James S. Brady Press Briefing Room

12:42 P.M. EDT
 
MS. PSAKI:  Hi, everyone.  Full room.  I hope everyone is cozy.  So, today, we are fortunate to have a very special guest, National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan, here to join us and give a preview of the President’s trip.  And then, of course, we’ll do a full briefing after that. 
 
With that, I’ll turn it over to Jake.
 
MR. SULLIVAN:  Thank you, Jen.  And thanks, everybody.  So, as you all know, this week President Biden will head off to Europe on the first foreign trip of his presidency — certainly not his first foreign trip, but the first one as President of the United States.  And the trip, at its core, will advance the fundamental thrust of Joe Biden’s foreign policy: to rally the world’s democracies to tackle the great challenges of our time.
 
We believe that President Biden goes on this trip from a position of strength: dramatic progress against the pandemic at home; strong, projected growth that will help power the global economic recovery as well; renewed American power and purpose; and a rock-solid foundation of alliances that will serve as force multipliers for our global agenda.
 
At the G7, he will join with his fellow leaders to lay out a plan to end the COVID-19 pandemic with further specific commitments towards that end.  He will also join his fellow leaders to announce a new initiative to provide financing for physical, digital, and health infrastructure in the developing world — a high-standard, climate-friendly, transparent, and rules-based alternative to what China is offering.
 
He and the other leaders will endorse a global minimum tax of at least 15 percent, as you saw coming out of the G7 Finance Ministers Meeting a few days ago.  And the G7 leaders will make a number of significant commitments on climate, on labor standards, on anti-corruption, and on ransomware.
 
At NATO, President Biden will address enduring security challenges that have been at the core of the Alliance for a long time, including Russia and coordinating the remaining period of the drawdown of forces from Afghanistan.  But they will also focus on emerging security challenges to the Alliance, critically including cyber and the challenge posed by China.
 
President Biden will also reinforce the importance of burden sharing — not just the 2 percent commitment that Allies made back in 2014 at the Wales Summit, but the need for Allies to give not just cash, but contributions to exercises and to operations that NATO is undertaking, and to have the kinds of capabilities that make sure that NATO is a full-spectrum alliance with Allies across the board providing the kind of high-end capabilities NATO requires.
 
At the U.S.-EU summit, the President and European Union leaders will focus on aligning our approaches to trade and technology so that democracies and not anyone else — not China or other autocracies — are writing the rules for trade and technology for the 21st century.
 
President Biden will also have a series of bilateral engagements, including a U.S.-UK summit with Prime Minister Johnson, where the two leaders will reaffirm the Special Relationship and update and upgrade it for the modern era.  And we will have further announcements about additional bilateral engagements that he will have both in Cornwall and in Brussels in the days ahead.
 
After his time at the G7, at NATO, and at the U.S.-EU summit, President Biden will go to Geneva to meet with President Putin.  He will do so, of course, after having had nearly a week of intensive consultations with allies and democratic partners from both Europe and the Indo-Pacific.  So he will go into this meeting with the wind at his back.
 
Now, we have made clear repeatedly, and I will reinforce again today, that we do not regard a meeting with the Russian president as a reward.  We regard it as a vital part of defending America’s interests and America’s values.  Joe Biden is not meeting with Vladimir Putin despite our countries’ differences; he’s meeting with him because of our countries’ differences.  There is simply a lot we have to work through.
 
We believe that President Biden is the most effective, direct communicator of American values and priorities.  And we believe that hearing directly from President Putin is the most effective way to understand what Russia intends and plans.
 
There is never any substitute for leader-to-leader engagement, particularly for complex relationships, but with Putin this is exponentially the case.  He has a highly personalized style of decision making and so it is important for President Biden to be able to sit down with him face to face, to be clear about where we are, to understand where he is, to try to manage our differences, and to identify those areas where we can work in America’s interests to make progress.
 
When President Biden returns to Washington next week, we believe that we will be in a materially stronger position to manage the major threats and challenges this country faces: COVID, climate, China, cyber, Russia, and shaping the rules of trade and technology for the future.
 
So, with that, I’d be happy to take any questions that you have.
 
Yeah.
 
Q    Thanks, Jake.  Is this the right time to be having a one-on-one meeting with Vladimir Putin so early in President Biden’s presidency, before he’s met one-on-one with so many other world leaders, and at a time when there isn’t a specific deliverable that the White House is looking to achieve from the one-on-one meeting?
 
MR. SULLIVAN:  So, first, we don’t think in terms of U.S.-Russia summits as being about deliverables.  Because if you’re going to wait for really significant deliverables, you could be waiting a long time, conceivably.  So what we need to think about this summit as doing is fundamentally giving us an opportunity to communicate from our president to their president what American intentions and capabilities are and to hearing the same from their side.  That has value in and of itself.
 
Secondly, in terms of the timing, it is hard from our perspective to find a better context for a meeting with the Russian president than after time spent with the world’s leading market economies — the G7 — plus India, South Korea, Australia, and South Africa; after a meeting with all of his fellow leaders at NATO; after a meeting with the presidents of the European Union; and then, and only then, going into this session to be able to talk through the complex set of issues in the U.S.-Russia relationship.  That, from our perspective, is the right context within which to engage Russia.
 
And as far as whether it comes too early in his presidency, if you think about what we’ve dealt with from the outset on Russia, it’s been a busy time: We’ve extended the New START agreement.  We’ve imposed costs for election interference and for SolarWinds.  We’ve dealt with a Russian buildup on the Ukraine border.  And, of course, we are contending with a range of issues in the cyber and ransomware domain.  So, we feel that it is an effective and appropriate context and time period for us to have this summit.
 
Q    And then, just as a follow-up to that: The Ukrainian President did an interview today and implored President Biden to meet with him first, before Mr. Biden sits down with Vladimir Putin.  Is that something that you’re considering?  If not, why not?
 
MR. SULLIVAN:  Well, actually, I have come into this briefing room from the Oval Office where President Biden was on the phone with President Zelenskyy of Ukraine.  This is a call that they had been planning to make in advance of President Biden going to Europe and meeting with President Putin.  They had the opportunity to talk at some length about all of the issues in the U.S.-Ukraine relationship.  And President Biden was able to tell President Zelenskyy that he will stand up firmly for Ukraine’s sovereignty, territorial integrity, and its aspirations, as we go forward.  And he also told President Zelenskyy that he looks forward to welcoming him to the White House, here in Washington, this summer after he returns from Europe.
 
Q    Jake.
 
MR. SULLIVAN:  Yeah. 
 
Q    Hi, Jake.  Thank you.  We know that Afghanistan is going to be discussed with our NATO Allies.  There’s been a lot of concern about replacing some of those U.S. assets, such as the drones, to be able to fight against the Taliban.  Can you bring us up to speed on where are the negotiations with Pakistan?  And would the United States like to have a drone base in Pakistan?
 
MR. SULLIVAN:  So I’m not going to get into the details of our negotiations with Pakistan.  I will only say this: We have had constructive discussions in the military, intelligence, and diplomatic channels with Pakistan about the future of America’s capabilities to ensure that Afghanistan never again becomes a base from which al Qaeda or ISIS or any other terrorist group can attack the United States. 
 
But in terms of the specifics of what that will look like, that will have to remain in those private channels as we work through them.
 
What I will say is that we are talking to a wide range of countries about how we build effective, over-the-horizon capacity, both from an intelligence and from a defense perspective, to be able to suppress the terrorism threat in Afghanistan on a going-forward basis.
 
Q    Jake, two questions — one with Putin and one here back at home.  With Putin, the President is going into this meeting where there’s great tension between both leaders.  And let’s talk about the trust factor: How can you trust anything Vladimir Putin says in this sit-down when the President comes back?  You say you’re going to learn what he’s thinking and what he wants to moving forward.  How can you trust that, as Vladimir Putin has already smeared the President’s name?  How can you do that?  How can you trust?
 
MR. SULLIVAN:  Taking the measure of another president is not about trusting them.  And the relationship between the U.S. and Russia is not about a relationship of trust.  It’s about a relationship of verification.  It’s about a relationship of clarifying what our expectations are and laying out that if certain kinds of harmful activities continue to occur, there will be responses from the United States.
 
Q    What are those responses?
 
MR. SULLIVAN:  And our — well, we will lay those out for President Putin in this meeting, and he will understand fully where the United States stands and what we intend to do. 
 
But one thing I will say, April, is we believe fundamentally that our capacity to ensure that harmful and disruptive activities against the United States do not continue unabated is to be able to communicate clearly, directly — not by negotiating in public, but by explicating our position and our capabilities in private.  And that’s what President Putin intends to do.
 
Q    My second question, Jake, on voting — the For the People Act.  If it is not passed, what is the national security issue with it?  Is there a national security issue with it if it’s not passed?  Because we’ve heard so much over the past few years about issues of voting.  If that is not passed, is it a national security issue?
 
MR. SULLIVAN:  I would say the basic notion of democratic reform and voting rights in the United States is a national security issue.  We are in a competition of models with autocracies, and we are trying to show the world that American democracy and democracy writ large can work, can effectively deliver the will of the people.  And to the extent that we are not updating, refurbishing, revamping our own democratic processes and procedures to meet the needs of the modern moment, then we are not going to be as successful in making that case to the rest of the world — to China, to Russia, or to anyone else. And so there is a national security dimension to this today, just as there was through the decades of the Cold War.
 
Yamiche.
 
Q    Thank you so much.  My question is: Can you talk a bit about how President Biden plans to convince, especially our European allies, that President — former President Trump was an anomaly in some ways — all the things that he did to, in some ways, traumatize those leaders; calling into question the need for NATO.  What’s the plan there?  And is he concerned that those scars are going to be deeper than his ability to address them in this one trip?
 
MR. SULLIVAN:  I think our view going into this trip is that actions speak louder than words, and that showing that the United States is capable of turning the corner on the pandemic; showing that the United States is capable of making the dramatic investments that will pull us up and out of this economic recovery and help power global growth; showing the world that we are ultimately capable of making the investments in R&D and infrastructure, innovation, and workforce — ultimately, setting that foundation for this country will be the most effective way to show the rest of the world that the United States has the power and purpose to be able to deliver as the world’s leading democracy.
 
So that’s what he’s going to try to demonstrate.  And he, as I said at the outset, feels he goes into this from a position of strength because of the record he’s built up over the course of the first four months.
 
Q    And on voting, can you talk a little bit — is Congress being briefed on the idea of voting as a national security issue?  And if the For the People Act isn’t passed, what will that say globally, given the fact that you just laid it out as a national security issue?
 
MR. SULLIVAN:  So, I will say, humbly, as the National Security Advisor, I don’t tend to get into the middle of the debates up on the Hill on issues like voting rights.  All I can say is the bottom-line principle — not a specific question about the vehicle or the timeframe, but rather the fundamental principle — which is that a strong, vibrant American democracy that protects voting rights is the best way for us to make the case to the world that our model, and not some other model, is the right model to actually vindicate the will of the people here in the United States, and for other democracies to be able to do the same.
 
Yeah.
 
Q    Two quick questions.  One, a follow-up on Yamiche.  The biggest concern of some of our allies has been, over the last four years and even before, just the rapid swaying back and forth of our foreign policy.  Now, you can’t assure anyone what’s going to happen after you leave, but what assurances and what will you tell our allies that, despite what we’ve seen in the past, that we have returned to normal?
 
MR. SULLIVAN:  I think the best way to answer that question — and this builds on what I said to Yamiche — is what President Biden can do is show the rest of the world what America is capable of.  If we can lead the world in ending the COVID-19 pandemic more rapidly; if the growth we are powering for the American people here at home helps power a global economic recovery; if we can help rally, as the President did with his Climate Leaders Summit, action on climate — on the climate crisis so that we actually beat this thing, ultimately, that is going to be the best way for people to say, “Hang on, the United States can do this.  They can deliver and we will stand up and stand behind them.”  And that is the approach that he has taken from the first day he’s been in office.  That’s the message he’s going to carry into these meetings.
 
And what I believe we will deliver just out of the G7 alone, in addition to the other meetings he’s going to have on this trip, will show that the United States retains profound capacity to help rally the world’s democracies to solve big problems.
 
Q    And the second question —
 
MR. SULLIVAN:  Yeah.
 
Q    Yes —
 
Q    And I had a second question.  The second question was: Will you look at ransomware as a national security priority?  How will we address that in the G7?
 
MR. SULLIVAN:  Yes, ransomware is a national security priority, particularly as it relates to ransomware attacks on critical infrastructure in the United States.  And we will treat it as such in the G7.  We will treat it at such at every stop along the way on this trip. 
 
Yes.
 
Q    Thanks, Jake.  What is the point of meeting Putin in person if there are no deliverables and there’s no real trust to that relationship?  Why does the President think in-person is the most effective way to address Putin when you could just do this on the phone? 
 
MR. SULLIVAN:  Well, first of all, there’s no substitute for face-to-face engagement in any dynamic.  He’s not just going to Geneva.  Right?  He’s going to Cornwall.  He’s going to Brussels.  He will have the chance to look in the eyes of literally dozens of leaders over the course of his time, and all of that will be better than just operating on the telephone.  That’s —
 
Q    I’m asking about Putin though, not the other leaders.  If there’s — if the relationship —
 
MR. SULLIVAN:  Well, but I —
 
Q    — is centered around these issues that are so complicated, what does this President believe — what does he believe he can bring to the table with Putin?  And how does he assess Putin as a leader that he can talk to across the table?
 
MR. SULLIVAN:  So, first, the reason I answered with “all the other leaders” is this isn’t something unique to Putin.  Meeting face to face is not just something you do with Vladimir Putin; it’s something President Biden is going to do — I think, all told, when you add it up — with somewhere approaching 35 or 36 leaders just on this one trip alone.  And he has welcomed the Prime Minister of Japan and the President of Korea.  He will welcome other leaders here over the course of the summer, because face-to-face engagement is just of a different order of magnitude of diplomatic engagement from doing it over the phone.
 
Second, on this notion of deliverables in the U.S.-Russia summit: At the end of the day, what we are looking to do is for the two presidents to be able to send a clear signal on question — to their teams on questions of strategic stability so that we can make progress in arms control and other nuclear areas to reduce tension and instability in that aspect of the relationship.  And then, second, being able to look President Putin in the eye and say, “This is what America’s expectations are.  This is what America stands for.  This is what America is all about.” 
 
This, we believe, is an essential aspect of U.S.-Russia diplomacy because President Putin is a singular kind of personalized leader, and having the opportunity to come together in a summit will allow us to manage this relationship and stand up and defend American values most effectively.
 
Q    Following up on the ransomware issue, given how pervasive it is and has been for some time.  U.S. officials have talked about the need for international allies to work together on this issue.  Are you looking for specific commitments from allies?  What do you want to come out of the G7 and NATO summit with, as it pertains to ransomware to help better protect the U.S.?
 
MR. SULLIVAN:  So one of the things we’d like to see out of the G7 is the start of an action plan that covers a number of critical areas. 
 
First, how to deal with the — increasing the robustness and resilience of our defenses against ransomware attacks, collectively. 
 
Second, how to share information about the nature of the threat among our democracies. 
 
Third, how to deal with the cryptocurrency challenge, which is — lies at the core of how this — these ransom transactions are played out.
 
And then, finally, how we collectively speak with one voice to those countries, including Russia, that are harboring or permitting cyber criminals to operate from their territory. 
 
So those are some of the things that we are looking for as outcomes out of the G7+.  We will also speak, in the NATO context, about cyber threats, particularly as they relate to critical infrastructure, as being of a different order of magnitude of security threat that the Alliance has to concern itself with in a way that it hasn’t historically.  But it’s got to become a priority on a going-forward basis. 
 
Q    Jake?
 
MR. SULLIVAN:  Yeah.
 
Q    Thank you so much.  Thank you.  Thank you so much.  Okay, so about the infrastructure financing problem that you were talking about is going to be announced, which countries is the United States and G7 look at?  Is Brazil one of these developing countries to receive this financing?
 
And if you could update us about the discussions with Brazil on 5G, because you have a delegation from Brazil here discussing with NSC officials. 
 
And, finally, why hasn’t President Biden still talk with the Brazilian president, Bolsonaro?  Why are — why he hasn’t?  And what is the message that this send to Brazil?  It’s June.  He’s already going to — for international trip.  He has not yet speak with Brazil.  So why is that? 
 
MR. SULLIVAN:  So there are a number of leaders that he hasn’t had the opportunity to speak with.  And one of the reasons why, of course, as many people in this room know, is he’s had an unbelievably packed and crowded agenda, particularly domestically, and trying to beat the pandemic and get on the road to COVID-19 recovery. 
 
So he’s looking forward to making sure he gets to touch the leaders of every significant country in the world over the course of the coming weeks and months.
 
On 5G, we have made clear our view and we will communicate that with the delegation visiting from Brazil that we believe that trusted vendors for 5G are the best way, both for — to secure telecommunications networks and to ensure that a country’s democratic values can be protected. 
 
And then, finally, I’m not going to get ahead of the announcements on the financing for infrastructure package.  I will let that speak for itself.  But I will say, it will cover all of the significant regions of the world, including Latin America and the Caribbean.
 
Q    Mr. Sullivan?
 
MR. SULLIVAN:  Yeah.
 
Q    Thank you there.  When the United States rejoined the World Health Organization, you wrote in a statement that that meant, quote, “holding it to the highest standards.”  Does that mean that the World Health Organization had failed to meet those standards at some point?  And then, what specifically is this administration doing to make certain that they are held to those standards?
 
MR. SULLIVAN:  So, we have made clear from the beginning of this administration, and in rejoining, that we believe the WHO does need to be reformed.  Some of those reforms are more programmatic and bureaucratic; they relate to ensuring greater efficiency and effectiveness in responding to things like the outbreak of COVID-19.  Some of them are about making sure that there is not undue influence or interference by any single member state or country in the WHO. 
 
And then some of them relate to very targeted issues like the COVID-19 origins investigation where I have personally, and we collectively, have been quite vocal about our view that there needs to be a second round to this investigation that truly gets to the heart of the matter, which is the original data and original information that is still being withheld by China.  And our hope is that in the coming months we will see a credible international investigation progress, including in respect to those items. 
 
Yeah.
 
Q    Thank you, Jake.  What is your expectation for when the U.S. will lift travel restrictions on the UK and on Europe?  And what are your current concerns?  Why haven’t they been lifted yet?  What specifically are you looking for to have happen — for that to happen?
 
MR. SULLIVAN:  Well, let me start by saying it doesn’t really matter what I am looking for personally, because at the end of the day this is a process being driven by science and public health guidance.  And so it is ultimately up to the public health professionals in the U.S. government to make that determination. 
 
We have heard very clearly the desire of our friends in Europe and in the UK, to be able to reopen travel across the Atlantic Ocean, and we want to see that happen.  But we have to follow the science and we have to follow the guidance of our public health professionals.  So we are actively engaging with them to determine the timeframe.
 
And I can’t give you a date today, but I will tell you that we recognize the concern and we are fundamentally being guided by objective analysis in this regard.
 
Q    What is your response to arguments that those continuing restrictions on the UK and European countries are unfair, given that there are other countries that the U.S. does
not have travel restrictions on?
 
MR. SULLIVAN:  My view on this is: We have been transparent and clear about the basis for our travel restrictions.  We have done so through a process that has been guided by science and evidence.  That is how we’ve determined how the travel restrictions have been applied and to whom, and that is how we are going to proceed on a going-forward basis. 
 
This could — this administration’s commitment to that kind of analysis is fundamental.  It is how — it is what has guided every aspect of our response to the pandemic, including this issue.
 
Q    Thank you very much, Jake.  Nice to see you.  I’m  Jeanne Pak with (inaudible) Korea.  And regarding about the North Korea issues, is there a possibility of U.S. and South Korea, Japan trilateral meeting at the G7, and you’ll be discussing with the North Korean issues?
 
MR. SULLIVAN:  We don’t currently have a trilateral scheduled between the U.S., Japan, and South Korea, but I will tell you there’s a possibility for virtually anything in these small spaces where you have just a — you know, in this case, 10 or 12 leaders in person there in Cornwall.  But there’s nothing currently on the schedule. 
 
Q    We have a logistical question, actually.  Do you expect President Biden and President Putin to spend any time together alone, or do you expect that staff and aides will be present throughout all this summit?  And can we expect a joint press conference between the two leaders?  Is this something that you’re actively pushing for? 
 
MR. SULLIVAN:  All of that is still being worked out.  So when I’ve got more to report on the modalities, both in terms of how the meeting will be structured and the press elements, we’ll come back to you.
 
Q    Jake, I want to ask you about the relationship specifically with two leaders.  It was announced las week that the President will have a bilateral with the Turkish President, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan.  I know that talks have been challenging with him.  Can you describe what the administration is hoping to accomplish on that? 
 
And also, secondly, with the UK, what is the dynamic, or what’s the personal relationship between Boris Johnson and Joe Biden?  I know we’ve heard about the Special Relationship between the two countries.  What’s their relationship like?
 
MR. SULLIVAN:  So, President Biden and President Johnson — or Prime Minister Johnson — have had the opportunity to have a couple of phone calls.  And those phone calls have been warm.  They’ve been constructive.  They’ve been very much down to business.  They’ve gone through extensive agendas in both of them.  And I expect that their meeting together will just cover the waterfront.  I mean, really, a wide range of issues where the two of them and the U.S and United Kingdom do see eye to eye.  They’ve been collaborating on this plan to end the pandemic.  They’ve been collaborating on this infrastructure financing plan.  They’ve been collaborating on virtually every aspect of the G7 agenda.  And they talked very closely about how the Leaders Summit that President Biden hosted on climate could help provide the runway into COP26, which Prime Minister Johnson will be hosting in Glasgow.
 
And then, as far as President Erdoğan is concerned, they will have a bilateral on the margins of the NATO Summit in Brussels, and there, too, it’s going to be a broad and expansive agenda — issues right there in the region; of course, in the Eastern Mediterranean with Syria, with Iran, Nagorno-Karabakh — but also the role that Turkey will play on a going-forward basis with respect to negotiations and diplomacy in Afghanistan and how the U.S and Turkey itself deal with some of our significant differences on values and human rights and other issues. 
 
And President Biden knows Erdoğan very well.  The two men have spent a good amount of time together, and they are both, I think, looking forward to the opportunity to really have a business-like opportunity to review the full breadth of their relationship. 
 
I’m afraid I have to go.  I’m sorry, guys.
 
Q    One more question about Ukraine — about the Ukraine (inaudible).  Can we ask you one question about Ukraine —
 
MR. SULLIVAN:  Sure.
 
Q    — and whether President Zelenskyy — you mentioned his ask to have Ukraine join NATO.  What message will the President deliver in response, if it came up?
 
MR. SULLIVAN:  So they were able to talk about, basically, every significant aspect of the relationship, including with respect to the U.S.’s support for Ukraine security.  But in terms of the specifics of what they discussed, I’m going to let the two of them speak for themselves.  I’m not going to read out that aspect of the meeting.  Thank you.
 
MS. PSAKI:  Thanks, Jake.
 
Okay.  All right, well, what a good way to start off a full briefing room — our first full briefing room day since the President took office.
 
A couple of updates for all of you at the top:
 
Over the weekend, the Department of Health and Human Services released new data that showed more than 31 million Americans have gained access to quality affordable healthcare through the Affordable Care Act — a record high that demonstrates the strength, durability, and impact of the historic law after years of relentless attacks on Americans’ healthcare. 
 
President Biden also reunited with President — former President Obama for the White House’s weekly conversation to share the news, discuss how the administration’s special enrollment period has allowed more than 1.2 million Americans to enroll in health coverage, and highlight how the American Rescue Plan has lowered premiums and healthcare costs. 
 
Another update from the weekend: Over the weekend, the G7 finance ministers also endorsed President Biden’s plan for a global minimum tax of at least 15 percent.  This is a historic unprecedented progress made possible by the President’s and Secretary Yellen’s commitment to a global tax system that is equitable and equipped to meet the needs of the 21st century global economy. 
 
The G7’s endorsement is another example of America reasserting its leadership on the world stage — something we look forward to doing later this week.  And establishing a global corporate minimum tax will help level the playing field for the United States, ensure fairness for the American middle class and working families everywhere, and focus competition for business where it belongs. 
 
Last item for all of you: Today, the Department of Justice announced two new steps to stem the epidemic of gun violence in our country, following through on the President and Attorney General’s announcement in April of a set of initial actions.
First, the DOJ has issued a notice of proposed rulemaking to strengthen regulations on stabilizing braces that helped convert pistols into dangerous short-barreled rifles, which it appears the perpetrator of the Boulder shooting used — now that we know more.
 
The Department is also publishing model legislation and guidance that will make it easier for states to implement red-flag laws — something that’s already law in a number of states across the country — which studies have shown can be effective in reducing gun violence, including by preventing suicides and even potential mass shootings.  This is part of the President’s longstanding commitment to addressing the scourge of gun violence, which continues to claim far too many lives every single day.
 
Josh, kick us off.
 
I’m very thrown off by where everyone is seated.  I’ll — (laughter) — I’ll adjust to it.  Okay, go ahead.
 
Q    Thanks, Jen.  Two questions.  First, Senator Manchin laid out the argument that election reform should be bipartisan because anything partisan would, quote, “destroy the already weakening binds of our democracy.”  Does the President agree with that sentiment, or is that sentiment untenable because of the state-level changes being pushed by Republicans?
 
MS. PSAKI:  Well, first let me say that the President knows he was elected to deliver on — deliver for the American people.  And his view is that that includes making voting more accessible for people across the country — making it easier and not harder to vote. 
 
And he’s made clear that there’s a real need for federal legislation to protect the sacred right to vote, and we are not going to wait for Congress either.  That’s why we’ve taken some steps through our Department of Justice and also why we’ve — he’s asked the Vice President to lead this effort both in working with Congress, but also at the state level.  Because as you noted, there are a number of problematic laws that have been moved — that have moved forward in states across the country. 
 
I think where we are at this point is, clearly, Senator Manchin has stated his point of view in his opinion piece over the weekend, which many of you, it sounds like, have read, as did we. 
 
But the President’s view is that we need to move forward not just with the John Lewis Voting Rights Act, but also with legislation, like the For the People Act, which enjoys, I should note, broad support for — from the American people and — because it does a couple of things that he thinks are essential: It provides basic protections for registering to vote and how we cast a ballot; it will prevent politicians from drawing congressional district lines for partisan advantage; to ensure that people are choosing the representatives that will help end the corrupting power of money and politics. 
 
Now, in terms of the path forward and what that looks like and the mechanics of how it moves forward in Congress, the President is quite open to and willing to work with anyone to enact commonsense reforms that benefit the American people.  We will stay lockstep with Democratic leadership on what that looks like from here, but I don’t have anything to preview about the next steps. 
 
Q    And then, secondly, the Justice Department has had a series of policy changes with regards to its relationship with reporters and pursuing reporters’ sources and possible prosecutions.  I was wondering: Under this administration, will the Justice Department still be trying to compel reporters to name sources who are anonymous or unnamed in court?  Will they continue to do that?
 
MS. PSAKI:  Well, I think that the announcement from this weekend — or the statements from this weekend, which are entirely consistent with the President’s comments he made just a few weeks ago, make very clear that going forward, consistent with the President’s direction, the Department of Justice, in a change to longstanding practice, as many of you have noted in here before, will not see compulsory legal process in leak investigations to obtain source information from members of the news media doing their jobs. 
 
That is entirely consistent with delivering on the President’s comments just a few weeks ago and entirely consistent with his policies now.  It doesn’t mean — there are still — it’s an independent Justice Department.  They will proceed, of course, with a range of investigations, which, as we noted in our statement on Saturday morning, we did not know about the gag order until minutes before the reporting came out on Friday night.  So that’s appropriate, but at the same time, moving forward, consistent with the President’s policies, they will not be proceeding with those actions that have been consistent over the last several years. 
 
Go ahead, Steve.
 
Q    The President is not happy with the Capito counteroffer.  What happens now on infrastructure?
 
MS. PSAKI:  A couple things, Steve.  One: First, the President, I expect, will speak with Senator Capito before he leaves on his trip — today or tomorrow.  I know we noted Monday in our readout on Friday, but we’re looking to schedule that call, and it’ll be prior to his departure on Wednesday morning.
 
As we noted also in our statement on Friday, the offer did not meet the President’s bar of growing the economy, tackling the climate crisis, and creating new jobs.  And I would remind all of you — both in our counteroffer, but then in a lot of your reporting — it’s clear the President has come down by about a trillion dollars.  What is — what we’ve seen on the other side is they only come up by a small percentage of that.
 
So, look, moving forward, he’s looking forward to having a discussion with Senator Capito today or tomorrow, and he certainly is eager to see what can — what that discussion can entail, knowing that in any discussion, any negotiation, both sides come closer together.  That’s always the objective.  He’s come down quite a bit.  We’re looking to see more. 
 
Now, at the same time, there are a lot of paths forward here, as many of you know, even though our muscles have atrophied a bit on this — on this front.  One is, Congressman DeFazio, as we noted in our readout on Friday as well, is marking up — leading the markup of the House legislation that has a lot of overlap with the American Jobs Plan this week and a lot of — it’s a — that is a path that has a lot of opportunity to move forward in the House.  As we know, sometimes the House and the Senate may move forward on different paths, and we’ve seen that take place on lots of pieces of legislation. 
 
The third pathway I would just note is there are Republicans and Democrats who have been out there talking about their eagerness to be a part of this discussion and a part of an opportunity to move forward on the President’s bold ideas and historic investment in infrastructure.  So we’ll look forward to seeing what they have to offer and what conversation we can have with them. 
 
So all of these paths we expect to continue to make progress on this week.
 
Q    Separately, what is the status of the semiconductor reviews?  Should we expect that today, tomorrow?  When exactly? 
 
MS. PSAKI:  Soon, Steve.  I would expect you will have more this week.  I know there is a lot of interest and eagerness on hearing what the status of the review is and any policies that have — will come out of that review.
 
Q    On infrastructure, does —
 
MS. PSAKI:  Go ahead.  Go ahead.
 
Q    On infrastructure — back on that — does the President have an agreement with Senator Manchin that if the bipartisan talks fails, then Manchin will support the — using reconciliation to pass infrastructure?
 
MS. PSAKI:  I’m certainly not going to speak on behalf of where Senator Manchin is.  Obviously, he’s spoken to his interest in making historic investments in infrastructure.  He’s also spoken to his openness to raising the corporate tax rate.  Those are all positive signs, in our view.  We’ll let him speak for himself on where he stands on any pieces of legislation.
 
Go ahead.
 
Q    Given the concessions that you just outlined that the President has made so far, should we expect this to be the final round of negotiations with Senator Capito?
 
MS. PSAKI:  I think we have to see where the conversations go over the next day or so.  And we’re certainly not going to prejudge them.
 
Again, look, the President has come down by approximately a trillion dollars.  We’ll see where the conversation goes when he has the opportunity to speak with Senator Capito.  And there are a number of paths where we can move these ideas forward at the same time.
    
Q    You mentioned your support for this markup that’s happening on Wednesday.  Is that a signal — should we read this as some kind of signal to your Republican counterparts that you are ready to go at this alone?
 
MS. PSAKI:  I think it’s only just a statement of what’s happening as a bill becomes a law, which is that a leader in the House is moving forward with marking up a piece of legislation that has quite a bit of overlap with the American Jobs Plan the President proposed. 
 
So, the time is not unlimited here, as we’ve stated from the beginning, nor is the President’s willingness to compromise.  He has areas where he wants to see greater investment.  He made clear that the proposal — or the offer put on the table didn’t meet his own bar, but we’re very open to where the discussion goes from here.  And he’s looking for the opp- — looking forward to the opportunity to talk with Senator Capito, as well as others who may come forward with ideas about how to move this forward.
 
Q    And just one more on this, sort of, big picture.  Secretary Buttigieg had said that, you know, by today, you had hoped to see a clear path on infrastructure.  Do you have a sense that there is an emerging clear path?
 
MS. PSAKI:  We have several paths.  That’s the good sign. 
 
Go ahead.
 
Q    Is there a new deadline that the President has set for progress on infrastructure?  I know there — you know, there was Memorial Day; now you’re outlining a few different paths.  Is there a time in which he’s going to make a decision about which one he’s going to take, given the deadline keeps moving?
 
MS. PSAKI:  Well, first of all, what we said is, by Memorial Day, we would hope to have a sense of where it looked like moving forward, and we do.  We have a couple of paths forward.  We don’t know what the end outcome will look like, as you typically don’t as a bill is moving its way to becoming law.   And there are several paths forward as I’ve noted, so we’re going to continue to work on all of those lines.
 
I would also note that Speaker Pelosi has said she wants to move forward with legislation on infrastructure in the House in June.  That’s exactly what’s happening here.  Leaders — Leader Schumer said he wants to move forward in July.  Again, the House and Senate can be on different timelines and pathways.
 
Q    And then, just a quick follow-up on the voting rights.  Did Manchin give the White House a heads up that this op-ed would be coming out?  Did you guys have any sense of how firm his position was on this legislation?
 
MS. PSAKI:  I’m just not going to get into any channels of private conversation with Senator Manchin or any other senator.
 
Q    And then, just on the Vice President: Obviously, you know, last week, the President said that she was going to take a leadership role in —
 
MS. PSAKI:  Yeah.
 
Q    — in voting rights.  Democrats have warned that if, you know, if Washington doesn’t take action, that the midterms will be quite difficult given the changing voting laws.  Is there going to be a more — you know, are we going to see signs of more urgency from the White House about taking action on voting rights?  Obviously, the President has had a lot of lawmakers in the Oval Office to talk about infrastructure.  Will we see more signs of an increasing focus on trying to make progress on voting rights?
 
MS. PSAKI:  Absolutely.  But I would also note that, early on in the presidency, the President signed into law an executive order that put in place a number of positive steps forward on voting rights, something — an action he could take without Congress.  We’ve also empowered the Department of Justice, of course, to take actions to implement some of these policies.  So, we’re not waiting. 
 
I would also note that the fact that he asked his Vice President — well, or he — they agreed, I should say, since it was her ask — but that she would lead this effort moving forward tells you what a significant priority it is for this White House.
 
As you know, she’s currently on a trip to the Northern Triangle.  She’ll be back, and I’m certain you’ll hear more from her soon.
 
Go ahead, Phil.
 
Q    Voting rights, Jen.  Back on voting rights, real quick.
 
MS. PSAKI:  I’ll go to you next, April.  I promise.  I’m just jumping around so I don’t forget. 
 
Go ahead, Phil.
 
Q    I just have a bigger picture one, and then one more to drill down on infrastructure.  What’s the President’s message, or what’s your message to Democrats, particularly progressives who’ve started to get a little bit antsy that, you know, the window is closing; we went through this back in 2009; it’s time for us to move; it’s not just infrastructure — if you don’t move infrastructure, the rest of the $4 trillion agenda doesn’t move either?  What’s — how does the President, kind of, calm that down, if he does?
 
MS. PSAKI:  I think — I think his message is: He remains absolutely committed to moving forward with a historic investment in infrastructure, and also to put — pushing forward the American Families Plan that will help level the playing field, lift up the next generation of workers, ensure there is universal pre-K and access to free community college. 
 
These are all initiatives that he has a commitment to moving forward on.  And part of the discussion, which we talked about a little bit last week, is also about tax reform and ensuring there’s a way to pay for a range of these ideas.  It’s not that one is assigned by a blood oath to one piece of — you know, one piece of the agenda is assigned to one piece of a payfor. 
 
There’s opportunity to move forward with several components of the President’s agenda.  We do have time.  We’re not going — we’re not using the timeline of the Affordable Care Act as a model here, Phil.  But as you know, and anyone here knows, it takes time to move these things forward, to get Democrats on board, to get Republicans on board. 
 
Ultimately, we’re looking to have enough of a coalition to move forward on these bold, historic ideas, and we obviously don’t have that at this moment, but we’re working toward that. 
 
Q    And then, just to drill down a little bit on the — on June 9th markup.  I mean, this is Surface Transportation package. 
 
MS. PSAKI:  Yeah.
 
Q    It doesn’t have — most Republicans are cool to it right now.  Can you elaborate how that is a pathway — a viable pathway forward, given you’re looking for a bipartisan pathway right now?  Or, kind of, what the thinking is behind that markup in that piece of legislation.
 
MS. PSAKI:  Well, I think it’s important to note, primarily, because it has a great deal of overlap with the American Jobs Plan, and certainly it provides an opportunity for Democrats and Republicans to vote to support a historic investment in infrastructure.  Obviously, a markup is just the beginning stage of the process; there’s some time to go.  But it’s important to note because it is a piece of legislation that’s moving its way forward, even as these negotiations are continuing. 
 
Okay.  Go ahead.
 
Q    And you said you’d come back to me next. 
 
MS. PSAKI:  Oh, I’m sorry.  April, you’re right.  I’m sorry.  Go ahead.
 
Q    Yes.  Back on the issue of voting rights: You said the President issued some executive orders on voting rights, but they don’t deal with the issue of Shelby vs. Holder 2013 when it comes to preclearance.  So how do you equate that?
 
MS. PSAKI:  Well, I wasn’t intending to equate it.  The question earlier was broadly about voting, right?  It was not about whether or not it’s essential to move forward with legislation that would make voting more accessible, ensure that everyone knew that every vote was counted. 
 
I think it’s important to know and understand: The President doesn’t feel that, you know, the John Lewis Voting Act — Voting Rights Act is a replacement for the For the People Act, and that it is necessary to move forward with more than that. 
 
Q    And a follow-up on that: Tomorrow, Joe Manchin is meeting — it’s reported he’s meeting with civil rights leaders, civil rights leaders who pretty much align themselves with this administration.  What are your hopes?  Because, I mean, they seem like they could be your last hope — if there is any hope – to move him on his opposition against the For the People Act. 
 
MS. PSAKI:  Well, look, I don’t know that I can speak to a meeting that has no member of the administration as participating in, April. 
 
But I can tell you that the President is going to continue, and as are members of this administration who’ve been leading this effort — from Susan Rice to Cedric to anyone who’s at the highest level, and, obviously, to the Vice President, when she returns from her trip — to advocating for a path forward on how we can ensure that everyone knows their vote counts, that we make voting more accessible, that we make it easier and not harder.  Those are fundamentals. 
 
The President, the Vice President, and other members of the administration will be open to, eager to have that discussion with anyone who wants to be constructive in that, moving forward.
 
Q    Are you hopeful that his heart will change?
 
MS. PSAKI:  I’m not going to make a prediction about Senator Manchin’s position on an issue.  I’d point you to him to speak to that. 
 
Go ahead. 
 
Q    On the same topic: Could you speak more to the actual argument that Senator Manchin was making, which was less about the content of the For the People Act and more about the fact that it doesn’t have bipartisan support and that being behind it would be wrong for that reason alone?
 
MS. PSAKI:  Well, I think the President’s view continues to be that making voting easier for people, making it easier to vote, ensuring people have access to that fundamental American right should be something that Democrats and Republicans all support.  And he certainly will continue to advocate for that. 
 
I don’t know that I have more of a comment on Senator Machin’s position.  I would point you to his spokespeople for that.
 
Q    And then, given the fact that we’ve been talking about how a bill becomes a law, if he’s against the For the People Act, does that mean that for all intents and purposes — at least for right now — it is dead? 
 
MS. PSAKI:  I’m certainly not going to make that prediction.  As you know, there can be many ups and downs of legislation moving forward.  And as I noted earlier, he’s been — the President has been clear he’s willing to work with anyone to enact commonsense reforms that benefit the American people, that make it easier to vote.  He’ll have those discussions with Democratic leadership, and we’ll work together on what the path forward looks like.
 
Go ahead.
 
Q    Thank you.  On COVID-19 origins: China has basically already said they think their part in an international investigation is done.  So, why is Jake Sullivan still here saying he thinks it’s possible that they’re going to provide the preliminary data at some point? 
 
MS. PSAKI:  Well, I don’t think we just give up that easily.  We are going to continue to press — in coordination with the international community — China to be transparent, to be forthcoming with data and information.  We’re not going to just stand by and accept that they’ve said they’re not going to participate. 
 
Now, at the same time, as you know, we’re also launching our own review and our own process.  And I’m certain this will be a topic of discussion as the President goes overseas this week.
 
Q    And when you say that the White House is going to continue to press, what is that — what is that?  What is
“pressing”?
 
MS. PSAKI:  Well —
 
Q    What are you doing?
 
MS. PSAKI:  Okay —
 
Q    No, sorry.  I just mean like what — what mechanisms —
 
MS. PSAKI:  What steps are we taking to press?
 
Q    Yes.
 
MS. PSAKI:  Sure.  We are engaging, certainly, at the highest levels, and we’ll continue to do that, whether it’s the Secretary of State or other leaders who engage on — through national security, diplomatic conversations.  And we will continue to work through the WHO and also with our international partners to exert that pressure and ensure that we’re all going to keep pressing for them to release underlying data and participate in the second stage of this investigation. 
 
Q    And then, just quickly, a housekeeping thing: Presidents Bush, Obama, and Trump all commemorated D-Day anniversaries on D-Day — on the D-Day anniversary.  Why didn’t President Biden? 
 
MS. PSAKI:  Well, I can tell you that, certainly, the value — his value for the role that men have — the men who served on D-Day, and the memory of them — the families who have kept their memories alive over the course of years on this day — is something the President has spoken to many, many times in the past.  It’s close to his heart.  And I wouldn’t be surprised if there’s more we would have to say on it. 
 
Go ahead. 
 
Q    Jen, I know you said you don’t want to read out any private conversations —
 
MS. PSAKI:  Yeah.
 
Q    — but it certainly seems like the President and Senator Manchin are sending messages to one another in the public.  You had the President, last week, expressing some frustration about — you didn’t name him, but senators in his party who vote with the other side.  You have the op-ed from Senator Manchin this weekend. 
 
Are these two men on the same page?  Does the White House feel like it understands and knows what Senator Manchin wants out of this, particularly these infrastructure talks?  And can you say when — how often these two have been speaking with one another — if not in person, by phone? 
 
MS. PSAKI:  Well, I can certainly tell you that the President and senior members of the administration are in close touch with Senator Manchin and his team about infrastructure and about a range of issues where there is an opportunity to work together, moving forward. 
 
I’ll also note that I’m pretty sure Senator Manchin is pretty proud of his independent streak.  And he made clear he took no offense to the President’s comments last week.
 
And he also noted — I think over the weekend — that West Virginia doesn’t usually get this much attention, so maybe it’s a — you know, that’s something he doesn’t seem to mind too much.
 
Q    Does the President see Senator Manchin as potentially an obstacle to his agenda?  If he follows through on not backing changes to the filibuster, not wanting to pursue infrastructure through reconciliation, that pretty much grounds the President’s domestic agenda.
 
MS. PSAKI:  Well, we’re certainly not ready to accept that — that analysis.
 
I will say the President considers Senator Manchin a friend.  He knows that they may disagree on some issues, as they do on this particular piece of legislation.  He’s going to continue to work with him, reach out to him, engage with him directly and through his staff on how we can work together moving forward. 
 
Q    On the issue of healthcare, you mentioned the video of President Obama and President Biden over the weekend.
 
MS. PSAKI:  Yeah.
 
Q    One of the remaining Supreme Court decisions we’re waiting on deals with the Affordable Care Act.  Can you talk about the White House’s preparation for that decision — what we would expect to hear from the White House if they strike down the former President’s signature law?
 
MS. PSAKI:  Certainly.  Well, “reunited and it feels so good” for the Vice President and former President.  Who — someone — someone gets this in here.  Hey.  (Laughter.)  So, even a full room, no laughs.  Okay.
 
Look, I will say that this is one of the roles that Neera Tanden, who has come in as a policy advisor, is playing — is planning for what the contingencies are. 
 
As you well know, we don’t know what day this is going to come out or what the outcome is going to look like.  And what we are staying rooted in is our fundamental view — the fundamental view of the President and the Vice President that the American people deserve access to affordable care — healthcare; we should continue to improve and build upon the Affordable Care Act.  And that’s how we’re planning for.
 
But, you know, there’s a range of options.  I’m sure when we know the outcome, we can — we can speak to that more directly.
 
Go ahead, Andrew.
 
Q    Thank you.  So, you answered a number of questions about voting rights and people casting their votes.  I wanted to ask you about counting the votes. 
 
MS. PSAKI:  Yeah. 
 
Q    A number of the bills that have passed Republican legislatures and are pending before Republican legislatures take the voting and the counting of votes and the running of elections out of the hands of nonpartisan officials and put them in the hands of Republican state legislatures.  This is what Donald Trump wanted done during the runup to when Congress certified President Biden’s victory.  This is what a lot of scholars are saying Republicans as a whole are preparing to do in the event Democrats win close elections in 2022 and 2024.
 
The For the People Act does not address the issue of counting the votes and rigging or ignoring the counting of votes if a Democrat wins.  How much of a concern is this to the President?  And what — what’s he going to do to highlight this and find a solution?
 
MS. PSAKI:  Well, Andrew, it’s a really important issue to raise.  And as you’ve noted, there are pieces of legislation — putting the federal effort aside — that are moving their way through state legislatures, which would make it part- — a partisan — in some scenarios, in some cases, put the hands in the power of a partisan decision-making body or individual.  And clearly that’s concerning. 
 
We noted in the announcement about the Vice President’s role — is that her effort would be focused partially on federal legislation and moving that forward, seeing what path — the path looks forward — looks like moving forward, but also working with voting rights groups, working with state activists, working with others to see how we can address these challenges.
 
It is a priority.  It is a focus.  And again, the President’s fundamental view is that it should be easier to vote, not harder, and that we should ensure that everybody knows their vote is counted.
 
Q    Would the President support Congress amending the Electoral Count Act?
 
MS. PSAKI:  I — I’m happy to see if there’s any specific statement of administration policy we have on that particular piece.
 
Go ahead, Francesca.
 
Q    Thanks, Jen.  With the President leaving the country on Wednesday, is that the cutoff time for talks with Senator Capito’s group?  Or is he advising staff, while he’s gone, to continue negotiations with those Republican senators?
 
MS. PSAKI:  Well, I would expect, certainly, things will continue.  We don’t know, again — we’ll see what the conversation looks like when the President speaks with Senator Capito today or tomorrow.
 
But either way, the President will certainly empower, as he has, his Jobs — Jobs, you know — Jobs Cabinet to continue to engage directly with members of Congress and leaders to continue to move his agenda forward. 
 
The other piece of good news is that any White House is pretty well practiced in continuing to operate and work on domestic issues while they’re traveling overseas.  And I expect the President will remain engaged on the American Jobs Plan, even as he’s overseas meeting with a number of global counterparts.
 
Go ahead.
 
Q    Sorry, and I have a quick follow-up.
 
MS. PSAKI:  Yeah.
 
Q    How about Senator Romney?  Is he one of the Republicans that you’ve alluded to that the President and the White House are also having conversations with?
 
MS. PSAKI:  He has — Senator Romney has spoken publicly about his interest in engaging, so certainly he’d be a person we’d be happy to have that conversation with.  And there are certainly others as well. 
 
Go ahead. 
 
Q    Thanks, Jen.  If I can go to the Vice President’s trip to the Northern Triangle states for a minute. 
 
MS. PSAKI:  Yeah.
 
Q    What’s different about these announce- — this announced initiative that just landed in our inbox from the Justice Department, especially from what was already announced with Homeland Security a few weeks ago in terms of anti-smuggling, anti-trafficking?  Is that just to give the Vice President something to point to today, given that there isn’t going to be additional aid announced in the Northern Triangle?
 
And one more thing. 
 
MS. PSAKI:  Mm-hmm.
 
Q    How do you respond to criticism from experts, as well as the administration’s own border officials, who say that the Title 42 policy is actually contributing to and exacerbating smuggling and trafficking at the border — with people trying again and again, taking more dangerous routes, kidnappers literally waiting at ports of entry?

MS. PSAKI:  Well, first, I have not seen what the Department of Justice just announced, so I’d have to take a look at that.
 
I will say that the purpose of the Vice President’s trip is to meet directly with counterparts in these countries to discuss how we can work together on reducing the number of people who want to make the journey to our border.
 
And what — in terms of the due outs of that, of what will be announced, I will certainly leave that to her team to announce on the ground, but that’s broadly the purpose.
 
But — go ahead.  Go ahead.
 
Q    And, sorry, one more.  Jake just said that — in regard to Francesca’s question about the travel restrictions in Europe, he said that the administration is going to be following the science, following the public health experts.
 
There was reporting over the weekend that CBP has now been told twice that the Title 42 policy was going to be lifted in March and in May. 
 
There’s also reporting that part of the Vice President’s trip is pushing Mexico to take back more migrants and asylum seekers who are expelled from the U.S.
 
You’ve got public health experts, including at the CDC, saying it serves no health — public health purpose. 
 
So, all of this seems to indicate that it’s not actually about public health; it’s about immigration and political optics.  So how do you respond?
 
MS. PSAKI:  Well, actually, what Jake was referring to is the overall guidance by the CDC.  And there may be individuals who have different points of view — we certainly understand that — within the CDC or other places, but we’re talking about what the overarching recommendation is from leadership and through their own thorough process.  So that’s what Jake was referring to.
 
Q    And then, a sense of timeline on — on those restrictions on the southern border?
 
MS. PSAKI:  I don’t have any sense of the timeline on that quite yet. 
 
Go ahead. 
 
Q    Thanks, Jen.  To meet the President’s goal of 70 percent of Americans vaccinated by July 4th, there needs to be about 4.2 million adults per week vaccinated.  Last week, there were 2.4 million, indicating a slowdown in the number of vaccinations.  Is there any concern that the President’s goal will come close — high 60s — but not meet 70?
 
MS. PSAKI:  Well, first, I would say we expected a little bit of a slowdown because of the holiday, but it is — there’s no question it’s a bold and ambitious goal.  It’s one of the reasons that we launched this “Month of Action” to ensure that we were using every tool at our disposal to push these numbers. 
 
I’ll also note that, regardless of where we are on July 4th, we’re not shutting down shop.  On July 5th, we’re going to continue to press to vaccinate more people across the country.
 
So, what we’re looking at — just a couple more things here — are a couple of factors.  One, there’s a difference in data, as you all know, as it relates to age.  Right?  So over — people who are over 40 have a much higher percentage of vaccination than people under 40.  So, clearly, some of our focus needs to be on people under 40 for this period of time and this push.  We’ve also looked at the fact that there are about 12 or 13 states who’ve already met this 70 percent marker.
 
So, we’re going to continue to push through the finish line, through the red tape here — not the finish line — through the red tape, to July 4th.  But I can’t make a prediction weeks ahead of time where we will be; we’re just going to use every — every tool at our disposal to get there. 
 
Q    And then one more on voting rights.
 
MS. PSAKI:  Sure.
 
Q    Where does the President feel the Vice President can best be used?  I know that her office has made an emphasis that this legislation is only one little piece — not little; it’s huge — but only one piece of her work on voting rights.
 
So does he see her as somebody who can be out in the country drumming up support, you know, alongside civil rights groups and private corporations?  Like where does he see her strengths as a politician fitting into this issue? 
 
MS. PSAKI:  Yes, all of the above.  And as she noted in her statement when this was announced, she intends to be engaged with voting rights groups and community activists, with leaders and states — as well as on the federal level.
 
And I think the important component of that or the important note of it is, even as we’re continuing to move — or press and advocate for legislation on a federal level, there are other areas where we can have an impact.  I expect when she gets back from her trip, we’ll hear more from her on this. 
 
Go ahead. 
 
Q    I wanted to get a point of clarification on an earlier question.
 
MS. PSAKI:  Okay.
 
Q    So, as it relates to the Supreme Court in the healthcare case, does that mean that the White House is starting to think about plan B legislation in the event that a plan B legislative path is necessary?
 
MS. PSAKI:  You know, I think we are — Neera Tanden, again, is leading this effort, and we are planning for a range of contingencies of what the outcome might look like.  But I’m not going to outline that quite yet. 
 
Q    And on the surface transportation bill that you mentioned —
 
MS. PSAKI:  Yeah.
 
Q    — working its way to the House, is that a signal that the White House and the President is okay with sort of breaking up these proposals into little bits and kind of just getting what you can get along the way over a much longer period of time than maybe this June and July grand, sort of, legislative path that the Democrats are on?
 
MS. PSAKI:  He’s always been quite open to a range of mechanisms for his bold ideas moving forward.  So, certainly, that’s been his approach from the beginning and continues to be what his view is on mechanics. 
 
Q    (Inaudible.)
 
MS. PSAKI:  Thank you.
 
Q    Real quick, can —
 
MS. PSAKI:  Let me — Brian, you got a question before.  So let me — I’m going to abide by Josh here, but let me just do like two in the back because there’s new people here who haven’t — who have not asked any questions.
 
Go ahead, in the back. 
 
Q    Thanks, Jen.  I want to ask you a couple on infrastructure.  Your statement that you put out on Friday afternoon — you said that the President indicated that the offer did meet his objectives to grow the economy, tackle the climate crisis, and create new jobs.
 
On the climate crisis component, can you outline what the President believes needs to be in an infrastructure package in a bipartisan deal on the climate front?
 
MS. PSAKI:  Well, I think what that is a reference to is investment in areas like EV buses and EV charging stations and some of the components that are essential to investing in industries of the future and ensuring that we’re creating millions of jobs while also doing it in a way that protects our climate. 
 
Q    So those are must-haves?
 
MS. PSAKI:  I’m not outlining must-haves here; I’m outlining what the President would like to see more of in a piece of legislation. 
 
Okay.  Let’s do one more.  Last, in the — right there.  Right behind the green shirt, green sleeves.  Yes, go ahead.
 
Q    Hi, Jen.  I wanted to ask you, going back to the tax proposal from over the weekend — part of that was talking about the — where large multi- — multinational corporations are taxed.
 
MS. PSAKI:  Yeah.
 
Q    Do you have an estimate at this point of what that would look like for revenue for the U.S.?
 
MS. PSAKI:  Of the components the President put forward in his propos- — or which piece?  Sorry.  The global minimum tax or the —
 
Q    The other part of it, what the President —
 
MS. PSAKI:  The bookend — the book ta- — yes.  It’s in our — it’s in our budget.  It’s outlined in detail in our budget, which is public.  I’m sure we can get that to you after the briefing.
 
Thanks everyone so much.  Let’s do this again tomorrow.
 
Q    Jen, real quick: Can you all set a deadline for when you’ll get a grant coalition together?  Have you set one for yourself?
 
MS. PSAKI:  I think somebody asked a similar question.
 
Q    Yeah, but it wasn’t answered.  That’s why I asked.
 
MS. PSAKI:  I’ll see you tomorrow.
 
1:43 P.M. EDT

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