Aboard Air Force One
En Route Detroit, Michigan
10:10 A.M. EDT
MS. JEAN-PIERRE: Hi, everybody. Hello. Okay. President Biden’s economic plan has fueled an electric vehicle manufacturing boom in America, and we’ll see that on full display in Detroit, Michigan, today.
Since President Biden took office, companies like Toyota, Honda, Ford, GM, and Panasonic have announced $85 billion in investments to make electric vehicles, batteries, and chargers across America. They are making investments in states like North Carolina, Michigan, Ohio, Missouri, and Kansas. And the number of electric vehicles sold in America has tripled.
While in Detroit, President Biden will tour the Detroit Auto Show, where Stellantis will be showcasing two new hybrid electric Jeeps, General Motors will be highlighting their entire EV portfolio and their new electric Equinox, and dozens of other — of automakers will be showing off their laste- — their latest offerings.
The President will then deliver remarks on how his auto vision and leadership — including through his Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, Inflation Reduction Act, and CHIPS and Science Act — have positioned the United States to lead the electric vehicle future and how we are now creating more jobs, and manufacturing more in America, all while fighting climate change.
Throughout the day, he’ll get a chance to talk with union workers, CEOs, and local leaders. He’ll also be joined by Secretary Buttigieg, EPA Administrator Michael Regan, Governor Whitmer, Senator Stabenow, Congresswoman Dingell, and other members of the Michigan congressional delegation.
I also want to note, for the second day in a row, that while President Biden is in Michigan today focusing on strengthening our economy and the American people, extreme MAGA Republicans are consumed with their efforts to rip away rights from wom- — from millions of women.
Yesterday, Senator Graham introduced a radical national ban on abortion, which would strip away women’s rights in all 50 states. And last night, West Virginia passed another extreme abortion ban, which we expect to be signed into law shortly.
As I said yesterday in the briefing room, these actions are wildly out of step with what Americans believe and want from their government. The President and the Vice President won’t stop fighting to restore the protections of Roe in the face of continued radical steps by elected Republicans to put personal healthcare decisions in the hands of politicians instead of women and their doctors.
And West Virginia’s bill is another signal of the importance that Congress acts to codify Roe into law.
With that, Colleen, welcome back.
MS. JEAN-PIERRE: Good to see you.
Q Thanks, Karine. Can you tell us why the President went to Wilmington yesterday to vote in the primary when he could have had an absentee ballot or he could have voted in person, early voting, when he was there last weekend?
MS. JEAN-PIERRE: So, it’s multiple things. I know there has been a lot of interest in this.
So every American, as you know, has a sacred and constitutional right to vote. The President exercised that right, alongside other Delawareans, last night. That’s what you saw, just a couple — to answer your specific questions.
Look, as you know, the President has a very heavy schedule. He’s the President of the United States. It worked out best for him to vote yesterday, to vote on Tuesday. He thought it was important to exercise his constitutional right to vote, as I just mentioned, and set an example by showing the importance of voting.
He also had the opportunity to say hello to poll workers and thank them for their work. And we know how under attack poll workers have been these past several years.
And as some of you noted — some of your colleagues noted that many Presidents — it’s not — it’s not unusual — head home to vote in their local elections. And he thought it was important to do so yesterday.
Q Do you think that it would have been better then to make it more of, like, a public event, for him to sort of, like, tout it a little bit more? It was sort of a surprise — right? — until we — until he landed there.
MS. JEAN-PIERRE: Look, the President has been voting in Delaware for decades. And this is something that was important to do. He wasn’t going to miss an opportunity to vote — to vote yesterday, and he did that. It is not unusual for him. He’s done that for — again, for many decades.
And so — so, you know, he had an opportunity to thank the poll workers. He had an opportunity — I think by the President going to vote, that sends a very strong mesh- — message to the American public.
Q Karine, can you give us an update on the railway strike possibility, what the government is doing, and what the latest is on talks?
MS. JEAN-PIERRE: So, the latest is — so, this morning, Secretary Walsh is hosting the rail companies and unions in Washington, D.C., at the Department of Labor. You guys may all already know that. It’s happening literally as we are flying to Detroit at this moment. The President and members of Cabinet have been in touch with both union — unions and companies involved multiple times in order to try to avert a rail shutdown.
Our administration has been engaged in these negotiations for months, as I mentioned yesterday in the briefing room, in the early days of spring. All parties need to stay at the table, bargain in good faith to resolve outstanding issues, and come to an agreement. A shutdown of our freight sys- — rail system is an unacceptable outcome for our economy and the American people, and all parties must work to avoid just that.
Q Are you putting any contingency plans in place in case it does come to a shutdown?
MS. JEAN-PIERRE: Again, you know, we’ve been — we’ve been talking to both sides. The President — I mentioned this yesterday as well — while he was in Boston, had a conversation with both sides of this issue. And our continued message keeps — stays the same, which is that they need to continue to — to negotiate at the table in good faith.
Again, Secretary Walsh is at the Department of Labor, hosting both sides. And we’re going to continue to work to make sure that we don’t put another burden — another burden on the American fam- — American people and the American families.
Q Senator Burr put forward a resolution urging the — both sides to — or urging, I should — sorry — urging that both sides accept the Biden board’s recommendation on the rail strike — in other words, that the President get behind backing those recommendations. Do you have a position either on Senator Burr’s resolution or more broadly about the intervention with respect to the recommendations of the board?
MS. JEAN-PIERRE: So, the negotiating process of the — of the Presidential Emergency Board, which the President formed back in July — on July 15th, to be exact — puts the onus of resolving differences on the parties themselves.
And so, this is an issue that can and should be worked out between the rail companies and the unions, not by Congress. In fact, parties are at the table right now, as I just said, at the Department of Labor — of Labor.
Look, this is — they have been able to come together and negotiate in the past. And that’s what we’re expecting this time around as well.
Q And very quickly, is there any update you can give us on the SPR? We’ve given — had some reporting yesterday that the administration may begin announcing buybacks as the price — if the price dips further. Can you say at what point will the administration step in to help alleviate a price if it thinks it gets too low? And on the flip side, at what point would you think the price is getting too high? And are further releases down the line on the table as well?
MS. JEAN-PIERRE: So, as you know, Josh, the Department of Energy, they’ve put together an outline — its plan to replenish the Strategic Petroleum Reserve just a few months back. And that plan is currently going through the standard regulatory review process.
And so, as the Department said then, a few months ago, it anticipates that replenishment would not occur until well into the future, likely after fiscal year 2023. I don’t have any new steps to share at this time or to preview. So, we would refer you to the Department of Energy.
Q So if oil cost prices really drop, you’re not worried about that? The administration wouldn’t step in.
MS. JEAN-PIERRE: Again, I would — this is a process. They — the Department of Energy put forward a plan on this. And this is a process that they’re running. And it’s going through, again, a review. So I would definitely refer back to the Department of Energy.
Q Thank you.
Q Any updates on the London trip? Do you know if he’s going to be meeting with the new prime minister or with King Charles?
MS. JEAN-PIERRE: So I do have an update for you on that. Well, not your specific question, but an update on — on the UK more broadly.
But so, first off, I don’t have an update on the — on who he is going to be meeting or anything like that. We don’t have more to share outside of that the President and the First Lady are going to be attending the funeral on Monday the 19th.
But what I will share is: The President today “spoke with King Charles III to offer his condolences on the passing of Queen Elizabeth II. The President recalled fondly the Queen’s kindness and hospitality, including when she hosted him and the First Lady at Windsor Castle last June. He also conveyed the great admiration of the American people for the Queen, whose dignity and constancy deepened the enduring friendship and special relationship between the United States and the United Kingdom. President Biden conveyed his wish to continue a close relationship with the King.”
This is a readout that just went up moments ago, so that is what happened this morning.
Q Do you know if he or the First Lady has talked to Prince Harry? I know they’ve obviously done events before in the past and are seemingly close.
MS. JEAN-PIERRE: I don’t have any — you’re talking about First Lady, Dr. Biden?
MS. JEAN-PIERRE: I don’t — I don’t have anything to preview at this time. I would probably just refer you to her office. I don’t know of any calls at this time.
Q Karine, on Taiwan, maybe, if I may. There’s going to be a preliminary vote today in the Senate on the so-called Taiwan Policy Act. Does the President support this text?
MS. JEAN-PIERRE: So — so, I know this was asked in the briefing room. Just more broadly, our — our legislative teams have been — have been in touch with members — in touch with Congress, to be more specific. We will continue to communicate directly with Congress on this legislation, like we do with legislation just across vari- — various topics — a variety of topics.
The Biden administration has deepened our partnership with Taiwan and will continue to do so with effective diplomatic, economic, and military support.
Look, we appreciate the strong bipartis- — bipartisan support for Taiwan and want to work with Congress to strengthen that support. But again, this bill — as we understand it or as I understand it — is still being worked out through the Senate and will run through a whole process, as you know, as the Senate works. And so, we just don’t want to get ahead of that process at this time.
Q But still, today, do you think this bill is coherent with the One China policy as it stands?
MS. JEAN-PIERRE: Again, I’m going to let the process continue. It’s going to go through multiple processes before it reaches an end. So we’re going to let that go through.
But we appreciate the bipartisanship that we have seen when it comes to Taiwan specifically.
Q Karine, on the economy, how concerned is the President about the state of the economy? And given what we saw yesterday with the Dow, is the President at all remiss about the split-screen moment that he had on the South Lawn?
MS. JEAN-PIERRE: So let’s not forget the moment that we saw on the South Lawn of the President and thousands of people coming together who helped get the Inflation Reduction Act done was a celebration for the American people. It was a win for the American people.
When you think about how long elected members — Democrats, in particular — in Congress have been fighting for decades against special interest groups — in particular, pharma — to bring costs down for Medicare, that’s what you saw yesterday. That’s what you saw in this fight: lowering costs for Medicare, lowering costs for healthcare, lowering costs on energy co- — on energy itself.
As it relates to the stock market, it’s one measure of how the economy is doing, and we are watching this closely.
It’s also important to look at what’s happening on Main Street. We have one of the strongest job markets on record — 3.7 unemployment rate — and we’ve created 10 million new jobs. More people are looking for work.
Because of the President’s economic plan, businesses are investing in America at record rates, and we are making more in America.
Just last week, the President visited Intel for the groundbreaking of their new facility in Ohio that will manufacture semiconductors.
And we’re — and we went to Detroit — or we’re going to Detroit, where, because of his economic plan, the three — the Big Three car companies are investing in new manufacturing in the United States.
So we understand there’s more progress to be done. We’re going to continue to do that — do that work. Gas prices, as you’ve heard us tell, has gone down more than 90 days at — it’s gone down by $1.30 per gallon. And that’s the work — because of the work that this President has done because we wanted to make sure that we’re lowering costs for people.
I know you haven’t asked a question yet.
Q Any update on UNGA: who the President will be meeting with, any bilats, when he will be speaking?
MS. JEAN-PIERRE: So, I don’t have anything for you at this time. Nothing to — to preview. But as I’ve noted before, he is going to be attending UNGA.
We’ll have more to share as we get closer.
Q In the past, you said food security was going to be an issue. Any other issues — how much Ukraine will be part of this, Russia, China?
MS. JEAN-PIERRE: Again, look, as far as Ukraine, I would point you to their government on how they’re going to be involved in UNGA. We’re not going to speak for them or any other country.
We can say for ourselves: The President is going to be attending, and we’ll have more details to share down the road.
Q Is he planning to meet Prime Minister Truss either in the UK or around UNGA or in Washington?
MS. JEAN-PIERRE: Again, I don’t — just don’t have anything to preview. Once we do, as we always do, we will share that with all of you.
Q Is he going to test-drive cars today?
MS. JEAN-PIERRE: Oh, my gosh. I don’t know. I guess we’ll — it remains to be seen. That’ll be — I want to test. I want to test one of those. (Laughs.)
Q We do too. (Laughs.)
MS. JEAN-PIERRE: I know, right? Okay, guys. Thank you.
10:25 A.M. EDT