Press Briefing by Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre
1:23 P.M. EDT
MS. JEAN-PIERRE: Good afternoon, everybody. Okay. Let’s get to it.
As you know, tomorrow the President will travel to New York to drive home the impact of current discussions on the economy to real hardworking American families. After his meeting, it’s important to the President that Americans across the country know what is at stake here.
Default threatens 8 million jobs, a recession, retirement accounts, and Social Security and Medicare payments.
The House Republican Default on America Act will cut veterans’ healthcare visits, teachers and school support staffs, and Meals on Wheels for seniors.
The President has a different vision: prevent default and invest in America while reducing the deficit by nearly $3 trillion and cutting wasteful spending on special interest.
Now, just a few minutes ago, a while ago, we announced that President Biden will be making a historic stop in Papua New Guinea while traveling from the G7 Leaders’ Summit in Hiroshima, Japan, to the Quad Leader Summit in Sydney, Australia — Australia later this month.
While in Papua New Guinea, President Biden will meet with Prime Minister Marape of Papua New Guinea and other Pacific Island Forum leaders to follow up on the first-ever U.S.-Pacific Islands Summit in Washington, D.C., this past fall.
The leaders will discuss ways to deepen cooperation on challenges critical to the region and to the United States, such as combating climate change, protecting maritime resources, and advancing resilient and inclusive economic growth.
As a Pacific nation, the United States has deep, historical, and people-to-people ties with the Pacific Islands. And this visit — the first time a sitting U.S. President has visited a Pacific Island country — further reinforces this critical partnership.
This week marks, as you all know, the anniversary of the — of the end of World War Two in Europe and the victory of the United States and Allied forces over fascism and aggression on the continent.
President Putin had the — had the rema- — had remarks for the occasion by launching another wave of cruise missiles and armed drones at the Ukrainian people.
Since Russia launched its brutal invasion of Ukraine last year, thousands of Ukrainian civilians have been killed and millions have been driven from their homes.
The European continent now faces new aggression.
The United States has rallied the world in response, and we will continue to support the people of Ukraine as they defend their independence and their democracy.
As part of those efforts, today we are announcing a significant new security assistant package that will help build the capacity of Ukraine’s armed forces and to defend Ukraine’s territory and deter Russian aggression over the long term.
The package includes additional air defense systems that will help Ukraine protect its people against Russia’s missiles and drone attacks, as well as
artillerary [artillery] rounds and support to enable Ukraine to better maintain its systems and equipment.
Victory Day is supposed to be about peace and unity in Europe. It’s supposed to be about the end of war and bloodshed and suffering.
Instead, Mr. Putin promised only more violence and spewed only more lies about a war he fo- — falsely claims has been unleashed against Russia.
Make no mistake, Russia is the aggressor here. Mr. Putin started this unprovoked, unjustified war against the people of Ukraine, and he could end it at any moment. He could end it today, if he chooses.
Unless or until he does, we and our allies and partners will work to help Ukraine achieve the peace and security they deserve.
With that, Josh, welcome. Good to see you, my friend. How are you?
Q Good to see you, Karine. I’m good. How are you?
MS. JEAN-PIERRE: I’m doing well. It’s a big day today.
Q Yes. So, three subjects.
MS. JEAN-PIERRE: Sure.
Q First, what’s the White House’s reaction to Imran Khan’s arrest in Pakistan?
MS. JEAN-PIERRE: So, just a couple of things I’d like to say about that.
Just give me a second here. Yikes.
Okay. So, as you can — as you know, we’re aware of the arrest of former Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan. As we have said before, the United States does not have a position on one political candidate or party versus another. We call for the respect of democratic principles and the rule of law around the world. So I would refer you to the Pakista- — the government of Pakistan for any further information on that.
Q Secondly, as part of the debt limit talks, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce today called for an agreement that includes discretionary spending caps. Does the White House see all spending caps as a negative, or just the spending caps that are part of the House GOP bill?
MS. JEAN-PIERRE: So I’m going to be very clear here. The President is going to have a conversation with the four leaders, as you all know. That’s going to happen in a couple of hours, at 4:00 p.m. local time, clearly. And we’re going to stay focused on what Congress needs to be doing here — their congressional duty — which is to prevent a default.
That’s what we’re going to be clear about. I just laid out at the top how this can cost almost 8 million jobs if — if House Republicans get their way. It could also lead us to a recession — trigger a recession. And we’ve listed over and over again what this could be if they continue to hold the American economy hostage.
That’s going to be our focus, that’s going to be the President’s focus today, to make that clear to the leaders that they have to do their con- — congressional duty. And that’s what’s expected not just of him but of the American people. And I’m just going to leave it there.
Q And then, lastly, the Writers Guild of America tweeted out the President saying that he wants the striking writers to get a fair deal.
MS. JEAN-PIERRE: So I’m just going to reiterate what — echo what the President said last night from his yesterday — yesterday’s remark: We “sincerely hope that the writers’ strike in Hollywood gets resolved and the writers are given the fair deal they deserve [and] as soon as possible.” And that is what you heard directly from the President yesterday.
Q Is he on their side?
MS. JEAN-PIERRE: I think his words — his words from last night make it clear where the President stand on this issue.
Go ahead, Mary.
Q Given the conversation that is happening today, that it is not negotiations, as you’ve made very clear, how is the President going into this? How is he viewing success in this meeting? What will he consider to be a successful meeting? Is it simply just conveying his message to them and having them receive it?
MS. JEAN-PIERRE: I mean, look, what we — what we convey as success — I mean, people have asked, “Well, will the President give — give Speaker McCarthy an off-ramp, an exit strategy?” The exit strategy is very clear: Do your job. Congress must act, prevent a default. That’s what a success — not for him. It’s not about the President; it’s about the American economy, it’s about the American people. That’s what the President view as success. That’s the way that it should be done.
Regular order. This is regular order.
What House Republicans are saying is that they are — they want to potentially, if they get their way, threaten their — the country’s first default, something that has never happened before. That’s what they’re threatening.
Again, could lead to — trigger a recession. Eight million jobs potentially lost. That is what they are threatening.
So it’s very easy. It’s very, very simple: Do your job, go back to regular order, do what you’re supposed to do. It’s been done 78 times and — since 1960. And that’s what he’s expecting from Congress.
Q The Speaker says the President is ignoring the problem.
MS. JEAN-PIERRE: The President is not ignoring the problem. We have — the four leaders are going to be here today at four o’clock to have this conversation.
The President is going to make himself very clear. The President has been clear since February. Since February, he has said over and over again: We cannot be a country that defaults. And most recently, he has said we cannot be a deadbeat nation, something that we have never done before — never done before.
And so they need to take action. Congress has to do their job. Super simple.
They are — they are manufacturing — manufacturing a crisis.
Q And just one on immigration. The Mexican President said that he had plans to talk with President Biden this morning. Has that conversation taken place? Can you give us any sense of what was discussed?
MS. JEAN-PIERRE: I can confirm that the — the President spoke to President AMLO this — earlier today, this morning. We will have a readout later on. And then that — we’ll — we’ll certainly share that readout to all of you so I can confirm.
Go ahead, Steve.
Q Does the President plan to postpone his foreign trip in order to deal with the debt ceiling?
MS. JEAN-PIERRE: So, look, the President could be a president anywhere. It doesn’t matter if it’s domestic or international. He is always President, even when he travels.
Look, this is something that Congress can take care of today, if they choose — is do their job, do their constitutional duty.
Q And what happens after today’s meeting, from your standpoint? Will you set up more meetings or is this a one-off?
MS. JEAN-PIERRE: I’m not going to get ahead of today’s conversation, discussion. The President hopes it’s a productive conversation. We’ll see how it goes.
Again, the President is going to make it very clear to the — to the congressional leaders that they must act and not — and avoid default.
Q And lastly, there are some estimates that are 150,000 migrants waiting to cross the border when Title 42 expires. Is the U.S. prepared to deal with this onslaught of people?
MS. JEAN-PIERRE: So, as you know, Steve — I’ve said this many times; I said it yesterday. Look, actually, let me just give you guys a little bit of an update on the briefings that are coming up.
Q Thank you.
MS. JEAN-PIERRE: The State Department and Department of Homeland Security will be holding a call on our plan later today. Secretary Mayorkas and the State Department will also be holding a press conference tomorrow. And Secretary Mayorkas will be joining me at the podium on Thursday.
We want to make sure that we are transparent about the plan, how we’re moving forward. So he’ll be here to certainly take all of your questions on what’s — what’s ahead.
But we’ve been very clear. We have a multi-agency process. We believe we have a robust process to deal with what is going to occur after Title 42 lifts.
Again, we’re using the tools that are available to us because Congress refuses to do their job when it — as it relates to the border. Again, a system that has been broken for decades.
Q Thanks, Karine. Senator Manchin this morning sharply criticized the President’s handling of these debt ceiling talks. He said it’s, quote, “not rational, it’s not reasonable, it’s not practical,” in terms of his refusal to negotiate over raising the debt limit. What’s the White House’s response to that? And — and to what extent does it weaken the President’s position to not have Democrats in lockstep with him?
MS. JEAN-PIERRE: It’s not rationable — it’s not rational — rationable — it’s not reasonable and it’s not practical for Congress to do — to be doing what they’re doing, for House Republicans to be holding this up, for threatening default. That’s is where the problem should be and that’s who should be called out.
Speaker McCarthy is going to be here. And he — you know, what we’re seeing from House Republicans, from MAGA Republicans, is that they are making — they are manufacturing a crisis. That shouldn’t be. That shouldn’t be.
The President doesn’t want to see this happen either. He doesn’t want to see our economy held hostage. He does not want to see this. That’s why he’s having these leaders here. And he’s going to make himself very, very clear. And that’s the discussion that they’re going to have.
And, you know, I’m not going to get ahead of what’s going to come out of that. And we’ll see.
Q Given how unified Republicans have been around Speaker McCarthy, do you have any concern about, you know, Democrats not — you know, that there may be some wavering among some Democrats about the President’s position on the debt ceiling?
MS. JEAN-PIERRE: I mean, look, the Democrats have been very clear as well that we need to deal with — deal with the debt limit. We’ve been all very clear about that; so has Leader Jeffries and so has Leader Schumer. They’ve — we’ve been all on the same page when the — with the leadership — is that Republicans in Congress need to do their job. And that’s what we’re going to see today.
Q And then, in terms of the situation on the southern border, there have been — yesterday there were nearly 10,000 migrant encounters on the southern border. There are around 27,000 migrants currently in CBP custody. I know that the administration — you guys talked a lot about the surge that you anticipated after Title 42 would expire. Did the administration expect there to be a surge before? And how is that going to impact your preparedness if there’s still another surge expected after May 11th?
MS. JEAN-PIERRE: So what you can expect from us is that we’re going to do everything that we can and use every available tool to us, as we have been, to deal with this issue in a humane — in a humane way, manage it humanely. And that’s what we’ve been very clear about.
Our focus when it — as it relates to managing the border is we’re going to do this through enforcement, deterrence, and diplomacy. And that’s what you have seen.
And we’ve been working with our regional partners, and we have just few tools that are available to the President, you know? And that’s because Congress has failed to act. So right now we believe we have a robust plan, a multiagency plan to do this in a humane way.
And we’re going to have Secretary Mayorkas here with us in the Briefing Room on Thursday, and he’ll certainly lay out the plan in a more deeper way, a more in-depth way. You all will be able to ask him this question. He was at the border very recently. He’s held multiple press conferences on this issue.
You’ve heard from the State Department. You’ve heard from Homeland Security — clearly, Mayorkas, as I just mentioned. You’ve heard from the Pentagon, who did a briefing just last week. And we’re going to continue to inform the American people and continue to inform all of you on how we’re moving forward. And that’s what you could expect from this administration.
Q But to my question, did you anticipate the current numbers that we are seeing right now, before?
MS. JEAN-PIERRE: Look, I can’t — I — I can’t get into hypotheticals about the numbers and what they were going or going to be. That’s not something I’m going to do here.
What I can say is that we knew, clearly — we knew from the Court that Title 42 was going to lift on Thursday. That’s something that we were clearly very well aware — aware of since — since earlier this year. We have put plans in place and processes in place to deal with this very moment.
And so that’s what you — I can only speak to what you can expect from us. And we’ve been very transparent about that, and we’ll continue to be.
Go ahead, Joey.
Q Thank you. Speaker McCarthy said today he doesn’t support a short-term debt ceiling increase. “Let’s just get this done now,” he told reporters. Does the White House agree with him, with the Speaker, on this — this point?
MS. JEAN-PIERRE: Look, a short-term extension is not our plan either. That is not our plan.
This is — can be easily resolved. This is a manmade crisis that the Speaker is leading. We can get this done. We want to make sure that we move the threat of default. And that’s what the President is going to be making clear about. This is not negotiable. Default is not negotiable.
Q And a second question. On the Writers Guild strike that the may- — that the President weighed into, he says he wants a — to see a fair deal. What is a fair deal in the President’s view?
MS. JEAN-PIERRE: We’re certainly not going to get into a back-and-forth on what a fair deal looks like. We’re going to continue to encourage both sides to come together, to come to the table and have that discussion. I’m just not going to get ahead of that.
Q Okay. Thanks.
Q Thanks, Karine. I mean, does the — I wanted to ask: Secretary Mayorkas is going to come speak with us. Thanks for that. Just, what about the President? Will the President speak out about Title 42, share a message that Mayorkas has given or, you know — you know, something to that effect? Will we hear from the President on Title 42?
MS. JEAN-PIERRE: Well, I would say you heard from the President just this past Friday. He did a — he did an interview, a sit-down interview, with one of the networks and talked about Title 42, talked about immigration. So the American people did hear directly from the President on this issue.
I don’t have anything else to share in the next couple of days about the President’s schedule, so I’ll just leave it there.
But he was asked a question, and he answered it.
Go ahead, Josh.
Q One more please, if I could. I mean, should Americans anticipate or expect an orderly process on the border? Or does the administration want Americans to know that this is going to be a challenging moment and there could be some hiccups or there could be some challenges and to give a little bit of patience as the transition is made?
MS. JEAN-PIERRE: Look, what we have been very clear about is that we do want to put a process in place that’s orderly, that’s humane, and using the tools that the President has in front of him to do just that.
I’ve said very clearly, we want enforcement, deterrence, and diplomacy. That’s what we’re — that’s how we’re moving forward. Those are the three steps that we’re taking to get this done.
There are challenges at the border. This is something that the President has taken seriously, from day one, putting forth a comprehensive piece of legislation to deal with immigration reform, something that has been a problem for the past several decades. The system has been broken for the past several decades.
And again, the President would like to do more. He ha- — he’s using the tools in front of him, but Congress refuses to act. Instead, many Republican official want to make a political case out of this. They’re not looking to meet us at the table to actually deal with this issue. They want to turn this into a political stunt.
And so that’s not what we’re trying to do. We’re trying to deal with this issue. We’re trying to deal with this challenge. And again, we’ve been doing this since day one.
Go ahead, Josh.
Q Can you say what will happen if Congress doesn’t act on the debt limit? Speaker McCarthy hasn’t budged yet. The President hasn’t moved his position. Will he let this go off a cliff if the Speaker doesn’t do anything?
MS. JEAN-PIERRE: Well, the Speaker has to do his job; Congress has to do their job. That’s what we’re —
Q (Inaudible) the President doesn’t have any job to do?
MS. JEAN-PIERRE: The President — historically, 78 times since 1960, this is what Congress has done. They have done their constitutional duty — is to deal with the debt limit. That is something that they have done. This is regular order. This is the process that they have used. And we’re asking them to go back into — to — to that process.
And look, what they — what could potentially happen, as I just laid out, is a potential recession — 8 million jobs lost. That is something that Congress could avoid. They can easily avoid this and do their jobs.
So I’m not going to get ahead of what’s going to happen today at four o’clock or get into hypotheticals from here. But the President has been very clear. He’s been very, very clear. They have to get this done.
And what they’re threatening is, and what they’re saying to us is, we have to take their whole entire agenda — which is extreme; a lot of Americans do not agree with that agenda — or they’re going to hold the economy hostage. That’s what they’re putting forward.
Remember, a lot — 22 percent cut on veterans, on healthcare, on Meals on Wheels, all the things that we have listed out over and over again — Americans don’t agree with that. And it’s going to hurt American families.
So we’re going to be very clear. The President is going to be very clear with — with — with the leaders today that they have to act.
Q And you’ve been talking today about two subjects where Congress hasn’t acted. One is immigration. And you’re saying you — we’ll use all the tools available to us because Congress refuses to act on the border. They also, so far, haven’t acted on the debt ceiling. So I guess I’m trying to figure out what will happen if they continue to not act and we get closer to the deadline, which could be enforced as early as June 1st or as late as August.
Will the President — does he think he has any tools to use if Congress continues to not do its job? Because it’s not clear that Speaker McCarthy can really move — right? — that he has a lot of leeway in his caucus to (inaudible).
MS. JEAN-PIERRE: Well, that’s for Spea- — that’s for Speaker McCarthy to speak to. I can’t speak about the leeway and the pull —
Q Right. But what happens if he doesn’t — I guess, if he can’t?
MS. JEAN-PIERRE: I know. I — no, I hear you.
You mentioned Speaker McCarthy. I can’t speak for him. I can speak for the President.
And it is Congress’s job. And I get your question, Josh, but this is their — literally their constitutional duty. They take an oath, and this is what they’re supposed to do. They’re supposed to deal with the debt limit — one of the many things that they have that they’re supposed to deal with.
And this is something that we — a first-ever default? That’s what they’re threatening? This is what they’re saying that they want to take us down the road on?
This is — a first-ever default would trigger a recession, erase millions of job. It’s very simple. The exit ramp for them is to do their job — is to do their job. The President will make that very clear in his meeting. I’m not going to get ahead of what’s going to come out of that meeting. But the President has been really, really clear here.
Q Thanks, Karine. Going back to Steve’s question. When the President does leave for Japan and Australia next week, he’s not slated to return until just before that June deadline that the Treasury Secretary has talked about. If we get to next week and there is no plan in place to raise the debt ceiling, will the President delay or cancel his trip?
MS. JEAN-PIERRE: So, Nancy, appreciate the question. I understand the question. I’m not going to get ahead of today’s meeting. Let’s see how the meeting goes at four o’clock.
Certainly, our goal here is to make sure that Congress does their constitutional duty and to prevent default. Just not going to get into hypotheticals. Let’s see how the meeting goes. It’s going to happen very shortly, at 4:00. And let’s see how it turns out, what comes out of that.
Q Who’s going to be handling these discussions from the White House while the President is overseas?
MS. JEAN-PIERRE: Well, look, the President could be president anywhere. These are issues that — certainly that he will be very aware of and very involved in getting updates from his — his team.
As you know, the office of — when it comes to legislative things and things that are dealt with Congress, that’s the Office of Leg Affairs. They play point on this.
But the President, again, can be president wherever he is, in — domestically or out of the country.
Q Should the Vice President be involved in today’s meeting since she’ll be here in the country while the President is away?
MS. JEAN-PIERRE: So the President is closely — has been closely consulting with the Vice President on this. They have had several conversations on this issue. And so, again, when it comes to issues that matter to the American people, they’re very much partners.
Q What message does it send to the world that we’re now three weeks away from a potential default and it is still completely unclear how this is going to be resolved?
MS. JEAN-PIERRE: So, look, the United State is not a deadbeat nation. The President ma- — has made that very clear. We have never failed to pay our bills, and we should not do this now. Congress must do its job and prevent a default.
And, look, this — if there was a default, it would be a gift to China, to Russia, and to other competitors. That’s what we’re saying here. That’s what House Republicans are saying. If they were to default, it would be a gift to them.
Let me just give you a little bit about what the Director of National Intelligence, Avril Haines, said, who, as you all know, the head of the intelligence community.
She testified last week to Congress, and she said the following: Both Russia and China would look to use a default to demonstrate “the chaos within the United States, that we’re not capable of functioning as a democracy…” Default would “create global uncertainty about the value of the U.S. dollar and the U.S. institutions and leadership, leading to volatility in currency and financial markets and commodity markets that are priced in dollars.” China and Russia “would look to take advantage of the opportunity” if we were to default.
That’s what congressional Republicans are threatening. That’s what they are potentially going to really put us into a tailspin if they don’t actually do their jobs — really simple — do their jobs and avoid default.
Q On matters of the economy, the public often holds the President accountable for the outcomes here. Does the President have a sense that he will be blamed by the American public if default actually occurs?
MS. JEAN-PIERRE: So, Republicans are holding the entire economy hostage and saying, unless their entire agenda gets done, they’re going to cause an unprecedented default.
What the President is doing is the opposite of that. He wants to make sure that we take that off the table and have a separate conversation — a separate conversation on the budget, something that he put forth on March 9th, which shows how he values the way moving forward, what cou- — to show how he sees our economy moving forward, building on the successes that he’s had these last two years, making sure that we cut the deficit by $3 trillion for the next 10 years.
So, to your question — I have an answer to your question — polling from 2011 and 2013 makes clear that congressional Republicans were to blame for their threats to default. And polling now shows Americans want spending and default handled separately, as does the President.
That said, when it comes to threatening default, people should not be looking at polling. They should be looking at how they’re going to be delivering for the American people. They should be looking at their constituents whose jobs and retirements could be crushed by recession if they — if this is truly going to move forward in the way that they seemingly want to go, which is manufacturing a crisis.
So, again, you know, this is something that the President wants to avoid. He wants to make sure that this is not on the table, that we take default off the table. And that’s a conversation that he’s going to have very clearly with congressional members today — leaders today.
Q There have been other instances of brinksmanship on Capitol Hill with government shutdowns, and the public has seen that. They’ve seen 11th hour resolution to things.
This is a very different beast, in terms of the potential negative impact; as you’ve pointed out, never happened before. Do you think the public has a sense of what is at stake for them, their retirement accounts, their job security, the overall economy? And do you anticipate the President will have to speak out about this in a — in a bigger way than the daily communication that he’s done or that you speaking on his behalf? Is there a speech to be had? Is there a moment coming?
MS. JEAN-PIERRE: So the President is going to go to New York. He’s going to visit a district that he won in 2020. He’s going to talk directly to — to constituents and, clearly, Americans in — in that district, and have a very clear conversation and be — lay this out very clearly, as he’s done many times.
I had mentioned the polling in 2011 —
Q I was thinking — nighttime is, I guess, where I was going with that.
MS. JEAN-PIERRE: I see. (Laughs.) I — I mentioned —
Q So — I’m sorry. That wasn’t clear. I knew —
MS. JEAN-PIERRE: No —
Q — I know he’s going to New York.
MS. JEAN-PIERRE: Yep. No, no. I totally understand. I mentioned the polling from 2011 and 2013, how congressional Republicans were blamed by the American people about what they tried to do in those two instances. And the President is going to continue to talk about this.
Don’t have a nighttime, primetime speech to lay out for you or to preview at this time. But, look, let’s see what happens at 4:00. Let’s see how this conversation goes.
And, you know, we’ve been very clear, Secretary Yellen has been clear, the President has been clear, many — many economists who work here in the administration has been clear, businesses have been clear: This would be catastrophic. And it does not have to happen. It does not have to happen. This could be avoided.
We have never, ever defaulted before. We cannot be a deadbeat nation. So we can avoid this. The President is going to make that very clear today.
Q Hey, Karine. Thank you. You mentioned that the President is going to be going to New York tomorrow. You mentioned that he’s going to a district that he won in 2020. It also happens to be a district that is represented by a Republican currently.
Can you talk about the decision to target this specific district and what the President plans to say? And also, can you address the fact that the Republican member of Congress, Mike Lawler, agreed to the White House’s invitation to appear alongside the President and what that means for the President’s remarks?
MS. JEAN-PIERRE: So, look, I’m going to let the congressman speak for himself. He can do that. He’s able to do so.
I mentioned this at the top: The President is going to drive home the impact of these current discussions that we’re having — the economy; how it affects real hardworking Americans. That’s what you’re going to hear from the President. He’ll be very clear about that. He’ll be clear about what could potentially happen.
And, yes, you know, we’ve talked about default and what that could look like — recession,
trigging [triggering] a recession, potentially 8 million jobs lost.
But let’s not forget the other piece of the act that Republicans in the House has put forward. Let’s not forget veterans. Let’s not forget healthcare. Let’s not forget schools, to support staff.
Those things are also embedded or part — a 22 percent cut to these programs that families really, truly need. So he’s going to talk about that.
I’m going to let the congressman speak for himself. The President is — loves to travel across the country to different district, different states. And that’s what you’re going to see from this President tomorrow.
Q The President has talked about, you know, having a sense of unity and not questioning people’s motives and sort of bringing the temperature down in politics. We’ve seen him on the stumps — we’ve seen his stump speech. We’ve seen how aggressive it can be about quote, unquote, “MAGA Republicans.” You are going to have a Republican member in front of his constituents, right there alongside the President. Will that change the way the President addresses the crowd in (inaudible)?
MS. JEAN-PIERRE: The President is always going to be honest with the American people. There’s a — there’s a real question about where our economy is going to be going. Right? And that is something that the President is going to lay out for the American people.
And so, look, when the President speaks, it’s not just to the people who are in front of me — in front of him, pardon me — or the people in that district or in that state. He’s speaking to the nation, and sometimes to the world, when he’s at the podium or when he’s speaking — when the President speaks just in general. Like, everyone listens, and you all cover it, you all write about it.
And so this is a message that he’ll have to the American people about what’s at stake. Americans need to know what’s at stake. You know, it’s basically — to Kelly O’s question — they need to know what’s at stake here, where we’re headed with our economy.
The President has worked the last two years to rebuild our economy, as we’ve always said, from the middle out, bottom up, and we’ve had some successes. If this occurs, it’s going to take us back. It’s going to take us back.
And so the President is going to be very honest, very upfront with the American people. That’s what you’ll hear from him, as he always is when he speaks. And so he’ll lay out — again, lay out what’s at stake.
Q Thanks. Just a quick follow-up. On — can you just give a bit more specifics on why the President chose Hudson Valley for — to give this speech? And does he think that giving this speech on avoiding the default and going after the Republican plan that they passed would actually convince them to pass a clean debt limit increase?
MS. JEAN-PIERRE: So I’m not going to get ahead of the President. He’ll lay out why he’s there, as he always does, why he’s in front of the audience that he’ll be speaking to tomorrow. So I’m going to let him speak to that.
But what I can say is, again, kind of what I just said to your colleague: The President is going to be very clear about what’s at stake, the impact of the current discussions that we’re having, the impact of this budget and this default that House Republicans have connected. He’s going to make it very, very clear this is going to hurt American families. It’s going to hurt our economy, and it’s going to hurt American families.
We’re talking about American families that need these programs that are having the 22 percent cut. They need it just to make ends meet. So he’s going to lay that out, as he has many times when he talks about the economy, when he talks about what MAGA Republicans are doing.
He’s mentioned that before; he’s talked about that before over the last — especially the last two weeks. And so now he’s going to be doing it in New York in front of an audience, again, speaking to — speaking to the country, as he does every time he speaks, as President of the United States. And I’ll let him speak to why now, why New York, and what is it that he wants — wants the American people to know.
Go ahead, Karen.
Q Thanks, Karine. Two questions on Title 42 and governors. I know you were asked yesterday about when the President — if the President had spoken to Governor Abbott about the Allen, Texas, shooting. But when was the last time the President spoke to Governor Abbott about the border situation?
MS. JEAN-PIERRE: I don’t have any timeline of calls to lay out to the governor. You’ve seen the governor and the President together many times over the past, I would say, year when the President visited Texas. I don’t have anything to lay out on the timeline of conversation or the last time he’s spoken to the governor.
Q And any plans for them to talk this week?
MS. JEAN-PIERRE: I don’t have anything to preview at this time.
Q Okay. And Arizona Democratic Governor Katie Hobbs said Monday that she’s afraid the federal government is unprepared to meet the demands of the expected influx at the border. And she said that her recent request to the White House and to the DHS Secretary asking what the plans are and for more help have not been met with an adequate response. What is the response to the governor? And why hasn’t the administration responded to what she’s asking for?
MS. JEAN-PIERRE: So, look, we welcome the additional steps that Governor Hobbs announced. And teams in our administration remain in close contact with border communities, including Arizona, to provide tam- — timely information and resources. Just this past Friday, DHS provided $45.5 million to organizations in Arizona supporting migrants.
Look, we’re — continue to have those conversations with her. We’ll continue to stay in touch. I just mentioned the — the funding that we provided — that DHS provided on Friday.
We are putting forth a robust plan, and we’re putting that in place to do this in a humane- — humane way, to do this in an orderly way through enforcement, deterrence, and diplomacy. We’ve been very clear about that not just today, not just yesterday, not just last week, but for the past several months.
We’re going to have Secretary Mayorkas, who is kindly going to be joining us in the briefing on Thursday. He’s going to take your questions. He’s going to lay out very clearly, again, what we’ve been doing. We want to provide all the information that we can, that we have to all of you. We have been doing that not just here, State Department, DHS, and Pentagon as well.
And so we’re going to continue to have those conversation. Again, we appreciate and welcome the additional steps that was provided by the governor, and we’ll continue to stay in close touch.
Q Thank you. Forty-three Republican senators signed on to a letter opposing raising the debt ceiling without budget reforms, and 217 members in the House voted for that bill to raise the debt limit with cuts to spending. Does the White House consider all of those members to be dangerous MAGA Republican extremists?
MS. JEAN-PIERRE: Do they understand what the cuts that they’re voting for is going to do? Do they — do — that’s the question. I mean, Republicans in Congress, in the House specifically, voted for cuts that’s going to hurt American families. I mean, we can’t say this enough: 22 percent cuts to veterans, healthcare, schools. That’s what they voted for. That’s what — and — and this not —
Q (Inaudible) off — off the table. But —
MS. JEAN-PIERRE: Okay. But this not — this is not just — this is their constituents. This is what they voted for.
Q And those constituents that they’re voting on behalf of have said that they are concerned about their retirements, about the effects of inflation. And those members represent more than half of the country in the House. I mean, those — that’s the majority of districts in the country that they’re voting on behalf of those constituents who are expressing concern about where the economy is.
So, I guess, how can the White House continue to use messaging in calling this the “Default on America Act” and — and paint this legislation in such a way without having a conversation about the budget when you’ve got half the country saying that they want that conversation?
MS. JEAN-PIERRE: So, House Republicans are threatening a first-ever default. They want the President to agree on a plan in its entirety that includes cuts — that includes cuts to programs that are incredibly important for the American family — because they want to hold the American economy hostage. Because that’s what they’re saying that they want to do by threatening — by threatening a default.
Q Their bill would raise the debt limit. They passed a bill to raise the debt limit. So they’re — the conversation —
MS. JEAN-PIERRE: They’ve connect- — I hear you, but they are connecting passing whatever — this debt limit — to cuts: 22 percent cuts to veterans, to seniors. That’s what they are threatening, cuts to our schools. That’s what the twen- — that’s what is connecting. That’s what their budget plan is.
Q The bill doesn’t have any appropriations in it, actually. And the — the Speaker has, you know, ruled out a number of those things, including defense, veterans’ benefits, senior entitlement programs. When you have Mitt Romney saying that there has to be a conversation here, is he a MAGA Republican extremist?
MS. JEAN-PIERRE: What I’m saying is House Republicans have been very clear. They voted on a bill that’s going to cut programs that are very important to American families: law enforcement — cutting programs to law enforcement; cutting program to veterans — veteran care; cutting program to our school system. That’s what Republicans have voted on.
So those are extreme. Those are very extreme. These are things that the American people don’t want. Just look at twenty- — 2022, what they voted for. They voted for — to protect — to protect their retirement accounts. That’s what the American people want to see.
And so, they’re connecting those two. They want the President to agree on its entire agenda of an extreme budget. It is an extreme budget, something that Americans do not want. And, you know, that’s something for them to answer to. This is — this is also speaking to their — they’re speaking to their constituents when they’re voting for something like that.
And so, look, the President put forth a budget where it also cuts spending, but not hurting American families. We’re trying to make sure that we lower the deficit by saying that we’re going to cut the deficit by $3 trillion over 10 years.
But he put forth something that is actually responsible. Remember: Show me your value. Show me your budget, and I’ll tell you what you value. That’s what the President said. They showed their value by showing veteran — cutting veterans’ program, cutting school programs, cutting healthcare — 22 percent. That’s what they value? That’s something that they have to answer to the American people about.
Go ahead, Ed.
Q Thanks, Karine. So if cutting government spending would help reduce inflation faster, in this meeting today, is the President open to hearing other viewpoints?
MS. JEAN-PIERRE: So, look, as you know, Ed, because you asked me this question many times, when it comes to the economy, when it comes to a priority that the President have for the American people, lowering costs for families is a top priority. He talks about that often.
You’ve heard him talk about lowering prescription drug costs, which we have been able to do; capping insulin at 35 bucks a month for seniors; allowing Medicare to negotiate lower prices. That’s why Inflation Reduction Act was so critical and important. Only — only Democrats voted for that. Helped lower energy bills, another — another component of the Inflation Reduction Act. I just talked about how he put forth a budget that’s going to lower the deficit by $3 trillion over the next 10 years.
And, again, I was very clear with Jacqui: They have put forth the opposite. They want to go the opposite direction. They want to cut programs that’s going to lower cost. They want to take our economy hostage with a default. They want to bring back failed trickle-down economy, which we know doesn’t work.
So, look, the President is always going to try and figure out how he can lower costs for the American people. He has actually taken action and been able to put policies forward; pass legislation with Democrats — with the help of Democrats in Congress; signed that legislation to deal with issues that really matter to the American people.
Q (Inaudible.) One more on — on a different subject, if I could. So, after Title 42 ends, does the President then want to go back to the border to see the situation for himself?
MS. JEAN-PIERRE: I don’t have any trips to — to preview for you. As you know, the President has gone to the border more than once. We have put forth a robust multiagency plan to humanely deal with the border in a way that leads with enforcement, deterrence, and diplomacy.
I’m going to have Secretary Mayorkas here on Thursday. He’ll be glad to take your questions. That’s why he’s joining us.
We’ve had multiple briefings from the different agencies that are involved in this process. We’ll continue to do that and answer your question and put out information on how we’re dealing with the real — with the — the challenges that we’re seeing at the border.
Again, the President is using the tools that he has in front of him because Congress refuses to act.
Q Yes, Karine. On the COVID-19 public health emergency ending on Thursday, obviously, we know COVID is not over. And, in fact, CDC data shows that there’s a disproportionate share of hospitalizations and infections and deaths for Black, Hispanic, and Indigenous populations. These are also populations that are overrepresented in lack of access to healthcare, unemployment, poverty levels. Is the administration concerned that these communities could be left behind as we move away from the public health emergency, especially when you think about long COVID?
MS. JEAN-PIERRE: So there’s a couple questions there with long COVID, and I’ll take that first.
Look, we’ve seen the progress that has been made last year that HHS has led on, and that’s deliver high-quality care for individuals experiencing long COVID; provide information and resources to help people struggling with long COVID, including our nation’s veterans; employ employers — employees, pardon me, in — in the workplace. And we’ve invested in care for people in underserved communities who have been disproportionately impacted by long COVID.
We are going to — there’s going to be an office that’s going to be set up, as you know, that — because of the omnibus fiscal year of twenty- — in 2023. Certainly that would be a space where we’ll continue to deal with this — with the pandemic, even though we’re in a different stage of the pandemic. As you said, COVID is still here. So we’ll — we’ll certainly deal with that in an appropriate way.
And so, look, there’s the Project Next Generation as well. That’s a way to stay ahead of the rapidly evolving virus that causes COVID. We need to continue to support the development of a new generational — generation of tools, and that’s what you’re going to see from Project Next Gen.
So we are taking all of this very seriously. And we’ll certainly have more to share in the next day or two.
Q And more broadly, could you give a sense of how the administration is feeling coming out of the public emergency — public health emergency — given where we were two, three years ago? Does the administration see this as a success in terms of combating COVID or a sense of a sigh of rel- — of relief at all?
MS. JEAN-PIERRE: So, look — look, we are definitely at a different point in the pandemic. Over the last two years, the administration has — has made significant progress in ability — in an ability to manage COVID-19 in a way that protects life and health and no longer meaningfully disrupts our lives. And that’s because of this President’s leadership.
Again, we’re not out of the pode- — pandemic; we’re certainly in a different place. And that’s because of what this President has been able to do — when you think about how COVID deaths have declined by 95 percent, new COVID-19 hospitalizations are down nearly 88 percent, and COVID-19 cases and deaths globally are at its lowest levels since the start of the pandemic.
You heard from the World Health Organization, saying COVID — COVID pandem- — pandemic no longer qualifies as a global health emergency.
So, look, let the numbers speak for itself. The President — over 270 million people have at least one shot in arms because of the comprehensive plan that this President and his administration has put forward. And so — look, again, let the numbers speak for itself.
The President has taken this very seriously since day one. And now we’re in a — it’s good. It’s actually good that we’re in a different stage of this pandemic.
One more. Go ahead, Courtney.
Q Thank you. I wanted to ask about the Labor Department. They — the department hasn’t testified before Congress yet about its budget. I know that Acting Secretary Julie Su is also up for a nomination. Is there a reason that she hasn’t gone before Congress about the budget in her acting role or that you haven’t sent someone else to take questions?
MS. JEAN-PIERRE: That’s a very good question. I would refer you to the Department of Labor about their process and being in front of Congress and speaking to their budget. I would just refer you to them.
Q Also, on Title 42, there’s a bill emerging on Capitol Hill this week that Republicans are pushing in the House. I understand that broadly you disagree with that bill. But can you talk about if you see any points of agreement with the GOP on places of tension or problems related to the border that you agree on that you can move forward with? Maybe there’s parts of that bill you do agree with or other solutions that you know would have broad support?
MS. JEAN-PIERRE: So I laid out yesterday why we don’t agree with that bill. Certainly that —
MS. JEAN-PIERRE: No, no, no —
MS. JEAN-PIERRE: — that — nothing changes there. That still stands. What we have seen is Congress cut — Republicans cut — wanting to cut resources to — cutting 2,000 in law enforcement to be at the border. They have not done anything to be helpful in this process. They’ve done politi- — they’ve taken political stunts. What they put forward is not going to help the issue at all, and we’ve taken this very seriously.
On day one, the President put forth an — a comprehensive immigration reform legislation to really have this conversation about how do we put more resources to deal with this challenge. And instead, they want to take away resources. That’s what they’ve — they’ve told us.
And so if they want to seriously have a real conversation, we’re willing to have that conversation. But they haven’t proven that. They haven’t proven that they want a real conversation. They want to actually make the situation — the challenges that we see at the border — worse. That’s what their legislation shows. That’s what it tells the American people.
Q So I take it you don’t —
Q Thanks, Karine.
MS. JEAN-PIERRE: All right.
Q — see a specific area of agreement then?
MS. JEAN-PIERRE: I mean, I’ve been very clear. I li- — I literally went almost line by line about the things that we disagree about with this — in this — that legislation yesterday. It’s going to make the situation worse. It’s not going to help. And, look, they want to play political games, and that’s not what the President wants to do. He wants to do the opposite.
All right, everybody, I’ll see you on Thursday. Thank you.
2:10 P.M. EDT