James S. Brady Press Briefing Room

2:51 P.M. EDT

MS. JEAN-PIERRE:  Good afternoon, everybody.

Q    Good afternoon.

Q    Good afternoon. 

MS. JEAN-PIERRE:  Okay, thank you.  Thank you so much.

Okay.  Today marks the 70th anniversary of the signing of an executive order that codified the Lavender Scare, a dark chapter in our nation’s history when thousands of LGBTQI+ federal employees were investigated, interrogated, and fired because of who they were and whom they loved.

In acknowledgement of this period, President Biden issued the first-ever presidential proclamation to remember the Americans affected by this discrimination, honor the courage of those who fought to end this injustice, and celebrate the many important contributions of our nation’s LGBTQI+ public servants, including members of our armed forces.

I have the great privilege of serving with some of these individuals every day who work here at the White House and across federal agencies on behalf of the American people. 

Under President Biden, the LGBTQI+ leaders are serving at the highest levels of government.  We’ve got the first openly gay Senate-confirmed Cabinet, the first openly transgender Americans to be confirmed by the United States Senate, and the first open lesbian to serve at the ambassador level as well.

Today, this administration joins Americans across the country to honor the lives impacted by the Lavender Scare and renew our commitment to equal rights for all. 

In this moment, when we are seeing attempts to erase LGBTQI+ history from classrooms, we are committed to telling it.

Now, today, the Biden-Harris administration announced that the administration will impose sanctions targeted at actors who are involved in hostage-taking or wrongful detentions in Russia and Iran and those that provide them with material support. 

In doing so, the administration is for the first time deploying a new tool that was established under executive order by President Biden to impose severe economic costs on governments and groups that hold hostage or wrongfully detain Americans around the world. 

Today’s sanctions afford the administration additional leverage to support negotiations and impose additional costs on those who are responsible for unjustly holding Americans against their will. 

This is just one of a series of actions, both public and private, the Biden-Harris administration has been taking to deter and disrupt hostage-taking and wrongful detentions and help bring Americans home. 

And finally, I want to mark that it’s Arab American Heritage Month, a time when we joined together to celebrate the immeasurable contributions of Arab Americans to our nation. 

President Biden signed the first-ever presidential proclamation for National Arab American Heritage Month on March 31st, 2023. 

And earlier today, we had the opportunity to host a briefing for Arab American community leaders here at the White House to discuss our efforts to promote equity, protect the civil rights of Arab Americans and all communities across the country. 

With that, Chris.

Q    Hi.  How are you doing?

MS. JEAN-PIERRE:  Hey.  How are you?

Q    House Republicans passed legislation on the budget and debt limit.  What is the White House’s response to this?  And do you feel like the ball is in your court now to, you know, start negotiations with House Republicans as the next move?

MS. JEAN-PIERRE:  So, a couple of things I want to say about this.  Let’s — let’s just take a step back for a second.  The United States have never — has never in our history failed to pay our debts.  That is something that we have never done ever, again, in our history of this country. 

We’re not a deadbeat nation.  Avoiding default is Congress’s responsibility.  And they should act in — on it without preconditions as they have done in Democratic and Republican administrations, and they should do that immediately. 

House Republicans are holding our economy hostage and threatening default, crashing the economy, jeopardizing hardworking Americans’ retirement, and causing millions of Americans to lose their jobs. 

As the President said yesterday, he’s happy to meet with Speaker McCarthy but not on whether or not the debt limit gets extended.  That is not negotiable, and we have been very clear about this for the past several months.  We have not minced words here. 

House Republicans are holding the economy hostage, threatening Americans’ jobs and retirement savings unless we and the Senate agree on an extreme MAGA wish list of slashing education, veterans’ healthcare, and Meals on Wheels; taking away healthcare for millions of Americans; and sending manufacturing jobs overseas. 

It’s increase — it’ll increase cost of working families, as I’ve talked about before from here at this podium.  And what this bill will do — it’ll kill jobs, and it’s all to pay for tax cuts for the super-rich and profitable companies. 

It’s not how we grow our economy.  The President has been very clear how he sees our economy moving forward.  He has actually put forth pieces of legislation and policy on how he sees this — the economy moving forward.  And it’s not trickle-down economics.  It is building the economy from the bottom up, middle out, and making sure we leave no Americans behind — we leave no one behind.

And what we’re seeing from what Republicans have put forward: It will leave people behind.  It will hurt Americans, including veterans, including our seniors — just Americans across the board. 

So, again, we took a step back.  We are not negotiating on this.  We have been very clear it is their constitutional duty to take action.

Q    So another question.  On the issue of screening within the military for extremism and other issues: Is White House satisfied that the Pentagon is doing a good enough job screening for these kinds of issues given what we’re seeing come out of the classified leaker case?

MS. JEAN-PIERRE:  The President has confidence in the Department of Defense.  So, yes.

Q    Even that things are making it through the cracks?
MS. JEAN-PIERRE:  Look, as we know, there is a DOJ investigation that’s looking into it as — as you’re speaking to leaks.  So, certainly don’t want to get ahead of that.  They’re going to do their investigation, and they’re going to do what is needed moving forward. 

But, again, the President has confidence in the Department of Defense. 

Q    Last thing.  The administration announced new centers to progress — sorry — process migrants in Colombia and Guatemala.  Can the administration promise that these centers will uphold all humanitarian obligations and access to legal counsel for people who are seeking asylum in the United States?

MS. JEAN-PIERRE:  So, as you all know, the Department of State — the State Department and also DH- — DHS made an announcement, had a press conference earlier today.  It’s on YouTube.  It was livescre- — -streamed. 

So, all — if any of you have questions or want to hear exactly what the Secretary said — both Secretaries said — so, I would refer you to that.

More broadly on your question on processing centers, I would say the regional processing center at the State Department and the DHS that they announced today will reduce unlawful migrant and cut out the smugglers.  That is our focus.  That is what we want to see happen. 

They reflect the President’s approach on immigration, which is working closely with our partners to manage the challenge that we’re seeing at — seeing together, not just us.  We’re seeing this in the Western Hemisphere, as we have talked about. 

These centers will be opening up in several countries, including Colombia and Guatemala — as you just mentioned, Chris.  We expect to announce additional countries soon. 

It’s all part of our approach to direct people to legal pathways from where they are, rather than seeking generous [dangerous], disorderly pathways. 

We have been very clear: We are going to put forth an immigration process that is humane, that is orderly.  That is the goal that we have set forward.  That is how we want to move forward in that process and do it very different — differently than it was done in the last administration. 

We —

Q    So, there will be access to legal counsel for people at these centers?

MS. JEAN-PIERRE:  I — I would refer you to DHS and the State Department on the specifics on that, because they will have all of the pieces to your question there. 

But what I want to say is we want to make sure that it is done in a humane way.  That is the President’s — that has been the President’s, basically, sense of how immigration reform is going to move in an orderly fashion. 

And that’s what we have done.  That’s what we have done from day one. 

Go ahead.

Q    Thanks, Karine.  The nation’s biggest business lobbying group, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, is now directly calling on the administration to sit down and negotiate on the debt limit, saying the administration needs to sit with congressional leaders, not delay to find a path to raise the debt ceiling, and address runaway deficits. 

Will the President sit down with Speaker McCarthy at least right now on the budget, as he said he would yesterday?

MS. JEAN-PIERRE:  So, been very clear.  We’ve been very, very clear on this.  Again, not mincing words here.  As we — what we have seen they have put together is an agenda — an extreme MAGA wish list that basically says they’re connecting the two, right?  They’re saying to the Senate, they’re saying to the — to the President that we have to go with this agenda in its full form. 

And the President has said really cle- — really, really clearly: When it comes to the debt ceiling, they cannot allow this to happen — this is the Republicans in the House.  They cannot allow this to happen.  It is their constitutional duty to do so. 

I’ve gotten this question that you’ve asked me many different ways.  I’ve answered it the same way.  We don’t — I don’t have anything new to say. 

They should not allow any default.  We — they should not allow our economy to be held hostage here.

Q    But Republicans in the House have now passed a bill that would prevent a default.  So at what point —


Q    — does it have to — that doesn’t mean anything?  It has to be a clean bill before the President will sit down at all and talk?

MS. JEAN-PIERRE:  We have said very clearly: They need to deal with what’s at stake here, what’s at hand, which is the — our e- — our economy, which is making sure that we do not default.  We cannot be — we have never been — we’ve never been a deadbeat nation.  And this is not the time to do that. 

And this is their constitutional — this is something that they’re supposed to be doing, that they have done — I read through this — with Democratic and Republican presidents.  This is their con- — basic, basic constitutional duty to do.  And so we’ve been very clear on this.

Go ahead.

Q    Just following up on the economy.  First Republic is seemingly in trouble.  They’ve — there’s growing concern that the bank isn’t going to make it because their — the cost of their lending is — you know, is higher than the cost of what they’re taking in.

Can you give us an update on how — you know, how the administration is thinking about this situation at this regional bank after bailing out SVB and Signature earlier and guaranteeing those deposits?  Is that something that you feel is going to be necessary for First Republic?  And what would be the argument against doing that?

MS. JEAN-PIERRE:  So, we’re continuing — Andrea, we’re continuing to monitor the situation.  A couple of things is that the Financial Stability Oversight Council — including Secretary Yellen, Chair Powell, and all the bank regulators — recently agreed — and this is a quote — “the U.S. banking system remains sound and resilient.” 

So we’ve taken, as you know, over the — over the past — in the early, early 10 days or two weeks or so — took decisive and forceful actions to give Americans confidence that their deposits are safe and to give banks access to liquidity. 

Since our administration took those actions, we have seen deposits stabilize at regional banks.  That is something that we’ve seen in the data.  As the President and Secretary Yellen and Chair Powell have said, we have used important tools to quickly stabilize the banking system.  We could use those tools again if needed. 

Certainly, we are monitoring this situation.  I just don’t have anything to preview from here. 

Q    Let me just follow up on that.  So you said the deposits have stabilized, but the deposits have not stabilized at First Republic.  They’ve seen a massive outflow of funding.  I mean, walk me through your argument or your — you know, what differentiates SVB from First Republic?


Q    Why help one set of depositors but not another set?

MS. JEAN-PIERRE:  Yeah, so, more broadly, across the regional banks, we have seen a stabilization.  So just want to be really clear.  In the deposits, that is something, again, that came from Secretary Yellen, Chair Powell.  Those are statements that they made — the Financial Stability Oversight Council.  Right?  So just want to be very clear more broadly.

As it relates to this particular First Republic, we are monitoring the situation.  We just — I just laid out the actions that we have taken in the past, especially those really critical first couple of days in the last situation. 

And so, we know what we can do.  We know what’s in our tool — in the toolbelt — what we — the tools that we have in front of us to use.  We’re going to monitor the situation.  And we’ll take — I will leave it to the experts to decide on when to take action. 

But, again, we have proven how we have moved really quickly in a decisive and for- — taking decisive and forceful actions in the past.  And I could assure you that you’ll see that again from this administration.

Q    And just one on Sudan.  Do you have any update for us on evacuations and any efforts to extend the ceasefire there?  Thank you.

MS. JEAN-PIERRE:  So a couple of things of that I have on that, so please bear with me.  But we wanted to make sure that’s out there to all of you. 

So, following intense negotiation, the Sudanese Armed Forces, SAF, and Rapid Support Forces, RSF, agreed to implement, as you all know, a 70 — a 72-hour nationwide ceasefire — ceasefire starting at midnight on April 24th, which was about two days ago. 

While there was an initial reduction in reports of violence, we are deeply concerned by the increase in ceasefire violations yesterdays. 

We — we urge the SAF and the RSF to fully uphold and extend the ceasefire. 

As you heard from the National Security Advisor on Monday, Jake Sullivan, when he was here at this podium, the President has directed his team to help as many Americans as possible.  We are working continuously to create options for American citizens to leave Sudan promptly because the situation could deteriorate at any moment.  And we are communicating with citizens who have requested information about those options. 

And again, as — at the President’s direction, we are actively facilitating the departure of American citizens who want to leave Sudan by both air and land.  This was something that you heard from the National Security Advisor as well. 

We have deployed U.S. intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance assets to support air and land evacuation routes, which Americans are using.  And we are moving naval assets within the region to be pre-positioned to provide any necessary support along the coast. 

U.S. Africa Command has established a deconfliction cell to facilitate coordination with our allies and partners in this effort.  We are also supporting our allies and partners who are include- — who are including Americans in their evacuation efforts. 

We are helping facilitate onward travel for American citizens who arrive in Port Sudan, including with our consular teams afloat in Jeddah, Su- — Saudi Arabia. 

The State Department has deployed additional consular staff to the region to assist with this effort.  The State Department has a consular team in direct communication with U.S. citizens in Sudan that is working around the clock to advise them of their options to leave Sudan and provide information on the security environment. 

One last point to make here is that this is a dynamic environment, and any option entails a degree of risk.  But because the situation is unlikely to improve, we encourage Americans who want to leave to take advantage of the options that are available to them in the next 24 to 48 hours.

Go ahead.

Q    Given the President’s direction and what you’re saying right now, a number of other countries have evacuated citizens over the course of the last several days and taken advantage of the ceasefire the U.S. helped put into place.  The U.S. still has not.  What is different about your risk assessment right now or security assessment than what other countries are looking at as they’ve gone in and gotten their people out?

MS. JEAN-PIERRE:  So I want to be — as you know, when it comes to risk assessments and intelligence, we’re very careful to not speak to that.  But we’ve been pretty clear in laying out and communicating with the American people.  You’ve heard us here, from the National Security Advisor.  You heard it from the State Department, from Secretary Blinken directly. 

And we have been clear on what the President — laying out, which is what I did — laying out, at the President’s direction, what we have done, how we move forward, how we worked with allies and partners to get Americans out.

And we’ve been pretty clear about this for the past several months, for the past year, what — the situation in Sudan.  And so, we’re going to continue to have those conversations.

As I just mentioned, there are consular services, a consular team that’s there, that’s trying to help Americans who want to leave in any way that we can. 

And so, again, we’re going to continue to have those communication.  But I’m certainly not going to get into any — any intelligence or how that’s come about or how we come to certain — certain kind of intelligence, surveillance, or reconnaissance.

Q    Yeah, I understand on that front.

I think my question — one, the security alerts from the State Department over the course of the last year never told people to leave.  They told people never to travel there.  For people that that live there —

MS. JEAN-PIERRE:  Yeah, that’s true.

Q    — that are now trying to get out —


Q    — what I’m trying to understand is the difference between what the U.S. sees, why they will not send in assets to evacuate, versus other countries that have over the course of the last several days. 

Clearly, there’s something that’s being seen.  I’m not asking for intelligence.  I’m just saying, can you explain the process here, given the President’s directive to help?

MS. JEAN-PIERRE:  No, I understand.  And what I was saying is that we have communi- — we’ve been communicating with the American people for the past year, right?  The Level 4 — that was out there for some time now.

Look, we have deployed U.S. intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance assets to support air and land evacuations routes.  That is something that we have done and which Americans are indeed using.  And we are moving na- — naval assets — I remember you asked me that just two days ago, and I talked about that — within the region, to be pre-positioned to provide any necessary support along the coast. 

That is something that we have done.  This is something that Jake Sullivan himself spoke — spoke to this on Monday.  I’m just not going to go beyond what Jake said.

But again, we have provided some, again, intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance assets to support that air and land evacuation routes.

But I’m not going to get ahead.  Even when Jake was here, he was also very mindful in answering that question.

Go ahead.

Q    Following up on the question you were asked about the Chamber of Commerce saying the administration should now meet with congressional leaders without delay.  The Business Roundtable also said it hoped that the House passage will jumpstart bipartisan negotiations.  So are you concerned that the business community will blame the President if he doesn’t negotiate and the government defaults?

MS. JEAN-PIERRE:  What I — what I’ve been very clear about and what we’re concerned is about what House Republicans are doing and what they are threatening and have been threatening for some time, which is to hold our economy hostage and a potential default, which we have never done — which we have never done.

And that is why we’re going to continue to say to them — call them out and say they need to do their constitutional duty.  This is their job.  This is their job to do.  They did it three times under the last administration.  We’ve been very clear about this.  This is not confusing.  This should not be confusing for them.

Q    Then why are you confident the public will see it that way and lay the blame on them and not on the administration?

MS. JEAN-PIERRE:  Well, we’ve been very clear about what the bill they put forward, that they — that — what’s in that bill.  Right?  We’ve talked about it numerous times.  The President has talked about it; I talked about it.  And we’re going to continue to communicate with the American people.

When you think about a 22 percent tax cut — or cut, I should say — to programs that Americans really need, whether it’s veterans’ program, whether it’s Meals on Wheels, whether it’s healthcare, whether it’s education, that’s what they put forward.  That’s what Republicans voted on.  House Republicans voted on it just yesterday.

And so, we’re going to continue to be very clear on that. And it is their constitutional duty, and they have to make sure that we are not a deadbeat nation.  That’s what — that’s what’s happening here.  We cannot be a deadbeat nation.  We have never failed in history to pay our debts.

Go ahead.  And then I’ll come over.  Go ahead.

Q    It’s me?

MS. JEAN-PIERRE:  Yes, Sebastian.  Sorry.  You — you, Sebastian.

Q    Thank you very much.  So, two questions that are very different.  One, Papua New Guinea — the government there says that the President is going to be visiting at the time of his Asia trip.  Can you comment on that?

MS. JEAN-PIERRE:  I just — we don’t have anything to preview on any additional travel.  As you know, we announced the G7 and the Quad yesterday, I believe, in a statement from me.  But I just don’t have anything additional to announce at this time.

Q    Okay. 

And on the debt ceiling, this used to be a kind of theoretical parlor game thing, like: What will happen if there’s actually a debt cliff and you go over it?  It’s actually getting closer now.  And if the two sides stick to their guns — and the President clearly is sticking to his guns on this — if there’s a default, is he gaming out what will be your plan B to actually stop the crisis?  Is the trillion-dollar coin, the 14th Amendment — are these things being teed up?

MS. JEAN-PIERRE:  All the things that you just listed, that’s clearly something that the U.S. Treasury — right? — is going to speak to.  I’m not going to speak to — from here on that.

But, look, this — that’s really — this is a question for the Congress.  It is their constitu- — I cannot say this enough from here, and I know you probably get tired of me saying this from here over and over again, but it is true: It is their constitutional duty to get this done.  It is. 

We’ve — they did it three times.  Democrats joined Republicans three times in the last administration to get this done, to make sure that we did not default, to make sure that we were not a deadbeat nation.

So, again, this is something that they need to do.  It’s very simple.  Avoiding default is a constitutional obligation Congress has to the American people.  That is their obligation — not to us, not to this President, but to the American people.

Go ahead, April.

Q    Karine, two questions — two different questions.  One, Carolyn Bryant has died.  She’s the woman who accused Emmett Till 67 years ago of whistling at her, ultimately creating the atmosphere for him to be lynched and killed. 

And 67 years after, the President signed into law the first-ever antilynching act in this nation — federal antilynching act.  What does this White House say or the President say about her death, as there’s no justice for Emmett Till’s mother now?

MS. JEAN-PIERRE:  So the President was very proud to sign the Emmett Till Antilynching Act into law this past spring.  As you just mentioned, April, this is something that he was very proud to do.

He also hosted, as you know, civil rights leaders for a screening of the film “Till” at the White House just this past February.  At the February screening, the President said, quote, “Only with truth comes healing and justice.”

So, the White House has worked hard to honor the legacy of Emmett Till and — and his mom.  We will continue that work alongside the brave leaders across our country, his family, civil rights leaders, continuing the fight against racial hatred.

And that’s what the American people should know: that the President is committed — committed to dealing with this crisis that we see in front of us and dealing with this racial hatred that we see across the country.

Q    And last question.  You had the Tennessee Three here, and we know what happened in Tennessee. 

Let’s go to Montana — the Montana state legislature.  Similar — it seems similar in a lot of ways: shutting down someone who wants to — a state lawmaker who is in protest of something that they feel is wrong.  What do you say to that?  And what is the President saying?  And what is the White House doing in the midst of saying now these legislatures shut down people who are doing what democracy speaks of — trying to strengthen it?

MS. JEAN-PIERRE:  Well, as you know, when the Tennessee Three, as they — they’re called, was — as you know, was peacefully protest — peacefully protesting, and they faced expulsion.  Clearly, now, they were — they’re — the two that were expuled [sic] — expelled are now back serving as state legislators.  The President called that un-American when they were expuled [sic] — expelled. 

And it’s unfortunate that we’re seeing that — we’re seeing this kind of behavior. 

As it relates to Montana more specifically, it’s — we’re seeing devastating pieces of legislation across the country in statehouses aimed at taking away freedoms, aimed at take — at attacking people for who they are, especially our young people. 

These bills cause families to live in fear.  They’re creating great uncertainty about how they will receive the care they need as we’re — this is specifically to Montana. 

And — and, again, it is — when you see these types of things — silencing an elected representative in an attempt to suppress their message is a denial of democratic values.  It is undemocratic.

The Biden admini- — the Biden-Harris administration continues to stand with transgender and LGBTQI leaders and their families across the country in the face of extreme attacks.  And so we’ll continue to do that.

Q    And then, lastly, I want to ask a question, because we understand that transgender youth are some of the most vulnerable youth now in this nation.  What do you say from that podium, as someone in that community, in the LGBTQ+ community, to those young people in Montana and beyond in the midst of this moment?

MS. JEAN-PIERRE:  Well, the President has been very clear in his message to the LGBTQI+ community, in particular as we’re seeing these — I believe there’s more than 600 bills coming out of statehouses across the country; a majority of the — those bill — or a few hundred of those bills go after ta- — trans community, especially our trans kids and their families. 

And the President has been very clear in saying we have their backs.  We will continue to support them. 

The President has a history and a record on supporting this community, and he’ll continue to do that. 

I believe I am here, and many of us who are here believe in this President’s record, believes in how he wants to move forward to protect people’s rights, protects people freedom, of course, but also let people be who they are and allow them to love who they want.  And that is just a basic — a basic principle. 

And also, that is who we are as a country: those freedoms and just to be yourself. 

And so that is something that the President is going to continue to say, “We have their backs.” 

And — and I’ll just leave it there.

Go ahead.

Q    Thank you, Karine.  A few on the immigration thing today, and then one other. 

And I’m asking, actually — the immigration one is in part on behalf of Spanish-speaking organizations that can’t be here today. 

This intention to expel non-Mexicans back to Mexico.  Right now, they take about 10,000 under Title 42.  Has — but as far as we can tell, Mexico has yet to say publicly that they will continue to take non-Mexicans and that it might exceed the 10,000 or so they’re currently taking.  Have — has the U.S. secured a commitment yet from Mexico to take non-Mexicans?  And is there any sense of how many they may be willing to take on either a weekly or monthly basis?

MS. JEAN-PIERRE:  So, more broadly on your question about the deportations in Mexico: We intend to continue this process with Mexico under Title 8.  That is our intention, and that’s how we’re going to move forward. 

The question on — on how many, that is something that I would — you know, that is something that — CBP is always planning for various different scenarios.  And that is something that they do, and I don’t want to go beyond — beyond that.  That — certainly that’s something that Department of Homeland Security is going to be dealing with specifically and directly.

Q    So, in plain English for the uninitiated who may be watching or listening: Under Title 8, that means you can keep sending them back to Mexico and that already agreement exists?

MS. JEAN-PIERRE:  That’s our intention.  Those are the conversations.  I’m not going to get into diplomatic conversations from here. 

But certainly — look, as I just stated, that’s what we intend to do, but not — I’m not going to get ahead.  This is something the Department of State as — because that’s diplomacy, right? — as they deal with other countries and Homeland Security as well in partnership.

Q    The regional — these centers that have been — are going to be set up in Guatemala and Colombia, and then eventually elsewhere, they are not being set up U.S. embassies or U.S. consulates, correct?

MS. JEAN-PIERRE:  That part I would give — I would refer you to Department of —

Q    Our understanding —

MS. JEAN-PIERRE:  — of State.

Q    — it looks like is that they are not and that it’s some kind of third party who’s setting it up.  Already there are some concerned that, in essence, the United States is outsourcing U.S. immigration decisions to either other countries or international organizations or the United Nations.  Is that what’s being done?

MS. JEAN-PIERRE:  So what I can say: There will be open soon, before May 11th, any additional information that will come out of Department of State and Department of Homeland Security.  That is something that lives with them, and they will share more of the details on that.

Q    On your — what — just one other on —


Q    — 2024 mechanics, in the realm of the Hatch Act that I know we’re very sensitive about around here. 

MS. JEAN-PIERRE:  I appreciate that.

Q    We know that Julie Chá- — we now know that Julie Chávez Rodriguez was set to be the campaign manager, is still on the White House payroll, doesn’t plan to leave until the week of May 15th. 

We also have learned that there are some senior West Wing officials who plan to, in essence, split their time, officially and with the campaign, in keeping with what previous administrations have done.  Has there been an edict yet or some kind of memo sent out across the West Wing saying, “If you’re interested in doing that, if you’re planning to do that, let us know?”  Or any kind of distribution of a reminder of the rules or how that’s going to work? 

MS. JEAN-PIERRE:  So, first on Julie, I just want to say a couple of things here.  She will not onboard with the campaign until her federal services have concluded and will continue to adhere to all legal and ethical obligations.  So I want to make sure that is clear. 

And you are correct, her last day here is going to be specifically May 16th.  But, again, not going to speak for the campaign. 

So I just want to be very clear about how she is going to move forward before she leaves.  And we will follow all protocol and certainly follow the rule of law. 

And — and I think I mentioned this too: There are — there will be some White House staffers — which is not — which is not unusual, which is the norm, as I think you were trying to state to me.  But we just don’t have a list of who they will be, who will be able to — who will be able to have the — kind of have the ability to — to — to split their time.  I just don’t have a list of who those folks are going to be at this time.

Go ahead, Jacqui.

Q    Thanks, Karine.  The LA Times said that their reporter did not submit any questions in advance of yesterday’s press conference.  So to the people who saw that pocket card, can you explain how that ended up there and why the President needed something like that?

MS. JEAN-PIERRE:  So just to — just to step back.  And I’m actually glad you asked that question.  Clearly, I would let the — the reporter for the Los Angeles Times speak for herself. 

It is entirely normal for a President to be briefed on reporters who will be asking questions at a press conference and issues that we expect they might ask about.  It is not surprising that yesterday we would anticipate questions that he did receive — right? — on the visit with — with the South Korean President, as the South Korean President was sitting — standing to his — to his right, or about 2024.  That was completely expected.  Or about the debt ceiling, which he took questions at the end — shouted questions at the end. 

And, of course, we would note those issues to him — those issues to him will likely come up. 

And let’s not forget, we do these briefings every day, and a lot of the questions that you — that you all tell me, that’s how we brief him as well.  You all ask me.  That’s how we brief him as well. 

So, look, we — we do not have specific questions in advance.  That’s not something that we do.  And, in fact, I would point out the questions that was asked was different than what was on the card that you all saw.

And, look, again, we have these press conferences.  The President takes your questions.  We always — our job is to get a sense of what you all want to ask him.  That is our job here, to get a sense of what’s the news of the day, the topics you all are interested for — for — to ask of him.  And so that he — that we are all, not just him — we are all prepared to take that seriously and to take that in a way that is going to be reported from our point of view.  Because we know that you all are reporting out to the American people, and we want to make sure you get our point of view of how we see these different issues that I even just laid out, whether it’s 2024, whether it’s what has been discussed or the agenda with the President of South Korea. 

Again, we take this very seriously, and we want to make sure that we’re providing information that’s helpful to you and the American people. 

Q    How are the reporters decided?

MS. JEAN-PIERRE:  So — so the way that we have moved forward with this type of process is that we reach out to a number of reporters who — who we’re going to — who we know are going to be at the press conference, and that’s what we did yesterday. 

And also, we try to be really mindful on who — who has not gotten a question in a while.

And — and so, as you know, we could only pick two reporters yesterday, so that limits our ability on how many reporters we can call on.

Mary is not here, but I can say one of the reasons that we — we picked Mary is because she was just named Chief White House Correspondent for ABC and had not gotten a question in some time.

And we picked the Los Angeles Times, which has gotten a — which has not gotten a question in some time.  And I want to add that — the fact that California has the largest South Kor- — Korean American population in any state in the country and — and L.A. has the biggest population of any city in America, and LAT is the biggest daily paper serving that population.

So we are mindful on who we pick and who we want to communicate out to.  And so that’s how we moved forward with Mary and Courtney.  We thought that was pretty reasonable, wanting to — as we have the South Korean President with us during this press conference, because we wanted to also communicate with the Kor- — Korean Americans.

So that’s usually how we move this process forward.

Q    Is it your contention, Karine —

Q    And just, Karine — I’m sorry —

Q    Is it your contention, Karine, that the question —

MS. JEAN-PIERRE:  I’m not — I’m not taking call —

Q    — that the question that —

MS. JEAN-PIERRE:  Jacqui’s not done.  Go ahead, Jacqui.

Q    — was on the so-called cheat sheet was not —

MS. JEAN-PIERRE:  Jacqui.  Your colleague —

Q    — similar to the question that was asked at the press conference?

MS. JEAN-PIERRE:  Your colleague is not done.  Go ahead.  Go ahead.

Q    Thank you, Karine.

Q    But — but I — it’s very reasonable question I’m asking you.

Q    Just — just to be clear, to — to —

MS. JEAN-PIERRE:  No, but I — I hear you. 

Q    It’s a very reasonable —

MS. JEAN-PIERRE:  Can you — can you wait your turn?  Let —

Q    Absolutely.  Thank you, thank you.

MS. JEAN-PIERRE:  Thank you.  Thank you, John.  I appreciate that.  I really do. 

Go ahead.  Go ahead, Jacqui.

Q    And, just to be clear, people — skeptics who saw the card and saw the question number one and might think that that is a signal that it was preorganized — did the President have other questions that he was prepared — you know, had similar talking points in case he was asked something on other topics in that same —

MS. JEAN-PIERRE:  Jacqui, I’m going to be — as someone who is part of his — of the prep briefing with the President for these press conferences, as his Press Secretary, we talk about an array of — of topics that could potentially come up.  And that’s what we do.

Just at the end, there were shouted questions.  And he took those shouted questions.  But we also had a sense that, “Hey, you know, you might get something on a debt ceiling,” which makes a lot of sense, which is one of the news of the day.

So we cover an array of topics.  It’s not just the two Americans who asked questions; it was also the two South Korean reporters who asked questions.  So we do our best to make sure that the President is ready to communicate with all of you and the American people.

So, yeah, we covered an array of issues.  But, of course, there are probably the top three, top five topics, hot items that you all are interested in.  And so, that’s kind of how we move forward.

Q    And the last one, just on that shouted question that he did respond to on — on the debt ceiling.  Having heard your response to questions that were answered already here today, you’ve had now Democrats saying that Republicans have, you know, come to the table — might not like what they came to the table with, but it’s time for the dialogue.

You know, how long can this posture from the President last before it feels like intellectually dishonest to say, you know, they’re holding the economy hostage and not raising the debt ceiling when they did pass a bill to raise the debt ceiling, and the — the argument is really about the — the budget cuts, the spending cuts, and not about whether or not the debt ceiling gets raised?

MS. JEAN-PIERRE:  So, I have to say, Jacqui, I disagree with the “intellectually dishonest.”  That is certainly not how we see ourselves here because we’ve been very, very clear that they need to deal with the debt ceiling.  They need to not default.  It is a constitutional duty.

And it’s — again, this is not to us.  This is to the American people.  If you think —

Q    So they won’t talk unless it’s without conditions?

MS. JEAN-PIERRE:  No, but — no —

Q    Like, unless it’s a clean bill, they won’t talk.

MS. JEAN-PIERRE:  I mean, I’ve been very clear: Without conditions we’ll — we will not negotiate.  There’s not — there’s nothing new there. 

What you’re seeing that the House Republicans have done is they are — they said that unless the President — and I’ve said this before; this is nothing new that I’m about to say.  Unless the President and the Senate agree to an extreme MAGA wish list slashing — slashing education, veterans’ healthcare, Meals on Wheels; taking away healthcare for millions of American; and sending manufacturing jobs overseas, they’re going to default and crash the economy.

We’ve said this over and over and over again and been very clear.  The President does not agree with this bill.  He think — he believes and we believe — and the American people deserve this — that they need to do their constitutional duty.  They need to do this so that we are not holding — they are not holding, not we — they are not holding the economy — our American economy hostage.

We cannot be dead- — a deadbeat nation.  We cannot be.

Q    So no meeting unless it’s a clean debt bill.

MS. JEAN-PIERRE:  I — I — look, I — we’ve been very clear about this.  We’ve been very, very clear.  I appreciate — I appreciate the merit of the question.

Q    Thank you. 

MS. DALTON:  Karine, I’m sorry.  We have kids waiting for you.

MS. JEAN-PIERRE:  Okay.  Let me just take a question from the back.

Q    May I —

Q    Karine —

MS. JEAN-PIERRE:  Well, I — I just took a bunch of questions on this.  I want —

Q    You just — you literally just told me you would come back to me.

Q    Separate — different question.

MS. JEAN-PIERRE:  Yeah, you also — you also screamed —

Q    But you literally just told me — you literally just told me you would come back to me.

MS. JEAN-PIERRE:  I said, “Wait your turn,” but now we’re running out of time. 

Go ahead, Ed.  Go ahead, Ed.  Go ahead, Ed.

Q    So I don’t get a turn now?

Q    So I wanted to ask you about the Inflation Reduction Act.  The Penn Wharton Budget Model just came out, which I realize you probably haven’t seen, but it — it released new cost estimates, previously saying that it would cost $385 billion over 10 years.  The new estimate based on implementation details for the climate provision is now more than a trillion dollars over 10 years.  Is — is government spending a concern for this President?

MS. JEAN-PIERRE:  So, look, the higher score reflects — and I did see this report.  The higher score reflects that the Joint Committee on Taxation assumption that the Inflation Reduction Act will spur more manufacturing projects and more clean energy deployment than when JCT originally scored the bill. 

That is a good thing.  It means — it means more private sector investments, more American manufacturing, more jobs, more secure supply chains, and lower costs for American families, thanks to cutting-edge technologies.

Even with the new score, the Inflation Reduction Act still reduces the deficit over the long run — as you know, I know you follow this very clo- — closely — outside of the 10 years — right? — because it looks at it in — in a decade.

The Inflation Reduction Act increasingly reduces the deficit as time passes, including that second decade, as I was– just mentioned, and beyond.

So, moreover, a number of experts have said that the CBO likely underestimated the deficit reduction from the Inflation Reduction Act’s crackdown on rich tax cheats.  An expert from the Treasury Department, two former IRS commissioners, and Treasury Secretaries say the law’s provision to make the wealthy pay what they already owe will reduce the deficit by more — even hundreds of billions more — than CBO estimates.

I will take one last question. 

Q    Karine?

MS. JEAN-PIERRE:  In the back.  I’m going to go way in the back.  Okay.  Right — way in the back.  Way in the back.

Q    Thank you, Karine.  Two national security-related questions.  Is there going to be any planning or at least discussion of changing the structure of intelligence that came in in the post-9/11 with the CIA, the Defense Intelligence Agency in light of the recent leaks that have come out? 

MS. JEAN-PIERRE:  Well, as I —

Q    Is that under discussion?

MS. JEAN-PIERRE:  Yeah, no, totally understand the question.  As I said many times before, my colleagues at NSC have said many times before: It is — it is under the Department of Justice.  It is — there’s investigation ongoing.  Just not going to get ahead of that. 

Clearly, there was some announcement made from the Department of Defense, so I’m just going to leave it there.  I just don’t want to get ahead of any of that.

Q    And, in Sudan, there is more and more reports coming out about the ties of warlord Hemedti, the insurgent, to Russia and particularly his own connection to the gold that’s in Khartoum.  Would the U.S. recognize him if he came to power and wins the ongoing civil war?

MS. JEAN-PIERRE:  So, look, we’ve been very clear about our concerns and how we want to — to continue to see the ceasefire occur.  As you know, it was set for 72 hours on April 24th.  We have been very — we’ve been very clear on how we think that should move forward. 

I’m just not going to get ahead or talk — speak to hypotheticals.

All right.  The young lady in the back.

Q    Hello.


Q    This is my first time, so I’m —

MS. JEAN-PIERRE:  It’s okay.  Don’t be nervous.

Q    My question is: What is the most difficult part about being Press Secretary?  (Laughter.) 

Q    What is the easy part about it?  (Laughter.) 

Q    Just because, like, you’re so inspiring to me.  And, you know, maybe I want to be Press Secretary.

MS. JEAN-PIERRE:  Oh, you should definitely be Press Secretary.  Oh, my goodness.  I would love that.  I love that me being here inspires you to be Press Secretary.  And I — I have to say: That is the most beautiful thing that I’ve heard today.  (Laughter.) 

And I’m not going to speak to the negative here; I’m only going to speak to the positive.

And who — who’s your — who’s your parent?  Who are you here with?

Q    Her.  Yeah.

MS. JEAN-PIERRE:  Okay.  All right.  Well, it’s good to see you.  Welcome to the Briefing Room.  Hopefully, we will see you behind this podium sometime soon. 

Q    Thank you.

MS. JEAN-PIERRE:  All right, everybody.  I’ll see you Monday.  Have a great, great — see you at the White House Correspondents’ Dinner.

3:34 P.M. EDT

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