Dec 8, 2022

Press Briefing by Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre 12/07/22 Transcript

Press Briefing by Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre 12/07/22 Transcript
RevBlogTranscriptsKarine Jean-Pierre White House Press Briefing TranscriptsPress Briefing by Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre 12/07/22 Transcript

Press Briefing by Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre 12/07/22. Read the transcript here.

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Karine Jean-Pierre (00:12):

It’s almost like you guys were not expecting me to be out.

I don’t know. I don’t know, right?

As we go into 2023, going to do things a little different. All right. Good afternoon everybody. Just have a couple things at the top and we’ll get started. Today, on the 81st anniversary of Pearl Harbor, the president met with a group of 23 World War II veterans, family members and volunteers, and thanked them for their service. The veterans traveled to DC on an honor flight from Austin, Texas to attend the Pearl Harbor Remembrance Day observance at the World War II memorial on the National Mall.

These veterans served on the home front across the Pacific and European theaters. Today we remember and pay tribute to the 2,403 service members and civilians that died during the attack on our forces at Pearl Harbor, and honor the extraordinary contributions that these veterans made to guide our nation through the world’s darkest moments.

I’d also like to offer an update on open enrollment. As of today, nearly 5.5 million signed up for healthcare through the ACA marketplace since the start of open enrollment last month, a continued record breaking pace for enrollment in quality, affordable healthcare. The Biden administration has made expanding access to health insurance and lowering healthcare costs for America’s families a top priority. And under their leadership, the national uninsured rate reached an all time low earlier this year.

Thanks to the Inflation Reduction Act, which congressional Republicans want to repeal, four out of five consumers can find a plan that costs $10 or less a month. Additionally, 13 million Americans will continue to save an average of 800 bucks a year on coverage. Open enrollment continues until January 15th, 2023. For states using the platforms, Americans without health insurance or those who need to renew it for 2023 should go to between now and December 15th to ensure that their coverage begins on January 1st, 2023.

We’ve also got some really good economic news that I know you all are excited about. Gas prices have now hit their lowest levels since January. The national average is 3.36 bucks per gallon, down about a 1.66 per gallon since June, and about 18 cents below where they were when Putin invaded Ukraine. In 11 states, the average gas price is $2.99 or less. That decline is saving Americans’ families with two cars about $170 a month. President Biden committed to addressing Putin’s tax hike at the pump and he is doing just that.

Finally, this morning, the president signed the Speak Out bipartisan legislation, Speak Out Act, I should be clear there, bipartisan legislation that will enable survivors to speak out about workplace sexual assault and harassment, increase access to justice, and make the workplace safer for everyone. Today’s bill was passed thanks to part up to the extraordinary leadership of Gretchen Carlson and other survivors and advocates, as well as Congressman Lois Frankel and Cheri Bustos, and Senator Kirsten Gillibrand and Mazie Hirono. One in three women report having faced sexual harassment in the workplace. And people of color, low wage workers, and LGBTQI+ individuals are also disproportionately impacted. Individuals are also, I’m sorry, disproportionately impacted.

The threat of legal retaliation can silence survivors while allowing predatory workplace behavior to continue unchecked. The Speak Out Act creates a critical national standard empowering survivors by prohibiting the enforcement of pre-dispute non-disclosure agreements. Those are NDAs, and non-disparagement clauses in cases of workplace sexual assault or harassment. This bill builds on the ending force attribution of Sexual Assault and Sexual Harassment Act, which the president signed into law earlier this year, which made it easier for survivors of sexual assault and harassment to bring suit in court and to avoid being forced to arbitrate their legal claims.

Together these laws help protect the safety and wellbeing of American workers and make our workplaces safer, fairer, and more just. With that, oh, hi Josh. How are you? I haven’t seen you in a long time.

Josh (05:23):

You said that last time.

Karine Jean-Pierre (05:24):

I feel like I don’t see you enough. Clearly, I miss you.

Josh (05:28):

I have a thousand questions for you.

Karine Jean-Pierre (05:30):

Go for it. Shocker.

Josh (05:33):

Two subjects.

Karine Jean-Pierre (05:34):

Okay. Okay, Josh.

Josh (05:35):

On the Georgia Senate election with Senator Warnock’s reelection having 51 Senate seats, what does that mean for possible changes in how the White House approaches its policy agenda and confirmation process?

Karine Jean-Pierre (05:49):

So let me just, I want to give you a little bit of color on the call. I know some folks had some questions about how the call went. So Senator Warnock, well, first, as you know, the president called Senator Warnock last night when we got back from Phoenix, Arizona. And Senator Warnock thanked the president for the call and they talked about their partnership and the importance of their continued work together in the months and years ahead.

Look, what I would say to your question, Josh, about what this means for moving forward when it comes to the President’s legislative agenda, when it comes to Democrats legislative agenda, it’s that it gives us a little bit more breathing room, a little bit more ability to deliver for the American people. The president has been very clear these past almost two years that his main priorities, main objective is to make sure that the American public, the American people, when it comes to the economy, we build it from the bottom up, middle out, giving people real opportunities.

You see that in his economic initiatives and priorities, his plans, when you see the bipartisan infrastructure legislation, the Inflation Reduction Act, which I just mentioned at the top, and when you think about the American Rescue Plan, the first big piece of legislation that this president passed with only Democratic votes, which met the moment that he walked into with an economy that was really tanking and he helped make sure that people got shots in arms, helped the economy get back on its feet. And we’ve seen these successes, which in the last two years.

Again, this is going to give us a little bit more of that breathing room to get things done, to continue to move forward with what the American people want. And they were very clear in the midterms, what the American people want is they want to continue the agenda that the presidents had the last two years.

Josh (07:35):

Then secondly, on the National Defense Authorization Act, it doesn’t include a military COVID vaccine mandate. Is the president’s objection to removing that mandate so strong that he’s willing to veto the NDAA?

Karine Jean-Pierre (07:49):

So let me just first say, I’ll answer that question, but I do want to make a few points here. So I don’t want to get ahead of the process. As we know, we know there’s the conference language, there’s still the legislative process that has to move ahead on this. And so again, I’m not going to get ahead of the vote or I’m not going to get ahead of the president.

But every year, as you know, the NDAA has some provisions we support and some we do not. And what the president’s going to do is he’s going to judge this piece of legislation, this bill, on its entirety when that occurs. Again, there’s a process moving, there’s a process that’s happening. And so we’re going to let that happen in Congress. I will note, just to be very, very clear here, what we saw, what we think happened here is Republicans in Congress have decided that they rather fight against the health and wellbeing of our troops than protecting them.

And we believe that it is a mistake, what we saw happen on the NDAA as it relates to the vaccine mandate. Making sure our troops are prepared and ready for service is a priority for President Biden. The vaccination requirement for COVID does just that. I’ll add one more thing, just a little bit of a point, a data point here so all of you have this. Look, before COVID vaccine existed, nearly 700 Department of Defense personnel and service members died of COVID. Almost 100 of them were active duty. And so since this past spring, there has been one death due to COVID. So vaccinations work and save the lives of our service members. So we believe that it was a mistake.

Go ahead.

Speaker 1 (09:28):

I just want to go back to your comment on breathing room that you just said. If you could with a look ahead going forward, layout for us where you think you’ll have the most breathing room, is it specifically judicial nominees? Kind of what’s the list of what you get out-

Karine Jean-Pierre (09:43):

So we have been very clear that judicial nominees is a priority for this president. That’s something clearly that we want to move forward on and then continue our successes. You’ve seen the success of judicial nominees as it relates to this president’s first two years, making sure that we have put forth a historic amount of Black women to judgeships. And so the president wants to continue to do that. Our nominations as well, moving forward on that.

So that is something that we have said. Those are clearly priorities. Don’t want to get too far ahead of what the president wants to do or what that legislative process. He’s going to continue to have those conversations congressional leadership. But again, look, we saw the results. All of you reported on the results of the midterms, and the Democrats, and not just Democrats, pardon me, but the American people were very, very clear on what they wanted to see.

They want Congress and the President to continue to fight for women’s rights and our freedoms. They want to protect our democracy. They don’t want social security or our Medicare to be put on the chopping block. And that’s what Republicans officials were putting out there as their plan. And so we’re going to continue to deliver for the American people. What you saw Senator Warnock do and what you saw Democrats do this past election is run on the president’s agenda, run an agenda that was successful. And so this was a success for Democrats, but also for President Biden.

Speaker 1 (11:19):

Why not lay out that agenda now given that the results are in, if you could walk us through the thought process behind that, when we then might hear the president, are we going to hear some kind of speech on that? And then just quickly, what is of the thought process in terms of bipartisan agreement? The President after the midterms had said that working with a divided chamber would make life for Democrats more difficult. Does he still believe that? In what areas are you going to pursue?

Karine Jean-Pierre (11:42):

Can you say that last part again?

Speaker 1 (11:44):

That the President had said that a divided chamber in the Congress would make the reality for Democrats in Washington working more difficult, it would be tougher to do your job, get things passed if you don’t have the House. Going forward, where are the areas of bipartisanship that you could…

Karine Jean-Pierre (11:59):

So, look, there’s so many areas of bipartisanship that the president sees when it comes to delivering for the American people on the economy, on healthcare, on issues that they truly care about. We can do that in a bipartisan way. There’s no reason that that couldn’t be done. We talk about the government funding. Last year, it was done in a bipartisan way. This year, it should be done in a bipartisan way. Because when you think about what the specifics are in that funding, you think about public education, you think about public health, you think about our national security. All of those things are not partisan issues.

But I will also say when the president had his meeting with the big four, the Republican and Democratic leadership on Congress in Congress just last week, he was very clear. You saw the readout, and you heard me say this as well, which is this past almost two years, there were more than 200 pieces of legislation that the president signed into law that were bipartisan. So it is possible to get things done.

The president was in Phoenix, Arizona. He talked about the Chips and Science Act. That was done in a bipartisan way to bring back jobs to the US, manufacturing jobs in the US. And under this presidency, more than 700,000 manufacturing jobs have been created. So there’s ways to do that. The bipartisan infrastructure legislation, a historic piece of legislation that’s going to fix our infrastructure and our roads or tunnels or bridges. And that was done in a bipartisan way. So there’s many ways that we can do that. The president is willing to reach across the aisle as he has been throughout his career to get things done for the American people.

Speaker 1 (13:41):

The timeline he’ll lay out the legislative agenda?

Karine Jean-Pierre (13:43):

Again, I don’t want to get ahead of the president. I will let him speak to that when the time comes. What I’m saying is the president is going to continue to have conversations with congressional leaders. He did just last week, just a week ago or so, and

Karine Jean-Pierre (14:00):

And he wants to make sure that we can continue moving the country forward in a way that helps the American people.

Speaker 2 (14:09):

Thanks Karine. So the deadline for Biden to decide whether to declassify thousands of documents related to the assassination of John F. Kennedy is looming. It’s December 15th. Is that declassification still on track or will the administration seek to extend?

Karine Jean-Pierre (14:24):

I don’t have an update for you on that particular question on declassification of those documents. Once we have more to share, we certainly will. I don’t have anything to preview at this time.

Speaker 2 (14:36):

One more thing. I wonder if you can preview some of the remarks Biden’s going to make tonight at the vigil for victims of gun violence. And he’s spoken frequently on the campaign trail in public about the desire for an assault weapons ban. Is that out of the water now that there’s divided government?

Karine Jean-Pierre (14:53):

Well, there’s 51 Democratic senators now, so that matters. Like I said, it’ll make things a little bit easier, but yes, to your point, is a divided government. But look, far too many Americans are losing their lives and loved ones to gun violence. We are seeing communities being broken up, families being destroyed because of gun violence. And so tonight the President will join survivors and families impacted by gun violence to deliver remarks at the 10th annual national vigil for all victims of gun violence. The vigil is a service of mourning and loving remembrance for all who have fallen victim to the ongoing epidemic of gun violence in America. As you all know, as you just mentioned a little bit about the assault weapons ban, but also the President signed the most significant gun safety legislation in 30 years this summer, but still he feels it’s not enough.

He believes that we need to do more and he’s been very vocal about that these past several months. He continues to call for an assault weapons ban to be passed by the Senate and send it to his desk. So he’s never going to stop showing up. He’s never going to stop talking about this. He believes that speaking up and making sure that the American public is aware what his priorities are is important as well. And look, and fighting for the scourge of gun violence that is killing our kids, leaving holes in our families and tearing our communities apart, so he’s going to continue to speak to that.

Speaker 3 (16:27):

In the wake of the midterms, the President’s traveled to two states that were critical to 2020, but also where Democrats did quite well, in Michigan and Arizona. Should we expect a trip to Georgia at any time soon?

Karine Jean-Pierre (16:37):

Oh, don’t have anything to preview at this time on any trips that the President will be having in the next couple of weeks. Of course, we’ve been to Georgia many times during even this presidency and always look forward to going back, but don’t have anything to preview at this time.

Speaker 3 (16:52):

Can I ask on the funding negotiations, Republican Leader McConnell yesterday made pretty clear that they hadn’t made any significant headway on any of the major issues, including a top line, and said that would likely lead to a CR if it didn’t change soon. How does the President view his role in these negotiations? I understand the critical role Shalanda plays. I understand there are House Democrats, Senate Democrats, House Republicans, Senate Republicans. Given the timeline here, what does the President view as his role? His necessity here?

Karine Jean-Pierre (17:20):

Yeah. Well look, just last week, as I was mentioning when he met with congressional leadership, that was part of the readout that we provided to all of you is how important it is to get this government funding done. He believes, and I just stated this moments ago, he believed that we were able to do this in a bipartisan way last year and we should be able to do that in a bipartisan way this year. We have the time to get that done. And to your point, yes, our OMB director, Shalanda Young is leading the process. She knows how to get this done. She knows how to reach across the aisle to make sure that we deliver for the American people. These are not partisan issues. These are real critical issues that we’re talking about. We’re talking about the different specifics of the government funding that matter to the American people. So like I said, the President spoke to leadership last week, it was part of the readout that we provided to all of you, and he’ll continue to have those conversations.

Speaker 3 (18:15):

And just real quick, is the administration at this point opposed to any CR into next year?

Karine Jean-Pierre (18:17):

Look, I’m not going to get ahead of what’s happening right now in Congress. What we believe is that we should be able to have an omnibus bill like we have done in the past and it should be bipartisan, and we have enough time to get that done.

Speaker 4 (18:36):

Thanks, Karine. Is the White House following the events in Germany in which 25 members of a far right group were detained for planning to overthrow the state and is the US offering any help or intelligence gathering on that?

Karine Jean-Pierre (18:49):

So we applaud the German government and its law enforcement and special forces for their diligence in combating violent extremism and keeping their citizens safe and their government facilities secure. We would refer you to the German government specifically and law enforcement authorities for questions about the investigation specifically on that. We remain in contact in close contact with our government counterparts and are standing by to assist if asked.

Speaker 4 (19:16):

Also in foreign policy, is the White House concerned about Belarus moving troops? Is there concern that that might be the opening of another front in Russia’s war against Ukraine?

Karine Jean-Pierre (19:28):

So look, we have been very clear about what Russia is doing, right? We’ve been very clear that it is important to stand with the Ukrainian people. It is important for us to help the Ukrainian people fight for their democracy, fight for their freedom. And that’s what we have done. That’s what the President has done along with our partners and allies and bringing NATO together in a historic way. And so that’s what we are going to continue to do and we’re going to be very clear and loud about that and say that we applaud what the Ukrainian people are doing.

And when it comes to what we’re seeing from Russia, they are the ones who are attacking another country. They are the ones who are stepping on their freedoms, on their democracy. And we have to continue to call that out and we have to continue to make sure that we’re providing the assistance to Ukrainian people to continue to fight. So we’ve been very clear on that. We’ve been very clear on, it’s important that folks stand on the right side of history on this when it comes to fighting for democracy. And I’ll leave it there.

Speaker 4 (20:45):

On Belarus specifically?

Karine Jean-Pierre (20:46):

Don’t have anything specifically on that. I have not seen the reporting on Belarus. It would not be surprising as I remember you all reported on Belarus very early on in this continuous war. But again, the President has been very clear. It is important to stand with the Ukrainian people as they’re fighting for their lives, as they’re fighting for their democracy and their freedom. And being on that side of history is incredibly important.

Speaker 5 (21:16):

Thanks, Karine. I want to follow up on the vigil that the President’s going to attend tonight. In the wake of the mass shootings in Colorado in Virginia, the President said he wanted to revive his push for the assault weapons ban. Where does that stand? Is he going to push for that?

Karine Jean-Pierre (21:31):

So look, just to speak a little bit to why the President continues to talk about this, and I spoke about it just a moment ago, he believes that it is incredibly important as President for him to continue to speak to this, for him to continue to put this at the forefront, the importance of getting the assault weapons ban. And he is grateful for the bipartisanship that we saw just months ago on getting that gun reform to really fight gun violence, something that we hadn’t seen in 30 years. But he believes we need to do more. And it’s not just the legislation. It’s also the work that he has done throughout his administration. The President put out the Safer America Plan, which is a roadmap for additional actions needed to reduce gun crime. As part of that, the President continues to call again for an assault weapons ban to be passed by the Senate. And he believes that is one of the best actions we can take to reduce gun violence and save lives. And the President feels very strongly about that.

And whether it’s in the next three weeks or beyond, the President is not going to take his foot off the gas pedal on getting that done. Again, he’s going to continue to talk about that. He’s going to continue to make sure that it is a priority for his administration and be very clear with Congress on how important it is to move forward with this. When we saw the assault weapons ban in place 30 years ago in 1994 when the President was very much a big part of getting that done, we did see crimes go down as it relates to that particular bill. And once it sunset 10 years later, we saw an increase, so he’s going to continue to fight for it.

Speaker 5 (23:18):

And I hear what you’re saying in terms of the timing. I guess part of me is curious about the mechanism. I had a chance to interview incoming Congressman Maxwell Frost, who of course made it a key part of his platform to fight against gun violence. And he has called for a vote on the assault weapons ban in the Senate saying, “I think it’s important to put it up for a vote even if it doesn’t pass, because it gets people on the record.” And I wonder if the President shares that perspective that it is worth putting it on the floor for a vote, even if you don’t have enough votes.

Karine Jean-Pierre (23:52):

I understand what is being laid out and said to me. Look, the President believes that we need to get something done. That’s what he wants. He wants to make sure-

Speaker 5 (24:01):

In the Senate?

Karine Jean-Pierre (24:01):

Look, he wants to see the Senate get it done. He wants to see obviously a vote in the Senate. He wants to see the assault weapons ban get done. And he believes that is what’s going to save the lives of families and communities across the country.

Speaker 5 (24:20):

And I just wanted to ask you about the antisemitism forum. The Second Gentleman said today, “There is an epidemic of hate facing our country. Let me be clear. Words matter. People are no longer saying the quiet parts out loud. They are screaming them.” Obviously very powerful words. I’m wondering what, if any, actions the White House, the President thinks can and should be taken to deal with this issue.

Karine Jean-Pierre (24:43):

Look, the President has been very clear. I was talking to him about this earlier today and look, he said what I’ve always said here is silence is complicity. Right? And that is true. And we need to speak out against hate. Bigotry, antisemitism and Holocaust denial are disgusting and have no place in America, period. Let’s not forget in 2017 the President put forth an op-ed that that talked about what he saw in Charlottesville and the hatred, the antisemitism that we saw that you all reported on. And so he has been consistent on calling that out, talking about the soul of our nation, talking about how important it is to really speak out against this type of hate that we’re seeing.

Speaker 5 (25:31):

Given how critical it is to the President, why didn’t he attend today? Why didn’t he make remarks?

Karine Jean-Pierre (25:34):

Look, here’s the thing that I want to be really clear about. Again, I just talked about 2017, how the President has been out front. He was out front as a former Vice President. He put out, again, an op-ed being out front on this critical issue and what we were seeing. And someone lost their lives, right? Someone lost their life on that day. When he decided to run in 2019 to be President, he talked about the soul of the nation. He talked about the increase of hate and what he was seeing. And there’s been many times at this podium and many times this President himself has called out the bigotry, the antisemitism that we have been seeing, and he’ll continue to do that. I talked about this, how important it is for the Second Gentleman because of his historic role and how he belongs to the Jewish community and how important it was for him.

And again, he represents the administration. He is the Second Gentleman. But look, just a couple of things. I do want to lay out what we have done. At September’s United We Stand Summit, our administration announced a series of actions and commitments to take on hate-fueled violence. President Biden has established the first ambassador-level special envoy to monitor and combat antisemitism and appointed the renowned Holocaust expert to the role. So these are actions that he has taken most recently in the last almost two years, and I think that shows his commitment to this issue. That shows his commitment in fighting antisemitism and fighting hate.

Speaker 6 (27:09):

Thanks, Karine. Senator Manchin now has an amendment to the NDAA he’s hoping to advance on the floor for his permitting reform provisions. Does the White House support and continue to support the effort at this stage?

Karine Jean-Pierre (27:20):

So the President believes we must pass the permitting reform bill so that the US can realize the benefits of the historic investments in the Inflation Reduction Act and the bipartisan infrastructure law. He supports permitting reform. As I said just a couple days ago, we will continue to work with Congress and find the best path forward so we can enact this bill, so it is a priority for this President.

Speaker 6 (27:44):

If I could just follow up to your answer to Josh’s question, and I think John Kirby said the same thing this morning, that it was a mistake for the revision rescinding the vaccine mandate to be included in the NDAA. But specifically, Josh asked you if the President would veto the NDAA

Karine Jean-Pierre (27:59):

I just think-

Speaker 6 (28:00):

… If the provision remains. Is the president threatening to veto the NDA?

Karine Jean-Pierre (28:03):

I just answered that question, which was, there’s a process in place. We talked about the conference language. There’s a legislative process that has to go forward, right? I’m not going to get ahead of votes, I’m not going to get ahead of what that process is going to look like. The president’s going to look at the NDA and its entirety and make his judgment on that. And I’m not leaning any way here, I’m just laying out the facts of how this works. Okay.

Speaker 8 (28:28):

Thanks. Following up on Kristen’s question about the assault weapons ban pushed from the president, he said specifically on Thanksgiving that he was going to count the votes to see if there were enough votes to do anything during the Lame Duck. Has he counted the votes? Has he made any determination?

Karine Jean-Pierre (28:43):

Look, I don’t have any determination to share with you at this time. What I can say is the president is committed and believes that we need to get an assault weapons ban. He has been very, very clear about that. He’s appreciative of what Congress was able to do with the piece of legislation that got passed just a couple of months ago, on making sure that we deal with gun violence in our communities. That was something that we hadn’t seen in 30 years, but he believes we need to go further. Again, I tried to explain a little bit about his thinking, about why he continues to talk about this. He believes it’s important for him as the President of the United States to have this conversation, to put this at the forefront, and continuing to do this because we’re seeing what gun violence is doing, and how it’s destroying our communities, and what it’s doing to our communities.

Speaker 8 (29:37):

Do you expect him to make a determination on votes in the Lame Duck?

Karine Jean-Pierre (29:40):

Look, there’s a lot happening, right, in the next couple of weeks. I just said whether this happens in the next three weeks or beyond, this continues to be a priority for this president.

Speaker 8 (29:49):

Is the administration following the situation in Peru, where the president says he’s going to dissolve the Congress before a third impeachment vote. Do you have any response or comments to that?

Karine Jean-Pierre (29:58):

So we’ve seen the reports, and I believe the NSC team is looking at that. Of course, this is a developing news and I don’t have anything to share on that today. But again, we’ve seen the reports and NSC is certainly looking at this. JJ?

Speaker 9 (30:15):

Georgia elections official Brad Raffensperger said yesterday that he’d like to see Georgia lawmakers take a look at ranked choice voting, or runoff alternatives. Does the White House have any thoughts on the structure of state elections or whether archaic election systems need to be updated or changed?

Karine Jean-Pierre (30:35):

So don’t have any position from the White House to share on this today. Of course, I read the reports. I just don’t have anything to share at this time.

Speaker 7 (30:44):

Karine, sorry to push again one more time, to follow up on Kristen and Catherine. I hear what you’re saying that the president has always and will always push for a ban on assault rifles. I think the difference is that he himself went a step further and said in response to whether that would happen during the Lame Duck session, he said, “I got to make that assessment as I get in and start counting the votes.” So I guess my question is, I know you said a determination hasn’t been made, but has he started counting the votes? Are there conversations between him and lawmakers about where they stand?

Karine Jean-Pierre (31:23):

The president has always been very clear to lawmakers that he has conversations with how important it is to get the assault weapons ban done. That is something that has been continuous, and that has happened across his administration, across the couple of months of his administration. That will never stop. I get the question, and I just answered it, and said don’t have a determination for you at this time. But what I can say is, it doesn’t matter if it’s the next three weeks or beyond, the president is going to continue to fight for this, right?

This is something that is very personal to him. This is something that he worked on as a senator and got done. And let’s not forget we were able to see a gun reform legislation, or gun violence, a piece of legislation that’s now into law, get done, something that we hadn’t seen in 30 years. And it was done in a bipartisan way. So the president’s going to continue to fight for this, he believes that getting this done, getting the assault weapons banned is going to save lives, and is going to save communities. And so he’s going to put this at the forefront, continue to talk about it, and work very hard to get that done.

Speaker 7 (32:36):

The question to him was specifically about these next three weeks, so I know you’re-

Karine Jean-Pierre (32:41):

I hear you, and I actually… I just answered that question.

Speaker 7 (32:44):

Can you just tell us whether that process has started, to count the votes?

Karine Jean-Pierre (32:51):

I don’t have anything else to preview for you, or if that process has occurred or happened. I hear what you’re saying. I am telling you it is a priority for this president. He’s going to continue to fight for this, whether it’s in the next couple of weeks, right, of this legislative session, as we’re coming to the end of the year, or beyond. And what I can tell you for sure, what I can tell you for sure is he has prioritized this. It is important for him to get this done. And again, it could be the next three weeks or beyond. We are going to work very hard to deliver this for the American people.

Speaker 7 (33:29):

One more on the new margin in the Senate. Now that the vice president won’t have to break the tie as often, in theory, and she has more flexibility in her scheduling time, will that impact her portfolio travel schedule at all?

Karine Jean-Pierre (33:51):

I mean, I don’t believe so. No.

Speaker 7 (33:53):


Karine Jean-Pierre (33:54):

Yeah, I would reach out to her team specifically, but I don’t believe so. Let me just say the vice president has been a great partner of the president these past two years. The successes that they both have had in the clearly Biden-Harris administration on getting things done for the American people, when it comes to the economy, when it comes to lowering costs, when it comes to fighting inflation. And that is something that we’re going to continue to do. We just talked about the gun violence reform legislation that was passed just a couple of months ago. All of that was done in partnership with the vice president, and he appreciates all the work that she has done on these issues.

Speaker 10 (34:35):

Thank you, Karine. The White House and the president were very vocal about Georgia’s new election law when it was signed in March of 2021, and the big argument from the White House was that it would suppress voting. But there was record turnout in the primary, there was record turnout in the general, record turnout in the runoff, in early voting, absentee ballots, and in-person voting. So is the DOJ going to drop their lawsuit against the state?

Karine Jean-Pierre (35:01):

I can’t speak to DOJs actions and what they’re going to do.

Speaker 10 (35:04):

The president though called it Jim Crow in the 21st century, and a blatant attack on the Constitution. So does he still see it that way?

Karine Jean-Pierre (35:12):

I’ll say this, I’m not going to speak to the Department of Justice legal actions. That’s something for them to speak to. What I can say, and I’m not going to get into specifics of your question, but you all reported this, that there was suppression, that we saw that throughout the Georgia election. So that is something that was reported on. So I leave it to those reports. But look, even with that, the American people came out. They came out in historic fashion to make their voices loud and clear. When it comes to democracy, when it comes to protecting our democracy, when it comes to making sure that we’re protecting our economy, we’re protecting social security and Medicare, this is something that the American people spoke very loud and clear, and they did that because of the success that this president has had on his legislative agenda. Because of what the president has been able to deliver, because of what Democrats has been able to do.

And making sure we had a sharp message for the American people to see the contrast, right? Republicans wanted to put Social Security and Medicare on the chopping block. That’s what they wanted to do. That was their plan. And people have said, I’ve heard some of your colleagues say earlier this morning that it was a stunningly bad cycle for Republican senators. And a lot of that is because of their agenda, it’s because they embodied the ultra MAGA ideas. And even with all of that, the American public came out and they put a lot of that to rest. A lot of what the Republican officials were putting forth, their plan, to rest. And they said it very loud and clear, we want the special interests to pay their fair share. We want Social Security, we want Medicare to be protected, and we want women’s rights to be protected as well. Yeah.

Speaker 11 (37:04):

Thank you-

Speaker 10 (37:04):

One more on Twitter, Karine. The Twitter files had released that the company typically required an official or law enforcement finding that materials were hacked in order to exercise their company policy to restrict certain stories or reporting. And the journalist who released the material noted that in this case, around the Hunter Biden laptop story, there was no official or law enforcement finding that appeared in the material that he was given. So my question to you is, did anyone from the Biden team communicate to Twitter that this material was from, or this reporting stemmed from hacked materials?

Karine Jean-Pierre (37:47):

Are you talking about the campaign?

Speaker 10 (37:49):

It would’ve been the campaign or anyone around the family. Just wondering, because in the Twitter files release and what Matt Tabby said, he noted that typically the company would require a law enforcement or official finding that something was hacked, in order to exercise their hacked materials clause. And that he didn’t see that in what had been given to him. So wondering if it was communicated even informally by someone around the president, or the president’s family, or the campaign, that this was hacked material, or could have come from hacked material, given that there was so much concern, especially after the 2018 foreign interference situation, that could be something that we would see in that election. So I’m wondering if there was that communication there surrounding the Hunter Biden laptop story.

Karine Jean-Pierre (38:38):

So I can’t speak to decisions made by the campaign from here. It is a political campaign, so I can’t speak to that from here. I’m covered by the Hatch Act, and so I’m just not going to comment on the question that you’re asking me. But what I can say more broadly is, of course, it’s up to these companies to make their own decision about the content on their platforms, and to ensure content follows their own standards and policies. But I’m just not going to comment on a decision that was made during the campaign. Okay.

Speaker 11 (39:10):

Thank you, Karine. I have two questions for you. Following the explosion near the border with Ukraine, Poland just accepted Germany’s offer to deploy Patriot missile defense systems to Eastern Poland. But initially the Polish government said that the Patriots should be delivered to Ukraine. So can you comment on the deployment? And I’m wondering if the president sees a need to transfer Patriots to Ukraine, either by NATO or the US, considering continued Russian’s attacks on civilian infrastructure in Ukraine?

Karine Jean-Pierre (39:47):

So to your first question, we would leave it to Germany and Poland to speak about the specifics of what is being provided. That’s for them, their own governments, to speak to. As a general matter, we welcome allied efforts to bolster NATO’s collective defenses. And to your last question about NATO, and how this could be provided. Look, we are in close contact with the Ukrainians about their security assistance needs, as you’ve heard us speak to many times from this podium, and have been working to provide Ukraine with air defense systems to help them protect their country. But again, I don’t have anything to preview for you today on this particular issue.

Speaker 11 (40:31):

Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban said recently that Hungary will ratify Sweden’s and Finland’s membership in NATO early next year. Does the president have any update from Turkey, which it looks like will be the only holdout?

Karine Jean-Pierre (40:50):

So look, I would refer you to the Turkish government to speak about their own position. It’s certainly not something that we’re going to do from here. But what I can say is that we have been a strong supporter of Finland and Sweden’s applications for a NATO membership, and worked with the Senate to move quickly to ratify their applications. And so we have welcomed the rapid ratifications by our allies, and we urge all remaining allies to complete their own ratification process as quickly as possible.

Speaker 12 (41:24):

Thanks, Karine. Are you guys confirming reporting from Bloomberg Today that the president will travel to Mexico, and meet with the Mexican president on January 9th, and hold a trilateral with Lopez Obrador and Trudeau on January 10th for the North American-

Karine Jean-Pierre (41:38):

We’re still working through the plans. Nothing has changed since I was last asked this question, and we’ll let you know if we have anything more to share.

Speaker 12 (41:46):

And on the USFCO Leader Summit, are there any details you can share about any bilateral meetings he’s holding, and given the focus of competition with China and the national security strategy, do you expect it to be a big

Speaker 12 (42:00):

… topic at next week’s summit.

Karine Jean-Pierre (42:01):

I don’t have any bilateral meetings to share at this time on the Africa Leader Summit that’s happening next week, as you just stated. I mentioned this a little bit at the end of the briefing on Monday. We’ve invited 49 African heads of state to Washington, DC for a three-day summit to highlight how the US and African nations are strengthening our partnerships to advance shared priorities. The summit reflects the US strategy towards Sub-Saharan Africa, which emphasizes the critical importance of the region to meet this era’s defining challenges. We will have more as we do normally, background calls and more to share on what is to be expected during that three-day summit.

Speaker 13 (42:47):

Thanks, Karine. My colleague had asked you on Monday about the drug shortages question and just wanted to follow up on that. Is this something that the President has been engaged in? Has he been briefed on medicine shortages?

Karine Jean-Pierre (42:59):

So let me just say this and share where we are. So as I’ve said, as you mentioned on Monday, I was asked by your colleague, I believe, Ben, the administration is closely monitoring for the possibility of any national shortages. Medicine shortages are not uncommon and is closely monitored and led by FDA and HHS, who are experts on this. This is their focus. Health officials are in close communication with manufacturers around these medicines. While we cannot force a manufacturer to make more of any drug, the conversations have been focused on understanding their supply and production levels, as well as if there are any needs that we can assist with to ensure steady supply. We stand ready to help if there is a need.

Also, as part of these conversation, FDA and HHS are in touch with manufacturing associates who continue to tell the public that they are seeing strong supply chains for these products. So that work, again, is ongoing. And as a reminder, we stand ready to help states and jurisdictions as they face the confluence of winter illness. But also, importantly, we’re aggressively pushing everyone to get their flu and COVID shots. I said this on Monday. It is important to do. That is how folks are going to protect themselves and their families, especially as we’re going into continuing the holiday season.

So we stand ready to provide resources to states, like ventilators and PPE, as well as personnel to help in hospitals. Just last week, Secretary Becerra sent a letter to the nation’s governors reminding them to request those resources if they need it. Again, this is something that FDA and HHS is managing, but as I just stated, we are ready to help when needed, when those requests come in.

Speaker 14 (44:47):

The FDA and agencies don’t have much visibility into the supply chain issues. They’ve said that they’re really dependent on the industry to give them information on any issues and whether there are shortages. Does the White House think it’s time for the FDA to get more involved so that they can get better information from companies?

Karine Jean-Pierre (45:05):

Well, I just stated in my layout here that FDA and HHS are in touch with manufacturing associates who continue to tell the public that they are seeing strong supply chains for these products. So that’s what they’re hearing, that’s what we’re all hearing from these manufacturing associate associations. So I’ll leave it there. But again, I would refer you to FDA and HHS, as they are indeed the experts on this, but I’ve been very clear. You saw a Secretary Becerra’s letter that I just laid out. We are ready to help and we have told states to certainly ask for help if they need it, and we would be ready to act.

Speaker 15 (45:44):

Following up on that question about whether concrete actions are expected out of today’s round table on antisemitism, one of the Jewish groups that participated was calling for national strategy [inaudible 00:45:54], but another wants the President to put a task force in charge of creating the national [inaudible 00:45:59]. Is the administration looking at anything like either of those [inaudible 00:46:05]?

Karine Jean-Pierre (46:05):

So that meeting just occurred, I think, at 11 o’clock. I don’t have a clear readout on what was actually asked or talked about. I know you just laid out a few things. So we just need to go back to our teams and see how we’re going to move forward. Don’t want to get ahead of what could be put forward on the next steps. Just don’t want to get ahead of that.

Speaker 15 (46:25):

[inaudible 00:46:28].

Speaker 16 (46:29):

Thanks, Karine. On TikTok, I want to ask you about … So Maryland and South Dakota became the latest two states to ban TikTok on state devices. Is the federal government, is the President considering doing something here?

Karine Jean-Pierre (46:39):

So I’m not going to comment on TikTok while CFIUS, the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States, review is ongoing, as you know, to address concerns posed by this particular app. Generally speaking, the Biden Administration is focused on challenge of certain countries, including China, seeking to leverage digital technologies in America’s data in ways that present unacceptable national security risk. But again, I’m just not going to comment on an ongoing review.

Speaker 16 (47:13):

One more. President Xi is now in Saudi Arabia, speaking with the king and the crown prince. There was much fanfare around his visit. Does the President feel slighted at all with his visit, which didn’t get as much pomp and circumstance?

Karine Jean-Pierre (47:27):

I’m sorry. Say that one more time.

Speaker 16 (47:28):

So there were dances and fanfare around the visit from President Xi coming in. The President didn’t get the same kind of reception in Saudi Arabia and I’m wondering if there’s any slight.

Karine Jean-Pierre (47:39):

They met in Bali, right? With-

Speaker 16 (47:41):

They met in Bali, but I’m talking about when the President went to Saudi Arabia to visit the NBS and the crown prince.

Karine Jean-Pierre (47:47):

And so your question is-

Speaker 16 (47:47):

My question is, does he feel slighted that there wasn’t the same kind of fanfare?

Karine Jean-Pierre (47:50):

No, not at all. We’re going to keep moving. Go ahead.

Speaker 17 (47:54):

[inaudible 00:47:53] first on NDAA. Something that wasn’t in the draft that got released today is legislation to prevent a future president or President Biden from imposing a schedule F and moving gobs of civil servants into the accepted service. Would the President, I won’t ask you if he would veto the NDA without it, but would the President support or encourage adoption of an amendment to prevent this from happening in the future? It was one of the first things he did as President.

Karine Jean-Pierre (48:26):

So look, I want to be very clear, this is still in process. We know one thing very clearly, which is the vaccine mandates, and there’s still a process going, a legislative process going. Don’t want to get ahead of that. So just not going to comment right now, as there’s negotiations and this piece of legislation is still moving through the process.

Speaker 17 (48:48):

The second, there are reports in the last day or so that the President is poised to appoint a new Northern Ireland envoy, but that envoy would focus more on economic development than the Brexit Northern Ireland protocol border situation. If the envoy will not be focused on that, does the President plan to get more involved to ensure a smooth implementation of the Good Friday Agreement? The 25th anniversary is coming up in a matter of months.

Karine Jean-Pierre (49:21):

I’m not going to get ahead of the special envoy and what their purview is going to be or not be. I’m just not going to get ahead of that.

Speaker 18 (49:30):

Thank you, Karine. I just wanted to follow up on TikTok. I know you said you can’t comment, but the US business operations of the company have effectively been in question for nearly three years. And I’m wondering at what point you think there might be an outcome one way or another on whether it can operate here.

Karine Jean-Pierre (49:46):

I’m just not going to comment on an ongoing review that CFIUS is doing. And as you know, the review is ongoing to address the concerns posed by the app. I’m just not going to comment from here.

Speaker 18 (49:58):

The FBI director has said publicly on Capitol Hill that it does pose a national security concern, but company executives said just yesterday they believe they’re on a path to resolve those concerns. So does the administration have a view on whether those concerns can be resolved?

Karine Jean-Pierre (50:14):

So look, I talked about the challenges that are certain that we’re currently seeing. So I can say this more broadly, that we are taking the steps we can to address these types of challenges. For example, President Biden issued the first ever presidential directive defining additional national security factors for CFIUS to consider in line with this administration’s national security priorities, like protecting America’s sensitive data. And last year, President Biden put forward an executive order to protect America’s sensitive data from collection and utilization. The Commerce Department, with inter-agency support, is working to implement this EO and utilize other related authorities and we will continue to look at other actions that we can take on this matter, but I’m just not going to comment on this specific issue.

Speaker 18 (51:05):

On voting rights, are there any specific elements of either the Electoral Count Act or the John Lewis Voting Rights Act that the White House is seeking to add onto any year end spending bill?

Karine Jean-Pierre (51:15):

Can you say the first part of your question?

Speaker 18 (51:17):

On voting rights, voting rights has obviously been a huge priority of this administration, and there’s a suggestion that there could be some type of voting rights push here in the final leaps of the year that some elements of existing legislation could be added onto a year end spending bill. Has the White House been discussing this with leadership?

Karine Jean-Pierre (51:35):

So I’ve spoken to this a little bit about the importance of the President supporting the electoral piece. I don’t have anything else to share on that. We’re going to let Congress continue to negotiate and move forward with how they’re moving the next couple of weeks, but don’t have anything specific. I haven’t seen any language or anything specific about what you’re asking on voting rights and others. All right. I’ll see you guys tomorrow. Thanks, everybody.

Speaker 19 (52:03):

[inaudible 00:52:04].

Karine Jean-Pierre (52:04):


Speaker 19 (52:05):

Karine, why were some members of the press corp not invited to the holiday reception next week …

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