May 2, 2023

Press Briefing by Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre 5/01/23 Transcript

Press Briefing by Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre 5/01/23 Transcript
RevBlogTranscriptsKarine Jean-Pierre White House Press Briefing TranscriptsPress Briefing by Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre 5/01/23 Transcript

Press Briefing by Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre 5/01/23. Read the transcript here.

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Karine Jean-Pierre (00:05):

Hi everybody.

Speaker 1 (00:08):


Karine Jean-Pierre (00:08):

Join us [inaudible 00:00:10]. Join us. Join us. Let me first congratulate the White House Correspondent Association for a very successful, wonderful weekend. Want to also thank the President, she’s not here today, Tamara Keith for her wonderful speech and a wonderful event and evening and I’ll. With that, I’ll start.

On Friday evening, a nine year old child was murdered, along with four others in yet another shocking, horrific act of gun violence in America, this time in Cleveland, Texas. Two of the women killed were discovered on top of surviving children and appeared to be shielding them from gunfire. In all five people were murdered by an individual armed with a powerful AR-15 style rifle. As the manhunt for the suspected assailant continues, we urge the public to heed all guidance from law enforcement officials and stay safe. Federal law enforcement agencies have been providing assistance and support to local law enforcement as they work to respond to this tragedy and locate the suspect.

The president was briefed on the shooting on Saturday morning and he and the First Lady are praying for those killed in the attack for their surviving loved ones and for the broader Cleveland community. But the President believes prayers alone are not enough. Congress must act because what makes tragedies like this one all the more heart-wrenching is the fact that it is entirely within our power to take these weapons of war off our streets. The majority of Americans and the majority of gun owners support common sense measures to reduce gun violence. The President continues to believe that Congress must act without delay. It’s not too late to save lives and prevent the next mass shooting. Now, as you all know, this afternoon the president and the first lady welcomed his Excellency Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr.. President of the Republic of the Philippines, and First Lady Louise Araneta-Marcos to the White House.

The President is currently hosting President Marcos for a bilateral meeting. The two leaders will announce a range of new opportunities to deepen business investment and infrastructure cooperation, invest in the clean energy transition and the fight against climate change and to cooperate on education and human rights. The president will also reaffirm the United States ironclad commitment to the defense of the Philippines, including in the South China Sea, and the leaders will discuss our country’s work to modernize the US Philippines alliance. They will also discuss regional matters and coordinate on effort to uphold international law and promote a free and open Indo-Pacific. We’ll have a fact sheet out later this afternoon on the specific deliverables we’re announcing as part of this visit, as well as a joint statement from the two leaders. And finally, President Biden issued a presidential proclamation declaring May Mental Health Awareness Month to honor the tens of millions of Americans living with mental health conditions and celebrate their loved ones and the mental health professionals who provide them with the care they need.

Tackling the mental health crisis is a key priority for the president who outlined his plans to tackle our mental health crisis. In his first state of the Union address, he called for major transformation in how mental health is understood, accessed, treated and integrated in and out of healthcare settings. As part of that effort, this administration has launched 988, a national suicide and crisis lifeline that people can call if they are faced with a crisis and a separate maternal mental health hotline to help mothers navigate mental health issues. Past historic laws that further require insurers to cover mental health care. Hired tens of thousands of school-based mental health professionals expanded access to mental health care for service members and veterans, and provided historic resources to expand access to prevention and treatment for mental health and substance use disorders. Now, to kick off the month, HHS launched a website that people can go to find resources and help you or someone you know is experiencing a mental health challenge.

And yesterday, US Surgeon General Vivek Murthy also announced in a New York Times op-ed that his team will launch a national framework to rebuild social connection and community in America. Mental health challenges can affect anyone regardless of race, gender, politics, or income. The president has said that we are all in this together. So this month and every day let’s all take care of ourselves and our loved ones. Together we will keep fighting to keep, to get everyone access to the care they need to live full and happy lives.

And last week, President Biden issued a Presidential proclamation declaring Mental Health Awareness Month, as I mentioned already, and I also mentioned the Vivek Murthy, New York Times. The last thing I want to say is mental health challenges can affect anyone regardless of race, gender, politics are income and the COVID-19 pandemic made challenges for many people even harder due to isolation and trauma. If you are facing a crisis, dial 988 to reach immediate and confidential help 24 hours a day, seven days a week or visit The president has said that we are all in this together, as I mentioned already. And so with that Darlene, please kick us off.

Darlene (05:52):

Thank you. Two questions. What is the White House view of Speaker McCarthy’s visit to Israel, especially given that the issue of judicial overhaul there has not been resolved? And can you also say, I know the speaker, and the President haven’t spoken about budget issues, but did the White House brief speaker McCarthy before in his trip or any officials?

Karine Jean-Pierre (06:18):

We don’t have any readout or engagement to read out at this time. Look, I’m not going to get into the speaker’s trip or to Israel. As we know, that is not unusual for a speaker to travel outside of the country to travel to a country like Israel. We have seen comments that the speaker has made and so we’ll let him speak to his intentions, but I’m not going to dive into the trip more broadly. That’s for something for the speaker to speak to.

Darlene (06:46):

On the visit of President Marcos, can you talk a little bit about he arrived at the South Portico. There’s an honor guard. Some leaders come here and they come through the West Wing entrance. Others get a grand arrival like the South Korean president did last week. President Marcos seems to be somewhere in the middle. What message is the President trying to send-

Karine Jean-Pierre (07:08):

Look, I want to be-

Darlene (07:09):

… with that welcome.

Karine Jean-Pierre (07:09):

I want to be very clear this meeting that the bilat currently happening between the two heads of states. It’s about strengthening our important alliance with the Philippines, which has been a force for peace and stability in the Indo-Pacific for over 70 years. Our work together will allow alliance to operate more effectively, not only for the defense of the Philippines, but for the good of the region, such as the respond to natural disasters. As I mentioned at the top, climate change is important as well. We have shared with the Philippines for decades common interests, values and commitment to regional stability and security. Every trip is different. This one, as you just laid out, the welcoming was different. I don’t have anything specific to any explanation. As you know, there is a lot of diplomatic conversation between the two governments when they come visit and what the agenda’s going to be, what the itinerary is going to look like. I just don’t have anything specific to your question Darlene?

Speaker 2 (08:06):

On First Republic, is this it? Are you bracing for more banks to fail?

Karine Jean-Pierre (08:11):

So let me lay out a couple of things. We haven’t really had an opportunity to speak to this on the record. So as you saw, today’s actions ensure the continued resilience of the banking system, including at community and other banks, which are vital to the American economy, small businesses and workers as well. All first Republican insured and uninsured deposits are being assumed by JP Morgan Chase. The American people and American businesses can continue to have confidence that their deposits will be there if they need them. At the same time, these actions are being taken in a matter that ensures that the first Republic, which was severely mismanaged, is being held accountable. While depositors are being protected, shareholders will entirely lose their investments and in addition, no taxpayer dollars will be used to facilitate this action. Any losses associated with the resolution of First Republic will be born by fees on banks and not by taxpayers.

Going forward, the president has been clear that we must be or do more to ensure the continued resilience of the banking system. The president has called on Congress to take additional action to ensure that regulators have the tools they need to hold the executives of failed institutions accountable. And he has called on regulators to reverse a series of steps taken during the prior administration to relax regulation and supervision of large regional banks like Silicon Valley Bank, Signature Bank, and now First Republic. Look, we wanted to make sure the president wanted to make sure that any losses will be born by fees on banks and not taxpayers. That was the directive that the president gave and that is the action that you have seen. The FDIC take and regulators.

Speaker 2 (09:54):

The president today also said we have to be able to make sure that we’re not back in this position again saying I think we’re well on our way to be able to make that assurance. Beyond calling on Congress to take these steps, as you just mentioned, what steps are you taking to avoid this from happening again, I guess why so confident?

Karine Jean-Pierre (10:10):

So look, we are very confident because we have put five specific tools that I can speak to that the president wanted to make sure that were out there. Again, we have taken decisive and forceful actions these past several weeks to make sure that the banking system is in a stable position. And that’s what you’ve seen this administration do. Look first that the FDIC quickly took control of Silicon Valley Bank’s and Signature Bank’s assets and protected all depositors at both banks without putting taxpayer dollars at risk. Second, the Fed’s new lending facility is helping banks meet the needs of all of their depositors. Third, we encourage the FDIC to exempt community banks from any special assessments it imposes to refill the deposit insurance

Karine Jean-Pierre (11:00):

– fund after recent failures. Fourth, the President called for regulators to reverse steps taken during the prior administration to weaken regulation and supervision of large regional banks, as I mentioned before, Silicon Valley, Signature Bank and First Republic, and of course the FDIC’S resolution of First Republic today protected all depositors as well. So these are the tools that we have in our tool belts to prevent this from happening again. But as you have seen over the last couple of weeks, we have taken decisive and forceful actions and of course we’re going to be continuing to monitor this. This is something that the FDIC is monitoring, but at the direction of the President. His economic team has made sure that again, depositors and families and American families are not paying for mistakes from these banks.

Speaker 2 (11:46):

Right now, the FDIC’S standard limit is $250,000. We’re seeing growing support for raising that insurance cap. Is that something the President supports?

Karine Jean-Pierre (11:55):

So look, the President has, he has proposed a number of concrete steps to strengthen our banking system. He’s called for regulators to reverse the steps taken, as I mentioned, and he’s called on Congress to take action, additional action. So to ensure that regulators have the tools that they need, on top of the tools that he’s put forward. And the President economic team is certainly reviewing. There’s a FDIC report that I’m sure that you’ve seen on deposit insurance. And so the teams going to the review that and we’ll hopefully have more to share. [inaudible 00:12:26].

Speaker 3 (12:26):

Thanks. On March 13th after the SVB collapse, we heard almost verbatim, the President say what he said today with regard to calling out Congress to give regulators the tools to hold executives accountable with regard to regulators strengthening regulations, with regard to making sure this does not happen again. And here we are again. So I’ve just, can you clarify between March 13th and today, what has changed, if anything? Have any of those tools gotten sharper and how has he reached out to Congress?

Karine Jean-Pierre (13:01):

So a couple things. The First Republic, the Silicon Valley Bank, and the Signature, each face unique, very, very unique vulnerabilities. So just want to put that out there. And since our administration has taken decisive and again, forceful actions, we have seen deposit flow stabilized at regional banks. So that is important because of those tools that I just laid out and because we took actions very quickly and we’ve seen stronger than expected earnings at many banks, including regional banks. So the actions again that we’ve taken has helped. These were unique situations. The three banks that you all have been following clearly and that I just mentioned, and again, we’re going to continue to monitor this situation. This is something that FDIC, this is a process that they have taken that they have monitored, and we just want to make sure that the depositors are not the ones who have to pay the bill or taxpayers, right? And so we’re going to continue to do the work that we’ve been doing these past several weeks.

Speaker 3 (14:00):

For mid and large size banks, has anything changed with regard to the power of the tools?

Karine Jean-Pierre (14:07):

We think, I mean, I just laid out, we think the tools are indeed working. The three banks have had unique vulnerabilities and just laid those out. We’ve seen deposit flow stabilize at regional banks, but we also seen stronger than expected earnings at many banks that include the regional banks. So we see that the process that has been put in place, the tools that have been put in place has actually been working. This is not 2008. This is a very, very different time than 2008.

Speaker 3 (14:38):

One more on the debt ceiling because McCarthy and Israel, Speaker McCarthy, I should say, reiterated yet again that we will not pass a debt ceiling that just raises it without doing something about our debt. Talking about the need for negotiation. I know your position that this is the Republican’s burden, right? To raise the debt ceiling, but it’s the President’s economies. So is he not going to have a meeting with McCarthy until McCarthy gives in? Do you think McCarthy’s bluffing here?

Karine Jean-Pierre (15:10):

The President is prepared to talk about budget and appropriations process. That’s what we have said. We are not a deadbeat nation. The President said that, you heard him, you heard directly from him moments ago, and the President said he’s happy to meet with McCarthy, but not on whether or not the debt limit gets extended. That’s not negotiable. We continue to be very firm about that. To be very clear, the President again said this himself. Look, what they are proposing would hurt every American and cost 6 million jobs and threaten social security, Medicare, Medicaid payments. That’s what they’re threatening. That’s the American economy that they’re saying that they’re going to hold hostage. And again, Congress must act. It is their constitutional duty. We’ve been very clear on what we will negotiate about, which is appropriations and the budget, but we just are going to be very clear. They must act and do their constitutional duty on this.

Speaker 3 (16:07):

Thank you.

Speaker 4 (16:09):

All right, thanks, Karine. Back on the topic of banking, when was President Biden informed about the deal and was he concerned at all about the fact that it makes JP Morgan bigger? In general, he and his administration have been kind of opposed to broader corporate consolidation.

Karine Jean-Pierre (16:26):

Yeah, both good questions. Look, the President has been briefed regularly since the failure of the Silicon Valley Bank and Signature Bank, including the possibility that resolution of this institution could ultimately be necessary. So he has been, again, regularly briefed on this and will continue to be as he’s directed his economic team to make sure that, again, taxpayers do not pay for this. And there’s a process in place, which we’ve seen from the FDIC.

Look, FDIC has a statutory obligation to choose the path that its least cost to the deposit insurance fund, and that’s what they did here. It was necessary to ensure continued resilience of the banking system and to do so at no cost to the taxpayers. But more broadly, no recent administration has done more to promote competition, address concentration process across industries. We value the community bank model, which provides robust competition to larger banks and provide banking services to communities that might otherwise not get serviced. Again, that’s why we’ve encouraged the FDIC to exempt community banks from any special assessments it opposes to refill the deposit insurance fund after recent failures. This is a FDIC process as it comes to bids and selling, and that is the obligation and that’s the path that they’ve taken.

Speaker 4 (17:44):

Separate topic is the United States, is the President aware of the Vatican’s efforts to create a peace deal between Ukraine and Russia?

Karine Jean-Pierre (17:53):

We are aware. I just don’t have any comments on that and I’ll just leave it there.

Speaker 4 (17:58):

Lastly is the President tracking the negotiations with the Writers Union in California? He’s a union guy.

Karine Jean-Pierre (18:05):


Speaker 4 (18:06):

Looks like they’re heading towards a strike.

Karine Jean-Pierre (18:08):

So not going to speak to any specific case as we normally don’t do from here, especially as it relates to a strike. As you just said, he’s a union guy. You saw him, you saw him just last week in front of labor leaders, 3000 of them. And so he’s a strong supporter of workers’ rights to strike, but just not going to speak directly to this particular strike.

Speaker 5 (18:32):

Thanks Karine. Given the fact that Democrats control the Senate, is there a reason the President hasn’t asked Senate majority leader Schumer to put a clean debt ceiling increase on the floor, maybe start the process, give actions you’re talking about?

Karine Jean-Pierre (18:42):

So look, as I’ve said many times before, or as you know, the President has had conversations with Leader Schumer, Senator Schumer, and also minority leader Jeffries. They’ve talked several times, but it doesn’t stop us from saying what House Republicans should have done, right? Which is put forth and focused on the debt ceiling. Let’s be very clear what their plan they put forward is going to do, it’s going to hurt Americans, it’s going to throw the economy into chaos. That’s what they’ve proposed. When you think about the 22% cuts on programs that Americans truly need to make ends meet, that’s what they put forward. And so we’re going to continue to call that out. Congress must act. It is something that they’ve done three times before in the last administration. It is their constitutional duty. As far as to your question on Leader Schumer, I leave him to the process on how to move forward with the Senate, but we’ve been very clear on what Congress needs to do.

Speaker 5 (19:44):

Following up on something we talked about last week, you made a very declarative statement about Americans in Haiti. Sorry. Yeah. Americans in Sudan had about 24 to 48 hours, there was a period there, you made very clear that if they wanted to leave, they should move in that period of time. Since that time, did you see an uptick in efforts under two convoys have left in terms of the effect that may have had and kind of what you guys were seeing going forward?

Karine Jean-Pierre (20:09):

So as you know, there’s been the Department of State reports that the US government has assisted in the departure of nearly 1000 American citizens since the start of this crisis. That includes a departure of hundreds of American citizens over the weekend by three US government organized convoys to the Port of Sudan where we are supporting their onward travel, including via the USNS Brunswick. It also includes ongoing efforts to evacuate Americans via flights on partner aircraft and by sea. To support this, we have engaged in an unprecedented sharing of US and partner intelligence aimed at facilitating safe passage. We have deployed US intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance as assets to support both US government led and partner led air and assets and land evacuation routes as well. Americans are using these routes, the environment is fluid, and Americans do not always contact the US government before their departure, so we cannot give a precise number of Americans. Our focus has remains on helping as many citizens depart who wish to do so safely as possible in a way that reduces the risk to US personnel. And I’ll leave it there.

Speaker 6 (21:21):

Can I just follow up on the bank deal? Has the President spoken with Jamie Diamond over the cost course of this process?

Karine Jean-Pierre (21:28):

I don’t have any costs to preview at this time.

Speaker 6 (21:31):

Just to follow up, this administration, we sat here, we’ve talked about corporate consolidation as something that you want to push against. Our reporting is that JP Morgan was the only bidder that offered to take the entire bank over. The administration, I just want to be clear, you support that because it was the only option or you support that because it was the best option?

Karine Jean-Pierre (21:52):

I mean, look, no, I totally understand the question. This is an FDIC process and these decisions are made by the FDIC,

Karine Jean-Pierre (22:00):

… about the bids and ultimate sale, in this particular instance, with First Republic. So this is something that they run. The directive from the president is very clear. When he talks to his economic team, the direction he gave them is to prioritize protecting depositors, workers and small businesses while also ensuring that taxpayers are not on the hook and shareholders lose their investment. That’s the directive that he’s given to his economic team. But as far as the process, the bids, and the sales, that is something that the FDIC moves forward.

Speaker 7 (22:32):

So, the White House didn’t push against this deal that makes the biggest American bank bigger?

Karine Jean-Pierre (22:35):

It is an FDI process, as I just mentioned. This is something that they are in charge of, and they are the ones who decide on the bids and the sales. What the president has done is given his economic team a directive on how to protect taxpayers and also depositors. And so that is what I can share with you. FDIC runs this process.

Speaker 7 (22:55):

And, very quickly, can you give us an update on the Fed vice chair search?

Karine Jean-Pierre (22:58):

Very good question. I don’t have anything to preview at this time for all of you. You will hear something in a very near future, just don’t have anything to share on that particular appointment. Go ahead, Steve.

Steve (23:08):

Thanks, Karine. Today, the Supreme Court agreed to hear a case that gets at the four-decade-old [inaudible 00:23:13] that when a statute is ambiguous, the court should defer to executive branch agencies. It’s not known as Chevron deference. Does the White House have a response to the fact that the Supreme Court is going to take this case?

Karine Jean-Pierre (23:24):

I don’t have a response at this time, no.

Steve (23:26):

The essence of it is that essentially it gets at the question of whether executive branch agencies should have a power and whether the court should take that power away.

Karine Jean-Pierre (23:37):

No, I understand the question, just don’t have anything to share at this time since this just happened.

Steve (23:41):

Okay. There’s one other thing I want to ask you about, and that is: In recent days, a lot of people who write articles and columns have been writing about the idea that there should be a third option for voters in the next election. This group, No Labels, is trying to get on the ballot in all 50 states. The president says, “Don’t compare me to the Almighty, compare me to the alternative.” What does the White House have to say about the idea that many Americans seem to want, not just one alternative, but yet another alternative?

Karine Jean-Pierre (24:04):

So, as you know, I have to say, I have to be careful about talking about 2024. We follow the rule of law here. There’s the Hatch Act. What I can say more broadly and speak to 2020, and share with you all, as you all know, that the president had a historic win. More people voted for this president and his agenda and how he saw moving the country forward than any other president.

And, look, the president is going to continue to be focused on the job that he has set forth on behalf of the American people, and call out the contrast that we see from Republicans in Congress and how, again, we just talked about the debt ceiling, how they refuse to do their job and do their constitutional duty and hold the American economy hostage and not deliver on what they’re supposed to be doing, and want to cut key programs like veterans programs, like healthcare programs that’s going to hurt American people.

So that’s what we’re going to focus on. We’re going to focus on how do we continue to build an economy that doesn’t leave anybody behind, that actually helps the very people who have been left behind and build an economy heard, you him say this today when he was talking about small businesses. And let’s not forget what we’ve seen from small businesses under this administration, how there’s been a historic amount of small businesses who have applied for application to start a small business. That’s because of the work that this president has done.

So he’s going to continue to build an economy from the bottom up, middle out. Not going to speak specifically to 2024. But this is a president who understands what it’s like to make sure that we put the American people first, and that’s what he’s going to continue to do.

Go ahead, Frank.

Frank (25:47):

Thanks, Karine. After the First Republic, Elizabeth Warren gave some comments about accountability and specifically named Chairman Powell. What does the White House think about those comments specifically about Chairman Powell being held accountable.

Karine Jean-Pierre (26:02):

Look, the president directed his economic team to do what they can to make sure that, again, depositors are protected and taxpayers are protected. Not going to speak to the Fed. We’ve very, very careful in speaking about the Fed and their policies and how they move forward. When it comes to this particular process, as you know, the FDIC runs this process, the bids and sale process. So I’ll leave that to them, but I’m not going to be commenting on specific actions that Chairman Powell has taken, not from here.

Frank (26:37):

Can I also ask you about Susan Rice? What’s the plan for replacing her? Is there someone in line? Do you have someone?

Karine Jean-Pierre (26:45):

We don’t have a timeline to share with you at this time. Clearly it’s important position that the president wants to make sure that we get the right person to move forward with the domestic policies and what’s important to the American people.

Go ahead, Lalit.

Lalit (26:57):

Thank you. Does the White House believe that they need to expand the Quad?

Karine Jean-Pierre (27:04):

Say that one more time.

Lalit (27:05):

Does the White House believes that there’s need to expand the Quad, the four countries [inaudible 00:27:10], the countries [inaudible 00:27:12].

Karine Jean-Pierre (27:12):

Well, as you know, the Quad was established two years ago. The Quad is still a relatively young partnership. There are no plans for new members at this time. Quad members have agreed that for now they’ll focus on cementing the Quad’s many strengths. However, the Quad welcomes opportunities to work with a wide range of Indo- Pacific partners, such as through its Indo-Pacific partners on maritime domain awareness, which is delivering cutting edge maritime domain awareness technology around the region.

The May 24th Sydney Summit will showcase other opportunities for the Quad to partner around the region on climate, global health, infrastructure and more. The Quad’s top priority is ensuring it is well-positioned to deliver for the Indo-Pacific currently. And so there’s no conversation on extending or expanding at this time.

Lalit (28:01):

One more question on illegal immigration. How does president wants to address this challenge of illegal immigration? A lot of people coming here. And is this one of the issues which he consider as job not done, job not finished? How does he want [inaudible 00:28:18]?

Karine Jean-Pierre (28:17):

So, as you know, on his first day in this administration, the president put forth a comprehensive immigration legislation. And that’s to show how seriously he took this, how he understood that the system had been broken. It needs to be modernized, be moved to the 21st century. And so this is something that the president has talked about.

He has asked Congress to take action, Republicans in Congress to take action and work on this in a bipartisan way. He’s going to continue to do that. In the meantime, he’s put forth some – he has tools that he’s used to make sure that we do this, we actually deal with the immigration system in a humane way and in a way that actually deals with what we’re seeing at the border. And that’s why you’ve seen the parolee program be so successful.

When it comes to illegal migration, you’ve seen it come down by more than 90%, and that’s because of the actions that this president has taken. But we know that more action needs to be taken, so it has to be legislative action. We’re going to continue to call Congress to do that. And so this is important to this president. On day one, on day one he put forth a legislation to move forward on this.

Lalit (29:37):

Do you believe the Republicans are to blame for this?

Karine Jean-Pierre (29:40):

Well, as we’ve seen, Republicans have continued to use this as a political stunt, a political tool, and not actually come to the table to have a conversation on how to protect DREAMers and farm workers. More immigration judges and asylum officers are needed. More funding for border security are needed. This is something that we have put forward in that legislation and so much more. And they don’t want to do that. They want to do political stunts, as we’ve seen from governors and mayors across the country.

Lalit (30:11):

Thank you.

Karine Jean-Pierre (30:12):

Go ahead.

Speaker 8 (30:13):

Excuse me, regarding the visit of the President Biden for Israel to celebrate in the anniversary of 75 years, his visit will include Palestinian territories and the celebration of Israel established 75 years will not impact the Palestinian. They consider this [inaudible 00:30:34] for them.

Karine Jean-Pierre (30:35):

Wait, I’m sorry. Can you start again? What was the beginning of your question?

Speaker 8 (30:39):

About the visiting of President Biden to Israel to celebrate 75 years of establishing Israel?

Karine Jean-Pierre (30:49):

I don’t have a trip to… You mean upcoming trip?

Speaker 8 (30:52):

Future trip.

Karine Jean-Pierre (30:54):

Oh, we don’t have anything to share at this time on a trip to Israel. As you know, the president went to Jerusalem over the summer, had a very productive trip when we were there to talk about the Middle East and stabilizing the Middle East and continuing the very strong relationship that we have with Israel, as you just mentioned, decades of partnership that we have there. But I just don’t have anything to read out on a trip to celebrate the 75th anniversary.

Speaker 8 (31:22):

And, excuse me, regarding the mental health insurance. It is – will cover the people when they don’t carry citizenship. I mean, just green card for children or for people – will cover the insurance.

Karine Jean-Pierre (31:40):

As it relates to mental health, we will have a lot more to share during the month of May for mental health. I just don’t have anything specific to your question.

Go ahead, April.

April (31:49):

Karine, on Africa – two questions on Africa. There was a ceasefire last week in Sudan, but there’s still warring happening. And the UN says that with this – these strikes on Khartoum, they are at a breaking point. Could you talk about still working to establish that ceasefire as the fighting is going, the humanitarian efforts and the evacuation progress or hurdles that you’re having getting Americans out?

Karine Jean-Pierre (32:23):

So, look, we’re going to continue to have those conversations. His senior national security team has been in direct contact with the SAF and the RSF leadership – the generals – to urge them to end hostilities immediately without conditions. And we’re consulting very closely with regional and other partners. That is something that has been ongoing for some time now.

We urge the SAF and the RSF to fully uphold and extend the ceasefire. And those are the conversations that we’re having. I just laid out earlier with Phil what we’re doing as the evacuation is moving forward,

Karine Jean-Pierre (33:00):

Word of Americans who do indeed want to leave, I just don’t have anything more to add to that. But there are high level conversation that continue to happen with our national security team.

April (33:08):

Among Americans that want to leave, we understand that they’re about a thousand right now, out of 16,000. What is the deadline for Americans to say I want to leave, and what are the efforts going to be if they change their mind, if there is a deadline and they change their mind the more it happens?

Karine Jean-Pierre (33:28):

Look, all I can say, the environment is fluid and Americans, as we all know, do not always, and I just mentioned this to Phil, contact the US government before their departure, so we don’t have a precise number. Again, it’s very fluid, but I just laid out that there’s been about a thousand departures.

No, I understand. A thousand American citizens, but again, the numbers are fluid. This is the number that we do know of. Again, it’s fluid. Not every American who’s there tells us when they’re leaving. Our focus has been and remains being helping as many US citizens as possible who want to depart, who wish to do so safely as possible in a way that reduces the risk as well. That’s going to be our focus.

April (34:17):

Last question on Africa. Pretty much many of the administration officials have traveled to Africa, to include the vice president. You said the president was going to travel at the end of the year. Do you have anything new to tell us, and where could he possibly be headed to?

Karine Jean-Pierre (34:33):

So as you’ve seen this commitment from this administration on Africa, you were there and covered the leader summit that we had back in December. There is a strong commitment to the continent. As you just mentioned, the vice president went. We’ve seen secretaries of different agency go to Africa as well. The first lady went to the continent as well and visited and shared our commitment to the continent. I don’t have any date or any location, specific country that the president will be visiting in the continent, but as we have said many times, the president does plan to travel sometime this year. When we have an update, we certainly will share it with all of you.

Speaker 9 (35:15):

Thanks Karine. Two topics. First, you had indicated earlier that the president is prepared to talk about the budget appropriations process and that he’d be happy to meet with Speaker McCarthy, but not on whether the debt limit is raised. Has the White House done anything to reach out to the speaker to begin that conversation over the budget, and what happens if he does want to talk about the debt limit in concert with that discussion?

Karine Jean-Pierre (35:43):

I mean we’ve been very clear, Matt. We’ve been very clear that what they have put forward, look, it’s not a plan, it’s a recipe for economic catastrophe. That is what they have put forward. They’re putting the wealth and the foreign bond holders, including billionaires and banks in China, overworking Americans. Treasury Secretary Yellen said their proposal is effectively a default. It would throw the country into chaos, and a couple of things here.

The Chamber of Commerce has said prioritization would have catastrophic economic consequences. Economists to Republicans, senators, Portman, Rubio and Romney called it a really bad idea and a disaster. Even Trump’s treasury secretary said it doesn’t make sense what they put forward. The only way to avoid this kind of economic disaster is for Congress to do its job and prevent default. We’ve been very clear about that. Not to put a half-baked idea as they have done, and schemes that hurt the American people. And so that’s what we’re calling out. When you think about the 22% cuts on veterans and Meals on Wheels and other important key programs that help Americans put meals, make the ends meet, that’s something that is not acceptable, and so they need to do their job, their constitutional duty as you’ve heard us say over and over again and deal with the debt ceiling, and not put 6 million jobs on the line.

Speaker 9 (37:12):

It sounds like no meeting in the works?

Karine Jean-Pierre (37:14):

Oh, what I could say is, Congress must act. I could say that over and over again. The president spoke to it moments ago.

Speaker 9 (37:22):

The other thing I wanted to ask you about was, NBC News this afternoon has a report of another mysterious balloon that the US military has been tracking around Hawaii. Is the White House aware of this, tracking it as well? Is there any response from this podium?

Karine Jean-Pierre (37:40):

I heard of the reports as I was literally coming out to the podium, so what I would say is, I would refer you to Department of Defense on this particular question. Go ahead. Okay.

Speaker 10 (37:49):

Well, I was trying to get your attention on that topic, but let me do another one. Thank you, Matt.

Karine Jean-Pierre (37:53):

The future president of the White House-

Speaker 10 (37:56):

We love balloons here, so if there’s another one, we’re very interested in that. We’ll ask you about that again at a future time and we’ll follow up on that. On the matter of the president’s concerns about the bank today and the debt ceiling, do you see a line of convergence at some point in which the public’s concern about, is there a frailty in the banking system that can produce more uncertainty, and what you’ve talked about with debt ceiling potentially triggering cataclysmic events for the economy, if that’s not resolved, is there a point of intersection where these two issues collide, that concerns the president and might that kind of an environment adjust his tactical strategy on how he’s dealing with the speaker?

Karine Jean-Pierre (38:46):

Look, the president is concerned. He’s concerned that Republicans are not doing their job, and not living up to their constitutional duty. We have been saying that over and over again. We have laid out what that could be. What it could do to the economy, what it could do to the American people, 6 million jobs. I just laid out what economists experts have said specifically about their plan and how it will essentially lead to a default. Look, the president and the American people needs Congress to act. This is something that… We’ve never been a deadbeat nation. Something the President said before. This has never happened before, and I understand-

Speaker 10 (39:25):

More direct engagement, perhaps change the dynamic.

Karine Jean-Pierre (39:30):

I think by the president speaking every day on this issue, answering questions, he’s speaking directly to Congress, speaking directly to Republicans. They know where the president stands. They know by what he has said over and over again for months that they need to do their job. I mean, it is very, very clear. And with what we’re seeing with the banks, of course, they should actually want to be even more eager to do their job. We are calling on Congress to do the right thing… Not even the right thing, what they’re supposed to do constitutionally, their duty. The last Republican president, which was the last one before this administration, did it three times. The Republicans joined Democrats or Democrats joined Republicans, however you want to say it, to lift the debt ceiling three times. And so why now? The question should be to them, why do they not want to do their constitutional duty? All right, one last question. I’m going to just take one in the back. Go ahead, Phil.

Speaker 11 (40:31):

Another one on the banking issue. I’m wondering what the president’s message is to members of Congress who might see the current banking shake up or future banking troubles as an opportunity to make a buck. Because for instance, we’ve already seen some members of Congress who have had what seems like particularly good luck offloading shares of First Republic Bank and turning around and buying shares of JP Morgan.

Karine Jean-Pierre (40:57):

Look, I’m not going to speak directly to that. I have not seen those reports. I get what you’re saying. What we will continue to say is that the president is going to make sure that it’s not the taxpayers that have to pay for this or lose on this. We want to make sure that they’re protected. Depositors, families, small businesses, we’ve been very clear, and it does not protect investors. First Republic shareholders and bond holders will lose their entire investments. That’s what the president has directed his economic team to do. FDIC runs this process, and I’m just going to leave it there, but the president has been really, really clear, no taxpayer money is being used to cover cost for this resolution, and he wants to make sure that they are protected and that the mismanagement of these banks, like for example, First Republic is being held accountable. That’s our focus right now. I’m just not going to speak to any kind of hypotheticals that you’re laying out for me.

Speaker 11 (41:56):

Has been very clear when it comes to the wealthy that they should pay their fair share, that they should not skirt tax law. Is there a need for the president to go to wealthy lawmakers and say, if you have access to new information that maybe the public doesn’t, perhaps you should take a step back?

Karine Jean-Pierre (42:11):

Look, what I’ve been very clear about is what the president wants to make sure that we protect taxpayers, and that investors have to make sure that they aren’t held accountable. And that’s what the president’s going to continue to say. Of course, the president has always said, even in the economic policy, that we need to make sure that we look out for the little guy. This is why we don’t believe in trickle-down economy. This is why we believe in building economy from the bottom up, middle out. That is what you see in every economic policy that the President has put forth, legislation that he’s put forth, that has been historic and has led to that type of economy where we do not leave anyone behind. And that is our focus. Thank you.

Speaker 12 (42:51):

Karine, do you want to say anything about [inaudible 00:42:54] today?

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