May 24, 2023

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

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

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Karine Jean-Pierre (00:06):

I’m going to get the day right. Happy Tuesday. And for those of you who are jet lagged, I feel your pain. Okay, let’s get going. The president and Speaker McCarthy had a productive meeting yesterday about the need to prevent a default and avoid a catastrophe for our economy. They both reiterated that default is off the table and only way forward is in good faith and toward a bipartisan budget agreement. While areas of disagreement remain the president, the speaker and their teams will continue to discuss the path forward. Over the past week, the President’s negotiating team has proposed options to reduce the deficit that both parties can support, while also making clear that there are fundamental priorities that must be protected in this process.

Everyone understands that the consequences of a first ever default would be severe for the American people and the American economy. It would wipe out as many as 8 million jobs, trigger a recession, devastate retirement accounts, increase costs, damage our international reputation. All of this would undermine the historic economic progress we’ve made under this president this past two years. 12.7 million jobs, 3.4% unemployment rate. A made in America manufacturing boom, 1.7 trillion in deficit reduction, which is a record. America is not a deadbeat nation. We pay our bills. We have never defaulted in our history and we will never.

Lastly, president Biden has made tackling the mental health crisis, particularly among our youth, a top priority. Sadly, there is undeniable evidence that social media has negatively affected youth mental health. Research shows that anxiety, depression, sadness, and suicidal thoughts are on the rise today. During National Mental Health Awareness Month, the Biden-Harris administration is announcing the development of a new interagency task force on kids online health and safety, and a series of additional actions from several agency to safeguard children’s privacy, mental health and safety online.

Sergeant General, Dr. Vivek Murthy also released a new advisory on social media and youth mental health that calls on policy makers, technology companies, researchers, parents, and young people to work together to make social media safer for kids. These new administration wide actions will help advance President Biden’s national strategy to tackle the mental health crisis and protect the health and wellbeing of our nation’s young people. As we continue to mark Mental Health Awareness month, the Biden Harris administration remains committed to ending this crisis and ensuring everyone can access the care they need to live full and happy lives. With that, Chris, you want to kick us off please?

Chris (03:14):

Yeah, I have a few questions of the budget negotiations.

Karine Jean-Pierre (03:17):


Chris (03:17):

Republicans have said the White House has shown a lack of urgency around negotiations. We’re nine days from end of the month and then our house rules, it could take four days to get a deal on the floor for a vote. The speaker wants a deal to be cut this week. What is the White House’s deadline for reaching a deal to get it [inaudible 00:03:33] time?

Karine Jean-Pierre (03:33):

So look, as I stated, the conversations as the speaker has stated, as we have stated, have been productive, which is important, clearly that we’re moving forward. I think just moments ago, the team from the White House who were on the hills for the budget negotiation that just ended, they met for hours. And so they’re going to be returning and clearly give the president an update. But look, this is urgent, but this is not political. This is about doing the work of… The business of the American people. This is something that we have said over and over again for the past five months that this is for Congress to act. This is their constitutional duty. So we’ve been very clear and we’ve shown urgency from here. And look, we think Republicans saying that the White House is not showing any urgency is a ridiculous question, is a ridiculous statement for them to be making. And so we’ve been saying this for months, Congress must act, Congress needs to act and we’ll continue to lay the line on that.

Chris (04:40):

So oftentimes when these meetings happen, the White House or other party call them productive. That’s the word that’s often used. But can you say that we’re actually closer to a deal now than we were last week?

Karine Jean-Pierre (04:50):

So what I can say is reiterate what the president and the speaker said. The speaker said this yesterday that these talks, these conversations, the conversation yesterday was productive. And I think that’s important when you’re hearing that in these types of negotiations as we know are very difficult, right? Negotiations. This is nothing new. They are incredibly tough. And so when you hear it from both sides saying that they’re productive, I think that’s an important statement. I’m just not going to get into any further details.

Chris (05:16):

The last question, is the treasury’s looking for ways that delay certain payments. Is Mr. [inaudible 00:05:21] push back the X date? Is there potential that deal won’t be reached and you’re going to need to juggle these payments to make things happen?

Karine Jean-Pierre (05:31):

So look, anything relating to the X date, or that is concerning how to move forward here as it relates to that, I would refer you to the Treasury Department on their communications with agency. That is something that they would certainly lay out. As the treasury said yesterday, it’s important to have accurate information about inflows and outflows to the government so they can continue to produce an accurate forecast for Congress of when cash, an extra ordinary measure expire. So this sort of communication is actually consistent with prior debt limit impasses. So that is something for sure that the Treasury Department will have more to share on. Go ahead Mary.

Mary (06:08):

Thank you. We keep hearing these optimistic statements. You’ve noted the meeting was productive, but we aren’t seeing any actual progress. In fact, the speaker just said, we are nowhere near a deal. So why the optimism?

Karine Jean-Pierre (06:21):

Look, if everyone is working in good faith and recognizes that no one is going to get… Either side is going to get exactly what they want, we’ll get it done. That’s the way we see this. Coming out of the meeting yesterday, we’ve said this, the president said this, both the president and the speaker reiterated that default is off the table. So now we have to do this in good faith. We have to move forward. I believe the team has been meeting for a couple of hours this morning. As I just said, they just ended their conversation from this morning. They met until late into the evening last night. So that is important. That is good. We’re seeing movement. I’m just not going to get into specifics of where we are. We believe that this would get done as soon as possible. And again, they’ve been productive. We’ve heard that from the speaker, we’ve heard that from the president. The meetings continue to occur and happen with on the staff level and we’re happy to see that.

Mary (07:17):

I’m just trying to understand what does productive mean though mean? Do you agree with the speaker that you’re nowhere near a deal right now?

Karine Jean-Pierre (07:22):

Look, I’m going to let the speaker speak for himself. What I can say is, and what the president… And reiterate what the president has said, I have not gotten a download obviously from this morning’s meeting. The president’s going to get certainly an update from his team, his negotiation team once they get back and there’s a moment to do so in the President’s schedule. From what I know, from what I can tell you at this moment, the meeting that the president had with the speaker yesterday was indeed productive. And we’re going to continue to let the staffers, the negotiation teams continue to have this conversation and meet.

Mary (08:00):

And just one more, what do you say to Americans who see that we are nine days out and they are genuinely concerned and worried about how this will impact them? How worried should Americans be right now?

Karine Jean-Pierre (08:10):

Look, this is something that the president has been saying for months, for five months now, how it is important for Congress to act, how it is important for them to do their constitutional duty, is to deal with the debt limit. We’ve been very clear. Because we’ve laid out, I just laid out at the top what this could trigger if we don’t indeed meet that X date that the Treasury Department has laid out not just for us, for all Americans.

And so look, if you’re thinking about millions of Americans losing jobs, yeah, that’s concerning a potential triggering of a recession. Yes, that’s concerning. If you think about how this would take back all the progress that we’ve made in the last two years with this president, we think about 12.7 million jobs. We think about unemployment at 3.4%, which is the lowest that we’ve seen in history. All of the gains that we have made to get the economy back on its feet, we can see that go away. So that’s why the president has been meeting with the leaders in Congress and specifically yesterday with the speaker and having that conversation to continue to show the urgency that we have. But it’s been for five months. Five months that we’ve been saying this. Okay Steve.

Steve (09:21):

Does the President plan to talk to Speaker McCarthy today?

Karine Jean-Pierre (09:26):

I don’t have any calls to read out to you for the president to speak to Speaker McCarthy. I can tell you for sure that he will be getting a download from his negotiation team once there’s a moment on his calendar to do so.

Steve (09:35):

Representative Patrick McKinley said last night that nothing is agreed to until everything’s agreed to. Is that your understanding as well?

Karine Jean-Pierre (09:43):

So what I’ll say is this, and this is what I’ve been saying for the past couple of days. I said this when we were kind of on the other side of the world doing a press briefing for all of you in Japan. And we have said negotiation… I said, negotiations are very hard, they’re very difficult. Both sides have to understand that they’re not going to get everything that they want. And what we’re trying to get to is a budget that is reasonable, that is bipartisan, that Democrats and Republicans in the House and the Senate will be able to vote on and agree on. So this is the process, that’s why we’re moving in this way to make sure that it’s bipartisan but also reasonable. And so that’s what you all can look forward to.

Steve (10:21):

Has there been any more discussion about the 14th Amendment?

Karine Jean-Pierre (10:26):

Look, the president’s been very clear about this. He’s spoken to this. It is just not going to deal with the problem that we’re currently having at this moment, at this time. What we need to focus on is Congress acting. Is Congress doing their constitutional duty and dealing with the dead limit. [inaudible 00:10:45].

Jeremy (10:44):

Thanks Karine. So we are nine days away from the US potentially defaulting. And as was previously noted, it’s going to take several days for legislation to actually get passed through the Congress. So at what point, how many days do we have left until we are in full crisis mode?

Karine Jean-Pierre (10:59):

So look, the Treasury Department has laid that out. They put out an X date. That’s something that I would refer to them as far as what does that look like and the specific and any information, what I can tell you is what we’re going to continue to do here every day. Our team, our negotiating team is going to on a daily basis, multiple times a day, have that meeting and conversation and discussion with the negotiators on the Hill to get to a budget deal, a bipartisan deal that is reasonable so that the House and the Senate Democrats and Republicans and both chambers can vote on and deal with. So that’s our promise. That’s what we’re going to deal with as far as what’s going to happen and the specifics. That’s something that the treasury should deal with and to speak to.

Jeremy (11:46):

I understand that and obviously the date could potentially move slightly based on the treasury’s estimates. But for the markets that are watching, for Americans who are waiting for their social security checks, for their veterans benefits, who are waiting to see what’s going to happen, can you provide them a sense of how much cushion you have? How many days before that X date do you actually need a deal?

Karine Jean-Pierre (12:05):

That is again, for the state… The Treasury Department to speak to.

Jeremy (12:08):

Well, it’s for them to determine the date. But for how many days you need to get legislation?

Karine Jean-Pierre (12:10):

With any contingency, anything that’s related to that, that is for the Treasury Department to speak to. What I can speak to is this budget negotiation and what we have been doing, what we have been calling on Congress to do for the past five months is to act. And so we’re going to continue to have those conversations. We believe they’ve been productive. We believe there is a space and an opportunity here to have a bipartisan, reasonable budget agreement that again, the House and the Senate can vote on and that we can get the business of the American people done.

Jeremy (12:43):

And then on the specifics here, the speaker and his team have said that the federal government needs to spend less money next year than it is spending this year. Meaning that they need cuts, not just the freeze in the way the White House has suggested. Is that a red line for the White House? Or are you guys willing to entertain a budget

Jeremy (13:00):

Budget for next year and the coming years that is less than fiscal year 2023.

Karine Jean-Pierre (13:04):

Look, Jeremy, I’m not going to negotiate from here. I’m going to let the negotiation team speak to that. The president was very clear on Sunday. We put forward a proposal that cuts spending by more than $1 trillion. That is on top of, on top of, the budget that the president put out on March 9th that showed nearly $3 trillion more in dealing with the budget cut. To cut the deficit, to be more specific. And that was in his budget, so he called for another trillion dollars on top of that.

Look, that’s where we are. I’m not going to go into the details or the specifics from here, but you heard directly from the president on Sunday and that’s what he laid out.

Jeremy (13:48):

Then just quickly, just wanted to ask you for an update on the situation that happened last night at Lafayette Park. A U-Haul crashed into the bollards at the north end of the park just before 10:00 PM. Can you tell us how quickly the president was informed of the situation? Was he moved to a secure location? Were any protective measures taken?

Karine Jean-Pierre (14:05):

Look, I can tell you this. And I want to be really careful here. This is something that’s a Secret Service… I would refer you to for any information that they can share, specific information, that’s where they would share that. I can share with you that the president was indeed briefed, that he was briefed this morning on what’s known by Secret Service and the Park Police. Thus far he’s relieved that no one was injured last night and grateful to the agents and the law enforcement officer who responded so quickly. Again, I would refer you to the Secret Service.

Jeremy (14:35):

He wasn’t informed last night?

Karine Jean-Pierre (14:36):

I can tell you he was briefed this morning. That’s when he got the briefing from both Secret Service and the Park Police on what they know thus far. Clearly, the president was here yesterday working at the White House, so of course he was here last night, but I can tell you that he was briefed by both the relevant agencies, if you will, law enforcement agencies who had to deal with this situation, and he’s very thankful to them for their quick response on this particular issue.

Peter (15:04):

Just to be clear on timing, is any date before June 1st in your eyes good enough to get this thing done?

Karine Jean-Pierre (15:10):

Look, we have to get this done. That’s what I can tell you.

Peter (15:12):

Again the question is, is Friday the goal? Saturday the goal?

Karine Jean-Pierre (15:14):

You’re asking me for a date. I’m not going to get into dates. What I can say there’s an urgency. We want to see this done as soon as possible as it relates to the debt limit. The teams are going to meet on a regular basis multiple times a day to deal with the budget negotiations and this could be done today, actually.

Peter (15:31):

I guess the reason I ask is because there’ve been ramifications before. We’ve witnessed this back in 2011.

Karine Jean-Pierre (15:34):


Peter (15:35):

It went down to the wire. They still beat the [inaudible 00:15:38]. They still got the debt limit raised at the last minute, but then days later, the credit rating was downgraded. How confident are you that given the dysfunction we’ve witnessed here, it going down to the wire, our credit rating would not be downgraded?

Karine Jean-Pierre (15:52):

Look, Peter. This is why the president for the last five months has stated how important and how critical it is to get this done, how critical it is for Congress to do their constitutional duty. This is why you have heard an echo from here over and over, and a repetitive one, of how we think and believe this should have moved forward.

Peter (16:09):

Yet it didn’t happen. So, how confident are you that [inaudible 00:16:11]?

Karine Jean-Pierre (16:13):

Look, from what we see and what has been happening in these budget negotiations, in these conversations, we see these conversations moving in a productive way. That is important and we’ll get there. It has to be a bipartisan, reasonable budget negotiation.

Peter (16:29):

Let me ask you. Yesterday we heard from Speaker McCarthy multiple times. Spoke multiple times in the morning, spoke multiple times after the meeting took place. We heard from the president very briefly during the meeting. For Americans that feel like they’re not hearing from the president regularly, not hearing from the vice president regularly, not hearing from cabinet officials right now, where is the messaging from the White House on this beyond at this podium?

Karine Jean-Pierre (16:49):

You’ve heard from the president multiple times over the weekend. You’ve heard from the president multiple times during the last five months. He has been very clear. You’ve heard from me, you’ve heard from others. We’ve had our economic team out there talking about this on your network, on other networks, so we’ve been very clear for the past five months. I wouldn’t just look at the last couple of days. The past five months consistently, consistently, you’ve heard from this president.

Peter (17:14):

I’m asking you, it’s winning the messaging war on this?

Karine Jean-Pierre (17:15):

Look, we have been very clear. I know folks have asked me about this in the past and what we saw in 2011 is that, and polling show showed this, that the GOP was blamed for that. That’s how the Americans saw the outcome of the debt limit there and what was happening with the negotiations back then. That’s what the polling showed. So what we’re going to do is we’re going to continue to either speak from here almost every day. We speak from here about what’s going on. You’ve heard from the president, you’ve heard from the Economic’s team, you’ve heard from Democrats, the leadership in the House, in the Senate speak to this, about the urgency, about Congress actually needing to act and doing their constitutional duty.

Peter (17:56):

Last one. You said that if both sides are working in good faith, this will get done. Does the president believe that Kevin McCarthy is working in good faith?

Karine Jean-Pierre (18:04):

What the president believes is that the conversations have been productive and that is important. And, just to reiterate this, negotiations are hard. They’re not easy. This is democracy in action as we see it, as we have looked at what’s been going on these past couple of days and weeks. And what both sides need to understand is neither side is going to get exactly what they want. What we need to have is a bipartisan reasonable budget agreement and that’s what we’re working with.

Peter (18:34):

To be clear, you didn’t say the president thinks Scott McCarthy is acting in good faith.

Karine Jean-Pierre (18:35):

Look, what I said is that “if everyone keeps working in good faith.” So yes, we believe that that is what is happening. There is a good faith effort here. We just have to continue to do that. We have to keep doing that and then we can get into into a bipartisan reasonable budget agreement.

Peter (18:59):

Thank you, Karine.

Karine Jean-Pierre (19:00):

I’m go to that. Go ahead.

Anita (19:00):

Yeah. Wait. Me or behind?

Karine Jean-Pierre (19:00):

No, go ahead.

Anita (19:02):

Okay, thank you. Are the negotiators going to meet again today? The House negotiating team came out and seemed pretty down on the state of things and weren’t even sure there would be a meeting. Do you have any sense from the White House side?

Karine Jean-Pierre (19:13):

Since it just ended right before I came out, I don’t have an update on a meeting for today. As you know, they met I think almost till midnight, around 11 o’clock last night, and then they met again almost 12 hours later. This is the budget negotiation team, just to be very specific here. They went up to the Hill and they had a meeting for hours that lasted clearly more than two hours. I just don’t have any update if this is going to go back to the Hill later today.

I can tell you this, that the president’s certainly going to get a download from the budget negotiation team today.

Anita (19:43):

Did the president and Speaker McCarthy have an agreement to talk on the phone or in person on a daily basis? I think Speaker McCarthy implied that would happen. So, do they have an agreement? And is it going to happen?

Karine Jean-Pierre (19:56):

I can say this: don’t have any meetings or calls to announce, but obviously the staff is going to continue to have this conversation. They just wrapped up a conversations moments ago and the president will speak to the speaker when it’s necessary. I just don’t have anything to share at this time.


Speaker 1 (20:14):

Thank you. I know the president will review the debt negotiations, but what is the directions or messages he has given to his team for preparing for the state visit next month?

Karine Jean-Pierre (20:26):

As you know, the president and the first lady are looking forward to welcoming Prime Minister Modi for the official state visit, which is, as we announced, it’s going to happen on June 22nd. I’ll say more broadly as we have already shared when we announced the visit, this will be an opportunity to reaffirm the deep and close partnership between the United States and India, and the warm bonds of family and friendship that link Americans, and clearly Indians, together. That’s very important to the president.

The visit will also strengthen our two countries shared commitment to a free, open, prosperous and secure Indo-Pacific, and shared resolve to evaluate our strategic technology partnership including in defense, clean energy and space.

Don’t have anything else to preview. Clearly as we get closer, June 22 is very far away on our calendar, and so once we get closer to the 22nd, surely we’ll hold background calls and have more information and more details to share.

Speaker 1 (21:26):

Secondly, in Japan, when President met the Prime Minister, he told the prime minister that he has been receiving, flooded with lot of requests to be invited for the state dinner during those days.

Karine Jean-Pierre (21:41):

Say that one more time.

Speaker 1 (21:42):

I guess the president told the prime minister in Hiroshima when they met that he’s being flooded with lot of requests for the invitations to attend the state dinner.

Karine Jean-Pierre (21:51):

Who’s he?

Speaker 1 (21:52):

The president.

Karine Jean-Pierre (21:53):

The president. Can you just say that one more time?

Speaker 1 (21:57):

It has been reported in the media that the president told the prime minister that he’s being flooded with a lot of invitations, request to be invited for the state dinner.

Karine Jean-Pierre (22:05):

For the Japanese president to be… Sorry, the Japanese prime minister to be…

Speaker 1 (22:09):

[inaudible 00:22:11].

Karine Jean-Pierre (22:11):

Oh, you’re talking about India? Okay. I’m not quite-

Speaker 1 (22:16):

Should I repeat it again?

Karine Jean-Pierre (22:16):

Yes, one more time. I didn’t know if you’re talking about the Japanese prime… Yes.

Speaker 1 (22:22):

When the president met the Indian prime minister.

Karine Jean-Pierre (22:23):

Okay. Indian prime minister, got it.

Speaker 1 (22:24):

He told the prime minister that he’s quite popular in the US because he’s been receiving a lot of requests from Indian Americans to be invited for the state diner.

Karine Jean-Pierre (22:33):

Got it. Okay, that’s good.

Speaker 1 (22:36):

Did you understand [inaudible 00:22:37]?

Karine Jean-Pierre (22:37):

That’s a good thing. I don’t have a list of requests. It sounds like it was coming from Prime Minister-

Speaker 1 (22:44):

From India-

Karine Jean-Pierre (22:44):

Okay. I mean, you would have to ask-

Speaker 1 (22:47):

Is it being held in the dining room or the [inaudible 00:22:50]-

Karine Jean-Pierre (22:50):

I don’t have more to share. I really don’t. I think that’s a good thing. That shows the excitement of the Prime Minister being here on June 22nd. I just talked about, laid out the important relationship that we have with India, and how we want to continue to grow that partnership, grow that relationship. I think that’s a good thing to get those requests. I think that’s important and shows why it is critical to continue growing that partnership that we have with India.

Speaker 1 (23:18):

Thank you.

Karine Jean-Pierre (23:18):

All right. Sorry it took a little bit to get to that. [inaudible 00:23:22].

Speaker 2 (23:21):

Thank you so much. The president just came back from the G7 and there is no other G7 countries that goes through such debt ceiling drama on a regular basis. So how concerned is it that even if he’s able to strike a deal, this will undermine the dollar’s reputation, this will undermine the United States’ standing on the international business scene?

Karine Jean-Pierre (23:46):

Look, at the top of the briefing I laid out what would potentially occur if we didn’t lift the debt limit, if we didn’t make the X-date, and it would undermine how we’re seeing globally. So yeah, that is important to note as we’re moving forward and going through the next couple of days and trying to get the debt limit-

Speaker 2 (24:09):

[inaudible 00:24:09] that even-

Karine Jean-Pierre (24:09):

No, I-

Speaker 2 (24:10):

… if a deal is found, that it already calls into question the US-

Karine Jean-Pierre (24:15):

Look, I’m certainly not going to get into hypotheticals from here. What I can say is what experts have said, what the economists have said, and how it is important to get this done and how detrimental it could be if we don’t deal with the debt limit in a time that’s expedient. That’s why we have said could lose 8 million jobs potentially. It could trigger a recession. All of those things are real, and our standing globally. One of the important parts of the president going to the G7 is strengthening the global economy. That is incredibly important. Those G7 leaders are the largest economies across the globe. And so of course it is important how we’re viewed, how we’re seen. We’re going to try and work very hard to get this done, but at the end of the day we’ve been holding the line very strongly, which is Congress needs to act. This is something , when it comes to the debt limit, that they need to get done. So we’re going to continue to hold that line very clearly.

Go ahead, Jeff.

Jeff (25:15):

Thanks, Karine. I want to follow up on Steve’s question from earlier. It sounds like the White House is now ruling out invoking the 14th Amendment as an option to get around the debt ceiling. Is that accurate?

Karine Jean-Pierre (25:26):

What I can say it is not going to fix the current problem that we have right now, which right now what is going to deal with getting the debt limit done is for Congress to act. And that’s what we’ve been very clear on.

Jeff (25:41):

So it won’t fix the current problem, that means that’s not a possibility that the President will pursue-

Karine Jean-Pierre (25:48):

Look, I’m not going to go beyond what the president has said. Very clear it’s not going to solve our problems. That is just where we are. Congress needs to do its job.

Karine Jean-Pierre (26:00):

They need to do a job that has been happening since 1960, which is lifting the debt limit more than 78 times. That’s what we are focused on, that’s how we’re going to move forward. Okay, Karen.

Karen (26:12):

Thanks Karine. Tomorrow’s the one-year anniversary of the school shooting at Robb Elementary in Uvalde, Texas. Just a couple questions. Has the President spoken recently with any of the families of the victims there? And how will he mark tomorrow, if at all, and what’s his message to the families and the nation at this anniversary?

Karine Jean-Pierre (26:31):

So a couple of things there. We don’t have any calls to read out to you and any recent conversation that the President has had with the family. As you know, the Sunday after the horrific shooting, the President and the First Lady went to Uvalde. I think some of you may have traveled with us to Uvalde and listened to the families and hear their stories about their loved one who were killed. And it was a heavy moment, it was certainly something devastating for any parent to have experience. And when it comes to tomorrow, you can certainly expect that the President, the First Lady and the Vice President are going to mark that tragic day and we’ll have certainly more to share later today or early tomorrow on what that looks like.

Look, the families of these 19 children and two teachers, the 17 others who were injured, the entire community that is still mourning, they are in the President’s prayers. And so the President also was able to, he wrote a op-ed in USA Today where he marked the twin shootings in Buffalo and Uvalde and talked about how he believed those attacks became a catalyst for the passage of the Bipartisan Safer Communities Act. And while he’s very appreciative of what Congress was able to do, there’s so much more to be done. We need to see Congress do something more, put forward some common sense gun reform. That’s what these families deserve, that’s what they should be able to see. And again, it was a tragic day, guns is certainly an epidemic in this country, it’s the number one killer of our kids in America and the President’s going to continue to ask Congress to take more action.

Speaker 3 (28:36):

On the debt ceiling, Mitch McConnell has said that everyone needs to relax, that this is not an unusual process. Does the President agree with that?

Karine Jean-Pierre (28:44):

Well, what’s unusual is for the American economy to be held hostage and to be connected in this way to the budget process. And we do not default, we are not a deadbeat nation, we’ve been very clear about that. We should not be headed towards a direction where we would default for the first time. But I will also say both the President and Speaker McCarthy said that default is off the table. So that is productive, that is a step forward and a very important thing to note. And so we’re going to continue to ask Congress to act and to get this done and to lift the debt limit.

Speaker 3 (29:28):

And does the White House be any potential in negotiating short term rates?

Karine Jean-Pierre (29:32):

That is something that both the speaker and we have said, the speaker has been very clear that is not on the table. And so we’re going to continue to get this done in a way that should be done, which is Congress to act and to deal with the debt limit.

Speaker 4 (29:47):

Thanks Karine. To follow up on the 14th Amendment again, the last time the President spoke about this in Hiroshima, he actually said that he was looking at the 14th Amendment and he thought that he did have the authority, but the question was essentially whether it would get tangled up in court in appeals. And he said that’s what is unresolved. So has the White House determined that there is not enough time to invoke the 14th Amendment?

Karine Jean-Pierre (30:13):

So look, the 14th Amendment, as I’ve been saying, doesn’t solve our problems, Congress must act, the President actually has said that multiple times. And understandably the President gets it, he knows that any action needs to be strongly supported by the law. And I think that’s what you heard from the President. And look, I’m certainly not going to get into legal opinions from here, that is not something that I’m going to do from here, but again, at the end of the day, it doesn’t solve the problem that we have now.

Speaker 4 (30:44):

But the last time we heard from the President it was still on the table. Is it on or off the table?

Karine Jean-Pierre (30:50):

The President also said on Sunday that it’s up to lawmakers. This is up to lawmakers. And so Congress again must do what it’s done since 1960, 78 times, which is deal with the debt limit and make sure that we are not a deadbeat nation. That is something that he said as well. But understandably, the President wants any action to be strongly supported by the law and that’s what you heard from the President. But he’s also said, reiterated many times, “It doesn’t solve our problems and Congress needs to act.”

Speaker 4 (31:18):

You said today that negotiations are hard and they take time. Did the President wait too long to engage with the Republicans on the negotiations that he’s in the middle of right now?

Karine Jean-Pierre (31:30):

The President has been trying to engage with Republicans for months now. He put out his budget on March 9th. You’ve heard us talk about this, you’ve heard us lay it out, you’ve seen the budget, what the President laid out on March 9th. And Republicans passed their budget plan at the end of April. And then days later, that’s when budget negotiation started. And so we’ve been clear for the past five months how important it is for Congress to act, for Congress to do their constitutional duty, that is-

Chris (32:03):

The debt ceiling. At the time he dismissed the idea, he said it would be irresponsible to do so. Given where we are, given the risks, given all the horrible things that potentially could happen, does the President still believe that there ought to be a law that caps the nation’s statutory [inaudible 00:32:15]?

Karine Jean-Pierre (32:15):

Honestly, I’m just not going to get into that right now. Right now, what is the urgent nature that we see in front of us is getting this debt limit done, which is making sure Congress does its constitutional duty and do something that has been done 78 times since 1960. That is what’s urgent, that’s what the American people deserve and that’s what should be happening.

Chris (32:38):

One of the things he said yesterday in the Oval Office is that if there is a deal, the challenge that both leaders will face is selling it to their respective constituencies of their parties. Can you describe the outreach that’s currently underway between the White House and congressional Democrats?

Karine Jean-Pierre (32:51):

So I’m not going to get into private conversations, but clearly our team here, Office of Ledge Affairs and other offices in the administration and along with the congressional leaders, have been in touch with members and with certain teams clearly in Congress that those conversations will continue, that outreach was continued. I’m just not going to read out those private conversations. But that’s what I said, I said negotiations are hard, democracy in action is what we’re seeing currently right now. And just as long both sides understand that neither is going to get exactly what they want, we can get to a bipartisan reasonable budget agreement. That’s what we’re working towards. That’s what you’re seeing from the White House negotiation team, that’s what you’re seeing from the President. Just as long this keeps continuing to move in a good faith effort.

Speaker 5 (33:45):

To the back.

April (33:45):

Thank you, Karine.

Karine Jean-Pierre (33:45):

I’ll come to the back after. Yeah.

Speaker 6 (33:46):

Thank you. The tone in the last few days has been very respectful between the White House and McCarthy’s team. You just said a few moments ago that McCarthy’s team is working in good faith. But this morning you had House Minority Leader, Hakeem Jeffries slamming MAGA Republicans for dangerous default gamesmanship. You had Pete Aguilar saying McCarthy’s beholden to the most extreme members of his party. So is House Democratic leadership undermining the work of the administration right now?

Karine Jean-Pierre (34:13):

Not at all. We are aligned with them, with the leadership on both the House and the Senate and that continues and we have been aligned with them for the past several months.

Speaker 6 (34:24):

Does Jeffries speak for the party here?

Karine Jean-Pierre (34:26):

I believe he’s the leader of the Democratic Caucus on the House, so I would presume that is a yes.

Speaker 6 (34:32):

So it just seems like there’s a bit of a divide between the rhetoric that he’s using and the rhetoric we’re hearing out of the White House.

Karine Jean-Pierre (34:38):

Look, I think multiple things could happen at the same time. Clearly Leader Jeffries is a partner in this, has been a partner, as well as Leader Schumer, that will continue. And I’ll just leave it there. I’m going to go to the back.

Speaker 6 (34:54):

[inaudible 00:34:53]. Is that at all a signal that House Democrats doubt the President’s ability to lead the country to a solution here?

Karine Jean-Pierre (35:01):

Well, that’s an extreme analysis or a final kind of analysis there. I would say if you look at what the President has done the last two years and the leadership that he has shown in passing historic pieces of legislation, bringing the Democrats together in passing the Inflation Reduction Act, when he brought the Democrats together to pass his first legislation, which is the American Rescue Plan that helped get the economy back on its feet. That is a President that has led, that is a President that has continued to lead. You look at the economy, the economy has been able to create 12.7 million jobs, it’s been able to see an unemployment rate at one of the lowest that we have seen in modern time. And that’s going to continue if we continue to do the work of the American people, get this budget negotiation done. And that’s at stake, the work that this President has done, that is what’s at stake right now.

Speaker 6 (35:59):

I guess [inaudible 00:36:00] that would be an end run around what the President is doing.

Karine Jean-Pierre (36:03):

Absolutely not. Look, I would refer you to Congress on their processes and what they’re trying to do in Congress. But to say or suggest the President’s leadership is in question, I think is completely false. I disagree with that premise and certainly with that question because if you look at the last two years, if you look at what Democrats have been able to get done with the leadership of this President, that is the complete opposite of what you just laid out. Go ahead, April.

April (36:29):

Karine, two topics on the debt ceiling. You were strategic last week in saying there were a series of conversations versus negotiations, that has now turned. When did that wording change and why? And what are the sticking points, if you will, in these negotiations?

Karine Jean-Pierre (36:52):

Can you say that one more time? What’s changed? You were saying what’s changed?

April (36:55):

Last week you very strategic in saying they’re not negotiations, they’re conversations.

Karine Jean-Pierre (36:59):

Well, I’ve always said that we are negotiating on the budget. I’ve always been very clear about that. I said that default is not negotiable. That’s what I’ve said. I said default is not negotiable, but that the President has always seen this as two separate conversations, two separate discussions. And we are indeed been negotiating on the budget. That’s what you’ve seen from the outcome of these conversations and that’s what you’ll continue to see.

April (37:29):

So how long officially have you begun the negotiations? When did the negotiations actually start?

Karine Jean-Pierre (37:34):

Well, once the Republicans in the House were able to pass their budget plan, I believe it was April 26th, five days later, the President sat down with the leaders and they started having conversations. And then after that you saw the budget negotiation teams announce and you’ve seen and you’ve all have reported what’s been happening for the past several days.

April (37:58):

Okay. And second topic. The NAACP has made a move, a travel advisory from the state of Florida after several issues against the other, if you will, from Governor Ron DeSantis. And they’re saying that the hate that is coming out of this political season is dangerous. What do you say to what the NAACP has done? I mean, they’re following behind other groups, be it groups on race or LGBTQ+, but they’re making the bold statement. What do you say to this?

Karine Jean-Pierre (38:33):

So I’m not going to comment on travel advisory specifically, but I’ll say this more broadly and where we have been as an administration, as a White House, we’ve been outspoken about the impact of misguided policies advanced by Florida lawmakers. Republicans in Florida have attacked diversity, they’ve attacked inclusion efforts, they’ve limited the teaching of black history and they’ve launched attacks on the LGBT

Karine Jean-Pierre (39:00):

… to youth, immigrants, educators, and women’s reproductive freedom. That’s what you have seen from lawmakers in Florida. So I’ll let NAACP, I’ll let LULAC speak to the specifics of their travel advisories.

But this administration is going to, as we have for the past two years, continue to speak out against discriminatory policies pushed by state leaders across the country. And we’ve seen them across the country, by Republicans, extreme Republicans, putting forth these policies, this legislation, that hurt Americans, that take away their freedom. And so again, we’re going to continue to be outspoken. That’s what we believe it is our duty to do here. That’s what the president believes and we’re going to continue to call this out.


Sabrina (39:52):

Thank you. In a closed hearing today, a Russian court extended the pretrial detention of the Wall Street Journal’s, Evan Gershkovich, until at least August 30th. What is the White House’s response to that decision? And can you provide any updates on the administration’s efforts to secure Evan’s release?

Karine Jean-Pierre (40:08):

So we are deeply concerned that Russia has extended the pre-trial detention of Evan Gershkovich by an additional three months today. We have been very clear that the claims against him are baseless. Russia should release Evan and Paul Whelan immediately and we’ll continue to be very clear on that point.

Sabrina (40:30):

Just on another topic, China has said they’ll ban big companies from buying Micron’s chips. Why does the White House believe the PRC decided to take this step? And does the White House view it as the kind of economic coercion that G7 leaders condemned or denounced in Japan?

Karine Jean-Pierre (40:45):

So look, the recent announcement by the PRC regarding Micron, we believe are not based based in fact. And so the Department of Commerce is engaged directly with the PRC to detail our views on this. We are certainly troubled by the action and the recent raids and targeting of American firms, American companies. These actions are inconsistent with the PRC’s assertions that it is opening its markets and committed to a transparent regulatory framework. So those conversations, of our views, are certainly being communicated to the PRC via the Department of Commerce.

Okay, okay.

Speaker 7 (41:22):

To the back. To the back.

Karine Jean-Pierre (41:23):

All right. To the back.

Speaker 7 (41:24):

Yeah, I’m right over here, right? Yeah.

I see you. You see me. Let’s not play around.

Karine Jean-Pierre (41:30):

Let’s not. Okay Mr. To Wit, let’s go. What’ve you got?

Speaker 7 (41:33):

All right. I promise not to use that phrase again.

Karine Jean-Pierre (41:37):

Social media loved it though.

Speaker 7 (41:40):

Do you mean to tell us that, in the discussions between the president and the speaker, and in the discussions between the two negotiating teams, they are only discussing federal discretionary spending and that they are not at all discussing the terms under which the debt ceiling would be raised?

Karine Jean-Pierre (42:00):

What I can tell you is what you’ve heard from the president and what you’ve heard from both sides, which has been the negotiation has certainly been about the budget. You’ve heard them talk about the budget. You’ve heard them talk about how we’re moving forward and that, in this particular moment that we’re in, they’ve been productive. The president has held the line and has been very clear that the debt, when it comes to the debt limit, it should be done without negotiations, without condition. That’s something that the president has said in front of all of you. And he also said-

Speaker 7 (42:33):

[inaudible 00:42:34] happening in the actual rooms.

Karine Jean-Pierre (42:35):

I just told you.

Speaker 7 (42:35):

They’re not talking about the debt ceiling, about how long it would be raised, by how much. That’s not the subject of discussion.

Karine Jean-Pierre (42:43):

Well, first of all, I am telling you what the president has said to all of you.

Speaker 7 (42:45):

I know what he said. I follow it very closely every day. I want know what’s happening in that room.

Karine Jean-Pierre (42:50):

The president has spoken to what he has said to the leaders in that room, to what he has said to Speaker McCarthy in the room. And he’s been very clear. And so he has said, when it comes to the debt limit, it is not negotiable. It should be done without conditions. That’s what he has said, that he has been very clear, when-

Speaker 7 (43:06):

But is it leading up to that in these talks?

Karine Jean-Pierre (43:07):

Well, I will also remind you that yesterday the speaker and the president said, when it comes to default, it is off the table and I’ll leave it there. Okay, let’s keep going. Go ahead, Alex. I haven’t seen you in a while.

Alex (43:21):

Hey. Hi, Karine. Democratic mayors in Chicago and New York are just straining to house, humanely, the migrants coming north from Texas primarily. And it seems, at least in New York, they’ve run out of solutions. They seem really desperate. It seems like Chicago is more or less in the same boat. And they’ve pleaded for more help from the federal government. And what do you have to say to the mayors there?

Karine Jean-Pierre (43:53):

So look, we just announced very recently, that over $200 million to support cities this month, and we’ll soon be awarding an additional $360 million. So we take this very seriously and we would of course like to be able to provide more than that. But this is something that Congress needs to give it to us first to actually deal with that. But again, $200 million that we’ve just announced, another $360 million that we’re going to announce additionally to help these cities that you just laid out.

But in the meantime, I would note that the number of unlawful border crossing has plummeted since our plan went into full effect, just about almost two weeks ago, 10 days ago. And so that’s because we put a plan in place that dealt with diplomacy, deterrence and enforcement. That’s what we did. And that’s what you’re seeing when once our plan took an effect, you actually saw numbers of unlawful border crossings plummet. And so that is important because the actions that we’ve put forward is actually working. When it comes to the cities, we’re doing everything that we can. Of course, we would want to do more, but we have to have Congress to act as well.

All right? Okay.

Anita (45:13):

Thank you so much. Is it me or is it the guy behind me? I’m going to take that the…

Karine Jean-Pierre (45:17):

The floor is yours. Anita, if you want it.

Anita (45:19):

I’m going to follow up on Sabrina’s China question. When the Commerce Secretary meets with the Chinese counterpart in Washington, what are the administration’s objectives for this meeting? Should we see this as a sign of a warming up of relations between Washington and Beijing? And are they going to discuss this proposed executive order that the president is mulling over about preventing American companies [inaudible 00:45:43]?

Karine Jean-Pierre (45:42):

So I’m certainly not going to get ahead of that conversation, of that meeting. I think it’s going to be a very important conversation. Clearly, a meeting that the commerce department’s going to have. What I’ll say, as it relates to the next steps and other meetings and other travel by cabinet secretaries, we’ve been very clear, when it is appropriate, we’ll certainly revisit Secretary Blinken going to China. And we’ve talked about Commerce Secretary going to China and it’s also Secretary of Treasury going to China as well.

But when the time is right, when we feel like it is appropriate, certainly those conversations will continue and we will reengage on a potential travel, but certainly not going to get ahead of what is going to be on the agenda or what’s going to come out of those meetings.

Anita (46:36):

And a quick Africa question, an inquiry on Pretoria finds that indeed a private South African company did supply weapons to Russia. So how does the White House feel about this? What could be the consequences? Is Pretoria going to be receiving an angry phone call or maybe a rap on the knuckles, changes to their AGOA status, anything like that?

Karine Jean-Pierre (46:56):

So I’ll say this more broadly, I’m not going to speak to an individual company here. But look, Russia’s waging a brutal war, as you all have been reporting and you all see, against the people of Ukraine. And we are constantly working to cut off funding for Putin’s war machine and to undercut Russia’s ability to carry out this conflict. And so, as part of those efforts, we have strongly urged countries not to provide support for Russia’s war.

But certainly I’m not going to get into either any private diplomatic discussions or private companies from here. But we’ve been very clear on what we have seen Russia do to the people of Ukraine. But we’ve also seen Ukrainian people over the past, and this is something that the president said over the weekend, bravely fight for their freedom. And so we’re going to continue to do everything that we can to give them the assistance that they need to fight for their freedom. So I’ll leave it there.


Speaker 8 (47:54):

Yeah? Thank you so much. Speaker McCarthy said yesterday in front of the White House that the reason why we are in this problem is because every time Democrats want to make a deal, they want to make a deal about spending more money. So do you agree with Speaker McCarthy that Democrats have a spending problem?

Karine Jean-Pierre (48:14):


Speaker 7 (48:18):

To wit.

Karine Jean-Pierre (48:21):

Another to wit. Look, I’ll say this. The president’s budget reduces the deficit as you know, by nearly $ 3 trillion over 10 years. Right? This is a president that believes in dealing with the deficit in a real way. That’s on top of the $1.7 trillion that the president has been able to reduce the deficit the last two years. So the president takes this very seriously. He’s proposed reducing the deficit by eliminating tax breaks for carried interest loopholes, retirement for wealthy real estate investors, and cryptocurrency. He’s also proposed raising taxes for billionaires, stock buybacks and big corporations. And let’s not forget the subsidies for big pharma and big oil. For big oil, it costs about $30 billion. For big pharma, it’s about $200 billion. That’s what it will save if we were able to cut those wasteful spending on subsidies.

So the president has laid this out. He’s been very clear. Just look at his budget from March 9th. He’s laid out how we can cut spending on behalf of the American people and American families. And that is on top of what he’s been able to do the last two years, $1.7 trillion. Now, more recently, he also talked about doing an additional trillion dollars on top of the $3 trillion that he proposed in March 9th in his budget. So he’s taking this very seriously.

Speaker 9 (49:51):

Okay. Thanks, Karine.

Karine Jean-Pierre (49:52):

Okay guys, I’ll see you tomorrow. Thanks everybody.

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