making it easier to send kids to college. Bring sanity back to our foreign policy. I want to do these things. [16:20:09] But. But if we just eke by a victory, it won't be enough. [16:20:14] We have to win big. [16:20:16] We have to win big. We have to win these House races, including J.D. in the state of Iowa. [16:20:23] That's what we need to do. We have to win the Senate seat here, as well as Senate seats across the country. [16:20:32] And there's every reason to believe we can. When you look at some of our excellent candidates and if you think, oh, what's she talking about? Look at what just happened last month. We won and flip this Virginia state legislature, House and Senate with a group of diverse candidates all across that state because people wanted a check. It wasn't just Democrats voting for those candidates. It was independents, moderate Republicans. We won and reelected a Democrat in the state of Louisiana. [16:21:03] And yes, we elected a Democratic governor in the state of Kentucky, where Mitch McConnell now has a Democratic governor. [16:21:11] That is a fact. What are those states? What do those states have in common? [16:21:16] Well, first, they're even rather than Iowa. Those last two. OK, so don't tell me we can't win Iowa. Secondly, the night before the election in both those states who went down there to campaign for those Democratic governors, opponents, Donald Trump. So my first question is, where can we send him next? [16:21:32] Because that went pretty well. [16:21:34] And then the final thing we know is that we don't shut people out. We bring them with us. So how do we do that in action? How do we do that in terms of winning? Well, the first thing we do is make sure that we are able to describe some of the things he's done as president in a way that brings people back. I'm sure there are many people in this room. If I ask you to give every reason, you'd have like 100 of them, right, or maybe 15 thousand of them, because that's how many lies he's told. I guess that's documented. But when I talked to workers in some of the states that we lost, including this one, including states like Ohio, including states like Pennsylvania and Michigan and Wisconsin. [16:22:16] And by the way, my plan is to build, just as I've done in Minnesota with these red districts and purple districts, rural, suburban, a big, beautiful blue wall of Democratic votes around the entire Midwest and make them and make Donald Trump pay for it. [16:22:34] That is a good plan. [16:22:36] So when I talk to the workers in places like the Carpenters in western Pennsylvania or dairy farmers in Wisconsin or dockworkers in Michigan, they tell me that. So they hear when people say he's a bully and they'll acknowledge this, but then they say, you know what really bugs me? What really bugs me is that I have to work so hard just to be able to make sure my family can have a mortgage or just to be able to afford insulin or just to be able to afford to send my kid to school. And they go through all these things. [16:23:10] And when things go bad for me, they say I just have to work harder when the dairy farming, which has been a big struggle when things go bad. I've got to take out an extra loan or I've got to be able to or my spouse goes and takes an extra job. And then they look at him and they think to themselves, you know what? He's got the best job in the world. He lives in the nicest house. And by the way, he got there, he got in his career and got to where he was because his dad gave him 413 million dollars over the course of his career. And imagine me on the debate stage with him. When am I going to say my grandpa worked fifteen hundred feet underground in the iron ore mines his whole life, every day everyday go down in a cage. He wanted to be in the Navy, but his parents were very sick. [16:23:55] He had nine brothers and sisters. He was the oldest boy. And this is what he had to do. And he went down in that cage every day and he'd think about that life in the Navy. And he loved to hunt. Think about that. But that was his job. That was his obligation. 162410 And when he and my grandma got married and had my dad and my uncle Dick, they saved money, my grandma and grandpa, in a coffee can in their basement to send my dad to a two year community college. You cannot fit 413 million dollars in a coffee can in the basement in this little house in Ely, Minnesota. But when I think of this, that was my family's trust. That gave us this opportunity. 162436 And when people give you an opportunity, whether it's a grandparent or a parent, whether it's a teacher, whether it is a neighbor or whether it is someone you work with, you do not go into the world with a sense of entitlement. You go into the world with a sense of obligation, an obligation to bring people with you instead of pushing them out, an obligation to bring people with you instead of hoarding it all to yourself. That is what we have to remind people about. and that's -- when you talk to the workers out there. [16:25:08] They think about how they have to work harder and harder and harder and they try to help other people and try to help their family. And then they look at this guy. When something goes wrong for him, what does he do? He whines. He actually whines. He he blames everyone for a lot of his own problems that he has created. And think about him dry walking by that helicopter, yelling things to the press, whining about things. He blames everyone. Here's what some of my favorites. He blames Barack Obama, which we saw last week. He blames the head of the Federal Reserve, who he appointed is just trying to do his job. He blames the city of Baltimore. You remember that one. [16:25:45] And then my all time favorite, he blames the entire country of Denmark. Who does that? And when the foreign leaders are caught on tape making fun of him at the NATO conference. And by the way, I have heard other senators make fun of senators worse than that. So I kind of looked at rock bottom. All right. What does he do? He is so thin skinned that he leaves the conference while they're still doing really important work on the world stage. He walks, he quits. America doesn't quit. [16:26:15] So I think that that grouping of issues and the way we think about him and talk about him, all these promises that he's made to workers that he has not kept are really important to our case, because remember, in these debates, there are more people watching it than just our fired up Democratic base. And second thing that we need to do, and that is have an optimistic economic agenda for the people of this country because great leaders are supposed to rise to the challenges of our time. And you know what these challenges are because you deal with them in your everyday life. 162650 One of the challenges, health care. I think we should bring down the premiums. I think we should make it easier to afford health care. And to me, when you have a problem -- and by the way, the Affordable Care Act, right now, if you're going to be practical about this because I worked on that bill. I knew it wasn't perfect the day it passed 'cause I didn't think it'd do anything on pharma, but the day it passed, I said "it's a beginning and not an end." So my answer on that one is to build on it with a nonprofit public option, something that Barack Obama wanted to do from the very beginning. 162723 And then also to really take on Pharma in a big way , something I've been doing since I got to the U.S. Senate. But if we want to be practical about this, and I know some of my colleagues have other views with Medicare for all and the like, but the Affordable Care Act is now 10 points more popular than the president of the United States, so I do not think that we should be blowing it up with all of the protections that it gave us. [16:27:49] I don't think we should. And, you know, when you come to water in my state, you know, we have a lot of lakes, what, over ten thousand we did. We build bridges. We do not blow them up. And that is the issue right now with some of this discussion that we're having. How would I improve it? [16:28:05] In addition to the taking on farmer prices and doing something about the nonprofit public option, which be my two top priorities, I would also deal with mental health and addiction. For me, this is personal. My dad struggled with alcoholism his whole life. By the time John and I got married, he had his third DWI. And that's when the judge looked at him and said, you know, you have a choice, jail or treatment. And he chose treatment. And it changed his life. In his words, he was pursued by grace, his faith, his family, the treatment, all of it changed his life. And he has been sober ever since. He is now 91 and he's in assisted living. And as he said to me about a year and a half ago, it's hard to get a drink around here anyway. [16:28:52] But in truth, his AA group still visits him. [16:28:57] It's an extraordinary thing that I've seen in my life. And that's why I think other people have that right to be pursued by grace, just like he was. And to me, that means making it taking that money. And it's going to be a big major settlement coming in from the pharma companies. And I'm telling you, having someone who's a lawyer who's been in private practice, who gets how these things work, be a part of this in terms of deciding how much money and where it's going to go. This is going to be a big settlement, kind of like tobacco. And we want to make sure it goes to treatment in not just urban but also rural areas. [16:29:30] We want to make sure it covers other forms of addiction from alcohol to meth, which is still a huge problem in your state. You're nodding your head. You know, I mean, it's true in a lot of people I've forgotten about it. To crack cocaine. And that also includes mental health. When in Iowa right now, you only have 64 public mental health beds in your state, 60 for public mental health. So you wonder why people get lined up in rural hospitals or because there's nowhere to bring them. They're just taking up a bed. They're not getting. Help they need and the hospitals are waiting to find a place to bring them. Or the story I heard and what low when I met with people at a restaurant and this woman had just gotten off work. She was a school counselor at a school with about 650 kids. [16:30:17] She said that day four kids had come up to her with thoughts of suicide. She said they were all immigrant kids. Their parents worked at the plant and they were afraid that under Donald Trump, they would be deported. [16:30:32] That's what's happening, it's, of course, about very, very bad immigration policies, but it is also about the fact that we've got people in rural areas where we've had this big increase in suicides, big increase with kids. There's been a 30 percent increase in suicides in the United States of America in the last 15 years. So when you hear these stories are not just anecdotes, it's really happening. And that's why having a president that is willing to talk about this and have it be a major priority. I was the first candidate in this race to come up with a plan on mental health. It's going to make a big difference. And the stigma is still there and people don't want to talk about it. [16:31:10] And I will other challenge with health care. And my last challenge, I'll bring up long term care elephant in the room. No one talking about it yet. We're seeing a doubling of our senior population while they're off relitigating the Affordable Care Act, the Trump administration. What we should be doing is dealing with long term care. That means shoring up Social Security. [16:31:30] And there's a very straightforward way to do that, making sure Medicaid is strong, that a lot of people end up going on Medicaid and then doing something about a long term care option so people can stay in their homes as well as long term care insurance. So my dad the end of my dad's story is that somehow years and years and years ago, he got long term care insurance like he kept paying. [16:31:52] And it was cheaper then. And he has that. And that's what's paying for him right now to stay in this place that he really likes. He's got 15 people. It's in a house and people are taking care of him. He's happy. [16:32:04] Well, I know exactly when that long term care insurance is going to end. It's like a year and a half or more or something like that. And then you go into his savings, which aren't that big because he was married three times, which is a whole nother story. [16:32:18] And then, of course, he goes on Medicaid. And I've already talked to Catholic elder care. And I know they're going to take him in because the place he is now doesn't take Medicaid. Our story is actually better than so many other family stories. And this idea that we have this big challenge of long term care and no one is really talking about it in Washington is insane. And it's everything from housing. It's from how we can encourage housing in towns, big, small, medium, so that some of our seniors can move closer to town. [16:32:48] And then that frees up housing. It is about how we're going to provide care to people in their homes, getting a reduction on premiums for long term care insurance and making long term care easier to afford. There's so many people in the sandwich generation and I had this for a while where you're raising your own kid, but you're also taking care of your aging parents. [16:33:09] So it is not just about our seniors. And I found a great way to pay for this. 163314 Everything I tell you, I have ways to pay for it. I think it is really important that we show how we're going to pay for things because we've got a president, right now, that is literally treating you like poker chips in one of his bankrupt casinos. And -- and the debt is going to astronomical levels. Other challenges. Workforce training. I'm making sure that our education system with a major investment in K through 12 matches, matches our economy. Fastest rising jobs right now. [16:33:47] Home health care workers, health care workers. That's right. Are you in health care? There you go. OK. So we're gonna have over a million openings for home health care workers in the next 10 years in our country, and we have no idea how we're going to fill. We're gonna have over a hundred thousand openings for nursing assistance. That's like a one in two year degree. The fastest growing jobs we actually have right now that are opening are 1 and 2 year degrees. We are going to have over 70000 openings for electricians. [16:34:18] We are not going to have a shortage of MBA A's in this country, as great as that is. We are going to have a shortage of plumbers. And so what we need to do is figure out how we put these incentives in place for these 1 and 2 year degrees. I think they should be free and then doubling the Pell Grants because we're going to a lot of four year degree jobs as well by doubling the Pell Grants from six to twelve thousand, doubling the income level where you qualify up to 100000. That will allow students in this state a much, much. And families that are paying for it a much better situation and they can use them at public and private colleges. I would pay for this by bringing the capital gains rate to where the personal rate is with maybe some incentives still for long term holdings. And it would pay for all of this as well as help with paying back loans. 163507 Immigration reform. This state of all states should understand the need for immigrants in our economy and I talk about this at every single event, and people say "you're talking about immigration in Iowa?" I'm like, "yeah. Just like I talked about it all the time in Minnesota. Just like nearly every negative ad run against me, when I first run to the U.S. Senate, was about immigration." Why? Because I see it as an economic imperative. Immigrants don't diminish America. They are America. [applause] We need workers right now. [16:35:41] We need workers in our fields and in our factories. [16:35:44] We need workers in health care and in our nursing homes. I was at the V.A. in Marshalltown and the head of psychiatry there told me the health center there that has been the number one goal is actually a bill. I have called Conrad 30 and named after Kent Conrad from North Dakota. And it was an effort and is an effort to bring in when we have someone go to one of our medical schools in our country from another country. Right. [16:36:10] Now, if they want to do and just generally accept for this provision, they won't do their residency in anywhere, including this state. They can't. They have to go back. And we have we need workers. And the whole idea is to allow them to do their residencies here. If they go to rural areas, if they go to impoverished areas, they can do their residency here. And that's just one example. There's so many other things that we can do with comprehensive immigration reform. Remember, 70 of our Fortune 500 companies are headed by people from other countries. [16:36:43] Twenty five percent of our U.S. Nobel laureates were born in other countries. So you've gotta make the economic case. [16:36:52] And my favorite part of the economic case, this I got from Grover Norquist, who supported our 2013 bill that we passed with the support of the AFL CIO, Chamber of Commerce, Migrant Route Farmers Union, Farm Bureau. [16:37:05] What happened? [16:37:06] It got stuck in John Boehner's freezer next to the frozen peas. And it was very similar to the bill that George Bush wanted, that Barack Obama. He was president at that time, wanted. And we couldn't get it done. I know where the votes are. I know where the bodies are buried. I will get it done. [16:37:22] So. And by the way, Grover Norquist supported it. Here's your last economic argument. [16:37:28] It brought the deficit down by 158 billion dollars in 10 years. That's why there was some significant Republican. Why? Because people come out of the shadows and they pay taxes and it helps with wages. [16:37:42] That's why they AFL-CIO support it. So it's really important. OK. Other challenges. We've got the rural urban divide, which I've devoted myself to in the Senate, of trying to fix that, to make sure people understand that food doesn't magically show up on their table and make sure people get that there's different housing issues and different health care issues with critical access, hospitals and the like. And I'm on the Agriculture Committee and proud of the work that I've done on that committee. Climate change, something that isn't happening 100 years from now. It's happening right now. And as your president on day one, I would get us back into the international climate change agreement. [16:38:21] And remember that when Trump got us out, there were only two countries, not in Nicaragua and Syria. [16:38:30] They are now in the agreement bringing back the clean power rules, the gas mileage standards, sweeping legislation when it comes to a price on carbon, making sure that that money that comes in, which is going to be trillions of dollars, goes back to people to help them with their heating bills and the like. [16:38:46] And we have to have that ironclad to get the support, to get it done. But that will create the incentives for the technology that we need to go to carbon neutral. And this state has produced some incredible, brilliant problem solvers, i.e. Norman Baldock. He was confronted with the challenge of people dying all over the world. And a guy from Iowa, I used to think he was from Minnesota. And then I I went to the statue thing that we had in Washington that Harkin did. And I got there and I realized, no, he's actually from Iowa. [16:39:19] He just studied in Minnesota. And the only sign of Minnesota on the whole statue was like a ring or something. His finger. But that's OK. I got to meet him way back. And you think about what he did. He fed the world. He fed a billion people. He attacks starvation in a big way. If we can do things like that with the one guy, imagine what we can do if we put major incentives in place to go after climate change. [16:39:44] So as you can see, I view a lot of these things as gains for us, as gains for our country. But none of this is going to happen if we don't win. And if we don't win big, we are going to continue to have a foreign policy conducted by a guy who tweets things out in his bathrobe at 4:00 in the morning. We're going to continue to see what we did in this last week. Where were the president's team comes before the U.S. Senate in a briefing that I will never forget and literally doesn't give us the answers to the questions and then seems to be leaking things out here and there, here and there to everyone else, literally has not embraced this simple idea that if they're going to go to war, that they have to come to Congress for an authorization of military force, which is exactly the resolution that passed in the House of Representatives that should be voted on in the Senate. [16:40:38] But what's happening? [16:40:39] Where do you think it's going to end up in the Senate and Mitch McConnell's desk? That's where it's going to end up. I hope he allows us to debate this matter of life or death. But he has 400 pieces of legislation on his desk right now, including critical gun safety bills, including H.R. 1, which is the ethics bill, which will be the first bill that I get done. Y 164059 You go through all of it and you see bill by bill by bill. You see democracy in action in the House, where new people got elected that came in with new ideas and got things done and then, you see that graveyard of legislation, which is Mitch McConnell's desk. So, I really end where I began, and that is that we have to win big and to win big, we have to have a candidate at the top of the ticket that can bring people with her. That is what we need to do. 164127 And when you look at my track record, I am the only one on that debate stage -- the only one that time and time again -- Dave will be my witness -- has one in the reddest of red districts. I have won every single election, including my first one against a sitting congressman in the district that borders Iowa, that is now held by a Republican. I've won the district that borders North and South Dakota. I have won big time northern Minnesota, where the steelworkers are, where my dad was from. 164157 And I have one Michele Bachmann's district every single time. [applause] I have done it by not selling out on our values, but by bringing people with me and getting things done. I have passed over 100 bills more than anyone else that's in Congress, that's running for office right now for the highest office of the land. I have passed more bills, many more bills than any of them. And I have done it because I know how to stand my ground and also find common ground. That is going to matter to voters. [16:42:28] That is going to matter in a general election. And the fact that I have flipped the state house every time I lead the ticket, we go. From Republican to Democrat. That's because I don't view my elections, nor will I view this one as a personal victory. I view it as a national victory. So my last profound my last profound piece of advice to all of you is we better not screw this up because we have this opportunity of generations to be able to win big. And if you don't think, as I noted on one debate stage, if you don't think a woman can beat Donald Trump, Nancy Pelosi does it every single day. [16:43:10] So with that, I I want to thank you for coming. [16:43:16] We're gonna do some questions. I want to. And you can ask Dave all about these Minnesota victories and he'll give you like every number you need. And just want to thank you for coming out. [16:43:28] You could be doing a lot of things with your Sunday afternoon, but you're here. And just remember where our staff. Wave your hands. Look really happy and excited. There are. [16:43:37] Yes. To fill out those. Yeah. Dave. Yes. You know, if you give Dave one of those commit to caucus cards, it's going to really make his day. That's what I can tell. I can tell. OK, so let's do some questions. Here we go. We have got this. [16:43:54] Let's see from Stephen. What character traits about yourself do you think set you apart? Do you think this is an important aspect for a president? OK. So, you know, we have a lot of tremendous stories of a lot of the people that are up on that debate stage. I think things that set me apart, first of all, I was just reading Doris Kearns Goodwin's book about leadership. [16:44:20] And she looks at some of our presidents and they have all different backgrounds from where they're from, whatever. But she says the one thing they have in common, I'm only halfway through, but I kind of get the gist of it. The one thing that they have in common is resilience, that it is not really about what you do when things are good. It's about what you do when things are bad and what kind of presence you have and what kind of leadership skills that you show. So for me, growing up was not an easy thing. [16:44:49] My dad, as I mentioned, was alcoholic. I spent a lot of my time growing up trying to take the keys away from him when I was in high school because I thought would die in that car or my parents getting divorced when I was 16, my mom going back to teaching. I had hardly anything left to her name except our house. And my dad was a good dad actually through that time. But she went back to teaching all as she reminded me as a reason. She taught second grade till she was 70 years old. [16:45:20] They had put all of her retirement from her early teaching career into the porch on the back of the house. Look at that porch. [16:45:27] That was my retirement. So you know that that was my life. And I think then I go away to college. [16:45:35] I went there on the Greyhound bus a lot and just was in a different circumstance than a lot of the people that I would go on to meet through my life. I think that's a really important character trait to have resiliency. My involvement in politics, I volunteered and helped on some campaigns. I was in the private sector for a while, but it really hit home for me when our daughter was born. Everything seemed fine and then she was really sick and she they didn't know if she was gonna survive. She was in intensive care. She couldn't swallow. [16:46:06] They thought she had some kind of tumor and she was there for quite a long time, off and on for her first year of life. But in those first 24 hours, the insurance companies had a rule that while, of course, she could stay, I was kicked out of the hospital. And if you remember back then, they had that rule. I had no sleep. We didn't know what to do. They're telling me all you gotta do this and this and this. I couldn't even hear what they were saying. And when she got a little bit better, I went to the legislator and worked with some legislators. And as a citizen, not as an elected official, advocated for one of the first laws in the country guaranteeing new moms and their babies. 24 hour hospital, 48 hour hospital stay. [16:46:50] And I I learned a few things. [16:46:55] One. This whole experience for me was about resiliency. It was a gift to see what it was like to have a kid with disabilities. She didn't end up having them. But I got to know a lot of the families through their love that raised kids with disabilities. But it also was a lesson in politics, because I realized when I went to testify for that bill, it was almost all male legislative committees. And the lesson I learned was if you talk about really embarrassing things like giving birth in a P.C. items they would like pass the New Deal. [16:47:25] They were like, OK, all right, OK, we'll do that. [16:47:30] And then the other thing I did was I learned they were like secret efforts to derail it. Bills were a little different in the House, in the Senate. So I brought six pregnant friends of mine to the conference committee because they were trying to delay it. The lobbyists and when they said, well, when should this take effect? [16:47:45] They all raise their hand now. And so they moved up the effective date from August 1st to actually when the governor signed it. [16:47:55] So that's resiliency and the resiliency of having to run against people with a bunch of money and having people think you're not going to win it running for this job. 164805 As I said at one of the debates and sort of defying expectations that the president doesn't have to be the tallest person in the room. We have a tall guy there now, sort of. And I will note that James Madison was only five foot four. That is my height. And that you don't have to be the loudest person in the room, which we've got in the White House. You don't have to be the skinniest person in the room. 164831 There are a lot of expectations of women and there's been a lot of double standards in politics. But I have met every single one of them. And when I first run for the U.S. Senate, two women had tried in my state and they were both very complex. One was a secretary of state one decade. The other decade was the majority leader of the state state senate. And then I ran and I could not believe this is 2006. Over and over again, newspaper editors, you name it, asking me, well, do you think a woman can really win? And I would try all kinds of things until one day I was in a room like this. But it was mostly men, iron ore workers in northern Minnesota. They had never endorsed a woman before. [16:49:13] And I'm standing there. Or maybe they have a woman had one up there and by any means. And so I'm looking at them and someone asks, can a woman win? And I say, well, a woman won in Texas. So maybe that's not working. There's still like this. And so then I say, well, you know, I'm not running as I'm proud to be a woman candidate. But that's not why I'm running. I'm running because I'm going to have your back and because I've got a record of getting things done when I was in the county attorney's office. You can look at that. They're like this. And finally, I tried this thing I would never use anymore. But this is what I said. 164948 I said, you know, last time I checked, half the voters were men. So if I was just running as a woman, I wouldn't win. And they go, yeah. And I think what that was about was about making sure you're running as your record, that you're running for what you are. 165007 So I can tell you, any woman in politics right now, when you get to the highest level, you have to be resilient and you have to be tough, and you have to be so tough that you are definitely tough enough to beat Donald Trump. [16:50:25] Rock sand you when I asked your question from Perry. I don't know where you are, Roxanne. Oh, she's OK. Well, read it. He says. Do you have a plan for uniting Republicans and Democrats in the Senate over any issue? OK. That's a good question. Health care, minimum wage, taxes. OK. So I think you you I think you all know not one size fits all. And having been someone that have passed over 100 bills, not volleyball resolution resolutions, but actual bills with Republicans, I know the areas that stand out because I've been in the rooms where we can get bipartisan support. The first I've talked about immigration reform. [16:51:07] We passed it with Senator Grassley support actually in 2013. We wouldn't do that exact bill, but there is a lot of room for people wanting to move on immigration reform. They know it in towns like this one. They understand it all over the rural areas of our country and they want to move on it. They're just afraid of Donald Trump. And you got to acknowledge that. But there's every reason to believe that the time has come to move on immigration reform. And I gave you all the arguments why it's a good thing. In fact, we even did a deal with Mike Rounds, headed up the group from South Dakota, the Republican on Dreamers and the temporary status people who came here legally. We had that whole thing worked out. [16:51:44] It was actually a really good agreement. It didn't wasn't comprehensive, but it was good. And the White House got punched us. The Republicans who worked on it were in shock. We thought we were going to get that done. But that just get to see how close we are to actually achieving something on immigration reform, infrastructure. The president made a bunch of promises on infrastructure. This is one of the reasons it was the first bill I came forward with because I know where the support is for infrastructure. [16:52:13] And he said he was going to do over a trillion dollars and then he balked when it came to how we're gonna pay for it. I know how we can pay for it. We can pay for it by repealing parts of that Republican tax bill. You can still bring the corporate rate down some I favor doing that, but not to where they brought it and they brought it to 21 percent. And every point you go up is one hundred billion dollars in 10 years. And of course, what he should have done was an infrastructure deal with the tax bill and made it more bipartisan and got people's support in. But he didn't. But I can. [16:52:47] So a lot of this is going to be changes to that and hooking it in with infrastructure as well as some of these other priorities. Some of the workforce training issues that I talked about, I think you can get bipartisan support on that. Some of the rural issues you can certainly get by housing because it's striking both urban areas as well as rural areas. As you know well, childcare. [16:53:11] Donald Trump even talked about his convention, that he hasn't done anything about it, work, family leave. There's just this growing support for tackling some of these problems because it has been too long since we've done anything. I think climate change is the one that I will go to the mat for, because that's the one where you have not you've seen now. [16:53:34] Well, we did vote 99 to 1 that climate change is occurring a moment, which is exactly kind of where the scientists are at 99. [16:53:44] There was a very funny John Oliver show. Maybe you've seen it where he tried to show what that meant. Ninety nine to 1 for scientists. And he had ninety nine scientists in white coats on one side and one on the other. It goes, this is the ratio. What is true and what isn't true. And so I think that there is acknowledgement is happening. [16:54:05] There has been support for energy efficiency legislation. That is the low hanging fruit, as Secretary Chu used to say. But there is so much more that we can do there. And that is going to be a major bully pulpit moment. Now, here's what we got on our side. This isn't just about the Greenland ice sheet and the rising sea levels anymore. And Florida, which is really getting hit, and Norfolk in all of the hurricanes and the fires in California that were horrendous. We've got to start making the Midwest case. [16:54:33] And what better person to make it than someone from the Midwest? And that is the unprecedented flooding that we've seen, which was predicted by our military 10 years ago at committee hearings that I attended, predicted by our military, not just scientists. And so it's the binoculars of a woman named friend by Pacific Junction who who showed me her house, she says, a few months ago. This is my house. It with my husband live there with our two four year olds, wanted to retire in that house. And now the whole first floor is underwater. And she said that includes the kitchen. [16:55:06] And she said, I love my kitchen. I love the way the light comes in the kitchen. She said this house has been standing here for almost 100 years. There's horsehair in the plaster and then there's water raging by. And I say, friend, is this. The river. Because I'm thinking, friend, you bought a house on the river and she goes, No, no, no, no, that's the road, that's the road. She said, the river is two and a half miles away and it's never gotten this close before. That is what we're talking about with climate change. It is the economic case that no one is much made the fact that homeowner's insurance has gone up 50 percent in this country over the last few years. So those are the arguments that we're gonna have to make in a different way to get those things done and to get our Republican colleagues on board. But again, the easiest way to do this in a big, big way is to win big and to send Mitch McConnell packing so that it'll be easier then to bring people with us. [16:56:06] OK, let's see. Let's see. Green. Is that now? [16:56:11] Which county chair, Chris? OK, you want to ask the question? OK. [16:56:24] But I've gone to every county, as we know. [16:56:30] I did. Oh, that was a good visit. Yes. [16:56:34] Where are you right now? You're like a voice of God. Okay. Good. Thank you. Well, okay. Thank you. Okay. [16:56:53] And that's such a good way to talk about it, actually. [16:56:56] I had a CNN town hall on climate change a while ago and I was asked something along these lines and I think we really have to start seeing farmers as part of the solution. And one of the ways we do that is we just put a pilot program in the farm bill. And actually, Iowa has gotten a bit of the money, some because the deputy secretary of the USDA, who I did support, is from the state. And when I when I look at that, I think that this is such a part of the answer. So what you do with these incentives, you know how Harkin always was so devoted and did such a great job on the conservation measures in the farm bill. [16:57:38] The farm bill has the biggest conservation measures of almost anything that we do. And that's like the conservation reserve program and the security program and some of the other things. And what this does, it's the same concept where you are rewarding, creating incentives for doing things like this grant does, planting winter crops and doing things that's going to capture greenhouse gases. And you could do this. [16:58:04] This is just a pilot right now, but I'm very hopeful it's going to be successful. And then we could do it in a really, really big way. So that's a great example of this. I did the prairie pothole bill, the side saver bill with Senator Thune in South Dakota. And that was creating incentives for going to native prairie grass and certain farms. And I think and we've now spread that beyond a few states, which is also good for hunting pheasant, by the way. Probably that's how I got him on it. You know, whatever. [16:58:36] But I think when you when you look at things like that, there are we have to start seeing some of the solutions in rural America as well. So thanks. [16:58:47] OK, well, maybe we'll see. [16:58:50] OK. This is from Steve from Perry. Where are you, Steve? Where are you? OK. The question is how do Democrats take the Senate? Pretty straightforward. And I think, again, it is making sure that we have candidates which we have in the past. Look at Doug Jones, who just won in the state of Alabama a few years ago. 165915 Having candidates that are people that people believe in. Having a presidential candidate, that is someone who can bring people with her. And I've made the case for that. And I think people need to dismiss this idea that to win, you have to have like the celebrity candidate. And I give you some exhibits of this. [16:59:34] Exhibit A, Kansas where a woman named Laura Kelly, they had me do the Democratic dinner out there because they figured I would do a good job in a rural area and do no harm as the speaker. Laura Kelly beat Kris Kobach and is now the governor of the state of Kansas, a Democrat. [16:59:52] She won in Kansas, Michigan, a woman named Gretchen Whitmer, who ran on the slogan against a Republican with a lot of money, ran on the slogan Fix the damn roads, as she is now the governor of the state of Michigan, a state that we lost in the 2016 presidential race, or one of my favorite forwards phrase in politics. [17:00:16] Former Governor Scott Walker in the state of Wisconsin. [17:00:20] And that is because what is now Governor Evers beat him. So none of these are celebrity names, but they are people that fit their states. They are people that embraced policies that were. Yes, inspiring, that were optimistic economic agendas. But we're also consistent with where a lot of people were and brought them with them instead of shutting them out. And so what concerns me about all this is that and this is where you come in, is that you're gonna make a decision for your state. Yes. But also for the country. You're the first state to make a decision on these candidates. [17:00:55] And Iowa has not always gone, as you know, for the most famous person or the wealthiest candidate or the one that everyone thought was going to win. Otherwise, we wouldn't have had, as president, a peanut farmer from Georgia named Jimmy Carter or. [17:01:12] And by the way, I got to visit with President Carter after I declared for president. He had me two planes and I had pimento cheese sandwiches that Rosalynn made with the two of them. And he recounted to me in great detail many of his visits to Iowa and all the 718 plaques he'd given to people from Iowa and other states who had taken in overnight members of his family. And I. And it was just an amazing visit. [17:01:41] I reminded him of Walter Mondale's words that are displayed in the Carter Library, which I'd seen a few years before about their administration, while not perfect, which very meaningful words right now. I wrote him down on a piece of paper at the time when he looked back at their four years, he said this. We told the truth. We obeyed the law. We kept the peace. We told the truth. We obey the law. We kept the peace. OK, that's one president. [17:02:10] You guys gave us Bill Clinton. [17:02:14] No one thought he was gonna be the candidate when he started out and someone more recent Barack Obama and no one thought he was gonna be our candidate. [17:02:23] So I just I. [17:02:24] You play a big role in this. [17:02:26] And so if you think about how we're going to win the Senate, you have that understanding right now because you've got to open Senate seat and you know how important it is. [17:02:35] So that would be a good way to to end. But I'm soldiering on trade agreements. This is from Janet and Better Grace with the world leaders. [17:02:49] That won't be hard to do so on trade agreements. I guess I'll focus on the one in front of me. The question also is about China. And I think, you know, what's happened with this president where he literally one day says, oh, I'm going to slap 300 billion dollars of tariffs. And then the next week he changes. And and he's gotten some temporary changes right now. But I think we have all seen the costs in the meantime. [17:03:14] And by the way, those soybean contracts and now the USDA is paying out a lot of money, which I support because what else they're going to do. But that is not how we should be doing it. Most farmers I know went to produce things and sell them. And the way he's handled this, it's going to be very hard for these farmers, which, you know, to get back the long term contracts, which has now gone to other places. So I think we should be not doing our trade policy with a meat cleaver or maybe we'll call it a tweet cleaver. I think we should be very focused. And I've got experience with this from trade enforcement. [17:03:50] When the Chinese were dumping steel on our shores and it was closing down our. In our minds and we I brought the Obamas chief of staff up there with all the mine workers and everyone else, and they he listened and saw what was going on. They went back and they ramped up the enforcement in a big, big way. [17:04:10] We passed them bills and they opened again. And that was with focused enforcement. [17:04:15] And the other thing I'd say is the agreement before us right now, which is the U.S., MCI and I announced at the last debate with the first one on that stage to do so. [17:04:26] I differed from Bernie on this, that I support that agreement with the changes that were negotiated through my friends. Sherrod Brown and Ron Widen, as well as Speaker Pelosi, which for the first time put some stringent labor provisions in place, which will include inspections and environmental provisions and got rid of the sweetheart farm deal. I thought that was really important. [17:04:51] I think you all know in this state, over 90 percent of our potential customers are outside of our borders. But we want to have not just free trade, but fair trade. And I think that this work that was done was a very good beginning. My role in this is that I'm actually something I haven't said on the debate stage is that I'm head of the Canadian American parliamentarian group because it would take up the whole 30 seconds to say that. [17:05:19] But I've been doing that for a long time. [17:05:21] I do a lot of work with Canada. I brought groups of senators up there, including after Trump blew up the G7. I took two Republicans up there. And then after we came back. Canada had been pushed out. And I I planned and got this very, very big and important meeting of 15 senators, half Democrats, half Republicans to the Canadian embassy, where we hashed out a lot of things. And then so my Republican colleagues worked with the administration and then we got Canada back in the agreement because it would have been very bad if Canada wasn't in that agreement for labor reasons and other things. [17:05:59] So that's my policy. And I think one of the things that really bugs me about this president when it comes to trade, there's an old saying keep your promises and keep your threats. [17:06:10] He does neither. And it is hurting our reputation around the country, but it and around the world. But it is also in the end, with what you've just seen happen in the Middle East, where he left Europe holding the bag when it came to the Iranian nuclear ban agreement, something that I supported. I thought it was a huge mistake to get out of it. And now all of these predictions that were made at the time of either the decision to get in it or his decision to get out are sadly coming true. And we were asked on the debate stage at the very first one in June what people thought were their biggest concerns in the world. [17:06:50] And I said when it came to the only one that did this. When it came to the economy, China, you other people said that. But then I said, when it comes to our security and the world's security, I ran because of Donald Trump. I added that because I think if we'd had that agreement in place, that wouldn't have been the case. So I am really interested. I have these five hours out there for foreign policy, which is renew American's leadership in the world and repair our alliances with our allies and renegotiate ourselves back into international agreements like that nuclear agreement, like the nuclear agreement with the Russians, two of them actually in the international climate change agreement. Respond appropriately to threats around the world and reassert American values. But it really could be summed up in one hour, and that is return to sanity. [17:07:47] So that is that is my plan. So I want to thank you, everyone. This is an incredible crowd. [17:07:58] Remember, look at day one says commit to caucus cards right over there. We're looking for to the Jamie. Give them to her. 170807 We're looking forward to the debate. Love to have your support. We'll do pictures up here. I'll come to you if you can't come to me. Thank you, everyone. [17:08:19] Forget the bull in the china shop is the Channel Tunnel in the mountains with the switch fire and the like, the big swinging.
AMY KLOBUCHAR BETTENDORF IA MEET AND GREET ABC UNI 2020/HD
TVU 21 AMY KLOBUCHAR BETTENDORF IA MEET AND GREET ABC UNI 122819 2020 HIGHLIGHTS Debate 185646 I am so pleased to be one of only five candidates in the debate for Iowa so far. We hope, we hope that a few of my colleagues will be joining me up there. But, it is really, really important, I think, that we have someone that cannot just win by a little bit, but win by a lot. And you do that by bringing people with you. TRINT [18:51:08] Thank you so much. Thank you, Cindy. We hope this might works. There we go. I think we're good. It is wonderful to be here with all of you. BENDER I love being back to the Quad Cities. I love going to that baseball game with the river bandits. I got to speak at about their urban at wave. That was fun. Fourth of July weekend. And I'm working really hard to make sure that Major League Baseball doesn't cut them off. Jeff. [18:51:39] Actually tried to push for a hearing on this, so we'll see. I don't control the gavel right now, but I can control the White House. OK. I wanted to mention that my daughter Abigail Standup is here with us today. Right. Yeah. It was gone everywhere with me, which is not a good kid. He's 24. [18:52:03] But, you know, still, I was teasing her when we were at church for Christmas. They had the Nativity, a little bunch of kids up there. They're really cute. And I was remembering when she was about four and she was to play the angel in our Nativity play. And was a true story. We were in the pew and she was dressed in this big white angel outfit with these big wings. And she wouldn't go out to practice. [18:52:31] I go, why won't you do it? And she goes, Because I want to be the donkey. No, no. [18:52:38] These two really hot teenage kids in a donkey costume. And I said, no, no, Timmy and Joey are the donkey. [18:52:45] I don't I don't understand that. You can't do that. Well, she says, well, I want to be Mary. And I go, no, you can't be Mary. Mary's 14 years old. I said, I don't understand. Why do you want to be the angel? The coolest part. You get to go out at the end, spread your wings. [18:52:59] She looks way up at the top of the church and she says, I don't know how to tell them. I don't know how to fly. [18:53:08] And I said to her that day, you know, I'm honey, not all angels fly. And you are truly the guardian angels of our democracy. [18:53:20] You are you are the angels for democracy that is under assault every single day. The angels for people, they don't even know sometimes who you are, but they know one thing, that they can have a better life. And so I want to thank you for giving them the wings to fly, for caring enough to be here on this crowded day, especially the people in the rooms over there that I can't see if that is the thing. [18:53:46] Well, let me I'll kind of move here. Maybe I can see a few of you. So thank you for doing that. I also wanted to mention a few other people that was here in addition to the great Cindy Winkler. Thank you for your leadership, particularly on trying to get the funding for the floods, because I know this community was hit just like Davenport. [18:54:07] I think it's ridiculous that we're not putting money into this when we all know one of the things that we're gonna have to do with climate change, in addition to taking it on in a big pink way with getting back into the international climate change agreement that I was dropping by, bringing back the clean power laws and the gas mileage standards that have been worked on for so long and introducing sweeping legislation to put a price on carbon. [18:54:35] And in many ways you can do that and make sure the money comes back to keep people whole. In addition to all that, we're going to have to be making sure that we're putting money into infrastructure so that our communities are resilient. And we know we can work here. We've seen where it can work in some of the communities on the river. I saw what worked at the ballpark. And so when I got asked, do you hear when I got to ask them, what did you about the debate in Los Angeles? [18:54:59] Anyone that I had a lot of time had debate, but I was asked if they had to get rid of the entire town of Davenport. [18:55:08] That was a rather shocking question. [18:55:11] And I said, no, sometimes a few people need to move. You have to do that when you have flooding. But what you also can put money into is infrastructure. So there are ways to do this both for the long term with tackling climate change and for the short term. And I also wanted to mention a few people here. Cynthia, the owner of Ross's restaurant, thank you so much. [18:55:36] And also our organizers here, Kevin Montgomery and Eli, where are you guys? Right back there. Okay. Thank you so much. Are you have a friend or maybe it's your mom? [18:55:48] I don't know. Are you kidding me? I said maybe it's your mom. And she said, I am. Is mom OK? That was supposed to be a joke. Which. [18:56:00] Which one? Eli. Eli. Oh, very nice. You are having your mom here in the front row. Excellent move. Really good. But we have a great staff here led by our state director, Lauren, who is from Brooklyn, Iowa and Iowa. [18:56:17] Unlike my daughter, who lives in Brooklyn, New York, will just focus on Brooklyn, Iowa. I think, you know, we have a homegrown campaign. [18:56:25] We're really excited about the surge we've been seeing. I was captured best in a text I got from a friend who had a little auto correct problem and and said, congratulations on the insurgency that you're having right now. [18:56:39] But it is kind of bad because I think a lot of people we're trying to predict who they thought was going to be in the top group. [18:56:46] I am so pleased to be one of only five candidates in the debate for Iowa so far. You know that a few of my colleagues will be joining me up there. But it is really, really important. I think that we have someone that can not just win by a little bit, but win by a lot. And you do that by bringing people with you. [18:57:11] And I have done that time and time again in the heartland where it counts. I have one, as you may be heard, every congressional district in Minnesota, every single time the district that borders Iowa, which is now held by a Republican representative in Congress. I won that big time. I've won the one that covers North and South Dakota that runs that edge. I've won the one in northern Minnesota where the steelworkers are again held by Republican every single time. And yes, I have one Michele Bachmann's district, every seat. [18:57:47] I'm not satisfied sounding out on our values, I've done it simply by going not just where it's comfortable, but words uncomfortable by going to small towns, by going to big towns, by winning big time as well. I will add in the cities by making really clear that we need a fired up base every time and by actually clocking in the highest voter turnout in the United States of America, the state of Minnesota. [18:58:11] With that fired up base when I led that ticket. So I think it is a combination of all that suburban, rural and urban voters that we're going to need to be able to win. And I think sometimes what got lost here is, yes, this is an economic check. And you see it in a president that promised a bunch of things on election night. He promised infrastructure and he did not deliver. Not in any way when you look at what's happening on the river. He promised that he'd bring down the cost of prescription drugs so much that it would make your head spin. Yeah, our head spin. But the wrong way. He promised all kinds of things so he would do with college and child care and all kinds of things. This hasn't happened. [18:58:55] There has not been that kind of shared prosperity. Instead, he went down tomorrow to go after that tax bill passed where all that money went to the top and he went down tomorrow, Largo to his resort where any of you there because I just didn't want to embarrass you if you want to raise your hand. [18:59:13] You were there, but when he was down there, this is. Why do he said? He said you just got a richer you just got a lot richer. That is exactly what he said. And I can tell you, he wasn't talking about the people in this room. He was talking about his friends. And that's what he did with that bill instead of making sure people got child care or we got this infrastructure built. [18:59:36] And if you think it's not a lot of money, literally every point, is there anything we could do? Every point that every point that he went down that. Sorry, guys. [18:59:50] Here we go. There we go. Every point out. There we go. [18:59:57] Maybe every point that he went down on that Republican. [19:00:03] Yeah. [19:00:15] Just fine. Here we go. Every single point that he went down was a hundred billion dollars on the corporate tax rate. And you think about what you can do with that money. You think about what you can do with that 100 billion dollars of child care. You can get all of that. So it's really a value statement. So, yeah, this is an economic fact, but it is also a patriotism check. It is also a values check. It is also a decency check. And this is what I'm talking about. So when he was out there at the G 20 and when all of the world leaders were there, a reporter asked him about Russia interfering in our election. [19:01:03] And we asked him that. And he turned to Vladimir Putin and he made a joke. Think about that. Hundreds of thousands of Americans, including thousands of Iowans, have lost their lives on the battlefield, standing up for our democracy's four little girls. At the height of the civil rights movement, they lost their lives as innocents in that church when it was bombed because people were trying to hold on to democracy and other people were trying to make sure that it didn't get to them. So many of our big major fights and battles in this country have been about democracy. Time and time again. And he made a joke about it. [19:01:45] That is not patriotic. And who are the individuals? Think about these people. The rancher in Minnesota. This was my first son. He took me on a tour of his cattle ranch on an ATV in open air with these huge cows. And I thought, what a way to die. We were let go. And when it was done, we went into his ranch and he said, you know, we voted for Donald Trump. And I said, Do you mean your family? Do you mean the other cattle ranchers that were there earlier? He said no. I mean, I did said I just don't like to say I. We voted. And I said, okay. And he said, I was mad about health care. And he said, but then what happens is I see him in front of that wall. And I said, no, the war wasn't really built. He's I don't know. [19:02:30] I saw him in front of the CIA wall. That was what Trump did the day after the inauguration. Not many people remember this guy did. He stood in front of the wall of the stars devoted to the anonymous agents, those CIA agents who in the line of duty had lost their lives. Anonymous. Stars and he stood in front of that sacred wall and he gave a partisan partisan speech about the corporate crowd size at the inauguration. And that guy said that was wrong. Then he said then the Boy Scout rally and he said, I was a Boy Scout. And when he gave that speech to all those young men, he said, that was it for me. You said that wasn't patriotic. And he started to cry. Or the guy in New Hampshire. Long line of people. They're all wearing these stickers. I'm a climate change voter. I'm a Supreme Court voter. I'm a reproductive rights voter. [19:03:20] And all of a sudden, there's this guy in a brown jacket, doesn't have a sticker. And I said, sir, you don't have on a sticker. And he said, Yeah, that's because I was a Trump voter. They are my neighbors. They do not I'm not saying anything. He said I am not voting for him. I guess that is what I'm talking about with this values that actually taking place. [19:03:47] And there are people out there that may not agree with everything that we say. But what they do know is they want a president when they turn on the TV and he's addressing the nation that they don't have to meet the volume because they're scared of what their kids might hear at one of his rallies. Do you remember the days when you were watching the president, when it was a Republican or a Dem? Even if you didn't vote for them, you would watch out of respect because you would want to know what they were going to say. [19:04:15] So you could talk about it to people the next day or you could make a decision about some issue or public policy. Those days aren't there right now because of what this guy does every single day. The best example of this decency check is actually right out of Iowa. I happened a long time ago. Some of you around. I wasn't for the McCarthy hearings. [19:04:35] And you remember when Joseph McCarthy went on this crusade and he went after people because of their political beliefs or groups that they belong to or in many cases, groups they didn't belong to. But he said they belong to. And they lost their jobs and they got blacklisted. And then he had this big hearing and people were afraid to stand up to him because then they thought they would get blacklisted. [19:04:54] But there was one guy that stood up and he was from a town in Iowa, Prim, Ga, Iowa. And he went to Grinnell College and then he went to law school and then he became the counsel of the army. He was a family from a family, a big family of immigrants, big family with no money. He goes on to become the counsel of the army. And he is at those hearings. He is the one that stood up and looked at Joseph McCarthy. This guy, like the kid in that book, the emperor has no clothes. Only one kid. This guy did it. And he said, sir, have you no sense of decency? [19:05:32] And he said it again. Have you no sense of decency? That's what this is. It is a decency check. And we had better not forget that, that some of our fellow citizens, they comment this in different ways. Different views on different things. But they share one thing. And that is a belief in America. That is a belief of the country. And we better remember that, because if we do, we will not just win, we will win big. And my last piece of profound advice on this point is we better not screw this up. All right. Go. [19:06:07] If we want to bring more people with us. We want to bring people with us and not shut them out. And then the other thing that matters to people is the economics of this. [19:06:17] It is the economics of this where they know, oh, yeah, people have jobs. Oh, yeah. The stock market's going up, but it doesn't help them because they're not sharing in this prosperity. So let's talk about how we get there first. Really, you need a leader, but this guy did is so all of our workers, a lot of people in this room, businesses like that. They came out of that downturn through hard work, sacrifice, some hard years. [19:06:41] They get us to where we are. He comes into the White House. Any gloat? That's what he does. He gloats. And then when things go wrong, when they're farm, bankruptcies are up 25 percent, where because of those waivers he gave to the big oil companies. We've seen all these biofuels plants closing, including in Iowa and places like Crawford's Ville. We've seen them close all over this country. [19:07:05] Then he starts blaming people. He blames Barack Obama. He blames the head of the Federal Reserve. He blames the city of Baltimore. He blames the entire country of Denmark. Who does that? [19:07:18] That's what he does. So when people talk about him as a bully. [19:07:23] He's a bully. Remember what he is more to some people when they step back and think of their own lives, when they have to work one or two or three jobs, when they're in the gig economy, like one third of our workers and they don't have a decent retirement. All they got is Social Security, which he has done nothing to keep stronger when there's a really smart way to do it by raising the cap on the payroll taxes. Thank you. [19:07:45] I know you said it. One hundred thirty three thousand dollars in income and you just put it in again. [19:07:51] Two hundred fifty thousand in income. You would have enough to keep Social Security solvent. But they're worried about that. They're worried about the fact they don't have a for one K. There's a really smart idea that I won't go into today that I have called up a savings account to help them. But he's not helping them with that. No, he's not doing those things. So remember, when they think about it and they start wondering, wait a minute, I voted for him, they started thinking, I'm working two jobs, I'm working hard. And what does he do? He's got the best job in the world. He's got this great house he lives in. And when things go wrong, what does he do? He whines. You whines. He complains. He blames other people. We do not need a whiner in the White House right now. [19:08:33] And so suppose so. [19:08:36] The challenge is that we should be meaning that we can lay out there, and I think people understand them because they see them every day in their lives. Our first of all, that challenge of health care and making it more affordable. I think you've seen this debated a lot on the debate stage and I've made very clear where I am. I appreciate the viewpoints of my friends. I would make one very clear political point. The Affordable Care Act, Obamacare, the Affordable Care Act right now is 10 points more popular than the president of the United States. [19:09:06] And that is that when you look at what has happened in places like Louisiana, where we reelected a Democratic governor or in Kentucky just last month, where Mitch McConnell now has a Democratic governor in states like that. That issue is making sure we're extending the Affordable Care Act, that we're not cutting back, that we're not privatizing Medicaid like your governor did here, that we are making it work for people instead of getting rid of it. [19:09:35] The last time I checked, if you want to cross a river, you guys are good at knowing about this. If you went across a river, you are better to build a bridge than blow one up. So I think the best way to build on Obamacare to make it better is with, first of all, a nonprofit public option, which will bring the costs down for a whole lot of people and extend health care for a whole lot of people. [19:09:58] The second thing is to tackle the challenges that have not been tackled. That means taking on the pharmaceutical companies big time. [19:10:06] We can get things done. [19:10:09] We see those drug prices in Canada and Minnesota. I can see Canada from my porch. And in fact, if you don't think there's support for bringing in less expensive drugs from other countries to create that kind of competition, that we need to bring those prices down. We had the Kobe show Sanders amendment. Bernie and I worked on this together. It was just an amendment in the middle of the night, literally, probably at midnight. [19:10:33] We got 14 Republican votes for that. It's just kind of a test vote that happened then. GRASSLEY When McCain my friend John McCain, sadly, we lost him. Grassley actually got on the bill with me to do that, to bring in less expensive drugs from other countries. We now leave that bill. So that's the kind of thing that I know we can get done and we can lift because of the strong support of seniors. If we win this election big, we can take on pharma because they literally put into law. It's written into law that Medicare cannot negotiate for cheaper prices for prescription drugs for our seniors. It's into law. Medicaid can. [19:11:11] The V.A. can. But Medicare can not. I leave that bill. I now have 34 co-sponsors. As president, I will get it done and take on pharma. They think they own Washington. They have to buy is for every member of Congress. You wonder why insulin is so expensive and people are saving it in their injectors. You wonder why a restaurant manager in a restaurant in the suburbs of the Twin Cities who'd bet on his parents health care got a 26. He then could get health care, but he couldn't afford the insulin. He tried to ration it. He died. That mother says to me, how can that happen? She went to the State of the Union and looked down at Donald Trump and basically said, what are you gonna do? [19:11:53] He has done nothing. That is a huge issue for this country right now. [19:11:57] Mental health care opioids, 64, only 64 public mental health beds in the state of Iowa. That's all there is. That's it. There has been not enough federal investment when it comes to mental health. [19:12:11] I was in LA below and met with a school counselor and she had just finished her day. Small school, 650 kids. She said that day alone she had four kids come and visit her. She's the only counselor with thoughts of suicide. High school kids. Every one of them was an immigrant kid. Every one of them had a parent at the plate. [19:12:34] Every one of them is scared that their family's going to be deported. This is horrible policy from the administration. Yes. But it is also a lack of investment in mental health care because these kids really have no one to turn to. There has been a 30 percent increase in suicides in this country in 15 years. Think about that. And it is heavy. And students, LGBTQ, rural communities, veterans. [19:12:59] And that is why when I propose we do, there's gonna be a whole lot of money coming in from that opioid settlement and there should federal money because what they did was outrageous. You take even 40 billions of that money. You combine it with a MG fee on opioids. You combine it with some other things. You get to 100 billion. You make sure that money goes to addiction and not just opioids, but alcoholism and treatment for meth and crack cocaine. And it also goes to mental health. You don't leave mental health behind. [19:13:34] For me, this is personal. My dad, when I was growing up was an alcoholic, struggled with alcoholic his whole life. [19:13:41] He had three D.W. eyes. By the time I graduated, long graduated from law school, my husband and I were getting married and he got his third one. And the judge then said it was the 90s. And then like said, you got to face jail or treatment. My dad chose treatment and it changed his life. It changed his life because of his friends and his family and his faith, in his words, because of that treatment, he was pursued by grace. [19:14:10] And I think everyone should have that same. Right. So I think of this from my head. Yes. As a former prosecutor, as someone on the Judiciary Committee. But I also think of it from my heart. Just a little side note on that. I just visited him, Abigail and my husband and I visited him at the assisted living where he lives now. And about a year ago, he said to me he was explaining how as a group still visits him there and he said, you know, it's hard to get a drink around here anyway. He's doing incredibly well. And I think everyone should have that same story. [19:14:45] Other health care challenges, long term care. Long term care. [19:14:50] It is the elephant in the room. No one is doing anything about it. And yet we're seeing a doubling of our senior population. So that means keeping Medicare and Social Security and our rural hospitals strong. [19:15:02] But it also means making sure that we have long term care insurance and people can stay at home. So how would I pay for this? You can get over a hundred billion. Listen to this one. People who set up trust funds for their kids. That's fine. That's good. Let's take the ones that probably people don't have in this room. [19:15:20] Over five hundred thousand dollars trust fund. If you just take the appreciation on it, that means the gain on it and put a modicum of tax on it. This is how much they have in trust funds because it's a way to get around taxes. You will bring over a hundred billion dollars in. That is a modest estimate of what you can bring in. I think that that money should go to long term care. That's just one example to help people to afford long term care insurance with premiums and keep them in their homes. So if you've noticed, I always talk about how I'm going to pay for things like the trillion dollar infrastructure thing. [19:15:55] That's because look at the contrast that will be on the debate stage when I think it's the right thing to do. I've always been like that. I believe strongly that we don't want to put this deficit on the shoulders of our kids, but also because I just can't wait to look at Donald Trump. He has been treating all of you like poker chips in one of his bankrupt casinos. And he has been doing nothing to look at this in a very, very systematic fashion of how we can make sure that we're not putting more debt on people's shoulders. And I think if you're going to propose new things, you should show how you're going to pay for it and be honest with people, other people. [19:16:33] I mentioned climate change and some of the ideas there that is going to be done immediately. AG policy doing more when it comes to rural communities. We mentioned the child care, but there's also broadband, making sure people I mean, they have hooked up the entire country of Iceland with all the votes. Enos And you can get cell phone service there. I've been there and nearly at the top of a volcano. But you can't get cell phone service driving down parts of 35 to Iowa, like seriously. And so I just I really, really think we could do a better job on all those fronts. [19:17:09] And we just kind of make that a part of our infrastructure, our infrastructure package, immigration reform. That's an economic issue. [19:17:17] And we need workers when we need workers in our fields and we need our workers in our hospitals and we need workers in our nursing homes. We can do this, but we're not going to be able to do it. If Donald Trump keeps focusing on dividing people when it comes to sensible immigration reform that your Senator, Chuck Grassley even voted for back in 2013 and then it died over in the House, we can actually get this done because immigrants don't diminish America's immigrant. [19:17:50] And the last thing that I would mention, in addition to education and maybe we can have a question on that. The importance of hooking our education system into the jobs that are available now. I am a big supporter of community college, one and two year degrees and making them free. I'm a big supporter of doubling Pell Grants, so you can use that at public and private colleges and make sure it goes to the people that need it the most. And I'm a big supporter of making it easier to pay back student loans. [19:18:19] But I think everything we do, we have to look at how that hooks back into our economy so that we make sure that the education people are getting. Everything we do should be hooked into making sure they can use that education for the jobs that we have now. And just to make it clear, we're going to have a million openings for home health care workers in the next 10 years. If we don't do something about it, make sure they get paid well enough and that there's some benefits out there for them. [19:18:47] We're going to have over 100000 openings for nursing assistants went into your degrees. We're going to have a over 70000 openings for electricians. We are not going to have a shortage of MBA. We're going to have a shortage of plumbers. OK, so we have to look at that as we look at the whole economic picture. Last thing I'll mention, our democracy is at stake here. It's where I started. This means making it easier for people to vote, not harder. [19:19:13] This means passing a constitutional amendment to overturn Citizens United. It means passing my bill, which I can get done as president to register every eligible kid to vote when they turn 18. [19:19:35] Tell me why, why? Why would you do that? [19:19:39] Everyone gets a Social Security number, right? Target can find a pair of shoes in Hawaii with its SKU number. So why can't we register every kid to vote? [19:19:49] It's because people want to keep people out of this democracy. They don't want them to be part of it. And that's just not been our American way. Our whole founding of our government was about bringing people in with that simple statement that in America, the president is not king. The law is king, right? That's right. And that's what I'm going to do. [19:20:11] So I want to thank you all for coming out in such a big way. I just want to tell you that we are just getting more and more of this insurgency every day. [19:20:21] We have our green bus out there that I pick that color. [19:20:25] Those buttons in that bus, because I was inspired by Paul Wellstone, who is with the former senator of Minnesota that we lost tragically in that plane crash. And the biggest compliment to your former senator, Tom Harkin is that he was Paul well, Stone's best friend in the United States Senate. And he always believed in grassroots campaigning. And I will end with this story. [19:20:49] When Paul would campaign, he always would talk really, really, really fast, just like this, because he would say that he had half the money of his opponent until then. What do you want to do? And I feel like that sometimes in this race with all the billionaires running their ads, but that's a whole nother story. [19:21:03] And he would also run back and forth really quickly in the parade route and the last year of his life before he died tragically in that plane crash. He told the state he had M.S. and so he was in a lot of pain and he could not run anymore. So instead, he stood on the back of his green bus next to his wife, Sheila, and he would wave. [19:21:23] But this was the amazing part of it. He had motivated so many people and passed the energy on them to run around that bus in these green shirts around and around down the parade roads that you didn't even notice. He wasn't running himself. That is what grassroots politics is about. And I am asking you to do that for us, because we need people out there volunteering. [19:21:46] We need people to sign those commit to caucus cards that I never heard of until like eight months ago. They're really important. Right. You see them back there with them. And I know people say you're in my top three. [19:21:59] That's cool. Thank you. But we would really love it if you signed on with us. My favorite thing along these lines was when the former mayor of Cedar Rapids came as she looked at me and he said after an hour long breakfast, I've got some great news for you. I come back. She said, I'm 78 percent with you. [19:22:19] But she got to 100 per. She got 100 percent. [19:22:27] So this is going to be something like you have never seen before. [19:22:30] We're going to have that. I would debate. We're going to have the caucuses, but I want you to keep the eye on the prize. And that is winning this state in the general election. That is winning in states like Michigan and Wisconsin and Pennsylvania and Ohio and yes, Minnesota that we almost lost last time. [19:22:49] And my theory of the case is that we need to get independents, moderate Republicans, Democrats, people in our base and stay at home, people who even voted for Donald Trump, who now regret it. [19:23:00] We need to build a beautiful blue wall of votes around these states and make Donald Trump pay for it by. How do you practice testing a microphone? Great magic. It really works. OK, here we go. [19:23:23] OK. Let's see what the magic question is. Let's see. Let's see. Global warming. OK. So this is actually a little different. It's about the economic effects of global warming. [19:23:36] And I'll just quickly, because I did a lot on this, but I will say, number one, that this in the end, wealthy people can afford to move easily. So the socio economic effects, which is that question, are going to fall on people that can't afford things. Right. So let's start with that. [19:23:54] The second thing about this is the way we do this is really important because you're not going to get support for this unless you're able to make sure that people are able to afford their energy bills and that they're going to be able, if their job changes because of this, that they're going to have a new job. And this is not pie in the sky thinking, because there's going to be a lot of money that's going to come in with some kind of assessment on carbon. It could be with the National Renewable Electricity Standard. [19:24:21] Other ways you can do that and that money, almost all of it has to go back as dividends to people to help them. And then that way, you still create the economic incentive to develop this best new technology to find the next Norman Borlaug and fed the world right out of this state. [19:24:37] That's going to develop that technology. But we do not have that incentive in place right now on the federal level. We've got businesses that do it because they know how this is hurting their bottom line. We've got towns that are doing it because they see that their homeowners insurance is up 50 percent. But we have got to make sure and do this in a right way. I again feel this from my heart because when I was growing up, my grandpa, as I said, was that iron ore miner would go up toward the loose. [19:25:04] They used to have a billboard when things are really hard and to lose. That said, last one to leave. Shut off the lights. Well, they turned that town around. They turned it around with a bunch of things, tourism. They did it with infrastructure. They did it with a bunch of businesses they brought in. We got the mines opened up again, by the way, and stop the dumping or at least reduced it from China. And we're able to do some targeted things to get them open again so they could make the iron ore that makes the steel. We did a whole bunch of things and they did way before me. That was good to get them open again. [19:25:39] But I think when you see that happen in your life. When my grandpa lost his job, he became a lawyer. Then when you see that happen, you know you can't do these things in a way that is callous. You have to figure out a way, you know, you have to do this for the country and for the world. We have to figure out a way to make it fair for people. And so it works for everyone. And I truly believe that we can do this. We just have to have a leader who's willing to think about the big picture. We got from a plane what three items of legislations would be. Hope we should we pass to help Iowa's ag economy. I love these quiz bowl questions. OK. [19:26:26] I think that the first thing is not all legislation. And let me start with this. So I put out this hundred day plan. It's 137 things you could do without Congress. [19:26:37] I look at it on our website and they are all legal. [19:26:41] And I do think it's really important to jump start things. And in that list is a review of these horrible waivers that Trump has given to the oil companies, not just a few like it was designed to do, but over 70 of them or 80 of them that he's done some of them to big companies like Chevron and Exxon totally went. The bill wasn't meant to do. [19:27:04] I think that would be very helpful here. I think having serious negotiations with our allies to push China and not be in this situation we are in right now where he has been running our negotiations with a meat cleaver better off and tweet cleaver, you know, one day says 300 billion dollars to the terrorists and then he reduces it in half and then he changes his mind. I noted on the debate stage that great leaders make decisions for this generation, but also for seven generations from now. And he cannot keep his promises for seven minutes from now, because the whole idea of great policy, the whole idea of trade policy is you keep your promises and you keep your threats. [19:27:46] And he has not been doing that. So those are things that really you can you can do things that I would pass that I think are really, really important. I would be the health care issue I raised, I think, putting in some particular things about rural health care. You can actually not just have the critical access hospitals that are really important, but also emergency room hospitals to make sure we keep our healthcare strong. I think that you can do much more when it comes to child care. There are child care deserts throughout Iowa where people can get affordable child care or they can't get child care at all. And yet you have this low unemployment rate, as Cindy pointed out. I think there's a lot that we can do there with that and housing just a package of things that are focused on the rural economy, because I think you all get. Yes. [19:28:33] About yes, it is about AG, but all of that feeds to each other. So when happens and you know what happened with the John Deere plant that was related to what's going on with the overall ag economy? Right. Because once you start having problems in the ag economy, it ripples it ripples to small cafes and stores, it ripples to ag manufacturing. I have a lot of ag manufacturing in my state, a lot of it all across the border with Iowa. So I've been able to go to those plants over and over again and see what's going on there. So I think all of those areas would be really ripe for legislation. In addition to the things we talked about in the last thing I'd mentioned was an infrastructure bill. If I had to pick one thing for this area, it would be the infrastructure bill. And that's a choice of a lot of things because. [19:29:23] Thank you. One person. Or maybe who lives near the river? Person. Thank you. [19:29:30] It's just really hard to attract businesses and to keep businesses and to keep strong. When you have this going on, when you know what can resolve it with these temporary walls or permanent barrier, that could be put into help. [19:29:44] And so that's the answer to me, that it shouldn't just be Cindy trying to push by herself and a few others over at the legislature with this governor. But instead, we have a major federal infrastructure program. And by the way, I am a believer in this. Our house that we live in, in Minnesota is just eight blocks from where that bridge collapsed in the middle of a beautiful day. The 35 W bridge, that's a bridge we drove over with our family every single day. [19:30:14] And I'll never forget that day. As I said, the next day, a bridge just doesn't fall down in the middle of America. But it did. Thirteen people were killed. It is a story of infrastructure gone bad and why I'm such a big believer in infrastructure. But it is also, by the way, that story, just like years with the floods, was a story of a community coming together. When you watch that on TV, the whole world watched. They saw an off duty firefighter tethering herself to the side of the river, diving in and out, looking for bodies. [19:30:42] They saw a tasty truck driver who could have saved his life, ramming into the back of a school bus, but veered off, died to death, burned to death in his cab, but saved the bus. They saw a bus that had plummeted 30 feet and was hanging on the side of a guardrail. One guy, bus driver named Hernandez, could have had that split second where he decided to run off by himself. It look like it's gone in the river. He got every kid off that bus to save that America that's having each other's backs. And one of the reasons I'm running for president is because I want that America. I don't want a president that. [19:31:24] Good. All right. It's a messy question. Deal. [19:31:30] Let's see. OK. It's a phone. Hey, you guys, I will sort of summarizes this, Lisa. OK. You have a solid plan for the USA. And what would you do first day? Ready for this first day, month, year? What would be your first international action items such as Middle East, China? I ran. [19:31:50] OK. Well, let's just stay for another hour. And here we go. But thank you. And I'm glad. [19:31:56] Actually, it's not a. It is. It is not a bad way to end. We did not cover a lot of international issues because I wanted to really focus on some of the needs in the Quad Cities. But I gave a speech. You can find it on our website at Amy Cuomo, Chaka Khan. You can also help us out there if you want to the Council on Foreign Relations. [19:32:17] And I talked about not the three R's reading, writing, arithmetic, which we badly need, but the five hours which is making very clear that we are reasserting American values and that we are reasserting ourselves in the world, that we are rejoining with our allies, that we are rejoining international agreements like the Iranian agreement, which has made us so much less safe in the Mideast, so much less safe. [19:32:49] When Donald Trump took us out of that agreement with a man moving towards developing uranium and busting the cap, the Russian nuclear agreement, which Russia was cheating, they are a bad player that he precipitously got us out of that agreement. And now another one, the new START treaty is going to be up very soon. And we must negotiate those agreement, making sure that we respond appropriately to threats across the world and that we stand with our allies and not dictators and we stand with our troops. [19:33:25] And it's very clear in the case of these five arms and you can literally boil them one, two down to one, and that is returned to sanity in our foreign policy. That's what I. [19:33:40] And in terms of our allies, one little weird fact you don't know about me, I head up the Canadian American Inter Parliamentarian Group for the U.S.. [19:33:52] I haven't been able to say that on the debate stage. That would take up all my time to say those words. But it is about our relationships with our neighbors to the north. [19:34:01] One of our biggest trading partners, if not the biggest, for certain states. And so I worked very hard to make sure that Canada was in that agreement. And I also was strongly supportive, not of the first version of it, but the work that was done by my friend Sherrod Brown in Ohio, who is a strong, strong believer like I am, and labor unions and in the need to have stronger labor unions protections. [19:34:31] And by the way, just you know, I would not be here without unions. My grandpa worked the mine. He was a union member. He had to quit school in middle school. And he worked as a Teamster. And he was so proud of that. He did that. And then he went and worked in the mines. My dad was a member of the Newspaper Guild. My mom moved from Milwaukee, came to Minnesota. She came in to Minnesota because we had a strong teachers union. And she taught second grade until she was 70 years old. [19:34:59] And so a lot of my arguments for that USMC agreement was that we needed stronger standards in there. And they worked really hard. Speaker Pelosi did. And now there are stronger union agreements. So there's inspections going on in Mexico and the like. There's stronger provisions in their own environment and there is a much stronger provision. So we did not give farm and the sweetheart deal that they originally had. And so that is why I am supporting that agreement. And I just think it's really clear that you be clear with people on these things. And that is part of our working with the rest of the world. If we're going to push China, we should have our allies at our side. That is the best way to do it. [19:35:40] And this president, when he, you know, out of the blue by tweet invites the Taliban to Camp David without having an agreement out of the blue. Imagine what that did to a lot of people were there saying, what I'm all in favor of negotiating in Afghanistan with the Ghani government and the Taliban, that the way he does things once again just is devastating to a lot of people. And it doesn't make for a better agreement. And so that's an example of that. But I think the all boils down to sanity in our foreign policy. Last thing I want to say, kind of playing on my biography here is I really want to debate Donald Trump. [19:36:20] I wanted to say that because I think everyone agrees with me on that debate. [19:36:27] They understand that I am tough enough to take them on. [19:36:31] But we also understand that, yes, a woman can beat Donald Trump since Nancy Pelosi does it every day. [19:36:38] He also understand that the Midwest is not flyover country to me. I live here. [19:36:48] And in fact, the best thing will be when I need to say to him, you know what? Your career started when your dad gave you four hundred thirteen million dollars over the course of your lifetime. My case, my grandpa saved money in that coffee can to send my dad to a community college. After my grandpa worked his whole life in those mines, you cannot fit 413 million dollars into the coffee can. But what he did, that was my family's trust. That was my family's trust. And I figure when people give you opportunity, whether it is your parents or your grandparents or your neighborhood neighbors or someone you work with, then you do not go into the world with the sense of entitlement. [19:37:33] You don't go into it with a sense of vindictiveness. You go into it with the sense of obligation and obligation to lift other people up instead of shoving them away. And I mentioned that before, but I want to end with it because I think that is at the core of what we have to remember here. [19:37:51] So take that with you. Join us. Come on. Sign those. Commit to caucus cards. We will do Fotos up here. If you really want a photo with my daughter or offer to, I mean, that is unique. She's going back to New York City for New Year's. I mean, what's going there on New Year's Eve? Why would you go there? I don't know. They have some ball in Times Square. Come on. His party is here anyway. [19:38:19] Thank you, everyone. Have a great day. Thank you. And we will make sure we see the people in the back room to let them come through. Thanks, everyone.
WHITE HOUSE BRIEFING
FTG OF DAILY WHITE HOUSE BRIEFING WITH PRESS SECRETARY JAY CARNEY IN THE WH BRIEFING ROOM Friday, July 12, 2013 TRANSCRIPT: White House Briefing with Press Secretary Jay Carney SLUG: 1245 WH BREIF STIX RS37 73 AR: 16X9 DISC#: 933 NYRS: 5114 13:07:28 JAY CARNEY: The Associated Press, you start us off. I have no announcements. Welcome. Q: Thank you, Jay. Edward Snowden has said he would like to have a trial in Russia, that he's willing to agree to their demand that he not continue to release information to them. What is your message today to Russia about what the implications of granting that to him would be for their relations with the United States? 13:07:58 MR. CARNEY: Our position on Mr. Snowden and his -- the felony charges against him and our belief that he ought to be returned to the United States to face those felony charges is as it was. And we have communicated it to a variety of countries, including Russia. And so it's no different than it was. And I would simply say that providing a propaganda platform for Mr. Snowden runs counter to the Russian government's previous declarations of Russia's neutrality and that they have -- and that they have no control over his presence in the airport. It's also incompatible with Russian assurances that they do not want Mr. Snowden to further damage U.S. interests. But having said that, you know, our position also remains that we don't believe this should and we don't want it to do harm to our important relationship with Russia, and we continue to discuss with Russia our strongly-held view that there is an absolute legal justification for him to be expelled, for him to be returned to the United States to face the charges that have been brought against him for the unauthorized leaking of classified information. Q: Can you tell us a little bit about the president's discussion today with the attorney general? And has he accepted Eric Holder's report on media relations and investigations? 13:09:22 MR. CARNEY: The president did meet with the attorney general today in the Oval, and the attorney general did discuss with him and present to him that report. I believe the Department of Justice will be releasing that report this afternoon, but I'd refer you to them. Q: So if they're releasing it this afternoon, that indicates that the president did accept it as it was presented? 13:09:40 MR. CARNEY: Yeah, I think that's a fair assessment to make. We won't have any statement or comment on it before it's released, but I believe the Department of Justice is releasing it today. Q: And on Secretary Napolitano's departure -- do you have any information for us on who her replacements might be or any timeline for that decision? 13:09:58 MR. CARNEY: I have no names to float, if you will. I would say that the president greatly appreciates Secretary Napolitano's, you know, four-plus years of service. And if you think about it, those, you know, 4 1/2 years account for almost half the existence of the Department of Homeland Security. And she's done a remarkable job, and on her watch, there have been, you know, just numerous issues that have required her expert attention, from the H1N1 virus to the recent bombings in Boston to Hurricane Sandy to the devastating tornadoes in Joplin and Tuscaloosa and elsewhere, the Deepwater Horizon oil spill, floods that we've seen in this country. And her department, with her leadership, has functioned at a very high level. And it's also the case that with Secretary Napolitano at the helm, we have greatly enhanced our border security, including the doubling of Border Patrol agents. And that is in due -- due in some measure to her leadership. And the president appreciates that and wishes her well. On the timeline for her replacement, I believe it's been put out that she's -- remains in her position until early September. And the president will be very deliberate about looking at potential successors for that very important position, but I have no announcements to make on it. Q: Jay, are you saying there'd be no repercussions to U.S.- Russian relations if he's granted asylum there? 13:11:39 MR. CARNEY: I think that I'm not going to speculate about something that hasn't happened. What I would say is that we don't believe this issue should do harm to the relations between Russia and the United States, and we are working with the Russians and have made clear to the Russians our views about the fact that Mr. Snowden has been charged with very serious crimes and that he should be returned to the United States, where he will be granted full due process and every right available to him as a United States citizen facing our justice system under the Constitution. And you know, we'll continue to have those conversations, and we've made very clear our views. Q: Has -- have the Russians communicated anything to you recently about him? 13:12:27 MR. CARNEY: Well, I don't have any specific conversations to read out, except that obviously, we are in conversation with Russian officials, as we are with other officials from other nations when we've talked about issues of where -- what nations might be transit points or potentials destinations for Mr. Snowden, were he to leave the transit lounge of the Sheremetyevo Airport. But the -- you know, the conversation and the -- the conversations that have been held reflect everything that I'm telling you now, in terms of our views on this matter. Q: And Snowden wrote in an open letter that the U.S. government is engaged in an unlawful campaign to deny him his right to seek asylum. Is that how you see it? 13:13:12 Mr. CARNEY: (Chuckles.) No, it is not. He has been charged under the law with three felonies, very serious crimes, and every aspect of the United States system of justice is available to him upon his return to the U.S. to face those charges. And that's how our system works. We have communicated with nations around the world our view that Mr. Snowden should be returned to the United States, because of the charges filed against him and because -- which is normal practice when you've been charged with felonies and the revocation of his passport, because he did not have travel papers or a valid passport, that he ought to be returned to the United States and where he will face justice in a -- in a system that affords defendants all the rights that every American citizen enjoys. Yes, Jim. Q: How does the next homeland security secretary nominee not get tangled up in the politics over immigration reform and this debate that's happening up on the Hill? And for that matter, this whole mess that started yesterday with the nuclear option between Senate Majority Leader Reid and Minority Leader McConnell? This seems like it could be a complicated mess. 13:14:50 MR. CARNEY: I see as a -- as a potential nominee -- well, let me -- let me address the first question related to immigration. As I noted earlier, Secretary Napolitano has done a remarkably effective job in fulfilling one of the major responsibilities that that position requires when it comes to overseeing the border security function of our federal government -- the CBP and overall enforcement. And we've seen -- again, as I've talked all week about -- we've seen all the metrics by which you can measure effective enforcement. And changes in enforcement demonstrate that there have -- there have been great improvements. And that is one -- another measure of that is the fact that the number of border security agents has increased so dramatically in the last five years. I don't expect that the transition that will take place at the department will -- when it comes to enforcing immigration laws will be entangled in the politics over legislation that has broad bipartisan support and support from law enforcement communities when it comes to enforcement issues and from faith communities when it comes to the morality of immigration reform and business communities when it comes to the economy and business benefits of immigration reform, so we don't expect that to be an issue. On the other matter, look, we have made clear that the president is frustrated with the obstructionism that we've seen from Republicans when it comes to the confirmation process. He -- not only has he made it clear, he included that -- sections about it in two State of the Union addresses, including in 2012. So -- and so we share the frustration that Senator Reid has talked about. And you know, we have highly qualified executive branch nominees up on the Hill -- their nominations up on the Hill today, who continue to be obstructed, who have been held up for over a hundred days. And you know, that's not how the system should work. So when it comes to next steps, I -- we defer to Senator Reid. We are very appreciative for all he has done, all he is doing and will do to ensure that the president's qualified nominees are confirmed. Q: Does the president believe that the majority leader should go through with the nuclear option? Because when Senator -- when Senator Obama was over there in the Senate, he once said, when roles were reversed and the majority was threatening to use that option at one time, he said, "I fear that the partisan atmosphere in Washington will be poisoned to the point where no one will be able to agree on anything, and that is not what the Founding Fathers had in mind." So given his previous statement in this, that he would agree with Senator McConnell, if that's right. 13:17:36 MR. CARNEY: I think he would agree with this statement from Senator McConnell, quote: "I think the president is entitled to an up-or-down, that is, simple majority vote on nominations, both to his Cabinet and to the executive branch and also to the judiciary." That's Senator McConnell in the spring, 2005. The fact is, citing then-Senator Obama's comments, is that the situation has gotten exponentially worse since Republicans gained -- I mean, since -- in the last several years, under Senator McConnell's leadership of the Republican minority, the obstructionism has doubled. The number of days that nominees have to wait, the -- you know, the kinds of obstacles and gridlock created by this refusal to take up and consider and confirm highly-qualified nominees. I (mean ?), look at Gina McCarthy -- there is no question about her qualifications. She is, by any measure, enormously qualified for the position to which she has been nominated. In fact, it's a position very similar to the one she held in the state of Massachusetts for then-governor Mitt Romney -- more than 100 days her nomination has been pending for a floor vote. Richard Cordray -- here's somebody with support from Republicans and Democrats -- someone who has Republican state attorneys-general who support him, someone who -- about whom not a single Republican senator has had a bad thing to say when it comes to his qualifications for the job to run this very important agency, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. And he's done an amazing job as he's held that position and waited for actual confirmation by the Senate. It's been two years. But why has it been blocked? Because Republicans in the Senate simply don't like the fact that the CFBP's existence is the law of the land. They lost that battle. The president insisted that the CFBP be created and that it had strong powers to protect consumers when it come to their rights -- using credit cards, student loans and mortgages, and, you know, there are just enormous -- there's an enormous number of examples that demonstrate how effective, already, that bureau has been in protecting consumer rights. Republicans don't like that -- Q: (Off mic) -- urging the senator, Senator Reid, to be cautious here? Because, I mean, exercising that option would potentially fundamentally change the nature of the Senate. MR. CARNEY: We believe -- look - Q: It would -- people say it would become essentially like the House. I mean, this is sort of playing with fire, is it not? 13:20:20 MR. CARNEY: The president said in 2012 in the State of the Union address -- "Some of what's broken has to do with the way Congress does its business these days. A simple majority is no longer enough to get anything, even routine business, passed through the Senate. Neither party has been blameless in these tactics. Now both parties should put an end to it. For starters, I ask the Senate to pass a" -- simple -- "rule that all judicial and public service nominations receive a simple 'up or down' vote within 90 days." Unfortunately that recommendation has not been taken up by Republican leadership in the Senate. And contained within that -- those remarks that the president made in the well of the House at a State of the Union address was an acknowledgement that this is a problem that has existed when -- and has been exacerbated in some ways by both parties, but there is no question that it has gotten -- the world today is quite different than it was in 2005 when it comes to this issue in the Senate and the way that it's been run and the obstructionism that we've seen from Republican leaders in the Senate and Republican members in the Senate. It is not the same, and it is a real problem. When it comes to Senator Reid, you know, we defer to him on Senate procedure, but we appreciate the support he's given and will give to the confirmation of the president's qualified nominees. Susan, welcome. 13:21:41 Q: Thank you. Thank you. Back to Snowden just for a moment. You said that the administration is working with the Russians. What does that mean? What does that look like? Is the president directly involved in these conversations? Is the vice president? 13:21:52 MR. CARNEY: We've had conversations with Russian officials at a variety of high levels. And the president actually does have a call scheduled with President Putin for later today. That is a call that has been on the books for several days. So he will have that conversation. Q: Will you read it out? MR. CARNEY: I'm sure we'll have something for you on it. The - Q: You could put it on the mult, so save you a lot of readout time. (Laughter.) MR. CARNEY: You think that's a good idea? Q: I do. MR. CARNEY: Yeah. (Laughter.) I expect you do. But, Susan, the point is that we've made clear, both in public and in our conversations at a variety of levels, including through law enforcement channels, which is the normal mechanism through which something like this would be resolved, that, you know, Mr. Snowden is wanted on three felony charges. We have a history of effective law enforcement cooperation with Russia, with the Russian government, including as -- very recently with -- in the wake of the bombings in Boston at the Boston Marathon. And that through those channels and through the normal procedures we believe Mr. Snowden ought to be expelled from Russia and to make his way home to the United States where, as a U.S. citizen, he's afforded all the considerable rights that defendants are afforded when they are charged with crimes. And he has been charged with three felonies and with very serious crimes in the unauthorized disclosure of sensitive, classified information. Q: There's an important summit later this summer. What impact would this have -- their decision -- on whether the president goes to that summit? 13:23:38 MR. CARNEY: Well, the president has and plans to -- has said and plans to has said and plans to travel to Russia for the G-20 summit in September. And I certainly don't have any updates on his travel schedule beyond what we've said already. Wendell. Q: Does the president accept the entire report from Secretary Holder? Did he ask any changes? Did he - 13:24:02 MR. CARNEY: We'll have a statement or some comment on it. The report hasn't been released, so I'm not going to comment on it at this time. I shouldn't be -- (inaudible). The report hasn't been released. So when it is released, we'll have something to say about it. Q: You cannot say whether MR. CARNEY: The president - Q: -- Mr. Obama objected to any parts of it all at all? 13:24:14 MR. CARNEY: No. The president accepted the report, but I think we'll have something to say about it later, once it's been released. I don't want to have a discussion about a report that none of you have seen. I want to be helpful and wait to have that discussion after you've seen it. (Cross talk.) Q: (Inaudible) -- reservations? I mean, you know - MR. CARNEY: No. Q: Oh, OK. MR. CARNEY: Yes, he accepted the report. That's all you got for me? Bill. Q: About it. MR. CARNEY: Excellent. Q: It's Friday. (Laughter.) MR. CARNEY: I like that. Madame Welker. Q: I want to ask you about Afghanistan. Earlier this week you said that a decision about post-2014 troop levels was not imminent. Can you be more specific? Does the president want to make a decision by a specific time, or is there a timeline? 13:25:05 MR. CARNEY: I really can't be more specific, because it's just not imminent. I think that we're talking about troop levels beyond the end of 2014, which is 18 months from now. So -- and we are in the process of further drawing down the troops that are -- that are in Afghanistan, roughly 60,000, currently, and we will be continually drawing those down as we hand over more and more responsibility for security to Afghan forces. The president will be discussing with his national security team the issue of a potential residual force post-2014, but as I said earlier in the week, that -- you know, the range of options depends on a number of things, and the range is full, from -- I mean, goes to zero, as we've discussed, as a possible option, because the issue isn't number; it's the fulfillment of our policy objectives. And the two policy objectives we have when it comes to a post-2014 security relationship have to do with continuing to counter the remnants of al-Qaida and to continue to train and equip -- train and equip the Afghan National Security Forces. And we will -- the president will, with his team, examine our options in how we fulfill those policy objectives, working, of course, with the Afghan government in those discussions. And we have, you know, discussions going with the Afghans about a bilateral security agreement, we have a very important strategic partnership agreement that we continue to implement with them that has to do with our -- what will be, regardless, a very substantial commitment to Afghanistan and Afghanistan's future, including a strong civilian component. Q: Jay, on Thursday, a number of lawmakers, including Robert Menendez, made the argument that the president should make a decision soon to reassure Afghans that the United States would continue to support them. Does that add to the urgency? Is there a sense of urgency? And does he agree with that assessment? 13:27:13 MR. CARNEY: There is not -- there is -- the president is going to be very deliberate about this, as he has been, when it comes to assessing our options and our policy posture, with regards to Afghanistan. We have, when it comes to assurances, 60,000, approximately, men and women in uniform in Afghanistan today fighting for and bleeding for the fulfillment of a policy that is aimed at ridding that region of al-Qaida and preventing Afghanistan from becoming a safe haven for al-Qaida or al-Qaida-like extremist organizations in the future. Q: But I think the argument that lawmakers are making is that the uncertainty - MR. CARNEY: It's 18 months from now. I think that it is entirely proper, and I think the American people would expect that we would be very deliberate about these decisions as we continue to draw down troops in keeping with the president's promise and his policy objectives, and when the president has an announcement to make, he'll make it, but it is not imminent. Q: Has President Karzai given any indication that he's getting closer to resuming peace negotiations? 13:28:16 MR. CARNEY: I don't speak for the Afghan government, but I, yeah, I haven't -- I haven't heard any updates on that. Q: And has President Obama been working actively to try to resume those negotiations? 13:28:28 MR. CARNEY: We have an excellent team that works on these issues and continues to work on them. Q: But is the president working on it, specifically? 13:28:35 MR. CARNEY: I'm not sure what that means. As you know, you know, we've talked about this issue several times this week. The president has always focused on and concerned about our troops in harm's way in Afghanistan and the fulfillment of his policy in the region. But, you know, that's a -- something he thinks about and deals with every day. When it comes to our negotiations with Afghanistan, we have -- and the Afghan government, we have very able personnel in Kabul, we have very able personnel in the Pentagon and at the Department of State who engage in those discussions regularly. Mark. Q: Jay, can you elaborate beyond what was in the read-out yesterday about what President Obama told Chinese officials about the failure of Hong Kong to extradite Ed Snowden? 13:29:21 MR. CARNEY: I can tell you that we've been very clear about our disappointment with the way that that situation was handled. I think Deputy Secretary Burns raised this and discussed this during the SE&D, I think, yesterday or earlier today. I think he said yesterday, quote -- this is a paraphrase, rather: We were very disappointed with how the authorities in Beijing and Hong Kong handled the Snowden case, which undermined our effort to build the trust needed to manage difficult issues. At the U.S.-China Strategic and Economic Dialogue this week we made clear that China's handling of this case was not consistent with the spirit of Sunnylands or with the type of relationship, the new model, that we both seek to build. The president also expressed his disappointment and concern with China's handling of the Snowden case in this meeting yesterday with the S&ED co-chairs. Q: Did China respond in any way? 13:30:25 MR. CARNEY: Well, I would refer you to the Chinese for that. I think it's very -- we've been very clear and candid about our views on this. We've also been very clear and candid, as I think the SE&D -- S&ED reflects, that we have a broad and important relationship with China and we have had -- that these conversations, this dialogue was very useful and productive on many fronts. But that fact does not take -- or does not diminish our concern about the way the Snowden circumstance was handled. Yes, in the back. Q: Thank you. Going back to the Afghanistan question, on the new option, why is this being considered -- (inaudible)? And isn't this opposing or contradictive to what the president has been saying of committing to Afghanistan people that they have -- U.S. would have an enduring commitment to Afghanistan? 13:31:16 MR. CARNEY: We do have an enduring commitment to Afghanistan. And whether we have a residual force there or not, that commitment will continue. And the commitment will continue through our Strategic Partnership Agreement, it will continue through a security relationship which will involve our efforts to continue to go after the remnants of al-Qaida in the region and to help train and equip the Afghan security forces. The question of whether or not there's a residual U.S. troop presence is something we have to negotiate with the Afghan government. We're not going to make a promise about a residual force if we haven't negotiated the circumstances of that with Afghanistan. So it has to be the case, as we've said as long back as -- as far back as January, that one option is no troops. I'm not saying that's the preferred option; I'm just saying to suggest otherwise would be to make assumptions about negotiations that have not reached a conclusion. Q: Is it the last option that the U.S. would have for Afghanistan? MR. CARNEY: I'm sorry; what is that? Q: Is the (zero ?) option the last option, the last - 13:32:20 MR. CARNEY: I'm not going to express preference because the purpose here is not to check a box and fulfill a quota in terms of the numbers, and these are -- these are U.S. men and women in uniform who would be in a difficult assignment in harm's way, as they are today. And the choices we make about that have -- are made very carefully and have to do with very specific policy objectives. And when it comes to a residual force in a -- in a country like Afghanistan, that is something that would have to be negotiated with the Afghan government; it is not something that we would presuppose until it's decided. April. And then Bill. Q: (Off mic) -- I want to go to the Trayvon Martin case. The jury will be read the instructions after lunch today. Is there any concern from the White House about what could happen after the jury makes its decision, particularly as there was a lot of news right after the -- (inaudible) -- was racially charged -- is there any concern from the White House about reaction to a verdict? 13:33:34 MR. CARNEY: Well, April, I would simply say that this is an ongoing trial. You just mentioned, and I'm not aware of the timeline exactly, but you just said that the jury's going to be read instructions, and, you know, to suggest our views on -- or anyone's views here, whether it's the president's or anyone else's views here on an ongoing trial that's about to go to jury I think would be a mistake, and potential outcomes and what might happen in a outcome. This is, you know, a jury in Florida in the United States that's fulfilling its function -- (inaudible) -- a trial and a jury, and we'll obviously, you know, be made aware of the results of that when they happen. But I wouldn't want to characterize our views about it or the president's views about it because it's an ongoing trial. Q: (Off mic) -- such a - MR. CARNEY: I, no, I understand that it was a -- obviously it got a lot of attention at the time and there were a number of issues around it and the president commented on it. But we're in a trial phase and, apparently soon, a jury phase. And at this time, I just don't have any further comment. Q: And, lastly, I'm going to go back to what I asked you yesterday on the Justice Department. They were investigating - 13:34:50 MR. CARNEY: I just don't -- again, what -- whether the Justice Department is investigating other matters is something that the Justice Department would answer. I just -- I don't have an answer to that. Q: Well, let me ask you this. Would the -- would the attorney general ever at any point -- even at the time when the president even commented on it -- would the attorney general have made the president aware of what their plans are in this or is that something that they can do by themselves? 13:35:12 MR. CARNEY: Well, it's certainly something they can do by themselves, but I'm commenting on something I just don't -- I don't know about, so I would refer you to Justice. Bill, and then (Lisa ?). Q: Jay, I have a couple things. First, on food stamps. Yesterday, as you know, the House of Representatives passed a bill which zeroed out the SNAP, or food stamp program. Would the president sign a farm bill without some funding -- continued funding in there for food stamps which has been there since 1973? 13:35:41 MR. CARNEY: We put out a statement of administration policy on this specific bill. Deeply, deeply flawed bill. And that said: "The administration strongly opposes H.R. 2642, the Federal Agriculture Reform and Risk Management Act of 2013." And it is -- just reading further: "It's apparent that the bill does not contain sufficient commodity and crop insurance reforms and does not invest in renewable energy." There's a -- I mean, I can -- the bill also fails to reauthorize nutrition programs, which goes to what your question is about, which benefit millions of Americans in rural, suburban and urban areas alike. The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program is a cornerstone of our nation's food assistance safety net and should not be left behind as the rest of the farm bill advances. If the president were presented with this bill, his senior advisers would recommend that he veto the bill. That's a standard form of -- statement of administration policy. For decades Congress has worked in a bipartisan fashion to pass real comprehensive farm bills. The Senate continued that tradition this year. And unfortunately, House Republicans decided instead to pursue an exercise in partisanship. They passed a bill that lacks real commodity and crop insurance reforms, does not invest in job creation in rural America and fails to reauthorize, as I said, nutrition programs which benefit millions of Americans. And for that reason, we oppose it. And I mean, I think there's been some pretty interesting comment on the House action, including by conservatives, and pretty damning comment. It is, I think, fairly remarkable. I mean, you know, I know that these are two different issues, but the Congress has before it, and the House in particular, a comprehensive immigration reform bill that would reduce the deficit, according to the CBO, by $850 billion, would help our economy grow, would help our labor force become more productive, would introduce into our business stream, you know, new entrepreneurs with job- creating ideas, would further secure our border significantly -- huge upside, an upside with a lot of conservative goals achieved within -- you know, within this comprehensive immigration bill, including deficit reduction. And then at the same time, they pass a farm bill that cuts out this nutrition assistance program to millions of Americans in the name of deficit reduction, far less significant deficit reduction. It smacks a little bit of hypocrisy to me, but not just me. Q: And secondly, quickly, the other side of the Snowden issue is that there have been more and more comments this week from the members of Congress that the intelligence community, starting with Director Clapper, either lied to Congress or misrepresented what the NSA program is all about. Is there any attempt on -- will there be on the part of the administration to explain, OK, exactly here's what we're doing, and here's why we need to do this? 13:38:42 MR. CARNEY: First of all, Director Clapper has addressed this specific instance, and I refer you to this comments. Director Clapper is doing - Q: (Off mic.) MR. CARNEY: Well, here are the facts. Congress has been briefed in numerous venues on these programs, including public testimony, paper briefings and classified sessions. I have seen reports of 22 briefings on the 702 program -- 22 briefings -- and nearly as many on the 215 program. But if you don't believe me, hear what Leader Reid and Senator Chambliss and Senator Feinstein and Congressman Rogers and Congressman King have said about this. They have all said that members were fully briefed on these programs. And there's not that many things that those particular members of Congress, Republicans and Democrats alike, agree on, but this is one of them. They have been briefed on these programs. And I think a lot of -- you know, you -- Representative Mike Rogers: "The committee has been extensively briefed on these efforts over a regular basis as a part of our ongoing oversight responsibility over the 16 elements of the intelligence community and the national intelligence program. The collection efforts under the business record provision in Section 702 of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act are legal, court-approved and subject to an extensive oversight regime." That's a Republican chairman in the House. So we are very much interested in -- and the president is very interested in, as he has said -- in a dialogue about these issues and a debate about these issues and in providing as much information as we can about these programs, mindful of the very sensitive nature, by definition, of intelligence programs that are designed to, as their main goal, thwart potential terrorist attacks against the United States and our allies. But it is simply not the case that Congress and the relevant committees and individual members have not been informed about these programs. Q: Jay, you know, there are senators -- Senator Murkley, Senator Udall, Senator Whitehouse -- others -- (inaudible) - 13:40:37 MR. CARNEY: I know that there are some members who missed briefings - Q: -- members of Congress who said that -- (inaudible) - MR. CARNEY: -- I know that there are some members who missed briefings in order to - Q: (Off mic) -- asked specific questions, and they were told misinformation -- (inaudible) -- these programs. 13:40:46 MR. CARNEY: Well, again, I think -- again, the fact is they've known about these programs, they've approved these programs, they've provided oversight of these programs. I know that some members don't show up to these briefings, I know that some members choose appearances on cable television over these briefings, but the briefings exist and have happened. Anna (sp). I'm sorry, and then Lisa, go ahead. Q: Thanks very much, Jay. Does the president think that groups like Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International are being used by Edward Snowden when they show up at a meeting with him in the secure part of the airport? Does the president have any message for groups that stand up for what they describe as human rights? 13:41:23 MR. CARNEY: I would say a couple of things about that, one, that those groups do important work, but Mr. Snowden is not a human rights activist or a dissident, he is accused of leaking classified information, has been charged with three felony counts and should be returned to the United States, where he will be accorded full due process. And on the issue of human rights organizations in Russia meeting with Mr. Snowden, I think we would urge the Russian government to afford human rights organizations the ability to do their work in Russia throughout Russia, not just at the Moscow transit lounge. Q: And on the meeting with the attorney general today. Do you know whether the attorney general brought to the president any information about whether communities in Florida have asked for Justice Department help or support? 13:42:12 MR. CARNEY: The meeting today was about the report that the Department of Justice is going to issue. I wasn't in the meeting, but I don't have any further information about it beyond that specific subject; not that I'm aware of, but I wasn't in the meeting. Again, it was about this particular subject that we discussed and the deadline for the release of this report. Q: This community asked for help with the Justice Department - 13:42:31 MR. CARNEY: I would refer you to the Justice Department, as I said before. Yes, Lisa, sorry. Q: When did the president find out that Secretary Napolitano was going to be leaving? And did he make the case that she should stay through the remainder of the - 13:42:42 MR. CARNEY: Well, I don't have a specific -- I mean, obviously the secretary advised the president of her intentions, but I don't have a date for that. I can tell you the president believes Secretary Napolitano has done an excellent job and is enormously appreciative of her service. She's been doing it for four-plus years, and while all of the senior positions in a White House or administration are very demanding, hers is particularly so. And, you know, so those four and a half years represent a lot of hard work and a lot of -- the dealing with a lot of very stressful issues, no question. And Secretary Napolitano has met every challenge. So, I think he's very understanding when someone who has devoted so much of her time and focus and energy to the fulfillment of her responsibilities in that job wants to move on. And he is very appreciative of the fact that she has left a legacy as a secretary of a department for nearly half of its existence that her successor will be able to build on in a positive way; and in fact will be able to build on even more if comprehensive immigration reform is passed; if the Senate bill that we have seen emerge from the Senate is -- becomes law. Because that bill provides substantial new resources for border enforcement and substantial and important changes to our legal immigration laws that allow for, you know, enhanced legal immigration in a way that will bring enormous benefits to our economy. So the president's very appreciative for her service -- of her service. Q: And is he concerned about how having this -- having confirmation hearings for this post while the immigration debate is going on could influence the debate or anything - 13:44:33 MR. CARNEY: The president will nominate a very qualified person to fill that job and, as we've discussed in general, the president believes that qualified nominees for executive branch positions ought to be considered and confirmed expeditiously. Q: And finally, Senator Schumer recommended Ray Kelly for the job. Is he under consideration? 13:44:54 MR. CARNEY: I think it is far too premature, on the day that Secretary Napolitano announced that she's leaving in a month and a half, to speculate about successors. We will be -- the president will be very deliberate in examining his options. Chris. Q: Thanks, Jay. I have a question about Russia, actually. There remains concern among the international LGBT community about anti-gay legislation and anti-gay violence in that country. There was some calls to boycott the 2014 Winter Olympics at Sochi. At the end of last month, Russian President Vladimir Putin signed into law a bill that banned the promotion of -- well, banned the promotion of homosexuality to minors. Is the president aware of these calls for a boycott? Is he open to the idea of withdrawing U.S. participation from the Winter Olympics? 13:45:37 MR. CARNEY: I'm not aware of the calls. I can tell you that the president and this administration makes clear to our allies and partners in the nations around the world our belief that LGBT rights need to be respected everywhere. But I don't have a specific -- I haven't discussed this with him. The State Department may have more information, but I don't have a specific response from him or from the White House on that particular issue. But broadly speaking,we make our concerns about these issues known to countries around the -- around the world. And I think this came up in the president's trip to Africa, and he made that clear. Q: Can you tell me if it came up in the bilateral talks between President Obama and President Putin? 13:46:15 MR. CARNEY: Not that I'm aware of, but again, we made our concerns about issues like this known to countries, where appropriate. Q: And one other topic too. I know you've answered a lot of questions about that LGBT workplace nondiscrimination executive order, but there's one more thing I wanted you to address. In an email that was leaked to me in June, last month, the treasurer of the Democratic National Committee, Andrew Tobias, told LGBT donors that he'd spoken with people in the administration about it, and everyone's for it, and it will get done, but the holdup is a process that is broader than this -- just this one very important and long-delayed agenda item. You dispute that a process is holding up this executive order? 13:46:51 MR. CARNEY: I've been very clear, in answer to your questions and questions the other day, that our firm belief is that we think that an inclusive Employment Non-Discrimination Act which would enshrine into law strong, lasting and comprehensive protections against employment discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity is necessary. And the president and his administration will continue to work to build support for it. And we saw an important step taken this week when ENDA passed out of committee in the Senate with some Republican support. We're not there, and I'm -- will not argue with you if you say that there are obstacles that ENDA faces to becoming law. But the fact is, this was a good week in progress towards passing ENDA, and the president strongly supports the efforts undertaken by Senate Democrats and some Senate Republicans to encourage the passage of this legislation and will continue to work with the Congress to see it done. And the rest of that -- I think our position has been well-known about ENDA as the best means to pursue lasting and comprehensive protections against employment discrimination of LGBT individuals. Q: I understand that, but why do you think the DNC treasurer would say that a - 13:48:08 MR. CARNEY: I'm not familiar with an email that you said was leaked to you. I can tell you what I know here in the West Wing of the White House. Q: One last question on this. There are three Senate Democrats and -- who don't -- (inaudible) -- the Employment Non-Discrimination Act -- Bill Nelson, Mark Pryor and Joe Manchin. I think it's closer to a floor vote in the Senate. On that note, you've said the president will reach out to them and try to get them onboard for -- (inaudible). 13:48:27 MR. CARNEY: I expect that we will try to encourage every member of the Senate to do the right thing and support that legislation. Voice of America. Q: A Syria question, if I may. In the discussions you're having with the committees on the Hill, Jay, what are you saying about the confidence, as we heard from Ben Rhodes last month -- confidence in the relationships with the opposition council, the military council, and the channels for aid in terms of those all being, you know, stronger. Is there stronger confidence now than there was when we all heard from Ben Rhodes where he outlined the broad parameters of the (lethal aid ?) -- (off mic)? 13:49:07 MR. CARNEY: Well, first of all, as we said at the time we announced the expansion of our assistance to the supreme military council, we cannot detail every type of support that we are providing nor can we provide details about the timeline or logistics of delivery for every type of assistance. Our assistance covers a range of different purposes, and the goal of our assistance is to strengthen both the cohesion of the opposition and the effectiveness of the supreme military council in its efforts to defend the Syrian people against a repressive regime that has shown no boundaries in its willingness to kill civilians. We have, with our allies and partners, worked to strengthen the elements of the Syrian opposition that have, in our view, the best interests of the Syrian people in mind, and of the future of Syria in mind, and we continue to work with those elements. And we, as I said the other day, believe that the enhanced assistance that the president announced is very important, given the assault that Assad has been waging of late with the assistance of Hezbollah and Iran. And that's why the president believes it's necessary to move forward with that assistance. Q: (Off mic) -- made in terms of conversations up on the Hill about speeding up the process? 13:50:30 MR. CARNEY: I can simply tell you that we continue to consult closely with members of Congress. Mike. Q: Thank you, Jay. Two quick issues, the first one I want to approach the DOJ report from a slightly different angle. Setting aside whatever's in it, can you tell us about the president's commitment to make changes in this area on the executive side? I know you've talked about supporting the SHIELD law. And should we see this as the last run on the subject or part of a continuing conversation? 13:50:55 MR. CARNEY: I think the president made pretty clear his views about this issue and this matter on several occasions earlier when it was a focus of a lot of attention here in the briefing room and broadly with the press in Washington. I don't want to characterize next steps until everyone has had a chance to see the report, but the president's views about this remain what they were and I think he expressed them publicly. So I can't improve on them. Yeah. Q: And then the part about the -- would it be the end of the conversation, or just part of the conversation? 13:51:30 MR. CARNEY: I don't think the conversation ends, I think the conversation on this issue and other issues are -- I mean, I would expect them to continue. I'm not sure what you mean by the conversation to end. We're not -- you know, this is not a -- this is an effort to examine an issue in a way that reflects the president's belief about the importance of the job that reporters do and, you know, I'll let the Justice Department speak to its report and then we'll have some comment or statement afterwards. Q: On another issue, I don't want to jump to the week ahead here, but can you say a little bit about the visit of Bush 41 on Monday? 13:52:09 MR. CARNEY: I can tell you that the president and first lady will host former President George H.W. Bush and former First Lady Barbara Bush and members of the Bush family for an event to honor the winner of the 5,000th daily Point of Light Award. Points of Light, as those of you might remember from the George H.W. Bush administration, is the world's largest organization dedicated to volunteer service. It mobilizes millions of people to take action that is changing the world and recognizes individuals who are making a difference through service and volunteerism. The president very much looks forward to this event. He has very high regard for President George H.W. Bush and former First Lady Barbara Bush and the Bush family. So I know he and the first lady are looking forward to this event and always looking forward to an opportunity to be with the former president and the former first lady. Q: Thanks. Victoria. Q: On Guantanamo, on forced feeding, they just ruled that she couldn't stop it but the president could. It's Ramadan. And as you know, one of the principles of Ramadan is that it's a time of reflection and not a time for conflict. These detainees are being strapped down and having tubes inserted into them against their will. So they are being forced into a conflict situation. So -- (inaudible) - 13:53:34 MR. CARNEY: No, I appreciate -- I don't have anything new for you on our position. The president obviously does not want these individuals to die. He is understanding of the circumstances around this issue. He believes very strongly and is working to make happen that we need to close Guantanamo Bay. And as you know, he talked about this not that long ago and is taking steps to double our -- redouble our efforts to bring that about, mindful of the fact that we faced obstacles from Congress. On the specific handling of detainees at Guantanamo Bay, I'd refer you to the Defense Department. Q: So, if we come at it from a different way if you don't want to address the relevant issue -- the president believes in a woman's right to choose and a woman's right to policy. Does he also accept a man's right to privacy and a man's right to choose control over his own body? In other words, that if a man chooses that he doesn't wish to eat, that he has that right? 13:54:39 MR. CARNEY: Well, again, I understand the complexity of these issues, Victoria, but I don't have anything more to say beyond what I said earlier in the week, which is the president is obviously concerned about this but is also concerned that he does not want to see individual detainees die. And for more details about the handling of detainees, I would refer you to the Defense Department. Q: (Off mic) -- they have the right to choose - MR. CARNEY: Again, Victoria, I just -- I just don't have anything more for you on that. Yeah, Simon. Q: Back to Syria for a second. Can you detail any assistance that is in the hands of the rebels at this point, in the last month, and what it is beyond rhetorical - 13:55:14 MR. CARNEY: Well, I think I just said we're not going to detail all types of assistance that we provide, and that's the case. If you're asking has new assistance arrived, I would refer you to the Defense Department about the assistance programs that they oversee or the State Department about the assistance programs that they oversee. The fact is that we're working with Congress on the issue of the president's announcement of enhanced military assistance, but I don't have anything about specific shipments to provide to you. Q: Can you say yes or no -- assistances -- any kind of assistances in Syria? 13:55:46 MR. CARNEY: Well, we've been providing assistance to Syria, including the Syrian military Council, for some time now, so the answer is yes, there is and has been. Q: Thanks, Jay. MR. CARNEY: All right, last one. Yeah. Q: On July the 19th, the FISA court order that enables the collection of Verizon data expires. Does the administration plan to renew or amend that order? 13:56:06 MR. CARNEY: That's a question, I think, that's addressed to the Department of Justice, I don't have anything for you on it. But thank you. Q: (Off mic)? Q: Yes. Q: Jay, one last one? MR. CARNEY: One day -- yes, Steve, the breaking news from your - Q: The phone call -- no, no, the phone call with the -- President Putin, is it specifically about Snowden, or is it a myriad of topics? 13:56:24 MR. CARNEY: Well, I don't think that's the only topic that will be discussed. I'm sure that will be discussed. I just want to make clear that it was something that we put on the books a couple of days ago for today, and I'm sure we'll have some sort of readout about it for you. Q: And he'll ask to return Snowden? MR. CARNEY: I don't want -- I don't want to predict or put into the president's mouth words that haven't been spoken. I'm sure President Putin is aware of our views about Mr. Snowden, and I know that issue has been discussed at a variety of levels between our two governments. If I may, I will read the week ahead. As I just mentioned, on Monday, the president and the first lady will host former President George H. W. Bush, former First Lady Barbara Bush and members of the Bush family for an event to honor the winner of the 5,000th Daily Point of Light Award. On Tuesday and Wednesday, the president will attend meetings here at the White House. On Thursday, the president will participate in an ambassador credentialing ceremony here at the White House. On Friday, the president and the first lady will host the diplomatic corps reception for the foreign diplomatic corps at the White House. And that's your week ahead. Have a great weekend, everybody. Thank you. (C) 2013 Federal News Service END
WHITE HOUSE BRIEFING WITH ROBERT GIBBS STIX
the regular white house briefing with spokesman, Robert Gibbs. Stix SLUGGED: 1330 WH BRIEF STIX RS37 85 AR: 16X9 DISC# 065 **FED TO NY ON 5114** Q: Over yesterday? 13:44:14 MR. GIBBS: What's that? Q: Over yesterday? MR. GIBBS: Over yesterday how? Q: The -- (off mic). (Laughter.) MR. GIBBS: I don't -- I don't -- I don't think there were any translation errors. Q: (Off mic.) MR. GIBBS: What do you mean? I mean, I think there were -- well. I'm -- if you guys have questions, I'm happy to answer them. (Laughter.) I'm sorry, I don't -- I don't -- what are you -- I didn't -- I don't -- Q: (Off mic.) Q: The translators (said ?) the same thing. MR. GIBBS: I don't -- no, no, I -- we had always planned on doing, as we said yesterday, consecutive translation for the answers. It does slow things down and makes it a little bit more cumbersome. Q: (Off mic.) Q: Yeah, but why did -- MR. GIBBS: Yeah, he -- (laughs). Well, he did give a fairly long first answer to the consecutive translations. Yes, Mr. Fowler (sp). Q: (Off mic) -- translation problem, or he avoided the human rights question? MR. GIBBS: A better question for the Chinese, Goyal. I would say this. I think the answer that he gave, be it Ben's question or to Hans asking Ben's question -- (laughter) -- Q: (Off mic.) 13:45:27 MR. GIBBS: No, no, I mean, in all seriousness, I think -- I think you would all have to strain your recent memory to find a leader from China traveling outside of his country, or in, after meeting with the president on a number of occasions on this trip, making such a frank admission of the improvement that needed to happen in the area of human rights in the country of China. The process of translation was not -- was not the news yesterday. The news was just that, that President Hu realizes that -- and told the world that China has to do better. 1stadd We will certainly -- while we appreciate those words, the United States -- the United States will watch the actions of -- we'll watch the actions of the Chinese government to make sure that they meet the words that were spoken in the White House yesterday. Q: Robert? MR. GIBBS: Dan. Q: Robert, I have a few questions and then maybe on -- a follow- up. (Laughter.) MR. GIBBS: (Laughs.) You've been waiting to use that for a good part of the -- (laughter) -- that's the -- Q: On the -- MR. GIBBS: If I ignore it, Hans will just come right in behind, so. Q: On the staff changes related to the reelection campaign. MR. GIBBS: Yeah. Q: A couple points on that. Can we say now or can you say from the podium that the president is officially running for reelection? 13:47:02 MR. GIBBS: Well, I think that will -- I think it is likely that that's going to happen, obviously. I will say this. I think, as the article says, the president's likely to file papers in the future that would -- that would officially make him a candidate. But I think it's safe to say, Ben, that the president -- we've started and we've made some progress on getting our economy back -- back in order, and I think the president wants to continue to do that. Q: Will it be, at the -- (inaudible) -- filing, some sort of event, do you anticipate? MR. GIBBS: I don't know that the campaign is that far down the road in the planning on that. Q: Patrick Gaspart going to DNC, so who will be the main political voice here? MR. GIBBS: Well, I think as the article -- again, as the article says, that the political office closes here. I think that's a matter of duplication and efficiency that makes a lot of sense, to house that operation over at the -- at the Democratic National Committee. Bottom of Form Q: I also wanted to ask, as the State of the Union comes up pretty quickly here, if you could give us some sense of where that speech is. But maybe more importantly, assuming you have some sense of the broad themes of where he's heading, can you tell us about that? 13:48:16 MR. GIBBS: Well, I think broadly what I would say about the State of the Union is obviously this is a speech that will center around, and the great majority of the speech will be, on the steps that the president believes our country has to take to continue that economic recovery -- steps that we need to take in the short term that relate to jobs, and steps that we need to take in the medium and the long term to put our fiscal house in order, and to increase our competitiveness and our innovation that allows us to create the jobs of tomorrow. I think you've heard the president -- I think you've heard the president talk about certainly the notions of competitiveness and innovation a lot recently. He's -- he on a number of occasions has spoken about it in speeches. One that comes to mind is in December in North Carolina. I think many of those -- many of the themes that you heard him -- in that and other speeches on the economy you'll hear again next Tuesday. Bottom of Form Q: Thanks. MR. GIBBS: Yes, sir. Yes, sir. Q: Robert, first off, on foreign policy, any reaction to the news that South Korea has agreed to -- (off mic) -- North Koreans -- (off mic)? 13:49:50 MR. GIBBS: Look, obviously, I think that is -- that is an important step forward. I think -- I think some of that comes as a result of yesterday's meeting here, that for the first time there was an acknowledgement by the Chinese about the North Koreans' enrichment program. I think following that, the Republic of Korea agreeing to enter talks with the North Koreans -- clearly, conditions were created yesterday that showed the Republic of Korea that China and the United States were aligned in dealing with the aggressions of the North Koreans. So I think it's -- I think it is clearly a positive step. Q: And on the State of the Union -- I mean, (won't the ?) president raise the issue of the recommendations of his deficit commission? MR. GIBBS: Without getting into a lot of detail, I think, again, spending and what we have to do to get our fiscal house in order is certainly going to be a topic that you'll hear the president discuss on Tuesday. Q: (Will he bring that up? ?) MR. GIBBS: I -- Mark, I'm not wont to get ahead of the president on his speech. Jake. 13:51:14 Q: (Off mic.) What about -- where does President Obama think the state of his presidency is? Obviously -- (off mic) -- there have been changes, we have a new chief of staff, you're leaving -- (off mic) -- you have a Republican Congress. Tell us about -- something about what he -- how he sees this -- not the state of the union, but the state of his leadership -- (off mic). MR. GIBBS: Well, Jake, I don't know that he spends a lot of time separating the state of the country and where he is in his presidency, because his task is -- the task that he has before him and the task that he'll bring to the next two years is helping our economy continue to recover after the massive job loss and downturn of what happened as a result of the financial calamities that peaked in September of 2008. Bottom of Form I don't -- I don't -- I don't think the president -- obviously there are aides inside of here and outside of here that spend time worrying about the president's political standing. I don't think the president spends a whole lot of time thinking through and worrying about sort of where he is in his presidency. Obviously there's a lot on his plate and a lot that has to be done to continue that recovery -- to put the pieces in place to see us be able to compete with the rest of the world, to attract the type of jobs that we know are necessary to continue our important economic growth. I think that's what the president's focused on each and every day. 13:53:03 Q: Your polling numbers have improved slightly, but the standing of the president among that key group of independent voters is still not where you want it to be. What is President Obama presumably -- I don't mean it to sound purely like a political question, but obviously for him to get support for his policies, for him to get reelected to continue to pursue what you think is -- thinks is the best path for this country, he needs to get reelected and he needs to win those independents back. What is he going to do to win those independents back? MR. GIBBS: Look, I will say this, Dick. I think if you -- if you look at any series of public polling that we've all churned through in the last week or so, I think it's -- I think the message that we saw come through and what you heard us say a lot during the lame duck I think is manifested itself in some of these recent numbers. And that is that the American people would like to see Democrats and Republicans sit down at a table, be it here, be it there, and work through important solutions to the problems that face the American people. That's -- I think that's what we did in large measure during the lame duck. I think with strong bipartisan votes we were -- we were able to see an agreement that didn't raise taxes on middle-class families, that protected our country from deployed nuclear weapons, a whole host of things that were tremendously important. And I think that's -- I think that's what the president wants to continue to do. And, look, I think what -- it's that old adage that I think -- you know, if the president -- the president is not going to be worried about his political standing. That will certainly -- a lot of that stuff takes care of itself if you make good decisions on behalf of the American people. And I think that's what he's done for the last two years. Q: And if I could just follow up on your comments about President Hu's remarks on human rights. Those are words. And while it's a shift, they are still just words. Is there any indication from President Hu that he will be taking any actions regarding the Falun Gong, regarding Tibet, regarding the jail of a Nobel Peace Prize winner? 13:55:05 MR. GIBBS: That's -- well, Dick, look, that's -- you -- that's why you heard me say at the beginning of this that while that admission is an important one, the president will continue to in meetings with President Hu and our administration will continue in meetings with Chinese officials, press the case for tangible action and resolve on human rights. The president, I think, was pretty forward-leaning when it came to Liu Xiaobo and the awarding of the Nobel prize, and what happened when China would not release him in order to go get that Nobel prize. Q: That's the first I've heard that name in three days. I mean -- MR. GIBBS: Well, the president -- the president talked directly to President Hu about that. So that's -- Q: Can you tell us -- Q: What did he say? Q: -- what he said to him exactly, and what -- MR. GIBBS: I was not in the meeting. I can't quote anything. I know, obviously, that the topic was brought up. Q: Was that at the dinner, Robert? MR. GIBBS: I believe that was -- I'll double-check. I believe it was in some of the private meetings yesterday. Q: Would you say that those comments made by President Hu about human rights were the biggest breakthrough from the meeting? MR. GIBBS: Well, look, I think if you want to put -- I would put -- I think we had issues that we discussed in walking you guys through the important aspects of what we hoped to get out of this visit: security, economics and human rights. 13:56:43 I think we saw progress in each of those three areas, right? So in the security realm, again, the Chinese acknowledgment in the statements that -- of the North Korean uranium enrichment program, setting forth a series of conditions that made the Republic of Korea confident enough to go into talks with the North Koreans is certain -- I would say, one in the security basket. In the economic basket, you had a series of important commercial agreements to the tune of about $45 billion, which directly support several hundred thousand American jobs right here. Progress on intellectual property rights -- obviously, more has to be done on the economic basket, but again, the progress on indigenous innovation and intellectual property rights, I think, were important steps to move us forward. And lastly, the admission on human rights was obviously another set of issues that you heard the president discuss yesterday, that he had spent a lot of time with the Chinese president discussing over the course of the last couple of days. So I think -- I think we see some tangible progress on all three of those fronts that is important. There's clearly more work that has to be done. We've seen a currency because of some actions that the Chinese have taken, as well as inflation rise the -- increase the value of the RMB, but there -- there's still progress that has to be made on that in order to, as you heard the president say yesterday, rebalance that currency. Q: And on those comments, was that a complete surprise to the administration that he was candid in public? MR. GIBBS: I think that was, as I said, I don't -- I'm not a Chinese historian, but I think if you go back in recent memory, it's hard to -- it's hard to see where a leader of China has said that recently on a trip outside of his country. Q: And then on another issue, what kind of reaction has the president given to comments about him being a one-term president? We've heard that from Cheney and others. How does he react to those comments? MR. GIBBS: I haven't talked to him about it. I don't think he spends a lot of time thinking about political prognostications. Chip? Q: Thanks, Robert. Following up on -- (inaudible) -- question. I think it was a serious question, that you had the president standing there looking embarrassed and awkward for a moment because nobody had told him that the translation was not going to be simultaneous on something as important as a press conference with the Chinese and American leaders, to have the president standing there looking like a deer in the headlights for a moment there. 13:59:45 Isn't that a pretty big faux pas by staff to leave the president hanging out there like that? (Cross-talk.) Q: He looked angry. Q: (Inaudible) -- was angry. (Laughter.) MR. GIBBS: No. I don't -- I don't -- (chuckles) -- I don't necessarily agree with many of the phrases that you used in your question. Again, I -- we can get lost in the -- we can get lost at picking out a series of trees. I think, again, the forest that I would -- I think most people around the world are focused on was the answer. That's kind of why I thought you guys would ask those questions of the leaders. Q: So you don't think that's important for the president not to be caught flat-footed out there like that by (staff ?) -- MR. GIBBS: (Laughs.) I don't -- I think the president -- Q: He wasn't upset. MR. GIBBS: He wasn't upset. Again, I think the points that he made and I think the -- I think the progress that we made -- look, you know, we can spend time worrying about process, or we can spend time worrying about results. I think the president spends most of his time worried about -- worried about results. Q: It was last week you were -- I just wanted to see if you still feel the same way. You were a bit noncommittal on the question of whether the president would deliver a big speech on health care reform at some point to explain that there's a new CBS News or New York Times poll showing that only 10 percent of people still believe the bill's been explained very well to them. Fifty-six percent believe it's not been explained well to them. Do you think he has -- there's a need for him to get out there, and explain that again, if people are that confused? MR. GIBBS: No, I don't think the -- I don't think the president has any plans to give a big speech on health care. Q: No plans to do that? MR. GIBBS: No. Q: Okay. And on the -- MR. GIBBS: I mean, look, Chip, I -- you know, I think -- do I think that a lot of the coverage last year was on process and politics? Yeah. I don't -- you know, I -- do I think, at the same time, 3.3 million seniors have gotten checks to cover the doughnut hole expenses in their prescription drugs. I do. I think that's why in a series of the public polling that you've seen, people don't support repeal, because they understand -- they do understand that they're seeing -- whether it's their children that might have pre- existing conditions not have to fight with insurance companies to ensure that they can get proper coverage. I think they understand that insurance companies are not in charge of making all the decisions anymore. And I think that's a good thing for our medical system. Q: On the State -- sorry -- Q: (Inaudible) -- will he defend it in the State of the Union address? Q: Thank you. MR. GIBBS: I think the -- I don't know what degree that that is in the State of the Union. Q: In the State of the Union -- was it Peter's piece that he wants ideas that get him excited? MR. GIBBS: (Off mic) -- read that. Q: Well, yeah. Has the president read Peter Baker's piece that said he -- MR. GIBBS: Which I have not fully read. Q: -- that the president was quoted as having said that he wants ideas that get him excited, ideas for creating jobs that get him excited. Do you know if he's found any? MR. GIBBS: Well, tune in -- tune in around nine-ish on Tuesday. Q: Well, we like a little preview. You don't have to give us details. Do you know if he's found any new ideas that -- MR. GIBBS: Can't give a translation. I'm looking. I'm -- believe -- Bill, I can't understand this. Q: (Off mic.) MR. GIBBS: Wendell, do you have a question? (Laughter.) Q: I have a few. What is the reaction to the House vote on health care repeal? MR. GIBBS: Well, I mean, I think I've gotten this question several times before. I mean, I think it's -- Q: Not since the House actually voted, however. MR. GIBBS: No, I don't think my -- I don't think my answer changes. I mean, it was -- I don't think it was a serious legislative effort, and I don't think anybody -- I don't think people in the House thought it was a serious legislative effort. I think the message, though, that those people that voted for repeal were sending were (sic) to put health insurance companies back in charge of medical decisions that have the ability to drop, deny, limit or cap health insurance coverage. You know, I think it -- I think you had a pretty good example of who you think should be in charge of health care. Should it be patients and doctors? Should it be insurance companies? I think that was -- I think that's what we've seen. I think -- again, we -- I mentioned 3.3 million seniors that have gotten -- have gotten help with their prescription drug costs as a result of this, out-of- pocket costs that are going to go up if something like this were to become law. But I don't -- I think, thankfully, it's not going to. Q: Does the president share most Democrats' concerns that the debate over spending cuts in the Congress now among Republicans goes too far, especially in the House? 14:04:43 MR. GIBBS: Well, again, I think, Wendell, that we're going to have a lot of time to work through how we get our fiscal house back in order and the steps that we take to do so. And we've got to make sure that we don't find ourselves crippling our ability to innovate and provide the types of incentives that we need to create the jobs of tomorrow. Q: Is that a yes? MR. GIBBS: I don't -- it was whatever answer I just gave. Q: Finally, the attorney general -- MR. GIBBS: I know -- I didn't know we were playing multiple choice with that question. Q: Well, just true-false. MR. GIBBS: (Off mic.) Q: The attorney general has announced now the military commissions for the Cole bombing suspects will go forward. It was 14 months ago that he said that they would go to military commission. Why so long in setting a trial? What -- MR. GIBBS: Well, look, I read the story in the paper today. I don't -- I think the individuals that are mentioned in the story were talked about in terms of going through military commissions, as you said, quite some time ago. I don't -- I don't have any sense of timing or any sense of when final decisions on that type of thing will be made. You heard the president outline -- Q: So the final decision has been made? MR. GIBBS: No -- the -- I think if you look at -- in terms of timing, I don't -- I -- you've heard the president, back at the Archives speech, talk about the fact that we were going to -- we had different groups of those at Guantanamo that were going to have to be dealt with in different ways, which is why we sought, and the president and the administration work through, a restructuring of the military commission's law. Yeah. Q: You have lauded President Hugh's -- Hu's admission that there's work to be done on Chinese human rights. What is your reaction to the fact that 1.3 billion Chinese did not hear those comments, they were blacked out? Nor did they hear anything about Liu Xiaobo. MR. GIBBS: Well, look, again, I -- which is why -- which is why one of the conditions to coming here was an opportunity to take questions from you guys. 14:07:13 Look, we can't -- obviously there's very little that we can structurally do to deal with that in terms of -- in terms of how they cover this visit. Obviously they've got a very different governmental system than we do and a very different system on how leaders in their country are covered. But when the president was in Shanghai more than a year ago, he talked about needing an open society, having an open Internet so that people in China can read about the news all over the world. The world heard the leader of China make that important admission, and the world will watch to see the steps that they take over the course of the next many months to fulfill -- or I should say to make the improvements that he says need to be made. Q: And on the political changes and the rearranging and the establishment of the Chicago headquarters, it's not early? I mean, you speak of the fact that the economy is getting back on its feet; there are so many things in flux, both politically and economically in this country. Is it a little early to get started on 2012? MR. GIBBS: No. Look, I think this is very much in line with the calendar that you've seen aligned with similar efforts that were made in -- ahead of the 2004 election and ahead of the 1996 election by Presidents Bush and Clinton. I think -- I think that's just the way it works. Q: You need to begin fundraising for a formal declaration? MR. GIBBS: Well, you know, again, there's -- there are a whole series of things that have to happen in a campaign, and again, I think they're happening very much in accordance with the type of timelines you've seen in the past. Q: Robert, could I follow on that? MR. GIBBS: I'll come around. Q: Did you say that he is likely or definitely running? (Off mic.) MR. GIBBS: I think, obviously, the setting up of a campaign makes it far likely -- (chuckles) -- but again, I think the official rendering of that decision would come, as the story notes, in the filing of that paperwork with the FEC. Q: Just a follow-on. What do you expect -- I know Obama's going to -- the president, excuse me, is going to Schenectady tomorrow. What do you hope to get or what does he hope to get -- (off mic)? MR. GIBBS: Well, look, tomorrow, as you mentioned, the president will go and visit the birthplace of General Electric, talk about the economy. It's the -- it's home to GE's largest energy division. It will be the future home of their advanced battery manufacturing. This is a company that has brought jobs from overseas back into the United States; obviously, that's important. And a company that as a result of some of the work that the president did on commercial diplomacy before -- and while in India saw an expansion of the business that they do all over the world -- it supports jobs here in America. So I think that's a bit of the backdrop of the events tomorrow in Schenectady. Q: (Off mic) -- expect a major announcement or economic -- (off mic)? MR. GIBBS: There are likely to be some, but we'll talk about those tomorrow. Q: How do you all feel about this term "Obamacare"? MR. GIBBS: I don't know that I've spent a ton of time, Peter, thinking about it. Q: Do you find it pejorative? MR. GIBBS: Again, I don't -- I don't know that I've spent a lot of time thinking about what somebody may or may not call it. I'd -- and again, I don't know what -- I don't know what a senior who's getting help from prescription drugs calls it. I don't know a senior that gets a free preventative visit calls it -- I don't know what a child that no longer has to fight with an insurance company to get coverage because of a pre-existing conditions calls it. My sense is that all those people call it a number of different things, but in the -- in their mind it means that they're finally getting a little bit of help with the problems that they have. 14:11:34 And you know, we live in a country where, if you get sick, you ought not go bankrupt trying to get the type of care and help that you need. And that's what animated the president's decision to pass the bill. Q: Totally unrelated, Robert, I'm wondering if the president's had any contact with Congresswoman Giffords' family or any of the other victims since he was in Tucson, any other communication from any of those folks. MR. GIBBS: Not that I'm aware of. I'll double-check and see if there have been. I have not seen any calls that I know of since Tucson. Obviously, I think we're all heartened by the almost daily progress reports that we hear from Congresswoman Giffords' family. I think it's nothing short of extraordinary the amount of progress that has been made in such a very short period of time. 14:12:55 And you know, Peter, having been backstage before that and talking to -- talking to some of those who were there that day who had come from the hospital who still had -- still had wounds, bullet wounds from that horrific day, their stories continue to give us strength and encourage us and inspire us each day. I told that to several of them that day, and I think it's -- I think it will be true for a really long time. Q: What's his -- well, what's his message to the mayor -- the mayors this afternoon? MR. GIBBS: Obviously, the mayors are in town, and I think they'll talk about a whole host of things that mayors generally talk to the federal government and the president about. Q: In the past when the mayors were here, they talked a lot about the importance of the stimulus, what it did to plug gaps in their budgets. Is there going to be any warning that they need to do fiscal consolidation just like the federal government might need to do fiscal consolidation? MR. GIBBS: Well, I doubt that anybody here needs to warn them of, quote-unquote, "fiscal consolidation." Many of them are dealing with and have dealt with for quite some time the impact on their budget of a dramatic downturn in our economy. Many of them are dealing with them -- dealing with those problems far before coming here. Q: Robert, you mentioned on Tuesday that the president's going to go over some of the material he talked about in North Carolina, but will there be big new proposals on Tuesday as well? MR. GIBBS: I can't imagine, if we went all through this today, what we could possibly talk about on Wednesday or Thursday. So I'm not going to get -- I'm not going to dip my toe deeply into the State of the Union preview pool. Q: Okay. You made a distinction between the short-term focus on jobs and the (medium-term ?) focus on getting the fiscal house in order? MR. GIBBS: But I said both the medium and long term dealing with our fiscal budget situation, but also let's understand the steps that we have to continue to take in the medium and the long term to prepare our children for competing in an economy against the Chinese and the Indians and a whole host of different countries. Q: Does the president still see something of a tension between that short-term focus on jobs and a need to keep government spending -- MR. GIBBS: Well, I would say we took some -- we obviously had to take, in the course of two years, some extraordinary steps to ensure that an economic downturn did not become the next Great Depression. And we did that, and some that of that stuff obviously, Hans just mentioned, is -- a lot of that stuff is -- has run its course through the recovery act. So, look, I think that the president will -- wants to and will outline what he thinks is the best course forward to ensuring that we're dealing with a whole host of problems, including how do we grow our economy, how do we -- how do we help and work with the private sector to create jobs, and how we get our fiscal house in order all at the same time. Q: So at the same time, it's not a question of sort of one thing now and then down the road -- 14:16:16 MR. GIBBS: No, again, I think even in -- even if you look at last year's budget, even at a time where the second half of the recovery act is still doing what it needed to do, the president presented a budget that froze nonsecurity discretionary spending, because we had to begin to take steps even then. (Name inaudible.) Q: In 2007, the labor union forum, the president raised concerns about -- or the candidate at the time raised concerns about Wal-Mart. And he said, I would not shop at those -- he would not shop there back then. I wondered in light of today's announcement from the first lady if that is still true, if he would. I know he spends a lot of time shopping, but if he were -- MR. GIBBS: (Laughs.) Yeah, I was going to say -- look -- Q: -- if here to buy goods, would he feel comfortable buying goods at Wal-Mart and more broadly just about Wal-Mart's changes as a -- as a -- in terms of how it treats its workers and unionization. 14:17:27 MR. GIBBS: I mean, obviously I think we're in a -- I think we're all in a different time with, clearly, steps that have been taken. I think the first lady was proud to stand with the country's largest retailer. They've taken some dramatic steps in how they're dealing with food and how they're marketing food and packaging and things like that that will make a genuine and big difference for people that shop there. And I -- the first lady is proud to and happy to stand with any company that will make similar pledges to make a difference on behalf of the -- of the American people. Q: In terms of those practices, does he condemn them still, in terms of how they treat workers, how they pay workers? He was very explicit about this -- (inaudible). MR. GIBBS: Yeah, again, I -- look, again, I think -- I guess the short answer is -- it's just -- it's -- lots has happened since 2007. Yes, ma'am. Q: Robert, you said earlier that with respect to President Hu, one of the conditions for coming here was an opportunity to take questions from you guys. Are you saying that the White House set the condition for President Hu's visit that he would have to take questions from American reporters? MR. GIBBS: Well -- I was very clear in the planning of this that we would have a press conference and the press conference would include questions from you guys. But we were clear to make sure that that's what they understood was going to take place if they came. Q: And was there any resistance to that? MR. GIBBS: Not that I know of. I mean, I, obviously, did not -- I did not deal directly with them on that. But in the pre-planning for this, this was something that we talked about and not doing it wasn't an option. Q: If you can remind me, because I wasn't on the president's trip to China. Was there a press conference on that -- on that trip? MR. GIBBS: There -- (inaudible). Q: Okay, a joint press conference with President Hu? Q: (Off mic) -- questions. MR. GIBBS: Right. They didn't take -- they did not take questions. Right. Q: So was this in some way a reaction to that or saying you're on our turf now? MR. GIBBS: No, we weren't in China. Q: Well, but they didn't take questions in China -- MR. GIBBS: Right. Q: I guess what I'm saying is, were you saying, okay, now you're on our turf -- (inaudible)? 14:19:17 MR. GIBBS: Yeah. We were -- this is -- this is the United States of America. (Mark ?). Q: Robert, global warming. Any reaction to the fact that the U.N. weather -- meteorological agency has determined that last year was tied for the warmest year on record? And talk about the State of the Union, again -- will the fact -- will the president's suggestion that he's got other ways to skin the cat other than cap and trade be feature in that? MR. GIBBS: I honestly don't know the answer to the second one. Obviously, I think there are continual reminders that we have to transition to a clean energy economy without getting into whether or not that's in the speech. Obviously, there are a number of different policy ways to do such a thing, whether it is setting renewable energy standards that create the type of market conditions where you see that transition. Again, there are obviously a number of different ways to do that. Q: Does the president consider it a big issue still? MR. GIBBS: Look, I think energy independence and the security of our planet are and will continue to be issues that we're going to have to deal with. And again, we -- more and more and more of our oil comes from -- or our energy comes from places that are not here. That puts us at a -- at a disadvantage. We've clearly taken some steps to change corporate average fuel economy, fuel-economy standards, that lessen some of that usage of foreign oil. But I think there's no doubt that we have a lot more to do. The recovery act invested in wind and solar; the plant that we'll visit tomorrow will soon be home to GE's advanced battery manufacturing, as you see car companies both foreign and domestic having success marketing cars that don't run on gas but run on electricity. And we've -- we're going to have to meet many of those challenges. Yes, sir. Q: Thank you, Robert. Two questions. First is, both President Obama and President Hu mentioned about the historic meeting 30 years ago by Deng Xiaoping. And how the White House evaluate this statement? MR. GIBBS: Well, look. I think -- as I said earlier, I think we saw some progress on a host of important fronts that we wanted to see progress on: security, the economy and human rights. But at the same time, again, I think that whether it's our trip to India and South Korea, Japan, her trip to China last year, China's trip here, I think they are better evaluated over the course of the long term to see, have we set ourselves on the path to making real and substantial progress? And so I think we will -- while we're pleased with the outcome of the visit from yesterday, obviously on each of those baskets that I discussed -- security, the economy and human rights -- there are still -- the two leaders talked about progress that certainly, we acknowledge, needs to be made and hasn't been. And we'll continue to try to be a leader in seeing that happen. Q: And also on the currency issue. You mentioned there is still a lot of work to be done. MR. GIBBS: There is. Q: What's the next step? MR. GIBBS: Well, the next step is with the Chinese in taking -- continuing to take actions at a faster pace to deal with the valuation of their currency. Again, obviously -- and there's been a decent amount of coverage on this. There's actions that you take to change the valuation -- and certainly inflation gives you some real impacts, too -- that indicate there's been some changes, but again, as the president said I think on a couple of occasionally yesterday, not quickly enough. Yes, sir. Q: Robert, one of President Obama's campaign promises back in 2008 was passage of the Employment Non-Discrimination Act, which would provide workplace protections to gay and transgender Americans. Is this something that the president expects to be passed over the course of the 112th Congress, at least in the Senate where Democrats still have control? MR. GIBBS: Well, look, I think there's a whole host of things that the president -- that the president has made part of his campaign. We talked about DOMA a few days ago and other things that are important to build off the progress of repealing "don't ask, don't tell." I think those continue to be priorities of the president's, and we will certainly work to make progress on those fronts in obviously a much more challenging Congress over the course of the next two years. Q: But in the Senate, where Democrats still have control, are they expecting passage of the Employment Non-Discrimination Act? MR. GIBBS: Again, I think you'll see the president continue to push -- continue to push on a whole host of those issues. Q: Just a similar question. Does the administration see value in passing in one chamber of Congress -- (inaudible) -- to build momentum for a complete passage at a later time? MR. GIBBS: Well, yeah, I mean, look, I think there's no doubt that -- you know, look, whenever you get something done in one, you're closer to certainly seeing it come to fruition. So yes, obviously. Q: And does the -- will the president address in any context during the State of the Union address a ramped-up jobs bill? MR. GIBBS: I'm -- I am -- I'm not going to get into previewing State of the Union today. Yes, ma'am. Q: I just have a quick question about -- the president's going to be talking with congressional Democrats this weekend at their convention. Does he have a message for them? Is he going to be sort of talking a little bit about what his State of the Union might -- MR. GIBBS: Well, I think they'll -- he travels up there tomorrow after our return from Schenectady. I think he'll have an opportunity to talk about -- talk to them about the challenges that lay ahead and what we have to do and many of the themes that he'll outline in the State of the Union. Q: You mentioned that Democrats are going to have to respond to Republicans who are not only trying to repeal the law but also they're making statements about -- (inaudible) -- to replace the health care law. Is he going to -- MR. GIBBS: (Inaudible.) They -- I did notice they passed an almost 1-1/2 page bill. Yes, I -- yes. Q: The -- MR. GIBBS: Many of which I find -- it's interesting. Many of the goals that they espouse in that bill are the current law of the land, like ensuring that people aren't discriminated because of a pre- existing condition. That actually exists, it's called the Affordable Care Act. Q: So you're not at all, you know, concerned about this effort to actually propose an alternative as a consequence -- MR. GIBBS: I'm happy that several years later they've gotten around to what they might do. I think all of you must be anxious to know what they're going to do. I think they have set forth some exceedingly lofty goals, again, some of which -- most of which are currently embodied in the law of the land. But, yeah, I'm happy for them to take a spin and tell us how they'll do -- how they'll do what they passed, what they passed today. I would suggest, too, that as they talk about making some progress in the deficit, they deal with the Congressional Budget Office's indication that the action that they took just yesterday adds a couple of hundred billion dollars to the deficit. Now, keep in mind, this was the CBO that while we were going through the process of health care reform was the be-all and end-all of the scorekeeping. Then when that same CBO, headed by the very same person, discussed the very same topic of the impact of the deficit on health care reform, all of a sudden, well, that can't possibly be right. That's not true. 14:27:22 So I think -- I do think that it is important to underscore that the first legislative action that Congress took was to repeal a law that helps seniors and helps families and added a couple hundred billion dollars to the deficit. Not entirely sure that in the run-up to the 2010 campaign they spent a lot of time talking to seniors about raising their out of pocket costs on medical care and prescription drugs or talking about adding a couple hundred billion dollars to the deficit. April? Q: Robert, on issues of gun control, former Vice President Dick Cheney said that he could see some sort of more restrictions on semi- automatic weapons, semi-automatic handguns. Is this administration going to navigate through really tough waters on gun control in the wake of what happened in Arizona? MR. GIBBS: April, I don't have a lot to add to what I've said I think on a couple of occasions in here on that. And that is, I have no doubt that there will be proposals offered as a result of different circumstances that have happened in Tucson, and the administration will evaluate those proposals. Q: Do you agree with what the former vice president had to say on semi-automatics? MR. GIBBS: Again, I think we're looking through some of those proposals. Q: And also, back on China but on a whole 'nother issue, on issues of unions, this -- MR. GIBBS: The issue of what? I'm sorry. Q: Unions. MR. GIBBS: Okay. I'm sorry. Q: Unions. They have unions in China. MR. GIBBS: I just -- sometimes I can't -- Q: (Lach ?) can translate. MR. GIBBS: Believe it or not, sometimes I can't hear. (Laughs.) Q: They have unions in China. Did they discuss that issue there? And particularly the first union in China was Wal-Mart. 14:29:09 MR. GIBBS: Let me ask some of our guys whether that's a topic that came up. I honestly don't know the answer to that. Q: On a completely different subject, what are the president's viewing plans for the NFC championship game? MR. GIBBS: I think he's going to do like he did last week. Well, last week, obviously, he went to play basketball with the girls and came back a little after kickoff. They had some -- some staff and the president watched most of the game over in the theater. I think the president plans to do that again. And I think we've given this to a few papers in Chicago and Wisconsin, the president's prediction that the Bears will win the game 20 to 17. Q: Has he made any bets? MR. GIBBS: Not that I know of. No. Q: And will he still go to Wisconsin, should the unthinkable happen? (Laughter.) MR. GIBBS: Again, that -- yes, he -- we're still planning a trip to Wisconsin. I might have already -- I might have just complicate -- complicated the questions you asked, starting with Ben, on the political effort by predicting the team in Wisconsin not doing as well against the team in Illinois. So I don't -- it's not a hypothetical. Go ahead. Q: If they lose he won't go? MR. GIBBS: No, no, no, no. (Laughter.) Of course he's going to Wisconsin. Of course he's going to Wisconsin. Q: What about February 6th in Dallas? MR. GIBBS: I think the president hopes to have his team playing there. Q: (Off mic) -- plan to go? MR. GIBBS: Let -- I will say this. I'm a very -- no, no -- this is superstition. I'm a -- I'm a -- I will answer this question on behalf of him based on superstition. I think all of that is -- (knocks on wood) -- way, way, way getting ahead of yourself. Q: (Off mic.) MR. GIBBS: Not nearly as much as I am. Yes, sir. Q: Robert, I'll take a stab at this. In his State of the Union address, the president no doubt will remind Americans that we have troops on the ground in two war zones. Will he, though, at the same time try to get the American people and the Republicans behind the idea of maybe pulling back on defense spending, considering everything else he may mention in terms of reducing spending yet? MR. GIBBS: Well, look, I think it is safe to say that we are going to see or are going to have to see a tightening of the belt around everything that government's doing in order to make progress on our -- on getting our fiscal house in order. You know, the secretary of Defense, Secretary Gates, has made some -- has taken some steps on procurement reform and taken some steps to cancel weapons systems and programs that for quite some time the military itself hasn't wanted despite the fact that Congress might continue to fund it. I think -- I think those type of efforts have to happen because we can't see taxpayer dollars wasted on anything. Q: But the American people may not know about, like, the strike joint fighter debate over an engine -- MR. GIBBS: Right. Q: -- kind of thing. Should the president maybe point that out in the State of the Union address? MR. GIBBS: Well, I -- without getting into what may or may not be in there, again, I think -- I think whether it's in the speech or not, it's something that the president and the secretary will continue to work on. Steven (sp)? Q: Do you think it's possible that President Hu's remarks on human rights are being over-read at all, given the fact that several occasions yesterday he stated that China didn't share western definitions of human rights? MR. GIBBS: Look, I guess I don't want to translate the translation. But I will say this. As I started out by saying, I think that regardless of what he said yesterday, the true test is not in the words that someone speaks, but in the actions that a country takes. And that's what -- that's what animated the president to bring up the issue of human rights again. And I think that's -- the actions that that country takes is how we will evaluate the progress that they may or may not make over the course of coming months and weeks. Q: So you don't think there was any sense in which you could see this as the scripted answer -- it was obviously a scripted answer -- that he -- that he had as a way to alleviate pressure while stating that China would continue on its current -- MR. GIBBS: (No ?) -- well, because, again, look, I think -- look, I think you could read it -- you -- maybe you can read it several different ways. I think it was an admission that we haven't heard before. And again, I think -- I know the way we read it, and that is acknowledging that is -- acknowledging that you have improvements to make is part of it, but it's a very small part compared to what has to be done to make progress, and that's what we'll watch. Q: Was something like that said privately, though? MR. GIBBS: I -- again, I was not in some of the private meetings, but -- go ahead. Yes. Q: Thank you. On Guantanamo, Robert, with the reports that the administration is likely to start military trials in Guantanamo, what does this mean for the administration's efforts of moving some detainees back to either their home countries or host countries, and does that have any effect on the administration's talks with these other countries? MR. GIBBS: Well, look, I think that -- look, there are -- there are -- let me at the beginning of my answer acknowledge obviously there are some prohibitions -- legal prohibitions now on some -- on some transfers that I think you've seen our commenting on in the past. We will continue the process of going through who is there. Clearly the courts continue that process of going through who is there and deciding whether or not their continued -- whether them being continually held there is in accordance with the laws, as is -- as you've seen courts do in the past. It does -- but none of these decisions change our fundamental desire and goal to see, because of our security, the prison at Guantanamo Bay closed once and for all. Q: Does it cause a delay in any of these -- I mean, are there any deadlines set up in the -- MR. GIBBS: No, I don't -- again, I -- again I'd point you to the fact that the individuals that were named in today's story were the same three individuals that were talked about to be tried as -- in military commissions quite some time ago. Q: Thanks, Robert. MR. GIBBS: David? Q: Let me follow up on April's question for a second. Representative McCarthy and Senator Lautenberg have proposed bills that would ban high magazine, (higher ammo ?) in guns. Have there been any discussions between those offices and the White House whether that is a proposal worth pursuing in this Congress? MR. GIBBS: I don't know the answer to that. I don't know what specific conversations have we had. 14:36:41 Q: Given the president's previous positions on banning assault weapons and in favor of some gun control measures, is this something that you think he'd likely support? MR. GIBBS: Again, I think we're looking through different proposals, the proposals that you mentioned and others, and we'll evaluate them based on those events. Q: And is there any possibility of being proactive and propose something of your own? MR. GIBBS: I have not heard anything particular in here. Q: Robert, the president's poll numbers have been moving up fairly steadily, I think you said 50 percent on the average for the first time in a year. To what does the White House attribute that? MR. GIBBS: Well, again, I think that -- I think I said earlier -- I think -- I think what the American people said in the election was they wanted two political parties to be able to work together and make progress on the issues that were important to them, particularly economic issues. I think that's what they saw. I think that's what they saw during the lame duck session. I think that's -- I think that was a productive time, people saw Republicans and Democrats working together to make sure their tax rates didn't go up. So I think there's some obvious benefit to doing it. Q: Thanks, Robert. MR. GIBBS: (Off mic) -- Sam, and then we'll go to -- Q: Thanks. I -- just back on the reelection real quickly, I'm curious, you know, the president said right after the midterms, there'll be plenty of time for the next election, in 2012. I'm guessing -- I'd bet my paycheck he's going to, in the State of the Union, call for rising above politics and doing the work of the -- of the country. Why announce the reelection -- MR. GIBBS: How much is your paycheck? Q: (Laughs.) It's not worth -- MR. GIBBS: Because I may -- I may get him to change a few lines just to -- Q: It's not worth it. MR. GIBBS: (Laughs.) Sorry. I hadn't -- Q: You did -- you did better off the Auburn -- MR. GIBBS: (Laughs.) Q: But, I mean, I'm curious, why announce this now? Doesn't it complicate the State of the Union? Why not wait a week? MR. GIBBS: No, no, because, Sam, I think it's important to understand, you know, just because the president sets up the machinery of ultimately running for reelection does not mean that you're going to see the president doing a ton of political reelection events. That's just -- the nature of the way these things work is, you got to have an -- you've got to set up a legal mechanism by which to begin to fund something like this. You have to -- you have to get people in place. You saw the quotes in the story that this will be located in Chicago and focus on a -- the type of grassroots effort that we saw in 2008. That doesn't mean that the president is going to spend a whole lot of time worrying about that. The campaign's going to be run by a group of people in Chicago whose jobs would be to worry about that, not the president's. Q: Whereas -- Q: Also, the vice president sent out an e-mail to supporters today in which he says that this White House has accomplished more in the first two years than any president since Roosevelt; I'm guessing FDR. Is that what the administration believes? MR. GIBBS: I'm not going to contradict the vice president, that's for sure. Bill. Q: Robert -- MR. GIBBS: But I would say it's a good deed. Go ahead. Yeah. Q: Robert, what kind of -- what type of -- MR. GIBBS: Kind of a slow group today. Come on, guys. It's -- I know we got, like -- Q: (Inaudible.) MR. GIBBS: I know we got the -- I know we got the post-China blues. But come on, a little help here. Q: (Off mic.) MR. GIBBS: (Chuckles.) Yeah, I was going to say, well, that would certainly liven things up. Q: We'll insert the adjective. Robert, I don't have to remind you that Senator Lieberman endorsed John McCain, campaigned for him, and said that Barack Obama wasn't prepared to be president. Is the president relieved to see Joe Lieberman out of the Senate? MR. GIBBS: No, I -- look, I -- obviously, we had a little disagreement on the 2008 presidential campaign. But I think Senator Lieberman is -- look, take the most recent -- the progress that we were talking about that was made in the lame duck. I think obviously Senator Lieberman is somebody who, while having disagreements with this White House and with Senator Obama when he was in the United States Senate, clearly played an important and instrumental role in rolling back something that he and the president shared, their -- a belief in the injustice of "don't ask, don't tell." 14:41:05 So I think that obviously Senator Lieberman made a decision, as he said, to go and do something different in his life. And while we haven't agreed with him on every issue, I think clearly there are a whole host of issues, energy independence, "don't ask, don't tell," a whole lot of issues that the president was happy to see Senator Lieberman's leadership and support on. Q: Did they ever have a get-together where they just said, okay, let bygones be bygones, and move forward together, after the election? MR. GIBBS: You know, I don't -- I don't -- look, I think there are obviously opportunities. Look, I don't think the president needed to have some air-clearing moment. People are free to make decisions. Senator Lieberman was about who to support for -- to run for president. But I don't -- I don't think that -- I don't think anybody here spent a lot of time thinking about that. In fact, you know, there were -- there were some who thought, maybe because of that, Senator Lieberman wouldn't be the chairman of the committee. And that was -- that was not a view that we held. Yes, sir. Q: Robert, I was wondering if the president has been briefed on what appears to be impending global food shortages as a result of aberrant weather in Australia, Asia, South America and South Africa. MR. GIBBS: I'm not aware of whether he has been or not, but let me see if that has either come up in NSC meeting or in any of his economic daily briefings. Let me go to two back here -- Yes, ma'am. Q: Hi. There was an arrest in Canada last night, some guy apparently plotting to kill U.S. soldiers in Iraq. And this is the latest of several terror-related arrests with a Canadian connection. I'm just wondering, is the White House growing concerned about Canada as a possible terrorist haven? Are there any -- MR. GIBBS: Well, let me ask NSC. I don't have any guidance on that. But let me -- I'll get something from NSC on it. Yes, ma'am. Q: With the emphasis on regulation this week, there was a bill reintroduced today backed by Speaker Boehner that would require a vote on regulations, executive regulations, before they could go through. Do you have any comment on that or views on that? MR. GIBBS: Let me get -- let me get some guidance on that bill. I'm not familiar with it. But let me see if there's some guidance from Legislative Affairs. Thank you, guys.
WHITE HOUSE BRIEFING WITH JEN PSAKI - ROBO CUTS
FS37 WH BRFG CUTS ROBO 1230 CBS POOL WHITE HOUSE BRIEFING WITH JEN PSAKI PSAKI: Hi everyone, okay, what's going on around here? I have a couple of items for all of you at the top. Obviously, today is jobs day. With today's jobs report showing--show--while it shows some progress, it also shows the long road ahead. Right now, there are 9.5 million fewer jobs than at this time last year. This is a larger jobs whole than at any point in the great recession. At this month's pace, it will take us more than two years to get to pre-pandemic employment levels and will take even longer at the average pace over the last three months. This is unacceptable and it's unacceptable when 4 million Americans have been unemployed for more than 6 months or when un--unemployment is at 9.9 percent for African Americans and 8.5 percent for Hispanics. Congress must pass the American Rescue Plan now so we can get Americans back to work and so we can get relief to the millions of people who are struggling. As you know, this afternoon the president and the vice president will receive their weekly economic briefing with Treasury Secretary Yellen, Chair of the Economic--Chair of the Council of Economic Advisers, Cecilia Rouse, newly confirmed, National Economic Council Director Brian Deese, and Chief Economic Advisor to the vice president, Mike Pyle. The economic team will provide an update on the jobs report released today, along with an update on unemployment by race and female participation in the workforce. Afterward, the president will participate in a roundtable with individuals who will benefit from receiving relief checks, thanks to the American Rescue Plan. As you may have also seen yesterday, or may not have there's a lot going on, so that's why I wanted to shout this out, senior White House officials hosted a virtual listening session with Asian American and Pacific Islander advocates and community leaders from across the country to discuss the increasing rates of anti-Asian harassment and violence. The president is committed to ending anti-Asian violence and bias and he's made clear that is the policy of this administration to condemn and combat xenophobia against Asian Americans wherever it exists. In a week one presidential memorandum President Biden charged the Department of Justice with partnering with Asian American communities to prevent and better collect data on hate crimes against Asian American communities. Last but certainly not least, we have a week ahead. On Monday, the president will sign two executive orders to advance gender equity and opportunity for women. He will also visit a veteran's vaccination center with Secretary of Veterans Affairs Denis McDonough. On Tuesday, he will visit a small business that has benefited from a Paycheck Protection Program loan. On Wednesday, the President will travel to Baltimore, Maryland, for an event with the CEOs of Johnson and Johnson and Merck at Emergent Bio Solutions. And on Thursday, the president will deliver remarks on the anniversary of the COVID-19 shutdown. With that, Alex, why don't you kick us off. QUESTION: Thanks. So we're 45 days into the Biden presidency and he has yet to hold a presser. At this point in past presidencies, every president, you know, from Reagan had addressed reporters, some of them multiple times. So why the delay and when can we expect the president to hold a press conference? PSAKI: Well, first, as all of you know, the president takes questions several times a week. He took questions actually twice yesterday, which is an opportunity for the people covering the White House to ask him about whatever news is happening on any given day. We look forward to holding a full press conference in the coming weeks before the end of the month. And we're working on setting a final date for that. And as soon as we do, we will let you all know. But this president came in, during a historic crisis, two historic crises, a pandemic like the country had not seen in decades and decades, and an economic downturn that left 10--10 million people out of work. So I think the American people would certainly understand if his focus and his energy and his attention has been on ensuring we secure enough vaccines to vaccinate all Americans, which we will do by the end of May, and in pushing for a rescue plan that will provide direct checks to almost 160 million Americans. That's where his time energy--his focus has been. But in the meantime, he takes questions multiple times a week and looks forward to continuing to do that. And as soon as we have a press conference set, we'll let you know. QUESTION: Sure. Those sprays, though, are not an ideal forum for us to be asking questions. He can't hear us half the time. We get maybe two questions and then we're shuffled out. So why hasn't he answered questions from the press at this point? Is it just that he's too busy? PSAKI: I think he's answered questions. I believe the count is almost 40 times. So--and I would say that his focus, again, is on getting recovery and relief to the American people. And he looks forward to continuing to engage with all of you and to members of the--other members of the media who aren't here today. And we'll look forward to letting you know as soon as that press conference is set. QUESTION: And then, on the AUMF, can you talk a little bit about how the president sees I wanted to quote your--you talked about the establishing a new, "narrow and specific framework for new AUMF." How does he see those contours? And what's his response to somebody like Tim Kaine who said that the president should have to consult Congress on something like the strike in Syria last week? PSAKI: Well, let me take your--there's a couple of questions in there, so let me see if I can address them all. First, we did consult and notify the Gang of Eight, which is a very appropriate approach, as well as--which of course represents many committee heads and leaders. We then had ongoing consultations with--and briefings with members following the strikes, including classified briefings which we offered quite broadly from the administration. We are quite confident, because we had a full legal review and process in both our domestic and legal and international authorities and conducting those strikes. And the president has been, obviously, a close ally, and partner with Senator Kaine on a number of initiatives in the past. He agrees that the AUMF is 20 years--has been around for 20 years, and it's long overdue for it to be updated. What our announcement was, or what our statement reference was a reference to, I should say, is an openness to having a conversation about what the scope of the narrow and specific framework should look like moving forward. So we want to have those discussions. And of course, this will happen, most of them privately, and then we'll look forward to sharing with all of you what the outcome is. QUESTION: Sure. And then one more on the jobs numbers, one number that economists have highlighted as persistently problematic is the labor force participation rates. It remains low, sort of, consistently. What is the administration's plan in dealing with that and getting more people (INAUDIBLE) PSAKI: Well, you're--you're absolutely right. And Jerome Powell actually spoke to this. Just for others reference, which I'm sure you're tracking. But--and--and the concern that the labor force participation rate may not--may mean that it may--the unemployment rate may not accurately depict the number of people who are out of work. And obviously, the 9.9 percent unemployment rate for African Americans is a good example of a reflection of that. You know, we are taking a across the board approach to ensuring we are helping people get back to work and get through this difficult period of time. Part of that, of course, is getting the American Rescue Plan passed, to get people the relief and support they need as a bridge for this period of time. But the president has also talked about many components of his build back better agenda, which we look forward to speaking to and in the--in the future after we get the American Rescue Plan passed and the relief into the arms of Americans. And he believes there are a number of additional ways that we can help put Americans back to work including good clean paying infrastructure--clean paying--well paying, I should say sorry, it's a Friday, well-paying infrastructure jobs that are good union jobs. He believes there are many industries of the future that can help put more people back to work. But I will note one interesting--interesting and actually very troubling statistic, per our economic team. I'm not an economist, as you all know, but this is their analysis is that more than 69,000 educators were laid off. And so certainly, part of our objective to here with pushing for the American Rescue Plan is also getting relief out to schools who want to reopen and bringing teachers back, ensuring that teachers can be employed for the long term and can ensure they're a smaller class sizes. This is also part of what that package will help address. Go ahead. QUESTION: Thanks, Jen. Does the president have any thoughts on filibuster, the so called filibuster, especially now that some more moderate Democrats are now saying that they would like to see some filibuster reform? PSAKI: His view and his position hasn't changed. QUESTION: Even though some people say that that could affect your agenda that you couldn't get some of those bigger bills through? PSAKI: Well, look, the president believes that infrastructure, just to keep with the theme, it is not infrastructure week, but he did just have the meeting yesterday, that infrastructure is a policy and a proposal he's long been a supporter of, as have Democrats and Republicans in the past. Even look at immigration reform. Immigration reform is an issue that many Republicans and Democrats in the--who are elected have--have said and have supported in the past the private sector has supported. He's a believer that--that there is a path and a way forward for Democrats and Republicans to certainly work together. And he's--and he's hopeful there's an opportunity to do exactly that. QUESTION: I know you're focused on the stimulus bill today, but is there a tentative plan for when we would see an infrastructure plan from the president? PSAKI: Again, as we--as we've said in the past, and you gave me a little bit of an opening for this, but our focus is fully on the American Rescue Plan. We look forward to the president signing that into law to relief and to checks going out to the American people, to funding going to schools to the--so they--they can reopen, to more funding going out to get more vaccines in the arms of Americans. And his agenda and his priorities are not a secret, especially for those of you who covered the campaign. He talked about everything from infrastructure to doing more for caregiving to doing more to help expand access to healthcare, doing more to address the tax system. Those are all components that are certainly under discussion, but we'll have more to say in the weeks ahead. Go ahead. QUESTION: Thank you, Jen. The White House Chief of Staff, Ron Klain, pointing out this morning that at the pace of today's jobs report, it would take until April 2023 to get back to pre-pandemic economic levels. So, how much quicker does the White House believe the economy can recover to those levels with this $1.9 trillion package? How many more months or years does this buy? PSAKI: Well, don't take it from us. Take it from outside economists. An independent analysis shows that passing the rescue plan will create 7.5 million jobs in 2021 alone, and get our economy back to full employment--will help create those, I should say, help get our economy back to full employment when you're faster. So, it certainly will help expedite this effort and put more people back to work and--and pull as far ahead of that to your timeline that Ron Klain outlined. QUESTION: Then just on some of the compromises that we're seeing coming out of the Senate, the president agreed to limit eligibility for the stimulus checks. He is also now allowing these unemployment checks to be lowered from $400 to $300 a month even though, of course, there is an extension there until September. But it seems like a lot of these compromises are tailored to the more moderate elements of the Democratic Caucus. Is the president concerned at all about losing progressives once this bill goes back to the House? And is there anything that he's looking to do to cater to some of those more progressive demands? PSAKI: Well, this is an incredibly progressive bill, and I'm happy to outline some specifics on that since you gave me the opportunity. But one additional piece just on the UI compromise, as you mentioned, by eliminating the first $10,200 of UI benefits from taxation for 2020 combined with, of course, this--the extension through September, this amendment would provide more relief to the unemployed than the current legislation. It's a different person to person, of course, but on average it would provide more relief. So, that sounds pretty progressive to me. But you gave me the opportunity, so I just want to highlight a few of the things, and these are examples of why I think this is a package--we think this is a package that is incredibly appealing to many progressives in the country and certainly should be to all progressives in--in the Congress. It cuts child poverty in half, in large part through a historic expansion of the child tax credit. 66 million kids will benefit from the expansion. It not only extends unem--I already talked about that so I'll skip that--over that. It includes tens of billions of dollars for rental assistance and homeowner's assistance, which will benefit lower income disproportionately black and brown renters and homeowners; includes money, as you know, to get shots back and arms so that kids can go back to school. Reopening schools and schools being closed is--has a disproportionate impact on lower income communities. Those are progressive proposals, progressive ideas, and a $1.9 trillion package is certainly a--a progressive sized package. And so, we are certainly confident--hopeful and confident that we will--we will be able to get support in the House. QUESTION: And then on--on the border-- PSAKI: --Um-hmm-- QUESTION: --could you provide any more details about the trip planned by senior members of the president's team to the border? Who's going? Any more details you can offer on that? PSAKI: Sure. Well, I--again, as I like to say, there's a lot going on. So, to catch people up who aren't following exactly what you're following, President Biden has asked senior members of his team to travel to the border region in order to provide a full briefing to him on the government response to the influx of unaccompanied minors and an assessment of additional steps that can be taken to ensure the safety and care of these children. Out of safety, security, and privacy concerns, the date and time of this visit will remain confidential. But the White House and--for now, but we will provide a full readout of the visit once a concludes. QUESTION: So, no details on who's going from the president's team? PSAKI: I--I--I don't anticipate--we certainly will have those details to share with all of you once a visit occurs. But I'm not--I don't anticipate us doing that in advance. QUESTION: I--I wonder, you know, given some of the president's rhetoric on the campaign trail and as president and some of the policies that he instituted, including rolling back some of the immigration policies of the Trump era. Is--is he concerned at all that some of his rhetoric and some of his policies may have, as well-intentioned as they may have been, inadvertently contributed to the rise in migrants that we're seeing at the border, in particular unaccompanied children? And it does he have any intention to more forcefully tell those individuals that now is not the time to come, as the secretary of Homeland Security said last week? PSAKI: Sure. And--and as the secretary also said last week--with that last week? It feels--I'm not sure. QUESTION: Maybe it was this week. PSAKI: I don't know. It may have been this week. The--as the secretary said, this is a--a message we're conveying with every opportunity, from the president, the vice president, from officials in the region, and we're doing that with the full support, of course, the Department of Homeland Security and resources that we have available. I will say that--that the big difference, which we certainly understand the outcome, may be an influx, as we've seen, of more children. If you are kicking children out of--there's naturally, by design, I'm no mathematician, but going to be more children who come in, because we believe that policy was inhumane. And we believe that children who are under the age of 18 should be treated with humanity and--and provided safety while we consider what the process is moving forward. So, we certainly have a different approach. We understand the outcome and the impact of that. But we are using every tool at our disposal, and we will use every official we can to convey clearly this is not the time to come. Fam--the majority of people who come are turned away, families, adults. We're really talking about children, which is I know what you are referencing. QUESTION: But you--but you do believe that there may be--that part of that rise is due to some of your policies and--and rhetoric of this administration. PSAKI: I certainly didn't say that exactly. But all I'm conveying is that obviously we're going to have more kids across--in the country since we have been letting unaccompanied minors stay, and the last administration immorally kick them out, in our view. So, go ahead. QUESTION: Jen, thank you. To follow up on a question I asked about these minors yesterday, Reuters is now reporting that Fort Lee is going to be used as a housing facility for some of these minors in Virginia. Can you confirm whether that's true and if you are considering other military bases around the country? PSAKI: Well, as--as we've been--just been talking about, obviously we recognize the challenge of having these unaccompanied children come across the border and the influx that we are certainly preparing for and--and preparing to approach. So, of course we have to look for facilities and places where we can safely and humanely have these unaccompanied minors in the interim. That would be the decision of HHS, so I would send you to them. I don't have anything to confirm in terms of additional facilities at this point. QUESTION: Got it. And I guess just to follow up on Jeremy, I think--well, I don't want to speak for him, but a lot of Americans are saying that, you know, the searches are happening under President Biden's watch after he reversed some previous policies. So, does the administration take any accountability for what's happening? PSAKI: Who are the Americans? QUESTION: Well, I know you don't want answered him, but the former president just released a statement saying that the Biden administration must act immediately to end the border nightmare that they have unleashed on to our nation. PSAKI: Former President Trump? QUESTION: Yes. PSAKI: We don't take our advice or counsel from former President Trump on immigration policy, which was not only inhumane but ineffective over the last four years. We're going to chart our own path forward, and that includes treating children with humanity and respect and ensuring they're safe when they cross our borders. Go ahead. QUESTION: Oh, can I ask you-- PSAKI: --Oh, go ahead-- QUESTION: --about vaccines? Sorry. So, the mayor of Detroit has turned away thousands of doses of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine. Do you think that Mayor Duggan is making a mistake? And what is the message to other state and local leaders who might be considering doing the same? PSAKI: Well, our message broadly is what our health and medical experts have conveyed, Dr. Fauci and all of our COVID team. There are three approved vaccines from the FDA. They all are safe. They are effective. They prevent severe disease and death. So, anyone who is going to--anyone should take--everyone in this country, I should say, should take whatever vaccine that have access to. As I understand it, the mayor was going to--our team has been in touch with the mayor. There was a bit of a misunderstanding. He was going to go out and speak publicly about accepting vaccines. So, I would--I'm not sure if that's happened yet, so I'd certainly point you to that. QUESTION: Thank you. PSAKI: Sure. Go ahead. QUESTION: Thank you, Jen. Are there any discussions within the White House about reversing the policy of allowing all unaccompanied children into the United States? PSAKI: No. None at all. QUESTION: So, I--I guess is the plan then to take in and safely and humanely find a home for an unlimited number of unaccompanied children? PSAKI: I--I think this issue requires us taking a step back as human beings and as mothers, of which I am one. I know there are many in the room, are many at home. These kids are coming. They are fleeing prosecution. They are fleeing difficult circumstances in their home country. When they come here, all we're talking about here is ensuring that they are treated(PH) safely, they are not trafficked, they are not sent back on a unsafe journey. PSAKI: That's what we're talking about. When they come--when these kids come in, it doesn't mean they are ensured that they get to stay. They go through the processing system that everyone goes through. But, we want to ensure that that is done by treating them humanely and--and with respect. Many of them will be sent back home eventually, but we're talking about how we treat them as they come in the country. QUESTION: Well, and I'm a mom, too, so I certainly feel for all of these children that are fleeing very difficult situations in their homes to come here. But, you know, the fact remains you have DHS projecting 117,000 unaccompanied minors by May and, you know, that brings me to another question. You know, a lot of these numbers and this data, they're all coming from leaked documents from DHS, from HHS-- PSAKI: --Yeah-- QUESTION: Why doesn't the White House just release these numbers? I mean, don't the American people deserve to get the data straight from you and straight from the White House? PSAKI: Data projected numbers and internal documents for policy discussions? QUESTION: Data about how many unaccompanied children and migrants are crossing the border on a daily basis. I understand eventually it's made public, but why not right now-- PSAKI: --It is--it is made public by the Department of Homeland Security and the officials who oversee the entire process. It is made public. But we don't, as a policy--we don't, as a policy, make public or confirm private decks and policy documents, as--as no administration would. QUESTION: I understand. So, can you confirm how many illegal border crossings there are on average every day right now? PSAKI: I would send you to the Department of Homeland Security and CBP who, of course, would be overseeing that process. QUESTION: Okay, and one more question on immigration. House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, he's requesting a meeting with President Biden about this issue. He's also asking President Biden to acknowledge the crisis. Will President Biden take that meeting and--and I'll ask it again, will he acknowledge that there's a crisis? PSAKI: Well, first, the president and this administration's focus is on digging out of the dismantled and inhumane immigration approach of the last administration and that's why the president has proposed an immigration bill that would not only address the root causes that Leader McCarthy referenced in his letter, but would move beyond the policy of funding ineffective border walls by investing in smart security at ports of entry and would also create a pathway to citizenship. And we would welcome the openness or desire to engage on that from the leader or any Democrat or Republican who wants to have a conversation about a constructive path forward. Go ahead. QUESTION: A couple of follow ups if I can. First, on the AUMF discussion. So, right now, there are two active AUMFs from 2001 to 2002. The President is in favor of replacing both of them? With one? With two? What does that look like? PSAKI: He wants to discuss a narrow and specific framework moving forward. Obviously, it's outdated. You know, those are 19 and 18 years old and that's the discussion he hopes to have in partnership and with the leadership of Senator Kaine and determine what the approach and framework should be as we look ahead. QUESTION: Would that then--in moving forward, looking at sort of the Syria air strike, for instance, would he have to go to Congress moving forward if he wanted to border another military engagement like that? PSAKI: Well, in that, the Syria air strikes were, of course--and we had a whole legal process and review and we're confident in the legal authorities for that strike and they were the self-defense of U.S. military personnel who were threatened overseas. So, you know, I will leave it to the discussion of the framework moving forward, but I would say that we are confident in both our approach and the authorities we had for those strikes. QUESTION: And, one on infrastructure if I can. PSAKI: --Go ahead-- QUESTION: I know you're focused on the COVID bill, but, you know, when the American Rescue Plan was first introduced, President Biden was very encouraged that it would be bipartisan support for it. It does not appear that there will be any bipartisan support for it. Republicans haven't voted for it yet. What is the level of confidence, then, on the next big legislative agenda item, like infrastructure? Were there lessons learned and sort of the engagement of a breach on it? I'm sort of curious what that would look like. PSAKI: Well first, bipartisanship is not determined by a single zip code in Washington DC. It's about where the American people sit and stand and the vast majority of the American people support the American Rescue Plan, including Republicans. And so I think really the question is, why are Republicans in Congress who aren't supporting this package outliers in where the American public is in moving this forward? And, on infrastructure, certainly I don't have this in front of me, but I'm sure you all have lots of research assistants who can look at who has supported infrastructure in the past. And many--many have spoken to their support for infrastructure packages. Many have--Republicans, of course, and Democrats, many have discussed it with the president. And, so we're certainly hopeful and confident that repairing roads, rails, and bridges, doing better by our caregivers, you know, taking--reforming our outdated tax systems are steps, and anything else that was in the Build Back Better agenda. A lot of those pieces are pieces there's been bipartisan support for in the past. Go ahead, (INAUDIBLE). QUESTION: I think we would all love research assistants, by the way. PSAKI: Well, some of you do. You can--you can steal them from other--it could be, like, a sharing of resources. QUESTION: Indeed. But, I did want to circle back to the top. You mentioned that the president next week will sign a series of gender equity or gender equality executive orders. If you could say a little bit more at this time about those and relatedly, in the stimulus package, he proposed 14 weeks of paid family leave, but that was temporary and would expire in September. So, is that something that he would like to see Congress tackle legislatively? PSAKI: Sure. On the first, I will preview for you. We will have a special guest or two here on Monday to talk about these executive orders and I expect we'll have a briefing call this weekend, so I'm not going to get ahead of it beyond that. But, we're looking forward to talking more about it. And, on the second one, say that one more time. QUESTION: So, in the relief package, he proposed 14 more--at least 14 weeks of paid leave-- PSAKI: --Yes-- QUESTION: --but that was temporary. It would expire in September. So, what I'm asking is, is that something he would like to see Congress make permanent and address in future legislation? PSAKI: Well, we have, of course, this is just the beginning of our administration. He's talked in the past about his commitment to paid leave and feels it's an important component of ensuring there are--there is a diverse workforce, a workforce that is--has gender equity and racial equity and it's an important component of that. We don't know what next vehicles might look like, so it's a topic and policy he remains committed to, but I'm not going to get ahead of where we are in the policymaking process. QUESTION: Staying on the stimulus package for a moment, the minimum wage, it won't be in there at this point as we saw a little bit earlier on Capitol Hill. Senator Sanders was speaking to reporters and he said, "If anybody thinks we're going--we're giving up on this issue, they are surely mistaken. If we have to vote on it time and time again, we will and we're going to succeed." So, doe the president want to see democrats vigorously pursue a minimum wage increase? And, as we talk about what you'd like to see in the future, is this something that he'd like to see the House and the Senate take up immediately after negotiations on the stimulus package conclude? PSAKI: Well, first, we agree with Senator Sanders and the president is going to be standing right alongside him, fighting for an increase in the minimum wage to $15 an hour, because men and women who are working hard to make ends meet shouldn't be living at the poverty level. And he will use his political capital to get that done. I don't have anything to preview for you in terms of the order or the timeline. But it remains a priority and it is something that the president would like to get done and will use his capital to do. I'll also add, just you didn't ask this, but there's been a little bit of a rumor mill, so I'm just going to address it. You know, right now, as you know, we're focused on the American Rescue Plan and getting it through Congress and the president and his team are not engaged in conversations or negotiations about lowering the threshold for the minimum wage, just to be crystal clear on that. Go ahead. QUESTION: Thank you, Jen. So, just following up on (INAUDIBLE) question, how will the president work to use his political capital to increase the minimum wage if it right now doesn't seem to get the votes in the Senate and he is not on board with abolishing the filibuster? PSAKI: Well look, there are--he has an ambitious agenda moving forward that includes a number of proposals that there's bipartisan support for and he is going to look--he's going to work with Democrats and Republicans who are open to it to discussing how we move forward. But, I don't have anything to preview for you about the legislative strategy for an initiative that is after the American Rescue Plan. QUESTION: Just one more question from another reporter who couldn't be here. PSAKI: Go ahead. QUESTION: What advice is the president receiving by his COVID team in regards to ongoing travel bans and when would the president like to see them lifted? PSAKI: He relies on the advice and decision making of his health and medical team and experts, including the CDC. So, he'll wait for them to make any decision about future lifting of those guidelines. Go ahead, Trevor. QUESTION: Hi, just a couple on technology. You have a statement out from Jake Sullivan last night on the Microsoft related breach. I'm just curious if that affected any government computer, departments, agencies, and any more color if you could elaborate. PSAKI: Sure. This isn't--and for anyone who didn't see, National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan's tweet last night, he spoke to the Microsoft breach that's been reported. But, this is a significant vulnerability that could have far reaching impacts. First and foremost, this is an active threat and as the national security advisor tweeted last night, everyone running these servers, government and private sector, academia, needs to act now to patch them. We are concerned that there are a large of victims and are working with our partners to understand the scope of this, so it's an ongoing process, Trevor, I would say. Network owners also need to consider whether they have been compromised and should immediately take appropriate steps. The Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency issued an emergency directive to agencies and we're now looking closely at the next steps we need to take. It's still developing. We urge network operators to take it very seriously, but I don't have any other readouts beyond that. QUESTION: Okay, just as far as any color around whether the government itself was impacted by this. PSAKI: I think I conveyed there clearly that what he was--what--what National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan has conveyed and why he put this message out publicly was that this is an ongoing threat and he was encouraging patches to be done across, as he said, government, private sector, academia, and we're still looking closely at what happened and the next steps that need to be taken. QUESTION: Okay. And then I just wanted to ask about Tim Wu. PSAKI: Sure. QUESTION: Who you announced hiring today. He has very publicly advocated for breaking up big tech companies like Facebook. That's--those are the kinds of issues he's going to be advising President Biden on. Is that now White House policy? And, you know, what is--what is he going to be doing with regard to the FTC and the DOJ and what they're already doing on--on those big tech companies? PSAKI: Well, first, it's been reported, but Tim Wu will serve at the NAC as the Special Assistant to the President for Technology and Competition Policy. He was recently a professor at Columbia University Law School. He previously served as senior enforcement counsel to the New York attorney general and as a senior advisor at the FTC. He brings, as you noted, in some way, different--different words, but a wealth of knowledge and experience about technology and competition policy that will help ensure President Biden's economic agenda supports working families, strengthens the middle class, and protects consumers. You know, the president has been clear on the campaign, probably more recently, that he stands up to the abuse of power. And that includes the abuse of power from big technology companies and their executives. And Tim will help advance the president's agenda, which includes addressing the economic and social challenges posed by the growing power of tech platforms, promoting competition and addressing monopoly and market power issues, expanding access to broadband for low income and rural communities across the country, but his hiring as a reflection of the value of his expertise. If--if the administration policy was determined by every person that would be--was hired, we would have 400 different policies in each issues. You know, the president welcomes expertise, he welcomes experience and Tim Wu certainly brings that in droves. QUESTION: Okay, because Biden has--has never publicly talked about breaking up big tech companies. So I just wanted to clarify, is that the policy of this White House? PSAKI: We don't have new policy to announce here, Trevor, just that the president believes, as he's talked about before, that it's important to promote competition and address monopoly and market power issues. But he--we don't have a new policy to announce. We're six weeks into an administration, but certainly we welcome the expertise of individuals like Tim Wu. Go ahead. Go ahead. QUESTION: Thank you. PSAKI: Oh, sorry. We can go to both of you. We're not in a rush. Go ahead. QUESTION: Okay, thanks. Given the many questions about the transparency of the World Health Organization's COVID investigation of Wuhan, is there a--is there a point at which the president who made such priority putting U.S. back into the WHO will say we're getting fed up and actually go back a little bit towards former president's position, which was that the WHO was, you know, basically useless for the United States? PSAKI: Well, I would actually say that we're gratified that the WHO has determined to hold on releasing an interim report and to the origins of COVID. That was a positive step, which was taken in part because of our involvement and engagement. In recent weeks, we have spoken with many international allies and partners who shared our concern about the ways in which early findings of the investigation were, you know, had shared the same concerns, we feel this is an encouraging sign that us reengagement is already having a positive impact. And we join--rejoined the World Health Organization on the first day of the Biden administration so that the United States could once again lead in an international forum. QUESTION: So the president is satisfied with the way the whole report work is going ahead right now? PSAKI: No, it's not. It's not. They're holding on it. QUESTION: Right. So he's--he's--is he satisfied or not with that? PSAKI: I would say he is--feels it's a positive sign, as I just said, because they're not releasing a report where we express concerns about the origin of the data, the lack of transparency, and that we felt it would send a negative message about, not a negative message, I should say, kind of the inaccurate message about the origins of the pandemic. And that engagement, that outcome was in part because of our engagement. QUESTION: So when they put the whole thing out in the middle of March, what they're saying, is he confident that that's going to be the real deal? PSAKI: We'll look at the data and the report. We have--we have long said we'd like to see the underlying data. But again, we--we feel the hold on releasing the interim report was--we were gratified by that step that was taken. Go ahead in the back. QUESTION: Thank you, Jen. Last week, you very kindly confirmed the president's very good relationship with Pope Francis. Today, the pope is in Middle East and has a meeting coming up with the Ayatollah al-Sistani, someone by the way, who's never met with an American official before. And my question is, does the president have any feelings about the Pope's meeting with the Ayatollah and his effort to push forward with a vision in that troubled part of the world for unity and warm relations between Shia, Sunni, and Christian? PSAKI: Well, I have not spoken with the president about his personal feelings about the meeting that they have today. As you know, broadly speaking, the president believes that the path forward is diplomacy, should always be led by diplomacy. But I don't have the details of their meeting, or--or I'm sure they may do a readout of sorts. And if so, we're happy to give a comment on it. QUESTION: The other thing is that, as of March 1st, the Congress has not invited the president to deliver the State of the Union address, meaning he is so far gone the longest of any president in his first year without confirming a date for the State of the Union, with the exception of President Nixon in 1969. PSAKI: A little bit of history. I like it. QUESTION: And--who gave no address and waited until the following year. Is he going to follow that example, or should we expect an invitation soon on the State of the Union? PSAKI: Well, first, for clarity purposes, and I know this wasn't your intention, but there's not--it's not a snubbing happening here. We are in the middle of a global pandemic. And of course, any joint session speech would--would look different than--than the past. We certainly intend on the president delivering a joint session, a speech joint session, not a State of the Union in the first year that they are in office. But we don't have a date for that or timeline at this point in time. And we've been engaged closely with leaders in Congress about determining that. QUESTION: Okay. Do we expect an announcement soon on that or-- PSAKI: --Well, we'll see. We're still--we're in discussions. We're working with them. And as soon as it's finalized, we're happy to share that with all of you. QUESTION: One final question. The Turkish publication, Duvar English, cited a Turkish businessman, I believe his name is, and I'm--I hope I'm pronouncing it right, Agdim El Tapim (PH), who said he is a friend of the Biden family and he's hosted one of the President's brothers on a vacation. It's interesting that the president in all his calls to world leader has not called President Erdogan yet. Does he plan to make the call like that or is he going to operate with backchannels to Ankara? PSAKI: I'm not familiar with this individual or--or this engagement. But I certainly--the president has many global leaders, world leaders he still needs to call, and he will venture to do that in the--in the coming weeks and months. QUESTION: So he will call President Erdogan? PSAKI: I'm sure at some point. Go ahead. QUESTION: Yeah. Jen, the House has sent the LGBTQ Equality Act to the Senate where it will be one of several bills that faces an uncertain future. Will the President reach out to lawmakers on equality act? PSAKI: It certainly is a piece of legislation the president supports, as you all know, and he discusses a range of his priorities with members of Congress, the House and the Senate. And I'm certain, when given the opportunity, he will advocate for the passing. QUESTION: And I know you've been asked about the legislative filibuster in this briefing already, but I would like to address it as it pertains to this specific bill. Isn't there a reasonable expectation that if the president strongly supports this bill that you would want to welcome the filibuster to see it get to his desk? PSAKI: The--the president's position hasn't changed. He looks forward to advocating for the passage of legislation that he supports and working with Democrats and Republicans to get that done. QUESTION: And finally, who at the White House is coordinating the--the approach to the Equality Act? PSAKI: Well, certainly our legislative team approaches--oversees the approach to any piece of legislation working its way through Congress, but they tap into resources across the building, as--as--as would be expected. QUESTION: But is there, like, one person who is specifically charged with focusing on-- PSAKI: --On Legislative Team. We--we just don't read out specific staffing responsibilities publicly. But I can assure you that, with any piece of legislation, there are a range of individuals in the building who are asked to make calls, to write policy, to write talking points, to reach out to outside groups, and it's a--in a coordinated effort internally. Go ahead. QUESTION: I have a question about vaccine diplomacy. Some European countries are turning to Russia and China for COVID-19 vaccine, including Hungary and Slovakia. Do you believe that by offering vaccine supplies, Moscow and Beijing are trying to help or divide Europe? And do you think that such offers should be accepted? PSAKI: Well, we'll leave that to individual European countries to determine. But I would say that we are concerned about the use or the attempted use of vaccines as a means of diplomacy by Russia and China. We, of course, support doing that in a--through an international coordinating body like--like COVAX, which I know is not applicable to every country. And we, of course, want to work directly with countries around the world about how we can support their efforts moving forward. We understand that's challenging at this moment in time because the president's priority is insuring every American is vaccinated. We'll have enough vaccines to do that by the end of May. Then there is, of course, a distribution process after that. But, you know, that remains our priority here, but we look forward to remaining engaged through proper international coordinating bodies and directly with a number of these countries. QUESTION: May I follow up? Aren't you concerned that President Biden's America first vaccine policy actually gives opening to China and Russia and reduces U.S. influence around the world? PSAKI: Well, would first say that we work with European countries and partners, your--Asian countries and partners, countries and partners in South America on a range of priorities and issues, whether it's security, whether it's addressing the threat of climate, whether it is economic partnership and relationships. And we'll continue to do that. We also have conversations about access to COVID--access to vaccines, and we'll continue to do that as well. That's something that comes up in a number of these diplomatic conversations. Right now, as you've noted, our priority in--is--and our focus is on ensuring the American people are vaccinated. And we have to take into account a number of factors, including the fact that we don't know which vaccine works--is most effective with children. That testing is still ongoing. We don't know the most effective as it relates to all the variants. That is still ongoing. But we are very open and we will continue to have those engagements in conversations about how we can assist countries looking for a vaccine supply. QUESTION: One more, a follow-up to President Biden's phone call with European Commission president today. PSAKI: Um-hmm. QUESTION: Have a discussed restoring air travel between Europe and the United States? PSAKI: I know we put a readout of the call out. QUESTION: There's nothing about it in there. PSAKI: I'd have to talk to our National Security Team and see if that's something. If--if it was raised on the other end, we'd leave that to them. I don't think there was any intention of raising that from our end, so they may have more to speak to it from our end--from their end, sorry. Go ahead. QUESTION: Jen-- PSAKI: --Oh, I'm sorry. We--can we go to you first and then we'll come back? Yeah. QUESTION: Thanks, just two questions. First, the president earlier this week gave remarks to the House Democratic Caucus, suggested that the White House under Obama didn't take enough of a victory lap following the 2009 stimulus. I'm wondering if you can just expand on what the White House plans to do differently this time, assuming their rescue package is--is passed in the coming days. PSAKI: Sure. Well, I was here during that period of time, and I would say that any of my colleagues at the time would say that we didn't do enough to explain to the American people what the benefits were of the rescue plan and to--and we didn't do enough to do it in terms that people would be talking about at their dinner tables. And that's one of the reasons we, of course, have been, you know, trying to break down the--the impact of the American Rescue Plan into--into the key components that will impact people directly, the direct checks, you know, ensuring funding gets--funding to help expedite vaccine distribution, and of course reopening of schools. But where--our focus is on getting the package passed. And once it does, we look forward to taking some time, using the president, the vice president, the first lady, the second gentleman to engage with and communicate with the American people about how the package impacts them and--and how they are--how will help them get through this difficult period of time. QUESTION: And then second on infrastructure, Representative DeFazio said after the meeting yesterday that there were discussions about how to pay for an infrastructure package. And I'm just wondering if you can give a little more sense of what was--what was discussed yesterday. PSAKI: I don't have any more details. We--we don't even have a package that is being proposed at this point. And--and hope--when we get to that point, I'm sure we'll have this discussion. Obviously, the president has talked in the past about different revenue raisers, whether it's rolling back certain tax cuts. But we're just not that--at that point in the internal policy discussions quite yet. Go ahead, Alexander--Alexandria. I was looking at you, sorry. Go ahead. Go ahead. QUESTION: Okay, great. PSAKI: Go ahead, Francesca. QUESTION: Two more--two more questions for you and then I'm--and then I'll be done. So, early this week, Secretary Blinken a call with Juan Guido, who the U.S. recognizes as the interim president of Venezuela. PSAKI: Um-hmm. QUESTION: President Biden has not yet made such a call. I know you've said that he has a long list of foreign leaders that he'd like to call. PSAKI: He does. QUESTION: But at what point do you think that he might give Juan Guaido a ring? PSAKI: I just don't have anything to predict for you. And I will say, having served at the State Department before, sometimes a call from the secretary of state is a pre---happens before a call from the president, not always. But I don't have a list of his upcoming calls planned for foreign leaders. QUESTION: Okay. And the other one was I wanted to ask about a campaign pledge that President Biden made. During the campaign, he said that he would direct $70 billion to HBCUs. So, I was wondering if you could provide an update on that. Is there any executive orders or legislation in the works that would address that issue? PSAKI: He--he remains committed to supporting HBCUs and supporting them financially. But I don't have anything to preview for you in terms of policy. We are only 40 days--41 days in, a lot more policymaking and executive order doing--well, some executive order doing to--to be done. Go ahead and we'll--then we'll come back to you. Jeremy, go ahead. QUESTION: Jen, a number of state legislatures are advancing legislation seen as imposing additional restrictions on transgender youth, including those that would inhibit their ability to participate in sports and access transition related care. One such bill is on its way to the governor of Mississippi's desk, if not signed already. Has the president expressed any kind--any concern about these--these bills in the state legislatures? PSAKI: I would just say that the president--president's view is maybe not well-known, but let me restate it--state it here. I'm not aware of discussions directly with state legislatures--state legislators. If he had had those discussions, you might--might would likely know, I should say. But the president believes that trans rights are human rights and that no one should be discriminated on the basis of sex. Not only is this a lot of the land, it's his own deeply held view. The antidiscrimination executive order the president signed is focused on children being able to learn without worrying about whether they will be discriminated against. And this means not being denied access to the restroom, the locker room, or school sports. And him signing an executive order sends a pretty clear message to state legislators, to lawmakers, about where he stands on this issue and what his position is as president. Okay. QUESTION: I mean, if you want to take it. PSAKI: We'll do--we'll do two more. It's a Friday, okay. And then Jeremy can wrap us up. Go ahead. QUESTION: Okay. Thank you. Two questions about New York Governor Andrew Cuomo. PSAKI: Um-hmm. QUESTION: The first is I just want--wanted to know if the White House had any sort of reaction to these twin reports in the Wall Street Journal and the New York Times that aides to Governor Cuomo had altered the report on nursing home deaths to hide a higher death toll. PSAKI: We've certainly seen those reports. Obviously, they're troubling. And we certainly was support any outside investigation, but those wouldn't be determinations made by us. QUESTION: Okay. And on the other controversy that Governor Cuomo is facing, the third accuser did a long interview on--on CBS News last night. I'm wondering if the vice president or the president watched it or heard about it. PSAKI: I'm not aware of them watching it. They--they obviously both have a full schedule we keep them too. Of course, as I've noted in here before, but it's--I--I--I welcome the opportunity to repeat-- QUESTION: --Well, so it--I guess my question is, in 2017, when then Senator Kamala Harris was calling on Senator Al Franken to resign for similar issues, she tweeted, and I quote, "Sexual harassment and misconduct should not be allowed by anyone and should not occur anywhere." So, you know, what does it say to women like Charlotte Bennett when the vice president of the United States will comment about that but won't say the same thing about these allegations against Governor Cuomo? PSAKI: Well, I think the vice president's view is that she believes all women should be treated with respect. Their voices should be heard. They should tell their story. There's an independent investigation that is happening now being overseen by the New York attorney general. And she certainly supports that. And hopefully, all of the individuals who have come out should--it see that as her point of view and one that I'm happy to reiterate on her behalf. QUESTION: So, why won't she say that? PSAKI: Again, I think I'm--I'm speaking on her behalf. This is the White House. That's the benefit of doing this briefing every day. Go ahead, Jeremy. QUESTION: Thanks, Jen. Just a couple more in the COVID bill. Since the president propose that $1.9 trillion package. The national picture has changed in a few significant ways. This Jobs Report today shows the economy is recovering at a faster pace than anticipated. About 16 percent of Americans have now received at least one dose of the vaccine and yet the president hasn't budged off that $1.9 trillion topline. Is he reconsidering that big number in light of these recent developments? PSAKI: Well, at the same time, 4 million Americans have been unemployed for more than six months. African--the rate of unemployment among African Americans is 9.9 percent, 8.5 percent among Hispanics. Without this package, 9.5 million people are out of work. At this rate, we would not hit the pre-pandemic unemployment rate for two years. If that's satisfying to republicans in Congress, then certainly they can speak for themselves. But, the president believes and economists believe and experts believe that in order to get this pandemic under control, in order to get people back to work, we need an infusion of this size package because the twin crisis we're facing, that's what would meet the moment. QUESTION: And, in terms of bipartisanship, obviously there are a few Republican senators who are still considering how to vote on this package. Senator Lisa Murkowski, the chief among them in terms of somebody who might support this bill. So, how much of a priority is it for the president try to and win over at least one of these Republican senators? And how much time and energy is he planning to put into that effort? PSAKI: Well, the president remains deeply engaged in getting us across the finish line. He takes nothing for granted and I fully expect him to be on the phone through the course of the weekend with Democrats and Republicans as needed, just answering questions they have, addressing needs they have. Obviously, he had a number of people to the Oval Office just this week. So, he takes-- QUESTION: --How much of a priority is it for him to get at least one Republican senator to support this bill? PSAKI: Well, I think the president's measure of success here is whether we get the package through so we can deliver relief to the American people and we welcome the support of Republicans in--in the Senate. We're open to answering questions, to addressing concerns they have, but at the end of the day, our focus and the president's priority is on ensuring that almost 160 million people receive direct checks that we are providing money to schools. By the way, polling this morning showed the majority of people supported that across the country so that they can reopen and that we are ensuring we can get vaccines in the arms of Americans. We're still in the middle of a crisis. We're still in the middle of a war with the pandemic and we welcomes their support, but his focus is on the American people. Thanks, everyone.
WHITE HOUSE BRIEFING WITH JEN PSAKI - HEAD ON
FS23 WH BRFG HEAD ON POOL 3 1230.01 CBS POOL WHITE HOUSE BRIEFING WITH JEN PSAKI PSAKI: Hi everyone, okay, what's going on around here? I have a couple of items for all of you at the top. Obviously, today is jobs day. With today's jobs report showing--show--while it shows some progress, it also shows the long road ahead. Right now, there are 9.5 million fewer jobs than at this time last year. This is a larger jobs whole than at any point in the great recession. At this month's pace, it will take us more than two years to get to pre-pandemic employment levels and will take even longer at the average pace over the last three months. This is unacceptable and it's unacceptable when 4 million Americans have been unemployed for more than 6 months or when un--unemployment is at 9.9 percent for African Americans and 8.5 percent for Hispanics. Congress must pass the American Rescue Plan now so we can get Americans back to work and so we can get relief to the millions of people who are struggling. As you know, this afternoon the president and the vice president will receive their weekly economic briefing with Treasury Secretary Yellen, Chair of the Economic--Chair of the Council of Economic Advisers, Cecilia Rouse, newly confirmed, National Economic Council Director Brian Deese, and Chief Economic Advisor to the vice president, Mike Pyle. The economic team will provide an update on the jobs report released today, along with an update on unemployment by race and female participation in the workforce. Afterward, the president will participate in a roundtable with individuals who will benefit from receiving relief checks, thanks to the American Rescue Plan. As you may have also seen yesterday, or may not have there's a lot going on, so that's why I wanted to shout this out, senior White House officials hosted a virtual listening session with Asian American and Pacific Islander advocates and community leaders from across the country to discuss the increasing rates of anti-Asian harassment and violence. The president is committed to ending anti-Asian violence and bias and he's made clear that is the policy of this administration to condemn and combat xenophobia against Asian Americans wherever it exists. In a week one presidential memorandum President Biden charged the Department of Justice with partnering with Asian American communities to prevent and better collect data on hate crimes against Asian American communities. Last but certainly not least, we have a week ahead. On Monday, the president will sign two executive orders to advance gender equity and opportunity for women. He will also visit a veteran's vaccination center with Secretary of Veterans Affairs Denis McDonough. On Tuesday, he will visit a small business that has benefited from a Paycheck Protection Program loan. On Wednesday, the President will travel to Baltimore, Maryland, for an event with the CEOs of Johnson and Johnson and Merck at Emergent Bio Solutions. And on Thursday, the president will deliver remarks on the anniversary of the COVID-19 shutdown. With that, Alex, why don't you kick us off. QUESTION: Thanks. So we're 45 days into the Biden presidency and he has yet to hold a presser. At this point in past presidencies, every president, you know, from Reagan had addressed reporters, some of them multiple times. So why the delay and when can we expect the president to hold a press conference? PSAKI: Well, first, as all of you know, the president takes questions several times a week. He took questions actually twice yesterday, which is an opportunity for the people covering the White House to ask him about whatever news is happening on any given day. We look forward to holding a full press conference in the coming weeks before the end of the month. And we're working on setting a final date for that. And as soon as we do, we will let you all know. But this president came in, during a historic crisis, two historic crises, a pandemic like the country had not seen in decades and decades, and an economic downturn that left 10--10 million people out of work. So I think the American people would certainly understand if his focus and his energy and his attention has been on ensuring we secure enough vaccines to vaccinate all Americans, which we will do by the end of May, and in pushing for a rescue plan that will provide direct checks to almost 160 million Americans. That's where his time energy--his focus has been. But in the meantime, he takes questions multiple times a week and looks forward to continuing to do that. And as soon as we have a press conference set, we'll let you know. QUESTION: Sure. Those sprays, though, are not an ideal forum for us to be asking questions. He can't hear us half the time. We get maybe two questions and then we're shuffled out. So why hasn't he answered questions from the press at this point? Is it just that he's too busy? PSAKI: I think he's answered questions. I believe the count is almost 40 times. So--and I would say that his focus, again, is on getting recovery and relief to the American people. And he looks forward to continuing to engage with all of you and to members of the--other members of the media who aren't here today. And we'll look forward to letting you know as soon as that press conference is set. QUESTION: And then, on the AUMF, can you talk a little bit about how the president sees I wanted to quote your--you talked about the establishing a new, "narrow and specific framework for new AUMF." How does he see those contours? And what's his response to somebody like Tim Kaine who said that the president should have to consult Congress on something like the strike in Syria last week? PSAKI: Well, let me take your--there's a couple of questions in there, so let me see if I can address them all. First, we did consult and notify the Gang of Eight, which is a very appropriate approach, as well as--which of course represents many committee heads and leaders. We then had ongoing consultations with--and briefings with members following the strikes, including classified briefings which we offered quite broadly from the administration. We are quite confident, because we had a full legal review and process in both our domestic and legal and international authorities and conducting those strikes. And the president has been, obviously, a close ally, and partner with Senator Kaine on a number of initiatives in the past. He agrees that the AUMF is 20 years--has been around for 20 years, and it's long overdue for it to be updated. What our announcement was, or what our statement reference was a reference to, I should say, is an openness to having a conversation about what the scope of the narrow and specific framework should look like moving forward. So we want to have those discussions. And of course, this will happen, most of them privately, and then we'll look forward to sharing with all of you what the outcome is. QUESTION: Sure. And then one more on the jobs numbers, one number that economists have highlighted as persistently problematic is the labor force participation rates. It remains low, sort of, consistently. What is the administration's plan in dealing with that and getting more people (INAUDIBLE) PSAKI: Well, you're--you're absolutely right. And Jerome Powell actually spoke to this. Just for others reference, which I'm sure you're tracking. But--and--and the concern that the labor force participation rate may not--may mean that it may--the unemployment rate may not accurately depict the number of people who are out of work. And obviously, the 9.9 percent unemployment rate for African Americans is a good example of a reflection of that. You know, we are taking a across the board approach to ensuring we are helping people get back to work and get through this difficult period of time. Part of that, of course, is getting the American Rescue Plan passed, to get people the relief and support they need as a bridge for this period of time. But the president has also talked about many components of his build back better agenda, which we look forward to speaking to and in the--in the future after we get the American Rescue Plan passed and the relief into the arms of Americans. And he believes there are a number of additional ways that we can help put Americans back to work including good clean paying infrastructure--clean paying--well paying, I should say sorry, it's a Friday, well-paying infrastructure jobs that are good union jobs. He believes there are many industries of the future that can help put more people back to work. But I will note one interesting--interesting and actually very troubling statistic, per our economic team. I'm not an economist, as you all know, but this is their analysis is that more than 69,000 educators were laid off. And so certainly, part of our objective to here with pushing for the American Rescue Plan is also getting relief out to schools who want to reopen and bringing teachers back, ensuring that teachers can be employed for the long term and can ensure they're a smaller class sizes. This is also part of what that package will help address. Go ahead. QUESTION: Thanks, Jen. Does the president have any thoughts on filibuster, the so called filibuster, especially now that some more moderate Democrats are now saying that they would like to see some filibuster reform? PSAKI: His view and his position hasn't changed. QUESTION: Even though some people say that that could affect your agenda that you couldn't get some of those bigger bills through? PSAKI: Well, look, the president believes that infrastructure, just to keep with the theme, it is not infrastructure week, but he did just have the meeting yesterday, that infrastructure is a policy and a proposal he's long been a supporter of, as have Democrats and Republicans in the past. Even look at immigration reform. Immigration reform is an issue that many Republicans and Democrats in the--who are elected have--have said and have supported in the past the private sector has supported. He's a believer that--that there is a path and a way forward for Democrats and Republicans to certainly work together. And he's--and he's hopeful there's an opportunity to do exactly that. QUESTION: I know you're focused on the stimulus bill today, but is there a tentative plan for when we would see an infrastructure plan from the president? PSAKI: Again, as we--as we've said in the past, and you gave me a little bit of an opening for this, but our focus is fully on the American Rescue Plan. We look forward to the president signing that into law to relief and to checks going out to the American people, to funding going to schools to the--so they--they can reopen, to more funding going out to get more vaccines in the arms of Americans. And his agenda and his priorities are not a secret, especially for those of you who covered the campaign. He talked about everything from infrastructure to doing more for caregiving to doing more to help expand access to healthcare, doing more to address the tax system. Those are all components that are certainly under discussion, but we'll have more to say in the weeks ahead. Go ahead. QUESTION: Thank you, Jen. The White House Chief of Staff, Ron Klain, pointing out this morning that at the pace of today's jobs report, it would take until April 2023 to get back to pre-pandemic economic levels. So, how much quicker does the White House believe the economy can recover to those levels with this $1.9 trillion package? How many more months or years does this buy? PSAKI: Well, don't take it from us. Take it from outside economists. An independent analysis shows that passing the rescue plan will create 7.5 million jobs in 2021 alone, and get our economy back to full employment--will help create those, I should say, help get our economy back to full employment when you're faster. So, it certainly will help expedite this effort and put more people back to work and--and pull as far ahead of that to your timeline that Ron Klain outlined. QUESTION: Then just on some of the compromises that we're seeing coming out of the Senate, the president agreed to limit eligibility for the stimulus checks. He is also now allowing these unemployment checks to be lowered from $400 to $300 a month even though, of course, there is an extension there until September. But it seems like a lot of these compromises are tailored to the more moderate elements of the Democratic Caucus. Is the president concerned at all about losing progressives once this bill goes back to the House? And is there anything that he's looking to do to cater to some of those more progressive demands? PSAKI: Well, this is an incredibly progressive bill, and I'm happy to outline some specifics on that since you gave me the opportunity. But one additional piece just on the UI compromise, as you mentioned, by eliminating the first $10,200 of UI benefits from taxation for 2020 combined with, of course, this--the extension through September, this amendment would provide more relief to the unemployed than the current legislation. It's a different person to person, of course, but on average it would provide more relief. So, that sounds pretty progressive to me. But you gave me the opportunity, so I just want to highlight a few of the things, and these are examples of why I think this is a package--we think this is a package that is incredibly appealing to many progressives in the country and certainly should be to all progressives in--in the Congress. It cuts child poverty in half, in large part through a historic expansion of the child tax credit. 66 million kids will benefit from the expansion. It not only extends unem--I already talked about that so I'll skip that--over that. It includes tens of billions of dollars for rental assistance and homeowner's assistance, which will benefit lower income disproportionately black and brown renters and homeowners; includes money, as you know, to get shots back and arms so that kids can go back to school. Reopening schools and schools being closed is--has a disproportionate impact on lower income communities. Those are progressive proposals, progressive ideas, and a $1.9 trillion package is certainly a--a progressive sized package. And so, we are certainly confident--hopeful and confident that we will--we will be able to get support in the House. QUESTION: And then on--on the border-- PSAKI: --Um-hmm-- QUESTION: --could you provide any more details about the trip planned by senior members of the president's team to the border? Who's going? Any more details you can offer on that? PSAKI: Sure. Well, I--again, as I like to say, there's a lot going on. So, to catch people up who aren't following exactly what you're following, President Biden has asked senior members of his team to travel to the border region in order to provide a full briefing to him on the government response to the influx of unaccompanied minors and an assessment of additional steps that can be taken to ensure the safety and care of these children. Out of safety, security, and privacy concerns, the date and time of this visit will remain confidential. But the White House and--for now, but we will provide a full readout of the visit once a concludes. QUESTION: So, no details on who's going from the president's team? PSAKI: I--I--I don't anticipate--we certainly will have those details to share with all of you once a visit occurs. But I'm not--I don't anticipate us doing that in advance. QUESTION: I--I wonder, you know, given some of the president's rhetoric on the campaign trail and as president and some of the policies that he instituted, including rolling back some of the immigration policies of the Trump era. Is--is he concerned at all that some of his rhetoric and some of his policies may have, as well-intentioned as they may have been, inadvertently contributed to the rise in migrants that we're seeing at the border, in particular unaccompanied children? And it does he have any intention to more forcefully tell those individuals that now is not the time to come, as the secretary of Homeland Security said last week? PSAKI: Sure. And--and as the secretary also said last week--with that last week? It feels--I'm not sure. QUESTION: Maybe it was this week. PSAKI: I don't know. It may have been this week. The--as the secretary said, this is a--a message we're conveying with every opportunity, from the president, the vice president, from officials in the region, and we're doing that with the full support, of course, the Department of Homeland Security and resources that we have available. I will say that--that the big difference, which we certainly understand the outcome, may be an influx, as we've seen, of more children. If you are kicking children out of--there's naturally, by design, I'm no mathematician, but going to be more children who come in, because we believe that policy was inhumane. And we believe that children who are under the age of 18 should be treated with humanity and--and provided safety while we consider what the process is moving forward. So, we certainly have a different approach. We understand the outcome and the impact of that. But we are using every tool at our disposal, and we will use every official we can to convey clearly this is not the time to come. Fam--the majority of people who come are turned away, families, adults. We're really talking about children, which is I know what you are referencing. QUESTION: But you--but you do believe that there may be--that part of that rise is due to some of your policies and--and rhetoric of this administration. PSAKI: I certainly didn't say that exactly. But all I'm conveying is that obviously we're going to have more kids across--in the country since we have been letting unaccompanied minors stay, and the last administration immorally kick them out, in our view. So, go ahead. QUESTION: Jen, thank you. To follow up on a question I asked about these minors yesterday, Reuters is now reporting that Fort Lee is going to be used as a housing facility for some of these minors in Virginia. Can you confirm whether that's true and if you are considering other military bases around the country? PSAKI: Well, as--as we've been--just been talking about, obviously we recognize the challenge of having these unaccompanied children come across the border and the influx that we are certainly preparing for and--and preparing to approach. So, of course we have to look for facilities and places where we can safely and humanely have these unaccompanied minors in the interim. That would be the decision of HHS, so I would send you to them. I don't have anything to confirm in terms of additional facilities at this point. QUESTION: Got it. And I guess just to follow up on Jeremy, I think--well, I don't want to speak for him, but a lot of Americans are saying that, you know, the searches are happening under President Biden's watch after he reversed some previous policies. So, does the administration take any accountability for what's happening? PSAKI: Who are the Americans? QUESTION: Well, I know you don't want answered him, but the former president just released a statement saying that the Biden administration must act immediately to end the border nightmare that they have unleashed on to our nation. PSAKI: Former President Trump? QUESTION: Yes. PSAKI: We don't take our advice or counsel from former President Trump on immigration policy, which was not only inhumane but ineffective over the last four years. We're going to chart our own path forward, and that includes treating children with humanity and respect and ensuring they're safe when they cross our borders. Go ahead. QUESTION: Oh, can I ask you-- PSAKI: --Oh, go ahead-- QUESTION: --about vaccines? Sorry. So, the mayor of Detroit has turned away thousands of doses of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine. Do you think that Mayor Duggan is making a mistake? And what is the message to other state and local leaders who might be considering doing the same? PSAKI: Well, our message broadly is what our health and medical experts have conveyed, Dr. Fauci and all of our COVID team. There are three approved vaccines from the FDA. They all are safe. They are effective. They prevent severe disease and death. So, anyone who is going to--anyone should take--everyone in this country, I should say, should take whatever vaccine that have access to. As I understand it, the mayor was going to--our team has been in touch with the mayor. There was a bit of a misunderstanding. He was going to go out and speak publicly about accepting vaccines. So, I would--I'm not sure if that's happened yet, so I'd certainly point you to that. QUESTION: Thank you. PSAKI: Sure. Go ahead. QUESTION: Thank you, Jen. Are there any discussions within the White House about reversing the policy of allowing all unaccompanied children into the United States? PSAKI: No. None at all. QUESTION: So, I--I guess is the plan then to take in and safely and humanely find a home for an unlimited number of unaccompanied children? PSAKI: I--I think this issue requires us taking a step back as human beings and as mothers, of which I am one. I know there are many in the room, are many at home. These kids are coming. They are fleeing prosecution. They are fleeing difficult circumstances in their home country. When they come here, all we're talking about here is ensuring that they are treated(PH) safely, they are not trafficked, they are not sent back on a unsafe journey. PSAKI: That's what we're talking about. When they come--when these kids come in, it doesn't mean they are ensured that they get to stay. They go through the processing system that everyone goes through. But, we want to ensure that that is done by treating them humanely and--and with respect. Many of them will be sent back home eventually, but we're talking about how we treat them as they come in the country. QUESTION: Well, and I'm a mom, too, so I certainly feel for all of these children that are fleeing very difficult situations in their homes to come here. But, you know, the fact remains you have DHS projecting 117,000 unaccompanied minors by May and, you know, that brings me to another question. You know, a lot of these numbers and this data, they're all coming from leaked documents from DHS, from HHS-- PSAKI: --Yeah-- QUESTION: Why doesn't the White House just release these numbers? I mean, don't the American people deserve to get the data straight from you and straight from the White House? PSAKI: Data projected numbers and internal documents for policy discussions? QUESTION: Data about how many unaccompanied children and migrants are crossing the border on a daily basis. I understand eventually it's made public, but why not right now-- PSAKI: --It is--it is made public by the Department of Homeland Security and the officials who oversee the entire process. It is made public. But we don't, as a policy--we don't, as a policy, make public or confirm private decks and policy documents, as--as no administration would. QUESTION: I understand. So, can you confirm how many illegal border crossings there are on average every day right now? PSAKI: I would send you to the Department of Homeland Security and CBP who, of course, would be overseeing that process. QUESTION: Okay, and one more question on immigration. House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, he's requesting a meeting with President Biden about this issue. He's also asking President Biden to acknowledge the crisis. Will President Biden take that meeting and--and I'll ask it again, will he acknowledge that there's a crisis? PSAKI: Well, first, the president and this administration's focus is on digging out of the dismantled and inhumane immigration approach of the last administration and that's why the president has proposed an immigration bill that would not only address the root causes that Leader McCarthy referenced in his letter, but would move beyond the policy of funding ineffective border walls by investing in smart security at ports of entry and would also create a pathway to citizenship. And we would welcome the openness or desire to engage on that from the leader or any Democrat or Republican who wants to have a conversation about a constructive path forward. Go ahead. QUESTION: A couple of follow ups if I can. First, on the AUMF discussion. So, right now, there are two active AUMFs from 2001 to 2002. The President is in favor of replacing both of them? With one? With two? What does that look like? PSAKI: He wants to discuss a narrow and specific framework moving forward. Obviously, it's outdated. You know, those are 19 and 18 years old and that's the discussion he hopes to have in partnership and with the leadership of Senator Kaine and determine what the approach and framework should be as we look ahead. QUESTION: Would that then--in moving forward, looking at sort of the Syria air strike, for instance, would he have to go to Congress moving forward if he wanted to border another military engagement like that? PSAKI: Well, in that, the Syria air strikes were, of course--and we had a whole legal process and review and we're confident in the legal authorities for that strike and they were the self-defense of U.S. military personnel who were threatened overseas. So, you know, I will leave it to the discussion of the framework moving forward, but I would say that we are confident in both our approach and the authorities we had for those strikes. QUESTION: And, one on infrastructure if I can. PSAKI: --Go ahead-- QUESTION: I know you're focused on the COVID bill, but, you know, when the American Rescue Plan was first introduced, President Biden was very encouraged that it would be bipartisan support for it. It does not appear that there will be any bipartisan support for it. Republicans haven't voted for it yet. What is the level of confidence, then, on the next big legislative agenda item, like infrastructure? Were there lessons learned and sort of the engagement of a breach on it? I'm sort of curious what that would look like. PSAKI: Well first, bipartisanship is not determined by a single zip code in Washington DC. It's about where the American people sit and stand and the vast majority of the American people support the American Rescue Plan, including Republicans. And so I think really the question is, why are Republicans in Congress who aren't supporting this package outliers in where the American public is in moving this forward? And, on infrastructure, certainly I don't have this in front of me, but I'm sure you all have lots of research assistants who can look at who has supported infrastructure in the past. And many--many have spoken to their support for infrastructure packages. Many have--Republicans, of course, and Democrats, many have discussed it with the president. And, so we're certainly hopeful and confident that repairing roads, rails, and bridges, doing better by our caregivers, you know, taking--reforming our outdated tax systems are steps, and anything else that was in the Build Back Better agenda. A lot of those pieces are pieces there's been bipartisan support for in the past. Go ahead, (INAUDIBLE). QUESTION: I think we would all love research assistants, by the way. PSAKI: Well, some of you do. You can--you can steal them from other--it could be, like, a sharing of resources. QUESTION: Indeed. But, I did want to circle back to the top. You mentioned that the president next week will sign a series of gender equity or gender equality executive orders. If you could say a little bit more at this time about those and relatedly, in the stimulus package, he proposed 14 weeks of paid family leave, but that was temporary and would expire in September. So, is that something that he would like to see Congress tackle legislatively? PSAKI: Sure. On the first, I will preview for you. We will have a special guest or two here on Monday to talk about these executive orders and I expect we'll have a briefing call this weekend, so I'm not going to get ahead of it beyond that. But, we're looking forward to talking more about it. And, on the second one, say that one more time. QUESTION: So, in the relief package, he proposed 14 more--at least 14 weeks of paid leave-- PSAKI: --Yes-- QUESTION: --but that was temporary. It would expire in September. So, what I'm asking is, is that something he would like to see Congress make permanent and address in future legislation? PSAKI: Well, we have, of course, this is just the beginning of our administration. He's talked in the past about his commitment to paid leave and feels it's an important component of ensuring there are--there is a diverse workforce, a workforce that is--has gender equity and racial equity and it's an important component of that. We don't know what next vehicles might look like, so it's a topic and policy he remains committed to, but I'm not going to get ahead of where we are in the policymaking process. QUESTION: Staying on the stimulus package for a moment, the minimum wage, it won't be in there at this point as we saw a little bit earlier on Capitol Hill. Senator Sanders was speaking to reporters and he said, "If anybody thinks we're going--we're giving up on this issue, they are surely mistaken. If we have to vote on it time and time again, we will and we're going to succeed." So, doe the president want to see democrats vigorously pursue a minimum wage increase? And, as we talk about what you'd like to see in the future, is this something that he'd like to see the House and the Senate take up immediately after negotiations on the stimulus package conclude? PSAKI: Well, first, we agree with Senator Sanders and the president is going to be standing right alongside him, fighting for an increase in the minimum wage to $15 an hour, because men and women who are working hard to make ends meet shouldn't be living at the poverty level. And he will use his political capital to get that done. I don't have anything to preview for you in terms of the order or the timeline. But it remains a priority and it is something that the president would like to get done and will use his capital to do. I'll also add, just you didn't ask this, but there's been a little bit of a rumor mill, so I'm just going to address it. You know, right now, as you know, we're focused on the American Rescue Plan and getting it through Congress and the president and his team are not engaged in conversations or negotiations about lowering the threshold for the minimum wage, just to be crystal clear on that. Go ahead. QUESTION: Thank you, Jen. So, just following up on (INAUDIBLE) question, how will the president work to use his political capital to increase the minimum wage if it right now doesn't seem to get the votes in the Senate and he is not on board with abolishing the filibuster? PSAKI: Well look, there are--he has an ambitious agenda moving forward that includes a number of proposals that there's bipartisan support for and he is going to look--he's going to work with Democrats and Republicans who are open to it to discussing how we move forward. But, I don't have anything to preview for you about the legislative strategy for an initiative that is after the American Rescue Plan. QUESTION: Just one more question from another reporter who couldn't be here. PSAKI: Go ahead. QUESTION: What advice is the president receiving by his COVID team in regards to ongoing travel bans and when would the president like to see them lifted? PSAKI: He relies on the advice and decision making of his health and medical team and experts, including the CDC. So, he'll wait for them to make any decision about future lifting of those guidelines. Go ahead, Trevor. QUESTION: Hi, just a couple on technology. You have a statement out from Jake Sullivan last night on the Microsoft related breach. I'm just curious if that affected any government computer, departments, agencies, and any more color if you could elaborate. PSAKI: Sure. This isn't--and for anyone who didn't see, National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan's tweet last night, he spoke to the Microsoft breach that's been reported. But, this is a significant vulnerability that could have far reaching impacts. First and foremost, this is an active threat and as the national security advisor tweeted last night, everyone running these servers, government and private sector, academia, needs to act now to patch them. We are concerned that there are a large of victims and are working with our partners to understand the scope of this, so it's an ongoing process, Trevor, I would say. Network owners also need to consider whether they have been compromised and should immediately take appropriate steps. The Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency issued an emergency directive to agencies and we're now looking closely at the next steps we need to take. It's still developing. We urge network operators to take it very seriously, but I don't have any other readouts beyond that. QUESTION: Okay, just as far as any color around whether the government itself was impacted by this. PSAKI: I think I conveyed there clearly that what he was--what--what National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan has conveyed and why he put this message out publicly was that this is an ongoing threat and he was encouraging patches to be done across, as he said, government, private sector, academia, and we're still looking closely at what happened and the next steps that need to be taken. QUESTION: Okay. And then I just wanted to ask about Tim Wu. PSAKI: Sure. QUESTION: Who you announced hiring today. He has very publicly advocated for breaking up big tech companies like Facebook. That's--those are the kinds of issues he's going to be advising President Biden on. Is that now White House policy? And, you know, what is--what is he going to be doing with regard to the FTC and the DOJ and what they're already doing on--on those big tech companies? PSAKI: Well, first, it's been reported, but Tim Wu will serve at the NAC as the Special Assistant to the President for Technology and Competition Policy. He was recently a professor at Columbia University Law School. He previously served as senior enforcement counsel to the New York attorney general and as a senior advisor at the FTC. He brings, as you noted, in some way, different--different words, but a wealth of knowledge and experience about technology and competition policy that will help ensure President Biden's economic agenda supports working families, strengthens the middle class, and protects consumers. You know, the president has been clear on the campaign, probably more recently, that he stands up to the abuse of power. And that includes the abuse of power from big technology companies and their executives. And Tim will help advance the president's agenda, which includes addressing the economic and social challenges posed by the growing power of tech platforms, promoting competition and addressing monopoly and market power issues, expanding access to broadband for low income and rural communities across the country, but his hiring as a reflection of the value of his expertise. If--if the administration policy was determined by every person that would be--was hired, we would have 400 different policies in each issues. You know, the president welcomes expertise, he welcomes experience and Tim Wu certainly brings that in droves. QUESTION: Okay, because Biden has--has never publicly talked about breaking up big tech companies. So I just wanted to clarify, is that the policy of this White House? PSAKI: We don't have new policy to announce here, Trevor, just that the president believes, as he's talked about before, that it's important to promote competition and address monopoly and market power issues. But he--we don't have a new policy to announce. We're six weeks into an administration, but certainly we welcome the expertise of individuals like Tim Wu. Go ahead. Go ahead. QUESTION: Thank you. PSAKI: Oh, sorry. We can go to both of you. We're not in a rush. Go ahead. QUESTION: Okay, thanks. Given the many questions about the transparency of the World Health Organization's COVID investigation of Wuhan, is there a--is there a point at which the president who made such priority putting U.S. back into the WHO will say we're getting fed up and actually go back a little bit towards former president's position, which was that the WHO was, you know, basically useless for the United States? PSAKI: Well, I would actually say that we're gratified that the WHO has determined to hold on releasing an interim report and to the origins of COVID. That was a positive step, which was taken in part because of our involvement and engagement. In recent weeks, we have spoken with many international allies and partners who shared our concern about the ways in which early findings of the investigation were, you know, had shared the same concerns, we feel this is an encouraging sign that us reengagement is already having a positive impact. And we join--rejoined the World Health Organization on the first day of the Biden administration so that the United States could once again lead in an international forum. QUESTION: So the president is satisfied with the way the whole report work is going ahead right now? PSAKI: No, it's not. It's not. They're holding on it. QUESTION: Right. So he's--he's--is he satisfied or not with that? PSAKI: I would say he is--feels it's a positive sign, as I just said, because they're not releasing a report where we express concerns about the origin of the data, the lack of transparency, and that we felt it would send a negative message about, not a negative message, I should say, kind of the inaccurate message about the origins of the pandemic. And that engagement, that outcome was in part because of our engagement. QUESTION: So when they put the whole thing out in the middle of March, what they're saying, is he confident that that's going to be the real deal? PSAKI: We'll look at the data and the report. We have--we have long said we'd like to see the underlying data. But again, we--we feel the hold on releasing the interim report was--we were gratified by that step that was taken. Go ahead in the back. QUESTION: Thank you, Jen. Last week, you very kindly confirmed the president's very good relationship with Pope Francis. Today, the pope is in Middle East and has a meeting coming up with the Ayatollah al-Sistani, someone by the way, who's never met with an American official before. And my question is, does the president have any feelings about the Pope's meeting with the Ayatollah and his effort to push forward with a vision in that troubled part of the world for unity and warm relations between Shia, Sunni, and Christian? PSAKI: Well, I have not spoken with the president about his personal feelings about the meeting that they have today. As you know, broadly speaking, the president believes that the path forward is diplomacy, should always be led by diplomacy. But I don't have the details of their meeting, or--or I'm sure they may do a readout of sorts. And if so, we're happy to give a comment on it. QUESTION: The other thing is that, as of March 1st, the Congress has not invited the president to deliver the State of the Union address, meaning he is so far gone the longest of any president in his first year without confirming a date for the State of the Union, with the exception of President Nixon in 1969. PSAKI: A little bit of history. I like it. QUESTION: And--who gave no address and waited until the following year. Is he going to follow that example, or should we expect an invitation soon on the State of the Union? PSAKI: Well, first, for clarity purposes, and I know this wasn't your intention, but there's not--it's not a snubbing happening here. We are in the middle of a global pandemic. And of course, any joint session speech would--would look different than--than the past. We certainly intend on the president delivering a joint session, a speech joint session, not a State of the Union in the first year that they are in office. But we don't have a date for that or timeline at this point in time. And we've been engaged closely with leaders in Congress about determining that. QUESTION: Okay. Do we expect an announcement soon on that or-- PSAKI: --Well, we'll see. We're still--we're in discussions. We're working with them. And as soon as it's finalized, we're happy to share that with all of you. QUESTION: One final question. The Turkish publication, Duvar English, cited a Turkish businessman, I believe his name is, and I'm--I hope I'm pronouncing it right, Agdim El Tapim (PH), who said he is a friend of the Biden family and he's hosted one of the President's brothers on a vacation. It's interesting that the president in all his calls to world leader has not called President Erdogan yet. Does he plan to make the call like that or is he going to operate with backchannels to Ankara? PSAKI: I'm not familiar with this individual or--or this engagement. But I certainly--the president has many global leaders, world leaders he still needs to call, and he will venture to do that in the--in the coming weeks and months. QUESTION: So he will call President Erdogan? PSAKI: I'm sure at some point. Go ahead. QUESTION: Yeah. Jen, the House has sent the LGBTQ Equality Act to the Senate where it will be one of several bills that faces an uncertain future. Will the President reach out to lawmakers on equality act? PSAKI: It certainly is a piece of legislation the president supports, as you all know, and he discusses a range of his priorities with members of Congress, the House and the Senate. And I'm certain, when given the opportunity, he will advocate for the passing. QUESTION: And I know you've been asked about the legislative filibuster in this briefing already, but I would like to address it as it pertains to this specific bill. Isn't there a reasonable expectation that if the president strongly supports this bill that you would want to welcome the filibuster to see it get to his desk? PSAKI: The--the president's position hasn't changed. He looks forward to advocating for the passage of legislation that he supports and working with Democrats and Republicans to get that done. QUESTION: And finally, who at the White House is coordinating the--the approach to the Equality Act? PSAKI: Well, certainly our legislative team approaches--oversees the approach to any piece of legislation working its way through Congress, but they tap into resources across the building, as--as--as would be expected. QUESTION: But is there, like, one person who is specifically charged with focusing on-- PSAKI: --On Legislative Team. We--we just don't read out specific staffing responsibilities publicly. But I can assure you that, with any piece of legislation, there are a range of individuals in the building who are asked to make calls, to write policy, to write talking points, to reach out to outside groups, and it's a--in a coordinated effort internally. Go ahead. QUESTION: I have a question about vaccine diplomacy. Some European countries are turning to Russia and China for COVID-19 vaccine, including Hungary and Slovakia. Do you believe that by offering vaccine supplies, Moscow and Beijing are trying to help or divide Europe? And do you think that such offers should be accepted? PSAKI: Well, we'll leave that to individual European countries to determine. But I would say that we are concerned about the use or the attempted use of vaccines as a means of diplomacy by Russia and China. We, of course, support doing that in a--through an international coordinating body like--like COVAX, which I know is not applicable to every country. And we, of course, want to work directly with countries around the world about how we can support their efforts moving forward. We understand that's challenging at this moment in time because the president's priority is insuring every American is vaccinated. We'll have enough vaccines to do that by the end of May. Then there is, of course, a distribution process after that. But, you know, that remains our priority here, but we look forward to remaining engaged through proper international coordinating bodies and directly with a number of these countries. QUESTION: May I follow up? Aren't you concerned that President Biden's America first vaccine policy actually gives opening to China and Russia and reduces U.S. influence around the world? PSAKI: Well, would first say that we work with European countries and partners, your--Asian countries and partners, countries and partners in South America on a range of priorities and issues, whether it's security, whether it's addressing the threat of climate, whether it is economic partnership and relationships. And we'll continue to do that. We also have conversations about access to COVID--access to vaccines, and we'll continue to do that as well. That's something that comes up in a number of these diplomatic conversations. Right now, as you've noted, our priority in--is--and our focus is on ensuring the American people are vaccinated. And we have to take into account a number of factors, including the fact that we don't know which vaccine works--is most effective with children. That testing is still ongoing. We don't know the most effective as it relates to all the variants. That is still ongoing. But we are very open and we will continue to have those engagements in conversations about how we can assist countries looking for a vaccine supply. QUESTION: One more, a follow-up to President Biden's phone call with European Commission president today. PSAKI: Um-hmm. QUESTION: Have a discussed restoring air travel between Europe and the United States? PSAKI: I know we put a readout of the call out. QUESTION: There's nothing about it in there. PSAKI: I'd have to talk to our National Security Team and see if that's something. If--if it was raised on the other end, we'd leave that to them. I don't think there was any intention of raising that from our end, so they may have more to speak to it from our end--from their end, sorry. Go ahead. QUESTION: Jen-- PSAKI: --Oh, I'm sorry. We--can we go to you first and then we'll come back? Yeah. QUESTION: Thanks, just two questions. First, the president earlier this week gave remarks to the House Democratic Caucus, suggested that the White House under Obama didn't take enough of a victory lap following the 2009 stimulus. I'm wondering if you can just expand on what the White House plans to do differently this time, assuming their rescue package is--is passed in the coming days. PSAKI: Sure. Well, I was here during that period of time, and I would say that any of my colleagues at the time would say that we didn't do enough to explain to the American people what the benefits were of the rescue plan and to--and we didn't do enough to do it in terms that people would be talking about at their dinner tables. And that's one of the reasons we, of course, have been, you know, trying to break down the--the impact of the American Rescue Plan into--into the key components that will impact people directly, the direct checks, you know, ensuring funding gets--funding to help expedite vaccine distribution, and of course reopening of schools. But where--our focus is on getting the package passed. And once it does, we look forward to taking some time, using the president, the vice president, the first lady, the second gentleman to engage with and communicate with the American people about how the package impacts them and--and how they are--how will help them get through this difficult period of time. QUESTION: And then second on infrastructure, Representative DeFazio said after the meeting yesterday that there were discussions about how to pay for an infrastructure package. And I'm just wondering if you can give a little more sense of what was--what was discussed yesterday. PSAKI: I don't have any more details. We--we don't even have a package that is being proposed at this point. And--and hope--when we get to that point, I'm sure we'll have this discussion. Obviously, the president has talked in the past about different revenue raisers, whether it's rolling back certain tax cuts. But we're just not that--at that point in the internal policy discussions quite yet. Go ahead, Alexander--Alexandria. I was looking at you, sorry. Go ahead. Go ahead. QUESTION: Okay, great. PSAKI: Go ahead, Francesca. QUESTION: Two more--two more questions for you and then I'm--and then I'll be done. So, early this week, Secretary Blinken a call with Juan Guido, who the U.S. recognizes as the interim president of Venezuela. PSAKI: Um-hmm. QUESTION: President Biden has not yet made such a call. I know you've said that he has a long list of foreign leaders that he'd like to call. PSAKI: He does. QUESTION: But at what point do you think that he might give Juan Guaido a ring? PSAKI: I just don't have anything to predict for you. And I will say, having served at the State Department before, sometimes a call from the secretary of state is a pre---happens before a call from the president, not always. But I don't have a list of his upcoming calls planned for foreign leaders. QUESTION: Okay. And the other one was I wanted to ask about a campaign pledge that President Biden made. During the campaign, he said that he would direct $70 billion to HBCUs. So, I was wondering if you could provide an update on that. Is there any executive orders or legislation in the works that would address that issue? PSAKI: He--he remains committed to supporting HBCUs and supporting them financially. But I don't have anything to preview for you in terms of policy. We are only 40 days--41 days in, a lot more policymaking and executive order doing--well, some executive order doing to--to be done. Go ahead and we'll--then we'll come back to you. Jeremy, go ahead. QUESTION: Jen, a number of state legislatures are advancing legislation seen as imposing additional restrictions on transgender youth, including those that would inhibit their ability to participate in sports and access transition related care. One such bill is on its way to the governor of Mississippi's desk, if not signed already. Has the president expressed any kind--any concern about these--these bills in the state legislatures? PSAKI: I would just say that the president--president's view is maybe not well-known, but let me restate it--state it here. I'm not aware of discussions directly with state legislatures--state legislators. If he had had those discussions, you might--might would likely know, I should say. But the president believes that trans rights are human rights and that no one should be discriminated on the basis of sex. Not only is this a lot of the land, it's his own deeply held view. The antidiscrimination executive order the president signed is focused on children being able to learn without worrying about whether they will be discriminated against. And this means not being denied access to the restroom, the locker room, or school sports. And him signing an executive order sends a pretty clear message to state legislators, to lawmakers, about where he stands on this issue and what his position is as president. Okay. QUESTION: I mean, if you want to take it. PSAKI: We'll do--we'll do two more. It's a Friday, okay. And then Jeremy can wrap us up. Go ahead. QUESTION: Okay. Thank you. Two questions about New York Governor Andrew Cuomo. PSAKI: Um-hmm. QUESTION: The first is I just want--wanted to know if the White House had any sort of reaction to these twin reports in the Wall Street Journal and the New York Times that aides to Governor Cuomo had altered the report on nursing home deaths to hide a higher death toll. PSAKI: We've certainly seen those reports. Obviously, they're troubling. And we certainly was support any outside investigation, but those wouldn't be determinations made by us. QUESTION: Okay. And on the other controversy that Governor Cuomo is facing, the third accuser did a long interview on--on CBS News last night. I'm wondering if the vice president or the president watched it or heard about it. PSAKI: I'm not aware of them watching it. They--they obviously both have a full schedule we keep them too. Of course, as I've noted in here before, but it's--I--I--I welcome the opportunity to repeat-- QUESTION: --Well, so it--I guess my question is, in 2017, when then Senator Kamala Harris was calling on Senator Al Franken to resign for similar issues, she tweeted, and I quote, "Sexual harassment and misconduct should not be allowed by anyone and should not occur anywhere." So, you know, what does it say to women like Charlotte Bennett when the vice president of the United States will comment about that but won't say the same thing about these allegations against Governor Cuomo? PSAKI: Well, I think the vice president's view is that she believes all women should be treated with respect. Their voices should be heard. They should tell their story. There's an independent investigation that is happening now being overseen by the New York attorney general. And she certainly supports that. And hopefully, all of the individuals who have come out should--it see that as her point of view and one that I'm happy to reiterate on her behalf. QUESTION: So, why won't she say that? PSAKI: Again, I think I'm--I'm speaking on her behalf. This is the White House. That's the benefit of doing this briefing every day. Go ahead, Jeremy. QUESTION: Thanks, Jen. Just a couple more in the COVID bill. Since the president propose that $1.9 trillion package. The national picture has changed in a few significant ways. This Jobs Report today shows the economy is recovering at a faster pace than anticipated. About 16 percent of Americans have now received at least one dose of the vaccine and yet the president hasn't budged off that $1.9 trillion topline. Is he reconsidering that big number in light of these recent developments? PSAKI: Well, at the same time, 4 million Americans have been unemployed for more than six months. African--the rate of unemployment among African Americans is 9.9 percent, 8.5 percent among Hispanics. Without this package, 9.5 million people are out of work. At this rate, we would not hit the pre-pandemic unemployment rate for two years. If that's satisfying to republicans in Congress, then certainly they can speak for themselves. But, the president believes and economists believe and experts believe that in order to get this pandemic under control, in order to get people back to work, we need an infusion of this size package because the twin crisis we're facing, that's what would meet the moment. QUESTION: And, in terms of bipartisanship, obviously there are a few Republican senators who are still considering how to vote on this package. Senator Lisa Murkowski, the chief among them in terms of somebody who might support this bill. So, how much of a priority is it for the president try to and win over at least one of these Republican senators? And how much time and energy is he planning to put into that effort? PSAKI: Well, the president remains deeply engaged in getting us across the finish line. He takes nothing for granted and I fully expect him to be on the phone through the course of the weekend with Democrats and Republicans as needed, just answering questions they have, addressing needs they have. Obviously, he had a number of people to the Oval Office just this week. So, he takes-- QUESTION: --How much of a priority is it for him to get at least one Republican senator to support this bill? PSAKI: Well, I think the president's measure of success here is whether we get the package through so we can deliver relief to the American people and we welcome the support of Republicans in--in the Senate. We're open to answering questions, to addressing concerns they have, but at the end of the day, our focus and the president's priority is on ensuring that almost 160 million people receive direct checks that we are providing money to schools. By the way, polling this morning showed the majority of people supported that across the country so that they can reopen and that we are ensuring we can get vaccines in the arms of Americans. We're still in the middle of a crisis. We're still in the middle of a war with the pandemic and we welcomes their support, but his focus is on the American people. Thanks, everyone.
WHITE HOUSE BRIEFING WITH JEN PSAKI - ROBO HEAD ON
FS36 WH BRFG HEAD ON ROBO 1230 CBS POOL WHITE HOUSE BRIEFING WITH JEN PSAKI PSAKI: Hi everyone, okay, what's going on around here? I have a couple of items for all of you at the top. Obviously, today is jobs day. With today's jobs report showing--show--while it shows some progress, it also shows the long road ahead. Right now, there are 9.5 million fewer jobs than at this time last year. This is a larger jobs whole than at any point in the great recession. At this month's pace, it will take us more than two years to get to pre-pandemic employment levels and will take even longer at the average pace over the last three months. This is unacceptable and it's unacceptable when 4 million Americans have been unemployed for more than 6 months or when un--unemployment is at 9.9 percent for African Americans and 8.5 percent for Hispanics. Congress must pass the American Rescue Plan now so we can get Americans back to work and so we can get relief to the millions of people who are struggling. As you know, this afternoon the president and the vice president will receive their weekly economic briefing with Treasury Secretary Yellen, Chair of the Economic--Chair of the Council of Economic Advisers, Cecilia Rouse, newly confirmed, National Economic Council Director Brian Deese, and Chief Economic Advisor to the vice president, Mike Pyle. The economic team will provide an update on the jobs report released today, along with an update on unemployment by race and female participation in the workforce. Afterward, the president will participate in a roundtable with individuals who will benefit from receiving relief checks, thanks to the American Rescue Plan. As you may have also seen yesterday, or may not have there's a lot going on, so that's why I wanted to shout this out, senior White House officials hosted a virtual listening session with Asian American and Pacific Islander advocates and community leaders from across the country to discuss the increasing rates of anti-Asian harassment and violence. The president is committed to ending anti-Asian violence and bias and he's made clear that is the policy of this administration to condemn and combat xenophobia against Asian Americans wherever it exists. In a week one presidential memorandum President Biden charged the Department of Justice with partnering with Asian American communities to prevent and better collect data on hate crimes against Asian American communities. Last but certainly not least, we have a week ahead. On Monday, the president will sign two executive orders to advance gender equity and opportunity for women. He will also visit a veteran's vaccination center with Secretary of Veterans Affairs Denis McDonough. On Tuesday, he will visit a small business that has benefited from a Paycheck Protection Program loan. On Wednesday, the President will travel to Baltimore, Maryland, for an event with the CEOs of Johnson and Johnson and Merck at Emergent Bio Solutions. And on Thursday, the president will deliver remarks on the anniversary of the COVID-19 shutdown. With that, Alex, why don't you kick us off. QUESTION: Thanks. So we're 45 days into the Biden presidency and he has yet to hold a presser. At this point in past presidencies, every president, you know, from Reagan had addressed reporters, some of them multiple times. So why the delay and when can we expect the president to hold a press conference? PSAKI: Well, first, as all of you know, the president takes questions several times a week. He took questions actually twice yesterday, which is an opportunity for the people covering the White House to ask him about whatever news is happening on any given day. We look forward to holding a full press conference in the coming weeks before the end of the month. And we're working on setting a final date for that. And as soon as we do, we will let you all know. But this president came in, during a historic crisis, two historic crises, a pandemic like the country had not seen in decades and decades, and an economic downturn that left 10--10 million people out of work. So I think the American people would certainly understand if his focus and his energy and his attention has been on ensuring we secure enough vaccines to vaccinate all Americans, which we will do by the end of May, and in pushing for a rescue plan that will provide direct checks to almost 160 million Americans. That's where his time energy--his focus has been. But in the meantime, he takes questions multiple times a week and looks forward to continuing to do that. And as soon as we have a press conference set, we'll let you know. QUESTION: Sure. Those sprays, though, are not an ideal forum for us to be asking questions. He can't hear us half the time. We get maybe two questions and then we're shuffled out. So why hasn't he answered questions from the press at this point? Is it just that he's too busy? PSAKI: I think he's answered questions. I believe the count is almost 40 times. So--and I would say that his focus, again, is on getting recovery and relief to the American people. And he looks forward to continuing to engage with all of you and to members of the--other members of the media who aren't here today. And we'll look forward to letting you know as soon as that press conference is set. QUESTION: And then, on the AUMF, can you talk a little bit about how the president sees I wanted to quote your--you talked about the establishing a new, "narrow and specific framework for new AUMF." How does he see those contours? And what's his response to somebody like Tim Kaine who said that the president should have to consult Congress on something like the strike in Syria last week? PSAKI: Well, let me take your--there's a couple of questions in there, so let me see if I can address them all. First, we did consult and notify the Gang of Eight, which is a very appropriate approach, as well as--which of course represents many committee heads and leaders. We then had ongoing consultations with--and briefings with members following the strikes, including classified briefings which we offered quite broadly from the administration. We are quite confident, because we had a full legal review and process in both our domestic and legal and international authorities and conducting those strikes. And the president has been, obviously, a close ally, and partner with Senator Kaine on a number of initiatives in the past. He agrees that the AUMF is 20 years--has been around for 20 years, and it's long overdue for it to be updated. What our announcement was, or what our statement reference was a reference to, I should say, is an openness to having a conversation about what the scope of the narrow and specific framework should look like moving forward. So we want to have those discussions. And of course, this will happen, most of them privately, and then we'll look forward to sharing with all of you what the outcome is. QUESTION: Sure. And then one more on the jobs numbers, one number that economists have highlighted as persistently problematic is the labor force participation rates. It remains low, sort of, consistently. What is the administration's plan in dealing with that and getting more people (INAUDIBLE) PSAKI: Well, you're--you're absolutely right. And Jerome Powell actually spoke to this. Just for others reference, which I'm sure you're tracking. But--and--and the concern that the labor force participation rate may not--may mean that it may--the unemployment rate may not accurately depict the number of people who are out of work. And obviously, the 9.9 percent unemployment rate for African Americans is a good example of a reflection of that. You know, we are taking a across the board approach to ensuring we are helping people get back to work and get through this difficult period of time. Part of that, of course, is getting the American Rescue Plan passed, to get people the relief and support they need as a bridge for this period of time. But the president has also talked about many components of his build back better agenda, which we look forward to speaking to and in the--in the future after we get the American Rescue Plan passed and the relief into the arms of Americans. And he believes there are a number of additional ways that we can help put Americans back to work including good clean paying infrastructure--clean paying--well paying, I should say sorry, it's a Friday, well-paying infrastructure jobs that are good union jobs. He believes there are many industries of the future that can help put more people back to work. But I will note one interesting--interesting and actually very troubling statistic, per our economic team. I'm not an economist, as you all know, but this is their analysis is that more than 69,000 educators were laid off. And so certainly, part of our objective to here with pushing for the American Rescue Plan is also getting relief out to schools who want to reopen and bringing teachers back, ensuring that teachers can be employed for the long term and can ensure they're a smaller class sizes. This is also part of what that package will help address. Go ahead. QUESTION: Thanks, Jen. Does the president have any thoughts on filibuster, the so called filibuster, especially now that some more moderate Democrats are now saying that they would like to see some filibuster reform? PSAKI: His view and his position hasn't changed. QUESTION: Even though some people say that that could affect your agenda that you couldn't get some of those bigger bills through? PSAKI: Well, look, the president believes that infrastructure, just to keep with the theme, it is not infrastructure week, but he did just have the meeting yesterday, that infrastructure is a policy and a proposal he's long been a supporter of, as have Democrats and Republicans in the past. Even look at immigration reform. Immigration reform is an issue that many Republicans and Democrats in the--who are elected have--have said and have supported in the past the private sector has supported. He's a believer that--that there is a path and a way forward for Democrats and Republicans to certainly work together. And he's--and he's hopeful there's an opportunity to do exactly that. QUESTION: I know you're focused on the stimulus bill today, but is there a tentative plan for when we would see an infrastructure plan from the president? PSAKI: Again, as we--as we've said in the past, and you gave me a little bit of an opening for this, but our focus is fully on the American Rescue Plan. We look forward to the president signing that into law to relief and to checks going out to the American people, to funding going to schools to the--so they--they can reopen, to more funding going out to get more vaccines in the arms of Americans. And his agenda and his priorities are not a secret, especially for those of you who covered the campaign. He talked about everything from infrastructure to doing more for caregiving to doing more to help expand access to healthcare, doing more to address the tax system. Those are all components that are certainly under discussion, but we'll have more to say in the weeks ahead. Go ahead. QUESTION: Thank you, Jen. The White House Chief of Staff, Ron Klain, pointing out this morning that at the pace of today's jobs report, it would take until April 2023 to get back to pre-pandemic economic levels. So, how much quicker does the White House believe the economy can recover to those levels with this $1.9 trillion package? How many more months or years does this buy? PSAKI: Well, don't take it from us. Take it from outside economists. An independent analysis shows that passing the rescue plan will create 7.5 million jobs in 2021 alone, and get our economy back to full employment--will help create those, I should say, help get our economy back to full employment when you're faster. So, it certainly will help expedite this effort and put more people back to work and--and pull as far ahead of that to your timeline that Ron Klain outlined. QUESTION: Then just on some of the compromises that we're seeing coming out of the Senate, the president agreed to limit eligibility for the stimulus checks. He is also now allowing these unemployment checks to be lowered from $400 to $300 a month even though, of course, there is an extension there until September. But it seems like a lot of these compromises are tailored to the more moderate elements of the Democratic Caucus. Is the president concerned at all about losing progressives once this bill goes back to the House? And is there anything that he's looking to do to cater to some of those more progressive demands? PSAKI: Well, this is an incredibly progressive bill, and I'm happy to outline some specifics on that since you gave me the opportunity. But one additional piece just on the UI compromise, as you mentioned, by eliminating the first $10,200 of UI benefits from taxation for 2020 combined with, of course, this--the extension through September, this amendment would provide more relief to the unemployed than the current legislation. It's a different person to person, of course, but on average it would provide more relief. So, that sounds pretty progressive to me. But you gave me the opportunity, so I just want to highlight a few of the things, and these are examples of why I think this is a package--we think this is a package that is incredibly appealing to many progressives in the country and certainly should be to all progressives in--in the Congress. It cuts child poverty in half, in large part through a historic expansion of the child tax credit. 66 million kids will benefit from the expansion. It not only extends unem--I already talked about that so I'll skip that--over that. It includes tens of billions of dollars for rental assistance and homeowner's assistance, which will benefit lower income disproportionately black and brown renters and homeowners; includes money, as you know, to get shots back and arms so that kids can go back to school. Reopening schools and schools being closed is--has a disproportionate impact on lower income communities. Those are progressive proposals, progressive ideas, and a $1.9 trillion package is certainly a--a progressive sized package. And so, we are certainly confident--hopeful and confident that we will--we will be able to get support in the House. QUESTION: And then on--on the border-- PSAKI: --Um-hmm-- QUESTION: --could you provide any more details about the trip planned by senior members of the president's team to the border? Who's going? Any more details you can offer on that? PSAKI: Sure. Well, I--again, as I like to say, there's a lot going on. So, to catch people up who aren't following exactly what you're following, President Biden has asked senior members of his team to travel to the border region in order to provide a full briefing to him on the government response to the influx of unaccompanied minors and an assessment of additional steps that can be taken to ensure the safety and care of these children. Out of safety, security, and privacy concerns, the date and time of this visit will remain confidential. But the White House and--for now, but we will provide a full readout of the visit once a concludes. QUESTION: So, no details on who's going from the president's team? PSAKI: I--I--I don't anticipate--we certainly will have those details to share with all of you once a visit occurs. But I'm not--I don't anticipate us doing that in advance. QUESTION: I--I wonder, you know, given some of the president's rhetoric on the campaign trail and as president and some of the policies that he instituted, including rolling back some of the immigration policies of the Trump era. Is--is he concerned at all that some of his rhetoric and some of his policies may have, as well-intentioned as they may have been, inadvertently contributed to the rise in migrants that we're seeing at the border, in particular unaccompanied children? And it does he have any intention to more forcefully tell those individuals that now is not the time to come, as the secretary of Homeland Security said last week? PSAKI: Sure. And--and as the secretary also said last week--with that last week? It feels--I'm not sure. QUESTION: Maybe it was this week. PSAKI: I don't know. It may have been this week. The--as the secretary said, this is a--a message we're conveying with every opportunity, from the president, the vice president, from officials in the region, and we're doing that with the full support, of course, the Department of Homeland Security and resources that we have available. I will say that--that the big difference, which we certainly understand the outcome, may be an influx, as we've seen, of more children. If you are kicking children out of--there's naturally, by design, I'm no mathematician, but going to be more children who come in, because we believe that policy was inhumane. And we believe that children who are under the age of 18 should be treated with humanity and--and provided safety while we consider what the process is moving forward. So, we certainly have a different approach. We understand the outcome and the impact of that. But we are using every tool at our disposal, and we will use every official we can to convey clearly this is not the time to come. Fam--the majority of people who come are turned away, families, adults. We're really talking about children, which is I know what you are referencing. QUESTION: But you--but you do believe that there may be--that part of that rise is due to some of your policies and--and rhetoric of this administration. PSAKI: I certainly didn't say that exactly. But all I'm conveying is that obviously we're going to have more kids across--in the country since we have been letting unaccompanied minors stay, and the last administration immorally kick them out, in our view. So, go ahead. QUESTION: Jen, thank you. To follow up on a question I asked about these minors yesterday, Reuters is now reporting that Fort Lee is going to be used as a housing facility for some of these minors in Virginia. Can you confirm whether that's true and if you are considering other military bases around the country? PSAKI: Well, as--as we've been--just been talking about, obviously we recognize the challenge of having these unaccompanied children come across the border and the influx that we are certainly preparing for and--and preparing to approach. So, of course we have to look for facilities and places where we can safely and humanely have these unaccompanied minors in the interim. That would be the decision of HHS, so I would send you to them. I don't have anything to confirm in terms of additional facilities at this point. QUESTION: Got it. And I guess just to follow up on Jeremy, I think--well, I don't want to speak for him, but a lot of Americans are saying that, you know, the searches are happening under President Biden's watch after he reversed some previous policies. So, does the administration take any accountability for what's happening? PSAKI: Who are the Americans? QUESTION: Well, I know you don't want answered him, but the former president just released a statement saying that the Biden administration must act immediately to end the border nightmare that they have unleashed on to our nation. PSAKI: Former President Trump? QUESTION: Yes. PSAKI: We don't take our advice or counsel from former President Trump on immigration policy, which was not only inhumane but ineffective over the last four years. We're going to chart our own path forward, and that includes treating children with humanity and respect and ensuring they're safe when they cross our borders. Go ahead. QUESTION: Oh, can I ask you-- PSAKI: --Oh, go ahead-- QUESTION: --about vaccines? Sorry. So, the mayor of Detroit has turned away thousands of doses of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine. Do you think that Mayor Duggan is making a mistake? And what is the message to other state and local leaders who might be considering doing the same? PSAKI: Well, our message broadly is what our health and medical experts have conveyed, Dr. Fauci and all of our COVID team. There are three approved vaccines from the FDA. They all are safe. They are effective. They prevent severe disease and death. So, anyone who is going to--anyone should take--everyone in this country, I should say, should take whatever vaccine that have access to. As I understand it, the mayor was going to--our team has been in touch with the mayor. There was a bit of a misunderstanding. He was going to go out and speak publicly about accepting vaccines. So, I would--I'm not sure if that's happened yet, so I'd certainly point you to that. QUESTION: Thank you. PSAKI: Sure. Go ahead. QUESTION: Thank you, Jen. Are there any discussions within the White House about reversing the policy of allowing all unaccompanied children into the United States? PSAKI: No. None at all. QUESTION: So, I--I guess is the plan then to take in and safely and humanely find a home for an unlimited number of unaccompanied children? PSAKI: I--I think this issue requires us taking a step back as human beings and as mothers, of which I am one. I know there are many in the room, are many at home. These kids are coming. They are fleeing prosecution. They are fleeing difficult circumstances in their home country. When they come here, all we're talking about here is ensuring that they are treated(PH) safely, they are not trafficked, they are not sent back on a unsafe journey. PSAKI: That's what we're talking about. When they come--when these kids come in, it doesn't mean they are ensured that they get to stay. They go through the processing system that everyone goes through. But, we want to ensure that that is done by treating them humanely and--and with respect. Many of them will be sent back home eventually, but we're talking about how we treat them as they come in the country. QUESTION: Well, and I'm a mom, too, so I certainly feel for all of these children that are fleeing very difficult situations in their homes to come here. But, you know, the fact remains you have DHS projecting 117,000 unaccompanied minors by May and, you know, that brings me to another question. You know, a lot of these numbers and this data, they're all coming from leaked documents from DHS, from HHS-- PSAKI: --Yeah-- QUESTION: Why doesn't the White House just release these numbers? I mean, don't the American people deserve to get the data straight from you and straight from the White House? PSAKI: Data projected numbers and internal documents for policy discussions? QUESTION: Data about how many unaccompanied children and migrants are crossing the border on a daily basis. I understand eventually it's made public, but why not right now-- PSAKI: --It is--it is made public by the Department of Homeland Security and the officials who oversee the entire process. It is made public. But we don't, as a policy--we don't, as a policy, make public or confirm private decks and policy documents, as--as no administration would. QUESTION: I understand. So, can you confirm how many illegal border crossings there are on average every day right now? PSAKI: I would send you to the Department of Homeland Security and CBP who, of course, would be overseeing that process. QUESTION: Okay, and one more question on immigration. House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, he's requesting a meeting with President Biden about this issue. He's also asking President Biden to acknowledge the crisis. Will President Biden take that meeting and--and I'll ask it again, will he acknowledge that there's a crisis? PSAKI: Well, first, the president and this administration's focus is on digging out of the dismantled and inhumane immigration approach of the last administration and that's why the president has proposed an immigration bill that would not only address the root causes that Leader McCarthy referenced in his letter, but would move beyond the policy of funding ineffective border walls by investing in smart security at ports of entry and would also create a pathway to citizenship. And we would welcome the openness or desire to engage on that from the leader or any Democrat or Republican who wants to have a conversation about a constructive path forward. Go ahead. QUESTION: A couple of follow ups if I can. First, on the AUMF discussion. So, right now, there are two active AUMFs from 2001 to 2002. The President is in favor of replacing both of them? With one? With two? What does that look like? PSAKI: He wants to discuss a narrow and specific framework moving forward. Obviously, it's outdated. You know, those are 19 and 18 years old and that's the discussion he hopes to have in partnership and with the leadership of Senator Kaine and determine what the approach and framework should be as we look ahead. QUESTION: Would that then--in moving forward, looking at sort of the Syria air strike, for instance, would he have to go to Congress moving forward if he wanted to border another military engagement like that? PSAKI: Well, in that, the Syria air strikes were, of course--and we had a whole legal process and review and we're confident in the legal authorities for that strike and they were the self-defense of U.S. military personnel who were threatened overseas. So, you know, I will leave it to the discussion of the framework moving forward, but I would say that we are confident in both our approach and the authorities we had for those strikes. QUESTION: And, one on infrastructure if I can. PSAKI: --Go ahead-- QUESTION: I know you're focused on the COVID bill, but, you know, when the American Rescue Plan was first introduced, President Biden was very encouraged that it would be bipartisan support for it. It does not appear that there will be any bipartisan support for it. Republicans haven't voted for it yet. What is the level of confidence, then, on the next big legislative agenda item, like infrastructure? Were there lessons learned and sort of the engagement of a breach on it? I'm sort of curious what that would look like. PSAKI: Well first, bipartisanship is not determined by a single zip code in Washington DC. It's about where the American people sit and stand and the vast majority of the American people support the American Rescue Plan, including Republicans. And so I think really the question is, why are Republicans in Congress who aren't supporting this package outliers in where the American public is in moving this forward? And, on infrastructure, certainly I don't have this in front of me, but I'm sure you all have lots of research assistants who can look at who has supported infrastructure in the past. And many--many have spoken to their support for infrastructure packages. Many have--Republicans, of course, and Democrats, many have discussed it with the president. And, so we're certainly hopeful and confident that repairing roads, rails, and bridges, doing better by our caregivers, you know, taking--reforming our outdated tax systems are steps, and anything else that was in the Build Back Better agenda. A lot of those pieces are pieces there's been bipartisan support for in the past. Go ahead, (INAUDIBLE). QUESTION: I think we would all love research assistants, by the way. PSAKI: Well, some of you do. You can--you can steal them from other--it could be, like, a sharing of resources. QUESTION: Indeed. But, I did want to circle back to the top. You mentioned that the president next week will sign a series of gender equity or gender equality executive orders. If you could say a little bit more at this time about those and relatedly, in the stimulus package, he proposed 14 weeks of paid family leave, but that was temporary and would expire in September. So, is that something that he would like to see Congress tackle legislatively? PSAKI: Sure. On the first, I will preview for you. We will have a special guest or two here on Monday to talk about these executive orders and I expect we'll have a briefing call this weekend, so I'm not going to get ahead of it beyond that. But, we're looking forward to talking more about it. And, on the second one, say that one more time. QUESTION: So, in the relief package, he proposed 14 more--at least 14 weeks of paid leave-- PSAKI: --Yes-- QUESTION: --but that was temporary. It would expire in September. So, what I'm asking is, is that something he would like to see Congress make permanent and address in future legislation? PSAKI: Well, we have, of course, this is just the beginning of our administration. He's talked in the past about his commitment to paid leave and feels it's an important component of ensuring there are--there is a diverse workforce, a workforce that is--has gender equity and racial equity and it's an important component of that. We don't know what next vehicles might look like, so it's a topic and policy he remains committed to, but I'm not going to get ahead of where we are in the policymaking process. QUESTION: Staying on the stimulus package for a moment, the minimum wage, it won't be in there at this point as we saw a little bit earlier on Capitol Hill. Senator Sanders was speaking to reporters and he said, "If anybody thinks we're going--we're giving up on this issue, they are surely mistaken. If we have to vote on it time and time again, we will and we're going to succeed." So, doe the president want to see democrats vigorously pursue a minimum wage increase? And, as we talk about what you'd like to see in the future, is this something that he'd like to see the House and the Senate take up immediately after negotiations on the stimulus package conclude? PSAKI: Well, first, we agree with Senator Sanders and the president is going to be standing right alongside him, fighting for an increase in the minimum wage to $15 an hour, because men and women who are working hard to make ends meet shouldn't be living at the poverty level. And he will use his political capital to get that done. I don't have anything to preview for you in terms of the order or the timeline. But it remains a priority and it is something that the president would like to get done and will use his capital to do. I'll also add, just you didn't ask this, but there's been a little bit of a rumor mill, so I'm just going to address it. You know, right now, as you know, we're focused on the American Rescue Plan and getting it through Congress and the president and his team are not engaged in conversations or negotiations about lowering the threshold for the minimum wage, just to be crystal clear on that. Go ahead. QUESTION: Thank you, Jen. So, just following up on (INAUDIBLE) question, how will the president work to use his political capital to increase the minimum wage if it right now doesn't seem to get the votes in the Senate and he is not on board with abolishing the filibuster? PSAKI: Well look, there are--he has an ambitious agenda moving forward that includes a number of proposals that there's bipartisan support for and he is going to look--he's going to work with Democrats and Republicans who are open to it to discussing how we move forward. But, I don't have anything to preview for you about the legislative strategy for an initiative that is after the American Rescue Plan. QUESTION: Just one more question from another reporter who couldn't be here. PSAKI: Go ahead. QUESTION: What advice is the president receiving by his COVID team in regards to ongoing travel bans and when would the president like to see them lifted? PSAKI: He relies on the advice and decision making of his health and medical team and experts, including the CDC. So, he'll wait for them to make any decision about future lifting of those guidelines. Go ahead, Trevor. QUESTION: Hi, just a couple on technology. You have a statement out from Jake Sullivan last night on the Microsoft related breach. I'm just curious if that affected any government computer, departments, agencies, and any more color if you could elaborate. PSAKI: Sure. This isn't--and for anyone who didn't see, National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan's tweet last night, he spoke to the Microsoft breach that's been reported. But, this is a significant vulnerability that could have far reaching impacts. First and foremost, this is an active threat and as the national security advisor tweeted last night, everyone running these servers, government and private sector, academia, needs to act now to patch them. We are concerned that there are a large of victims and are working with our partners to understand the scope of this, so it's an ongoing process, Trevor, I would say. Network owners also need to consider whether they have been compromised and should immediately take appropriate steps. The Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency issued an emergency directive to agencies and we're now looking closely at the next steps we need to take. It's still developing. We urge network operators to take it very seriously, but I don't have any other readouts beyond that. QUESTION: Okay, just as far as any color around whether the government itself was impacted by this. PSAKI: I think I conveyed there clearly that what he was--what--what National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan has conveyed and why he put this message out publicly was that this is an ongoing threat and he was encouraging patches to be done across, as he said, government, private sector, academia, and we're still looking closely at what happened and the next steps that need to be taken. QUESTION: Okay. And then I just wanted to ask about Tim Wu. PSAKI: Sure. QUESTION: Who you announced hiring today. He has very publicly advocated for breaking up big tech companies like Facebook. That's--those are the kinds of issues he's going to be advising President Biden on. Is that now White House policy? And, you know, what is--what is he going to be doing with regard to the FTC and the DOJ and what they're already doing on--on those big tech companies? PSAKI: Well, first, it's been reported, but Tim Wu will serve at the NAC as the Special Assistant to the President for Technology and Competition Policy. He was recently a professor at Columbia University Law School. He previously served as senior enforcement counsel to the New York attorney general and as a senior advisor at the FTC. He brings, as you noted, in some way, different--different words, but a wealth of knowledge and experience about technology and competition policy that will help ensure President Biden's economic agenda supports working families, strengthens the middle class, and protects consumers. You know, the president has been clear on the campaign, probably more recently, that he stands up to the abuse of power. And that includes the abuse of power from big technology companies and their executives. And Tim will help advance the president's agenda, which includes addressing the economic and social challenges posed by the growing power of tech platforms, promoting competition and addressing monopoly and market power issues, expanding access to broadband for low income and rural communities across the country, but his hiring as a reflection of the value of his expertise. If--if the administration policy was determined by every person that would be--was hired, we would have 400 different policies in each issues. You know, the president welcomes expertise, he welcomes experience and Tim Wu certainly brings that in droves. QUESTION: Okay, because Biden has--has never publicly talked about breaking up big tech companies. So I just wanted to clarify, is that the policy of this White House? PSAKI: We don't have new policy to announce here, Trevor, just that the president believes, as he's talked about before, that it's important to promote competition and address monopoly and market power issues. But he--we don't have a new policy to announce. We're six weeks into an administration, but certainly we welcome the expertise of individuals like Tim Wu. Go ahead. Go ahead. QUESTION: Thank you. PSAKI: Oh, sorry. We can go to both of you. We're not in a rush. Go ahead. QUESTION: Okay, thanks. Given the many questions about the transparency of the World Health Organization's COVID investigation of Wuhan, is there a--is there a point at which the president who made such priority putting U.S. back into the WHO will say we're getting fed up and actually go back a little bit towards former president's position, which was that the WHO was, you know, basically useless for the United States? PSAKI: Well, I would actually say that we're gratified that the WHO has determined to hold on releasing an interim report and to the origins of COVID. That was a positive step, which was taken in part because of our involvement and engagement. In recent weeks, we have spoken with many international allies and partners who shared our concern about the ways in which early findings of the investigation were, you know, had shared the same concerns, we feel this is an encouraging sign that us reengagement is already having a positive impact. And we join--rejoined the World Health Organization on the first day of the Biden administration so that the United States could once again lead in an international forum. QUESTION: So the president is satisfied with the way the whole report work is going ahead right now? PSAKI: No, it's not. It's not. They're holding on it. QUESTION: Right. So he's--he's--is he satisfied or not with that? PSAKI: I would say he is--feels it's a positive sign, as I just said, because they're not releasing a report where we express concerns about the origin of the data, the lack of transparency, and that we felt it would send a negative message about, not a negative message, I should say, kind of the inaccurate message about the origins of the pandemic. And that engagement, that outcome was in part because of our engagement. QUESTION: So when they put the whole thing out in the middle of March, what they're saying, is he confident that that's going to be the real deal? PSAKI: We'll look at the data and the report. We have--we have long said we'd like to see the underlying data. But again, we--we feel the hold on releasing the interim report was--we were gratified by that step that was taken. Go ahead in the back. QUESTION: Thank you, Jen. Last week, you very kindly confirmed the president's very good relationship with Pope Francis. Today, the pope is in Middle East and has a meeting coming up with the Ayatollah al-Sistani, someone by the way, who's never met with an American official before. And my question is, does the president have any feelings about the Pope's meeting with the Ayatollah and his effort to push forward with a vision in that troubled part of the world for unity and warm relations between Shia, Sunni, and Christian? PSAKI: Well, I have not spoken with the president about his personal feelings about the meeting that they have today. As you know, broadly speaking, the president believes that the path forward is diplomacy, should always be led by diplomacy. But I don't have the details of their meeting, or--or I'm sure they may do a readout of sorts. And if so, we're happy to give a comment on it. QUESTION: The other thing is that, as of March 1st, the Congress has not invited the president to deliver the State of the Union address, meaning he is so far gone the longest of any president in his first year without confirming a date for the State of the Union, with the exception of President Nixon in 1969. PSAKI: A little bit of history. I like it. QUESTION: And--who gave no address and waited until the following year. Is he going to follow that example, or should we expect an invitation soon on the State of the Union? PSAKI: Well, first, for clarity purposes, and I know this wasn't your intention, but there's not--it's not a snubbing happening here. We are in the middle of a global pandemic. And of course, any joint session speech would--would look different than--than the past. We certainly intend on the president delivering a joint session, a speech joint session, not a State of the Union in the first year that they are in office. But we don't have a date for that or timeline at this point in time. And we've been engaged closely with leaders in Congress about determining that. QUESTION: Okay. Do we expect an announcement soon on that or-- PSAKI: --Well, we'll see. We're still--we're in discussions. We're working with them. And as soon as it's finalized, we're happy to share that with all of you. QUESTION: One final question. The Turkish publication, Duvar English, cited a Turkish businessman, I believe his name is, and I'm--I hope I'm pronouncing it right, Agdim El Tapim (PH), who said he is a friend of the Biden family and he's hosted one of the President's brothers on a vacation. It's interesting that the president in all his calls to world leader has not called President Erdogan yet. Does he plan to make the call like that or is he going to operate with backchannels to Ankara? PSAKI: I'm not familiar with this individual or--or this engagement. But I certainly--the president has many global leaders, world leaders he still needs to call, and he will venture to do that in the--in the coming weeks and months. QUESTION: So he will call President Erdogan? PSAKI: I'm sure at some point. Go ahead. QUESTION: Yeah. Jen, the House has sent the LGBTQ Equality Act to the Senate where it will be one of several bills that faces an uncertain future. Will the President reach out to lawmakers on equality act? PSAKI: It certainly is a piece of legislation the president supports, as you all know, and he discusses a range of his priorities with members of Congress, the House and the Senate. And I'm certain, when given the opportunity, he will advocate for the passing. QUESTION: And I know you've been asked about the legislative filibuster in this briefing already, but I would like to address it as it pertains to this specific bill. Isn't there a reasonable expectation that if the president strongly supports this bill that you would want to welcome the filibuster to see it get to his desk? PSAKI: The--the president's position hasn't changed. He looks forward to advocating for the passage of legislation that he supports and working with Democrats and Republicans to get that done. QUESTION: And finally, who at the White House is coordinating the--the approach to the Equality Act? PSAKI: Well, certainly our legislative team approaches--oversees the approach to any piece of legislation working its way through Congress, but they tap into resources across the building, as--as--as would be expected. QUESTION: But is there, like, one person who is specifically charged with focusing on-- PSAKI: --On Legislative Team. We--we just don't read out specific staffing responsibilities publicly. But I can assure you that, with any piece of legislation, there are a range of individuals in the building who are asked to make calls, to write policy, to write talking points, to reach out to outside groups, and it's a--in a coordinated effort internally. Go ahead. QUESTION: I have a question about vaccine diplomacy. Some European countries are turning to Russia and China for COVID-19 vaccine, including Hungary and Slovakia. Do you believe that by offering vaccine supplies, Moscow and Beijing are trying to help or divide Europe? And do you think that such offers should be accepted? PSAKI: Well, we'll leave that to individual European countries to determine. But I would say that we are concerned about the use or the attempted use of vaccines as a means of diplomacy by Russia and China. We, of course, support doing that in a--through an international coordinating body like--like COVAX, which I know is not applicable to every country. And we, of course, want to work directly with countries around the world about how we can support their efforts moving forward. We understand that's challenging at this moment in time because the president's priority is insuring every American is vaccinated. We'll have enough vaccines to do that by the end of May. Then there is, of course, a distribution process after that. But, you know, that remains our priority here, but we look forward to remaining engaged through proper international coordinating bodies and directly with a number of these countries. QUESTION: May I follow up? Aren't you concerned that President Biden's America first vaccine policy actually gives opening to China and Russia and reduces U.S. influence around the world? PSAKI: Well, would first say that we work with European countries and partners, your--Asian countries and partners, countries and partners in South America on a range of priorities and issues, whether it's security, whether it's addressing the threat of climate, whether it is economic partnership and relationships. And we'll continue to do that. We also have conversations about access to COVID--access to vaccines, and we'll continue to do that as well. That's something that comes up in a number of these diplomatic conversations. Right now, as you've noted, our priority in--is--and our focus is on ensuring the American people are vaccinated. And we have to take into account a number of factors, including the fact that we don't know which vaccine works--is most effective with children. That testing is still ongoing. We don't know the most effective as it relates to all the variants. That is still ongoing. But we are very open and we will continue to have those engagements in conversations about how we can assist countries looking for a vaccine supply. QUESTION: One more, a follow-up to President Biden's phone call with European Commission president today. PSAKI: Um-hmm. QUESTION: Have a discussed restoring air travel between Europe and the United States? PSAKI: I know we put a readout of the call out. QUESTION: There's nothing about it in there. PSAKI: I'd have to talk to our National Security Team and see if that's something. If--if it was raised on the other end, we'd leave that to them. I don't think there was any intention of raising that from our end, so they may have more to speak to it from our end--from their end, sorry. Go ahead. QUESTION: Jen-- PSAKI: --Oh, I'm sorry. We--can we go to you first and then we'll come back? Yeah. QUESTION: Thanks, just two questions. First, the president earlier this week gave remarks to the House Democratic Caucus, suggested that the White House under Obama didn't take enough of a victory lap following the 2009 stimulus. I'm wondering if you can just expand on what the White House plans to do differently this time, assuming their rescue package is--is passed in the coming days. PSAKI: Sure. Well, I was here during that period of time, and I would say that any of my colleagues at the time would say that we didn't do enough to explain to the American people what the benefits were of the rescue plan and to--and we didn't do enough to do it in terms that people would be talking about at their dinner tables. And that's one of the reasons we, of course, have been, you know, trying to break down the--the impact of the American Rescue Plan into--into the key components that will impact people directly, the direct checks, you know, ensuring funding gets--funding to help expedite vaccine distribution, and of course reopening of schools. But where--our focus is on getting the package passed. And once it does, we look forward to taking some time, using the president, the vice president, the first lady, the second gentleman to engage with and communicate with the American people about how the package impacts them and--and how they are--how will help them get through this difficult period of time. QUESTION: And then second on infrastructure, Representative DeFazio said after the meeting yesterday that there were discussions about how to pay for an infrastructure package. And I'm just wondering if you can give a little more sense of what was--what was discussed yesterday. PSAKI: I don't have any more details. We--we don't even have a package that is being proposed at this point. And--and hope--when we get to that point, I'm sure we'll have this discussion. Obviously, the president has talked in the past about different revenue raisers, whether it's rolling back certain tax cuts. But we're just not that--at that point in the internal policy discussions quite yet. Go ahead, Alexander--Alexandria. I was looking at you, sorry. Go ahead. Go ahead. QUESTION: Okay, great. PSAKI: Go ahead, Francesca. QUESTION: Two more--two more questions for you and then I'm--and then I'll be done. So, early this week, Secretary Blinken a call with Juan Guido, who the U.S. recognizes as the interim president of Venezuela. PSAKI: Um-hmm. QUESTION: President Biden has not yet made such a call. I know you've said that he has a long list of foreign leaders that he'd like to call. PSAKI: He does. QUESTION: But at what point do you think that he might give Juan Guaido a ring? PSAKI: I just don't have anything to predict for you. And I will say, having served at the State Department before, sometimes a call from the secretary of state is a pre---happens before a call from the president, not always. But I don't have a list of his upcoming calls planned for foreign leaders. QUESTION: Okay. And the other one was I wanted to ask about a campaign pledge that President Biden made. During the campaign, he said that he would direct $70 billion to HBCUs. So, I was wondering if you could provide an update on that. Is there any executive orders or legislation in the works that would address that issue? PSAKI: He--he remains committed to supporting HBCUs and supporting them financially. But I don't have anything to preview for you in terms of policy. We are only 40 days--41 days in, a lot more policymaking and executive order doing--well, some executive order doing to--to be done. Go ahead and we'll--then we'll come back to you. Jeremy, go ahead. QUESTION: Jen, a number of state legislatures are advancing legislation seen as imposing additional restrictions on transgender youth, including those that would inhibit their ability to participate in sports and access transition related care. One such bill is on its way to the governor of Mississippi's desk, if not signed already. Has the president expressed any kind--any concern about these--these bills in the state legislatures? PSAKI: I would just say that the president--president's view is maybe not well-known, but let me restate it--state it here. I'm not aware of discussions directly with state legislatures--state legislators. If he had had those discussions, you might--might would likely know, I should say. But the president believes that trans rights are human rights and that no one should be discriminated on the basis of sex. Not only is this a lot of the land, it's his own deeply held view. The antidiscrimination executive order the president signed is focused on children being able to learn without worrying about whether they will be discriminated against. And this means not being denied access to the restroom, the locker room, or school sports. And him signing an executive order sends a pretty clear message to state legislators, to lawmakers, about where he stands on this issue and what his position is as president. Okay. QUESTION: I mean, if you want to take it. PSAKI: We'll do--we'll do two more. It's a Friday, okay. And then Jeremy can wrap us up. Go ahead. QUESTION: Okay. Thank you. Two questions about New York Governor Andrew Cuomo. PSAKI: Um-hmm. QUESTION: The first is I just want--wanted to know if the White House had any sort of reaction to these twin reports in the Wall Street Journal and the New York Times that aides to Governor Cuomo had altered the report on nursing home deaths to hide a higher death toll. PSAKI: We've certainly seen those reports. Obviously, they're troubling. And we certainly was support any outside investigation, but those wouldn't be determinations made by us. QUESTION: Okay. And on the other controversy that Governor Cuomo is facing, the third accuser did a long interview on--on CBS News last night. I'm wondering if the vice president or the president watched it or heard about it. PSAKI: I'm not aware of them watching it. They--they obviously both have a full schedule we keep them too. Of course, as I've noted in here before, but it's--I--I--I welcome the opportunity to repeat-- QUESTION: --Well, so it--I guess my question is, in 2017, when then Senator Kamala Harris was calling on Senator Al Franken to resign for similar issues, she tweeted, and I quote, "Sexual harassment and misconduct should not be allowed by anyone and should not occur anywhere." So, you know, what does it say to women like Charlotte Bennett when the vice president of the United States will comment about that but won't say the same thing about these allegations against Governor Cuomo? PSAKI: Well, I think the vice president's view is that she believes all women should be treated with respect. Their voices should be heard. They should tell their story. There's an independent investigation that is happening now being overseen by the New York attorney general. And she certainly supports that. And hopefully, all of the individuals who have come out should--it see that as her point of view and one that I'm happy to reiterate on her behalf. QUESTION: So, why won't she say that? PSAKI: Again, I think I'm--I'm speaking on her behalf. This is the White House. That's the benefit of doing this briefing every day. Go ahead, Jeremy. QUESTION: Thanks, Jen. Just a couple more in the COVID bill. Since the president propose that $1.9 trillion package. The national picture has changed in a few significant ways. This Jobs Report today shows the economy is recovering at a faster pace than anticipated. About 16 percent of Americans have now received at least one dose of the vaccine and yet the president hasn't budged off that $1.9 trillion topline. Is he reconsidering that big number in light of these recent developments? PSAKI: Well, at the same time, 4 million Americans have been unemployed for more than six months. African--the rate of unemployment among African Americans is 9.9 percent, 8.5 percent among Hispanics. Without this package, 9.5 million people are out of work. At this rate, we would not hit the pre-pandemic unemployment rate for two years. If that's satisfying to republicans in Congress, then certainly they can speak for themselves. But, the president believes and economists believe and experts believe that in order to get this pandemic under control, in order to get people back to work, we need an infusion of this size package because the twin crisis we're facing, that's what would meet the moment. QUESTION: And, in terms of bipartisanship, obviously there are a few Republican senators who are still considering how to vote on this package. Senator Lisa Murkowski, the chief among them in terms of somebody who might support this bill. So, how much of a priority is it for the president try to and win over at least one of these Republican senators? And how much time and energy is he planning to put into that effort? PSAKI: Well, the president remains deeply engaged in getting us across the finish line. He takes nothing for granted and I fully expect him to be on the phone through the course of the weekend with Democrats and Republicans as needed, just answering questions they have, addressing needs they have. Obviously, he had a number of people to the Oval Office just this week. So, he takes-- QUESTION: --How much of a priority is it for him to get at least one Republican senator to support this bill? PSAKI: Well, I think the president's measure of success here is whether we get the package through so we can deliver relief to the American people and we welcome the support of Republicans in--in the Senate. We're open to answering questions, to addressing concerns they have, but at the end of the day, our focus and the president's priority is on ensuring that almost 160 million people receive direct checks that we are providing money to schools. By the way, polling this morning showed the majority of people supported that across the country so that they can reopen and that we are ensuring we can get vaccines in the arms of Americans. We're still in the middle of a crisis. We're still in the middle of a war with the pandemic and we welcomes their support, but his focus is on the American people. Thanks, everyone.
WHITE HOUSE BRIEFING WITH JEN PSAKI - CUTS
FS24 WH BRFG CUTS POOL 4 1230.01 CBS POOL WHITE HOUSE BRIEFING WITH JEN PSAKI PSAKI: Hi everyone, okay, what's going on around here? I have a couple of items for all of you at the top. Obviously, today is jobs day. With today's jobs report showing--show--while it shows some progress, it also shows the long road ahead. Right now, there are 9.5 million fewer jobs than at this time last year. This is a larger jobs whole than at any point in the great recession. At this month's pace, it will take us more than two years to get to pre-pandemic employment levels and will take even longer at the average pace over the last three months. This is unacceptable and it's unacceptable when 4 million Americans have been unemployed for more than 6 months or when un--unemployment is at 9.9 percent for African Americans and 8.5 percent for Hispanics. Congress must pass the American Rescue Plan now so we can get Americans back to work and so we can get relief to the millions of people who are struggling. As you know, this afternoon the president and the vice president will receive their weekly economic briefing with Treasury Secretary Yellen, Chair of the Economic--Chair of the Council of Economic Advisers, Cecilia Rouse, newly confirmed, National Economic Council Director Brian Deese, and Chief Economic Advisor to the vice president, Mike Pyle. The economic team will provide an update on the jobs report released today, along with an update on unemployment by race and female participation in the workforce. Afterward, the president will participate in a roundtable with individuals who will benefit from receiving relief checks, thanks to the American Rescue Plan. As you may have also seen yesterday, or may not have there's a lot going on, so that's why I wanted to shout this out, senior White House officials hosted a virtual listening session with Asian American and Pacific Islander advocates and community leaders from across the country to discuss the increasing rates of anti-Asian harassment and violence. The president is committed to ending anti-Asian violence and bias and he's made clear that is the policy of this administration to condemn and combat xenophobia against Asian Americans wherever it exists. In a week one presidential memorandum President Biden charged the Department of Justice with partnering with Asian American communities to prevent and better collect data on hate crimes against Asian American communities. Last but certainly not least, we have a week ahead. On Monday, the president will sign two executive orders to advance gender equity and opportunity for women. He will also visit a veteran's vaccination center with Secretary of Veterans Affairs Denis McDonough. On Tuesday, he will visit a small business that has benefited from a Paycheck Protection Program loan. On Wednesday, the President will travel to Baltimore, Maryland, for an event with the CEOs of Johnson and Johnson and Merck at Emergent Bio Solutions. And on Thursday, the president will deliver remarks on the anniversary of the COVID-19 shutdown. With that, Alex, why don't you kick us off. QUESTION: Thanks. So we're 45 days into the Biden presidency and he has yet to hold a presser. At this point in past presidencies, every president, you know, from Reagan had addressed reporters, some of them multiple times. So why the delay and when can we expect the president to hold a press conference? PSAKI: Well, first, as all of you know, the president takes questions several times a week. He took questions actually twice yesterday, which is an opportunity for the people covering the White House to ask him about whatever news is happening on any given day. We look forward to holding a full press conference in the coming weeks before the end of the month. And we're working on setting a final date for that. And as soon as we do, we will let you all know. But this president came in, during a historic crisis, two historic crises, a pandemic like the country had not seen in decades and decades, and an economic downturn that left 10--10 million people out of work. So I think the American people would certainly understand if his focus and his energy and his attention has been on ensuring we secure enough vaccines to vaccinate all Americans, which we will do by the end of May, and in pushing for a rescue plan that will provide direct checks to almost 160 million Americans. That's where his time energy--his focus has been. But in the meantime, he takes questions multiple times a week and looks forward to continuing to do that. And as soon as we have a press conference set, we'll let you know. QUESTION: Sure. Those sprays, though, are not an ideal forum for us to be asking questions. He can't hear us half the time. We get maybe two questions and then we're shuffled out. So why hasn't he answered questions from the press at this point? Is it just that he's too busy? PSAKI: I think he's answered questions. I believe the count is almost 40 times. So--and I would say that his focus, again, is on getting recovery and relief to the American people. And he looks forward to continuing to engage with all of you and to members of the--other members of the media who aren't here today. And we'll look forward to letting you know as soon as that press conference is set. QUESTION: And then, on the AUMF, can you talk a little bit about how the president sees I wanted to quote your--you talked about the establishing a new, "narrow and specific framework for new AUMF." How does he see those contours? And what's his response to somebody like Tim Kaine who said that the president should have to consult Congress on something like the strike in Syria last week? PSAKI: Well, let me take your--there's a couple of questions in there, so let me see if I can address them all. First, we did consult and notify the Gang of Eight, which is a very appropriate approach, as well as--which of course represents many committee heads and leaders. We then had ongoing consultations with--and briefings with members following the strikes, including classified briefings which we offered quite broadly from the administration. We are quite confident, because we had a full legal review and process in both our domestic and legal and international authorities and conducting those strikes. And the president has been, obviously, a close ally, and partner with Senator Kaine on a number of initiatives in the past. He agrees that the AUMF is 20 years--has been around for 20 years, and it's long overdue for it to be updated. What our announcement was, or what our statement reference was a reference to, I should say, is an openness to having a conversation about what the scope of the narrow and specific framework should look like moving forward. So we want to have those discussions. And of course, this will happen, most of them privately, and then we'll look forward to sharing with all of you what the outcome is. QUESTION: Sure. And then one more on the jobs numbers, one number that economists have highlighted as persistently problematic is the labor force participation rates. It remains low, sort of, consistently. What is the administration's plan in dealing with that and getting more people (INAUDIBLE) PSAKI: Well, you're--you're absolutely right. And Jerome Powell actually spoke to this. Just for others reference, which I'm sure you're tracking. But--and--and the concern that the labor force participation rate may not--may mean that it may--the unemployment rate may not accurately depict the number of people who are out of work. And obviously, the 9.9 percent unemployment rate for African Americans is a good example of a reflection of that. You know, we are taking a across the board approach to ensuring we are helping people get back to work and get through this difficult period of time. Part of that, of course, is getting the American Rescue Plan passed, to get people the relief and support they need as a bridge for this period of time. But the president has also talked about many components of his build back better agenda, which we look forward to speaking to and in the--in the future after we get the American Rescue Plan passed and the relief into the arms of Americans. And he believes there are a number of additional ways that we can help put Americans back to work including good clean paying infrastructure--clean paying--well paying, I should say sorry, it's a Friday, well-paying infrastructure jobs that are good union jobs. He believes there are many industries of the future that can help put more people back to work. But I will note one interesting--interesting and actually very troubling statistic, per our economic team. I'm not an economist, as you all know, but this is their analysis is that more than 69,000 educators were laid off. And so certainly, part of our objective to here with pushing for the American Rescue Plan is also getting relief out to schools who want to reopen and bringing teachers back, ensuring that teachers can be employed for the long term and can ensure they're a smaller class sizes. This is also part of what that package will help address. Go ahead. QUESTION: Thanks, Jen. Does the president have any thoughts on filibuster, the so called filibuster, especially now that some more moderate Democrats are now saying that they would like to see some filibuster reform? PSAKI: His view and his position hasn't changed. QUESTION: Even though some people say that that could affect your agenda that you couldn't get some of those bigger bills through? PSAKI: Well, look, the president believes that infrastructure, just to keep with the theme, it is not infrastructure week, but he did just have the meeting yesterday, that infrastructure is a policy and a proposal he's long been a supporter of, as have Democrats and Republicans in the past. Even look at immigration reform. Immigration reform is an issue that many Republicans and Democrats in the--who are elected have--have said and have supported in the past the private sector has supported. He's a believer that--that there is a path and a way forward for Democrats and Republicans to certainly work together. And he's--and he's hopeful there's an opportunity to do exactly that. QUESTION: I know you're focused on the stimulus bill today, but is there a tentative plan for when we would see an infrastructure plan from the president? PSAKI: Again, as we--as we've said in the past, and you gave me a little bit of an opening for this, but our focus is fully on the American Rescue Plan. We look forward to the president signing that into law to relief and to checks going out to the American people, to funding going to schools to the--so they--they can reopen, to more funding going out to get more vaccines in the arms of Americans. And his agenda and his priorities are not a secret, especially for those of you who covered the campaign. He talked about everything from infrastructure to doing more for caregiving to doing more to help expand access to healthcare, doing more to address the tax system. Those are all components that are certainly under discussion, but we'll have more to say in the weeks ahead. Go ahead. QUESTION: Thank you, Jen. The White House Chief of Staff, Ron Klain, pointing out this morning that at the pace of today's jobs report, it would take until April 2023 to get back to pre-pandemic economic levels. So, how much quicker does the White House believe the economy can recover to those levels with this $1.9 trillion package? How many more months or years does this buy? PSAKI: Well, don't take it from us. Take it from outside economists. An independent analysis shows that passing the rescue plan will create 7.5 million jobs in 2021 alone, and get our economy back to full employment--will help create those, I should say, help get our economy back to full employment when you're faster. So, it certainly will help expedite this effort and put more people back to work and--and pull as far ahead of that to your timeline that Ron Klain outlined. QUESTION: Then just on some of the compromises that we're seeing coming out of the Senate, the president agreed to limit eligibility for the stimulus checks. He is also now allowing these unemployment checks to be lowered from $400 to $300 a month even though, of course, there is an extension there until September. But it seems like a lot of these compromises are tailored to the more moderate elements of the Democratic Caucus. Is the president concerned at all about losing progressives once this bill goes back to the House? And is there anything that he's looking to do to cater to some of those more progressive demands? PSAKI: Well, this is an incredibly progressive bill, and I'm happy to outline some specifics on that since you gave me the opportunity. But one additional piece just on the UI compromise, as you mentioned, by eliminating the first $10,200 of UI benefits from taxation for 2020 combined with, of course, this--the extension through September, this amendment would provide more relief to the unemployed than the current legislation. It's a different person to person, of course, but on average it would provide more relief. So, that sounds pretty progressive to me. But you gave me the opportunity, so I just want to highlight a few of the things, and these are examples of why I think this is a package--we think this is a package that is incredibly appealing to many progressives in the country and certainly should be to all progressives in--in the Congress. It cuts child poverty in half, in large part through a historic expansion of the child tax credit. 66 million kids will benefit from the expansion. It not only extends unem--I already talked about that so I'll skip that--over that. It includes tens of billions of dollars for rental assistance and homeowner's assistance, which will benefit lower income disproportionately black and brown renters and homeowners; includes money, as you know, to get shots back and arms so that kids can go back to school. Reopening schools and schools being closed is--has a disproportionate impact on lower income communities. Those are progressive proposals, progressive ideas, and a $1.9 trillion package is certainly a--a progressive sized package. And so, we are certainly confident--hopeful and confident that we will--we will be able to get support in the House. QUESTION: And then on--on the border-- PSAKI: --Um-hmm-- QUESTION: --could you provide any more details about the trip planned by senior members of the president's team to the border? Who's going? Any more details you can offer on that? PSAKI: Sure. Well, I--again, as I like to say, there's a lot going on. So, to catch people up who aren't following exactly what you're following, President Biden has asked senior members of his team to travel to the border region in order to provide a full briefing to him on the government response to the influx of unaccompanied minors and an assessment of additional steps that can be taken to ensure the safety and care of these children. Out of safety, security, and privacy concerns, the date and time of this visit will remain confidential. But the White House and--for now, but we will provide a full readout of the visit once a concludes. QUESTION: So, no details on who's going from the president's team? PSAKI: I--I--I don't anticipate--we certainly will have those details to share with all of you once a visit occurs. But I'm not--I don't anticipate us doing that in advance. QUESTION: I--I wonder, you know, given some of the president's rhetoric on the campaign trail and as president and some of the policies that he instituted, including rolling back some of the immigration policies of the Trump era. Is--is he concerned at all that some of his rhetoric and some of his policies may have, as well-intentioned as they may have been, inadvertently contributed to the rise in migrants that we're seeing at the border, in particular unaccompanied children? And it does he have any intention to more forcefully tell those individuals that now is not the time to come, as the secretary of Homeland Security said last week? PSAKI: Sure. And--and as the secretary also said last week--with that last week? It feels--I'm not sure. QUESTION: Maybe it was this week. PSAKI: I don't know. It may have been this week. The--as the secretary said, this is a--a message we're conveying with every opportunity, from the president, the vice president, from officials in the region, and we're doing that with the full support, of course, the Department of Homeland Security and resources that we have available. I will say that--that the big difference, which we certainly understand the outcome, may be an influx, as we've seen, of more children. If you are kicking children out of--there's naturally, by design, I'm no mathematician, but going to be more children who come in, because we believe that policy was inhumane. And we believe that children who are under the age of 18 should be treated with humanity and--and provided safety while we consider what the process is moving forward. So, we certainly have a different approach. We understand the outcome and the impact of that. But we are using every tool at our disposal, and we will use every official we can to convey clearly this is not the time to come. Fam--the majority of people who come are turned away, families, adults. We're really talking about children, which is I know what you are referencing. QUESTION: But you--but you do believe that there may be--that part of that rise is due to some of your policies and--and rhetoric of this administration. PSAKI: I certainly didn't say that exactly. But all I'm conveying is that obviously we're going to have more kids across--in the country since we have been letting unaccompanied minors stay, and the last administration immorally kick them out, in our view. So, go ahead. QUESTION: Jen, thank you. To follow up on a question I asked about these minors yesterday, Reuters is now reporting that Fort Lee is going to be used as a housing facility for some of these minors in Virginia. Can you confirm whether that's true and if you are considering other military bases around the country? PSAKI: Well, as--as we've been--just been talking about, obviously we recognize the challenge of having these unaccompanied children come across the border and the influx that we are certainly preparing for and--and preparing to approach. So, of course we have to look for facilities and places where we can safely and humanely have these unaccompanied minors in the interim. That would be the decision of HHS, so I would send you to them. I don't have anything to confirm in terms of additional facilities at this point. QUESTION: Got it. And I guess just to follow up on Jeremy, I think--well, I don't want to speak for him, but a lot of Americans are saying that, you know, the searches are happening under President Biden's watch after he reversed some previous policies. So, does the administration take any accountability for what's happening? PSAKI: Who are the Americans? QUESTION: Well, I know you don't want answered him, but the former president just released a statement saying that the Biden administration must act immediately to end the border nightmare that they have unleashed on to our nation. PSAKI: Former President Trump? QUESTION: Yes. PSAKI: We don't take our advice or counsel from former President Trump on immigration policy, which was not only inhumane but ineffective over the last four years. We're going to chart our own path forward, and that includes treating children with humanity and respect and ensuring they're safe when they cross our borders. Go ahead. QUESTION: Oh, can I ask you-- PSAKI: --Oh, go ahead-- QUESTION: --about vaccines? Sorry. So, the mayor of Detroit has turned away thousands of doses of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine. Do you think that Mayor Duggan is making a mistake? And what is the message to other state and local leaders who might be considering doing the same? PSAKI: Well, our message broadly is what our health and medical experts have conveyed, Dr. Fauci and all of our COVID team. There are three approved vaccines from the FDA. They all are safe. They are effective. They prevent severe disease and death. So, anyone who is going to--anyone should take--everyone in this country, I should say, should take whatever vaccine that have access to. As I understand it, the mayor was going to--our team has been in touch with the mayor. There was a bit of a misunderstanding. He was going to go out and speak publicly about accepting vaccines. So, I would--I'm not sure if that's happened yet, so I'd certainly point you to that. QUESTION: Thank you. PSAKI: Sure. Go ahead. QUESTION: Thank you, Jen. Are there any discussions within the White House about reversing the policy of allowing all unaccompanied children into the United States? PSAKI: No. None at all. QUESTION: So, I--I guess is the plan then to take in and safely and humanely find a home for an unlimited number of unaccompanied children? PSAKI: I--I think this issue requires us taking a step back as human beings and as mothers, of which I am one. I know there are many in the room, are many at home. These kids are coming. They are fleeing prosecution. They are fleeing difficult circumstances in their home country. When they come here, all we're talking about here is ensuring that they are treated(PH) safely, they are not trafficked, they are not sent back on a unsafe journey. PSAKI: That's what we're talking about. When they come--when these kids come in, it doesn't mean they are ensured that they get to stay. They go through the processing system that everyone goes through. But, we want to ensure that that is done by treating them humanely and--and with respect. Many of them will be sent back home eventually, but we're talking about how we treat them as they come in the country. QUESTION: Well, and I'm a mom, too, so I certainly feel for all of these children that are fleeing very difficult situations in their homes to come here. But, you know, the fact remains you have DHS projecting 117,000 unaccompanied minors by May and, you know, that brings me to another question. You know, a lot of these numbers and this data, they're all coming from leaked documents from DHS, from HHS-- PSAKI: --Yeah-- QUESTION: Why doesn't the White House just release these numbers? I mean, don't the American people deserve to get the data straight from you and straight from the White House? PSAKI: Data projected numbers and internal documents for policy discussions? QUESTION: Data about how many unaccompanied children and migrants are crossing the border on a daily basis. I understand eventually it's made public, but why not right now-- PSAKI: --It is--it is made public by the Department of Homeland Security and the officials who oversee the entire process. It is made public. But we don't, as a policy--we don't, as a policy, make public or confirm private decks and policy documents, as--as no administration would. QUESTION: I understand. So, can you confirm how many illegal border crossings there are on average every day right now? PSAKI: I would send you to the Department of Homeland Security and CBP who, of course, would be overseeing that process. QUESTION: Okay, and one more question on immigration. House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, he's requesting a meeting with President Biden about this issue. He's also asking President Biden to acknowledge the crisis. Will President Biden take that meeting and--and I'll ask it again, will he acknowledge that there's a crisis? PSAKI: Well, first, the president and this administration's focus is on digging out of the dismantled and inhumane immigration approach of the last administration and that's why the president has proposed an immigration bill that would not only address the root causes that Leader McCarthy referenced in his letter, but would move beyond the policy of funding ineffective border walls by investing in smart security at ports of entry and would also create a pathway to citizenship. And we would welcome the openness or desire to engage on that from the leader or any Democrat or Republican who wants to have a conversation about a constructive path forward. Go ahead. QUESTION: A couple of follow ups if I can. First, on the AUMF discussion. So, right now, there are two active AUMFs from 2001 to 2002. The President is in favor of replacing both of them? With one? With two? What does that look like? PSAKI: He wants to discuss a narrow and specific framework moving forward. Obviously, it's outdated. You know, those are 19 and 18 years old and that's the discussion he hopes to have in partnership and with the leadership of Senator Kaine and determine what the approach and framework should be as we look ahead. QUESTION: Would that then--in moving forward, looking at sort of the Syria air strike, for instance, would he have to go to Congress moving forward if he wanted to border another military engagement like that? PSAKI: Well, in that, the Syria air strikes were, of course--and we had a whole legal process and review and we're confident in the legal authorities for that strike and they were the self-defense of U.S. military personnel who were threatened overseas. So, you know, I will leave it to the discussion of the framework moving forward, but I would say that we are confident in both our approach and the authorities we had for those strikes. QUESTION: And, one on infrastructure if I can. PSAKI: --Go ahead-- QUESTION: I know you're focused on the COVID bill, but, you know, when the American Rescue Plan was first introduced, President Biden was very encouraged that it would be bipartisan support for it. It does not appear that there will be any bipartisan support for it. Republicans haven't voted for it yet. What is the level of confidence, then, on the next big legislative agenda item, like infrastructure? Were there lessons learned and sort of the engagement of a breach on it? I'm sort of curious what that would look like. PSAKI: Well first, bipartisanship is not determined by a single zip code in Washington DC. It's about where the American people sit and stand and the vast majority of the American people support the American Rescue Plan, including Republicans. And so I think really the question is, why are Republicans in Congress who aren't supporting this package outliers in where the American public is in moving this forward? And, on infrastructure, certainly I don't have this in front of me, but I'm sure you all have lots of research assistants who can look at who has supported infrastructure in the past. And many--many have spoken to their support for infrastructure packages. Many have--Republicans, of course, and Democrats, many have discussed it with the president. And, so we're certainly hopeful and confident that repairing roads, rails, and bridges, doing better by our caregivers, you know, taking--reforming our outdated tax systems are steps, and anything else that was in the Build Back Better agenda. A lot of those pieces are pieces there's been bipartisan support for in the past. Go ahead, (INAUDIBLE). QUESTION: I think we would all love research assistants, by the way. PSAKI: Well, some of you do. You can--you can steal them from other--it could be, like, a sharing of resources. QUESTION: Indeed. But, I did want to circle back to the top. You mentioned that the president next week will sign a series of gender equity or gender equality executive orders. If you could say a little bit more at this time about those and relatedly, in the stimulus package, he proposed 14 weeks of paid family leave, but that was temporary and would expire in September. So, is that something that he would like to see Congress tackle legislatively? PSAKI: Sure. On the first, I will preview for you. We will have a special guest or two here on Monday to talk about these executive orders and I expect we'll have a briefing call this weekend, so I'm not going to get ahead of it beyond that. But, we're looking forward to talking more about it. And, on the second one, say that one more time. QUESTION: So, in the relief package, he proposed 14 more--at least 14 weeks of paid leave-- PSAKI: --Yes-- QUESTION: --but that was temporary. It would expire in September. So, what I'm asking is, is that something he would like to see Congress make permanent and address in future legislation? PSAKI: Well, we have, of course, this is just the beginning of our administration. He's talked in the past about his commitment to paid leave and feels it's an important component of ensuring there are--there is a diverse workforce, a workforce that is--has gender equity and racial equity and it's an important component of that. We don't know what next vehicles might look like, so it's a topic and policy he remains committed to, but I'm not going to get ahead of where we are in the policymaking process. QUESTION: Staying on the stimulus package for a moment, the minimum wage, it won't be in there at this point as we saw a little bit earlier on Capitol Hill. Senator Sanders was speaking to reporters and he said, "If anybody thinks we're going--we're giving up on this issue, they are surely mistaken. If we have to vote on it time and time again, we will and we're going to succeed." So, doe the president want to see democrats vigorously pursue a minimum wage increase? And, as we talk about what you'd like to see in the future, is this something that he'd like to see the House and the Senate take up immediately after negotiations on the stimulus package conclude? PSAKI: Well, first, we agree with Senator Sanders and the president is going to be standing right alongside him, fighting for an increase in the minimum wage to $15 an hour, because men and women who are working hard to make ends meet shouldn't be living at the poverty level. And he will use his political capital to get that done. I don't have anything to preview for you in terms of the order or the timeline. But it remains a priority and it is something that the president would like to get done and will use his capital to do. I'll also add, just you didn't ask this, but there's been a little bit of a rumor mill, so I'm just going to address it. You know, right now, as you know, we're focused on the American Rescue Plan and getting it through Congress and the president and his team are not engaged in conversations or negotiations about lowering the threshold for the minimum wage, just to be crystal clear on that. Go ahead. QUESTION: Thank you, Jen. So, just following up on (INAUDIBLE) question, how will the president work to use his political capital to increase the minimum wage if it right now doesn't seem to get the votes in the Senate and he is not on board with abolishing the filibuster? PSAKI: Well look, there are--he has an ambitious agenda moving forward that includes a number of proposals that there's bipartisan support for and he is going to look--he's going to work with Democrats and Republicans who are open to it to discussing how we move forward. But, I don't have anything to preview for you about the legislative strategy for an initiative that is after the American Rescue Plan. QUESTION: Just one more question from another reporter who couldn't be here. PSAKI: Go ahead. QUESTION: What advice is the president receiving by his COVID team in regards to ongoing travel bans and when would the president like to see them lifted? PSAKI: He relies on the advice and decision making of his health and medical team and experts, including the CDC. So, he'll wait for them to make any decision about future lifting of those guidelines. Go ahead, Trevor. QUESTION: Hi, just a couple on technology. You have a statement out from Jake Sullivan last night on the Microsoft related breach. I'm just curious if that affected any government computer, departments, agencies, and any more color if you could elaborate. PSAKI: Sure. This isn't--and for anyone who didn't see, National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan's tweet last night, he spoke to the Microsoft breach that's been reported. But, this is a significant vulnerability that could have far reaching impacts. First and foremost, this is an active threat and as the national security advisor tweeted last night, everyone running these servers, government and private sector, academia, needs to act now to patch them. We are concerned that there are a large of victims and are working with our partners to understand the scope of this, so it's an ongoing process, Trevor, I would say. Network owners also need to consider whether they have been compromised and should immediately take appropriate steps. The Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency issued an emergency directive to agencies and we're now looking closely at the next steps we need to take. It's still developing. We urge network operators to take it very seriously, but I don't have any other readouts beyond that. QUESTION: Okay, just as far as any color around whether the government itself was impacted by this. PSAKI: I think I conveyed there clearly that what he was--what--what National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan has conveyed and why he put this message out publicly was that this is an ongoing threat and he was encouraging patches to be done across, as he said, government, private sector, academia, and we're still looking closely at what happened and the next steps that need to be taken. QUESTION: Okay. And then I just wanted to ask about Tim Wu. PSAKI: Sure. QUESTION: Who you announced hiring today. He has very publicly advocated for breaking up big tech companies like Facebook. That's--those are the kinds of issues he's going to be advising President Biden on. Is that now White House policy? And, you know, what is--what is he going to be doing with regard to the FTC and the DOJ and what they're already doing on--on those big tech companies? PSAKI: Well, first, it's been reported, but Tim Wu will serve at the NAC as the Special Assistant to the President for Technology and Competition Policy. He was recently a professor at Columbia University Law School. He previously served as senior enforcement counsel to the New York attorney general and as a senior advisor at the FTC. He brings, as you noted, in some way, different--different words, but a wealth of knowledge and experience about technology and competition policy that will help ensure President Biden's economic agenda supports working families, strengthens the middle class, and protects consumers. You know, the president has been clear on the campaign, probably more recently, that he stands up to the abuse of power. And that includes the abuse of power from big technology companies and their executives. And Tim will help advance the president's agenda, which includes addressing the economic and social challenges posed by the growing power of tech platforms, promoting competition and addressing monopoly and market power issues, expanding access to broadband for low income and rural communities across the country, but his hiring as a reflection of the value of his expertise. If--if the administration policy was determined by every person that would be--was hired, we would have 400 different policies in each issues. You know, the president welcomes expertise, he welcomes experience and Tim Wu certainly brings that in droves. QUESTION: Okay, because Biden has--has never publicly talked about breaking up big tech companies. So I just wanted to clarify, is that the policy of this White House? PSAKI: We don't have new policy to announce here, Trevor, just that the president believes, as he's talked about before, that it's important to promote competition and address monopoly and market power issues. But he--we don't have a new policy to announce. We're six weeks into an administration, but certainly we welcome the expertise of individuals like Tim Wu. Go ahead. Go ahead. QUESTION: Thank you. PSAKI: Oh, sorry. We can go to both of you. We're not in a rush. Go ahead. QUESTION: Okay, thanks. Given the many questions about the transparency of the World Health Organization's COVID investigation of Wuhan, is there a--is there a point at which the president who made such priority putting U.S. back into the WHO will say we're getting fed up and actually go back a little bit towards former president's position, which was that the WHO was, you know, basically useless for the United States? PSAKI: Well, I would actually say that we're gratified that the WHO has determined to hold on releasing an interim report and to the origins of COVID. That was a positive step, which was taken in part because of our involvement and engagement. In recent weeks, we have spoken with many international allies and partners who shared our concern about the ways in which early findings of the investigation were, you know, had shared the same concerns, we feel this is an encouraging sign that us reengagement is already having a positive impact. And we join--rejoined the World Health Organization on the first day of the Biden administration so that the United States could once again lead in an international forum. QUESTION: So the president is satisfied with the way the whole report work is going ahead right now? PSAKI: No, it's not. It's not. They're holding on it. QUESTION: Right. So he's--he's--is he satisfied or not with that? PSAKI: I would say he is--feels it's a positive sign, as I just said, because they're not releasing a report where we express concerns about the origin of the data, the lack of transparency, and that we felt it would send a negative message about, not a negative message, I should say, kind of the inaccurate message about the origins of the pandemic. And that engagement, that outcome was in part because of our engagement. QUESTION: So when they put the whole thing out in the middle of March, what they're saying, is he confident that that's going to be the real deal? PSAKI: We'll look at the data and the report. We have--we have long said we'd like to see the underlying data. But again, we--we feel the hold on releasing the interim report was--we were gratified by that step that was taken. Go ahead in the back. QUESTION: Thank you, Jen. Last week, you very kindly confirmed the president's very good relationship with Pope Francis. Today, the pope is in Middle East and has a meeting coming up with the Ayatollah al-Sistani, someone by the way, who's never met with an American official before. And my question is, does the president have any feelings about the Pope's meeting with the Ayatollah and his effort to push forward with a vision in that troubled part of the world for unity and warm relations between Shia, Sunni, and Christian? PSAKI: Well, I have not spoken with the president about his personal feelings about the meeting that they have today. As you know, broadly speaking, the president believes that the path forward is diplomacy, should always be led by diplomacy. But I don't have the details of their meeting, or--or I'm sure they may do a readout of sorts. And if so, we're happy to give a comment on it. QUESTION: The other thing is that, as of March 1st, the Congress has not invited the president to deliver the State of the Union address, meaning he is so far gone the longest of any president in his first year without confirming a date for the State of the Union, with the exception of President Nixon in 1969. PSAKI: A little bit of history. I like it. QUESTION: And--who gave no address and waited until the following year. Is he going to follow that example, or should we expect an invitation soon on the State of the Union? PSAKI: Well, first, for clarity purposes, and I know this wasn't your intention, but there's not--it's not a snubbing happening here. We are in the middle of a global pandemic. And of course, any joint session speech would--would look different than--than the past. We certainly intend on the president delivering a joint session, a speech joint session, not a State of the Union in the first year that they are in office. But we don't have a date for that or timeline at this point in time. And we've been engaged closely with leaders in Congress about determining that. QUESTION: Okay. Do we expect an announcement soon on that or-- PSAKI: --Well, we'll see. We're still--we're in discussions. We're working with them. And as soon as it's finalized, we're happy to share that with all of you. QUESTION: One final question. The Turkish publication, Duvar English, cited a Turkish businessman, I believe his name is, and I'm--I hope I'm pronouncing it right, Agdim El Tapim (PH), who said he is a friend of the Biden family and he's hosted one of the President's brothers on a vacation. It's interesting that the president in all his calls to world leader has not called President Erdogan yet. Does he plan to make the call like that or is he going to operate with backchannels to Ankara? PSAKI: I'm not familiar with this individual or--or this engagement. But I certainly--the president has many global leaders, world leaders he still needs to call, and he will venture to do that in the--in the coming weeks and months. QUESTION: So he will call President Erdogan? PSAKI: I'm sure at some point. Go ahead. QUESTION: Yeah. Jen, the House has sent the LGBTQ Equality Act to the Senate where it will be one of several bills that faces an uncertain future. Will the President reach out to lawmakers on equality act? PSAKI: It certainly is a piece of legislation the president supports, as you all know, and he discusses a range of his priorities with members of Congress, the House and the Senate. And I'm certain, when given the opportunity, he will advocate for the passing. QUESTION: And I know you've been asked about the legislative filibuster in this briefing already, but I would like to address it as it pertains to this specific bill. Isn't there a reasonable expectation that if the president strongly supports this bill that you would want to welcome the filibuster to see it get to his desk? PSAKI: The--the president's position hasn't changed. He looks forward to advocating for the passage of legislation that he supports and working with Democrats and Republicans to get that done. QUESTION: And finally, who at the White House is coordinating the--the approach to the Equality Act? PSAKI: Well, certainly our legislative team approaches--oversees the approach to any piece of legislation working its way through Congress, but they tap into resources across the building, as--as--as would be expected. QUESTION: But is there, like, one person who is specifically charged with focusing on-- PSAKI: --On Legislative Team. We--we just don't read out specific staffing responsibilities publicly. But I can assure you that, with any piece of legislation, there are a range of individuals in the building who are asked to make calls, to write policy, to write talking points, to reach out to outside groups, and it's a--in a coordinated effort internally. Go ahead. QUESTION: I have a question about vaccine diplomacy. Some European countries are turning to Russia and China for COVID-19 vaccine, including Hungary and Slovakia. Do you believe that by offering vaccine supplies, Moscow and Beijing are trying to help or divide Europe? And do you think that such offers should be accepted? PSAKI: Well, we'll leave that to individual European countries to determine. But I would say that we are concerned about the use or the attempted use of vaccines as a means of diplomacy by Russia and China. We, of course, support doing that in a--through an international coordinating body like--like COVAX, which I know is not applicable to every country. And we, of course, want to work directly with countries around the world about how we can support their efforts moving forward. We understand that's challenging at this moment in time because the president's priority is insuring every American is vaccinated. We'll have enough vaccines to do that by the end of May. Then there is, of course, a distribution process after that. But, you know, that remains our priority here, but we look forward to remaining engaged through proper international coordinating bodies and directly with a number of these countries. QUESTION: May I follow up? Aren't you concerned that President Biden's America first vaccine policy actually gives opening to China and Russia and reduces U.S. influence around the world? PSAKI: Well, would first say that we work with European countries and partners, your--Asian countries and partners, countries and partners in South America on a range of priorities and issues, whether it's security, whether it's addressing the threat of climate, whether it is economic partnership and relationships. And we'll continue to do that. We also have conversations about access to COVID--access to vaccines, and we'll continue to do that as well. That's something that comes up in a number of these diplomatic conversations. Right now, as you've noted, our priority in--is--and our focus is on ensuring the American people are vaccinated. And we have to take into account a number of factors, including the fact that we don't know which vaccine works--is most effective with children. That testing is still ongoing. We don't know the most effective as it relates to all the variants. That is still ongoing. But we are very open and we will continue to have those engagements in conversations about how we can assist countries looking for a vaccine supply. QUESTION: One more, a follow-up to President Biden's phone call with European Commission president today. PSAKI: Um-hmm. QUESTION: Have a discussed restoring air travel between Europe and the United States? PSAKI: I know we put a readout of the call out. QUESTION: There's nothing about it in there. PSAKI: I'd have to talk to our National Security Team and see if that's something. If--if it was raised on the other end, we'd leave that to them. I don't think there was any intention of raising that from our end, so they may have more to speak to it from our end--from their end, sorry. Go ahead. QUESTION: Jen-- PSAKI: --Oh, I'm sorry. We--can we go to you first and then we'll come back? Yeah. QUESTION: Thanks, just two questions. First, the president earlier this week gave remarks to the House Democratic Caucus, suggested that the White House under Obama didn't take enough of a victory lap following the 2009 stimulus. I'm wondering if you can just expand on what the White House plans to do differently this time, assuming their rescue package is--is passed in the coming days. PSAKI: Sure. Well, I was here during that period of time, and I would say that any of my colleagues at the time would say that we didn't do enough to explain to the American people what the benefits were of the rescue plan and to--and we didn't do enough to do it in terms that people would be talking about at their dinner tables. And that's one of the reasons we, of course, have been, you know, trying to break down the--the impact of the American Rescue Plan into--into the key components that will impact people directly, the direct checks, you know, ensuring funding gets--funding to help expedite vaccine distribution, and of course reopening of schools. But where--our focus is on getting the package passed. And once it does, we look forward to taking some time, using the president, the vice president, the first lady, the second gentleman to engage with and communicate with the American people about how the package impacts them and--and how they are--how will help them get through this difficult period of time. QUESTION: And then second on infrastructure, Representative DeFazio said after the meeting yesterday that there were discussions about how to pay for an infrastructure package. And I'm just wondering if you can give a little more sense of what was--what was discussed yesterday. PSAKI: I don't have any more details. We--we don't even have a package that is being proposed at this point. And--and hope--when we get to that point, I'm sure we'll have this discussion. Obviously, the president has talked in the past about different revenue raisers, whether it's rolling back certain tax cuts. But we're just not that--at that point in the internal policy discussions quite yet. Go ahead, Alexander--Alexandria. I was looking at you, sorry. Go ahead. Go ahead. QUESTION: Okay, great. PSAKI: Go ahead, Francesca. QUESTION: Two more--two more questions for you and then I'm--and then I'll be done. So, early this week, Secretary Blinken a call with Juan Guido, who the U.S. recognizes as the interim president of Venezuela. PSAKI: Um-hmm. QUESTION: President Biden has not yet made such a call. I know you've said that he has a long list of foreign leaders that he'd like to call. PSAKI: He does. QUESTION: But at what point do you think that he might give Juan Guaido a ring? PSAKI: I just don't have anything to predict for you. And I will say, having served at the State Department before, sometimes a call from the secretary of state is a pre---happens before a call from the president, not always. But I don't have a list of his upcoming calls planned for foreign leaders. QUESTION: Okay. And the other one was I wanted to ask about a campaign pledge that President Biden made. During the campaign, he said that he would direct $70 billion to HBCUs. So, I was wondering if you could provide an update on that. Is there any executive orders or legislation in the works that would address that issue? PSAKI: He--he remains committed to supporting HBCUs and supporting them financially. But I don't have anything to preview for you in terms of policy. We are only 40 days--41 days in, a lot more policymaking and executive order doing--well, some executive order doing to--to be done. Go ahead and we'll--then we'll come back to you. Jeremy, go ahead. QUESTION: Jen, a number of state legislatures are advancing legislation seen as imposing additional restrictions on transgender youth, including those that would inhibit their ability to participate in sports and access transition related care. One such bill is on its way to the governor of Mississippi's desk, if not signed already. Has the president expressed any kind--any concern about these--these bills in the state legislatures? PSAKI: I would just say that the president--president's view is maybe not well-known, but let me restate it--state it here. I'm not aware of discussions directly with state legislatures--state legislators. If he had had those discussions, you might--might would likely know, I should say. But the president believes that trans rights are human rights and that no one should be discriminated on the basis of sex. Not only is this a lot of the land, it's his own deeply held view. The antidiscrimination executive order the president signed is focused on children being able to learn without worrying about whether they will be discriminated against. And this means not being denied access to the restroom, the locker room, or school sports. And him signing an executive order sends a pretty clear message to state legislators, to lawmakers, about where he stands on this issue and what his position is as president. Okay. QUESTION: I mean, if you want to take it. PSAKI: We'll do--we'll do two more. It's a Friday, okay. And then Jeremy can wrap us up. Go ahead. QUESTION: Okay. Thank you. Two questions about New York Governor Andrew Cuomo. PSAKI: Um-hmm. QUESTION: The first is I just want--wanted to know if the White House had any sort of reaction to these twin reports in the Wall Street Journal and the New York Times that aides to Governor Cuomo had altered the report on nursing home deaths to hide a higher death toll. PSAKI: We've certainly seen those reports. Obviously, they're troubling. And we certainly was support any outside investigation, but those wouldn't be determinations made by us. QUESTION: Okay. And on the other controversy that Governor Cuomo is facing, the third accuser did a long interview on--on CBS News last night. I'm wondering if the vice president or the president watched it or heard about it. PSAKI: I'm not aware of them watching it. They--they obviously both have a full schedule we keep them too. Of course, as I've noted in here before, but it's--I--I--I welcome the opportunity to repeat-- QUESTION: --Well, so it--I guess my question is, in 2017, when then Senator Kamala Harris was calling on Senator Al Franken to resign for similar issues, she tweeted, and I quote, "Sexual harassment and misconduct should not be allowed by anyone and should not occur anywhere." So, you know, what does it say to women like Charlotte Bennett when the vice president of the United States will comment about that but won't say the same thing about these allegations against Governor Cuomo? PSAKI: Well, I think the vice president's view is that she believes all women should be treated with respect. Their voices should be heard. They should tell their story. There's an independent investigation that is happening now being overseen by the New York attorney general. And she certainly supports that. And hopefully, all of the individuals who have come out should--it see that as her point of view and one that I'm happy to reiterate on her behalf. QUESTION: So, why won't she say that? PSAKI: Again, I think I'm--I'm speaking on her behalf. This is the White House. That's the benefit of doing this briefing every day. Go ahead, Jeremy. QUESTION: Thanks, Jen. Just a couple more in the COVID bill. Since the president propose that $1.9 trillion package. The national picture has changed in a few significant ways. This Jobs Report today shows the economy is recovering at a faster pace than anticipated. About 16 percent of Americans have now received at least one dose of the vaccine and yet the president hasn't budged off that $1.9 trillion topline. Is he reconsidering that big number in light of these recent developments? PSAKI: Well, at the same time, 4 million Americans have been unemployed for more than six months. African--the rate of unemployment among African Americans is 9.9 percent, 8.5 percent among Hispanics. Without this package, 9.5 million people are out of work. At this rate, we would not hit the pre-pandemic unemployment rate for two years. If that's satisfying to republicans in Congress, then certainly they can speak for themselves. But, the president believes and economists believe and experts believe that in order to get this pandemic under control, in order to get people back to work, we need an infusion of this size package because the twin crisis we're facing, that's what would meet the moment. QUESTION: And, in terms of bipartisanship, obviously there are a few Republican senators who are still considering how to vote on this package. Senator Lisa Murkowski, the chief among them in terms of somebody who might support this bill. So, how much of a priority is it for the president try to and win over at least one of these Republican senators? And how much time and energy is he planning to put into that effort? PSAKI: Well, the president remains deeply engaged in getting us across the finish line. He takes nothing for granted and I fully expect him to be on the phone through the course of the weekend with Democrats and Republicans as needed, just answering questions they have, addressing needs they have. Obviously, he had a number of people to the Oval Office just this week. So, he takes-- QUESTION: --How much of a priority is it for him to get at least one Republican senator to support this bill? PSAKI: Well, I think the president's measure of success here is whether we get the package through so we can deliver relief to the American people and we welcome the support of Republicans in--in the Senate. We're open to answering questions, to addressing concerns they have, but at the end of the day, our focus and the president's priority is on ensuring that almost 160 million people receive direct checks that we are providing money to schools. By the way, polling this morning showed the majority of people supported that across the country so that they can reopen and that we are ensuring we can get vaccines in the arms of Americans. We're still in the middle of a crisis. We're still in the middle of a war with the pandemic and we welcomes their support, but his focus is on the American people. Thanks, everyone.
WHITE HOUSE PRESS BRIEFING WITH JOSH EARNEST - STIX
Wednesday, October 07, 2015 White House Briefing with Josh Earnest DC Slug: 1320 WH BRIEF STIX RS37 73 & 1320 WH BRIEF CUTS RS38 74 AR: 16x9 Disc #544/561 & 552/560 NYRS: WASH3 (4523) / WASH4 (4524) 13:24:43 EARNEST: Good afternoon, everybody. It's nice to see you all. I do have a statement before we begin and before we go to your questions. 13:24:50 This morning from the Oval Office, President Obama spoke by telephone with Doctors Without Border's international president, Dr. Joanne Liu, to apologize and express his condolences for the MSF staff and patients who were killed and injured when a U.S. military air strike mistakenly struck an MSF field hospital in Kunduz, Afghanistan over the weekend. The president assured Dr. Liu that the Department of Defense investigation currently underway would provide a transparent, thorough and objective accounting of the facts and circumstances of the incident, and that if necessary, the president would implement changes that would make tragedies like this one less likely to occur in the future. After completing that call, the president telephoned Afghan President Ashraf Ghani to express his condolences for the innocent loss of life in that incident. The president commended the bravery of Afghan national defense and security forces in securing Kunduz and noted that he looked forward to continuing to work closely with President Ghani, the Afghan -- and the Afghan government to support their efforts to provide security for the Afghan people. So with that bit of news, we can now go to your questions. Darlene, do you want to start? QUESTION: Sure, thank you. During the phone call with the MSF president, did -- did they discuss Doctor Without Border's latest call for another independent investigation into the bombing of the hospital in Afghanistan? 13:26:22 EARNEST: Well, I won't get into the details of what they discussed, but the president did reiterate his commitment. This is a commitment that we've offered up publicly, that the Department of Defense would conduct a transparent, thorough and objective investigation. And I know that Secretary Carter had the opportunity to discuss this over in Rome earlier today and he noted that the intention of the Department of Defense was to make public as much as possible of the report that is conducted. And I think this is consistent with something you've heard the president say in a variety of circumstances, and that is that the United States, when we make a mistake, we're honest about it, we own up to it, we apologize where necessary, as the president did in this case and we implement the kinds of changes that make it less likely that those kinds of mistakes will occur in the future. EARNEST: The Department of Defense goes to great lengths to prevent civilian casualties and certainly civilian deaths in their operations, but in this case, there was a mistake and it's one that the United States owns up to. QUESTION: Would the U.S. be open to a fourth independent investigation that they're calling for? Or is the position that the U.S. has these three investigations, that are now ongoing, that Doctors Without Borders should be satisfied with that? 13:27:57 EARNEST: Well, the president has made quite clear that, over the course of these three investigations, particularly the one that's being conducted by the Department of Defense, that it will be transparent, it will be thorough, and it will be objective, and it will provide the full accounting that the president has insisted on from the beginning. QUESTION: Secondly, the Associated Press has a report overnight on the apparent ease with which smugglers are trying to sell bomb- making materials to extremists and ISIL and other things like that, that are intent on harming the U.S. Does the White House have any reaction to -- to that report? 13:28:35 EARNEST: I've seen the report. The United States government is committed to counter the threat of nuclear smuggling, and ensuring that terrorist groups who may seek to acquire these materials are never able to do so. Seizures of nuclear and radioactive materials in Moldova demonstrate the Moldovan government's commitment to countering these tactics. And the United States applauds the Moldovan government's good police and investigative work, which has led to recovering smuggled materials, and placing them back under regulatory control. The United States and Moldova have worked together for a number of years to strengthen capacities to counter nuclear smuggling. And I would just note, in addition, Darlene, that the president has identified as one of his core national security priorities is stopping the proliferation of nuclear materials. The president has convened nuclear security summits in three different locations I believe, now, and there's another one that's planned for next year, where the United States essentially convenes the international community to coordinate our efforts to prevent the proliferation of nuclear materials. That is a top priority of the president, because it's in the core national security interest of the United States. And the reports from the Associated Press, I think, document just one example of the kind -- the kind of activities that the United States pursues to protect the American people. QUESTION: Does the U.S. think that Russia's stockpiles of nuclear material are secure? I mean, do you have a handle on how secure it is, given (inaudible) relations between the two countries right now? EARNEST: Well, Darlene, we often cite the aspects of the U.S.-Russia relationship that are characterized by some, to put it mildly, difference of opinion. We have also acknowledged that there are some areas where the United States and Russia have been able to effectively coordinate to advance the interest of the citizens in both of our countries. Typically, when asked this question, I've cited our experience in working with Russia as part of the P5+1 to prevent Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon. The highest profile example of the coordination between our two countries, I think is actually the space program, where the Russian and U.S. space programs worked together to explore outer space and to support scientists from both of our countries that are currently orbiting the Earth. EARNEST: But I think this would be another example where the United States and Russia, for quite some time now, you know, for decades now, have been able to effectively coordinate in an effort to secure Russia's nuclear stockpile. And -- those of you who have been covering the president for a while now, will actually recall that, as a senator, Barack Obama traveled to some countries of the former Soviet Union to -- along -- you know, as part of a bipartisan delegation to highlight the significance of this proliferation threat but to also highlight the importance of the United States coordinating with other countries to accomplish this goal, including Russia. So this is something that President Obama has spent a lot of time working even before he was president and obviously is a top priority of his. And this kind of coordination is critical to the national security of both U.S. citizens but also Russian citizens. I think it is merely an observation that despite the significant differences of opinion we have with Russia in places like Syria and in Ukraine, that we have been able to effectively coordinate with them to assure, or at least take steps to prevent the proliferation of nuclear materials that are part of Russia's stockpile. Roberta. QUESTION: What does the White House think the ultimate military and political plans of Russia are in Syria and how confident is the White House that it has a good handle on what Russia is thinking there? And, does the White House understand President Putin's current thinking on Syria? 13:33:06 EARNEST: Well Roberta, I think we've been quite direct in our observations that the kind of military strategy that Russia seems to be pursuing right now is not at all likely to be successful in advancing their interests inside of Syria. In fact, we think that strategy that Russia is now pursuing military is likely to be counterproductive. That is to say, that Russia's military activities are currently focused on a variety of opposition groups. Some of who are extremist organizations, some of whom are Muslim citizens of Syria that have legitimate grievances against the Assad government. Including the fact that they or members of their community have been the targets of the Assad regime's indiscriminate violence. The failure of the Russian military to distinguish between the variety of groups inside of Syria, only serves to isolate Russia from the international community. It also serves to only draw Russia deeper into a sectarian civil war inside of Syria. It also serves to heighten the risk Russia faces from Muslim citizens inside of Syria who are angry that they're a propping up a regime that has carried out terrible acts of violence against their people. It also poses a pretty significant homeland security risk for Russia as well. Now, so that is why we've made the case that the military strategy that Russia has currently implemented is not likely to lead to advancing their interests inside of Syria. QUESTION: So do you feel that propping up the Assad regime then is the ultimate goal of Russia here? Is that -- what is that the White House understanding of the ultimate goal of -- in Russia? 13:35:25 EARNEST: Well, based on the military actions that they are taking. They -- it seems that they are interested in continuing or maybe even ramping up their efforts to prop up the Assad regime. But that runs counter to their longer-term interest inside of Syria. The reason I say that is because the Russians themselves acknowledge that a political transition inside of Syria is what will be required to eventually solve the many problems that are plaguing that country. So, the fact that Russia is engaged in activity that puts off a political solution means that there are -- there's ample reason to question the wisdom of the strategy that they're currently pursuing. QUESTION: I wanted to ask (inaudible), a senior Shiite politician in Iraq has said that he wants Russia to get involved with air strikes in Iraq as well. And I believe that Prime Minister Abadi has indicated that he's open to the idea as well. How does the White House feel about that idea? And what is the White House doing, if anything, the administration doing, if anything, to try to encourage or warn Iraq away from that? 13:36:35 EARNEST: Well, in some ways, the answer that I would give to that question is not altogether different than the kind of answer I that I would give to Russia's military activities inside of Syria. Which is that we've long indicated a willingness to accept a constructive, properly integrated contribution from the Russians to our broader, counter ISIL efforts. But that is not what Russia has sought to do. I think the other thing that I would observe is that the reaction from the international community to these reports, I think is an indication of the kind of sectarian conflict that Russia is being drawn into. The news that Russia may be invited by some, or at least their possible participation of airstrikes may be supported by some in the Iraqi government, was warmly received by Shiite militias and other organizations that are directly backed by Iran. And I didn't see any statements of support or encouragement from any of the 65 nations that are involved in our international counter ISIL effort. In fact, you know, what we've also seen is other countries indicate their concern about Russia's military decision making. We've even seen the government of Turkey -- a government that has repeatedly stated publicly their concerns about Assad's leadership and their preference that he no longer be in charge of that country. So, ostensibly, you know, this is -- this sort of further highlights how Russia is isolating themselves, not just around the world, but even in the region where they are acting right now. QUESTION: So, has the United States tried to encourage Prime Minister Abadi not to -- not to welcome Russia? 13:38:47 EARNEST: Well, Prime Minister Abadi is a leader of a sovereign country, so he'll make decisions based on what he believes is in the best interest of the national security of his country and his citizens. But again, I think the degree to which the Abadi government has worked with the 65-member coalition that the United States has built is an indication that they welcome the kind of international support that they've received to counter the extremist threat that they face inside that country. OK? Mark. QUESTION: Josh, what changed over the past 24 hours? Didn't you say yesterday that there wouldn't be an apology until the investigation had been completed and there was a full accounting? 13:39:34 EARNEST: I don't think that I went that far. I think I indicated that there were ongoing investigations, and I was reluctant to say more given the fact that those investigations were on going. And I think what is clear is, based on what the President has learned, he believed that it was appropriate for the United States to do what we've done before, which is to acknowledge that a mistake had been made, to offer an apology, to do so in a transparent way, to own up to our mistakes and to vow to carry out a full investigation to get to the bottom of what exactly happened so that we can learn from this incident. And put it into place the reforms that are necessary to make it less likely that these kinds of things happen in the future. QUESTION: What does this mean when it comes to American culpability to the loss of life in Afghanistan? 13:40:27 EARNEST: Well, I think in this case, you know, the President and his team have been quite clear that the -- that the deaths at this medical facility were the result of a U.S. airstrike. Now, I'll just say once again: the Department of Defense goes to great lengths. They go farther than any military agency in the world to prevent the loss of innocent life in their operations. But when -- when a mistake occurs, the United States owns up to it, and we vow to get the bottom of what exactly happened. If it is necessary to hold individuals accountable, that will be done. And certainly, we're going to be looking for reforms that we can put in place that make it less likely that these kinds of things happen in the future. QUESTION: Is there review duration involved? 13:41:16 EARNEST: There is a policy that the Department of Defense has for providing compensation, and I'd refer you to the Department of Defense for how that system works, okay? Go ahead, Marl? QUESTION: It's a question about having another investigation. Doctors Without Borders is asking something very specific. They're -- they've asked for the United States as well as 17 other signatory states that need intervention to activate this protocol that has never apparently been used before. It's called an International Humanitarian Fact-Finding Commission. Are you ruling that out, or are you saying that you want these other ones to -- these other investigations -- finish first? I'm a little unclear on your position on this specific form of -- of -- additional investigation. 13:42:00 EARNEST: Our position is that we share the international community's desire, and particularly the desire on the part of -- of Doctors Without Borders, to get a full accounting of what exactly transpired, and that's why the President has ordered the Department of Defense to carry out a -- a transparent and objective investigation into what's transpired, and the President has confidence that that Department of Defense investigation can provide the full of accounting that everyone seeks. QUESTION: But -- but apparently it only takes one member of the Geneva Convention to call for this kind of investigation. Would you -- would you actively try to block that? EARNEST: Well, I -- I wouldn't speculate on -- on that kind of thing. I -- I think what I would merely state is that, you know, we continue to have confidence that the Department of Defense investigation that's underway we'll be able to yield the kind of full accounting in a transparent, thorough, and objective way that everybody seeks. QUESTION: That would render another investigation unnecessary. EARNEST: Well, I -- I'm just saying that the President has confidence in -- not just in the Department of Defense investigation but also the NATO investigation in the joint U.S./Afghan investigation that's underway. The President -- again, as -- as -- as he said on many previous occasions, when the United States makes a mistake, we own up to it -- we apologize -- we're appropriate -- and we are honest about what transpired. And, in this case, the Department of Defense is seeking to learn what exactly transpired so that if they are accountability measures that need to be imposed, that that can be done, but also, that there are reforms that are necessary to make these kinds of tragic incidents less likely. That those reforms are implemented, OK? Ron. QUESTION: My specific concern about Doctors without Borders is that they say a war crime was committed. Is the Department of Defense in the position to determine whether the United States committed a war crime? 13:44:13 EARNEST: Ron, what I'd simply say about that is that's a -- the use of that term carries a certain legal meaning and what I would point is that the Department of Defense as a matter of course, takes as many precautions as anybody else does, as any other military organization in the world does, to prevent the innocent loss of life in operations that they carry out. And there's no evidence that I or anybody else has -- that I've seen or that anybody else has presented that indicate that this was anything other than a terrible, tragic mistake. QUESTION: So then, essentially you seem to be taking this whole notion of a war crime off the table if it's a mistake am I -- and that's exactly the -- Doctors without Borders concern that these investigations will not answer the essential question that they raised, whether or not the United States committed a war crime. You've essentially taken it off the table. 13:45:16 EARNEST: Well, again, I'm -- I'm not in the position to render a legal judgment about the use of that term, but I am certainly in a position to make an observation and a commitment that the United States' Department of Defense goes to great lengths to prevent the innocent loss of life in any of their military operations and nobody has marshalled any evidence, at least that I've seen, to contradict that assertion. We have acknowledged that this was a mistake. General Campbell made that acknowledgment yesterday before Congress. And the fact that the President offered his personal apology to the international president of MSF should be an indication that the commander-in-chief is owning up to this mistake. QUESTION: And just the last thing on this point the -- when you say that the persons would be held accountable, the word accountable. Again, that has a judicial connotation. Are you talking about the fact that the Department of Defense and the other investigations could potentially raise criminal cases or begin criminal cases against the individuals who are responsible if they can be identified and they're -- or are your just talking about accountability in terms of the mechanisms that created this situation? Again, because again, the central concern of Doctors without Borders is this level of accountably and this notion that there was a crime committed. EARNEST: Well, let me just -- let me try to answer your question this way. The Department of Defense will be, as a part of this ongoing investigation, taking a close look at the individual decisions that were made by the individuals who are involved in this incident. But they would also be taking a close look at the policies and procedures that have been in place and I wouldn't speculate at this point about what sort of accountability measures that would be necessary or appropriate but certainly the conduct of the individuals involved will be under investigation. And the policies and procedures that they were operating under we're all -- will also be subjected to scrutiny. And if those policies and procedures, those rules of engagement if you will, need to be reformed or modified or refined in some way to make it less likely that incidents like this happen in the future, then that's what the President will expect the Department of Defense to do. And I think we've even seen a commitment already from General Campbell to consider that. But, again, this notion of accountability and this notion of making changes when mistakes are made is something that the President takes very seriously. And since he's the Commander in Chief, I speak confidently in telling you that since he takes it seriously, that everybody up and down the chain of command takes it quite seriously. OK? Carol? Q: (Inaudible) you said yesterday that the -- the U.S. was not going to apologize until the Defense investigation got further along. And today I think you said that the President had learned some new things. Did you mean that he learned some new things coming out of this defense investigation? EARNEST: I think what I said yesterday was I said I was not going to say much more until there was -- given the fact that there was an ongoing investigation. What the President concluded is that he had learned enough about this matter to conclude that it was appropriate for him to offer an apology to the international president of Doctors Without Borders, and that's based on his knowledge of the -- of the incident. Q: (Inaudible) progress in the DOD investigation or just separate? 13:49:17 EARNEST: I wouldn't speculate at this point -- or I wouldn't discuss at this point the kinds of briefings and updates that the President's received from the Department of Defense on this. Just sharing with you that he reached the conclusion that it was appropriate for him to offer an apology to the leadership of Doctors Without Borders. Q: OK, and then on Russia there's some defense patrols saying that U.S. is no longer has an interest in working with Russia on a strategic approach to Syria. Is that the White House position, has anything changed on that? EARNEST: Well, our interests in working with Russia inside of Syria has been limited to Russia's willingness to make a constructive contribution to the 65-member counter-ISIL coalition. Outside of that, our only interest in dealing with Russia has been to take prudent steps to ensure that our military activities and the military activities of our coalition partners were effectively deconflicted with the Russian military activities. That is a -- and that involves a discussion of some very practical details, things like ensuring that pilots are using internationally recognized communications channels and that all pilots who are operating in the airspace over Syria are following widely recognized safety regulations. That is a far cry from any sort of broader strategic cooperation with the Russians. That's something that has never been on the table as long as Russia refuses to make a constructive contribution to our broader counter-ISIL coalition. OK? Richard? Q: Maybe you said it on this but can you tell us a little about how (inaudible) you reacted or is there anything you can tell us on the (inaudible) reaction to President (inaudible)? EARNEST: I can't and it's simply that when we read out these calls, we typically will just reveal what the President -- the message the President sought to communicate, and in this case, you know, what the President communicated is an apology as well as a commitment to conduct the kind of transparent, thorough and objective investigation that will result in a full accounting that the President has been asking for QUESTION: Can you tell us, whether she said thank you? EARNEST: For her reaction I would refer you to Doctors without Borders. QUESTION: To go back to the decision to keep the bar to add or bring back troops tour to prompt against them. And you told us that it was not going to be a snap decision based on one or two incidents of -- it was going to be based on the strength -- the weaknesses of the Afghan army. Looking at the way the Taliban has been gaining ground in the last month, are you satisfied with the quality of the training and the advising that the Afghan troops have received from the Americans and the other members of NATO? 13:52:40 EARNEST: I would reiterate what the President actually had the opportunity to tell President Ghani earlier today, which is that the United States and our coalition partners in Afghanistan are committed to a strong working relationship with the Afghan government, the Afghan security forces and the Afghan people. The United States has made a substantial investment in that country. And the primary reason for doing so is that we recognize the core national security interest on the part of the United States that present. But when it comes to preventing extremists from capitalizing on the chaos inside of Afghanistan to strike the United States and our interests. So we have been quite forthright about what our motivation in Afghanistan which is to protect the interests of the American people by supporting the Afghan government and the Afghan security forces as they try to stabilize the security situation inside their country. And there has been -- there was in the beginning of this year, a change in the mission of U.S. military forces. The combat mission in Afghanistan, for U.S. military forces ended at the end of last year. And that mission changed to a mission that was focused on counter terrorism operations and a broader effort to offer training advice and assistance to the Afghan security forces and that does not -- I - I state that, just to recite the facts, not to in any way diminish the danger of the situation in Afghanistan for American military personnel. It's a dangerous place and we certainly are appreciative of the bravery and courage that our military personnel make by display by serving inside of Afghanistan. It's a dangerous place. And, but, they are advancing our core national security interest when they do that important work. And, I know that President Ghani would be among the first to tell you that the contribution that is made by American military personnel and offering training, advice and assistance to his security forces is something that they appreciate and something that does enhance their performance. But as we've said in other context and as I've acknowledged in other context, in a military conflict like this, there's going to be periods of progress and areas of setback. And, you know, we've -- QUESTION: We want to agree but in which one are we in? 13:55:15 EARNEST: I think we've acknowledged that particularly when it comes to the progress or the advances at least that the Taliban has made in the area around Kunduz, that would clearly be a setback. And that's something that we have previously acknowledged. But you know, there are other places -- well I guess that -- even in sustaining that setback, what we have seen from the Afghan security forces is a willingness to fight and there has been an effort by the Afghan security forces to regroup after they've been driven out of Kunduz and to mount counter-offense that have made important incursions back into Kunduz. So that is an indication that there is a firm commitment on the part of many members of the Afghan security forces to engage in this fight against the Taliban, to fight for their country and to do so under the -- alongside the advice and implementing the training that they've received from the United States and coalition soldiers. QUESTION: Last question on this, you often describe the Syria situation as not same, as a multi-year campaign, you've got to be patient. Do you see Afghanistan, even if we've been there for a decade plus, as something that's going to be just -- (inaudible)? 13:56:37 EARNEST: Well, I wouldn't speculate at this point on -- on exactly what the U.S. military presence in Afghanistan will be in the future. Obviously, this is, you know, part of an important policy decision that the president has to make, but I do feel confident in saying to you that the U.S. commitment to the Afghan government and to the Afghan people is something that does endure and the United States has enjoyed a strong, working relationship with President Ghani and his -- and the other senior officials in his government, including Mr. Abdullah -- Dr. Abdullah. And that kind of partnership has been beneficial to the Afghan people, it's also advanced the interests of the United States in that region of the world as well. OK. Jon? JON KARL QUESTION: Can you give a little more on what the president's reaction was to first hearing that this hospital had been hit and then hearing that there was sufficient U.S. responsibility and U.S. mistake that he had to make this call? What was his personal reaction? This was obviously a pretty horrific mistake. EARNEST: Well, I wasn't with the president when he first learned of this incident over the weekend shortly after it occurred, but I do know that the president views this like we all do, as a profound tragedy. And again, you have medical personnel that are using their training in a war zone to try to meet the needs of innocent civilians and they know the risks. They understand how dangerous this region of the world is, and yet, they leave the comfort of their homes to go and try to provide for the needs of -- of innocent civilians, and to learn that those individuals have been caught in the crossfire and killed is a terrible tragedy. And to learn that the United States may have been responsible because of a mistake makes the tragic incident even worse. JON KARL QUESTION: (OFF-MIKE) tragedy was he angry about it? Saddened by it? What was his initial response? 13:59:09 EARNEST: I think the president was certainly saddened by this innocent loss of life and the tragedy that it represents. I think the president, when confronted with incidents like this, is also very eager to get to the bottom of what exactly occurred. These kinds of incidents are -- you know, take place in a -- in a combat environment where, you know, where shots are being fired. It's dangerous and people are trying to act quickly and so it's understandable that it's going to take some time to get to the bottom of what exactly occurred. But the president is going to insist that the Department of Defense conduct the kind of transparent, thorough and objective investigation that will yield the full accounting that the president seeks. And the president wants that full accounting, so that if accountability measures need to be imposed, that that can be done. But also so that if there are reforms to the basic policy and procedures that our military personnel are supposed to follow, that those reforms can be implemented sooner rather than later, as well. 13:59:58 JON KARL QUESTION: OK. And this happens just as General Campbell is saying that he's going to need more troops in Afghanistan, that he's not going to be able to, in his view, continue on the current plan -- for troop drawdown. Does this incident make it more or less likely that the president would approve a larger U.S. military presence in Afghanistan at the end of the year (inaudible)? 14:00:22 EARNEST: Well, Jon, I think -- the best way I can describe the president's thinking to you is that, the president has been in a position over the course of the last seven years -- you've covered this as often as anybody has. Whether it's here at the white House or other government agencies. You know that the president has been faced with making a series of decisions about the U.S. military presence inside of Afghanistan, basically since the first day he came into office. And so, he's been weighing these kinds of decisions about this long-term trajectory for a long time. And the president made decisions early on in his presidency, following through on a campaign promise that he made, to ensure that the United States was focused on the most significant threat that we faced, which is the presence of core Al Qaida leaders in Afghanistan. And the president made a decision early in his presidency to ramp up our military presence inside of Afghanistan, so we could apply maximum pressure to core Al Qaida. And there's no denying the significant progress that we've made in decimating core Al Qaida in that region of the world. So, the reason I highlight this is that, in covering those stories, you know that there has always been this pressure that's placed on the president from -- and it comes from a -- a pure motivation, right? It's not surprising that the Department of Defense that has given this significant task to -- at the beginning to decimate core Al Qaida and to bring the security situation under control, that mission is different now. That mission now is to support the Afghan forces as they try to bring the situation under control. But it certainly is understandable that those who are responsible for that mission are seeking as many resources as possible to succeed in that mission. And they give their unvarnished advice to the president of the United States about what they believe will be necessary to carry out the mission that the president has asked them to undertake. And this has been true of a variety of military officials who have had leadership roles in Afghanistan and at the Pentagon over the last seven years. And in each case, the president has to weigh those kinds of requests and those kinds of plans with the broader national security interests of the United States, and the amount of risk that our men and women in uniform will have to face. So, these are complicated decisions. So, as it comes to this one -- because there's another one coming up -- the president in each case has always carefully considered the situation on the ground. That, from a -- as practical matter, if you're making a decision about what kind of military presence is necessary to stabilize the security situation on the ground. It needs to start with a full and unvarnished assessment about what conditions on the ground actually are. And nobody is better position to offer that assessment than our men and women in the military. There are also, of course, assessments that are offered by the intelligence community that draw on different resources. But the President takes in this kind of information and factors it against the broader national security interests of the United States that includes our diplomatic relationship with the leaders in Afghanistan. One of the things that characterized this story early on is the sometimes rancorous relationship between the Obama administration and former President Karzai. The -- it's no secret that the relationship between the United States and the -- and President Ghani has been more stable and, as a result, our military and security cooperation I think has been more effective. But that also will be a factor in the decision. And then the other thing the President has to factor in is sort of what is the -- what is the longer term trajectory here that we can certainly factor into the equation, you know, recent incidents on the ground, including significant incidents like the -- the progress that the Taliban made in the area of Kunduz and the tragedy that ensued there. But it's also important for the President to keep a long-term perspective on our national interests. So all of that will be factored into the President's decision. It -- it's hard for me to say, you know, to what degree this particular incident will influence the outcome of that decision making process. That's hard for me to assess. But I can certainly assure you that this is a factor in the President's considerations of this complicated policy decision. 14:05:20 JON KARL QUESTION: This is very quick. I think what I hear you're saying the broader picture is the President would not hesitate to say no to General Campbell's request, his assessment of what's needed, if the other factors you just outlined push him in a different direction. He has said no to commanders in the past; he would not hesitate to say no to this commander if -- if -- if that's what he views as the appropriate thing. 14:05:39 EARNEST: I -- I -- the answer to that question is yes, but that is not an indication that the President doesn't value -- maybe I should say it in the affirmative here. The President deeply values the advice that he gets from General Campbell who obviously has a very good understanding about conditions on the ground. He also has somebody that has extensive experience inside of Afghanistan, and so brings a lot of his own institutional knowledge to this policy process. But his advice and his input into this decision making process, while significant, is not the only factor in this decision. OK? David? Q: One of the Capitol Police apparently sent out a newsletter to its officers related to the Million Man March anniversary rally this weekend, warning that there could be violence. And others have objected to that kind of tone, assuming that there would be some sort incidents by those, you know, charged with protecting the public. And, additionally, it -- it seems that some mosques -- local mosques are prepared -- preparing for potential violence to -- quote, that's directed at them from anti-Muslims groups. I wonder if the White House is -- and the President are aware of these incidents, if they have a message for the public related to this event (inaudible) concerned about the tone of any of this. 14:06:56 EARNEST: Yes, David, I'll tell you that I'm actually not aware of this but typically in these kinds of matters, there is a good coordination between the Capitol Police and federal law enforcement, national security officials. So why don't I check on this with -- with our folks and we can get you a response. Q: (inaudible) out of town this weekend but are you familiar with sort of maybe the Million Man March 20 years ago was a powerful moment for a lot of African-American men and I wondered if President had a sense of how that impacted the President as a younger man and whether he engaged in all this at this event and -- and being -- sort of watching what's happening. 14:07:36 EARNEST: Well, I haven't had a discussion about sort of what the first Million Man March may have had on his thinking, but you know, the President has made the observation that, that there is a sort of burgeoning evolution in the Civil Rights Movement. As we see the younger the generation of not just young African American activists, but activists from a variety of different backgrounds that are raising concerns about the plight of people of color in this country and whether that has to do with their relationship with law enforcement or broader concerns about fairness in our criminal justice system, or even more basic considerations, like the ability to afford a college education, the ability to support a family on minimum wage. Some of these economic issues are actually the kinds of things that the President will be talking about later today at the Worker's Voice Summit. And certainly the President has been focused on these issues throughout his career and he's continued that work even here in the White House. QUESTION: On one other topic, the House Republicans has prepared to appoint a special committee, black committee to investigate matters related to abortion and fetal tissue procurement. Does the White House believe this is an appropriate use of the Congressional powers and authority and a good use of their resources? EARNEST: Well I guess I would observe that it seems consistent with the strategy that we've seen from him over the last few months. The priority of House Republicans has primarily been focused on an ideological fight that shut down the government, that actually resulted the retirement of the speaker of the house. We've seen that they been quite focused on the activities of a slight committee that was formed to -- if you listen to the guy who's likely to be the next speaker of the house, it was primarily formed to hurt the presidential prospects of a Democratic front-runner for president. You know? And we know that House Republicans didn't just vote to shut down the government, they also voted to pass a defense authorization bill that would make use of a funding gimmick that some Republicans have called a slush fund, to try to provide for the basic national security of the United States in a way that the President and commander-in- chief finds grossly irresponsible. Those I think are -- those are actually the actions of House Republicans that have garnered headlines in the last couple of months. Nowhere have I've seen much reference to the plight of middle class families, the desire to create jobs in this country. There certainly hasn't been any legislative actions on the transportation bill or reauthorizing the export-import bank, even though it's Republicans who led the fight to try to shut down the export-import bank. And the result has been a couple of public announcements from American companies that they're going to have to ship American jobs overseas. So, I think there is ample reason to be quite concerned about the priorities of House Republicans. I do think it is a useful explanation for how Republicans find themselves at the bottom of the polls when it comes to the public's view of our nation's capital. Jim? QUESTION: I just want to follow up on that. Kevin McCarthy, the majority leader said that the Benghazi committee is not political. And that they're trying to get... EARNEST: He said that after he said that it was political but I -- yes. QUESTION: ... it's all about getting to the truth behind the attack that resulted in the death of four Americans. You're not giving him the benefit of the doubt here? EARNEST: Well I think that I'm taking him at his word. QUESTION: What for? EARNEST: Well, I guess that's a good question. EARNEST: Look, I think it's quite clear that in trying to make the case to conservatives on Fox News, in an interview with a conservative Fox News commentator, that Mr. McCarthy was trying to burnish his conservative credentials. And the best justification that he could use was the fact that he had been instrumental in standing up a Select Committee that had taken its toll on Secretary Clinton's presidential prospects. That -- again, those are -- that's the way he described his motivation and the motivation of the committee. And when he was talking to that television news personality, he seemed quite proud of it. You know, I guess when... QUESTION: So, you're not buying it? 14:12:34 EARNEST: No, I -- and again, he spoke quite forcefully and with evident pride in the political success of the Benghazi Select Committee. I think the other thing is, there's nobody in this room that was surprised that he said it. There's no suggestion on the part of neutral observers that, oh, that -- there's not really any evidence for that. There's all kind of evidence for that. That's why he made the observation, and that's why he viewed as a conservative credential of his. And you know, the fact is, what happened in Benghazi was a tragedy, and that there were four innocent Americans who were trying to serve their country, who were killed. And the fact that even three years later now, the Congressional Republicans continue to politicize that effort, it's offensive. QUESTION: Did the president... EARNEST: And so, I can understand why -- why Mr. McCarthy would say that he no longer stands by those remarks. QUESTION: And I guess the follow up to that would be, can the president work with a Speaker McCarthy, given this episode regarding what he said about the purpose of that committee? 14:13:38 EARNEST: Yeah, I mean, look. There are plenty of things that Speaker Boehner has said that have -- that the president has disagreed with, even strongly. But it didn't prevent at least a usually functioning relationship between the speaker's office and the White House. And whoever Republicans choose to be the next speaker of the House, I'm confident will be somebody who has a set of priorities that we strongly disagree with. And there will be vigorous disagreements with whomever the speaker is, but the real question is, will the next leader of the House of Representatives be somebody who recognizes that compromise and bipartisanship are not dirty words. In fact, they're the expectations of the vast majority of the American public. That they want their government to, at a minimum, not make the economy worse. And not weaken our national security. But efforts by Republicans to use funding gimmick -- you know, to use budget gimmicks to try to fund our national security, or threaten a government shutdown over an ideological dispute; or even threaten, for reasons that are not entirely clear, not to raise the debt limit, and therefore threaten the full faith and credit of the United States, is just irresponsible. And somebody who will lead the House of Representatives, who despite their differences with the Democratic president, will acknowledge those basic, fundamental requirements of the United States Congress, is somebody that the president won't always agree with, but it's somebody that I'm confident we'll be able to work with to advance the best interests of the American people. QUESTION: And yesterday -- I know you know this -- Secretary Clinton repeated her call for a no-fly zone in Syria, and she added -- and I know that the White House has said repeatedly that that's not going to work. Unless you want to... EARNEST: Well, I -- I -- go ahead. QUESTION: The second part of that is that she said that -- that perhaps the Russians could play a role in that and it just sort of made me wonder, going down the road here in Syria, is it possible that some kind of arrangement, some kind of -- I don't want to call it coalition, maybe wouldn't want the Russians as part of the coalition but is there a way to work with the Russians in Syria, do you think, long-term? Or is that -- that just seem sort of pie in the sky stuff now? 14:16:07 EARNEST: Well, there are a couple of things to say. Let me -- so, when it comes to a no-fly zone, what the position of the administration has been is that that's not something that we're considering right now. We've not been in a position to take it off the table or to rule it out in the future, but we have indicated that it's not something that we're considering right now. And there are a few reasons for that that I think... QUESTION: (OFF-MIKE) on the table? EARNEST: But it's -- but it's not something that is -- is under consideration right now. So is it possible for something to be on the table even though it's not being considered right now? I'll leave that to you to decide. QUESTION: (OFF-MIKE) EARNEST: Exactly. The kids' table -- I don't know exactly what it is. But I do think it's worth spending a little time explaining why it's not something that's under consideration right now. The first is, you have to sort of answer a fundamental question about where would you establish the no-fly zone? You know, there are some, including our allies in Turkey, who have previously suggested, I don't know if this continues to be their current position, but they've at least previously suggested that some kind of no-fly zone or safe zone should be established along the -- the Turkish border, essentially in northern and even some parts of northeastern Syria. There are others who have advocated, including Ambassador Crocker as recently as over the weekend, who have advocated establishing one on the western part of the country near some areas where there is -- there are ongoing hostilities between the Assad regime and opposition groups. The -- there are others, like Senator McCain, who have been totally non-specific about where they would put a no-fly zone. But answering that question about where you're going to establish it is important, particularly because if you do establish it close to Damascus near Idlib Province for example, you'd risk a direct confrontation with the Russians because there's going to be a little conflict if you try to establish a no-fly zone where the Russians are currently flying. The second thing is, a no-fly zone requires -- the enforcement of a no-fly zone requires significant resources, so it's going to require a significant number of aircraft and personnel to fly those aircraft, significant maintenance crews, search and rescue teams that can be on standby in the event of an emergency. It would all need to be in place to effectively enforce a no-fly zone 24/7. And oh, by the way, if you're devoting those resources to a no- fly zone, you're not using those resources to hit ISIL targets. So the question is then are you going to divert from your ongoing ISIL operations to enforce a no-fly zone? Or are you going to make a significant additional commitment of U.S. resources to implement that no-fly zone? The second -- I guess the third thing is even though it's called a no- fly zone, there has to be some enforcement mechanism on the ground as well that essentially -- I mean, it bears repeating. ISIL doesn't have an air force, so could certainly -- you certainly don't want to set up a situation where refugees hear that there's a no-fly zone in some part of the country, so they flock to that region and think they'll be protected by the United States, but ISIL, who doesn't have an air force, can still come in and carry out terrible acts of violence on the ground, that in some ways, would be hard to protect against with just a no-fly zone. Then this raises questions about how you protect those refugees that not would essentially be under the care and security blanket of the United States and our coalition partners. So, you're significantly raising the stakes about the United States and our coalition partner's involvement inside of Syria. Finally, our Defense Department has previously noted the exist