Jul 19, 2022

Press Briefing by Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre Transcript

Press Briefing by Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre Transcript
RevBlogTranscriptsKarine Jean-Pierre White House Press Briefing TranscriptsPress Briefing by Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre Transcript

Press Briefing by Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre. Read the transcript here.

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Karine Jean-Pierre: (00:00)
Hello. Good afternoon, everybody. Okay, so today I’d like to welcome Jared Bernstein, Member of the Council of Economic Advisors, back to the briefing room. Jared is here to talk about the strong economic progress we’re making, and the enormous opportunities Congress has ahead to continue that progress. We’re really glad to have him here again, and, Jared, I welcome you back to the podium.

Jared Bernstein: (00:27)
Well, Thank you so much.

Karine Jean-Pierre: (00:28)
All right.

Jared Bernstein: (00:32)
An opening statement after which I’ll take questions.

Jared Bernstein: (00:37)
President Biden, who grew up in a family where the price of gas was a kitchen table issue, has elevated easing price pressures as his top economic priority. And we economists think of this in terms of inflation, inflationary expectations, interest rate changes, a vast array of complicated concepts and measurements. But the fact is that it comes down to affordability and the need among American households for a bit of breathing room in making ends meet.

Jared Bernstein: (01:05)
Therefore, we’re very happy to report that the current drop in the price of gas, down 50 cents per gallon over the past 34 days, is one of the fastest decline in retail gas prices in a decade. At current prices, the average American driver will spend about $25 per month less on gasoline than they would have if prices had stayed at their June peak. Economy-wide that means American drivers are saving around $190 million each day from lower gas prices, and since gasoline prices affect the prices of other goods and services through transportation costs, food is a good example, both households that drive and households that don’t yield some benefit from lower gasoline prices.

Jared Bernstein: (01:48)
Now, the decline in retail gas price is not a daily blip. The chart behind me shows that gasoline prices have declined every single day for the past 34 days. Just yesterday, we witnessed the largest single day decline in national gas prices since 2008. As we all know in contrast to the “law of one price” they teach in econ 101, gas prices vary from place to place. But according to an industry analyst, around 20,000 gas stations across over 30 states are now charging less than $4 per gallon. Now we know this is a volatile market. That’s one reason we’re highlighting a trend here and not a blip. But if you look at the about $20 decline in the price of oil since early June, as well as the drop in the… and that’s on the next chart, as well as the drop in the wholesale gas price, we think it’s reasonable to expect more gas stations to lower their prices in response to lower input costs and thus, barring unforeseen market disruptions, to see average prices fall below $4 per gallon in more places in coming weeks.

Jared Bernstein: (02:59)
While there’s a lot that goes into setting the global oil and gas price, the historic actions taken by President Biden to address the impact of Putin’s invasion of Ukraine have helped and continue to help to increase the global supply of oil, and therefore are in the mix of factors driving down the price. Because the president’s announcement on releasing 180 million barrels from our strategic petroleum reserve, and another 60 million from our global partners was back in March, I suspect there are people who forget about this critically important intervention in energy markets. But this action is very much in play in today’s market, currently releasing a record 1 million barrels of oil per day on average, and 84 million barrels so far. These releases have had an outsized effect at a time when the market is especially tight.

Jared Bernstein: (03:52)
In fact, as one leading oil market analyst put it, “the U.S. has become the world’s oil barrel of last resort, single handedly keeping prices in the energy market from exploding, even higher by selling a large chunk of its strategic petroleum reserve.”

Jared Bernstein: (04:08)
Two further points before we take your questions. As gas prices are coming down, our labor market, which is where working age families get most of their income, remains historically very strong. Job gains continue to come in at historically high levels, private sector employment has surpassed its prior peak, and the jobless rate has been at 3. 6%, just about its pre-pandemic level, for four months in a row.

Jared Bernstein: (04:35)
As someone who has carefully tracked labor market recoveries for decades, I assure you that this one is already in the record books for the speed of its recovery, and there’s no question that the American rescue plan, with its shots in arms and checks and pockets, helped to achieve that goal.

Jared Bernstein: (04:52)
Finally, while the lower gas price creates some much needed breathing room, American households need a lot more. Congress has enormous opportunities to help by continuing progress on both prescription drug costs, the cost of health coverage, and long term growth with CHIPS Act. I cannot overemphasize the importance at this moment in our economic expansion for taking action on these crucial supports for family budgets and for long term growth and economic security.

Jared Bernstein: (05:20)
Thank you, and Karine will call on folks.

Karine Jean-Pierre: (05:23)
All right. Well, [inaudible 00:05:25].

Speaker 1: (05:24)
Thanks Karine. Jared, is the administration preparing for a recession, and how do you react to companies like Apple and banks saying today that they intend to slow hiring because the economy is slower?

Jared Bernstein: (05:39)
So let me tell you a little bit about the way the National Bureau of Economic Research Business Cycle Dating Committee, that’s the group that decides recessions, makes their call. They weight a couple of variables pretty heavily, and one of them is payroll employment. Now, based on payroll employment, which by the way, of course, relates to the unemployment rate. 3.6% a historically very low unemployment rate for the past four months. Those kinds of statistics are anything but recessionary. Now, that’s very much a look at the job market today. A slightly more forward looking is if you look at consumers, and by the way the bank reports, I thought, had this in their earnings reports. They talked about the strength of the American consumer. If you look at retail sales from just last week, you’ll see American consumers are still helping to fuel an economy that’s delivering really remarkable job gains.

Jared Bernstein: (06:33)
So I think… and by the way, that in itself relates to something, I kind of referenced in my opening comments. The fact that not only do people have the benefit of an historically strong job market behind them, a real tailwind in this economy, many also still have excess savings. This is one of the things that’s helping to fuel consumer spending, which again is 70% percent of our economy. So, I think if you look at the strength of the current economy, if you look at the strength of the labor market, if you look at the strength of consumer spending, you would conclude that where we are right now remains solidly within expansion.

Speaker 1: (07:11)
Okay. And just one follow up to that. I’m sure we all remember a year ago, other colleagues of yours stood here and said inflation was transitory, and was not going to last, and it was certainly not going to go up to where we are now. Do you think it’s possible in a couple of months you might regret standing here and saying we’re not about to be a recession?

Jared Bernstein: (07:31)
Well, I want to be very clear what I’m saying. What I’m saying is that based on consumer spending, based on payroll employment, based on where the unemployment rate is, I think we can confidently say that these numbers that we’re posting are very much inconsistent with a recessionary call, given where we are right now. I think that is the most accurate way to assess the answer to that question. When it comes to transitory, I think the answer there is that we were careful when we were talking about that to consistently reference the forecasts that were out there. The view on inflation’s trajectory by not only pretty much every forecaster we could find but, of course, the Federal Reserve as well. And so this was a period where we hadn’t seen a new variance of the virus, where the war in Ukraine of course was not yet a reality. So, I think that if you look at the general trajectory of where the forecasts were pointing in there, that was generally the way in which we tried to talk about that. And I think that’s worth going back and seeing.

Karine Jean-Pierre: (08:45)
Go ahead.

Speaker 2: (08:47)
Senator Manchin said that he is a no-go on the climate deal because he has concerns about inflation. Is there a scenario where you all try to wait for better inflation news and then try again on that front?

Jared Bernstein: (09:00)
Well, let me just start by saying better inflation news, I mean, that’s again, getting into a level of forecasting that I’m not going to do in this period uncertainty. What I can very much assure you though, is that the price of gas is considerably lower in July than it was in June, and this is something the president referenced when the June CPI report came out. We are talking about, as I mentioned in my opening comments, a situation where the price of gas is falling at about the fastest rate it has in a decade, and where more than 20,000 gas stations now are selling gas for less than $4 a gallon. That will show up as some easing of prices. I think when it comes to reconciliation, the president has a view that was very clearly laid out in a statement last Friday.

Jared Bernstein: (09:52)
He will always follow a legislative path to get the deal done for the American people. To deliver the kind of relief, both near term and long term, that he came here to administer. But if part of that legislative path to reconciliation closes, we have other options. We can certainly pursue reconciliation with two critically important policies, lowering the cost of prescription drugs and lowering the cost of health insurance premiums to folks who get that from the exchanges.

Jared Bernstein: (10:26)
Particularly on the… Those are both really important. Let me say a couple words about them. When you’re talking about the exchanges, you’re talking about 13 million people who are looking at a potential increase in their average premiums, of $800 a year. Now, the Center on Budget where I used to work did a calculation showing that for a couple, 60 years old with $45,000, so not rolling in doe exactly, failing to extend these enhanced premiums would raise their premium cost by $1,900.

Jared Bernstein: (10:56)
Now let’s talk about prescription drugs for a second. Presidents from both parties have long tried to accomplish this critically important measure to stop prohibiting Medicare from competing in the market to lower drug prices for our seniors. Now, I think you have to ask yourself why it is that in other countries, people pay two to three times less than we do for the same drugs. The same pill cost two to three times more here than it does there. The relief that we could deliver to our seniors from allowing prescription drugs to compete, as the president has stressed, is not just essential for their living standards and their wellbeing, it is a way to actually ease inflationary pressures.

Jared Bernstein: (11:53)
So, this is a very clear choice of whether you stand with big pharma or whether you stand with American seniors in the Medicare program, which by the way, will be $100 billion better off over 10 years if we can achieve this in reconciliation. Now, the Democrats appear to be aligned on that, and that, along with the premium coverage, would be an absolutely huge win for reconciliation.

Karine Jean-Pierre: (12:20)
[inaudible 00:12:20]

Speaker 3: (12:20)
Thank you. Following up on Jeff’s question about transitory inflation, I’m curious what made the White House realize that the phrase was inaccurate and also politically problematic?

Jared Bernstein: (12:30)
I think it has to do with the… I’m going to use economics or the periodicity, which is-

Speaker 3: (12:36)
The what?

Karine Jean-Pierre: (12:37)
[inaudible 00:12:37].

Jared Bernstein: (12:39)
See, this is why you do a better job than I do. I think it has to do with the ambiguity about the length of that word, is what it has to do with. I think it has to do with the ambiguity about the length of that word. Some people hear transitory, and they’re going to think weeks and months. Others hear transitory, particularly probably economists who are used to the broader ups and downs of cycles, and think longer periods. And I think the lack of specificity about the cadence that was implied by that word, the temporal cadence implied by that word, led to a level of ambiguity that wasn’t serving the debate very well.

Speaker 3: (13:19)
And what about… Just the second part about politically problematic? Was that something you were hearing from voters, seeing show up in polls that that language was hurting the president, or both?

Jared Bernstein: (13:27)
I think that when it comes to politically problematic, you’ve heard the president say in recent days that inflation is unacceptably high and that bringing it down is his absolute number one domestic priority. And I think that is all you need to know in terms of what he is dispatching his economics team to do in that front. Now, I also think, and let’s not lose this because I think it’s really important today. This is what I tried to focus in on my comments at the top, is that his actions… this is not just forward looking. It is, but it’s not just forward looking. Actions he has taken thus far are providing real relief to the American people. Okay.

Jared Bernstein: (14:10)
His release of oil from the strategic reserves, his increase in E15 ethanol, these are not the only reasons that the price is behaving as you saw in those charts, but they are in the mix. The president’s actions taken thus far are helping to provide real relief, real breathing room for the American consumers at the pump. So this is not just an aspirational goal of this president, this is something he and his team are actively working on.

Karine Jean-Pierre: (14:40)
Good. In the back.

Speaker 4: (14:42)
Thank you, sir. I have two questions. The first quick one is, I guess, does the council have an estimate for how much the administration’s regulatory changes have combated or contributed to inflation thus far?

Jared Bernstein: (14:57)
I think in many ways we’ve been talking about a lot of that already. I mean, I just mentioned the E15 ethanol waiver. So that’s a waiver that helps increase the supply of gasoline, particularly in the Midwest. I think certainly if you broaden sort of the regulatory scope to consider executive actions and rule changes, you see a lot more. I mentioned the strategic reserve release. We haven’t talked about this yet, but the president has made real progress in helping to ameliorate food price pressures through issues that include double cropping, taking action on fertilizer prices, ocean shipping. So all of these are actions that he’s taken. In some cases they’ve involved legislation, but in many cases they haven’t.

Speaker 4: (15:43)
And then my second question. Tomorrow marks the one-year anniversary of President Biden insisting that high prices and inflation, in the president’s words “were expected to be temporary.” A lot of my colleagues have asked similar questions, but I’m wondering how much faith can the American public put in future White House assessments about the economy, about inflation, after they saw that inflation number increased month after month, and before the Russian invasive, correct?

Jared Bernstein: (16:11)
Well, let me say two things. First of all, I tried to answer as fullsomely as I could part of that question earlier. But let me ask you to focus on what we’re trying to talk about today, which is something that is happening in the here and now. The chart’s not up, but that first chart, which we can certainly make available to you, that shows we’re not talking about looking around any corner here. We’re talking about what has happened in the past 34 days to prices at the pump. They’ve fallen 50 cents, and you heard me go through some of the numbers in terms of the relief for American drivers. At the same time, we are not stopping there. Okay. This is nothing close to a victory lap because we have much more to do to achieve the president’s agenda of helping families get some breathing room in this tough environment, which is characterized by, of course, such highly elevated prices.

Jared Bernstein: (17:07)
Now, if you can help people with prescription drugs. Drugs that cost two to three times less in other countries for the same pill. If you can help a 60-year-old couple with a $45,000 income not have to pay another $1,900 to get their insurance coverage, you are accomplishing the president’s goals. Now, to do that, we need Congress to align and work with us. And many Democrats are there when it comes to prescription drugs. This is something that president Trump said he wanted to achieve, and he didn’t get there. This president is pushing hard to achieve that goal.

Jared Bernstein: (17:45)
One last point on this. I’ve talked about mostly near-term relief, because that’s so important for families who are seeking a little bit of breathing room right now, but there’s another piece of legislation on the docket, and that of course is CHIPS. And this is something that has had real bipartisan support. I believe an earlier version got 68 votes in the Senate. I think it is absolutely and critically important for this nation to invest in domestic production of microprocessors. Again, not only would this be a highly favorable investment for growth and for jobs, it would be disinflationary because one of the areas where we see inflationary pressures is, of course, in autos, which now very much depend on chips. To be clear, that’s not a near-term intervention. That’s not going to show up in the next couple of months, but longer term absolutely. Supply chain, same thing.

Speaker 5: (18:44)
[inaudible 00:18:44] both ways, Jared, because when the gas prices go up, it’s got nothing to do with the president. When we see some decline, you want him to get the credit?

Jared Bernstein: (18:51)
Look, I think that there’s no both way thinking here at all. I think that there has been a consistent, I think, pressure on this White House to try to do everything it could to ameliorate inflationary pressures, and the president has reacted from the beginning, talking about how this was such an important priority to alleviate these pressures on behalf of the American people. So what did he do? He put his head down and got to work, and got us to work, to do everything we could to achieve that goal. He then presided over the largest historical release of barrels of oil from the strategic reserve, 180 million barrels. Then he talked to global partners to get them to kick in another 60 million. So he-

Speaker 5: (19:37)
So when [inaudible 00:19:37] it was Putin’s fault. When they’re coming down, he gets the credit.

Jared Bernstein: (19:40)
Yeah, I very much disagree with that framing. I think what’s happening here is a president who is working tirelessly to address the largest constraint, probably the toughest constraint, facing American households right now, the budgetary impacts of these elevated prices. And we’re showing you here today, some real results, that partially derived from concrete efforts he’s taken.

Karine Jean-Pierre: (20:06)
All right. Go ahead, James.

Speaker 1: (20:08)
With the different economic data releases we’ve seen, they aren’t really consistent with each other. So, out of all the choices of indicators, what does the administration see as the most important indicators for how they [inaudible 00:20:21]?

Jared Bernstein: (20:20)
That’s a great question. So, there is no most important indicator. At the CEA-

Speaker 2: (20:25)
It’s a group of them.

Jared Bernstein: (20:27)
Yeah, a group of them. So, at the CEA we just look at all of them. And I think where I would take your question is that we don’t give all of them… It’s sort of like I was talking to this gentleman before about the different weights that economists put on these variables when we’re trying to assess the conditions of the business cycle. I think this is particularly relevant in the area of GDP. So, in terms of real GDP, if you look at consumer spending and business investment, you actually see some very solid numbers, and these are some of the numbers, particularly consumer spending. Retail sales-

Jared Bernstein: (21:03)
Some of the numbers, particularly consumer spending, retail sales, consumer spending, personal income, taking out transfers. These are some of the measures that the business cycle dating committee look at. And so we’re looking at them too. And if you get under the hood of the GDP report from the Q1 and we’ll certainly be getting under that same hood in Q2, one of the things you see is consistently strong consumer spending. Now consumer spending is 70% of our economy. That’s actually uniquely high. In Europe, it’s about 55. In China, it’s about 45. So I could tell you stories about my family and some of the orders that I’ve seen come in from our own consumer preferences, I won’t. This is a very acquisitive nation in when you compare our consumer spending shares to other countries. So when you’re looking at an economy with a 70% consumer spending share, and then you look the labor market, which is, of course, as I said in my comments, which is of course, where most working people get their income is from the labor market. And you look at the level of elevated savings, which again has the fingerprints of the rescue plan on it, you get a sense of what we’re looking at in terms of economic indicators that continue to fuel pretty robust consumer spending. And that’s an important, I think, element of the current economy.

Speaker 6: (22:35)
Sir, a quick one on student loan debt and cancellation. Does The White House have any concern that canceling any amount of student loan debt will further aggravate inflation? And what kind of a status update can you give us on the President’s deliberations on that?

Jared Bernstein: (22:49)
I’m not going to get ahead of the President and give you any kind of a status update. What I will say are things that I myself have said and NEC Director, Brian Deese has said that, if you think about the inflationary implications of student debt relief and you think about those of restart, restarting payments, they push in different directions. And we think that broadly speaking that those effects would essentially neutralize.

Speaker 7: (23:23)
Thanks. Jared, you said over the weekend that the President is going to look to enact his climate agenda with or without Congress. But realistically, how much of it can he enact without Congress, especially now that the Supreme Court has tied his hands to some degree when it comes to emissions regulations at the EPA?

Jared Bernstein: (23:43)
I think realistically there is a lot he can do and there is a lot he will do. The President will aggressively fight to attack climate change because he knows it’s one of the reasons he’s here and it is absolutely core to transitioning from where we are to where we need to be. Now, I think I’ve given you a fulsome sense today of that both of the sides of that transition are important, affordability at the pump, yes, but we also have to plot a path to clean energy.

Jared Bernstein: (24:18)
I said over the weekend that it’s kind of unfathomable to me that one wouldn’t appreciate this urgency. If you look at the costs to our economy of floods, of droughts, of fires. If you look at the global economy and you see the kinds of heat waves that are occurring right now, scientists will tell you all day that this very much relates to global warming. You’re talking about something like 100, $120 billion a year in cost to our economy. If you think about the geopolitical costs occurring when a Russian plutocrat weaponizes energy and fossil fuels and funds this unjust aggression against Ukraine with it, you get another sense of just how important it is to intervene. And this all comes from conversations we’ve had with the President. That’s how urgent this is.

Jared Bernstein: (25:10)
Now you asked what can he do? Let me start by telling you a little bit about what he has done. He has taken unprecedented action already to tackle the climate crisis. And this is non-legislative, he’s invoked the Defense Production Act to make more clean energy in America. He’s jump started the offshore wind industry. He has set the strongest emissions standards ever and it is our firm belief that he can and will continue to do so if the legislative path is closed to him. But he will also pursue that path as well. And that this is how important and urgent it is to him.

Speaker 7: (25:45)
You just laid out the cost of action, clearly Senator Manchin believed that the cost of action was too high in the face of high inflation. Why do you think you weren’t able to convince him that the cost of doing nothing would be higher?

Jared Bernstein: (26:03)
I just don’t have a great answer to that question. I think what we can do and I hope I’ve been a little bit convincing here in my conversation. But I’ve worked for Joe Biden for a long time and I’ve found him to be profoundly convincing in this area and he’s someone who’s been in the Senate for decades, so it’s not like he grew up in a world where climate change and global warming where the top of the agenda. But his understanding of that, his deep appreciation of the urgency of what I’ve just described of you is as high as I’ve been stressing in my comments today. So I personally, and I think lots of other people, there were 81 million people who voted for him, find him extremely convincing on this. And when fighting Joe Biden says he’s going to keep fighting for this issue, I think we should all believe him.

Speaker 8: (27:00)
Two more. Go ahead, Franco.

Franco: (27:02)
Hey. Thanks, Jared. You talked earlier about the importance of the prescription drugs efforts, but you also kind of took a sigh of deep breath when asking the inability to convince Manchin on climate change. How is the reduced or the smaller reconciliation package? Does The White House feel that’s a defeat and if not and not so?

Jared Bernstein: (27:24)
Not even close. Accomplishing the prescription drug agenda. The President has been talking about an underscoring since before the campaign, I was his chief economist when he was the vice president low these many years ago. And he was talking about the importance of it back then. I remember briefing him on these points about how prescription drugs are two to three times more expensive here, how we could save Medicare $100 billion over 10 years by injecting competition into this space that just resonated with him. I think probably ever since he’s been aware of the issue and achieving that would be an absolutely landmark goal, not just on behalf of American seniors and their living standards, but on behalf of this absolutely essential and much loved program called Medicare.

Franco: (28:20)
Considering where the original proposal was?

Jared Bernstein: (28:22)
I see where you’re going. So considering where the original proposal was, I want to refer you to the comments I just made. Sure this president will always try to pursue a legislative path to get the best deal for the people who sent him up here to do just that. But if that path closes, he will find another path and he’ll keep working on the legislative path. Joe Biden is someone who’s been pulling legislative rabbits out of hats for three or four decades now, and he’s going to continue to do so. So whatever paths are open to us, we will take, when those paths are closed, we’re going to find other paths. That’s how important this agenda is.

Speaker 8: (29:04)
Go ahead, Joe. [inaudible 00:29:06].

Joe: (29:05)
Back to reconciliation. Obviously one of the parts of the President’s agenda had been a global tax deal that this administration has led the world in sealing. But now because of the dropped tax provisions in reconciliation, the United States will not be in compliance with the deal that it negotiated essentially. How can you possibly expect the rest of the world to follow along if the US is not going to actually be in compliance with the deal?

Jared Bernstein: (29:31)
So let me say a few things about that kind of warming up to the answer, because I want to just give a little bit of a runway. First of all, I do want to give a real shout out to Secretary Yellen, who’s worked very hard in this space and has accomplished a lot in terms of working with our global partners. And I think one of the things you got when Joe Biden came to The White House is a president who was going to reengage with global partners in a way that delivered the progress we’ve made thus far.

Jared Bernstein: (29:59)
I also want to say something about this idea that has come up in some recent discussions that somehow increasing taxes leads to higher inflation. It’s hard for me to even put the phrase together because I think it’s really the other way. When you increase taxes, particularly on those at the highest incomes, so you’re not talking about people who are liquidity constrained, for whom inflation is nearly the problem that it is for middle or lower income people. When you’re talking about tax increase for those at the top of the income scale, this is deficit reducing and reducing the deficit is dis-inflationary, not inflationary.

Jared Bernstein: (30:38)
By the way, just a side note here. I was just looking at some of these numbers in my preparation for the shows I did yesterday, the budget deficit has come down 77% in this fiscal year, in the nine months of this fiscal year from October 21 through June 22. That’s the largest decline on record over that part of a fiscal year. And I know some people say, “Well, that’s all just spending coming off of the rescue plan.” In fact spending is down, I think I have these numbers, yeah, spending is down 18%, receipts, tax receipts are up 26%. I’ll put these later out on my blog today. Econ Jared, 46. I’m going to put these out. So I have these, I’m pretty sure I’m remembering them correctly.

Jim: (31:28)
The global tax deal.

Jared Bernstein: (31:29)
Yeah. I’ll get back to that in a second. So deficit reduction is dis-inflationary and tax increases fit into that. Now in terms of the global tax deal, there’s a lot of moving parts going on with that right now, Jim. The President remains fully committed to this, the treasury secretary fully committed to this. We have a staff that’s worked on this intensely for month after month after month. And any rumors of its demise are hugely premature.

Speaker 8: (32:02)
All right, Kelly, the last question.

Kelly: (32:03)
I have one quick follow up and then one question. On the issue right off the bat that Jeff asked about preparing for a recession, understanding that you made it clear that you don’t see those factors. How important is it for you to give the President guidance on what could trigger a recession so that he can take action? And then secondly, what have you learned from your national security colleagues about what came out of Saudi Arabia and how that might affect gas prices and your expectations on what OPEC and others might do in a few weeks? In a few weeks is what the President had said.

Jared Bernstein: (32:37)
Let me start with the second part of your question. We saw Saudi Arabia say it would work to increase its capacity for oil production and I’d refer you to them for more information on that. Remember, they’re a key member of course, of the OPEC cartel. And as the president said, we welcomed their decision, OPEC’s decision to increase production by 50% above what was planned for July and August. So that’s already in the mix.

Jared Bernstein: (33:02)
Now in terms of keeping the President abreast of these issues, one of the things we do at CEA, this is one of the ways we spend a lot of our time and I suspect folks know about it, but just so you know, is that every economic report that we get, we write up and we put it in the President’s book. Industrial production, GDP jobs, inflation, retail sales, we and particularly Chair Cecilia Rouse of the CEA, are in very close contact with the president and senior staff always updating him on economic conditions. So there’s nothing I’ve told you today that he doesn’t know.

Kelly: (33:44)
And so in terms of his preparation for the potential of a recession, he’s getting advised on that on a day to day basis?

Jared Bernstein: (33:50)
He is getting full information just as I hope I’ve given you today on current economic conditions and anything we can see around the corner.

Speaker 8: (34:10)
Okay. Thank you so much, Jared. Thank you for your time.

Jared Bernstein: (34:11)
Thank you.

Karine Jean-Pierre: (34:11)
All right. Come back any time.

Jared Bernstein: (34:11)
My pleasure.

Karine Jean-Pierre: (34:12)
Okay. I forgot-

Speaker 8: (34:12)
You can just grab a partner.

Karine Jean-Pierre: (34:14)
I agree. I agree. And welcome back to everyone who traveled with us in the Middle East. Okay. I have one thing at the top and then we’ll get going. So I want to call out a few reports from over the weekend that illustrate exactly what we are talking about when we say the impacts of the court’s decisions are devastating, extreme and threatened women’s lives. This is the court decisions on Dobbs that came down almost three weeks ago. These reports also pull back the curtain on what some elected Republicans officials are trying to do by taking away your rights, taking away freedoms and taking away privacy.

Karine Jean-Pierre: (34:55)
First, before Texas extreme abortion law took effect. It was reported that one woman there received a standard procedure for a first trimester miscarriage. But after the extreme law, it was reported that when she had another first trimester miscarriage, the same hospital wouldn’t perform the same standard procedure, instead they sent her home. They told her to return to the hospital only if her bleeding was so excessive it filled a diaper more than once an hour. This is outrageous. Now another report we’re hearing Republicans in Congress, more than 100 of whom have already said they’re in favor of a nationwide abortion ban are being urged by extremist groups to focus on instituting such a ban at the federal level. So I want to repeat that again, a ban at the federal level, not just state by state. So this would criminalize doctors and other healthcare providers who provide abortions in every state across the country. It’s becoming clearer by the day that congressional Republicans want to strip away rights, starting with a nationwide abortion ban and moving on to marriage, equality and contraception. With that, I welcome you to your first time in the APC, right?

Speaker 6: (36:19)
Thank you all. All right. A couple quick questions on the Saudi trip. And I’m wondering if the President believes that the trip was a success and worth the criticism that he faced domestically? And also following up a little bit on Kelly’s question, when precisely will Americans start to see tangible benefits coming from the trip? Is that the next OPEC Plus meeting? The President did seem to indicate something in the coming weeks.

Karine Jean-Pierre: (36:41)
So just going back, starting with your last question first and Jared basically touched on this, which is we have to remember in early June OPEC Plus, which is Saudi Arabia clearly chairs, OPEC plus made that announcement that we welcomed about increasing their production 50% in July and August. The conversations that the President had in Saudi Arabia in the bilateral meeting that he actually read out, as you all know, in a press conference that same Friday in Jeddah, they talked about energy securities and Jake Sullivan actually said this as well, is that we will measure success in the next couple of next couple of weeks. We anticipate to increase our production. But again, it’s going to take the next couple of weeks and that will be up to OPEC Plus.

Speaker 6: (37:36)
And also the President has talked obviously a lot about his support for a free and independent media. And also I’m wondering why the US trust did not get access to that greeting between President Biden and the Crowned Prince and we had to rely on Saudi state media for the images of that fist bump?

Karine Jean-Pierre: (37:50)
So first co first thing, you asked me another question about what we believe got done. So let me just read off a couple of things there and I’ll get to your most recent question there. So that folks know Saudi Arabia announced it will open Saudi airspace for flights to and from Israel, a historic decision that will pave the way for a more integrated, stable and secure Middle East. As you know, when Jake Sullivan and I gaggled on the plane when the president flew from Israel to Saudi Arabia, that was a historic flight. So just want to make sure that we acknowledged that.

Karine Jean-Pierre: (38:26)
The GCC plus three pledge billions to address food security resulting from Putin’s war against Ukraine. Saudi Arabia committed to support global oil market balancing for suspended economic growth is what you were just asking me about. The United States has welcomed the OPEC plus decision to increase production by 50% on the climate crisis, which was also part of the agenda. We’re collectively investing hundreds of billions of dollars in clean energy initiatives, increasing our climate ambition and working together to diversify supply chains and invest in critical infrastructure. And we’re doing everything possible to extend and strengthen the UN Medic mediated troops in Yemen, which is the first one in seven years where 70,000 Americans work and live. And so again, we’re seeing the longest piece in that there in Yemen in some time.

Karine Jean-Pierre: (39:23)
To your first question, as you know, we do everything that we possibly can when we go to a host country to make sure that you all have access, that there is transparency, which is why you heard from the President directly and he held a press conference that Friday in Jeddah, as I just mentioned, so that he can read out himself what occurred in the bilat and also you all were able to ask questions. Sometimes it is not perfect, we understand that, but we want you to know we do everything that we can to make sure that you all have access. We did that with the bilat by having a pool spray at the top and other meetings as well. So we do our best. We want to make sure, again, that you guys hear from the President directly, you get to see what is occurring in some of these meetings that are happening. And we will continue to make sure that we make that a priority as we continue to do our travels.

Speaker 7: (40:23)
Okay. Thanks, Karine. Does the President, now he’s back from Saudi Arabia, does the President still believe that Saudi Arabia and the Crowned Prince should be considered a pariah or did this trip change his view about that?

Karine Jean-Pierre: (40:38)
So as you heard from the President again on Friday, he made very clear that he made his views very clear to the Crowned Prince during that bilat meeting. And he even said it would be inconsistent, right, for a President of the United States not to speak of our values, not to talk about human rights. And it would be inconsistent to be quite frank of Joe Biden not to do that. So he was very clear about where he stood about Jamal Khashoggi’s death, murder. He mentioned it from the start of their meeting. And his comments stand. He has been pretty clear about that, about where he stands on, on the comments that he made during the campaign.

Karine Jean-Pierre: (41:38)
And look, I think one of the other things that I do want to be very clear about is, if we’re going to talk about human rights, if we’re going to talk about our values, we believe, he believes it’s important to have that straightforward leader to leader conversation. The President has talked about that many times about how important it is to talk directly and frankly with leaders when it comes to our values, when it comes to issue…

Karine Jean-Pierre: (42:03)
… with leaders, when it comes to our values, when it comes to issues like human rights, and he will continue to have those conversations.

Speaker 7: (42:08)
Yet, the Saudis say that that conversation about Khashoggi never happened. The foreign minister says he was there and he didn’t hear the President confront MBS in that way. Are they lying about that, and if so, does that indicate that actually they are not getting the message?

Karine Jean-Pierre: (42:28)
I’ll say this, the President was asked this question and he spoke to it directly. I do believe that if anyone telling you differently about what the President said, they weren’t listening to the President himself when he was asked that question, when he spoke about how he brought up the death of Jamal Khashoggi. I’ll leave it to what the President said when he was asked directly most recently about that.

Speaker 7: (42:56)

Speaker 9: (42:57)
Thanks, Karine. On the Uvalde school shooting, was the President briefed on the findings by the Texas state legislators investigating the law enforcement response to the report that was just released?

Karine Jean-Pierre: (43:04)
He’s aware of the report. I will say this, it is devastating, the report. It adds and frankly, unacceptable, the report that came out just, I believe just yesterday. It adds on more questions to how law enforcements reacted, their role on that tragic day. As you all know, we’ve mentioned this before and you heard from the Department of Justice, they are doing their own independent review of what exactly what happened that day, and so I will leave that to them on any further comments.

Speaker 9: (43:41)
What was the President’s reaction when he was made aware?

Karine Jean-Pierre: (43:44)
I wasn’t there when he was made aware, but I do know that he’s aware of the report.

Speaker 9: (43:49)
On oil and gas prices, Jerry Bernstein came out to highlight these prices being down, but many industry analysts think that this could be just a temporary reprieve, that these prices could very well be going up again, maybe even in the fall, oil was trading above $100 today. How concerned is the administration that oil and gas prices could be on the ups when, again, in the short term?

Karine Jean-Pierre: (44:12)
Look, the President is going to continue to do everything that he can to make sure that the American public continues to get that little bit of relief. Look, what we’re seeing here today, what we’re seeing in the last 34 days and that 50 cents, now we’re seeing 50 cents on average per gallon that has come down. We see in 30 states across the country, we see gas at 3.99. Like Jared said, we’re not doing a victory lap, but this is important. This is important to note that the work that we have done, the work that we will continue to do is going to give relief $25 a month to American families. We’re talking about nurses, we’re talking about teachers, or we’re talking about firefighters. This is going to have a real impact on their lives. Look, what we’re looking at is what we’re seeing currently, what we’re seeing at this moment, and I think it’s important to lift that up.

Karine Jean-Pierre: (45:13)
Again, the one million barrels a day from the strategic petroleum, a historic action by the President, the 240 million barrels that the President was able to get leaders to do the ethanol 15, which is the homegrown biofuels which helped lower gas prices in gas stations across the country, all of these actions are important. Now, do we need to do more as we talk about inflation, as we talk about the elevated number that we’re seeing in inflation? Yes. That’s why the President’s going to continue to work with Congress to make sure that we are lowering costs for the American families like prescription drugs, for example. If we are able to do that, we are on the cusp, as Jared was saying, to really winning against one of the wealthiest special interest groups, which is big pharma. All of these things are important to note. Again, we’re just going to continue doing the work, but also, we want to highlight what has occurred these past 34 days Go ahead, Jeff.

Jeff: (46:15)
What is the White House’s strategy now for engaging with Senator Manchin going forward?

Karine Jean-Pierre: (46:22)
As we like to say here, we’re not going to negotiate in public. The President and Senator Manchin have a very close relationship. We will continue to have the conversations that we have been having with him for the past 18 months on a different variety of issues, but again, not going to negotiate in public. But we do want to lift up what’s about to happen, what we’re on the cusp of doing with the Reconciliation Bill is going to impact tens of millions of Americans’ lives, and that matters as we looking at healthcare. When it comes to climate change, you saw the President’s statement just recently. If Senate doesn’t act on that and doesn’t take action on climate, he has a contingency plan, which is using his executive authority to make sure that we take on climate change in a way that’s going to be effective. I don’t have anything to read out to you on that particular action, but again, we’re not going to negotiate from here, and we’re going to just continue to make sure that we deliver for the American public.

Jeff: (47:34)
Do you feel like Senator Manchin led the White House on with regard to climate?

Karine Jean-Pierre: (47:38)
Again, I’m not going to negotiate in public here. I’m not going to lean in or give any pull back the curtain on private conversations. We are prepared to act if need be, if Senate is not able to include the climate provisions that we have discussed. But again, what we’re seeing right now with the reconciliation as it relates to Medicare and being able for Medicare to negotiate, bringing down drug prices, that is an important step, so we’re going to continue to do the work.

Jeff: (48:13)
When you say and the President says he’s prepared to act on climate, what’s the timeframe for that? Do you wait until the fall? Do you get started before that? What’s the overall timeframe?

Karine Jean-Pierre: (48:22)
We don’t have a timeline for you at this point. As you know, discussions, negotiations are currently happening, and so we will see where the Senate lands.

Kelly: (48:33)
You spoke before the trip about advising the President about reducing contact due to COVID and the variants. We saw some fist bumping, but we also saw some embraces and some handshakes and so forth. Just for recordkeeping purposes, has the President had a negative test since he returned home?

Karine Jean-Pierre: (48:49)
That’s a good question. I would have to check with our team. As you know, he gets regularly tested as the advice from his doctor, so he has a regular cadence that his doctor decides on. We did provide on the gaggle last week, I provided that he had tested negative right before heading out to the Middle East. Then we sent out a pool note, I believe, as we were going to Saudi Arabia, because there were testing requirements and he had tested negative then. I will work to get that information for you. Absolutely.

Kelly: (49:25)
[inaudible 00:49:25] We don’t see him in public today. And the First Lady of Ukraine is coming and has a schedule for a visit with Dr. Biden. Do you expect the President will drop in on that?

Karine Jean-Pierre: (49:36)
I don’t have any more details to share with you. I know she’s meeting with Secretary Blinken today. This is the First Lady of Ukraine, is also going to be meeting with administrator power. Once we have more information on our side, on what the schedule looks like this week, and if that includes her, we will certainly share that.

Peter: (49:56)
Karine, thank you.

Karine Jean-Pierre: (49:57)
I’ll come to you after.

Peter: (49:59)
Just following up on something that something the Vice President said today, does the President agree with her that the recent Supreme court decision on abortion access is similar to slavery?

Karine Jean-Pierre: (50:09)
I have not seen her comments. I would like to see her comments for myself before-

Peter: (50:14)
The comment was, “We know NAACP that our country has a history of claiming ownership over human bodies. Today, extremist so-called leaders are criminalizing doctors and punishing women from making healthcare decisions for themselves.”

Karine Jean-Pierre: (50:26)
Well, she is correct. Today’s decisions are criminalizing doctors and essentially, taking the rights away from women, taking the freedom away from women, really taking away people’s privacy. That does matter, and that is important-

Peter: (50:42)
She’s invoking slavery, so the President agrees?

Karine Jean-Pierre: (50:43)
Look, for me, I appreciate you reading out what she said. I need to actually see exactly what was said and in what complete context, that’s what I need to do as a spokesperson for the administration. But I will say that second part of what you just said, the Vice President is actually right. At the top, I just laid out what women are going through in this country because of an extreme decision that SCOTUS made. Because of what they did, it is going to upend and change the lives of women across the country, and now we have to be mindful about contraception. We have to be mindful about marriage equality, because they have made it really clear that extreme Republicans, ultra MAGA Republicans have made it clear that that is what they’re going after next, so that does matter.

Peter: (51:35)
Then following up about this comment that the Saudis say did not happen, but the President says did happen, did you personally hear the President raise the issue of Khashoggi’s murder with MBS?

Karine Jean-Pierre: (51:48)
I trust the President. He made those comments as you heard directly from him during the press conference. At the top of the meeting, he mentioned Jamal Khashoggi.

Peter: (52:02)
But you did not hear him say that.

Karine Jean-Pierre: (52:03)
I am just saying to you that I was not in the meeting to answer that question, but the President himself said and laid out very clearly, and just to be clear, that press conference happened because he wanted to make sure that you all heard from him directly. That was the President’s decision. He wanted to make sure that he read out what occurred in the bilateral meeting with the Saudi Arabia government.

Peter: (52:33)
Right, but so ultimately, we get back from this trip. There’s no new peace talks in the Middle East. There’s no new commitment to increase oil production in the Gulf, so what was the point of this trip?

Karine Jean-Pierre: (52:43)
I just read out earlier, Peter, of all of the things that had occurred that some of the do-outs or some of the things that we were able to get done during this trip. Look, let’s step back for a second and talk about what the President was trying to do on this trip. If you look at this region, the Middle East, it’s a critical region. The President, his intent was to make sure that there was not a vacuum in the region so that you didn’t have China and Russia stepping in trying to fill that vacuum. So it’s important for the United States to make sure that we’re having those conversations, direct leader-to-leader conversations, and that we talk about our national security. We talk about food security, we talk about climate change, all are issues that are important to the American family. So as it relates to the oil production, I talked about, and Jared talked about what OPEC Plus did early in June. We are confident that we will be able to measure how the success of those conversations that the President had in the next several weeks.

Peter: (53:55)
Why not insist on a commitment, though? He gets back with no commitment and the price of oil per barrel shot up. Is that what the President wanted to go there and have the price of oil be more expensive?

Karine Jean-Pierre: (54:05)
But again, we have seen gas prices go down in the past 34 straight days, or go down-

Peter: (54:12)
Aren’t these dollars in gallon higher than when you guys took office, though?

Karine Jean-Pierre: (54:15)
First of all, we have to look at of how we got there, right? You think about the war that Russia has taken on in Ukraine, an unmitigated war and a war that is brutal, and that has had an effect on the price gas is going up almost $2. We have talked about that endlessly. Also, we are also in a once- in-a-generation pandemic. So there are outside factors that has led to gas prices going up, food prices going up to inflation going up, so that is really important. What we have seen in the last 34 days is that gas prices have gone down by on average by 50 cents or gallon, that matters. That matters to teachers ,that matters to firefighters, that matters to nurses that matters to everyday people and the President is going to continue to do the work to make sure the prices go down. I’m going to continue Peter. Thank you. Actually, let me try and go to people I haven’t called on. Go ahead, Jenny.

Jenny: (55:11)
Thanks. Jared was just talking about the broader Reconciliation Bill, which would’ve increased taxes on the wealthy. He said this is not something that he views as inflationary. You guys have talked about how this would reduce the deficit. With Senator Manchin saying his exact concern with doing a bill like this is inflation, does the White House regard that claim as credible?

Karine Jean-Pierre: (55:39)
I’ll say this, we have heard from economic experts out there. We have heard from even Jason Fur man folks who are critical of us, who have said the opposite, that the President’s plan on reconciliation will actually bring down inflation and anti inflation bill, if you will. If you look at when you bring down the deficit, as you all know, that actually will help inflation. Look, I’ll lead you to the expert. I am not an economic expert, but they have said themselves this is an anti-inflation bill, and it will help with that fight in what we’re trying to do, which is our number one economic priority, the President’s number one economic priority, which is, bring inflation down.

Jenny: (56:25)
So you don’t really see Senator Manchin’s claim that inflation is what he pumped the brakes on as a credible claim?

Karine Jean-Pierre: (56:31)
I am not a spokesperson for Senator Joe Manchin. As you know, I am a spokesperson for the President of United States. What I can tell you is what experts have said, economic experts have said, and so that’s where I will send you.

Jenny: (56:44)
One more on the Chips Bill, which seems like actually to moving forward this week, so congrats. There’s a provision that seems to be a little bit fluid on whether or not to prohibit certain investments if you take semiconductor subsidies in China. Intel is one of the companies that is lobbying against this. What’s the White House stance on this, and do you have a message for Intel and companies like that?

Karine Jean-Pierre: (57:14)
I’ll say this, the Chips Act is intended to bolster American competitiveness and our own domestic supply chain security. That’s why we continue to support strong guard rails, as you’re alluding to there, Jenny, which also have bipartisan support in Congress to make sure Chips incentives generate more semiconductor investment here in the U.S., not in China, and guardrails help slow the growth of investment in China. That is why such an important part of the bill, it is such an important part of the bill. We believe in strong guard rails. Go ahead, Ken. I said I would get back to you.

Ken: (57:51)
Yeah. Karine, on Ukraine, President Zelensky replaced his head of domestic intelligence and the prosecutor in general. He said during the weekend that hundreds of treason investigations have been opened into employees of law enforcement agencies. Is there any concern that Russia may be infiltrating Ukraine’s security networks and undermining the war effort?

Karine Jean-Pierre: (58:16)
I’ll say this, we, per usual, don’t speak to any personnel arrangements or domestic politics. That is not something that I will do from here, but I’ll say this, for our part we will continue to work with our partners in Ukraine to help them defend against Russian aggression. With the Ukrainian prosecutor General’s office, as they document the war crimes and atrocities that Russian forces in Ukraine are committing, we also continue to support Ukraine’s ongoing anti-corruption reforms as well.

Ken: (58:50)
Okay. Senator Cruz, over the weekend said on his podcast the Supreme Court was clearly wrong and overreaching when it legalized same-sex marriage in 2015. What is the White House view on that? Does that raise a lot of concerns?

Karine Jean-Pierre: (59:06)
It should raise concerns. As we know from the Dobbs Decision, one of the things that we saw from Judge Thompson is that they are looking to go further, whether it’s privacy, contraception, or marriage equality. Now, you all know that this President has supported marriage equality for some time. This is something that he believes in, and this is something that he will continue to fight for. I’m trying to call on folks I haven’t called on. Oh, go ahead.

Speaker 10: (59:40)
Thanks, Karine. Did the President urge Saudi Arabia to stop purchasing oil from Russia, because Saudi Arabia has actually doubled its Russian oil imports this quarter, which is, of course, helping Russia’s cash flow?

Karine Jean-Pierre: (59:53)
I don’t have anything to read out for you on that. As you know, at the G7, one of the conversations that came up when the President was there recently in Europe, in Germany specifically, was how to put a cap on Russia oil. That is a conversation that was started. It is continuing on the staff level, and that, as you know, will have an effect on the price of Russia’s oil, and so we’ll continue to have those discussions.

Speaker 10: (01:00:21)
Thanks. You spoke earlier about the President’s contingency plan regarding taking executive actions on climate, but do you believe the President can still keep the commitments he made to world leaders on reducing emissions through executive accesses if Congress fails to act?

Karine Jean-Pierre: (01:00:37)
We’re going to do everything that we can to make sure that we are taking action on climate, the climate crisis. So again, I think Jared read this already, but just want to reiterate what he said from day one. The President finalized regulations to rapidly phase out super pollutants. He jump-started the offshore and industry and he set the strongest ever emission standard for cars and trucks. So this is something that is incredibly important to the President. He thinks it is urgent to act on the climate crisis to take action. That’s why if Congress or Senate doesn’t act on the climate component of reconciliation, he’s ready to take use his executive authority. Let me see who I haven’t called on. Go ahead. Go ahead.

Speaker 11: (01:01:30)
Thanks, Karine. Senator McConnell says President Biden planned to nominate Chad Meredith an anti-abortion Federalist society member for Kentucky district judge position as a “personal friendship gesture.” Why would the President do that when he’s vowed that DOJ will do everything in their power to protect women’s access to abortion?

Karine Jean-Pierre: (01:01:49)
So what I’ll say on that is that as you heard from Rand Paul, he’s not ready to move forward with the blue chip as that process in the Senate. So we are not going to be nominating Chad Meredith.

Speaker 11: (01:02:06)
Was it initially a personal friendship gesture as Senator McConnell said?

Karine Jean-Pierre: (01:02:10)
That part of your comment is not something that I’m aware of. I’m just telling you where we are currently at this time.

Speaker 11: (01:02:16)
Generally speaking, why was the President planning to nominate Mr. Meredith in the first place, given that he has said that DOJ would do everything in its power to protect abortion access for women?

Karine Jean-Pierre: (01:02:27)
Well, that doesn’t change anything. DOJ is going to do everything in its power, you heard directly from the President, about that. You heard he signed an executive order on what DOJ is going to do and formalizing what DOJ is going to do, and formalizing what HHS is going to do. That is something that the President is very much committed to, and certainly, is not going to back away from that. He wants to make sure that women’s rights are protected. We just talked about what could happen next, which is a national ban on abortion, which would be devastating for so many-

Karine Jean-Pierre: (01:03:03)
National ban on abortion, which would be devastating for so many women across the country. We talked about what else Republicans are thinking about doing when it comes to contraception, when it comes to privacy, when it comes to marriage equality, and this is a very serious time and we need to make sure that we are paying attention to what potentially could be happening next. And so, again, I don’t have much more to add on your question.

Speaker 12: (01:03:30)
Thank you. Is the administration in touch with the authorities in Ghana? I know Ghana declared today their first ever outbreak of Marburg virus disease. Is the white house in touch with them?

Karine Jean-Pierre: (01:03:47)
Say that last part. The what disease?

Speaker 12: (01:03:49)
Marburg. It’s called Marburg.

Karine Jean-Pierre: (01:03:54)
Okay, let me go back to the team and get more info for you on that.

Speaker 12: (01:03:59)
And then, what’s your strategy in reassuring the international community that yes, the President met with the killer of Saudi Arabia, but the US remain committed in human rights?

Karine Jean-Pierre: (01:04:12)
Well, so this is what I said earlier to someone who asked me, the President believes that it is important, as we are talking about human rights, as we are talking about American values, it is important to have those frank and direct conversations with leaders and be very, very clear on where we stand as a country. This is what the President, you heard directly from him when he held a press conference in Jetta, as I’ve stated many times at this point today, this afternoon, he made that very clear. He spoke directly, he spoke firmly, and that is a continuing conversation that he is going to have. Human rights issues come up frequently when he is meeting leader to leader. That will not stop, that will not end and this is something that the President has been committed to for his entire career. Okay.

Speaker 13: (01:05:05)
On the same topic, thanks Karine. Just picking up on climate. You mentioned that there’s no timeline on the administration taking action, but does the administration have an executive order or executive plans ready or does there need to be a process to consult? To plan? I mean, how far along are you in the process? I mean, how have you been preparing for [inaudible 01:05:33]?

Karine Jean-Pierre: (01:05:32)
So I don’t have a timeline for you at this time, is what I was trying to say. Look, I’m not going to comment on any specific action. I don’t want to get ahead of the policy process and certainly don’t want to get ahead of the President, but the point that we are trying to make here is that he is committed to taking action on climate change, but right now, I just don’t have anything to share at this point.

Speaker 13: (01:06:00)
Is there anything you can share on how has the administration been in the process of preparing for this type of contingency?

Karine Jean-Pierre: (01:06:06)
I’m not getting ahead of the policy process.

Speaker 13: (01:06:08)
One more. Can you just say when the President will announce his decision on China tariffs?

Karine Jean-Pierre: (01:06:14)
Again, I don’t have anything more to read out for you on China tariffs. Look, the way that it was handled by the last administration was… It was bungled, if I’m going to be really honest here. It was not done in an effective way. China has not done their part. And so, the President wants to make sure that his team is looking at every option, is looking at exactly how to move forward. We just don’t have an announcement to share or anything to preview at this time.

Jim: (01:06:50)
Just to go back to Senator Manchin and the energy provisions. He said on the radio on Friday that he didn’t tell Senator Schumer that he was out on the energy and climate provisions, just that he wanted to see another month of inflation data. So, if it’s such a crisis that the President is bent on dealing with the climate crisis, why not wait another month to see what the inflation data which the administration thinks would be better looked like, and see if you can get Senator Manchin on board for legislation? Is the President effectively saying he doesn’t believe that the odds are good of that happening if you waited that extra month?

Karine Jean-Pierre: (01:07:27)
Well, right now the Senate are still in talks. They’re still negotiating. And so, the President has put forth a contingency plan. If that climate change provision that we have been discussing is not in that Senate reconciliation plan, he will act. But right now, we’re letting the negotiations happen. We’re letting that process continue. Again, we don’t negotiate in public, but again, what we’re trying to say here is the President is ready to act if needed.

Jim: (01:08:01)
Well, [inaudible 01:08:02] his statement, he said he wants a bill by August, which would seem to rule out waiting for Senator Manchin.

Karine Jean-Pierre: (01:08:08)
Well, look, the process is still happening. I’m not going to get ahead of the President. What is today? July? I don’t even know. July 18th? And so, we’re going to let the Senate work on the reconciliation bill. Let them have the conversations and negotiations, just not going to get ahead of that at this time. Okay. Go ahead, [inaudible 01:08:33].

Speaker 14: (01:08:33)
Asking the flip side of Jim’s question, I’m curious, was there anything Senator Manchin ever conveyed to the White House that gave you guys any reason to believe that a West Virginia Democrat and a state that Trump won by almost 40 points, who’s accepted millions of dollars from the fossil fuel industry would ever support any sort of climate provision?

Karine Jean-Pierre: (01:08:53)
So, I’m not going to comment on private conversations. Again, that is not something that we do here. We say this all the time, not going to comment on any back and forth that has occurred with Senator Manchin or any other congressional member. We’re going to let the Senate continue to negotiate. When it comes to what we are seeing right now with the prescription drugs, I have said this, Jared’s said this, that is we’re on the cusp of a big win here, which is incredibly important for tens of millions of Americans, as we speak about Medicare and them being allowed to negotiate drug prices. So…

Speaker 14: (01:09:29)
Following up briefly, more broadly, I mean, do you have any reason to believe that you didn’t waste your time trying to get Senator Manchin on board for any sort of climate legislation?

Karine Jean-Pierre: (01:09:41)
I’m just not going to get into private conversations. Okay? Go ahead.

Merrick: (01:09:46)
Thank you, Karine. I would like to ask about Moscow using energy as a weapon in Europe. There’s a growing fear that Russia will not restore natural gas deliveries to Europe after its ongoing annual maintenance of Nord Stream 1, which could lead to serious crisis in Europe to gas rationing. How concerned is the President that it may weaken Europe’s resolve and what the US is doing to help?

Karine Jean-Pierre: (01:10:16)
So a couple of things. I just want to lay this down because it’s an important question that we want to address. So following as the further invasion of Ukraine, Russia continues to use natural gas as a political and economic weapon, as you’re stating, Merrick. Russia’s energy corrosion has put pressure on energy markets, raised prices for consumers and threatened global energy security. These actions only underscore the importance of the work, both the United States and the European commission are doing to end our reliance on Russian energy.

Karine Jean-Pierre: (01:10:52)
President Biden formed a task force, as you all know, we’ve announced that here, on European energy security with EU President von der Leyen. The task force has met regularly to discuss options to reduce Europe’s demand for natural gas and has also met with key stakeholders to promote the deployment of heat pumps, smart thermostats and energy demand response solutions. So we are also partnering to diversify energy supplies to Europe. Since March, global LNG exports to Europe have risen by 75% compared to 2021, while the US LNG exports to Europe have nearly tripled. So we continue to work with our European partners to reduce the dependence on Russian energy, to be exact.

Merrick: (01:11:42)
Enough to help Europe to survive the winter, Russia may at any point, any time, cut natural gas deliveries to Europe. It’s real fear in Europe right now.

Karine Jean-Pierre: (01:11:56)
No, we understand that. That’s why we created the task force and the task force is going to do everything that we can to make sure that we deal with the dependence that European countries have on Russian oil. Look, I just laid out, we have seen some progress. And so, we’re just going to continue to work with our European partners. Okay.

Speaker 15: (01:12:22)
Thanks Karine. So I’d like…

Karine Jean-Pierre: (01:12:22)
No, I was calling the gentleman in front, but go ahead.

Speaker 15: (01:12:25)
On abortion, in two weeks, Kansas is going to vote. They’re going to be the first state to vote on the abortion issue. How much stake is the administration putting on the result of that election given the fact that they’re going to be [inaudible 01:12:38]?

Karine Jean-Pierre: (01:12:38)
So, can’t speak directly to any specific elections. Look, the President has made clear, when we talk about choice and we talk about where we are currently with abortion, when we talk about Republicans who are trying to make a national ban across the country, this is very serious, dangerous outcomes that we’re facing with. And so, the President has been very clear, to make sure that Americans get their voices heard and take it to the ballot box. That is the way that we’re going to see real change. That is the way that we can use our political power. He’s going to continue to say that, but at the same time, do everything that he can from his executive authority to what he can with the federal government to protect women.

Speaker 15: (01:13:28)
And then, marriage came up earlier. The house is expected to vote on the protect our marriage act, I think tomorrow. How much work will the administration be doing to try and get that bill through the Senate, where it’s going to face a much more difficult [inaudible 01:13:41]?

Karine Jean-Pierre: (01:13:40)
So we support that act and we applaud Congress for moving forward. As I mentioned earlier, when I was just asked a question about marriage equality, this is an issue that the President has been fighting for and speaking about for many, many years. And so, this is certainly something that we support.

Eugene: (01:14:04)
One of my colleagues at political reported today that the ACLU obtained and has since released record publicly from DHS that show use of mobile location data harvested from apps on hundreds of millions of phones. DHS was then able to use 336,000 location data points across North America. This started under the Trump administration and contracts have been renewed under the Biden administration, basically knowing where people are when it comes to what DHS does, the work that DHS does. Does the President stand by using location data on this scale, especially in light of concerns of the use of phone data when it comes to peer tracking apps, which the administrations has talked to quite a bit?

Karine Jean-Pierre: (01:14:45)
So I have not seen this data, so I need to take a look at it so that I can respond in a way that’s fulsome and be able to answer your question. I just haven’t seen that data, but I refer you at any more specifics on that, clearly I refer you to the Department of Homeland Security.

Eugene: (01:15:04)
How does the administration feel about using location data?

Karine Jean-Pierre: (01:15:07)
Honestly Eugene, in order for me to respond to your question, I just need to see exactly what you’re asking me about and what the data is. I can’t do that without knowing the specifics.

Eugene: (01:15:18)
And back to the firing of the prosecutor general in Ukraine, how concerned is the administration, given how closely she’s been working with AG Garland and she was also replaced by someone who’s been critically accused of corruption? How concerned is the administration [inaudible 01:15:35]?

Karine Jean-Pierre: (01:15:34)
Well, I’ll say this, like I said, we don’t get involved and don’t comment on any political domestic politics that happens in another country. We’re going to continue to work closely with Ukraine on their fight for democracy and their fight against Russia’s aggression and also their corruption reform, as I just stated. We’ll continue to work with them on that. Okay. I’ll take one more question.

Speaker 16: (01:16:01)
Without congressional action on climate, does the White House, does the President see any viable path for reaching its goal of the US cutting carbon emissions in half by 2030?

Karine Jean-Pierre: (01:16:11)
Say that again? I didn’t hear you.

Speaker 16: (01:16:12)
Without congressional action on climate, does the President see any viable path for reaching his goal of cutting carbon emissions in half by 2030?

Karine Jean-Pierre: (01:16:20)
So again, negotiations are still happening. And so, we leave that to Senate and see exactly where the process is going to land. The President is again, ready to act, ready to take executive authority, use his executive authority if that climate change provision is not included in the reconciliation bill. I’m not going to get into specifics or get into hypotheticals at this time, but we’re going to continue, again, to just let the Senate work. MJ, I know you had a question. I’m going to let you go ahead and ask the question.

Speaker 16: (01:16:55)
Does he think that goal can be reached just using executive authority?

Karine Jean-Pierre: (01:16:59)
Again, I’m not going to get into hypotheticals. Let’s see where negotiations go. The President, as you know, as we have said, he is committed to taking on climate change. He thinks that it is urgent to do that. There’s an urgent matter to do that now. And so, we’re going to let the negotiations continue. Again, I’m not going to negotiate from public or speak to hypothetical. Go ahead, MJ.

MJ: (01:17:23)
Two quick questions. First on baby formula. The recent data indicates that more than 20% of formula products are still out of stock. Just wondering what the White House’s assessment is right now. Why that is the case, particularly given that we’ve seen for weeks now, a ton of formula being flow into the country and does it have a sense of when things will actually start to normalize?

Karine Jean-Pierre: (01:17:45)
So I’ll say this, the federal government has worked in lockstep with private sector to ramp up domestic production and to increase the supply of safe infant formula, which we understand is incredibly critical for families across the country as they’re trying to make sure that they’re feeding their babies, their children safe baby formula. This is what this is all about, safety, and that’s our priority here, but also making sure that we’re doing everything that we can to get that out.

Karine Jean-Pierre: (01:18:15)
We’re ramping up product domestic production, including invoking the Domestic Production Act, as you all know, which has allowed companies to increase production. We’re increasing imports. Already, the FDA has granted enforcement discretion for companies to import over 524.1 million eight ounces bottles worth of infant formula, including over 5 million bottles of medical specialty formula, which is important, as you’re asking me about formula and bottles. And third, we’re enhancing WIC flexibilities by waiving rules and restrictions that prevented low income mothers from getting formula. All 50 states have taken action, issuing more than 200 waivers. Look, this is a priority, continues to be a priority for us. We’re going to do everything that we can to increase production, but again, we want to make sure that the safety is first.

MJ: (01:19:10)
I just have one more follow up on the Saudi trip. When the President came back from his trip, he was asked if he regretted the fist bump with the Saudi Crown Prince. And he said, “Why don’t you guys talk about something that matters?” Can you just help us understand why he suggested that fist bump did not matter?

Karine Jean-Pierre: (01:19:27)
Well, here’s the thing. I think the way that the President looks at this is what were the issues, the agenda that was discussed? The policies that were discussed? And what were the deliverables? And so, when the President goes out just across the country and has these meetings, it is very important, you hear us talk about this all the time, having that leader to leader conversation. This was a President that has been a Senator for decades. He was the Vice President. He was a President. He understands how these interaction works. He understands how these relationship works. He has experience in it that he believes is incredibly critical and important. Look, again, when he went to the middle east, it was making sure that there was not a void for countries like Russia or China to step into, to make sure that we were responding to Iran.

Karine Jean-Pierre: (01:20:24)
All right? To make sure that he had conversations, not just with Saudi Arabia, a dozen other leaders that were at the GCC+3. And not only that, he was in Israel right before he got to Jetta. So, he believes these are important policies that going to help the American public. That’s what he’s there for. When he goes out, yes, the region is important. Yes, the region is critical. There’s national security conversations that need to be had, and other agenda items that need to be talked about, but also we’re talking about the American’s interest. We’re talking about how important it is to make sure that we are delivering as well here, domestically. And so, that is the focus of the President.

MJ: (01:21:09)
But on that comment, he does certainly understand why for a lot of people, including Jamal Khashoggi’s family or colleagues that fist bump and that meeting with MBS mattered a lot, right?

Karine Jean-Pierre: (01:21:21)
Well, I’ll say this, the President spoke to, he was asked directly about Khashoggi’s fiance, and our hearts go out to her, right? Our heart go out to his family, of course, and to his colleagues. Of course, we understand the pain that everyone is going through. That’s why when the President came into office, he released the Khashoggi report. Something that the last administration did not do.

Karine Jean-Pierre: (01:21:48)
This is a promise that he made to Congress. This was a promise that he made to the American people to do that, and he took it a step further to make sure that there was the Khashoggi ban, which deals with visa and travel. And that has been used more than 70 times, but we understand the pain that people are feeling, but he also wants to make sure that we’re talking about the policy, that we’re talking about the agenda, that we’re talking about what occurred, that is going to help the American public as well. All right. Thanks everybody. I’ll see you tomorrow. [inaudible 01:22:23]

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