The Evening Team, 1st part of May 16, 2023 (EDS, 1/2).
L'Equipe
Troops Return Home / BWI 0700 - 0800
TROOP RETURN GMA LIVE two-ways with ( names tbd) someone from the approx. 250 active duty army, reserve and national guard troops who are arriving at BWI, most for connections to other destinations. This is one of several flights of Soldiers form the Operation Iraqi Freedom AOR who are participating in the CENTCOM Rest and Recuperation (R&R) Leave Program. TROOP RETURN Cover footage of arrival of soldiers from Operation Iraqi Freedom TROOPS COME HOME FOR R&R X75/RS25 BWI TROOPS RETURN 9/26/03 0700 - 0800 07:03:37 hugging 07:05:37 soldier holds a baby 07:09:10 SOT father - we're proud of our son who gets to see his daughter for the first time 07:09:24 we're still numb. We just found out 3 days ago he's coming home 07:09:43 adrien Dupree family liveshot for gma 07:35:41 soldier with baby 07:39:53 family walking out 07:40:48 jim short - welcome home daddy sign 07:41:38 hugging 07:52:54 woman walks up and hugs soldier, they walk away
Health in France: the state of emergency? [programme of 21 March 2023]
A2 / France 2
KIA SHERR INTERVIEW & DEWALI CELEBRATION - ABC UNILATERAL
INTERVIEW WITH KIA SHERR WIFE AND MOTHER OF ALAN AND NAMOMI SHERR WHO WERE KILLED IN 2008 AT THE TAJ MAHAL PALACE AND TOWER HOTEL IN MUMBAI, INDIA. BY TERRORISTS IN MUMBIA, INDIA. DEWALI CELEBRATION. ABC UNI: Kia Sherr intv - family of victims of Mumbai terrorist attack - and Dewali celebration SLUG: 1635 4X3 WH INDIA PATH 2 RS34 84 AR: 4x3 Disc:361 KIA SHERR 16:41:20 nine of them will be here, including some that will be injured.we're planning a large event at the trident hotel which will incorporate as many from the taj hotel as possible 16:41:53 we've invited all leaders from education, govt officials, many of the youth that are coming from religious org 16:42:26 I got a call.numb with shock and turned on the news.naturally we wondered where are they, it's late, they must be in their rooms, and I was hoping and praying that they were in their rooms and they were safe.it was unconfirmed. That's when, my son filed an ireport on CNN. 16:43:49 everyone saw that they were sending emails, love and support.immediately there was this ground swelling of love and support. And it was the Friday after that when I got a call from the consulate, confirming that they had be shot.I couldn't believe it. I remember I just dropped the phone 16:44:57 I never got back to normal because my life basically ended when theirs did. 16:45:40 I had to take some time by myself, and at the same time I was very moved by the response that we got.at the same time I was healing from this loss was how could this going 16:46:47 I spent quite a bite of time by myself, and at the same time ***FIREWORKS going off behind her*** 16:47:37 We wanted to respond with compassion, love, and forgiveness. There's enough anger, hatred, and revenge in the world, and it doesn't help, it doesn't move us forward. Forgiveness is not condonement. Forgiveness allows me to move on and give forth of myself and make a positive contribution. 16:48:13 absolutely, I think a lot of people find in challenging, even without having a connection to a terrorist attack 16:49:02 this kind of thing you don't recover from. You learn to live with it. But at the same time I want to learn to live with it 16:49:21 I've been walking the streets. I know they've done some tours. Just being around. 16:50:09 that's where they were staying, and that's where their life ended. And I wanted to pay my respects 16:50:45 this fits in with what the president said, it's the festival of lights.that is how the light within everyone one of those people can live on. We can honor them and their lives by honoring the sacredness of their lives and each other. 16:51:41 I don't know if the state dept is aware of it. I should visit them in Washington dc. 16:52:47 Well, it's mixed. Of course, being here I would have loved to be here with them. There's birthdays, there's anniversaries, there's Christmas, and all kinds of things that they're not here for. So that still breaks my heart. At the same time I'm excited by the possibility that if something positive can come out of this that's the key. And that's what keeps me going. Otherwise I just wouldn't want to come out, I'd crawl into a dark hole or something. 16:54:11 It's almost like there are no words for it. I met another woman who lost her son here.she said 'we're sailing on the same boat'. On terrorism: It exists. It's a reality in this world. I feel the impact of it much, much more.I think of it as the extreme negative, the extreme negative that results in the loss of innocent life. They're extremely focused. They're delusional and misguided. It's very difficult to fight it directly. We need to protect our people as best we can. But it needs to be education. To counterbalance that negative all we can do ourselves is be as positive as we can as a counterbalance. They are life negating, so we need to be life-affirmative. 16:56:42 Life is sacred.the sacredness of life must be honored. You can have beliefs and you can disagree with someone else's beliefs. But it's life that you need to honor, not destroy. Q: You're not angry? 16:57:30 Maybe I'm just too sad to be angry. Maybe my heart is too broken, I don't have room for anger. Though if someone is angry I understand. 16:58:14 they all say I'm so sorry for your lost.they understand. They're treating me like one of the family and I feel the same. 17:01:34 DEWALI CELEBRATION 17:03:27 CU of hands tossing rice 17:04:58 MS of Dewali display 17:05:26 MS of family participating in celebration 17:05:37 CU of various food at foot of display 17:06:32 CU of candles 17:08:14 MS of family gathering around display 17:09:52 MS of family doing candle ritual 17:13:02 ext of house 17:13:27 lights hanging outside house 17:14:00 residential street with lights wrapped on trees **you can hear fireworks** 17:14:32 MS of man playing drum
SENATE ARMED SERVICES COMMITTEE STAKEOUT
STAKEOUT OF Senate Armed services committee gets a CLOSED briefing from the CIA Director on worldwide threats / SENATOR WALKING SHOTS LOG: Senate Armed Services Committee stakeout SLUG: 1210 SEN ARMED SVCS SO RS14 76 DISC# 734 12:09:00 James Clapper 12:09:43 Sen Rob Portman 12:10:31 Sen Jack Reed 12:11:00 Sen John McCain 12:13:36 Sen. Lindsey Graham 12:13:54 Reed remarks 12:13:57 well I'm not aware of the details of it. We'll be having a briefing at lunch. I believe house has acted correctly, fully funded all lawful programs. It's only declined to fund president's illegal activity and his illegal rewriting of immigration law. I think house has acted responsibly. Inexplicable democratic colleagues can justify filibustering, not allowing it to come to floor to fix with amendments 12:15:09 a lot of people think most of organization would be able to operate. Vast majority of it. But we don't want to do that. President should not be allowed to rewrite law and expect congress to fund his activie3s. it is the power of the purse. Co-equal branch. And this is a historic overreach. But I really think congress if it acquiesces, then it has weakened itself. 12:16:46 well we had a good briefing. General clapper and gen stuart (sp?). I would say to my mind we've got to exploit and built on offer of tribal leaders to take on ISIS. We need to work with Iraqi army. It can take action. Help them move on offensive ant take back territory. And maybe get this effort blunted. I think that's doable. Will take modest number of American troops to embed with Iraqis. Also encouraging the other nations in the region are rising to occasion. And so they are I think there's an opportunity to make progress. We shouldn't fail to understand that showing strength with allies, we trained Iraqi army. We know it. It failed in Mosul but it's not hopeless. That would be a positive event. 12:18:45 not discussed when I was there (Mosul attack) 12:19:01 Sen Barbara Boxer 12:19:14 Sen Joe Manchin remarks 12:19:19 I think what we're hearing is, Sen McConnell said we'll do a DHS only funding. Second part is can they get a clean vote on the executive orders. I'm receptive to that. 12:19:52 I understand that and I have said I think the president had overreached. I would vote probably to repeal. We'll get a vote on the clean bill first. If there's agreement, we should unanimous consent on both of these bills. Give back to house. They can vote on clean DHS. They'll vote to reaffirm repeal of executive actions. And he said he'll live by court's ruling. 12:20:52 I think, I hope it's not numb to this. This is too important. Threats made to malls. Knowing threats around the world, this is serious. Don't play games with the homeland. That's first and foremost. I agree that the president overstepped. But I want those two separate. 12:21:34 I just heard about it. I was so impressed with Sec. Macdonald. So unfortunate. 12:21:51 I'm not going to speak for them. His heart is with veterans. I hope we can get through this because I think he's the right person. 12:22:19 Sen Dick Durbin jogging 12:22:30 Sen. Kelly Ayotte 12:22:43 Sen. John Cornyn 12:23:37 Sen. John McCain 12:23:46 I think it's appropriate to apologize. I'm much more concerned about his failure to implement the legislation we passed. That to me was key element. So it was wrong of him to claim that as part of his resume but I'm more concerned with his performance 12:24:39 interesting. Very interesting. Certainly nothing I haven't heard in the media or been briefed on before. Brings home severity and intensity of threat we're facing. Chinese activity, Ukraine and others 12:25:16 we've had very many discussions, we'll have another at lunch today. We should not shut down DHS. I just don't want to shut down DHS. 12:25:44 the recent polling shows the majority of American people would blame republicans. But it also harms ability to enforce borders.
Greg’s Team of March 20, 2023 (EDG).
L'Equipe
8 p.m.: [March 06, 2023 broadcast]
A2 / France 2
PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA: STATEMENT ON UMPQUA COMMUNITY COLLEGE SHOOTING - STIX AND CUTS
Thursday, October 01, 2015 President Barack Obama remarks on Umpqua Community College campus shooting DC Slugs: 1815 WH UCC STMT STIX RS37 73 & 1815 WH UCC STMT CUTS RS38 74 AR: 16x9 Disc #994 & 993 NYRS: WASH3 (4523) / WASH4 (4524) 18:21:30 OBAMA: There's been another mass shooting in America -- this time, in a community college in Oregon. 18:21:45 That means there are more American families -- moms, dads, children -- whose lives have been changed forever. That means there's another community stunned with grief, and communities across the country forced to relieve their own anguish, and parents across the country who are scared because they know it might have been their families or their children. 18:22:15 I've been to Roseburg, Oregon. There are really good people there. I want to thank all the first responders whose bravery likely saved some lives today. Federal law enforcement has been on the scene in a supporting role, and we've offered to stay and help as much as Roseburg needs, for as long as they need. 18:22:29 In the coming days, we'll learn about the victims -- young men and women who were studying and learning and working hard, their eyes set on the future, their dreams on what they could make of their lives. And America will wrap everyone who's grieving with our prayers and our love. 18:22:52 But as I said just a few months ago, and I said a few months before that, and I said each time we see one of these mass shootings, our thoughts and prayers are not enough. It's not enough. It does not capture the heartache and grief and anger that we should feel. And it does nothing to prevent this carnage from being inflicted someplace else in America -- next week, or a couple of months from now. 18:23:27 We don't yet know why this individual did what he did. And it's fair to say that anybody who does this has a sickness in their minds, regardless of what they think their motivations may be. But we are not the only country on Earth that has people with mental illnesses or want to do harm to other people. We are the only advanced country on Earth that sees these kinds of mass shootings every few months. 18:24:25 Earlier this year, I answered a question in an interview by saying, "The United States of America is the one advanced nation on Earth in which we do not have sufficient common-sense gun-safety laws -- even in the face of repeated mass killings." And later that day, there was a mass shooting at a movie theater in Lafayette, Louisiana. That day! Somehow this has become routine. The reporting is routine. My response here at this podium ends up being routine. The conversation in the aftermath of it. We've become numb to this. 18:25:17 We talked about this after Columbine and Blacksburg, after Tucson, after Newtown, after Aurora, after Charleston. It cannot be this easy for somebody who wants to inflict harm on other people to get his or her hands on a gun. 18:25:42 And what's become routine, of course, is the response of those who oppose any kind of common-sense gun legislation. Right now, I can imagine the press releases being cranked out: We need more guns, they'll argue. Fewer gun safety laws. Does anybody really believe that? There are scores of responsible gun owners in this country --they know that's not true. We know because of the polling that says the majority of Americans understand we should be changing these laws -- including the majority of responsible, law-abiding gun owners. There is a gun for roughly every man, woman, and child in America. So how can you, with a straight face, make the argument that more guns will make us safer? We know that states with the most gun laws tend to have the fewest gun deaths. So the notion that gun laws don't work, or just will make it harder for law-abiding citizens and criminals will still get their guns is not borne out by the evidence. We know that other countries, in response to one mass shooting, have been able to craft laws that almost eliminate mass shootings. Friends of ours, allies of ours -- Great Britain, Australia, countries like ours. So we know there are ways to prevent it. And, of course, what's also routine is that somebody, somewhere will comment and say, Obama politicized this issue. Well, this is something we should politicize. It is relevant to our common life together, to the body politic. I would ask news organizations -- because I won't put these facts forward -- have news organizations tally up the number of Americans who've been killed through terrorist attacks over the last decade and the number of Americans who've been killed by gun violence, and post those side-by-side on your news reports. This won't be information coming from me; it will be coming from you. We spend over a trillion dollars, and pass countless laws, and devote entire agencies to preventing terrorist attacks on our soil, and rightfully so. And yet, we have a Congress that explicitly blocks us from even collecting data on how we could potentially reduce gun deaths. How can that be? 18:29:04 This is a political choice that we make to allow this to happen every few months in America. We collectively are answerable to those families who lose their loved ones because of our inaction. When Americans are killed in mine disasters, we work to make mines safer. When Americans are killed in floods and hurricanes, we make communities safer. When roads are unsafe, we fix them to reduce auto fatalities. We have seatbelt laws because we know it saves lives. So the notion that gun violence is somehow different, that our freedom and our Constitution prohibits any modest regulation of how we use a deadly weapon, when there are law-abiding gun owners all across the country who could hunt and protect their families and do everything they do under such regulations doesn't make sense. 18:30:41 So, tonight, as those of us who are lucky enough to hug our kids a little closer are thinking about the families who aren't so fortunate, I'd ask the American people to think about how they can get our government to change these laws, and to save lives, and to let young people grow up. And that will require a change of politics on this issue. And it will require that the American people, individually, whether you are a Democrat or a Republican or an independent, when you decide to vote for somebody, are making a determination as to whether this cause of continuing death for innocent people should be a relevant factor in your decision. If you think this is a problem, then you should expect your elected officials to reflect your views. 18:31:59 And I would particularly ask America's gun owners -- who are using those guns properly, safely, to hunt, for sport, for protecting their families -- to think about whether your views are properly being represented by the organization that suggests it's speaking for you. 18:32:38 And each time this happens I'm going to bring this up. Each time this happens I am going to say that we can actually do something about it, but we're going to have to change our laws. And this is not something I can do by myself. I've got to have a Congress and I've got to have state legislatures and governors who are willing to work with me on this. 18:33:10 I hope and pray that I don't have to come out again during my tenure as President to offer my condolences to families in these circumstances. But based on my experience as President, I can't guarantee that. And that's terrible to say. And it can change. 18:33:40 May God bless the memories of those who were killed today. May He bring comfort to their families, and courage to the injured as they fight their way back. And may He give us the strength to come together and find the courage to change. 18:34:02 Thank you.
Real estate: lower prices everywhere in France
A2 / France 2
UBB MINE EXPLOSION PRESS CONFERENCE & FILE
J. Davitt McAteer, chair of the Governor's Independent Investigation Panel (GIIP), on Massey Energy's Upper Big Branch coal mine accident report release press conference in Beckley, WV J. Davitt McAteer, chair of the Governor's Independent Investigation Panel (GIIP), on Massey Energy's Upper Big Branch coal mine accident report release press conference in Beckley, WV SLUG: 1200 4X3 UBB MINE REPORT RS22 75 AR: 16x9 Disc: 472 & 492 UBB Mine Explosion & Miner's Memorial (File)News Footage 12:17:08 broll of emergency responders around police cars 12:17:31 ambulances 12:19:58 police SUVs lining up on road 12:20:11 emergency responders standing 12:20:19 WS of mine? 12:20:49 MS of Coal Company sign 12:21:12 CU of Obama speaking at memorial 12:21:18 MS, head on of Obama speaking at memorial 12:21:32 MS of young boy at memorial audience UBB Investigation Presser DAVITT MCATEER 12:31:32 good afternoon. My name is davit mcateer and I've served at chairperson of the GIPP.let me begin by introducing our members of our group, and I'll ask them to stand. 12:32:49 thank you for coming. We're here unfortunately because of an event that took the lives of 29 men, impaired the health of a 30th, and caused great sadness among families in WV and one in Ohio 12:33:25 our responsibility as part of that group is look at the question of what went on the day of the accident, why it should not have happened, and what we can do to make sure it doesn't happen again 12:33:51 the report is, unfortunately, not susceptible to summaries that the media is looking for.a great many things went wrong 12:34:23 let me being by saying that the most profound problem is that fundamental safety practices were neglected and not followed and those contributed mightily to the lost of the miners 12:34:52 it is our conclusion the methane migrated.those sparks ignited the methane, and the methane created a fire ball 12:35:33 they called the head gate operator and directed that he cut power to the long wall. In a two step, manual operation, that was done. That was at 2:59. The long wall crew moved from 160 to 106 on the long wall, and that move did not prevent them from being killed 12:37:20 at the end of a period of time, he then tried to make his escape and then met a group of Massey employees who were trying to enter the mine. .two of those individuals went on further into the mine. We were unable to question those individuals as to their intentions, as there were 17 individuals who pled the 5th 12:38:42 why did this happen? Unfortunately this occurred because of a failure of a redundant safety systems of the Massey system.the inability to provide air sufficient across the long way.in addition the ventilation was low. It was not efficient in our opinion to sweep away 12:39:35 second, water sprays were dismantled along the long wall and water sprays were plugged on the long wall shear. We found, as did the other investigations 7 or 8 water valves that were removed 12:40:32 third, rock dust. Rock dust is fundamental in preventing from mine disasters from spreading. .it is a fundamental, basic product 12:41:08 it contains the explosion. It keeps from the explosion spreading through the mine. It was not maintained or spread sporadically.the personnel assigned to this job were done so at an ad hoc way 12:42:08 fourth, the pre-shift examination system, that is terribly important to keeping the mine operating in a way manor, was neglected. First it was neglected by being inadequately done. 12:44:30 one widow asked us to question why was this not presented by the regulatory agencies. At a federal level the MSHA has adequate enforcement to address this question. They did not apply that enforcement authority in a successful way to address it.the state agency, individual tried to address that. 12:45:59 the inspector who covered this mine was not on the long wall face since early 2009. They simply don't have the man power 12:46:21 we spent a great deal of time addressing the approach that massey has used toward mine safety.it did not, for example, express that this company did not comply with the rock dust.we have abundant testimony that the air was inadequate 12:47:29 in the weekend before the explosion one of the pumps or more failed on the fan and in air rose in the back area. Helping to defeat the function. Mm 12:47:58 massey has a record, not just in this mine, but in other mines.in an investigation in 2001, massey's mine problems were recognized by us, the state of WV, and by massey employees themselves. Corrections were not made 12:48:58 since this disaster, two massey operations, on in KY and another a few miles away from UBB have been cit 12:49:20 ti does not appear that the culture has changed at Massey. That is most unfortunate 12:49:45 of the 29 miners who died, not all of those miners' lungs were capable from being examine.approx 79 percent showed (?).terrifying number, astonishing number, particular giving the age of these individuals. We're not suggesting that we have the working history, the smoking history, but we are saying that that number is an astonishing and disturbing number. It is a numb er that is up great concern 12:51:08 we have got to, in this country, adopt a legal structure that connects miners in the bathhouse to the members of the board of directors. There is a disconnect currently where the board that have authority but do not have responsibility 12:51:41 second, we need to adopt technology in this country that addresses these problems and get us out of the dark ages.9.5 hours before the company could ID who and how long were underground.profoundly unacceptable when we have the technology 12:53:23 we can do better, we must do better 12:53:44 we are saddened by the lost of men, we are sadden by the families have to live with loss.we put forward 10 findings and 50 recommendations 12:55:02 we are long past the time when we in this country in 2010-2011 can accept the loss of 29 individuals.if we are going to have a mining industry we have to reform ourselves..we needn't be engaged n the business at all QUESTIONS: 12:59:26 I don't know what you mean by what point.remember that the explosion is not one event in time. 13:00:08 let me first say that we have no evidence that there were methane monitors dismantled along the long wall.in other sections of the mine. We have additional information that one or more pre-shift examiners were not turned on at the time they said they were taking tests. Suggests that that is a practice at this mine 13:02:03 I don't' know how many sprayers.the fact that the sprayers were dismantled and were clogged suggests that it is not a question of how many, but if you're doing what you're supposed to be doing 13:04:04 there are multiple explosions but because the occur in such close proximity of each other.the maps that we lay out, lay out the size of the explosion 13:05:23 the long and the short in the.contain the problem. If the coal dust had been made inert.the deaths would have occurred on the long wall, but would not have spread 13:06:04 that's a question for the US attorney to answer 13:06:28 in our view, the CEO and the board of directors are responsible in the safety in the mines.they are also responsible for the safety processes in the mine.suggested that they were unaware.I think that's a good place to start 13:07:38 I think massey energy is a big player in the mining business in the Appalachian region of WV.one has to conclude that they are not acting responsibility in a way that a mine company should..was massey a rouge operation? You have to look at the record.I don't know how you can assemble a worst record in the past years 13:08:53 I can't tell you what the motives.I also believe as your question suggests, unconsciously, perhaps consciously, they weren't paying attention where they have to be paying attention. This is a dangerous line of work 13:10:24 I applaud the actions of the MSHA since April 5th.what we have to happen though, it cannot be a paper chase.it has to be ' how do we fix these problems. And how to fix the systematically underlying problems' 13:11:43 discouraging to listen to the public statements.suggest that they have grasped the magnitude of the problem that they are buying themselves into 13:13:00 when an explosion of this magnitude occurs the federal agency has responsibly. That's what they're job is. The state agency has responsibly. That's what they're job is. They did not protect or help protect these miners. One can't issue press releases to change that 13:13:49 I'm not a prognosticator of lawsuits.rock dust, rock dust, rock dusts is one thing to say. Two, your ventilation has to be done by engineers .massey has suggested that those changes were driven in part by ensha changes 13:16:13 mr blansheep was the CEO of the company. That's chief executive officer of the company. It is what it says it is.you have to distinguish between the mythology of the safety that was put forward and the reality 13:17:53 I find that very troubling. I've been in this business a long time. one, it's a huge number of people to be declined to be interviewed. 13:18:53 there are people in the industry who suggest that by virtue of my long standing participation in this business that I can call them as I see them, I hope that's what we did. Can you find that everybody in the business that has a preexisting bias? No.this is backed up. They've supported what they've said 13:20:20 that's a very hard task in a mine..despite the fact that some of our friends in this industry say that they're over inspected.suggest that there are protections in the statue. Those protections still don't provide adequate protection, but they're a step 13:21:56 the most profound parallel that we found in the group, while the production information was transferred in 30 minutes.caused grown, seasoned miners to be concerned about their future employment 13:22:49 no systematic system was in place to rock dust the mine. As those rock dust didn't' matter. 13:24:05 you're not suggesting that I was trying to evade mr. ward's question? What's wrong with it? this person was involved in the operation of this mine.there are questions that exist regard this operation 13:25:09 there is some indication that the victims lingered for a period of time. 13:26:01 we have a to of problems in the industry and we have a lot of difficulties in training.we know the basic principles that needed to be in place here 13:26:33 the presence of union representation does rep a third voice.that can have a positive impact.the presence of union rep does do that
6.7 billion: The forgotten money of the French
FR3 / France 3
UBB MINE EXPLOSION PRESS CONFERENCE & FILE
J. Davitt McAteer, chair of the Governor's Independent Investigation Panel (GIIP), on Massey Energy's Upper Big Branch coal mine accident report release press conference in Beckley, WV J. Davitt McAteer, chair of the Governor's Independent Investigation Panel (GIIP), on Massey Energy's Upper Big Branch coal mine accident report release press conference in Beckley, WV SLUG: 1200 4X3 UBB MINE REPORT RS22 75 AR: 16x9 Disc: 472 & 492 UBB Mine Explosion & Miner's Memorial (File)News Footage 12:17:08 broll of emergency responders around police cars 12:17:31 ambulances 12:19:58 police SUVs lining up on road 12:20:11 emergency responders standing 12:20:19 WS of mine? 12:20:49 MS of Coal Company sign 12:21:12 CU of Obama speaking at memorial 12:21:18 MS, head on of Obama speaking at memorial 12:21:32 MS of young boy at memorial audience UBB Investigation Presser DAVITT MCATEER 12:31:32 good afternoon. My name is davit mcateer and I've served at chairperson of the GIPP.let me begin by introducing our members of our group, and I'll ask them to stand. 12:32:49 thank you for coming. We're here unfortunately because of an event that took the lives of 29 men, impaired the health of a 30th, and caused great sadness among families in WV and one in Ohio 12:33:25 our responsibility as part of that group is look at the question of what went on the day of the accident, why it should not have happened, and what we can do to make sure it doesn't happen again 12:33:51 the report is, unfortunately, not susceptible to summaries that the media is looking for.a great many things went wrong 12:34:23 let me being by saying that the most profound problem is that fundamental safety practices were neglected and not followed and those contributed mightily to the lost of the miners 12:34:52 it is our conclusion the methane migrated.those sparks ignited the methane, and the methane created a fire ball 12:35:33 they called the head gate operator and directed that he cut power to the long wall. In a two step, manual operation, that was done. That was at 2:59. The long wall crew moved from 160 to 106 on the long wall, and that move did not prevent them from being killed 12:37:20 at the end of a period of time, he then tried to make his escape and then met a group of Massey employees who were trying to enter the mine. .two of those individuals went on further into the mine. We were unable to question those individuals as to their intentions, as there were 17 individuals who pled the 5th 12:38:42 why did this happen? Unfortunately this occurred because of a failure of a redundant safety systems of the Massey system.the inability to provide air sufficient across the long way.in addition the ventilation was low. It was not efficient in our opinion to sweep away 12:39:35 second, water sprays were dismantled along the long wall and water sprays were plugged on the long wall shear. We found, as did the other investigations 7 or 8 water valves that were removed 12:40:32 third, rock dust. Rock dust is fundamental in preventing from mine disasters from spreading. .it is a fundamental, basic product 12:41:08 it contains the explosion. It keeps from the explosion spreading through the mine. It was not maintained or spread sporadically.the personnel assigned to this job were done so at an ad hoc way 12:42:08 fourth, the pre-shift examination system, that is terribly important to keeping the mine operating in a way manor, was neglected. First it was neglected by being inadequately done. 12:44:30 one widow asked us to question why was this not presented by the regulatory agencies. At a federal level the MSHA has adequate enforcement to address this question. They did not apply that enforcement authority in a successful way to address it.the state agency, individual tried to address that. 12:45:59 the inspector who covered this mine was not on the long wall face since early 2009. They simply don't have the man power 12:46:21 we spent a great deal of time addressing the approach that massey has used toward mine safety.it did not, for example, express that this company did not comply with the rock dust.we have abundant testimony that the air was inadequate 12:47:29 in the weekend before the explosion one of the pumps or more failed on the fan and in air rose in the back area. Helping to defeat the function. Mm 12:47:58 massey has a record, not just in this mine, but in other mines.in an investigation in 2001, massey's mine problems were recognized by us, the state of WV, and by massey employees themselves. Corrections were not made 12:48:58 since this disaster, two massey operations, on in KY and another a few miles away from UBB have been cit 12:49:20 ti does not appear that the culture has changed at Massey. That is most unfortunate 12:49:45 of the 29 miners who died, not all of those miners' lungs were capable from being examine.approx 79 percent showed (?).terrifying number, astonishing number, particular giving the age of these individuals. We're not suggesting that we have the working history, the smoking history, but we are saying that that number is an astonishing and disturbing number. It is a numb er that is up great concern 12:51:08 we have got to, in this country, adopt a legal structure that connects miners in the bathhouse to the members of the board of directors. There is a disconnect currently where the board that have authority but do not have responsibility 12:51:41 second, we need to adopt technology in this country that addresses these problems and get us out of the dark ages.9.5 hours before the company could ID who and how long were underground.profoundly unacceptable when we have the technology 12:53:23 we can do better, we must do better 12:53:44 we are saddened by the lost of men, we are sadden by the families have to live with loss.we put forward 10 findings and 50 recommendations 12:55:02 we are long past the time when we in this country in 2010-2011 can accept the loss of 29 individuals.if we are going to have a mining industry we have to reform ourselves..we needn't be engaged n the business at all QUESTIONS: 12:59:26 I don't know what you mean by what point.remember that the explosion is not one event in time. 13:00:08 let me first say that we have no evidence that there were methane monitors dismantled along the long wall.in other sections of the mine. We have additional information that one or more pre-shift examiners were not turned on at the time they said they were taking tests. Suggests that that is a practice at this mine 13:02:03 I don't' know how many sprayers.the fact that the sprayers were dismantled and were clogged suggests that it is not a question of how many, but if you're doing what you're supposed to be doing 13:04:04 there are multiple explosions but because the occur in such close proximity of each other.the maps that we lay out, lay out the size of the explosion 13:05:23 the long and the short in the.contain the problem. If the coal dust had been made inert.the deaths would have occurred on the long wall, but would not have spread 13:06:04 that's a question for the US attorney to answer 13:06:28 in our view, the CEO and the board of directors are responsible in the safety in the mines.they are also responsible for the safety processes in the mine.suggested that they were unaware.I think that's a good place to start 13:07:38 I think massey energy is a big player in the mining business in the Appalachian region of WV.one has to conclude that they are not acting responsibility in a way that a mine company should..was massey a rouge operation? You have to look at the record.I don't know how you can assemble a worst record in the past years 13:08:53 I can't tell you what the motives.I also believe as your question suggests, unconsciously, perhaps consciously, they weren't paying attention where they have to be paying attention. This is a dangerous line of work 13:10:24 I applaud the actions of the MSHA since April 5th.what we have to happen though, it cannot be a paper chase.it has to be ' how do we fix these problems. And how to fix the systematically underlying problems' 13:11:43 discouraging to listen to the public statements.suggest that they have grasped the magnitude of the problem that they are buying themselves into 13:13:00 when an explosion of this magnitude occurs the federal agency has responsibly. That's what they're job is. The state agency has responsibly. That's what they're job is. They did not protect or help protect these miners. One can't issue press releases to change that 13:13:49 I'm not a prognosticator of lawsuits.rock dust, rock dust, rock dusts is one thing to say. Two, your ventilation has to be done by engineers .massey has suggested that those changes were driven in part by ensha changes 13:16:13 mr blansheep was the CEO of the company. That's chief executive officer of the company. It is what it says it is.you have to distinguish between the mythology of the safety that was put forward and the reality 13:17:53 I find that very troubling. I've been in this business a long time. one, it's a huge number of people to be declined to be interviewed. 13:18:53 there are people in the industry who suggest that by virtue of my long standing participation in this business that I can call them as I see them, I hope that's what we did. Can you find that everybody in the business that has a preexisting bias? No.this is backed up. They've supported what they've said 13:20:20 that's a very hard task in a mine..despite the fact that some of our friends in this industry say that they're over inspected.suggest that there are protections in the statue. Those protections still don't provide adequate protection, but they're a step 13:21:56 the most profound parallel that we found in the group, while the production information was transferred in 30 minutes.caused grown, seasoned miners to be concerned about their future employment 13:22:49 no systematic system was in place to rock dust the mine. As those rock dust didn't' matter. 13:24:05 you're not suggesting that I was trying to evade mr. ward's question? What's wrong with it? this person was involved in the operation of this mine.there are questions that exist regard this operation 13:25:09 there is some indication that the victims lingered for a period of time. 13:26:01 we have a to of problems in the industry and we have a lot of difficulties in training.we know the basic principles that needed to be in place here 13:26:33 the presence of union representation does rep a third voice.that can have a positive impact.the presence of union rep does do that
SJT - FINDING MONEY THAT SLEEPS
A2 / France 2
WHITE HOUSE BRIEFING WITH JOSH EARNEST - STIX
THE REGULAR WHITE HOUSE BRIEFING WITH JOSH EARNEST. STIX White House briefing with Press Sec. Josh Earnest DC SLUGS: 1230 WH BRIEF STIX RS37 73 & 1230WH BRIEF CUTS RS38 74 DISC# 248/836 & 696/689 NYRS: WASH-3/4523 & WASH-4/4524 12:59:10 EARNEST: Alright. Good afternoon, everybody. (OFF-MIKE) you all enjoyed your holiday weekend. Before I get to your questions, let me do a little statement here at the top. This afternoon, the president will travel to the Pentagon, where he'll receive an update from his national security team on the execution of our strategy to degrade and ultimately destroy ISIL. There are numerous elements to this strategy, including military airstrikes carried out by U.S. and coalition aircraft in support of local fighters on the ground. EARNEST: To date, more than 5,100 airstrikes have been carried out against extremist targets, including 1,950 of them in Syria. This is understandably the most conspicuous aspect of our strategy and it's an important one that's being carried out day-in and day-out by our skilled military professionals. Now, there is a less conspicuous, but similarly important element of our strategy that we've previously discussed in this room. And that is preventing ISIL from funding the violence that has destabilized an entire region. Back in December, many of you will remember, that David Cohen, who was then undersecretary for terrorism and financial intelligence at the Treasury Department, briefed all of you on these important efforts. Since then, Mr. Cohen has been appointed to be the deputy director of the CIA. And back in April, nearly three months ago, Adam Szubin was nominated to take over this critically important post, but Senate Republicans haven't even scheduled a hearing for him. That is to say, Senate Republicans won't even give the time of day for a hearing to the person who is responsible for using all of the elements of our influence and authority to keep ISIL from raising money on the black market or otherwise to recruit foreign fighters, inspire others to commit acts of terrorism, and attempt to establish a caliphate in the Middle East. So today, the president will be meeting with a group of individuals in the Pentagon who are doing their jobs to keep the American people safe. In some instances, we're talking about individuals who are risking their lives to do their jobs to keep the American people safe. Well, now it's time for Republicans in the Senate to do their jobs for a change. Adam Szubin is a highly skilled lawyer who has served in both Democratic and Republican administrations and he's been asked by the president of the United States to implement a critical part of our strategy to degrade and ultimately destroy ISIL. Republicans have all too frequently allowed political considerations to trump national security. That's never been appropriate and it certainly isn't appropriate in this instance. And now that the Senate is back from their Fourth of July recess, Senator Shelby should schedule Mr. Szubin's hearing as soon as possible and the Senate should confirm Mr. Szubin before they leave town for their next recess in August. 13:01:50 So with that, let's go to your questions. QUESTION: Thanks, Josh. I wanted to start with the situation in Greece. Now that the Greek public has pretty overwhelmingly in this referendum rejected the proposal by creditors for stricter austerity measures, does the U.S. believe that the rest of Europe should seek a compromise with Greece about a compromise, even if it means lowering some of the restrictions that would be in that compromise? 13:02:18 EARNEST: Well, the fact is the -- the fact of the matter is the referendum is over, but our view here at the White House remains the same. And that is that Prime Minister Tsipras has indicated that he and his country want to remain part of the eurozone and he says that he wants to work out an agreement that would allow them to do so. The leaders of Europe -- of the European nations who are in the eurozone have indicated that they would like for Greece to remain part of the eurozone. But doing so, achieving that goal, will require a package of financing and reforms that will put Greece back on the path of economic growth and debt sustainability. So, the task before the leaders of Europe remains the same. And we have long indicated that it's our view that it's in their collective interest for these differences to be resolved and we have freely indicated both publicly and privately that it's also in the United States' interest for the situation to be resolved. And we hope that the leaders of the respective countries will do exactly that. QUESTION: Well, what signal do you think it sends about Greece's willingness to accept the kind of package that you're talking about, given the way that this referendum went over the weekend? 13:03:33 EARNEST: Well, again, the referendum notwithstanding, I think the challenge before the leaders of Europe... QUESTION: ... be taken out of (inaudible). 13:03:40 EARNEST: I'm not suggesting that it should. I'm suggesting that, even after the referendum, the situation remains the same, which is that both -- all parties seem to be publicly indicating that they would like to resolve the situation in a way that allows Greece to remain part of the Eurozone, and the only that that will happen, is to agree to a package of reforms and financing that will allow Greece to get back on a path of economic growth and debt sustainability. That's the only available resolution that is in the collective interest of those in Europe who are involved. QUESTION: Is the president planning talk to Chancellor Merkel, President (inaudible), any other European leaders, today? 13:04:24 EARNEST: I don't have any calls to tell you about right now, I certainly wouldn't rule out calls over the course of this week. QUESTION: OK. If I could just quickly on Iran, you've said from the podium (ph) and other officials have said that these negotiations are strictly focused on the nuclear -- the Iranian nuclear program, that you are not negotiating any side issues, any parallel deals. And yet, Iran, it appears now, is pushing great parallel deals in the U.N. Arms Embargo. I assume that the U.S. would oppose them doing that, but given the fact that they are trying to push the -- over 24 hours from the deadline, basically, do you think that Iran is negotiating in good faith at this point? 13:05:01 EARNEST: Well, I don't want to get into the kinds of conversations that are taking place in Vienna, right now. Obviously, Secretary Kerry, Secretary Moniz, their counterparts from the P5+1 countries and obviously their Iranian counterparts are in Vienna right now, working through many of these issues. But, you know, we've been very clear about what will be necessary in order to complete a final agreement; and that is to come to an agreement that reflects the political agreement that was reached the first week in April. Now, that requires going through a lot of details and -- including many technical details, and that has been the essence of the conversations they have been going over the last couple of months. But working through all those technical details to arrive an agreement that reflects the parameters of the agreement that was laid out in early April is what will be required in order to reach an agreement. And if Iran is not willing to live up to the commitments that they made in the context of April's political agreement, then as Secretary Kerry indicated in Vienna just yesterday, we won't be able to reach an agreement. QUESTION: How soon is the June 7th (ph) deadline? 13:06:10 EARNEST: July 7th. But, look, we anticipate this is the -- let me put it this way, this is the deadline that we continue to operate against and I think the rather aggressive pace of the negotiations that are underway in Vienna right now. Jeff (ph)? QUESTION: Josh, back on Greece. Does the United States believe Europe and the other creditors should forgive some of Greece's debt as a way of moving forward? 13:06:36 EARNEST: Well, Jeff (ph) what we -- what we have indicated all along is that the path to resolving the differences and the challenges here, is difficult but pretty clear to everybody who has taken a look at this, which is that it will require both a package of financing and reforms that will allow Greece to achieve, or at least be on a path toward some debt sustainability. But also be on a path toward economic growth. That's -- there are people who are better analysts of the Greek electorate than I am, certainly people who are more experienced in that endeavor. But it's -- I think the -- what's clear is, this was a pretty clear expression from the Greek people, that they do seek greater economic opportunity. That's certainly understandable, given the significant economic challenges that have faced that country over the last several years. EARNEST: At the same time, the creditors would sit around the table, recognize that it's in their interest for Greece to be back on a path of economic growth. But it's also important for Greece to implement the kinds of reforms and keep the commitments that they've made previously. So this is always going to -- this has always been the essence of the negotiation that's underway, and, you know, we continue to take heart in the fact that despite their significant differences, including some differences that had been expressed in rather colorful terms, that all sides do recognize they do have a collective interest in trying to arrive at the package that I described in a way that would allow Greece to remain part of the eurozone. QUESTION: It's no secret that the United States believes, at least at times over the last few years, that Europe has been too focused on austerity. Do you think that the Europeans and the creditors generally have been too hard on Greece? 13:08:31 EARNEST: Well, I think at this point, I would be in a position of -- of doing some backseat driving. Obviously, this is the responsibility of the Europeans, principally, you know, Greece and their creditors, to try to resolve. And obviously, Secretary Lew has been deeply engaged in conversations with his counterparts and with other leaders of the countries and financial institutions that are involved in these conversations. The president, over the -- over the last several months, has had a number of conversations with his counterparts on this issue. So we've made clear that we continue to believe it's in the U.S. interest and the global interest for these differences to be resolved, but ultimately, it will be the responsibility of the Europeans to resolve them. QUESTION: You mentioned Secretary Lew and -- and the president's role, but none of those conversations appear to have really had a whole lot of influence. Is the United States more than just a bystander in this? 13:09:38 EARNEST: Well, I think the way that I would describe it to you, Jeff (ph), is that we have acknowledged all along -- and this is true going back to 2010 and 2011 when the -- to the first flames of the Greek -- Greek financial crisis broke out -- that this would be the responsibility of Greece and their creditors to resolve, and the United States has been very supportive of those efforts at every stage. In the early days of this crisis, you know, Secretary Geithner was obviously deeply involved in some of the more technical aspects of these conversations. But, you know, the -- the fact is that Secretary Lew has picked up where Secretary Geithner left off and continued to provide support and to continue to provide the American point of view on those efforts. But ultimately, we have acknowledged from the beginning that this is a European challenge to solve. QUESTION: Just one quickly on one other topic, Secretary -- former Secretary Clinton made some remarks this weekend, or Friday, I guess, on China and Iran. Does the White House have any reaction to those remarks, and do you think, in particular, her remarks on Iran, may give some coverage to lawmakers and Congress who are not supportive of the deal? 13:10:52 EARNEST: I don't think so, primarily because Secretary Clinton has previously expressed her support for the political agreement that was reached back in April, and many of the sentiments that she expressed in her comments on Friday were entirely consistent with the views that -- that I and others have articulated with respect to Iran. For example, and I think most prominently, we have acknowledged that the ongoing nuclear talks will not resolve all of the concerns that we have with Iran's behavior. You know, we don't intend for these conversations to successfully resolve our concerns with the way in which Iran continues to menace Israel. We know that Iran continues to be a leading state sponsor of terrorism. We know that Iran continues to be a country that is actively involved in supporting groups that seek to destabilize different regions of the world, including in the Middle East. And we know that Iran continues to unjustly detain American citizens. So we've got a large number of concerns with Iran's behavior. And we don't pretend to make the case that these conversations are going to resolve all of those concerns. In fact, what we say is, all of those concerns about Iran would be even more concerning if Iran had a nuclear weapon. And that's why we've made preventing Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon such a priority. And that's why the president is pursuing what he believes is the best way for us to prevent Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon, and that is to use diplomacy in the implementation of a set of inspections that would verify their compliance with the agreement. And that has been the strategy that we have pursued so far. But yet there is still important work to be done in Iran and in Vienna on this. OK, Jim (ph)? QUESTION: Back on Greece. Of course, last week the president himself said that he didn't think it would be a -- that the Greek crisis would have a major shock to the system of the United States, and that it was that the markets have properly factored it in. Now that this referendum has failed, do those comments still hold? Is there any more reason for concern in the United States? 13:13:16 EARNEST: Well, Jim, a couple of parts -- factors here to consider. The first is that, you know, we did see -- you know, markets obviously in Asia and Europe have been open over the course of today, and despite the political volatility that we have seen, the financial markets have been mostly orderly. And there has been limited spillover. But this is -- because markets tend to be unpredictable, this is why we've been encouraging all sides to try to arrive at a constructive agreement. As it relates to the United States, you know, it was true back in 2010, it continues to be true today that there is very little direct exposure that the U.S. economy has to the Greek economy. And there is very little direct risk that U.S. banks face when it comes to the Greek banking system. But at the same time, what we have long expressed our concern about is that the failure to deal with this in an orderly fashion could have a broader impact on the economy in Europe. And the U.S. economy obviously has important ties to Europe. That there are significant export relationships there. And we've already seen some weakness in the European economy of the last couple of years that has prevented some of our export growth from being as strong as we would like. So that's why the United States has been engaged in the way that we have, not just over the last several months, but over the last several years. QUESTION: Is it fair to say that the administration believes that Americans -- the American people do not have to worry that much about their 401(k)s today even though the Greeks decided not to pass that referendum? 13:15:04 EARNEST: Well, what we have seen so far is that the -- is that the market has been orderly and that there has not -- that the spillover has been pretty limited. But, again, we're going to continue to encourage all of the parties to pursue a solution that we believe is in their collective interest. QUESTION: And briefly just on another subject, down in San Francisco on the shootings that happened there. The administration has been focused and had prioritized criminals as far as deporting those who have violated our immigration laws. Is this a failure in this case, where this man apparently, a criminal, came over time after time and still was able to keep coming and was not deported? Is there a problem between the cooperation between some cities in this country and the United States government? Where do you see the problem? 13:16:00 EARNEST: Well Jim, for this particular case, I'd refer you to DHS. I can't speak to the details of this particular case. I can say as a general matter that as a part of the executive actions that the president announced back in November of last year, one of the chief goals that we are seeking to accomplish was ensuring that we were focusing our law enforcement efforts on those individuals who posed a genuine threat to public safety and to national security. That that's -- that those are the efforts that should be prioritized, and, you know, too often, we've seen the failures of our immigration system allow for those limited law enforcement resources to be focused on breaking up families. The president doesn't believe that's consistent with our values as a country, it's also not consistent with the priority that the president places on protecting the public and protecting the American people. So because of the announcements that the president changed last year, we have started to make changes in terms of structuring and staffing at the Department of Homeland Security to ensure that our law enforcement efforts are focused on felons and not on families, and that is an effort that is continuing. I would say, and it bears repeating in this case, that these efforts would be significantly augmented had Republicans not blocked common sense immigration reform. You'll recall that the piece of legislation that was blocked by Republicans in the House of Representatives actually included the biggest-ever increase in border security, and that's why it's particularly disappointing that Congressional action, or Congressional inaction in this case, has blocked efforts to make -- to put in place common sense reforms that would be good for our country, good for our economy and good for public safety. QUESTION: I hear your reluctance to comment on this case, but this case is being used by opponents of the administration to say that your policy is not working and that repeat criminals are coming across the border. 13:18:04 EARNEST: And what I'm saying is that those critics are individuals who opposed legislation that would have actually made a historic investment in border security. So I recognize that people want to play politics with this, but if you take a simple look at the facts, the fact is the president has done everything within his power to make sure that we're focusing our law enforcement resources on criminals and those who pose a threat to public safety, and it's because of the political efforts of Republicans that we have not been able to make the kind of investment that we would like to make in securing our border and keeping our communities safe. OK, April? QUESTION: I wanted to comment (ph) on Jim's question, but this person was a repeat offender, but he's been deporting -- he's been deported another time but he was given immunity because he was in a safe state (ph). So is there any kind of concern in this White House about the fact that this gentleman, or this person who committed this crime, was continually in the system and he's been deported and he's come back. Is there some kind of way that this administration's trying to fix that kind of, I guess, slip in the cracks? 13:19:09 EARNEST: Well April, for the -- I can't talk about the details of this specific case; I'd refer you to DHS for how our efforts to focus on felons is implemented. And the Department of Homeland Security can explain to you how that applies in this case. QUESTION: So now as it relates to this case and some other cases over the holiday weekend, guns. What do you say about the issue -- the fact that this is another gun incident, and then in Chicago, 10 deaths and scores of people shot. What happened? How -- what can the president do within the last 16 months? Is there anything that he can do in executive actions to change what he says he's tired of talking about -- the issue of gun violence in this country? 13:19:50 EARNEST: Well, April, I think the president did spend a decent amount of time talking about this a week or two ago, in making sure that we don't allow ourselves to become numb to these gruesome statistics. The fact that just over the weekend in Chicago, again, according to public reports, that we actually had more people gunned down on the streets of Chicago just over this past weekend than were killed in that terrible incident in Charleston that captured the attention of the country. And so I think this is what the president was talking about when he gave the eulogy for Reverend Pinckney, that we can't allow ourselves to be numb to all this; that we need to remain engaged in this broader effort. And that includes the effort to take some common sense steps to make our streets a little safer. And there are some common sense things that we can do that don't undermine the basic Second Amendment rights of law-abiding Americans. And the fact is it's not just the majority of Americans that support some of those common sense steps, it's actually a majority of gun owners that support those common sense steps. But the American people are going to have to make their voices heard to the United States Congress in order to make some progress on this. QUESTION: When you say we don't need to be numb, what in this administration's opinion would it take, when we've seen Gabrielle Giffords, a federal lawmaker get shot; we've seen little kids in a school; we've seen shooters go into schools; we've seen a shooter in a church. Now we're seeing this in Chicago. What would it take for us to be not so desensitized and numb? What -- how far do we have to go? I mean, we've seen assassinations of presidents. We've seen a lot of things happen when it comes to guns in this country. What in this administration's mind does it take to not be so numb and desensitized to this anymore? 13:21:46 EARNEST: Eventually, it's going to require the American people speaking up and speaking out, and making clear to Congress this is an issue that they're going to cast a vote on. QUESTION: Well, what do you think of those people who -- I understand that there is a Second Amendment right, the right to bear arms. You have people from all walks of life, various colors, who believe that. But then you have other people who are saying, "I have a right to live as well." What do you say to those people who feel that you're -- this administration is not pushing hard enough in times when there is momentum to do something? 13:22:15 EARNEST: Right. Well, what I would say is that there are common sense steps that Congress can take that would -- that would make our streets safer; make it harder for criminals and those who shouldn't have guns from getting their hands on them. And we can do all of that without undermining the basic Second Amendment rights of law-abiding American citizens. So, again, sometimes we have these very difficult policy challenges where we, you know, have to sort of weigh competing equities and competing interests. And there may be a good reason not to do something. But in the case of some of the common sense measures that Congress has considered, we can actually take some steps that we know will make our streets safer, without undermining the basic Second Amendment rights of law-abiding citizens. And in this case, that's a pretty common sense proposal. I think that's why such a strong majority of Americans support those kinds of measures. It's why even a majority of gun owners support those measures. And -- but again, because of the way that our system works, we're not likely to see the kind of change that's necessary until the American people speak out and make clear to Congress that this is a priority. QUESTION: The NRA says (inaudible) for this, for this not going as far, since you're saying there's a majority consensus on these background checks. 13:23:38 EARNEST: Well, what I'm saying is that there is a -- that there is a broad, bipartisan consensus across the country that there are some important common-sense steps that can be taken and should be taken by Congress. We can take those steps without undermining the 2nd Amendment rights of law-abiding Americans, but we're going to see that action on this until the American people will speak out to make clear to their elected member of Congress this is a priority for them. Cheryl (ph)? QUESTION: Thanks, Josh. The president, last week, said he had a long list of agenda items he'd like to do. Congress is going to session for about four weeks before they take a long break. What's your -- what's your short-term priority? What would you like Congress to do in the next month? 13:24:17 EARNEST: Well, I mentioned the -- the case of Mr. Zubin (ph) at the top of the briefing. That obviously would be a priority. But that shouldn't take long at all. So there's certainly more they should be able to get done in the next four weeks or so. The -- the peace legislation that I know that's on the floor of the -- both the House and the Senate this week is related to education reform, and obviously, this is something the president's talked about quite a bit. The president believes that this a priority, making sure that our kids are getting a good education. So that -- that is a priority. The other thing that we're -- the other issue that we're focused on is knowing that the Highway Trust Fund is scheduled to be depleted at the end of this month without some congressional action. You know, we've long said that, you know, these short-term extensions are -- are not conducive to -- to be effective and efficient governance of the country. It certainly is not an effective way for us to manage the kinds of significant investments in our infrastructure that we know are critical to our economy and critical to the safety of the travelling public. So we obviously would like to see some congressional action on that front. The president has talked quite a bit about the importance of criminal justice reform, and there does appear to be hope for a bipartisan compromise on that issue. We've seen some interest from Republicans in working with -- with Democrats to try to pass legislation to do that. We obviously welcome that opportunity. So, you know, I -- I don't think all -- I've been here long enough to know that all those things probably aren't going to happen in the next four weeks. But truly, we can make some progress on each of those in the next four weeks. QUESTION: On the Highway Trust Fund in particular, I know there were -- there were talks about maybe some tax reforms going along with that. Are you aware -- are those negotiations happening? 13:26:07 EARNEST: Well, I -- I know that the administration has been very clear about what we believe is the best way for us to make investments in infrastructure, and that's closing loopholes that will generate some revenue that would allow to not just fund the -- our infrastructure improvements at the current level, but actually to make an expansion of that investment in a way that would have positive benefits for our infrastructure but also have positive benefits for our economy. So we've been clear about what we think is the best way to do that, and yes, we believe that -- that there is a way for us to do some elements of tax reform in a way that raises revenue. This essentially means closing loopholes for only wealthy and well- connected and using the revenue to invest in infrastructure that everybody benefits from. That's a pretty common-sense proposal, too, and that's a proposal that we're going to continue to advocate for. Olivier? QUESTION: Thanks, Josh. I got a couple for you. The remarks on normalizing relations with Cuba, the president gave a by-name shout-out to Carlos Gutierrez. How high on the short list is Mr. Gutierrez for a first ambassador to Cuba when those relations are normalized. 13:27:13 EARNEST: I haven't seen the list, so I can't give you -- it's hard for me to handicap it. I'm also not -- it's also not (inaudible) the job that he wants. But obviously, we were gratified to have that kind of bipartisan support for the president's efforts to normalize relations with Cuba. QUESTION: And then for months, administration officials have said that one of the possible outcomes of failed negotiations with -- with Iran might be military action down the road. In the president's visit to the Pentagon today, is he going to be talking about the possible military options on the table? 13:27:46 EARNEST: Well, we have indicated that military options remain on the table. The president will be delivering some remarks at the conclusion of that meeting, so I'll let him read out whether that was discussed. OK? Major. QUESTION: Picking up on that, what is the point of the meeting at the Pentagon? What can the president -- or what does he intend to learn that he can't learn here, and how would you put into context the concentrated coalition airstrikes around Raqqah, around last weekend? What does that mean, what does it suggest, is it a turning point? 13:28:16 EARNEST: What I would say is that the president has periodically received updates from his national security team on the ISIL strategy, we done that in a few different places, I've done that several times here at the White House. You recall the present trouble with central commands down at Tampa, to get an update at one point. The president's last visited the Pentagon to discuss this issue back in October. And this is a -- the president was looking for an opportunity just to get together with the team again, and to review the ongoing effort. So, I would not anticipate any major announcements out of this meeting today, but it is an important opportunity to hear from members of his team, not just on the military aspects of our strategy, but on all the aspects of the strategy. Olivia (ph), just to go back to your question, I would expect that the conversations today would be focused on ISIL and not on Iran. So, I would not expect that the military options that we have indicated remain on the table would be discussed in today's meeting. And then you asked me one other part of it, which I had in my head... QUESTION: What should we -- what does the administration believe was the (inaudible) of a concentrated airstrikes around Raqqah over the weekend? 13:29:28 EARNEST: Well, major, I would refer you to the Department of Defense, they have some more details. QUESTION: I saw the part this morning on this, but... 13:29:36 EARNEST: What I would say is that -- this is one of the reason that I note at the top, that over the last nine or 10 months, the United States and their coalition partners have carried out over 1900 military strikes in Syria. So, that is an indication that we have been using our military air power to gain an advantage and to hit ISIL targets in Syria for some time, now. It is my understanding that many of the airstrikes that were taken over the weekend around Raqqah were an effort to try to deny ISIL a safe haven. We know that many ISIL leaders are operating out of Raqqah or that immediate area. And I think this sends a pretty clear signal to them that that's not a safe place for them to be. The second thing, and in some ways, this is even more important, is that we're seeking to take some steps that would deny the ability of ISIL leadership, ISIL fighters, to maneuver in that area, and that means moving equipment. There has been some stepped-up activity in Northern Syria, where we had seen fighters on the ground make some important gains against ISIL. And we certainly want to limit the capacity of ISIS that's headquartered in Raqqah to try to resupply their fighters that, in the last several weeks at least, had been on the run. And so, that's a part of the effort to -- I would not read that increased pace of airstrikes over the weekend as a significant change in our strategy. If anything, it would be the logical continuation of a strategy that would reflect our effort to try to support those fighters who are acting on the ground. QUESTION: Does it indicate that you have better spotters, or eyes on the ground that gave you better target opportunities, which is something that has been aspired to, but difficult to ensure? 13:31:28 EARNEST: That's something that's hard for me to speak to. I'd refer you to the Department of Defense for a better assessment of that. QUESTION: I want to ask you the question you side-stepped at the top of the briefing. Will the U.S. negotiate with Iran in these final remaining hours any other topic outside of the (OFF-MIKE), yes or no? 13:31:46 EARNEST: Well, our efforts have been focused on the -- on Iran's nuclear program. And the goal of these conversations is to prevent Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon, and ensure that they coordinate with international efforts to verify their compliance with the agreement. And that's the focal point of these conversations. Now what we have acknowledged in previous lines of questioning is that there have been other things that come up on the sidelines of these talks. To be specific -- the most prominent example of that is the concerns we have about American citizens who are being detained in Iran. On the sidelines of these talks we have raised directly -- Secretary Kerry has raised directly with his counterpart our concern about the unjust detention of those American citizens. But what they're focused on in Vienna and the kind of agreement that we're trying to reach is one that is focused on preventing Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon. QUESTION: Will you allow any negotiation over the future of the arms embargo to be a part of those conversations? 13:32:47 EARNEST: Well, again, what we're focused on is just the nuclear talks. And I don't have an update for you in terms of additional topics that are under consideration in Vienna. QUESTION: One quick thing that is coming up in Congress in relation to Puerto Rico. You said last week there will be no bail- out. But there is an effort to bring Puerto Rico under U.S. bankruptcy. It was left out either by a drafting error or some other miscue back several years ago. Does the administration support efforts to allow institutions within Puerto Rico to declare bankruptcy and clear some of these debts as it relates to their particularly precarious financial situation? 13:33:29 EARNEST: Well, Major, we acknowledged last week that many -- that Puerto Rico does not have a tested restructuring regime for its public debt. And that has caused some, including some in Congress, to consider whether or not legislation should be passed that would allow Puerto Rico and officials in Puerto Rico to use Chapter 9 -- Chapter 9 of the bankruptcy law as... (CROSSTALK) EARNEST: Right, which it's not part of now, which the other 50 states are, I understand. And so this is a possibility that Congress is considering. QUESTION: Does the administration support it? EARNEST: Well, this is something that we have talked with Congress about. I don't think that we have taken a position on specific legislation at this point. But we certainly believe that this is something that Congress should take a look at. QUESTION: So you're generally supportive of that? 13:34:17 EARNEST: Well, I think what we're generally supportive of is Congress considering legislation along these lines. We haven't seen specific legislation, so we're not ready to commit to it at this point. But obviously Puerto Rico doesn't have the kinds of options that other states do. Puerto Rico is not a state, so it makes sense that they might be treated -- it makes sense that they might be treated differently, but in this case, you know, we believe it's worth Congress considering whether Chapter 9 protections are -- should be made available to them. QUESTION: (OFF-MIKE) did the president watch the World Cup games? Did he call the coach (OFF-MIKE)? 13:34:50 EARNEST: The president did have the opportunity to see the game yesterday. Many of you saw his tweet that he was very proud of the way the American women performed yesterday. I don't have any calls to the coach to read out at this point, but I know the president is looking forward to having a chance to talk to the coach and to the team. And we'll let you know when that's set, when he has an opportunity to do that. EARNEST: We will be in touch with them on trying to schedule a time for the team to come and celebrate their big victory here at the White House, but I don't have a date yet. OK, Kevin (ph)? QUESTION: Josh, thanks. I want to follow-up on something April (ph) asked you about, a devastating weekend in Chicago, in particular of note the death of a seven-year-old, Amari Brown, was the president briefed on what was happening in his hometown and his thoughts on what was a devastating weekend despite the fact that Chicago still has some of, if not the toughest gun laws, in the country? 13:35:41 EARNEST: Kevin (ph), I don't know if the president received a specific briefing on this. The president does keep close tabs on the local news and the happenings in his hometown of Chicago. So I'm sure the president is aware of this and is feeling the same sense of concern about that situation that we are. And again, I -- all of these terrible incidents continue to be under investigation by local authorities in Chicago, but, you know, the fact remains that there are some common sense steps that could be taken that would make our streets a little safer. We could take those steps without undermining the constitutional rights of law-abiding Americans, and that's why the vast majority of law-abiding Americans actually support those steps. But we'll need Congress to act before we can take them. QUESTION: I want to ask you about the Hillary Clinton email trove that was released. We've sort of missed you over the last couple of days. Three thousand of them were released. EARNEST: I didn't miss this? QUESTION: Yeah. I've been dying to get to this. (LAUGHTER) Listen -- and I know you're going to say yeah -- I'm going to try and predict how you will approach this. You will say, yeah, but it's the State Department or it's a campaign issue, but she worked for the president while all this was going on. EARNEST: Yeah. QUESTION: We've also learned that, in addition to her own private server, she even had emails on a couple of public servers. And so I'm wondering, to use your phraseology, is this consistent with the administration's position of transparency, and is it also consistent with the way that you all conduct business that someone who's extremely high up in your administration would do that? 13:37:14 EARNEST: Well Kevin, the expectation that we have is that everybody who works in the administration, no matter how senior or how junior, would be in compliance with the responsibilities that they have to make sure that any work that they do on their personal email account is archived, consistent with the standards that are established by the National Archives and Records Administration. And again, Secretary Clinton has forwarded thousands of emails from her server to the State Department for exactly that purpose, and she's actually gone to the extraordinary step of actually suggesting that those emails should be made public. And that is consistent with the kind of priority that the president has placed on transparency. QUESTION: But you could also argue that despite the fact that she's given thousands of emails, she's left a few out. Some have now been determined to be classified after the fact in some cases. We're just not sure what's missing because it was all on her own private server. Can you understand how this can be problematic? 13:38:11 EARNEST: Well again, Kevin, for the way that which the campaign made the decision about which emails actually did pertain to government business -- QUESTION: Not the campaign, someone who worked for the administration made that decision while she was working here for the president. 13:38:26 EARNEST: That's inaccurate, Kevin. The way that the decision was made was that this was after Secretary Clinton had left office -- QUESTION: But -- hang on. Really quick, really quick. While she worked for the president, those emails were public record; they're supposed to be maintained. All of them. It turns out they weren't, they were on a private server, which was against what the president asked her to do, and then after the fact, we all find out she had her team, or her staff, pick and choose which ones that she said were available. Can't you see how that's a problem? 13:38:59 EARNEST: No Kevin. I think what her staff did was they did what the National Archives and Records Administration asks them to do, which is to go through those emails and send the ones to the State Department that relate to her official business, her official responsibilities as the secretary of State. QUESTION: But she missed some, right? You know that? EARNEST: Well again, I -- you have to -- and this is why I suggested that you contact the campaign for the process that they undertook to decide which emails were relevant to her professional responsibilities and were then archived to the State Department. But again, I think Secretary Clinton was acting in the spirit of the president's commitment to transparency when she suggested that those emails should be made public. OK, Chris? QUESTION: Just a couple of follow-ups, Josh. Start with Greece. On (inaudible) yesterday, a couple of major financial institutions -- Barclays, JPMorgan -- warned their clients, their investors that it's likely with the vote that there would be a Greek exit from the euro, something obviously the administration had hoped to avoid. Do you think that this vote makes this significantly more difficult to achieve? And you also said that the president has nothing, or as far as you know, no calls scheduled, although he could make some over the course of the week. What would precipitate his involvement on that level? 13:40:16 EARNEST: Well, obviously there are a number of conversations that are taking place among European officials right now. And I know that there is a meeting of European leaders scheduled for tomorrow evening Europe time. And so based on those conversations, we may conclude that it's appropriate for the president to be in touch with his counterparts, but we'll... (CROSSTALK) QUESTION: (inaudible) of that? EARNEST: Well, not necessarily. I could imagine a call taking place in advance of that, but we'll keep you posted as those kinds of decisions are made. In the meantime, I think it's important to know that other senior administration officials are in touch with their counterparts. Secretary Lew continues to be on the phone with European leaders who are involved in these conversations. There are other officials at the State Department and even here at the White House that are involved in contacting their counterparts to get an assessment about where things stand and to continue to encourage all parties to make progress in a direction that is clearly within the collective interest of those who are sitting around the proverbial negotiating table at this point. QUESTION: But how much harder do you think this vote has made it, particularly (inaudible)? EARNEST: Well, the -- the -- as I mentioned at the top, the referendum that took place does not change any of the fundamentals related to the situation. Those fundamentals continue to be that Prime Minister Tsipras continues to repeat his view that it's in the interests of his country to remain part of the eurozone. We continue to see statements from European leaders indicating that they would like Greece to remain part of the eurozone. And what also hasn't changed is the fact that completing that goal will require those who are seated at the table to arrive at a package of financing and reforms that will put Greece back on a path of economic growth and debt sustainability. So the collective interest hasn't changed. The path toward resolving the situation hasn't changed. And the role that the United States will continue to play in facilitating an agreement and encouraging all the parties to recognize that common interest hasn't changed either. QUESTION: A meeting today the president is going to have at the Pentagon, although as you pointed out, the president gets periodic updates and obviously it's not unusual for him to meet with his national security team -- but is there something in the situation on the ground that precipitated this in particular, or precipitated a major ask of him going to the Pentagon today? And -- and are there things -- are there changes on the table that are maybe out of what we've talked about before? 13:42:49 EARNEST: The short answer to your question is no. I would not read any sort of -- there is no situation on the ground or condition on the ground that has prompted the scheduling of this particular meeting. At the same time, I would acknowledge that while the president does receive regular updates, daily updates, in some cases even more frequent than that, about the status of our strategy to degrade and ultimately destroy ISIL, that yes, that carving out a couple of hours in his day to go across town over to the Pentagon and have a conversation face to face with leaders of the national security team, including many of our men and women in uniform, does reflect a deeper and longer conversation that the president wants to have with his team. But again, I would not view that as a direct response to any situation on the ground or any changes in the situation on the ground. QUESTION: Would you like to send any kind of message to the American people, many of whom expressed concern, obvious concern over the weekend with the heightened security and heightened alert that (inaudible) many in the city (inaudible) 4th of July celebrations? 13:43:54 EARNEST: Well, Chris (ph), we have been -- continue to be -- our national security infrastructure has continued to be very vigilant about the threat that is posed by extremists. We have seen the public statements from ISIL, encouraging those who support their mission to carry out attacks during the holy month of Ramadan, and we are mindful of that risk environment. But the fact is our national security professionals are -- are always vigilant and they're always mindful of what kinds of steps need to be taken to protect the American people. And sometimes this means changes our security posture. In some cases, this means adapting that security posture to reflect new threats that may be emerging. But again, I would not -- I would not conclude that this particular meeting's in any way related to that ongoing vigilance. OK. (inaudible) QUESTION: (inaudible) wanted to ask you about that Walter Reed lockdown. When we came in here, it was still ongoing. Has the president been made aware of the situation, and what's your understanding of what's going on? 13:45:01 EARNEST: (inaudible), I don't have a lot of details about this particular situation. I know that Department of Defense security personnel and local law enforcement have both responded to reports about a possible shot fired at Walter Reed. The last I heard, when I walked out here half an hour or so ago, was that -- that was unconfirmed at this point but that this is something that they continue to investigate and -- but when -- when local law enforcement has more information on this, I'm sure they'll -- they'll make it public. QUESTION: (OFF-MIKE) 13:45:36 EARNEST: I don't know if the president's been briefed on this particular matter, but I'm sure before the end of the day, he will be. QUESTION: There are reports that in the next few weeks, the president will issue orders that would freeze some federal prisoners, those that were locked up because of nonviolent drug offenses. Why is this (inaudible) important to the president to do now and also (inaudible) more numbers (ph) than many other presidents. 13:45:55 EARNEST: Well, I did read those reports over the weekend. I don't have a lot of new information to share with you at this point. The president, as I mentioned to -- in response to Cheryl's (ph) question, does believe that criminal-justice reform is an important priority, and we're certainly gratified that there are some Republicans in Congress who are also interested in some of these reforms. I know that some of the reforms that are being considered would -- would make our criminal-justice system a little bit more fair. They -- some of these reforms also stand to save taxpayers money. So, you know, the president's looking forward to those kinds of conversations, and the president has already, over the six years of his administration, has offered some commutations to nonviolent offenders. But he does not view that as a cure-all for some of the inequities that continue to persist in our criminal-justice system. Broader reform is needed, and that's what the president's hoping to pursue with Democrats and Republicans on Capitol Hill this year. QUESTION: Would the next round of potential commutations -- would that be -- serve as a launching pad to bring them to make this broader call for reform? 13:47:16 EARNEST: Not necessarily, simply because the kind of broader criminal-justice reform that the president envisions is something that would be somewhat broader than the kinds of steps that the president would be able to take at this point using his authority as president of the United States to offer pardons or commutations. QUESTION: (OFF-MIKE) go back to what we were discussing before. You said that the deadline continues to be July 7th, that's the deadline everyone is working against. But it seems that officials on both sides, the Iranians and the U.S. officials there, are pretty much leading the ground work that this is going to be delayed. How eager are you to get this done before the 9th, when that congressional review period will double? 13:47:59 EARNEST: Well, listen. We're obviously mindful of the fact that the original deadline here was June 30th, so we're already several days past that. And the fact is we're talking about negotiations that have been taking place for almost two years, now. So this has been a long running effort, and we -- you know, as Secretary Kerry and I believe, his Iranian counterpart observed over the weekend, they've never been closer to reach an agreement. At the same time, Secretary Kerry, I think, was pretty blunt yesterday in his comments to reporters in Vienna, that there remains some difficult, critically important issues that are unresolved and they will not be able to reach an agreement as long as those issues remain unresolved, and that's what they're working on right now. So I wouldn't -- I wouldn't want to pre-judge an outcome at this point, but I would acknowledge that we are past the deadline, we're well into these negotiations. But again, the president and his team are prepared to walk away if Iran cannot sign onto a final agreement that reflects the kinds of commitments that they made in the context of the political agreement back in April. QUESTION: But what point is the deadline -- keep getting pushed, keep getting pushed, when you say it is time to walk away? 13:49:14 EARNEST: Well, again, I think that's something that negotiators can better speak to. I think, at some point you walk away when it becomes clear that the Iranians, even in the face of unanimity of opinion across the international community, are unwilling to sign on the dotted line to uphold commitments that they've already made. And that's really all that we're seeking here. But if that's something that Iran is unwilling to give, then we won't be able to reach an agreement. QUESTION: Senator Corker, if you could just respond to his comments over the weekend that he advises that you guys not to rush in, in any effort to meet the deadline, and he kind of brought up the legacy issue that that might be what's driving the need to keep, sustain the negotiating table on the part of the administration. Can you respond to that? 13:50:04 EARNEST: Well, again, I think the fact that these negotiations have been taking place over the better part of two years, I think, is an indication that nobody has been in a rush. And I think the fact that we have been quite clear about what exactly would be included in the final agreement is an indication of the president's resolve to do what he believes is in the best interest of our national security. And the fact is, the best way for us prevent Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon is through diplomacy and through the implementation of the most intrusive set of inspections that have ever been imposed on the country's nuclear program. That's precisely what's being negotiated in Vienna right now. And if in a final -- if a final agreement can be reached, it would be good for our national security. It certainly would not resolve the long list of concerns that we have with Iranian behavior, but it would allow us, in a verifiable way, to prevent Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon. And that would certainly make it less dangerous when Iran decides they want to menace Israel. It certainly would make it less dangerous when Iran wants to support terrorist organizations. It certainly would make it less dangerous for Iran to support destabilizing groups in the Middle East and elsewhere. EARNEST: But it's not going to resolve all of those concerns, and -- but it certainly would be an important step in the right direction when it comes to the national security of the United States. OK? Steve (ph), Dennis (ph)? QUESTION: Yes, on the (inaudible), you mentioned it's a priority. The president hasn't really been up front talking about (inaudible) rewriting it that much (inaudible). I'm wondering if that's intentional? Because when he tends to come out for things, a lot of Republicans suddenly don't want to support it. (CROSSTALK) QUESTION: Yeah, (inaudible). EARNEST: (inaudible) support it. QUESTION: Yeah, so Lamar Alexander talked to us, said that, you know, he had had a personal relationship with the president on this particular issue. They'd been working behind the scenes since, really, January. I'm wondering sort of what's the president's approach on this? And would he sign the Alexander-Murray bill that's on the Senate floor? 13:52:10 EARNEST: Well, I don't have a position on that specific legislation to announce at this point. I can confirm for you that there have been a number of conversations that have taken place between administration officials and Democrats and Republicans on Capitol Hill as they've sought to write this bill. The president, obviously, does believe that this is a priority; that, you know, we've talked a little bit about, over the last several months, about trade and how giving the president the authority to negotiate a Trans-Pacific Partnership agreement would allow our economy and our businesses and most importantly our workers to deal with broader global economic forces and their impact on middle class families in this country. The best way that we can prepare the American workforce is to make sure that they're getting the skills and training and the education that they need to compete and win in a 21st century global economy. So, that obviously starts with kids in elementary school. And so the administration is certainly encouraging bipartisan efforts in Congress to try to advance legislation that would strengthen our schools. But I don't have a specific position to announce at this point on the piece of Senate legislation that's been put forward. QUESTION: Is there an intentional effort -- has the president been behind the scenes on this to try to keep it out of politics? 13:53:35 EARNEST: Well, we certainly would welcome a genuine bipartisan effort in this regard. And my guess is that there will be at some point in the future where you're going to hear the president talk about how important a good education is for America's children and how critical that is to the longer-term economic success of our country. The president will certainly make that case in the future. And I'm confident the president will have future conversations with members of Congress about legislation that would accomplish that goal. But right now, we certainly are intrigued by the kind of bipartisan effort that is underway on Capitol Hill and we generally speaking want to be supportive of that effort. But again, we need to do a little more analysis on the specific piece of legislation that's been put forward before I can give you a specific administration position. QUESTION: Thanks. I'm just wondering, are you -- when you were talking about the Iran deal and there's a -- it has to be approved by the Senate, up or down vote. People have talked about the nomination of an ambassador to Cuba might disrupt that. It would be picking a fight with the Senate at a very difficult time for the administration. And I'm wondering if for sure you are going to nominate someone to be an ambassador, or just leave the position as an acting intersection, if it's a charge d'affaires, that will be the title? 13:54:57 EARNEST: Right. I don't have an update for you in terms of our intent to nominate someone to that important position. I'll just remind you of a principle that the president laid out I think it was even at the end of last year, that we can't allow a difference of opinion over one issue to become a dealbreaker over all the others. And there was a vigorous debate in Congress. And obviously, the president strenuously disagreed with a lot of Republicans when it came to immigration reform. And there are some Republicans who publicly suggested that the president acting on his own on immigration reform would somehow poison the well and interfere with our ability to work in bipartisan fashion to make progress on trade promotion authority, for example. Fortunately, we didn't see that come to pass. We actually did see Republicans work effectively and constructively with Democrats to pass trade promotion authority. And so we may have our differences over issues like appointing an ambassador to Cuba, but hopefully that won't prevent us from cooperating in those areas where there might be some genuine agreement. And I would point out that there actually is strong bipartisan support for normalizing relations with Cuba. There are already a number of Republicans who have complimented the president for taking this step. But, again, hopefully we're not going to allow a differences of opinion on one issue, like Cuba, to become a deal-breaker for all the others, including some areas where there might be some genuine common ground to be found. QUESTION: (OFF-MIKE) when you might make that nomination? 13:56:19 EARNEST: Not at this point, but if we do, I'll follow-up with you. QUESTION: OK. One more quick thing. It's the one-year -- June 29th was the one-year anniversary of ISIS declaring a caliphate. And we've seen with the uptick in threats, the July 4th holiday and Ramadan, as you mentioned, and I'm wondering, a lot of these threats are occurring on Twitter and there are groups -- outside groups, and I know you've had Twitter at your Countering Extremism Summit. I'm wondering if there has been any effort to -- there are complaints that Twitter is not moving fast enough to shut down these terrorists and recruiting and violent threats on Twitter, they're not shutting it down quickly enough. There was a threat right before the Supreme Court ruling on gay marriage saying that one of these guys is very prolific and ISIS- affiliated in France, a threat against a gay man, wanting to throw him off a building. And people were saying -- telling Twitter, hey, we need you to take down this site, this is not right, Twitter. It's breaking Twitter's own rule. So I'm wondering if the White House -- if the administration has done anything to reach out to Twitter to try to get them to be more active? 13:57:28 EARNEST: Well, I can tell you that the administration has been engaged with Silicon Valley and social media outlets on a variety of issues, including this one. As you pointed out, Twitter. And I believe that there are some other leaders in tech community who participated in our Countering Violent Extremism Summit. The president also convened a cyber-security summit out in Silicon Valley back in February at Stanford University. So we have these kinds of conversations with -- on technology policy quite frequently. I'll have somebody follow up with you. I'm not aware of this particular criticism that has been lodged against Twitter. But I can tell you that we have been engaged in conversations with Twitter and sought to actually work with Twitter and other social media outlets to cooperate in this area. QUESTION: So you think (OFF-MIKE) shut down the accounts (OFF- MIKE) cooperating with law enforcement would be, of course, something that is already happening. 13:58:24 EARNEST: Right. Well, I don't mean to say at a law enforcement level, but I also mean at a broader policy-making level too. That certainly Twitter and other social media outlets understand how their tools are being used in a way that they obviously have concerns about. And so there are policy decisions for them to make. And there are obviously public safety and other policy equities that involve the federal government as well. So let me see if I can have somebody follow-up with you who may have more detailed knowledge of those conversations. OK, Carol (ph). QUESTION: (OFF-MIKE) tomorrow's deadline, is it fair to say, based on everything you've said here that the White House's expectation is tomorrow's deadline will (OFF-MIKE)? 13:59:08 EARNEST: Well, I think what I would say is, you know, that we will get updates from our negotiating team out in Vienna. And I wouldn't set any expectations at this point. I would say that it's certainly possible, but at this point I don't have an expectation to share. QUESTION: And then can you shed some light on what the president (OFF-MIKE) if we don't have any information about how (OFF-MIKE) meetings at the White House, does he have events planned? Does he -- what are those meetings that he is having at the White House? 13:59:35 EARNEST: Well, let me tell you a couple of things. Obviously the -- we did announce over the weekend that the president will be meeting with the general secretary of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of Vietnam here at the White House tomorrow. And that will be an historic meeting where the president will meet with the general secretary in the context of the 20th anniversary of normalizing our bilateral relations. The two men will discuss how we can further advance our cooperation as envisioned by the comprehensive partnership that was signed in 2013. The president will also raise areas of mutual interest, such as the Trans-Pacific Partnership and regional security, and areas where our differences require continued attention like human rights. So that's a meeting that the president will convene tomorrow. I will say that the rest of the president's schedule has been left intentionally fluid to account for the fact that we may have news out of Vienna. But we'll just have to see how the week takes shape. QUESTION: (inaudible) will he take questions when there's a conclusion of (inaudible)? 14:00:33 EARNEST: On the -- you mean the conversation tomorrow with the general secretary? QUESTION: No, I mean that will the president have a press conference at the end of this big foreign policy initiative (inaudible)? EARNEST: Nothing to announce at this point, but we'll see. (CROSSTALK) (LAUGHTER) QUESTION: (inaudible) the reason why he didn't. EARNEST: He's a very enthusiastic interlocutor when it comes to the White House press corps, that's for sure. (CROSSTALK) (LAUGHTER) QUESTION: One quick question I don't think we've covered. I'm sorry. EARNEST: That's OK. QUESTION: The president visiting Kenya, and I believe there was a story about of Kenya today that the national assembly has said Obama will not be permitted to raise the issue of gay rights and talk about that issue. Are you familiar with that? And does the president have a problem with that? Will he abide by it? And has the White House been made aware of that? 14:01:21 EARNEST: I had not been made aware of that particular announcement from Kenya. You know, obviously, we have been clear that when the president travels around the world, he does not hesitate to raise concerns about human rights. And that's been true when he's, you know, when he's traveled to places like China. It will be true tomorrow when he meets with the general secretary of Vietnam. And I'm confident that the president will not hesitate to make clear that the protection of basic universal human rights in Kenya is also a priority and consistent with the values that we hold dear here in the United States of America. QUESTION: (inaudible) not be predicated on -- the president having the visit was not predicated on not talking about certain subjects? EARNEST: Absolutely not. Marco, you'll be the last one. QUESTION: On tomorrow's meeting, should we expect an announcement that President Obama will be visiting Vietnam this year? 14:02:14 EARNEST: That's a good question. I don't know. You may have to wait until tomorrow to find out. All right? QUESTION: And on your opening statement, what is it that makes you say the Republicans are playing politics with the Szubin nomination? 14:02:26 EARNEST: Well, I guess what I would suggest is that if there's a better explanation, I'd be happy to hear it. The fact is we have an individual who is highly qualified, has served in both administrations, both Democratic and Republican administrations. He obviously has very important work in front of him. This is work that both Democrats and Republicans on Capitol Hill strongly support. So I haven't frankly heard a very good explanation from Senator Shelby about why he has failed to schedule a hearing for Mr. Szubin for nearly three months now. So, if there is an alternate explanation, I'm happy to hear it. Maybe somebody in this room or somebody who's watching wants to call Senator Shelby's office and ask. But I certainly would be interested in the response. QUESTION: Could it be just normal bipartisan foot-dragging? EARNEST: Well, it's -- I suppose anything is possible, particularly when it comes to Congress. I know that there are Democrats who serve on this committee who are strongly supportive of Mr. Szubin. I'm confident that if Republicans were to give Mr. Szubin a fair hearing that he'd have a lot of strong supporters on the Republican side of the aisle, too. So there's no reason this should be a partisan issue. If there is some legitimate explanation, I'd be both surprised, but also pleased to hear it. But in any event, I do believe that, not just Mr. Zubin and not just the president of the United States, but when we're talking about the national security of the country, I think the American people are entitled to an explanation about why there's been a significant delay in the scheduling of the hearing of somebody who has got such an important role when it comes to our national security. All right? QUESTION: Yes. EARNEST: Thanks, everybody. Happy Monday. END
WHITE HOUSE BRIEFING / HEAD ON
FTG OF DAILY WHITE HOUSE BRIEFING WITH WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY JAY CARNEY IN THE WH BRIEFING ROOM / HEAD ON Wednesday, September 25, 2013 TRANSCRIPT: White House Press Briefing with Press Secretary Jay Carney DC SLUG: 1300 WH BRIEF STIX RS37 73 NYRS: 5114 AR: 16x9 DISC#116, 177 13:12:49 JAY CARNEY: Showtime. Good afternoon, everyone. It is so good to be with you today. For those of you who were with us in New York, I hope you enjoyed the trip -- that trip. It was obviously eventful. President gave a major speech at the United Nations General Assembly, and he had we felt a very good and useful and informative discussion with former President Clinton at the Clinton Global Initiative. 13:13:26 I wanted to make an announcement before I took your -- take your questions and draw your attention to the fact that a new report has been released today by the Department of Health and Human Services showing that the Affordable Care Act will deliver on its promise to make health insurance more affordable and accessible for Americans. 13:13:50 In state after state, competition and transparency are driving a new set of affordable options for consumers in the -- in the new marketplaces, just as the law was designed to do. Premiums nationwide will also be around 16 percent lower than originally expected, with about 95 percent of eligible uninsured Americans living in states with lower-than-expected premiums, and that's before taking into account financial assistance. 13:14:23 On average, consumers will have a choice of 53 health plans, and about one in four of these insurance companies are newly offering plans in the individual market, which is a sign of healthy competition. To give you a sense of what this really means for families who will be shopping for health insurance in the marketplaces, I have these examples: 13:14:36 A family of four in North Carolina with an income of $50,000 could pay $74 per month for the lowest-cost bronze plan after tax credits. A family of four in Indiana with the same income, $50,000, could pay $46 per month, again, for the lowest-cost bronze plan after tax credits. And a family of four in Texas with an income of $50,000 could pay just $57 per month -- so with an income of $50,000 could pay just $57 per month for the lowest-cost bronze plan after tax credits. Overall, nearly six in 10 uninsured Americans will pay $100 or less per month for health coverage. 13:15:25 You can check out the map of premiums by state at whitehouse.gov/acamaps.< <http://whitehouse.gov/acamaps.%3C>/p> In less than a week the new marketplaces will be open for business, and from October to March 2014, Americans -- more Americans will be able to check out their choices, their options for affordable health insurance at healthcare.gov and find health plans that fit their lives and their budgets. And I think it's worth noting here in the capital of the nation and of the national press some of the coverage of this news, which is why we have this graphic here behind me today. Indianapolis Business Journal: "Analysis: Obamacare exchanges will push Anthem's premiums lower." Pittsburgh Post-Gazette: "Exchanges to provide dozens of health care options for Pittsburghers." 13:16:19 Dallas Morning News: "Obamacare premiums projected to be lower than expected." Houston Chronicle -- Houston Chronicle: "Texans to have array of insurance options." Appleton Post-Crescent: "Exchange rates decline with expanded choices." Miami Herald: "U.S.: Obamacare costs below forecast." The Detroit News: "Michigan health exchange has plenty of choices." Palm Beach Post: "Local Obamacare rates beat forecast." 13:16:50 As I mentioned at the top, President Clinton and President Obama had an excellent discussion yesterday, which I hope all of you were able to catch, about the Affordable Care Act, about health care in general, both in the nation and around the world. And it is worth noting, as we learn this news about premiums across the country and how they're coming in lower than expected, that very soon Americans who did not have the option of affordable health insurance will have it available to them. What is important to remember about the families that I just talked about, the families of four earning $50,000 and who will now have access to health care for their families for low premiums, did not have access at all before. They could not afford it. And that is the design and the promise of the Affordable Care Act, and it's taking shape before our eyes. Julie. Q: (Inaudible.) Q: Thank you. President Rouhani was still speaking at the U.N. last night when the White House did their background briefing, so we didn't get a real reaction to his speech. And I'm wondering if the president saw anything in Rouhani's address that signaled that there may be some actually substance behind some of the friendly overtures in terms of concessions on the nuclear impasse. 13:18:15 MR. CARNEY: What we heard from President Rouhani I think reflects what we've been hearing, and that is an interest in making progress towards resolving this very serious problem that Iran has over its nuclear weapons program. And that is why, as we've been saying for a while now, including in New York at the United Nations, we are very interested in testing the assertions about that interest on behalf of the Iranians in resolving this conflict diplomatically. 13:19:08 Ever since he took office the president has said he is willing to engage directly with the Iranians in an effort to resolve this issue. And it is that willingness that has helped make clear that the onus is on Iran to demonstrate that it is serious about complying with its international obligations. That willingness that then-candidate Obama expressed and new President Obama repeated is what helped forge the consensus internationally that led to the most comprehensive sanctions regime that has ever been implemented. That in turn, as I think President Rouhani made clear and others have made clear, has had a dramatic impact on the Iranian economy and that is why Iran is interested in, in our view, having discussions about resolving this conflict. And that is encouraging. 13:20:02 But actions are what matter, and substantive negotiations over Iran's nuclear program will be the test, will provide the test of whether or not Iran is seriousness -- is serious about resolving the international community's concerns. And we are engaged in that process. As you know, Secretary Kerry will be with his Iranian counterpart in the P-5 plus one process this week. So that's the beginning of what we hope will be progress towards resolving this problem. Q: (Off mic) -- Obama didn't leave his two days in New York with any greater clarity on what kind of substance may be behind this rhetoric. Is that what you're saying? 13:20:50 MR. CARNEY: I would say that we have been and continue to this week explore the level of seriousness, and we are doing that through all the avenues available to us. That will be very much part of the discussions that Secretary Kerry has, and it is part of the communications that we have had, including the communications that the president had in his exchange of letters. 13:21:22 And I think that what happened in New York, again, demonstrates two things. One, President Obama has always been explicitly open to sitting down and talking to the Iranian leadership, provided that the Iranian leadership is serious about trying to resolve these problems with the international community over its nuclear weapons program. And that became, I think, quite apparent again in recent days. So the Iranians have to decide, most importantly through substantive negotiations, whether or not they want to truly resolve this. And through resolution of it, through a verifiable, confirmable agreement to give up its nuclear weapons ambitions, Iran can then rejoin the international community, end its isolation, enjoy relief from the sanctions regime. 13:22:28 But that -- those are matters of substantive negotiations, and that -- and the process is in place and has been in place through the P-5 plus one, and we will continue to test this -- these assertions and this -- and to see if this opportunity is real because the window, as we've been saying for some time now, even predating the elections in Iran, is open to resolve this diplomatically, but it is not -- it will not be open indefinitely. And, you know, we would agree with those who say that there is a need to assess and act on this opportunity with haste. Q: On the domestic front, wondering if there's any White House reaction to Ted Cruz's hours of arguing against "Obamacare" overnight, and now that the process on the CR -- (inaudible) -- it's almost inevitably going back to the House, is -- are there any plans for the president to talk with leadership to ensure that a deal can be reached by Monday? 13:23:23 MR. CARNEY: Well, as I indicated I think earlier in the week, the president, you know, will I'm sure be discussing these budget issues with the leadership. I don't have a specific meeting to preview for you. As you know, he's held discussions with Speaker Boehner as well as others in the past about this and about our position, his position on these issues, one, that Congress has to act to ensure to ensure that we don't -- that they don't shut down the government, that it would be irresponsible to not fund the essential functions of the government out of ideological pique, that we can continue to negotiate over a broader budget deal in a responsible way. And to do that, we need to make sure that a continuing resolution is passed that allows the government to stay open and for the president to continue to show in his presentations to Congress that he is and has always been serious about trying to find common ground when it comes to making the right choices in how we fund our government and investing in our economy to ensure that our kids get educated and our roads and bridges get built and that we reduce our deficit further in a -- in a balanced and fair way. So that's one. 13:24:52 And then two, the other position we obviously hold and will not waver from is that the responsibility of Congress to pay the bills of the United States -- bills that Congress has incurred -- is not a subject of negotiation. Everybody agrees -- all the leaders and I think most of the rank-and-file agree -- that the debt ceiling must be raised. So you have this unique situation in Washington where everybody agrees on this single thing, so Congress ought to just raise it. And don't forget, they did it not that long ago. 13:25:34 You might forget because there was no drama and there was no delay and there was no threat of default just at the end of last year and the beginning of this year. So the idea that this could be or should be a situation where default is on the table and threatened and all the ramifications of that take place, all the harm that does to our economy is somehow the norm, we just reject. We cannot allow that to happen. 13:26:05 We have -- since Congress raised the debt ceiling the last time without drama and without delay, this economy has created more than a million jobs. Since Congress, without drama and without delay, raised the debt ceiling -- that means Republicans in Congress, not just Democrats -- we've seen remarkable strides in the recovery in our housing market. We've seen continued economic growth. So if they were able to do it just a few months ago, I see no reason why they shouldn't do it now. It's the responsible thing to do if the goal here that we all share is to allow the economy to continue to grow and create jobs. Roberta. Q: Did the president catch any of the 21-hour -- (inaudible) -- speech by Senator Cruz? 13:26:49 MR. CARNEY: I don't believe so. Q: Does the White House have any reaction to the speech? Did you watch it, any parts of even? 13:26:56 MR. CARNEY: I did not. I certainly read about it. I -- look, I would simply say that a family of four in Texas will have available to it the option of purchasing affordable health insurance for $57 per month -- a family of four with an income of $50,000, after receiving tax credits will have that option. That is a good thing. This family doesn't have insurance now, cannot afford insurance under current conditions. And that reality is something that we're seeing now in state after state after state. Quality, affordable health insurance is something that every family of four making $50,000 and struggling to get by deserves. That's what the president believes. 13:28:07 So, certainly we oppose any efforts to engage in the political battle of the past to try to achieve some sort of ideological victory in a way that doesn't -- not only shuts down the government, but then, if successful, would deprive these very families of health insurance that they need. And so we obviously have a difference of opinion. Q: Those conversations that you read out, that were read out on Friday between the president and Speaker Boehner and Leader Pelosi -- has Denis McDonough or any other -- have any other White House officials had conversations with people in Congress or their staffs about -- 13:29:02 MR. CARNEY: Oh, certainly. I mean we are in, you know, fairly consistent communication with Congress at different levels here at the White House. I don't have any specific conversations to read out. I think chief of staff is going up to the Hill at some point to talk with Democrats. But, you know, those conversations will continue, as I said in answer to Julie's question. I don't have any meeting or conversation involving the president to preview at this time. But, I mean, as I think we've seen of late, there's a lot of activity going on that reflects enormous divisions within the Republican Party that are hard for us to implement. So our focus is, of course, on the need to make wise decisions, to ensure that the government does not shut down, and especially to ensure that the United States does not default for the first time in its history. Q: If there's no resolution on those two issues, will the president still travel to Asia, as he plans to? 13:29:53 MR. CARNEY: You know, I have no scheduling updates. The plan is on the books and we intend to go. Yes. Q: Jay, thank you. I mean, it's one thing not to engage Speaker Boehner when it comes to the possibility of a government shutdown, but when you're looking at reaching the debt ceiling, aren't you sort of forced to negotiate? Aren't you forced to engage? MR. CARNEY: Here's the thing. I'd say a couple things about that. I don't have the quotes in front of me, but I know you all remember that it was the speaker of the House who said -- declared publicly that he would never negotiate with the president again, which seemed a little extreme. He has, of course, since then. The president has had conversations with him and enjoyed them, as he always does. 13:30:33 The -- there is no negotiating over Congress' responsibility to ensure that we do not default. We saw what happened when that path was traveled in 2011, and it -- and the result was terrible, even the flirtation with default. When it became apparent that there were actually members of Congress in the Republican Party who were willing to default as a matter of ideological purity and who were willing to inflict that harm on the economy and on middle-class families, the economy reacted badly, markets reacted badly, and people suffered. And that was -- and -- Q: But you negotiated -- (off mic) -- you knew their perspective on that and still negotiated. 13:31:23 MR. CARNEY: So I think that's the point I'm making is that this cannot and should not be a matter of negotiation. We can and should debate our differences and negotiate and reach compromises over our budget priorities, absolutely. But we cannot have the American economy and the global economy and the American middle class held hostage to an insistence by a faction of Congress, especially in one house, that it achieve its political objectives that it had not been able to achieve otherwise through -- at the ballot box or when the legislative process played out three years ago or in front of the Supreme Court when the Supreme Court declared that the Affordable Care Act was constitutional. It's just incredibly irresponsible. I mean, think about -- and the irony of ironies is when we talk about the debt ceiling, the one proposition on the table the Republicans have suggested is that they would threaten default over a provision that would delay implementation of the Affordable Care Act. And if that were carried out, it would add significantly to the deficit. So this charade, you know, the -- what we have seen this whole time about -- in these kind of negotiations that the principal preoccupation of the Republican Party in these matters in Congress is a need to further reduce our deficit and not be irresponsible in our spending; they now put forward a proposition, a proposal, that is wrong on so many fronts but would raise and increase the deficit along with it. Q: It just seems hard to believe that the president would be prepared to breach the debt ceiling without having engaged House Republicans on the issue -- MR. CARNEY: He doesn't breach the debt ceiling. Congress has the power of the purse strings, that is -- the purse strings. That is -- that is a power -- Q: But it -- he's unlikely to -- (inaudible) -- allow them to breach the debt ceiling -- 13:33:01 MR. CARNEY: That is a power proudly -- Q: -- without having engaged them to get -- MR. CARNEY: The president -- Q: -- to the point where there is a default, and the president hasn't stepped in to engage them. I mean, that -- MR. CARNEY: Brianna, again, let's be clear. The president has been and continues to be willing to negotiate with Republicans over our budget priorities and how to make the right choices and make compromises along the way to make sure that we grow our economy, we create jobs for the middle class and we bring down our deficit further in the middle and out years, has always been willing to do that. We've been a -- we've been through a process this year where, at the insistence of the Republicans as part of the last budget deal, the Senate, led by Democrats, passed a budget. That's what the Republicans insisted had to be done. We had to follow regular order. You covered the Hill, right? You've heard that cry. Democrats refuse to cover -- to follow regular order; they refuse to pass a budget. 13:34:04 So the Senate passed a budget. That's what the Republicans wanted. The House passed its budget, the Ryan budget, you know, 2.0. And what happens then in regular order is that conferees are appointed and the two houses try to reach an agreement, a compromise. Republicans in the House were so opposed to the idea of compromise, the idea of negotiation, the idea of finding common ground, that to this day, they have refused to appoint conferees in a process that they themselves said was essential. So the president has demonstrated again and again his willingness to be reasonable and find common ground, and he will continue to do that. 13:34:48 When it comes to the debt ceiling, one -- everybody says we ought to raise it; we can't default, would be wildly irresponsible, so we ought to -- Congress should just raise it -- one side is saying, we'll let the economy default unless we get what we want, which is essentially defunding or delaying of "Obamacare." I think it's pretty clear -- and a lot of Republicans seem to agree with this -- that that is a wholly irresponsible position to take. John (sp). Q: Jay, is the president disappointed that President Rowhani turned down the offer to meet him at the United Nations? 13:35:25 MR. CARNEY: The president is not. He was open to the possibility of an informal encounter with President Rowhani and remains open to that, as he has, broadly speaking, since he took office. The president believes that the most important issues, when it comes to Iran's relationship with the rest of the international community, including the United States, are ones that need to be resolved through negotiations over substantive matters around Iran's nuclear weapons program. And so I think that we should not overinterpret the fact that the Iranians decided against having an encounter and that it was too complicated in terms of assigning meaning to that about the potential for progress in negotiations. We will -- that -- the potential for that progress exists, and we are going to test it through the avenues available to us. JONATHAN KARL: Why does the White House think Rouhani said no to the meeting or encounter, whatever you want to call it? 13:36:39 MR. CARNEY: You know, I think that, outside -- Q: (Off mic) -- everybody else, right? I mean, he's meeting -- 13:36:48 MR. CARNEY: Well, I think -- I would say two things. One, obviously -- I'll say first that I'm not going to delve into an analysis of Iranian politics because that's not the issue for us. The issue is how serious is the new government as well as the supreme leader about resolving this significant problem it has with the international community. Two, I would simply say that, you know, as I mentioned earlier, the most important thing here is whether or not we can make progress on the substantive talks. 13:37:18 The president was open to an informal encounter, but even if something like that had happened, that is less significant than whether or not the Iranians demonstrate a seriousness of purpose when it comes to making progress on a -- in negotiations that have been available to them now for many years. And their failure to be serious about it for so many years has led to the most comprehensive and punishing sanctions regime in history. And it is because that unity in the international community exists -- which, in turn, exists because of the president's leadership on this issue -- that Iran is now suggesting it's willing to resolve the problem. Q: And the window, you said, is not going to be open indefinitely. MR. CARNEY: Correct. Q: What does that mean? What kind of timeline are we talking about? I know you're not going to give me a deadline, but I mean, are we talking about this is something that has to unfold over the next few months? MR. CARNEY: I won't give a timeline to it. I think that we've made clear in the past about our assessments of where Iran is in its program, what our capabilities are in terms of being able to be aware of a so-called breakout move. And, you know, I would refer you to, sort of, substantive briefings that others have given on that and even I have, but it's been a while. 13:41:00 So the point is that this is not an indefinite period of time. This is -- that the threat of a nuclear arms race in the region is a huge problem for the region, for our allies, for the United States, for the world, and the Iranian nuclear weapons program is central as a problem that needs to be resolved to avoid that nuclear arms race. Q: Jay, I just want to give you a chance to respond to a couple of comments made a little bit ago by the new Iranian foreign minister, Zarif, up at the United Nations. When asked what the Iranian goal was at the P-5 plus one conversations, he said, quote, "to jumpstart the negotiations with a view to reaching an agreement within the shortest span." He also said the Islamic Republic has the political readiness and political will for serious negotiations, and we are hopeful that the opposite side has this will as well. 13:41:53 MR. CARNEY: We certainly have the will. We've demonstrated it for many years now. Q: Have the Iranians -- (off mic)? MR. CARNEY: In the past? No. And I think that the comments that you just read to me -- and I have not seen them, but I -- they're in keeping with some of what we have heard and seen -- demonstrate certainly a different rhetorical approach to this problem that this new government is taking. And I think as we've said, that is absolutely worth exploring and testing and -- so that we can discover -- we, the United States and our allies, can discover whether or not they're serious and whether or not we can resolve this conflict diplomatically. 13:39:13 So you've heard the president say in his speech to the General Assembly, this is a significant opportunity that ought to be explored, and it would certainly be to the benefit of the world and to the benefit of the Iranian people to resolve this diplomatically. So that's what we're undertaking to try to do. But we do it understanding the history here and with the clear assertion that actions here are what matter and, you know, a process that allows for verifiable -- the verifiable decision by Iran to forsake its nuclear weapons program is essential. Q: So using the foreign minister's words, reaching an agreement with the shortest span then highly depends on how many concessions the Iranians are prepared to make. 13:43:24 MR. CARNEY: No, look, this is a negotiation, and it's a negotiation that involves other nations, part of the P-5 plus one, the P-5 plus Germany. And you know, I will leave it to the negotiators, including Secretary Kerry and then others who will be working on this, to give assessments of where we are and what that negotiation looks like. But the end result has to be that the international community, the P-5 plus one, is confident that Iran has given up its nuclear weapons program. Q: In his speech yesterday, President Rouhani described economic sanctions carried out under U.N. authority as a violent crime and an inhumane crime against ordinary Iranians. What's the White House reaction to that? 13:44:08 MR. CARNEY: I think the fact that President Rouhani spoke about the impact of the sanctions demonstrates the impact of the sanctions. We made clear, when we solicited the consensus that we achieved on this matter, that the onus was on Iran because we were willing to -- let me back up a little bit. Prior to President Obama taking office, the international community was divided, and some people believe that our intransigence -- our, the United States's, intransigence on this issue -- our refusal to engage with the Iranians on this issue, was part of the problem. And whether you believe that to be true or not, there was that view that divided the international community. President Obama, in taking a position as a candidate that was somewhat controversial, and then reasserting it as president, including in his inaugural address, took a different approach, and that different approach, his willingness to engage with the Iranians, made clear that the problem was the Iranians. 13:45:06 And it allowed us to build the most comprehensive sanctions regime in history with considerable international consensus -- a consensus that did not exist before, and so that when the Iranian president speaks about the impact of the sanctions, I think he -- I think it reflects something we've been saying, which is that these sanctions are real, they represent the will of the international community and the seriousness that the international community takes the problem posed by an Iran potentially possessing nuclear weapons. Q: (Off mic) -- some of the language you've noted is more conciliatory than in the past, is this a worrisome assertion from the Iranians that U.N. sanctions are, in fact, crime and are punishing ordinary Iranians and that itself could be a problem? 13:46:08 MR. CARNEY: I don't -- I don't see that as -- I think that we would acknowledge that the sanctions have had an impact on the Iranian economy, and the sanctions are a direct result of Iran's refusal heretofore to resolve the international community's very serious concerns about their pursuit of a nuclear weapon. All of this -- I don't mean to make it sound easy -- but this can all be resolved if Iran takes a different approach. The United States and its other partners on the P-5+1 are willing to engage, as they have always been, and we will -- we will see whether or not the kind of progress that you -- that the -- apparently, the foreign minister just suggested was possible is in fact possible. Q: (Off mic.) One last thing. You have a very careful construction about the president not negotiating on the debt ceiling. The president will not negotiate over Congress' responsibility to pay its bills. MR. CARNEY: Mm-hmm. (Agreement.) Q: Does that also not leave open the possibility that if Congress says, Mr. President, we are going to raise the debt ceiling, we'd like to discuss with you methods of achieving that -- meaning not if, but how -- does that open a window for negotiations? 13:47:22 MR. CARNEY: No, not in the sense that -- I'm not attempting to be nuanced at all on this. We will not negotiate over Congress' responsibility to raise the debt ceiling. Congress must -- Q: (Off mic) -- we have to raise the debt ceiling, we would like to include some other things in it we'd like to talk to you about that -- can we have a conversation along those lines? MR. CARNEY: No. No, because that's what they've been saying all along, and saying that we want to achieve a political agenda item and if you don't give it to us, we'll tank the American economy and make the American people suffer, the president's not going to accept that proposition. He's just not. We will not negotiate over Congress' responsibility to pay the bills that Congress racked up. I mean, the irony of this discussion -- and it's nobody's fault in this room that it is widely misunderstood -- that raising the debt ceiling does not add a dime to the deficit, does not represent a single nickel in spending. 13:48:21 Raising the debt ceiling is just authorizing Congress to write the checks for bills it's already racked up, that have already added to the deficit, or not if they're programs that have been paid for, like the Affordable Care Act, for example. But the -- you know, this is about just being responsible stewards of the American economy. Q: But you frequently, from the podium, assert the history of the many times the debt ceiling has been raised, but you also must concede in that history, there are complex interactions with Congress and chief executives where other things have been added into the mix as a part of a process. MR. CARNEY: What I -- Q: Are you trying to rewrite not just that history or -- (inaudible) -- some new history? 13:49:02 MR. CARNEY: No, no, we addressed -- we discussed this the other day. And what is an incontrovertible fact is that roughly 40 times since President Reagan took office, the debt ceiling has been raised, and only once -- only once was default ever in the air, and that was in 2011, so that the -- (inaudible) -- Q: (Off mic) -- if you take default off the table and say, we're going to raise it, we have other items we're talking about in which you can put some things and we can put some things, and it can be a negotiation, that's not possible. 13:49:30 MR. CARNEY: Because if the alternative is we're not going to raise it -- that's what they're saying -- then the answer has to be no. If we -- if the Congress -- if Republican leaders in the Congress or rank-and-file members in Congress want to pursue, you know, efforts legislatively to dismantle, disrupt and ultimately defeat "Obamacare," they can, and they have. But they've failed. And it's because they've failed that they're now trying to attach this to, you know, the full faith and credit of the United States, which is a wildly irresponsible thing to do. 13:50:03 We can talk about how we fund our priorities and how we responsibly reduce the deficit, and we will, but Congress cannot, for the sake of the American people, put the threat of default on the table. Q: Jay. MR. CARNEY: Ed. Q: How are you? MR. CARNEY: Great. Q: Good. (Scattered laughter.) First, on Kenya. Mike Rogers, the House Intelligence chairman, who has sometimes been supportive of the president on Syria, for example, is being critical now about, in the wake of the terror attack in Kenya, he's concerned that, he believes, some of your counterterror policies have changed, and that the administration is using drones less because of the criticism of the drone policy. How do you react to that criticism? Has the administration been pulling back from using drones in a way that is potentially allowing extremists to move forward with attacks, like in Kenya? 13:50:55 MR. CARNEY: Well, I would say a couple of things. One, I would point you to the president's speech on this matter, and then make clear that we have worked with our partners very aggressively when it comes to al-Shabaab, the organization responsible for the attacks, or we believe, responsible for the attacks in Kenya. And we will continue to do that. And the United States and Kenya have a very strong relationship and a historic partnership, and we are providing law enforcement assistance to the government of Kenya. And you know, we continue to globally engage in the struggle against al-Qaida and its affiliates, including an organization like al-Shabaab. Q: On the health care report that you put out, I'm curious as to why it is framed by HHS as people are going to be paying lower premiums than were projected. Why are you not comparing premiums of what people are paying today to what they will pay next year and the year after, under the president's law? You're saying -- you know, American families looking at how this is going to cost them, they're wondering, OK, I'm paying a hundred dollars a month right now, I might be paying 50 (dollars) or I might be paying 150 (dollars) next year. You're saying -- MR. CARNEY: I think -- Q: This report presents it as you're going to be paying less than was projected. That's sort of a Washington thing. 13:52:20 MR. CARNEY: Well, no -- Q: Why is it not apples-to-apples year to year? MR. CARNEY: Well, I mean there have been numerous reports about -- Q: I'm talking about this report you put out today, which you're saying 95 percent -- MR. CARNEY: (Inaudible) -- Q: No -- you're saying 95 percent of Americans are going to pay less. MR. CARNEY: Tell me when you want to ask a question and (not argue ?). Q: That's the question. MR. CARNEY: OK. Q: I'm not talking about previous -- don't go off on previous reports. This report today. 13:52:39 MR. CARNEY: There were numerous projections about what these exchanges -- which, by the way, did not exist before, including the multitude of plans that will now be available to consumers that did not -- were not in place before, so obviously, this is not an apples- to-apples, it's an -- it's a, you know, apple full of worms compared to an apple that's fresh and delicious. (Laughter.) I mean, seriously, if you -- you're talking about situations where some families in some states had one option, and it was unaffordable, and now they have multiple options, on average 50-some- odd plans, to choose from. And the report that's released today demonstrates that these plans are affordable and there will be plans available to families who could not buy insurance -- that their insurance, even though they're working families, you know, doing everything they can to get by, their insurance was the emergency room. 13:53:38 So they don't have anything to compare it to. They don't have -- but I can guarantee you that the cost that they will pay for their premiums and the cost of their health care will be -- well, not infinitely, but considerably less in the cost to the American taxpayer of those families using emergency rooms as their sole source of health care. Q: So then why does the Wall Street Journal have a different report today that says in Nashville, Tennessee, a 27-year-old male, nonsmoker, could pay as little as $41 a month now for a bare-bones policy but would pay $114 a month -- they go from $41 a month to $114 a month for the lowest-cost bronze option under the president's health care law? They've got somebody in Philadelphia. They would rise up from $73 today per month premium to $195 a month. So that -- (inaudible) -- not so nice? MR. CARNEY: Well, look, I don't know -- Q: Well, this is The Wall Street Journal. Pretty credible. (Laughter.) 13:54:24 MR. CARNEY: I'm simply about to say that I didn't read all the examples in there, and I don't -- every specific example is not the same. Overwhelmingly, premiums are coming in. I mean, this is -- it -- I could see that Republicans might want to refute this overwhelming evidence, even though some state Republican governors are acknowledging it, but it's there. And when you go on -- maybe not you, but when people avail themselves of the opportunity to enroll in these marketplaces and click through and see the options available to them that were not available before and that are available to them because of the subsidies, if they are lower-income, at extremely affordable costs -- I think they'll find it a very good thing indeed. 13:55:24 And what is remarkable about this whole process is that, you know, Republicans who opposed "Obamacare" have been trying now for years to repeal it or go after it in a variety of manners. You know, we are now at a point where enrollment is about to begin, and I think that part of the fear that you see, the intensity of the political agitation, is that they know that when 27-year-olds in a lot of parts of the country who, while they now, thanks to "Obamacare," only just left their parents' health plans, a benefit of the Affordable Care Act that's already there -- a lot of those 27-year-olds would have gone out on the individual insurance market and said, there is no way I can afford what's out there; the choices are too few, and it's too expensive. 13:56:11 And I know you -- maybe you can cite an example of one place where that may not have been true, but it is overwhelmingly the case, it is an established fact that the individual insurance market has been unaffordable in many ways. Q: (Inaudible) -- The Wall Street Journal -- let's take the attacks on Republicans out. You're talking about enrollment. Will Jay Carney enroll in this? Will White House staff enroll in "Obamacare"? MR. CARNEY: Again, every -- you, if you have -- Q: Take -- well, let's start with you. (Laughter.) MR. CARNEY: If I -- Q: Are you going to enroll? MR. CARNEY: If I, in a future life, don't have employer -- Q: Well, if premiums are so great -- MR. CARNEY: Ed -- does everybody here agree that, like, we can ask questions and answer them? But if you want to -- you're not even letting me answer the question, Ed. Q: (Off mic) -- go ahead and answer it. MR. CARNEY: I mean, I'm not quite sure what your goal here is. Q: Would you enroll? MR. CARNEY: Absolutely. Q: It's a simple question. MR. CARNEY: Absolutely. Q: OK, so you -- (inaudible) -- 13:57:07 MR. CARNEY: If I did not -- Ed, if I did not have employer- provided health insurance, like I am sure you do, unless there's something about Fox I don't know, then I would absolutely enroll, and it would be more affordable because of it. And you know, I think you'll see that around the country. But the whole purpose -- again, a fact often either ignored or mischaracterized by critics -- is that if you have insurance provided by your employer that you like, nothing changes for you. But if you change jobs or if you get laid off and you then take a job -- you start your own business or you take a job where you're not given insurance by your employer, you will now have, or once the marketplaces are in effect, options that were never available before, at affordable prices. And that's the point. And what -- you know, the irony of this argument that Republicans are making is that pretty soon they're going to be making an argument that what they desperately want to do, without an alternative, is take benefits away from the American people, benefits that help them live better lives and healthier lives. Yes. Q: Define success, if you can, over the course of the next six- month enrollment period. The White House would view success as how many million people signed up for -- right now there's 55 million that are either on the individual marketplace or 40 million that are uninsured. Success in the first six months is what? MR. CARNEY: I'll have to -- I don't know that I have that figure. Somebody might -- our health care expects might have a target figure for what -- I think HHS has put out information about, you know, what they're looking in terms of how many people they're expecting to enroll. But I don't have that available to me right now. Q: If I can, though, one of the criticisms has been recently that some of the premiums would be largely lower because insurers are offering plans with limited networks of health providers. What's the rebuttal? 13:59:04 MR. CARNEY: This is a rather remarkable story, and I'm glad you asked, because the people that that story talked about don't have insurance. So how could -- how -- no question, a -- the bronze plan -- lower-cost plans are going to be more limited in the services they provide and the benefits they provide than better -- higher-cost plans, you know, silver, gold, platinum, whatever. I'm -- that may be true and is often true in employer-based health insurance. 13:59:32 For those families who do not have insurance and cannot afford insurance currently, to have available to them an option that they can afford, that would provide insurance coverage that they do not have, how could that be described as anything but a good thing? 13:59:48 So there's no question that affordable health care plans, the less expensive ones, are going to be more limited in their benefits. But they all meet minimum standards, and they all beat the stuffing out of the alternative, which is no insurance, which is just using emergency rooms around your city or county, hoping to deal with your child's asthma problem. That's not -- you know, that's the alternative. That's the apple-to- apple comparison. Q: One of the big criticisms is that a lot of people are being -- formally full time are being moved to a number of hours that will be viewed as part time. Some businesses are already reporting this, that they're lowering the number of hours. So the White House is not convinced that that's happening? MR. CARNEY: But we -- there's just ample data that refutes that. In fact, there was some assertion from the restaurant industry that that's -- that that was the case, and then the data came out that showed that the growth in jobs in that industry has been particularly concentrated in full-time employment. So there's just not the data to back that up. Q: Explain why companies wouldn't do that, though. Why would a company not do that? What's the lost advantage to the company? 14:00:51 MR. CARNEY: Because there's an advantage for a company to provide health insurance to its employers, A; B, there's all sorts of aspects of the Affordable Care Act that makes it easier for smaller businesses to provide health insurance to their companies -- to their employees. 14:01:18 And again, I think the -- those Americans who have health insurance provided by their employers, that will not change, and it is not -- you know, it is a great mischaracterization of reality to suggest otherwise. And it is one of the things that as the president, I think, mentioned on stage with President Clinton yesterday, that it's reflected in the fact that "Obamacare" as designed, the Affordable Care Act as designed is built on our existing private insurance system, using a model established by a Republican governor in Massachusetts, a model that was once celebrated by Republican thinkers and policy experts as the moderate/conservative alternative to more liberal proposals when it came to dealing with our -- improving our health insurance system in this country. Q: Just a few minutes ago, the FBI released, for the first time, video of Aaron Alexis, the Navy Yard shooter -- dramatic pictures that show him with a sawed-off shotgun walking through the halls of the building on that campus. The president, this past weekend, said -- and I have the quote here -- "sometimes, I fear there's a creeping resignation that these tragedies are just somehow the way it is, that this is somehow the new normal; we can't accept this." In what active way is the president not accepting this? When, given the fact that he has the budget showdown right now, the debt ceiling coming up quickly, a trip to Asia, and then potentially another fiscal crisis to deal with before the end of the year, in what active way is he pursuing this legislatively to try to shift the balance -- (inaudible) -- 14:02:41 MR. CARNEY: Well, I think it -- with a lot of attention from the press, he pursued this legislatively, and he continues to call on Congress to do this, to do the right thing, which is not defeat a bill that's supported by 85 to 90 to percent of the American people. He feels as strongly about that today as he did earlier this year when the Senate, in one of its least-noble acts, defeated that bill. So meanwhile, the president will continue to insist that his administration act on the executive actions that were part of his plan to reduce gun violence, and he will continue to look for other means that we can act to, in a common-sense way, reduce gun violence in America. So, you know, I think the president's depth of feeling about this issue was reflected in his remarks on Sunday, and I think that -- I haven't seen the video that you're talking about, but if it is as you've described it, every American should look at that and agree with those who say, including the chief medical officer at that hospital, that this is not -- this should not be acceptable to us. We should not be numb to that reality, and we should be doing something about it. Q: So no one disputes the depth of feeling, but the depth of action -- tomorrow, he's going to go up to Maryland, where he's going to make statements -- basically, I trust, among other things, criticizing the politicking that could lead to a potential shutdown. Will he then more actively pursue this as opposed to just the depth of feeling, but the depth of action aside from -- (inaudible) -- MR. CARNEY: I don't have anything to preview for you. I think our record on pursuing common-sense measures to reduce gun violence this year is robust, to say the least, and the president will continue to push that agenda, as I think he made clear. Mark. Q: Jay, what is the president doing about big labor, that has problems with "Obamacare"? Senator Cruz read at length from a letter by James Hoffa of the Teamsters saying that he's tried to get through to the White House but is up against a stone wall in placing complaints about the health care system. 14:04:53 MR. CARNEY: Well, I think the fact is -- I think this gets into sort of technical terms when you talk about the Taft-Hartley plans. There's nothing in the Affordable Care Act that changes in any way the way that those plans operate. And obviously, this is something that, you know, we have looked at and been in discussions with a variety of stakeholders about. But -- I mean that's the bottom-line fact. Q: Are you reaching out to labor in any way? MR. CARNEY: I think we -- we have discussions with the labor community frequently. On that issue, I think, you know, what I said is clear, that it does not -- does not affect those plans at all. Q: Is there action that needs to be taken? MR. CARNEY: Again, I would -- for more substantive answers I would refer you to HHS on these specific issues that have arisen. But that's obviously something that, you know, we have discussed and are aware of and come to the conclusion that I just reached -- or just spoke about. Q: And on the low-premium plans, the bronze plans that you're talking about, aren't the deductibles very large on those plans? 14:06:01 MR. CARNEY: You would have to look at all the plans. Obviously, each plan is different. Here's -- here is the irrefutable fact: These are affordable plans available to people who do not -- cannot afford insurance. These are plans that are now available to people who are uninsured and they are priced competitively because there increased competition and many health care experts, including in today's newspapers, cite the rise in competition that the Affordable Care Act has brought about, the fact that insurance companies are putting forward multiple plans in states that did not have them in the past, which is why you have on average 50-odd options available per state in this survey. And you know, each plan -- again, HHS would have all the details -- but the fact is, is they are -- they provide affordable health insurance that did not exist before. 14:06:54 And there are tiers and options for everyone to choose from in terms of the kinds of benefits, understanding that, as I saw in one article, every -- each of these plans provides a baseline of benefits. And many of those benefits, including maternity care and contraceptive care, you know, that did not exist or don't exist in current plans available on the individual market. Alexis. Q: Jay, two quick questions. My understanding is that the chief of the staff will be on the Hill talking with House Democrats tonight. Can you confirm if it's about the budget, mostly or entirely, and what his message is to the Democratic conference? 14:07:38 MR. CARNEY: I can confirm that the chief of staff will be going up to the Hill to confer with Democrats. And I'm sure that this will be a central topic of conversation. I -- his message is what we've been discussing, which is Congress needs to -- Q: (Off mic.) MR. CARNEY: Yeah, the Dems are in Congress. And the message is that Congress needs to act responsibly and fulfill its obligation to ensure that there's not an -- you know, an unnecessary wound inflicted on the economy while we're continuing to recover from the worst recession since the Great Depression. And that's the message that, you know, we carry to Democrats and Republicans alike. Q: My second question is there are some who are suggesting that if what comes back to the House is some version of the stripped-down Senate -- (inaudible) -- that Speaker Boehner will be handed a choice that could cost him his speakership. What is the president's message to Mr. Boehner on that question? 14:08:35 MR. CARNEY: Well, internal Republican Party politics, while absolutely the most fascinating story politically in Washington right now -- (laughter) -- and one that I would be choosing to cover if I still were a reporter, are not something that we spend a lot of time on, nor should we. But I would simply say that the president's view -- and this applies to members of both parties and leaders of both parties -- is to do the right thing by the American people and by the economy, even when that involves tough choices. You know, that's the approach he took when he submitted his budget this year, which, you know, didn't win him accolades in all all corners of his party but he believed was necessary to demonstrate that he was willing to find common ground with Republicans on how we move forward on our budget challenges. That budget is on the table and is available to be taken up by Republicans. What we need to do before we have those negotiations, because time is so short, is ensure that Congress acts so that the government doesn't shut down. And then most -- even more importantly, because the consequences would be so much more severe, Congress needs to act to ensure that there is never any doubt about the United States defaulting. 14:09:54 Mr. Jonathan Allen. Q: You mentioned that Denis McDonogh is going to be talking to House Democrats and that Congress needs to act. Are you worried that House Democrats may be more willing to have a shut down or default situation than the White House is? MR. CARNEY: Look, I don't think anybody on Capitol Hill believes a shutdown is a good thing. Well, I mean, I can't -- maybe that isn't true of all Republicans, based on some reporting I've seen. 14:10:25 But I don't believe that the -- we don't believe that our allies believe that a shutdown is anything but harmful to the economy and obviously harmful to the ability of the government to fulfill its essential functions. But we will not, you know -- you know, Congress and Republicans need to be reasonable here about passing a CR so that we can have substantive continued negotiations that we've been trying to have all year, and periodically engaged in, about reaching a compromise for a broader budget agreement. So that's the position we take, and I think, you know, we're confident that our fellow Democrats share that position. Q: If I could follow up on that, on the debt limit, does your position that you won't negotiate on the debt limit mean that you wouldn't accept a package that included the CR and the debt limit? If there was some arrangement where you thought you could toss the debt limit into another deal that was moving, you wouldn't take it? 14:11:20 MR. CARNEY: We won't negotiate -- we will not get into a negotiation with Congress in which -- with Republicans in Congress who say, do this, you know, accept this, you know, highly partisan agenda item or else we'll default. It just -- it's off the table. We're not going to do it. 14:11:55 And Republicans who imagine that that's a constructive approach to helping the economy grow and helping the middle class are deluding themselves. The consequences of that would be terrible because even the hint of that produced negative impacts for the American people and the American economy two summers ago. Q: But you wouldn't tack the debt ceiling as a rider onto a package that was already moving? 14:12:08 MR. CARNEY: Look, as I've said in the past, when Speaker Boehner or others, including some of your colleagues in the front row, suggest that that is the same as holding out -- you know -- you know, we will not fund, we will -- you know, we will default on the United States' obligations for the first time in its history unless you repeal or defund or delay "Obamacare," that is wholly different from past practice. And that's why we won't engage in it. Lalit. Q: Thank you. MR. CARNEY: And then Mr. Viquera (ph). Q: Thank you. How is the president preparing for his meeting with Prime Minister Singh in five days at White House? 14:12:42 MR. CARNEY: He very much looks forward to the meeting, has obviously met with the prime minister on numerous occasions in the past, and looks forward to having a discussion about all of the issues and shared objectives that the United States and India have. you know, we'll have a, I think, a broader preview of the meeting later in the week, and certainly more information in the aftermath of the meeting. Q: And one more question on Pakistan earthquake. More than 300 people have died in the earthquake in Baluchistan. Has U.S. offered any kind of assistance? 14:13:13 MR. CARNEY: Well, first of all, our thoughts and prayers go out to the people of Pakistan, and we always stand ready to assist in any way we can in a terrible situation like that, a natural disaster, and it's certainly the case that Pakistan has suffered more than its fair share of natural disasters. For more specific information in terms of the -- any requests or what kind of communications we're having with Pakistan over their response, I would refer you to the State Department. Yeah, Mike. Q: The president and you obviously made a number of Shermanesque statements refusing to negotiate around the debt ceiling. Does the same go for the CR? MR. CARNEY: No. Q: You will negotiate on the CR. 14:13:51 MR. CARNEY: No, we made clear -- well, look, we don't have a lot of time. And instead of taking the road of, like, seriousness and compromise, House Republicans decided to, as everybody here wrote, or at least, your colleagues on the Hill wrote and said on television, embrace a CR that was a dead-on-arrival ideologically driven exercise. So we're still planning out. You know, we're still -- you know, unfortunately, you know, we can't run Congress all by ourselves, so that process, that choice that Speaker Boehner made is still playing out this week as we inch closer and closer to October 1st. 14:14:37 So we're at a point now where Congress needs to do the right thing and simply make sure that we pass a CR -- that they pass a CR that allows the government to continue to function. Q: (Off mic) -- fallback to his plan being considered by Speaker Boehner and House Republicans is to take what the Senate does -- assuming they delink the defunding -- and add a one-year delay for the individual mandate, or a repeal of the medical devices tax. And that's negotiable? 14:15:11 MR. CARNEY: Here's the thing. Every fallback plan is, you know, another attempt to appease a subsection of the Republican Party that happens to be the same subsection of the Republican Party that thinks it would be fine to default in order to achieve a political objective. Q: I'm just talking about the spending bill. MR. CARNEY: Well, the provisions you've talked about -- you know, they've talked about attaching to the debt ceiling, and, you know, the answer is no. The answer's no. We're not going to -- Congress has -- the House Republicans, elected and paid by the Americans they represent, have chosen to spend an inordinate amount of time in office, you know, trying to roll a rock up a hill and undo legislation that was passed by both houses, signed by the president into law, upheld as constitutional by the Supreme Court of the United States and has been in the process of being -- of providing benefits to millions of Americans already and will soon provide substantial benefits to millions more. 14:16:08 You know, and they're entitled to that preoccupation, and their constituents can decide whether that is time well-spent, 40, 41, 42 efforts that go nowhere. And in the relative harm caused category, there is relatively less harm caused by that activity than an effort to attach that political agenda to the essential functions of government, to threaten to shut down the government if we can't achieve -- if they can't achieve what they couldn't achieve when the bill was passing through Congress, which they -- which they -- what they couldn't achieve at the ballot box, what they couldn't achieve in a Supreme Court that I don't think anyone here would describe as, you know, ultra-liberal. So, you know, this is bad for America. 14:17:03 And now they're trying to do this when, you know, we are on the cusp of millions of American families -- millions of Americans and American families across the country who have not been able to afford health insurance having available to them affordable health insurance, and the message they're going to be delivering is, we don't have an alternative, but we want to take that away from you because politically we think that's the right thing to do. Q: (Off mic) -- if they attach that, that's veto (bait ?)? MR. CARNEY: I -- yes. I mean, look, I'm not -- I don't have a formal thing, but we wouldn't accept that. Q: Thanks, Jay. MR. CARNEY: Anita (sp), last one. Q: Can you talk a little bit about tomorrow's community college event? It's tomorrow, right? The last two speeches that he's given on the economy or health care have their -- included criticisms of Republicans. We're a few days from the deadline. I'm just wondering how you see that would be helpful to this process, the negotiation process. 14:17:50 MR. CARNEY: Look, we are in policy debates with the other party. We -- this is -- we are a two-party system, and we are engaged in debates about what policies we think are best to move the country forward, to help the middle class expand, to give the middle class a better bargain and to ensure that millions of Americans who have not had access to affordable health care can have access to affordable health care. 14:18:19 And obviously, there are elected officials who oppose the positions that the president holds and that Democrats hold on those issues, and so that's part of the discussion. I -- it's -- I assume your tongue is planted firmly in cheek when you even raise this after what we've witnessed over the past few days, right? When it comes -- I mean, the idea that we're alone in asserting the -- what we believe is the right policies and making clear what we believe are the wrong policies is not borne out by close examination of the facts, as they say. Q: I'm not at all saying that they aren't doing the same thing. I'm just -- 14:19:06 MR. CARNEY: Again, I'm not even previewing tomorrow's speech. What I would say is, wait for tomorrow's speech. Q: I'm just saying, a few days before the deadline, how is any of this helpful instead of sitting down and talking about it? 14:19:15 MR. CARNEY: Well, again, the speaker of the House chose, instead of pursuing a compromise approach, to listen to -- you know, he had a plan, which didn't work, again, because of the more conservative members of his conference objecting to it, so instead of pressing forward with the plan he thought was right, as leader of the House and leader of the House conference, he has proceeded with a plan that a subseciton of his conference believes is right. And that has brought us further away from the compromise that we need before October 1st in order to ensure that the government continues to function. Thanks, everybody.
Saving victims: a race against time
A2 / France 2
WHITE HOUSE BRIEFING / CUTS
FTG OF DAILY WHITE HOUSE BRIEFING WITH WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY JAY CARNEY IN THE WH BRIEFING ROOM / CUTS Wednesday, September 25, 2013 TRANSCRIPT: White House Press Briefing with Press Secretary Jay Carney DC SLUG: 1300 WH BRIEF STIX RS37 73 NYRS: 5114 AR: 16x9 DISC#116, 177 13:12:49 JAY CARNEY: Showtime. Good afternoon, everyone. It is so good to be with you today. For those of you who were with us in New York, I hope you enjoyed the trip -- that trip. It was obviously eventful. President gave a major speech at the United Nations General Assembly, and he had we felt a very good and useful and informative discussion with former President Clinton at the Clinton Global Initiative. 13:13:26 I wanted to make an announcement before I took your -- take your questions and draw your attention to the fact that a new report has been released today by the Department of Health and Human Services showing that the Affordable Care Act will deliver on its promise to make health insurance more affordable and accessible for Americans. 13:13:50 In state after state, competition and transparency are driving a new set of affordable options for consumers in the -- in the new marketplaces, just as the law was designed to do. Premiums nationwide will also be around 16 percent lower than originally expected, with about 95 percent of eligible uninsured Americans living in states with lower-than-expected premiums, and that's before taking into account financial assistance. 13:14:23 On average, consumers will have a choice of 53 health plans, and about one in four of these insurance companies are newly offering plans in the individual market, which is a sign of healthy competition. To give you a sense of what this really means for families who will be shopping for health insurance in the marketplaces, I have these examples: 13:14:36 A family of four in North Carolina with an income of $50,000 could pay $74 per month for the lowest-cost bronze plan after tax credits. A family of four in Indiana with the same income, $50,000, could pay $46 per month, again, for the lowest-cost bronze plan after tax credits. And a family of four in Texas with an income of $50,000 could pay just $57 per month -- so with an income of $50,000 could pay just $57 per month for the lowest-cost bronze plan after tax credits. Overall, nearly six in 10 uninsured Americans will pay $100 or less per month for health coverage. 13:15:25 You can check out the map of premiums by state at whitehouse.gov/acamaps.< <http://whitehouse.gov/acamaps.%3C>/p> In less than a week the new marketplaces will be open for business, and from October to March 2014, Americans -- more Americans will be able to check out their choices, their options for affordable health insurance at healthcare.gov and find health plans that fit their lives and their budgets. And I think it's worth noting here in the capital of the nation and of the national press some of the coverage of this news, which is why we have this graphic here behind me today. Indianapolis Business Journal: "Analysis: Obamacare exchanges will push Anthem's premiums lower." Pittsburgh Post-Gazette: "Exchanges to provide dozens of health care options for Pittsburghers." 13:16:19 Dallas Morning News: "Obamacare premiums projected to be lower than expected." Houston Chronicle -- Houston Chronicle: "Texans to have array of insurance options." Appleton Post-Crescent: "Exchange rates decline with expanded choices." Miami Herald: "U.S.: Obamacare costs below forecast." The Detroit News: "Michigan health exchange has plenty of choices." Palm Beach Post: "Local Obamacare rates beat forecast." 13:16:50 As I mentioned at the top, President Clinton and President Obama had an excellent discussion yesterday, which I hope all of you were able to catch, about the Affordable Care Act, about health care in general, both in the nation and around the world. And it is worth noting, as we learn this news about premiums across the country and how they're coming in lower than expected, that very soon Americans who did not have the option of affordable health insurance will have it available to them. What is important to remember about the families that I just talked about, the families of four earning $50,000 and who will now have access to health care for their families for low premiums, did not have access at all before. They could not afford it. And that is the design and the promise of the Affordable Care Act, and it's taking shape before our eyes. Julie. Q: (Inaudible.) Q: Thank you. President Rouhani was still speaking at the U.N. last night when the White House did their background briefing, so we didn't get a real reaction to his speech. And I'm wondering if the president saw anything in Rouhani's address that signaled that there may be some actually substance behind some of the friendly overtures in terms of concessions on the nuclear impasse. 13:18:15 MR. CARNEY: What we heard from President Rouhani I think reflects what we've been hearing, and that is an interest in making progress towards resolving this very serious problem that Iran has over its nuclear weapons program. And that is why, as we've been saying for a while now, including in New York at the United Nations, we are very interested in testing the assertions about that interest on behalf of the Iranians in resolving this conflict diplomatically. 13:19:08 Ever since he took office the president has said he is willing to engage directly with the Iranians in an effort to resolve this issue. And it is that willingness that has helped make clear that the onus is on Iran to demonstrate that it is serious about complying with its international obligations. That willingness that then-candidate Obama expressed and new President Obama repeated is what helped forge the consensus internationally that led to the most comprehensive sanctions regime that has ever been implemented. That in turn, as I think President Rouhani made clear and others have made clear, has had a dramatic impact on the Iranian economy and that is why Iran is interested in, in our view, having discussions about resolving this conflict. And that is encouraging. 13:20:02 But actions are what matter, and substantive negotiations over Iran's nuclear program will be the test, will provide the test of whether or not Iran is seriousness -- is serious about resolving the international community's concerns. And we are engaged in that process. As you know, Secretary Kerry will be with his Iranian counterpart in the P-5 plus one process this week. So that's the beginning of what we hope will be progress towards resolving this problem. Q: (Off mic) -- Obama didn't leave his two days in New York with any greater clarity on what kind of substance may be behind this rhetoric. Is that what you're saying? 13:20:50 MR. CARNEY: I would say that we have been and continue to this week explore the level of seriousness, and we are doing that through all the avenues available to us. That will be very much part of the discussions that Secretary Kerry has, and it is part of the communications that we have had, including the communications that the president had in his exchange of letters. 13:21:22 And I think that what happened in New York, again, demonstrates two things. One, President Obama has always been explicitly open to sitting down and talking to the Iranian leadership, provided that the Iranian leadership is serious about trying to resolve these problems with the international community over its nuclear weapons program. And that became, I think, quite apparent again in recent days. So the Iranians have to decide, most importantly through substantive negotiations, whether or not they want to truly resolve this. And through resolution of it, through a verifiable, confirmable agreement to give up its nuclear weapons ambitions, Iran can then rejoin the international community, end its isolation, enjoy relief from the sanctions regime. 13:22:28 But that -- those are matters of substantive negotiations, and that -- and the process is in place and has been in place through the P-5 plus one, and we will continue to test this -- these assertions and this -- and to see if this opportunity is real because the window, as we've been saying for some time now, even predating the elections in Iran, is open to resolve this diplomatically, but it is not -- it will not be open indefinitely. And, you know, we would agree with those who say that there is a need to assess and act on this opportunity with haste. Q: On the domestic front, wondering if there's any White House reaction to Ted Cruz's hours of arguing against "Obamacare" overnight, and now that the process on the CR -- (inaudible) -- it's almost inevitably going back to the House, is -- are there any plans for the president to talk with leadership to ensure that a deal can be reached by Monday? 13:23:23 MR. CARNEY: Well, as I indicated I think earlier in the week, the president, you know, will I'm sure be discussing these budget issues with the leadership. I don't have a specific meeting to preview for you. As you know, he's held discussions with Speaker Boehner as well as others in the past about this and about our position, his position on these issues, one, that Congress has to act to ensure to ensure that we don't -- that they don't shut down the government, that it would be irresponsible to not fund the essential functions of the government out of ideological pique, that we can continue to negotiate over a broader budget deal in a responsible way. And to do that, we need to make sure that a continuing resolution is passed that allows the government to stay open and for the president to continue to show in his presentations to Congress that he is and has always been serious about trying to find common ground when it comes to making the right choices in how we fund our government and investing in our economy to ensure that our kids get educated and our roads and bridges get built and that we reduce our deficit further in a -- in a balanced and fair way. So that's one. 13:24:52 And then two, the other position we obviously hold and will not waver from is that the responsibility of Congress to pay the bills of the United States -- bills that Congress has incurred -- is not a subject of negotiation. Everybody agrees -- all the leaders and I think most of the rank-and-file agree -- that the debt ceiling must be raised. So you have this unique situation in Washington where everybody agrees on this single thing, so Congress ought to just raise it. And don't forget, they did it not that long ago. 13:25:34 You might forget because there was no drama and there was no delay and there was no threat of default just at the end of last year and the beginning of this year. So the idea that this could be or should be a situation where default is on the table and threatened and all the ramifications of that take place, all the harm that does to our economy is somehow the norm, we just reject. We cannot allow that to happen. 13:26:05 We have -- since Congress raised the debt ceiling the last time without drama and without delay, this economy has created more than a million jobs. Since Congress, without drama and without delay, raised the debt ceiling -- that means Republicans in Congress, not just Democrats -- we've seen remarkable strides in the recovery in our housing market. We've seen continued economic growth. So if they were able to do it just a few months ago, I see no reason why they shouldn't do it now. It's the responsible thing to do if the goal here that we all share is to allow the economy to continue to grow and create jobs. Roberta. Q: Did the president catch any of the 21-hour -- (inaudible) -- speech by Senator Cruz? 13:26:49 MR. CARNEY: I don't believe so. Q: Does the White House have any reaction to the speech? Did you watch it, any parts of even? 13:26:56 MR. CARNEY: I did not. I certainly read about it. I -- look, I would simply say that a family of four in Texas will have available to it the option of purchasing affordable health insurance for $57 per month -- a family of four with an income of $50,000, after receiving tax credits will have that option. That is a good thing. This family doesn't have insurance now, cannot afford insurance under current conditions. And that reality is something that we're seeing now in state after state after state. Quality, affordable health insurance is something that every family of four making $50,000 and struggling to get by deserves. That's what the president believes. 13:28:07 So, certainly we oppose any efforts to engage in the political battle of the past to try to achieve some sort of ideological victory in a way that doesn't -- not only shuts down the government, but then, if successful, would deprive these very families of health insurance that they need. And so we obviously have a difference of opinion. Q: Those conversations that you read out, that were read out on Friday between the president and Speaker Boehner and Leader Pelosi -- has Denis McDonough or any other -- have any other White House officials had conversations with people in Congress or their staffs about -- 13:29:02 MR. CARNEY: Oh, certainly. I mean we are in, you know, fairly consistent communication with Congress at different levels here at the White House. I don't have any specific conversations to read out. I think chief of staff is going up to the Hill at some point to talk with Democrats. But, you know, those conversations will continue, as I said in answer to Julie's question. I don't have any meeting or conversation involving the president to preview at this time. But, I mean, as I think we've seen of late, there's a lot of activity going on that reflects enormous divisions within the Republican Party that are hard for us to implement. So our focus is, of course, on the need to make wise decisions, to ensure that the government does not shut down, and especially to ensure that the United States does not default for the first time in its history. Q: If there's no resolution on those two issues, will the president still travel to Asia, as he plans to? 13:29:53 MR. CARNEY: You know, I have no scheduling updates. The plan is on the books and we intend to go. Yes. Q: Jay, thank you. I mean, it's one thing not to engage Speaker Boehner when it comes to the possibility of a government shutdown, but when you're looking at reaching the debt ceiling, aren't you sort of forced to negotiate? Aren't you forced to engage? MR. CARNEY: Here's the thing. I'd say a couple things about that. I don't have the quotes in front of me, but I know you all remember that it was the speaker of the House who said -- declared publicly that he would never negotiate with the president again, which seemed a little extreme. He has, of course, since then. The president has had conversations with him and enjoyed them, as he always does. 13:30:33 The -- there is no negotiating over Congress' responsibility to ensure that we do not default. We saw what happened when that path was traveled in 2011, and it -- and the result was terrible, even the flirtation with default. When it became apparent that there were actually members of Congress in the Republican Party who were willing to default as a matter of ideological purity and who were willing to inflict that harm on the economy and on middle-class families, the economy reacted badly, markets reacted badly, and people suffered. And that was -- and -- Q: But you negotiated -- (off mic) -- you knew their perspective on that and still negotiated. 13:31:23 MR. CARNEY: So I think that's the point I'm making is that this cannot and should not be a matter of negotiation. We can and should debate our differences and negotiate and reach compromises over our budget priorities, absolutely. But we cannot have the American economy and the global economy and the American middle class held hostage to an insistence by a faction of Congress, especially in one house, that it achieve its political objectives that it had not been able to achieve otherwise through -- at the ballot box or when the legislative process played out three years ago or in front of the Supreme Court when the Supreme Court declared that the Affordable Care Act was constitutional. It's just incredibly irresponsible. I mean, think about -- and the irony of ironies is when we talk about the debt ceiling, the one proposition on the table the Republicans have suggested is that they would threaten default over a provision that would delay implementation of the Affordable Care Act. And if that were carried out, it would add significantly to the deficit. So this charade, you know, the -- what we have seen this whole time about -- in these kind of negotiations that the principal preoccupation of the Republican Party in these matters in Congress is a need to further reduce our deficit and not be irresponsible in our spending; they now put forward a proposition, a proposal, that is wrong on so many fronts but would raise and increase the deficit along with it. Q: It just seems hard to believe that the president would be prepared to breach the debt ceiling without having engaged House Republicans on the issue -- MR. CARNEY: He doesn't breach the debt ceiling. Congress has the power of the purse strings, that is -- the purse strings. That is -- that is a power -- Q: But it -- he's unlikely to -- (inaudible) -- allow them to breach the debt ceiling -- 13:33:01 MR. CARNEY: That is a power proudly -- Q: -- without having engaged them to get -- MR. CARNEY: The president -- Q: -- to the point where there is a default, and the president hasn't stepped in to engage them. I mean, that -- MR. CARNEY: Brianna, again, let's be clear. The president has been and continues to be willing to negotiate with Republicans over our budget priorities and how to make the right choices and make compromises along the way to make sure that we grow our economy, we create jobs for the middle class and we bring down our deficit further in the middle and out years, has always been willing to do that. We've been a -- we've been through a process this year where, at the insistence of the Republicans as part of the last budget deal, the Senate, led by Democrats, passed a budget. That's what the Republicans insisted had to be done. We had to follow regular order. You covered the Hill, right? You've heard that cry. Democrats refuse to cover -- to follow regular order; they refuse to pass a budget. 13:34:04 So the Senate passed a budget. That's what the Republicans wanted. The House passed its budget, the Ryan budget, you know, 2.0. And what happens then in regular order is that conferees are appointed and the two houses try to reach an agreement, a compromise. Republicans in the House were so opposed to the idea of compromise, the idea of negotiation, the idea of finding common ground, that to this day, they have refused to appoint conferees in a process that they themselves said was essential. So the president has demonstrated again and again his willingness to be reasonable and find common ground, and he will continue to do that. 13:34:48 When it comes to the debt ceiling, one -- everybody says we ought to raise it; we can't default, would be wildly irresponsible, so we ought to -- Congress should just raise it -- one side is saying, we'll let the economy default unless we get what we want, which is essentially defunding or delaying of "Obamacare." I think it's pretty clear -- and a lot of Republicans seem to agree with this -- that that is a wholly irresponsible position to take. John (sp). Q: Jay, is the president disappointed that President Rowhani turned down the offer to meet him at the United Nations? 13:35:25 MR. CARNEY: The president is not. He was open to the possibility of an informal encounter with President Rowhani and remains open to that, as he has, broadly speaking, since he took office. The president believes that the most important issues, when it comes to Iran's relationship with the rest of the international community, including the United States, are ones that need to be resolved through negotiations over substantive matters around Iran's nuclear weapons program. And so I think that we should not overinterpret the fact that the Iranians decided against having an encounter and that it was too complicated in terms of assigning meaning to that about the potential for progress in negotiations. We will -- that -- the potential for that progress exists, and we are going to test it through the avenues available to us. JONATHAN KARL: Why does the White House think Rouhani said no to the meeting or encounter, whatever you want to call it? 13:36:39 MR. CARNEY: You know, I think that, outside -- Q: (Off mic) -- everybody else, right? I mean, he's meeting -- 13:36:48 MR. CARNEY: Well, I think -- I would say two things. One, obviously -- I'll say first that I'm not going to delve into an analysis of Iranian politics because that's not the issue for us. The issue is how serious is the new government as well as the supreme leader about resolving this significant problem it has with the international community. Two, I would simply say that, you know, as I mentioned earlier, the most important thing here is whether or not we can make progress on the substantive talks. 13:37:18 The president was open to an informal encounter, but even if something like that had happened, that is less significant than whether or not the Iranians demonstrate a seriousness of purpose when it comes to making progress on a -- in negotiations that have been available to them now for many years. And their failure to be serious about it for so many years has led to the most comprehensive and punishing sanctions regime in history. And it is because that unity in the international community exists -- which, in turn, exists because of the president's leadership on this issue -- that Iran is now suggesting it's willing to resolve the problem. Q: And the window, you said, is not going to be open indefinitely. MR. CARNEY: Correct. Q: What does that mean? What kind of timeline are we talking about? I know you're not going to give me a deadline, but I mean, are we talking about this is something that has to unfold over the next few months? MR. CARNEY: I won't give a timeline to it. I think that we've made clear in the past about our assessments of where Iran is in its program, what our capabilities are in terms of being able to be aware of a so-called breakout move. And, you know, I would refer you to, sort of, substantive briefings that others have given on that and even I have, but it's been a while. 13:41:00 So the point is that this is not an indefinite period of time. This is -- that the threat of a nuclear arms race in the region is a huge problem for the region, for our allies, for the United States, for the world, and the Iranian nuclear weapons program is central as a problem that needs to be resolved to avoid that nuclear arms race. Q: Jay, I just want to give you a chance to respond to a couple of comments made a little bit ago by the new Iranian foreign minister, Zarif, up at the United Nations. When asked what the Iranian goal was at the P-5 plus one conversations, he said, quote, "to jumpstart the negotiations with a view to reaching an agreement within the shortest span." He also said the Islamic Republic has the political readiness and political will for serious negotiations, and we are hopeful that the opposite side has this will as well. 13:41:53 MR. CARNEY: We certainly have the will. We've demonstrated it for many years now. Q: Have the Iranians -- (off mic)? MR. CARNEY: In the past? No. And I think that the comments that you just read to me -- and I have not seen them, but I -- they're in keeping with some of what we have heard and seen -- demonstrate certainly a different rhetorical approach to this problem that this new government is taking. And I think as we've said, that is absolutely worth exploring and testing and -- so that we can discover -- we, the United States and our allies, can discover whether or not they're serious and whether or not we can resolve this conflict diplomatically. 13:39:13 So you've heard the president say in his speech to the General Assembly, this is a significant opportunity that ought to be explored, and it would certainly be to the benefit of the world and to the benefit of the Iranian people to resolve this diplomatically. So that's what we're undertaking to try to do. But we do it understanding the history here and with the clear assertion that actions here are what matter and, you know, a process that allows for verifiable -- the verifiable decision by Iran to forsake its nuclear weapons program is essential. Q: So using the foreign minister's words, reaching an agreement with the shortest span then highly depends on how many concessions the Iranians are prepared to make. 13:43:24 MR. CARNEY: No, look, this is a negotiation, and it's a negotiation that involves other nations, part of the P-5 plus one, the P-5 plus Germany. And you know, I will leave it to the negotiators, including Secretary Kerry and then others who will be working on this, to give assessments of where we are and what that negotiation looks like. But the end result has to be that the international community, the P-5 plus one, is confident that Iran has given up its nuclear weapons program. Q: In his speech yesterday, President Rouhani described economic sanctions carried out under U.N. authority as a violent crime and an inhumane crime against ordinary Iranians. What's the White House reaction to that? 13:44:08 MR. CARNEY: I think the fact that President Rouhani spoke about the impact of the sanctions demonstrates the impact of the sanctions. We made clear, when we solicited the consensus that we achieved on this matter, that the onus was on Iran because we were willing to -- let me back up a little bit. Prior to President Obama taking office, the international community was divided, and some people believe that our intransigence -- our, the United States's, intransigence on this issue -- our refusal to engage with the Iranians on this issue, was part of the problem. And whether you believe that to be true or not, there was that view that divided the international community. President Obama, in taking a position as a candidate that was somewhat controversial, and then reasserting it as president, including in his inaugural address, took a different approach, and that different approach, his willingness to engage with the Iranians, made clear that the problem was the Iranians. 13:45:06 And it allowed us to build the most comprehensive sanctions regime in history with considerable international consensus -- a consensus that did not exist before, and so that when the Iranian president speaks about the impact of the sanctions, I think he -- I think it reflects something we've been saying, which is that these sanctions are real, they represent the will of the international community and the seriousness that the international community takes the problem posed by an Iran potentially possessing nuclear weapons. Q: (Off mic) -- some of the language you've noted is more conciliatory than in the past, is this a worrisome assertion from the Iranians that U.N. sanctions are, in fact, crime and are punishing ordinary Iranians and that itself could be a problem? 13:46:08 MR. CARNEY: I don't -- I don't see that as -- I think that we would acknowledge that the sanctions have had an impact on the Iranian economy, and the sanctions are a direct result of Iran's refusal heretofore to resolve the international community's very serious concerns about their pursuit of a nuclear weapon. All of this -- I don't mean to make it sound easy -- but this can all be resolved if Iran takes a different approach. The United States and its other partners on the P-5+1 are willing to engage, as they have always been, and we will -- we will see whether or not the kind of progress that you -- that the -- apparently, the foreign minister just suggested was possible is in fact possible. Q: (Off mic.) One last thing. You have a very careful construction about the president not negotiating on the debt ceiling. The president will not negotiate over Congress' responsibility to pay its bills. MR. CARNEY: Mm-hmm. (Agreement.) Q: Does that also not leave open the possibility that if Congress says, Mr. President, we are going to raise the debt ceiling, we'd like to discuss with you methods of achieving that -- meaning not if, but how -- does that open a window for negotiations? 13:47:22 MR. CARNEY: No, not in the sense that -- I'm not attempting to be nuanced at all on this. We will not negotiate over Congress' responsibility to raise the debt ceiling. Congress must -- Q: (Off mic) -- we have to raise the debt ceiling, we would like to include some other things in it we'd like to talk to you about that -- can we have a conversation along those lines? MR. CARNEY: No. No, because that's what they've been saying all along, and saying that we want to achieve a political agenda item and if you don't give it to us, we'll tank the American economy and make the American people suffer, the president's not going to accept that proposition. He's just not. We will not negotiate over Congress' responsibility to pay the bills that Congress racked up. I mean, the irony of this discussion -- and it's nobody's fault in this room that it is widely misunderstood -- that raising the debt ceiling does not add a dime to the deficit, does not represent a single nickel in spending. 13:48:21 Raising the debt ceiling is just authorizing Congress to write the checks for bills it's already racked up, that have already added to the deficit, or not if they're programs that have been paid for, like the Affordable Care Act, for example. But the -- you know, this is about just being responsible stewards of the American economy. Q: But you frequently, from the podium, assert the history of the many times the debt ceiling has been raised, but you also must concede in that history, there are complex interactions with Congress and chief executives where other things have been added into the mix as a part of a process. MR. CARNEY: What I -- Q: Are you trying to rewrite not just that history or -- (inaudible) -- some new history? 13:49:02 MR. CARNEY: No, no, we addressed -- we discussed this the other day. And what is an incontrovertible fact is that roughly 40 times since President Reagan took office, the debt ceiling has been raised, and only once -- only once was default ever in the air, and that was in 2011, so that the -- (inaudible) -- Q: (Off mic) -- if you take default off the table and say, we're going to raise it, we have other items we're talking about in which you can put some things and we can put some things, and it can be a negotiation, that's not possible. 13:49:30 MR. CARNEY: Because if the alternative is we're not going to raise it -- that's what they're saying -- then the answer has to be no. If we -- if the Congress -- if Republican leaders in the Congress or rank-and-file members in Congress want to pursue, you know, efforts legislatively to dismantle, disrupt and ultimately defeat "Obamacare," they can, and they have. But they've failed. And it's because they've failed that they're now trying to attach this to, you know, the full faith and credit of the United States, which is a wildly irresponsible thing to do. 13:50:03 We can talk about how we fund our priorities and how we responsibly reduce the deficit, and we will, but Congress cannot, for the sake of the American people, put the threat of default on the table. Q: Jay. MR. CARNEY: Ed. Q: How are you? MR. CARNEY: Great. Q: Good. (Scattered laughter.) First, on Kenya. Mike Rogers, the House Intelligence chairman, who has sometimes been supportive of the president on Syria, for example, is being critical now about, in the wake of the terror attack in Kenya, he's concerned that, he believes, some of your counterterror policies have changed, and that the administration is using drones less because of the criticism of the drone policy. How do you react to that criticism? Has the administration been pulling back from using drones in a way that is potentially allowing extremists to move forward with attacks, like in Kenya? 13:50:55 MR. CARNEY: Well, I would say a couple of things. One, I would point you to the president's speech on this matter, and then make clear that we have worked with our partners very aggressively when it comes to al-Shabaab, the organization responsible for the attacks, or we believe, responsible for the attacks in Kenya. And we will continue to do that. And the United States and Kenya have a very strong relationship and a historic partnership, and we are providing law enforcement assistance to the government of Kenya. And you know, we continue to globally engage in the struggle against al-Qaida and its affiliates, including an organization like al-Shabaab. Q: On the health care report that you put out, I'm curious as to why it is framed by HHS as people are going to be paying lower premiums than were projected. Why are you not comparing premiums of what people are paying today to what they will pay next year and the year after, under the president's law? You're saying -- you know, American families looking at how this is going to cost them, they're wondering, OK, I'm paying a hundred dollars a month right now, I might be paying 50 (dollars) or I might be paying 150 (dollars) next year. You're saying -- MR. CARNEY: I think -- Q: This report presents it as you're going to be paying less than was projected. That's sort of a Washington thing. 13:52:20 MR. CARNEY: Well, no -- Q: Why is it not apples-to-apples year to year? MR. CARNEY: Well, I mean there have been numerous reports about -- Q: I'm talking about this report you put out today, which you're saying 95 percent -- MR. CARNEY: (Inaudible) -- Q: No -- you're saying 95 percent of Americans are going to pay less. MR. CARNEY: Tell me when you want to ask a question and (not argue ?). Q: That's the question. MR. CARNEY: OK. Q: I'm not talking about previous -- don't go off on previous reports. This report today. 13:52:39 MR. CARNEY: There were numerous projections about what these exchanges -- which, by the way, did not exist before, including the multitude of plans that will now be available to consumers that did not -- were not in place before, so obviously, this is not an apples- to-apples, it's an -- it's a, you know, apple full of worms compared to an apple that's fresh and delicious. (Laughter.) I mean, seriously, if you -- you're talking about situations where some families in some states had one option, and it was unaffordable, and now they have multiple options, on average 50-some- odd plans, to choose from. And the report that's released today demonstrates that these plans are affordable and there will be plans available to families who could not buy insurance -- that their insurance, even though they're working families, you know, doing everything they can to get by, their insurance was the emergency room. 13:53:38 So they don't have anything to compare it to. They don't have -- but I can guarantee you that the cost that they will pay for their premiums and the cost of their health care will be -- well, not infinitely, but considerably less in the cost to the American taxpayer of those families using emergency rooms as their sole source of health care. Q: So then why does the Wall Street Journal have a different report today that says in Nashville, Tennessee, a 27-year-old male, nonsmoker, could pay as little as $41 a month now for a bare-bones policy but would pay $114 a month -- they go from $41 a month to $114 a month for the lowest-cost bronze option under the president's health care law? They've got somebody in Philadelphia. They would rise up from $73 today per month premium to $195 a month. So that -- (inaudible) -- not so nice? MR. CARNEY: Well, look, I don't know -- Q: Well, this is The Wall Street Journal. Pretty credible. (Laughter.) 13:54:24 MR. CARNEY: I'm simply about to say that I didn't read all the examples in there, and I don't -- every specific example is not the same. Overwhelmingly, premiums are coming in. I mean, this is -- it -- I could see that Republicans might want to refute this overwhelming evidence, even though some state Republican governors are acknowledging it, but it's there. And when you go on -- maybe not you, but when people avail themselves of the opportunity to enroll in these marketplaces and click through and see the options available to them that were not available before and that are available to them because of the subsidies, if they are lower-income, at extremely affordable costs -- I think they'll find it a very good thing indeed. 13:55:24 And what is remarkable about this whole process is that, you know, Republicans who opposed "Obamacare" have been trying now for years to repeal it or go after it in a variety of manners. You know, we are now at a point where enrollment is about to begin, and I think that part of the fear that you see, the intensity of the political agitation, is that they know that when 27-year-olds in a lot of parts of the country who, while they now, thanks to "Obamacare," only just left their parents' health plans, a benefit of the Affordable Care Act that's already there -- a lot of those 27-year-olds would have gone out on the individual insurance market and said, there is no way I can afford what's out there; the choices are too few, and it's too expensive. 13:56:11 And I know you -- maybe you can cite an example of one place where that may not have been true, but it is overwhelmingly the case, it is an established fact that the individual insurance market has been unaffordable in many ways. Q: (Inaudible) -- The Wall Street Journal -- let's take the attacks on Republicans out. You're talking about enrollment. Will Jay Carney enroll in this? Will White House staff enroll in "Obamacare"? MR. CARNEY: Again, every -- you, if you have -- Q: Take -- well, let's start with you. (Laughter.) MR. CARNEY: If I -- Q: Are you going to enroll? MR. CARNEY: If I, in a future life, don't have employer -- Q: Well, if premiums are so great -- MR. CARNEY: Ed -- does everybody here agree that, like, we can ask questions and answer them? But if you want to -- you're not even letting me answer the question, Ed. Q: (Off mic) -- go ahead and answer it. MR. CARNEY: I mean, I'm not quite sure what your goal here is. Q: Would you enroll? MR. CARNEY: Absolutely. Q: It's a simple question. MR. CARNEY: Absolutely. Q: OK, so you -- (inaudible) -- 13:57:07 MR. CARNEY: If I did not -- Ed, if I did not have employer- provided health insurance, like I am sure you do, unless there's something about Fox I don't know, then I would absolutely enroll, and it would be more affordable because of it. And you know, I think you'll see that around the country. But the whole purpose -- again, a fact often either ignored or mischaracterized by critics -- is that if you have insurance provided by your employer that you like, nothing changes for you. But if you change jobs or if you get laid off and you then take a job -- you start your own business or you take a job where you're not given insurance by your employer, you will now have, or once the marketplaces are in effect, options that were never available before, at affordable prices. And that's the point. And what -- you know, the irony of this argument that Republicans are making is that pretty soon they're going to be making an argument that what they desperately want to do, without an alternative, is take benefits away from the American people, benefits that help them live better lives and healthier lives. Yes. Q: Define success, if you can, over the course of the next six- month enrollment period. The White House would view success as how many million people signed up for -- right now there's 55 million that are either on the individual marketplace or 40 million that are uninsured. Success in the first six months is what? MR. CARNEY: I'll have to -- I don't know that I have that figure. Somebody might -- our health care expects might have a target figure for what -- I think HHS has put out information about, you know, what they're looking in terms of how many people they're expecting to enroll. But I don't have that available to me right now. Q: If I can, though, one of the criticisms has been recently that some of the premiums would be largely lower because insurers are offering plans with limited networks of health providers. What's the rebuttal? 13:59:04 MR. CARNEY: This is a rather remarkable story, and I'm glad you asked, because the people that that story talked about don't have insurance. So how could -- how -- no question, a -- the bronze plan -- lower-cost plans are going to be more limited in the services they provide and the benefits they provide than better -- higher-cost plans, you know, silver, gold, platinum, whatever. I'm -- that may be true and is often true in employer-based health insurance. 13:59:32 For those families who do not have insurance and cannot afford insurance currently, to have available to them an option that they can afford, that would provide insurance coverage that they do not have, how could that be described as anything but a good thing? 13:59:48 So there's no question that affordable health care plans, the less expensive ones, are going to be more limited in their benefits. But they all meet minimum standards, and they all beat the stuffing out of the alternative, which is no insurance, which is just using emergency rooms around your city or county, hoping to deal with your child's asthma problem. That's not -- you know, that's the alternative. That's the apple-to- apple comparison. Q: One of the big criticisms is that a lot of people are being -- formally full time are being moved to a number of hours that will be viewed as part time. Some businesses are already reporting this, that they're lowering the number of hours. So the White House is not convinced that that's happening? MR. CARNEY: But we -- there's just ample data that refutes that. In fact, there was some assertion from the restaurant industry that that's -- that that was the case, and then the data came out that showed that the growth in jobs in that industry has been particularly concentrated in full-time employment. So there's just not the data to back that up. Q: Explain why companies wouldn't do that, though. Why would a company not do that? What's the lost advantage to the company? 14:00:51 MR. CARNEY: Because there's an advantage for a company to provide health insurance to its employers, A; B, there's all sorts of aspects of the Affordable Care Act that makes it easier for smaller businesses to provide health insurance to their companies -- to their employees. 14:01:18 And again, I think the -- those Americans who have health insurance provided by their employers, that will not change, and it is not -- you know, it is a great mischaracterization of reality to suggest otherwise. And it is one of the things that as the president, I think, mentioned on stage with President Clinton yesterday, that it's reflected in the fact that "Obamacare" as designed, the Affordable Care Act as designed is built on our existing private insurance system, using a model established by a Republican governor in Massachusetts, a model that was once celebrated by Republican thinkers and policy experts as the moderate/conservative alternative to more liberal proposals when it came to dealing with our -- improving our health insurance system in this country. Q: Just a few minutes ago, the FBI released, for the first time, video of Aaron Alexis, the Navy Yard shooter -- dramatic pictures that show him with a sawed-off shotgun walking through the halls of the building on that campus. The president, this past weekend, said -- and I have the quote here -- "sometimes, I fear there's a creeping resignation that these tragedies are just somehow the way it is, that this is somehow the new normal; we can't accept this." In what active way is the president not accepting this? When, given the fact that he has the budget showdown right now, the debt ceiling coming up quickly, a trip to Asia, and then potentially another fiscal crisis to deal with before the end of the year, in what active way is he pursuing this legislatively to try to shift the balance -- (inaudible) -- 14:02:41 MR. CARNEY: Well, I think it -- with a lot of attention from the press, he pursued this legislatively, and he continues to call on Congress to do this, to do the right thing, which is not defeat a bill that's supported by 85 to 90 to percent of the American people. He feels as strongly about that today as he did earlier this year when the Senate, in one of its least-noble acts, defeated that bill. So meanwhile, the president will continue to insist that his administration act on the executive actions that were part of his plan to reduce gun violence, and he will continue to look for other means that we can act to, in a common-sense way, reduce gun violence in America. So, you know, I think the president's depth of feeling about this issue was reflected in his remarks on Sunday, and I think that -- I haven't seen the video that you're talking about, but if it is as you've described it, every American should look at that and agree with those who say, including the chief medical officer at that hospital, that this is not -- this should not be acceptable to us. We should not be numb to that reality, and we should be doing something about it. Q: So no one disputes the depth of feeling, but the depth of action -- tomorrow, he's going to go up to Maryland, where he's going to make statements -- basically, I trust, among other things, criticizing the politicking that could lead to a potential shutdown. Will he then more actively pursue this as opposed to just the depth of feeling, but the depth of action aside from -- (inaudible) -- MR. CARNEY: I don't have anything to preview for you. I think our record on pursuing common-sense measures to reduce gun violence this year is robust, to say the least, and the president will continue to push that agenda, as I think he made clear. Mark. Q: Jay, what is the president doing about big labor, that has problems with "Obamacare"? Senator Cruz read at length from a letter by James Hoffa of the Teamsters saying that he's tried to get through to the White House but is up against a stone wall in placing complaints about the health care system. 14:04:53 MR. CARNEY: Well, I think the fact is -- I think this gets into sort of technical terms when you talk about the Taft-Hartley plans. There's nothing in the Affordable Care Act that changes in any way the way that those plans operate. And obviously, this is something that, you know, we have looked at and been in discussions with a variety of stakeholders about. But -- I mean that's the bottom-line fact. Q: Are you reaching out to labor in any way? MR. CARNEY: I think we -- we have discussions with the labor community frequently. On that issue, I think, you know, what I said is clear, that it does not -- does not affect those plans at all. Q: Is there action that needs to be taken? MR. CARNEY: Again, I would -- for more substantive answers I would refer you to HHS on these specific issues that have arisen. But that's obviously something that, you know, we have discussed and are aware of and come to the conclusion that I just reached -- or just spoke about. Q: And on the low-premium plans, the bronze plans that you're talking about, aren't the deductibles very large on those plans? 14:06:01 MR. CARNEY: You would have to look at all the plans. Obviously, each plan is different. Here's -- here is the irrefutable fact: These are affordable plans available to people who do not -- cannot afford insurance. These are plans that are now available to people who are uninsured and they are priced competitively because there increased competition and many health care experts, including in today's newspapers, cite the rise in competition that the Affordable Care Act has brought about, the fact that insurance companies are putting forward multiple plans in states that did not have them in the past, which is why you have on average 50-odd options available per state in this survey. And you know, each plan -- again, HHS would have all the details -- but the fact is, is they are -- they provide affordable health insurance that did not exist before. 14:06:54 And there are tiers and options for everyone to choose from in terms of the kinds of benefits, understanding that, as I saw in one article, every -- each of these plans provides a baseline of benefits. And many of those benefits, including maternity care and contraceptive care, you know, that did not exist or don't exist in current plans available on the individual market. Alexis. Q: Jay, two quick questions. My understanding is that the chief of the staff will be on the Hill talking with House Democrats tonight. Can you confirm if it's about the budget, mostly or entirely, and what his message is to the Democratic conference? 14:07:38 MR. CARNEY: I can confirm that the chief of staff will be going up to the Hill to confer with Democrats. And I'm sure that this will be a central topic of conversation. I -- his message is what we've been discussing, which is Congress needs to -- Q: (Off mic.) MR. CARNEY: Yeah, the Dems are in Congress. And the message is that Congress needs to act responsibly and fulfill its obligation to ensure that there's not an -- you know, an unnecessary wound inflicted on the economy while we're continuing to recover from the worst recession since the Great Depression. And that's the message that, you know, we carry to Democrats and Republicans alike. Q: My second question is there are some who are suggesting that if what comes back to the House is some version of the stripped-down Senate -- (inaudible) -- that Speaker Boehner will be handed a choice that could cost him his speakership. What is the president's message to Mr. Boehner on that question? 14:08:35 MR. CARNEY: Well, internal Republican Party politics, while absolutely the most fascinating story politically in Washington right now -- (laughter) -- and one that I would be choosing to cover if I still were a reporter, are not something that we spend a lot of time on, nor should we. But I would simply say that the president's view -- and this applies to members of both parties and leaders of both parties -- is to do the right thing by the American people and by the economy, even when that involves tough choices. You know, that's the approach he took when he submitted his budget this year, which, you know, didn't win him accolades in all all corners of his party but he believed was necessary to demonstrate that he was willing to find common ground with Republicans on how we move forward on our budget challenges. That budget is on the table and is available to be taken up by Republicans. What we need to do before we have those negotiations, because time is so short, is ensure that Congress acts so that the government doesn't shut down. And then most -- even more importantly, because the consequences would be so much more severe, Congress needs to act to ensure that there is never any doubt about the United States defaulting. 14:09:54 Mr. Jonathan Allen. Q: You mentioned that Denis McDonogh is going to be talking to House Democrats and that Congress needs to act. Are you worried that House Democrats may be more willing to have a shut down or default situation than the White House is? MR. CARNEY: Look, I don't think anybody on Capitol Hill believes a shutdown is a good thing. Well, I mean, I can't -- maybe that isn't true of all Republicans, based on some reporting I've seen. 14:10:25 But I don't believe that the -- we don't believe that our allies believe that a shutdown is anything but harmful to the economy and obviously harmful to the ability of the government to fulfill its essential functions. But we will not, you know -- you know, Congress and Republicans need to be reasonable here about passing a CR so that we can have substantive continued negotiations that we've been trying to have all year, and periodically engaged in, about reaching a compromise for a broader budget agreement. So that's the position we take, and I think, you know, we're confident that our fellow Democrats share that position. Q: If I could follow up on that, on the debt limit, does your position that you won't negotiate on the debt limit mean that you wouldn't accept a package that included the CR and the debt limit? If there was some arrangement where you thought you could toss the debt limit into another deal that was moving, you wouldn't take it? 14:11:20 MR. CARNEY: We won't negotiate -- we will not get into a negotiation with Congress in which -- with Republicans in Congress who say, do this, you know, accept this, you know, highly partisan agenda item or else we'll default. It just -- it's off the table. We're not going to do it. 14:11:55 And Republicans who imagine that that's a constructive approach to helping the economy grow and helping the middle class are deluding themselves. The consequences of that would be terrible because even the hint of that produced negative impacts for the American people and the American economy two summers ago. Q: But you wouldn't tack the debt ceiling as a rider onto a package that was already moving? 14:12:08 MR. CARNEY: Look, as I've said in the past, when Speaker Boehner or others, including some of your colleagues in the front row, suggest that that is the same as holding out -- you know -- you know, we will not fund, we will -- you know, we will default on the United States' obligations for the first time in its history unless you repeal or defund or delay "Obamacare," that is wholly different from past practice. And that's why we won't engage in it. Lalit. Q: Thank you. MR. CARNEY: And then Mr. Viquera (ph). Q: Thank you. How is the president preparing for his meeting with Prime Minister Singh in five days at White House? 14:12:42 MR. CARNEY: He very much looks forward to the meeting, has obviously met with the prime minister on numerous occasions in the past, and looks forward to having a discussion about all of the issues and shared objectives that the United States and India have. you know, we'll have a, I think, a broader preview of the meeting later in the week, and certainly more information in the aftermath of the meeting. Q: And one more question on Pakistan earthquake. More than 300 people have died in the earthquake in Baluchistan. Has U.S. offered any kind of assistance? 14:13:13 MR. CARNEY: Well, first of all, our thoughts and prayers go out to the people of Pakistan, and we always stand ready to assist in any way we can in a terrible situation like that, a natural disaster, and it's certainly the case that Pakistan has suffered more than its fair share of natural disasters. For more specific information in terms of the -- any requests or what kind of communications we're having with Pakistan over their response, I would refer you to the State Department. Yeah, Mike. Q: The president and you obviously made a number of Shermanesque statements refusing to negotiate around the debt ceiling. Does the same go for the CR? MR. CARNEY: No. Q: You will negotiate on the CR. 14:13:51 MR. CARNEY: No, we made clear -- well, look, we don't have a lot of time. And instead of taking the road of, like, seriousness and compromise, House Republicans decided to, as everybody here wrote, or at least, your colleagues on the Hill wrote and said on television, embrace a CR that was a dead-on-arrival ideologically driven exercise. So we're still planning out. You know, we're still -- you know, unfortunately, you know, we can't run Congress all by ourselves, so that process, that choice that Speaker Boehner made is still playing out this week as we inch closer and closer to October 1st. 14:14:37 So we're at a point now where Congress needs to do the right thing and simply make sure that we pass a CR -- that they pass a CR that allows the government to continue to function. Q: (Off mic) -- fallback to his plan being considered by Speaker Boehner and House Republicans is to take what the Senate does -- assuming they delink the defunding -- and add a one-year delay for the individual mandate, or a repeal of the medical devices tax. And that's negotiable? 14:15:11 MR. CARNEY: Here's the thing. Every fallback plan is, you know, another attempt to appease a subsection of the Republican Party that happens to be the same subsection of the Republican Party that thinks it would be fine to default in order to achieve a political objective. Q: I'm just talking about the spending bill. MR. CARNEY: Well, the provisions you've talked about -- you know, they've talked about attaching to the debt ceiling, and, you know, the answer is no. The answer's no. We're not going to -- Congress has -- the House Republicans, elected and paid by the Americans they represent, have chosen to spend an inordinate amount of time in office, you know, trying to roll a rock up a hill and undo legislation that was passed by both houses, signed by the president into law, upheld as constitutional by the Supreme Court of the United States and has been in the process of being -- of providing benefits to millions of Americans already and will soon provide substantial benefits to millions more. 14:16:08 You know, and they're entitled to that preoccupation, and their constituents can decide whether that is time well-spent, 40, 41, 42 efforts that go nowhere. And in the relative harm caused category, there is relatively less harm caused by that activity than an effort to attach that political agenda to the essential functions of government, to threaten to shut down the government if we can't achieve -- if they can't achieve what they couldn't achieve when the bill was passing through Congress, which they -- which they -- what they couldn't achieve at the ballot box, what they couldn't achieve in a Supreme Court that I don't think anyone here would describe as, you know, ultra-liberal. So, you know, this is bad for America. 14:17:03 And now they're trying to do this when, you know, we are on the cusp of millions of American families -- millions of Americans and American families across the country who have not been able to afford health insurance having available to them affordable health insurance, and the message they're going to be delivering is, we don't have an alternative, but we want to take that away from you because politically we think that's the right thing to do. Q: (Off mic) -- if they attach that, that's veto (bait ?)? MR. CARNEY: I -- yes. I mean, look, I'm not -- I don't have a formal thing, but we wouldn't accept that. Q: Thanks, Jay. MR. CARNEY: Anita (sp), last one. Q: Can you talk a little bit about tomorrow's community college event? It's tomorrow, right? The last two speeches that he's given on the economy or health care have their -- included criticisms of Republicans. We're a few days from the deadline. I'm just wondering how you see that would be helpful to this process, the negotiation process. 14:17:50 MR. CARNEY: Look, we are in policy debates with the other party. We -- this is -- we are a two-party system, and we are engaged in debates about what policies we think are best to move the country forward, to help the middle class expand, to give the middle class a better bargain and to ensure that millions of Americans who have not had access to affordable health care can have access to affordable health care. 14:18:19 And obviously, there are elected officials who oppose the positions that the president holds and that Democrats hold on those issues, and so that's part of the discussion. I -- it's -- I assume your tongue is planted firmly in cheek when you even raise this after what we've witnessed over the past few days, right? When it comes -- I mean, the idea that we're alone in asserting the -- what we believe is the right policies and making clear what we believe are the wrong policies is not borne out by close examination of the facts, as they say. Q: I'm not at all saying that they aren't doing the same thing. I'm just -- 14:19:06 MR. CARNEY: Again, I'm not even previewing tomorrow's speech. What I would say is, wait for tomorrow's speech. Q: I'm just saying, a few days before the deadline, how is any of this helpful instead of sitting down and talking about it? 14:19:15 MR. CARNEY: Well, again, the speaker of the House chose, instead of pursuing a compromise approach, to listen to -- you know, he had a plan, which didn't work, again, because of the more conservative members of his conference objecting to it, so instead of pressing forward with the plan he thought was right, as leader of the House and leader of the House conference, he has proceeded with a plan that a subseciton of his conference believes is right. And that has brought us further away from the compromise that we need before October 1st in order to ensure that the government continues to function. Thanks, everybody.
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