Sep 27, 2022
Press Briefing by Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre 9/26/22 Transcript
Press Briefing by Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre 9/26/22 Read the transcript here.
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Karine Jean-Pierre: (00:00)
Good afternoon, everybody.
Karine Jean-Pierre: (00:03)
Okay. A couple things at the top.
Karine Jean-Pierre: (00:05)
We would like to announce that President Joe Biden and First Lady Dr. Biden will host President Emmanuel Macron and Mrs. Brigitte Macron of France for a state visit to the United States on December 1st, 2022. This will be the first state visit of the Biden-Harris Administration. It will underscore the deep and enduring relationship between the United States and France, our oldest ally.
Karine Jean-Pierre: (00:31)
Our close relationship with France is founded on our shared democratic values, economic ties, and defense and security cooperation. The leaders will discuss our continued close partnership on shared global challenges and areas of bilateral interest.
Karine Jean-Pierre: (00:48)
This afternoon, the president will deliver remarks at the third meeting of the Competition Council. The president will highlight progress made on his competition agenda in the last year, which is helping lower prices for consumers, raise wages for workers, and promote innovation throughout the economy.
Karine Jean-Pierre: (01:07)
At today’s meeting, the president will also announce new action to spur competition among airlines, expose and limit airline fees, and most importantly, save money for American families. Add on fees hit the most vulnerable Americans the hardest. The president will highlight how companies sneak fees onto bills, prevent customers from seeking the full price of what they’re buying up front, and how they used termination fees to make it harder for consumers to switch their service providers. In fact, the median American household loses an estimated $5,000 a year due to lack of competition. The actions the president will announce today are part of his commitment to continue tackling that and bringing down costs.
Karine Jean-Pierre: (01:56)
Tomorrow, the president will continue this focus with remarks at the White House on how he is lowering healthcare and prescription drug costs for seniors and families across the country and working to strengthen Medicare and social security.
Karine Jean-Pierre: (02:12)
Last year, a family of four saved an average of $2,400 on healthcare through the American Rescue Plan that President Biden signed into law. Now, thanks to the Inflation Reduction Act, which President Biden signed into law about two weeks ago, Medicare will finally have the power to negotiate lower prescription drug prices. Seniors will see their out of pocket costs for prescription drugs limited to $2,000 a year.
Karine Jean-Pierre: (02:42)
For decades, big pharma and special interests had blocked Medicare from negotiating lower prescription drug prices. President Biden and Democrats in Congress put an end to that through the Inflation Reduction Act, while every single Republican official voted against it. Not only that, Republicans in Congress continue to advance legislation to cut Social Security and Medicare and put these programs on the chopping block. President Biden will speak to all of that and more tomorrow.
Karine Jean-Pierre: (03:15)
I wanted to also acknowledge the dangerous and backwards court ruling in Arizona Friday evening. This is a complete abortion ban, one that forces survivors of rape and incest to carry their pregnancies to term. Women with medical conditions could face dire health risks. Healthcare providers would face imprisonment of up to five years for fulfilling their duty of care. This ban would take Arizona women back more than 150 years and subject them to a law from 1864; a time before Arizona was even a state. Arizona is now the 16th state where Republican officials have stripped women of their rights through extreme unconscionable statewide abortion bans. Republicans in Congress continue to advance Senator Graham’s proposed national abortion ban.
Karine Jean-Pierre: (04:13)
The president and the vice president believe that Congress must act urgently to codify Roe and protect women’s access to abortion and healthcare. For millions of women enduring these daily attacks on our most fundamental rights, too many risks are at stake.
Karine Jean-Pierre: (04:33)
Finally, tomorrow we will be joined in the briefing room by FEMA Administrator Deanne Criswell, who is in Miami today to assess ongoing hurricane planning and preparedness efforts. Over the weekend, the president approved Florida’s Emergency Assistance request as soon as he received it and directed his team to surge federal assistance to the region well before landfall. FEMA has prepositions supplies at strategic locations in Florida and also Alabama. That includes generators, millions of meals and millions of leaders of water. FEMA also has staff on the ground supporting planning and preparation efforts.
Karine Jean-Pierre: (05:14)
Tomorrow, Administrator Criswell will provide an update on the efforts underway in Florida to prepare for Hurricane Ian, as well as ongoing recovery efforts in Puerto Rico and also Alaska. We look forward to welcoming her, and she will be glad to give you the latest information, and of course, take all of your questions.
Karine Jean-Pierre: (05:36)
Amory, you want to kick us off?
Yes. Thank you.
First, does administration have any reaction to former US security contractor, Edward Snowden being granted by Vladimir Putin, Russian citizenship.
Karine Jean-Pierre: (05:49)
Since I believe there have been criminal charges brought against him, we would point you to the Department of Justice for any specifics on this.
I wanted to also ask you about your announcement on Macron’s State visit. This comes, this announcement, about a year after things got a little bit bumpy for a while in the relationship with the AUKUS announcement. My question is why France getting this first honor? How much of this is, one, does the relationship come full circle back to being in good stand, and is part of this about repairing the relationship?
Separately from that, it’s a little bit late in administration for the first state dinner, but obviously COVID was around. What’s the calculation on how the administration thought about, “Now it’s time to actually do one of these state dinners”?
Karine Jean-Pierre: (06:41)
On your first question, we deeply value our relationship with France, which is, as I mentioned at the top, our oldest ally. With our bilateral relations founded on shared democratic values, economic ties, and defense and security cooperation, we work closely with France on the full range of global challenges, as you all know, including the war in Ukraine. It is for these reasons that the president and First Lady thought it was important to welcome this close and valued partner to the White House for their first state visit.
Karine Jean-Pierre: (07:15)
As you know, President Macron and President Biden have had multiple conversations over the president’s first 19 months and have met a few times. Most recently, as you all know, last week at UNGA. Again, this is a deeply valued relationship and one of our oldest allies.
Karine Jean-Pierre: (07:34)
On your second question, you’re right. COVID certainly has delayed many of the in-person events a president traditionally host at the White House, but the president and the First Lady have been welcoming foreign leaders to the White House, including on working visits and official working visits throughout the administration, but as you stated, COVID has delayed some of this, as well.
Speaker 2: (07:58)
Speaker 1: (07:59)
One quick housekeeping note on Florida, you mentioned the FEMA plans. Has the president spoken to Governor DeSantis ahead of the storm? Does he plan to?
Karine Jean-Pierre: (08:08)
We don’t have any calls to preview or that’s locked in to share at this time.
Speaker 1: (08:11)
Speaker 1: (08:12)
I want to ask you about the new poll that was out this weekend, this ABC Washington Post poll, which shows 56% of Democrats want the party to nominate someone other than Biden. For people under 40, 75% want the party to pick someone different. Is the president concerned by this? How’s he digesting a number like that?
Karine Jean-Pierre: (08:32)
As you know, I’m very limited on how I can discuss any kind of elections. I will reiterate what we have said many times from here, what the president has said many times, even as recently as his 60 Minutes interview, is that he intends to run. We don’t have any more announcements on that.
Karine Jean-Pierre: (08:53)
the president will say, as I am saying right now, his focus is not on himself. His focus is on continuing to deliver for the American people after taking action. I just talked about the Inflation Reduction Act, how important Medicare is now going to be able to negotiate, be able to lower cost for our seniors, and how important it is. Cost is going to go down, as well, as it relates to energy bills.
Karine Jean-Pierre: (09:21)
These are things that the president has done for the past 19 months, making sure that manufacturing is resurgent. We saw that in the New York Times article, and we have been able, in the first 19 months, about 700,000 manufacturing jobs have been created right here in this country because of the work that this president has done.
Karine Jean-Pierre: (09:44)
I said this at the top, we have done everything that we can. The president has made lowering costs for the American people a priority, has made the economy a priority for the American people. You think about the American Rescue Plan, Republicans didn’t vote for that. You think about the Inflation Reduction Act, Republicans didn’t vote for that. In fact, they put forth an agenda that wants to take away the gains that we have made by winning against one of the most powerful special interest groups. You just
Speaker 1: (10:16)
You just ticked off this list here, but the poll actually shows that the president is deeply underwater when it comes to the economy. Is there anything the White House plans to do differently? The midterms are 44 days. Does there need to be a [inaudible 00:10:28]?
Karine Jean-Pierre: (10:28)
Again, I can’t talk about the midterms.
Speaker 1: (10:30)
But this isn’t about [inaudible 00:10:31].
Karine Jean-Pierre: (10:30)
No, no, no, no.
Speaker 1: (10:30)
Campaign strategy here.
Karine Jean-Pierre: (10:32)
I’m about to answer your question. Give you a second here.
Karine Jean-Pierre: (10:35)
Again, I have to say this, I cannot talk about the midterms from here, because you did mention the midterms. What I can say is, and we talked about this in our August memo, we are going to go out there, not just the president, the vice president, the cabinet secretaries. You have congressional members in their district, as well, and we are going to talk about how we have delivered for the American people.
Karine Jean-Pierre: (10:56)
Here’s the thing, when you think about Medicare, you think about Social Security, you think about the pieces of legislation that we-
Karine Jean-Pierre: (11:03)
You think about the pieces of legislation that we have passed, they are very popular with the American people, with Republicans and Democrats. And so that is also important to note. So look, we’re going to keep getting out there. The President loves going out to states, across the country, to communities across the country, talking directly to the American people and that’s what we are going to do. I understand what you’re saying about the poll. I understand what you’re saying about the President’s numbers. But what we are going to focus on is how we are going to continue to deliver for the American people, especially at the most important things that matter to them, lowering costs, making inflation a priority when it comes to his economic agenda, making sure we don’t leave anybody behind, build an economy from the bottom up, middle out, and that’s going to be the President’s focus.
Speaker 3: (11:52)
Karine, does the White House have a reaction to the school shooting in Russia today?
Karine Jean-Pierre: (11:57)
So, of course, we condemn any violence. That’s something that the President always calls out. He feels it’s important that we speak out, especially when you hear about violence in schools. So, I’ll leave it at there.
Speaker 3: (12:17)
I’d also like to return to a topic that we broached on last week in the briefing about the British Prime Minister’s economic plan. The British pound is falling significantly, in part also because of the Fed’s actions here on the dollar, but also in reaction to her plan. The President has often and regularly criticized trickle-down economics. Is he a fan of her plan? And is there a concern about the volatility in the currency markets?
Karine Jean-Pierre: (12:47)
So, I’ll say the first part is, and she said this, I believe Prime Minister Truss said that when she was asked on one of the Sunday shows yesterday, and she said that the United States is one of their closest allies. And we will say the same; the UK is one of our closest allies. And so, we will leave their policy decisions to themselves.
Karine Jean-Pierre: (13:09)
But to your question about the pound: So, on Friday, as you all know, the President and the Vice President met with senior members of the economic team and got an update on the global economic developments, as they regularly do. Our economic team reported that because of our economic strategy, which is focused on long-term growth and investment, increased manufacturing and fiscal discipline, we are able to navigate these challenging global times from the strongest possible position. The American Rescue Plan helped us recover from within, with twin health and economic crises we were facing better than most other major economies.
Karine Jean-Pierre: (13:50)
Remember, we are all dealing with global challenges, clearly, around the globe. And as the President’s economic legislation, including the Infrastructure Law, the CHIPS Act, and the Inflation Reduction Act, are encouraging investment right here in the United States. I just mentioned a moment ago how 700,000 manufacturing jobs were created just in the U.S. in the last 19 months. A lot of that is because, all of that, really, is because of the work that this President has done. And that will make our economy stronger and more resilient to the years to come. So, again, we feel that we’re in a better position to deal with the global challenges. And I’ll leave it there. Go ahead.
Speaker 4: (14:32)
Thanks, Karine. With these poll workers in Ukraine being taken around by armed escorts and forcing people to fill out ballots on the spot, should we expect the United States to issue new sanctions this week in response to these sham referendums that are being conducted?
Karine Jean-Pierre: (14:47)
So, let me just first say that we will never recognize this territory, that this territory as anything other than as part of Ukraine. When it comes to the sham referendum, the sham votes that we’re seeing in the last couple days, we will continue to work with our allies and partners to hold Russia accountable and support Ukraine for as long as it takes.
Karine Jean-Pierre: (15:12)
As far as what we are doing, we are prepared to impose additional swift and severe economic costs on Russia, along with our allies and partners, in response to these actions that we’re seeing currently if they move forward with annexation. We’ve been very clear about that. As you all saw on Friday, G7 Leaders’ Statement, the United States will never, ever, again, recognize this territory as anything than part of Ukraine. We stand with our partners around the world in rejecting whatever fabricated outcomes Russia announces. And you will hear more from us in the coming days on this.
Speaker 4: (15:48)
So there could be action on that this week?
Karine Jean-Pierre: (15:51)
Look, we’ll hear more from us in the coming days. Again, these referendums are a flagrant violation of the international law. You heard that directly from the President at UNGA last week. And it’s an affront to the principles of sovereignty and territorial integrity that underpin the international system and are the foundation of the United Nations Charter. You heard the President say that, specifically, just a few days ago.
Speaker 4: (16:16)
And with the warnings that we saw from Jake Sullivan, Tony Blinken, all of these figures yesterday, about the catastrophic warnings that they say that they’ve communicated to Russia if Russia chooses to use nuclear weapons in Ukraine, does the United States believe that, even if it’s still low, does it believe the chances of Russia using nuclear weapons is higher now than it was in February, in March, given what’s happened on the battlefield?
Karine Jean-Pierre: (16:39)
So, as far as any evidence or the chances, look, we haven’t seen that at this time. We take these threats, though, very seriously. But we have not seen any reason to adjust our own nuclear posture at this time. So, again, haven’t seen any evidence of it. But we take this incredibly seriously.
Speaker 5: (17:00)
On the issue of the President speaking with Governor DeSantis, we saw them side-by-side a little over a year ago when they were together with the Surfside incident and so forth. Does the President think it’s important, when you have this nature of threat to millions and millions of Americans, to have a conversation with a governor? I know, there’s a lot of administrative and bureaucratic steps that are in place to provide resources. But does the President believe it’s important to speak to a governor in these circumstances?
Karine Jean-Pierre: (17:30)
So, look, what the President believes is that it’s important that federal resources is provided for the people of Florida. That is the most important thing, to make sure that we are there for them in this time of need. And that’s why the President reacted right away to make sure that we are able to surge resources before. And he did this before landfall. And so that is the most important thing. It’s about the people of Florida; it’s not about public officials, especially in this time. And so, again, the President, as President of the United States, as President for folks in red states and blue states, he’s going to keep that commitment. And you have seen him do that over the course of the 19 months when there has been extreme events, extreme weather that has happened, again, in blue states and red states. And he has done his job as President to make sure that we are there for the people in the state.
Speaker 5: (18:26)
Is there any concern, if there was a perception that there might be politics or personalities or disagreements among individuals that would get in the way, not so much of the flow of the information, but if people are wondering, is there anything that could stand in the way of the response if a President and a governor might not speak? He didn’t speak to the governor of Mississippi during the water crisis with Jackson. Thus far, has not spoken to Governor DeSantis.
Karine Jean-Pierre: (18:52)
And that’s a perfect example, Kelly O. When you mentioned the governor of Mississippi, you were right, they didn’t speak, and we still were able to deliver for the folks in Jackson and for the folks of Mississippi. You had our EPA Administrator on the ground. You had FEMA Administrator on the ground. And not just them, but also folks who work for those two agencies. And you had the Army Corps of Engineers. And so we put the full power of the administration, we surged resources on the ground to make sure that we did everything that we can to help the people of Mississippi. This is the same; there’s no difference here. We’re going to do the same in Florida as we’ve done in other states. As I mentioned, Administrator Criswell will be here tomorrow. She is in Miami, as I speak currently. And she’ll be here, and she will lay out what we, as an administration, is doing for Florida and and other states, like Alaska and any others that need our assistance at this time. And she’ll lay that out and answer any questions that you all may have.
Speaker 6: (20:01)
Thank you, Karine. I have a couple questions. One is that, last week, you were asked about Puerto Rico and any plans that the President may have to make a trip down to Puerto Rico. Is he planning to go? Can you provide us any guidance on that?
Karine Jean-Pierre: (20:15)
Sorry, I’m having a little bit of a hard time hearing you.
Speaker 6: (20:18)
I know you were asked last week about the President, possible travel plans. You didn’t have anything to say last week. Do we have an update on whether the President does intend to travel to Puerto Rico?
Karine Jean-Pierre: (20:27)
We don’t have anything to preview at this time. We continue to closely monitor the impact of Hurricane Fiona is having on Puerto Rico. I’ll just reiterate just a couple of things for folks who may have missed this. But as you all know, when he was in New York, the President announced the federal government is covering 100% of the cost of debris removal, emergency protective measures for the next month in this recovery. The President also increased critical needs assistance from $500 to $700 to support individuals and families with immediate or critical need as a result of being displaced from their primary dwelling. And as of today, there are hundreds of federal response workers on the ground in Puerto Rico supporting operations, planning, power restorations, debris removal, and urban search and rescue.
Karine Jean-Pierre: (21:16)
As far as travel, we don’t have anything to share at this time.
Speaker 6: (21:19)
And then, also, on Iran, we saw continued protests in Iran over the weekend. I know that last week we did get indications from the State Department that there were efforts the United States was taking to ensure internet access remained available. Are there any other measures, steps that the U.S. government is intending to take to support protesters in Iran?
Karine Jean-Pierre: (21:39)
Yeah, I’ll lay down the steps for a second. But I just want to make very, very clear here, and we have been very clear, the U.S., on our position with what we’re currently seeing in Iran: The President stated at UNGA, “We stand with the brave citizens and brave women of Iran who right now are demonstrating to secure their basic rights.” Women in Iran should have the right to wear what they want, free from-
Karine Jean-Pierre: (22:03)
Women in Iran should have the right to wear what they want, free from violence or harassment. Iran must end its use of violence against women for exercising their fundamental freedoms. There must be accountability for Mahsa’s death.
Karine Jean-Pierre: (22:14)
What we are doing, I’ll lay out a couple of actions that we have taken as it relates to the internet. On September 21st, the Iranian government cut off, as you know, access to the internet for most of its 80 million citizens. As courageous Iranians take to the streets to protest the death of Mahsa Amini, the United States is taking action to support the free flow of information to the Iranian women, sorry, the Iranian people, specifically, more broadly. On September 23rd, which was this past Friday, the Department of Treasury issued an updated general license that will increase support for internet freedom in Iran and authorize technology companies to offer the Iranian people more options of secure outside platforms and services. With these changes, we are helping the Iranian people access tools that are better equipped to counter the Iranian government’s effort to surveil and censor and censor them, as well. If we have any more information, we will share that with all of you.
Speaker 5: (23:15)
Just a follow-up on your answer about the UK pound, so are you saying that the administration doesn’t think that currency volatility is so serious right now that the US government would need to take action right now?
Karine Jean-Pierre: (23:27)
So look, we’re going to continue to monitor the global markets. What we are laying out is what the meeting that the president had with his economic team, how seriously we’re taking this, how closely that we are having conversations with our team. And what we can speak to is what we’re doing here in the US. Our US strategy, economic strategy, is focused on the long-term growth and investment. Increased manufacturing and fiscal discipline has positioned our country to navigate challenging global times from the strongest position possible. Again, we’re going to continue to monitor all of … As we always say, we monitor all indicators. We’ll also monitor the global markets, as well. But what I can speak to is what we are doing here to take on these global challenges, as we have been for the nine last 19 months.
Speaker 5: (24:20)
Thanks. And then on the president hosting the Atlanta Braves today, wondering if you or the president has any thoughts about the controversial about the team name, the Braves’ name, the so-called tomahawk chop. Any thoughts on that?
Karine Jean-Pierre: (24:35)
So look, we believe that it’s important to have this conversation. And Native American and Indigenous voices, they should be at the center of this conversation. That is something that the president believes. That’s something that this administration believes. And he has consistently emphasized that all people deserve to be treated with dignity and respect. You hear that often from this president. The same is true here. And we should listen to Native American and Indigenous people who are the most impacted by this.
Speaker 7: (25:10)
Thank you, Karine. Two questions, one on Italy. How do you foresee future cooperation with the right wing coalition that won the election in Italy yesterday?
Karine Jean-Pierre: (25:24)
So on the election, specifically, I’m not going to go and engage in any hypotheticals, because we still have some time here. It’s a NATO ally, as you know, a G7 partner and member of the EU, so we will work with the new Italian government on the full range of shared global challenges, including supporting Ukraine, as they defend themselves against Russia’s aggression. But again, I’m not going to get into hypotheticals. Again, they are a NATO ally, a G7 partner, and a member of the EU.
Speaker 7: (25:56)
One more on Russia. As mobilization in Russia continues, many Russian men, thousands of Russian men, tried to leave the country, and Europe is split on that. Some European countries, including Baltics and Poland, turned them back. Others argue that Europe should welcome them and give them refugee status. What’s your position? What President Biden’s position on that? And is the US willing to grant those men refugee status here in the US?
Karine Jean-Pierre: (26:26)
So I would let other countries speak to their own policies. I’m not going to speak to other countries’ policies from here. But what I can say for our part, for the US, we have been clear to distinguish between the actions of the Russian government and its armed forces in Ukraine and the Russian people, many of whom have spoken out against this unjust war. We see that just in the last couple days as we see the protests continuing in Russia. So anyone seeking refuge for persecution, regardless of their nationality, may apply for asylum in the United States and have their claim adjudicated on a case-by-case basis. That’s how we see our role here and our part in this.
Speaker 8: (27:11)
Thank you. Does President Biden share Zelenskyy’s assessment that Putin is not, quote, “bluffing” when it comes to his threats about nuclear weapons?
Karine Jean-Pierre: (27:21)
So I mean, we’ve been very clear on this. The Putin’s nuclear threat against Europe are irresponsible, and it’s reckless. You’ve heard the president say this. You’ve heard the National Security Advisor, Jake Sullivan, he was most recently on a few Sunday shows. And the consequences of nuclear use would be disastrous for Russia and the world, and Russia would be a pariah on the world stage.
Karine Jean-Pierre: (27:47)
This is not new rhetoric. We have heard this before from Russia. We have heard this before from Mr. Putin. They have made these threats before, over the course of this conflict, this past six months or more. We, of course, take it seriously. Again, we take this very, very seriously.
Karine Jean-Pierre: (28:04)
Though I would add that Russia itself has said many times that a nuclear war cannot be won and should never be fought. This is something that they have said, including earlier this year in the P5 joint statement. As the president made clear, any use of nuclear weapons on any scale should be and would be disastrous for the world and would entail severe consequences.
Speaker 8: (28:31)
Well, and regarding these catastrophic consequences that Link and Sullivan, yourself, have said would occur if there are nuclear weapons used, I mean, can we assume that these would be consequences beyond sanctions, that there would be some sort of a military response? What more can you say on what catastrophic consequences mean?
Karine Jean-Pierre: (28:55)
Jake Sullivan said this yesterday, as well, is that we have had private conversations. The NSC and his team has had private conversations and communicated privately directly to the Russians, and they understand that. They understand exactly what those consequences would be. We are not going to lay that out in the public. We are not going to have these negotiations or share these conversations in public. But again, to reiterate what our national security advisor said just yesterday is that they have made that very clear and spoken directly to the Russians and they understand.
Speaker 8: (29:38)
Are there any plans for President Biden to relay that directly to Putin in some way?
Karine Jean-Pierre: (29:43)
We don’t have any calls to preview at this time. Welcome back.
Speaker 9: (29:48)
Thank you. So it’s been about a month since the president unveiled his plan for the 10 to $20,000 of student loan forgiveness. I know that there was going to be an application available in early October. I’m just wondering if you can give any updates on whether or not that’s still going to be the case.
Karine Jean-Pierre: (30:04)
We’ll have something to share on that very, very soon, on the application process and the next steps. Once we have that, we’ll share with all of you.
Speaker 9: (30:13)
And several state attorneys generals are planning court challenges once this is unveiled. Can you talk at all about what is going on inside the administration to bolster against this or …
Karine Jean-Pierre: (30:25)
So I leave that to the Department of Justice. I know that when we announced the student loan relief, they put out on their website kind of a legal layout of how they came to making their legal determination. So again, I’ll leave it to them. But look, there’s always a lot of noise around the student loan debt relief. The bottom line is this is going to give some breathing room to many Americans, tens of millions of Americans. This is going to be an important step forward in giving people an opportunity to save some money and put money down on a house to start their family. 90% of Americans who are going to be able to benefit from the student debt relief are making less than $75,000 a year. We think, we believe it’s an important for working families. It is important for people who are just looking for a little bit more of help in their everyday lives.
Speaker 9: (31:31)
And then my second question is on this framework House Republicans unveiled last week, should they take the House up in midterms. I know that senior Republican leaders have been touting a lot of these different bullet points: investigation power, hiring more police officers, Parent Bill of Rights. What are you all thinking as they keep playing up their framework and giving interviews about it? I mean, what is the-
Karine Jean-Pierre: (31:58)
Specifically about the GOP agenda? Or … about …
Speaker 9: (32:01)
Yeah, I mean think the subpoena power and the power to investigate is probably, I would imagine, a concern inside the White House. But I’m wondering, as you watch these Republicans talk about it, what is the thinking?
Karine Jean-Pierre: (32:15)
Look, our thinking is we are going to focus on the here and now. We’re going to focus on the wins that we have been able to make for the American people. You all saw it. You all reported on it. When you think about the CHIPS Act, you heard me talk a couple times already about the Inflation Reduction Act. You’ve heard me talk about the American Rescue Plan, how that got our economy turned back on. I just talked about the student debt relief. That’s what the president’s going to be focused on.
Karine Jean-Pierre: (32:40)
Whether the GOP take the House or not, again, I have to be careful what I say from here, from the podium. That’s a hypothetical that we’re just not going to entertain at this point. At this point, we’re going to make sure that we are doing everything that we can to lower costs. And I will say this, Republicans are doing the complete opposite. They’re not wanting to lower cost for the American people. Again, voted-
Karine Jean-Pierre: (33:03)
They’re not wanting to lower cost for the American people. Again, voted against the American Rescue Plan, voted against Inflation Reduction Act that helps lower cost for the American people. But again, we’re going to stay steadfast in making sure that we continue the work.
Speaker 10: (33:14)
Yeah. 2:00 out, can you take a few more?
Karine Jean-Pierre: (33:16)
Yeah, I’ll take a few more.
Speaker 10: (33:19)
It’s been two months Karine.
Karine Jean-Pierre: (33:20)
Speaker 11: (33:21)
Is the White House hoping that the government shutdown will be averted at the end of this week?
Karine Jean-Pierre: (33:25)
So look, and I’ve spoken to this a couple of times, we believe that this could be averted. This is not the first time that we are in a position where we’re talking about the CR. It was done last year and it could be done again this year. So we encourage Congress to get it done.
Speaker 11: (33:47)
Is the president going to be talking to lawmakers this week to try and push that over?
Karine Jean-Pierre: (33:51)
Don’t have anything for you to preview at this time on any conversations that the President is having. I can save this, and I’ve said this many times before. We have our teams here in the various departments who are having regular conversations with members of Congress and their staff in a bipartisan way because we think this is something that should happen and needs to happen.
Speaker 15: (34:16)
Okay. Can you give us an update on USA to Pakistan? And can you also tell us to what extent US is worried that catastrophic flooding in the country, a country that’s nuclear armed and with a history of military coups, could lead to political instability and a security concern?
Karine Jean-Pierre: (34:36)
So we’d have to go back to the team to get any more specifics on what we have talked about already about the aid that we have provided for Pakistan. We have been in close communications with folks and making sure that as they’re dealing with the flood, as the people of Pakistan are dealing with the flood, that they have aid, especially from us. I don’t have any specifics on anything else beyond of what we have already shared. But I’m happy to check with the team and lay out and get some more updates for you.
Speaker 15: (35:09)
Is there anything you can say on the concerns that a humanitarian issue could lead to security?
Karine Jean-Pierre: (35:15)
We always have that concern. That’s something that we monitor very closely. Just don’t have anything more to share on what we’ve already laid out. Okay.
Speaker 16: (35:26)
Senator Rick Scott has a bill that he’s proposing that essentially is supposed to require universities with high endowments to pay some of the financial aid when it comes to tuition. Does the administration, have they seen the bill? We were told by Rick Scott’s team that they sent a letter to the administration. Have you seen the bill? And does the administration believe that universities do have some type of responsibility when it comes to lowering the cost of higher ed?
Karine Jean-Pierre: (35:49)
So I have not seen this bill. I would’ve to talk to our Office of Leg Affairs on this particular piece of legislation by Rick Scott. Look, we have been very clear and so has the Department of Education. The secretary there has said, has put into policies and processes in place to make sure that universities are playing their role and not raising costs on students in universities. But I have not seen this piece of legislation, so can’t comment on it at this point.
Speaker 12: (36:23)
Thank you, Karine. Does President Biden think America’s big cities are safe?
Karine Jean-Pierre: (36:28)
Can you say more?
Speaker 12: (36:30)
Well, we know that thefts and robberies are up about 20% in the first half of this year, so I’m wondering if he thinks America’s big cities are safe.
Karine Jean-Pierre: (36:39)
Are you talking about the New York Times story specifically? Is that what you’re referring to?
Speaker 12: (36:43)
Yeah, that’s the murder rate’s still 30% above its 2019 level. They’re all from the Council on Criminal Justice. So we’ve seen some high profile examples of this. The Washington commanders running back was being mugged, he got shot. Karen Bass, member of Congress, had her house robbed. These are high profile people. So should everyday Americans who are not in the public eye feel safe?
Karine Jean-Pierre: (37:07)
So I’ll say this, that same story also stated that the crime is complicated and multifaceted. Look, this is a president who has secured historic funding to make sure that law enforcement has what its needs. And he was able to do this in the face of opposition from Republicans during a time where he inherited a rising crime rate from the previous administration. The President put forth the American rescue plan. And in that very plan there was more than $300 billion to go to local states and local cities to make sure that they were able to hire law enforcement, officers. They were able to hire firefighters, they were able to hire people that were critical to their needs as they were dealing with a pandemic. Republicans voted against that.
Speaker 12: (38:03)
I guess just the original question, does President Biden think America’s big cities are safe?
Karine Jean-Pierre: (38:10)
It is not a yes or no question. It is very much a question of what has he done? That’s how we see the question. Is what has he done to make sure that cities, and it doesn’t matter if it’s a big city or a small city, it doesn’t matter if it’s in a red state or a blue state. What matters is that we have the funding and we have done the work, put the policy forward to make sure that these cities, whether it’s big or small, have what they need to protect their community. And that’s what this president has done, again, without the help of Republicans.
Speaker 12: (38:44)
And my last one on this Jen Psaki says that crime is a huge vulnerability for Democrats. Why would she say that?
Karine Jean-Pierre: (38:51)
So again, I can’t do electoral politics from here as you know. But I don’t agree with your characterization of what she actually said. But I’ll say this and I’ve already said this already. The past few months, what we’ve been able to do is create a pretty much clear split screen of what we are doing to deliver for the American people and what Republicans refuse to do. We are making sure that we have Medicare and social security and we make sure that the big pharma is not upping costs for our seniors and making sure that we give them a little bit of breathing room. And we have Republicans who want to cut Medicare, they want to sunset Medicare, they want to sunset social security. You have this GOP agenda that was put out by the house where they want to go after the inflation reduction act, which will have an effect that will actually hurt Americans.
Karine Jean-Pierre: (39:53)
And so I think there is a stark contrast here that we’ve seen the past several months, I would argue the past 19 months. And this is the last question. I know two o’clock we have to go. Go ahead.
Speaker 13: (40:04)
Thanks Karine. I just wanted to ask you about this pretty extraordinary open letter sent to the President by the workforce of the Office of Inspector General at DHS. They essentially say that the Inspector General Joseph Cuffari should be removed. That the workforce cannot complete their mission with Cuffari in his position. They say that he no longer has the support of the workforce. He’s permanently damaged the reputation of the office. This is apparently the office that for months sat on the news of the January 6th, the text message from the Secret Service. And according to reports this summer, blocked deeper investigations into those text messages. Has the President seen this letter? Does the White House have a response?
Karine Jean-Pierre: (40:38)
So we have heard about some of the issues with this particular Inspector General and we’re going to take a look at those. That’s what I can share with you at this time. But as far as any personnel announcements, I don’t have anything to share. Again, we have heard of some of these issues and I can say to you from here that we’re going to take a look at them. All right, we’ll see you guys tomorrow. Thanks everybody.
Speaker 14: (41:01)